Dandelion Days

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Here in New York, it's dandelion season, which means dandelion bouquets for all the teachers!

This can be a problem if you are prone to seasonal allergies!

This was the case of two teachers on my K team, so rather than deny their kiddos this childhood pleasure, here's what they did.

They designated ONE day as, "Dandelion Day" and invited their Kinders to pick flowers for their whole team.

The kids LOVED it and look how cute the teachers look holding their bouquets!

Getting them to stop picking may not be easy, but you can always remind them that if they pick ALL the dandelions, there will be no "wish flowers."

If you are thinking of trying this, you might want to continue the dandelion fun indoors.

Here's a cute art project one of our K teachers did with her kiddos a few years ago.  The "white puffs" were made using fingerprints.

There are also some great dandelion books you might read alongside this:

And here's a couple FREEBIE printables for children to record their Dandelion Wishes!

Wishing you all a great end to your school year!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Moving Up to First Grade

Monday, 7 May 2018

As kindergarten teachers, we might expect some tears on the first day, but how about on the last?

It's easy to forget that as we are counting down the days, there are children whose anxiety is rising at the very thought of leaving their safe, predictable kindergarten "nest."

I remember one year in particular, when only minutes after the last bus pulled out, a parent returned with her teary-eyed daughter for one last goodbye.  I promised to write over the summer and still think of her every June as I prepare to close out the year!

This is why I now set aside some time in those last weeks, to prepare children for the transition.

We begin by exploring our feelings and asking questions about the next grade.

Moving up to First Grade

Moving up to First Grade

We take a first grade "field trip" where we visit a classroom, interview the teacher, and listen to the students tell us what they love about first grade.  When we return, we draw 4 things we look forward to doing next year.

Moving Up to First Grade

We send a "text" to our new teacher to tell them something we want them to know about us!

Moving Up to First Grade

And lastly, we "picture" ourselves on that very first day and draw a "selfie."

Moving Up to First Grade

At the end of all this, I have a better handle on how my kiddos are feeling and can make additional arrangements for specific students who might need a little more.

You can find my full plan here!

How do you prepare your Kinders for the next grade?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Let's Take a Wind Walk!

Sunday, 1 April 2018

March is a great month for a Wind Walk! Here's what we did before, during, and after our walk to learn more about this type of weather!

Before the Walk

Build Background

We began preparing for our walk during morning meeting when I asked, "What is wind?" Answers included gas, atoms, molecules, h2o, precipitation, and it comes from clouds.  I could see how they were drawing from their learning and vocabulary of our previous studies of precipitation and matter to answer this question.  Yet no one mentioned "air!"

To help them discover the answer, I posed a problem. I showed them a pinwheel and told them how disappointed I was that it wasn't spinning.  They quickly told me that I needed wind and it would only work outside.

Then one child said, "I can make that move!"

We explored what happened when he blew on the pinwheel and the word "air" then became part of the conversation.  

I asked, "Is there always air?" and then, "Is there always wind?"  so children could see that wind is not just air, but moving air.

Just as we were about to wrap up the conversation, someone offered, "I can make that pinwheel move a different way!"  This made me curious!

He quickly grabbed a white board and began fanning it!  They never cease to amaze me!

Introduce the Question

Later in the day I asked the question that would become the focus of our walk, "How can I tell if the wind is blowing? Can I see wind?"  Many responses led to a discussion of how the wind feels.  They thought you couldn't see it, but could feel it, and struggled to give me words to describe it.

I then asked, "What if I'm indoors, how can I tell if the wind is blowing?"  They began naming things the wind moves and we created a list of things that we might see the wind moving on our school grounds.

During the Walk

As we prepared to go outside for our walk, children grabbed their coats, clipboards, pencils and these field notes.

I reminded them of the focus of our walk - to find evidence of wind by observing the objects it was moving. One child made a connection to a previous walk and said, "Remember when my paper blew away on our winter walk? That was the wind!"

Once outdoors, we walked along the path that circles our school.  At four points along the way, I invited them to "stop and jot," and record a quick sketch of their observations.

After the Walk

Back in the classroom, children shared the evidence they had found.  We went back to our list and checked off the things we saw and added others that were not listed.

They each chose 4 "evidences" of wind and created a Wind Walk book to share with families.

More Experiences

Measuring the Wind

To extend the learning into our everyday experiences, I asked children how we might use the pinwheel to measure the wind.  They knew it had something to do with how fast it was moving.  I suggested some vocabulary that we could use to describe the wind each day: strong wind, some wind, no wind at all.

I then invited children to bring in pinwheels and/or flags to create a "wind garden" outside our classroom window.  We would use this "garden" to measure the wind each day for the next month.

We also made windsocks to take home, so we could measure the wind there too! Steps for these cool rainbow windsocks can be found on Kinder Craze's blog.

Pinwheel Vs. Windmill

Lastly, there was confusion about the term "windmill" and "pinwheel" and children were using the words interchangeably.  We did a little research to learn more about windmills using these books.

Then, we compared the two and recorded their similarities and differences.

As a result of our walk, the children have begun to notice and talk about the wind more than ever before.  This is always my goal for nature study - to raise their awareness and interest in the world around them!

Thanks for stopping by!

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