Sunday, May 24, 2015

Welcoming our new Junior Kindergarten friends

Every spring, we have a "First Impressions" day (orientation) for the new Junior Kindergarten students who will be entering school in September, and their parents. 
Ours was just over a week ago.
Over the past few weeks, we heard a lot of children in our classroom have conversations about their siblings starting school:
J.R.:  My brother is coming to school here next year!  I think he's going to be in this class!
S.C.:  Hey, my brother is coming too!
When I asked the children if they wanted to help us prepare for First Impressions, they got very excited!  Some students wanted to bake them a snack and have them eat it (my students really enjoy the snack table this year - such great conversations take place there!).
We searched for a "cookie" recipe online and found a Smarties Cookies one that everyone agreed looked the best!
After writing the recipe on chart paper for all to follow, and gathering our ingredients, the students worked with Mrs. C. (our E.A.) measuring, mixing and forming the cookies.
Each cookie called for exactly 5 Smarties...these students are working carefully to make each cookie perfect!
We noticed that the children were sorting our the leftover Smarties in the bowl once we finished prepping our cookies.
Mrs. Albanese:  What do you want to do with these leftover Smarties?
Everyone:  Eat them!
A couple of students, M.D. and J.R., worked on a graph to represent how many of each Smartie colours were left for the students to choose from.
They also wanted to make the new JK friends something to drink, so we Googled "juice" and here's what we found:
The students unanimously decided that the "pink" juice would be best and we found out that it was called "Hot Pink Lemonade".
So once again we wrote the recipe on chart paper for all to follow, got our ingredients, and had quite the number of students wanting to help us with this task!
We squeezed the lemons to get their juice.
S.Q.:  I've squeezed oranges before using this machine.
M.J.:  Can we keep the lemon seeds and then plant them too?

S.B.:  I want to write out the recipe so that I can take it home and make it with my mom.

 We put the finished juice in the fridge (it isn't pink just yet!) and one student wanted to write a "stop" sign so that no one would drink it -
Note: We use our "Please stop...we are still thinking" signs a lot in the classroom to show others that we are not quite done with the activity we are working on.
I love how this student used that connection when creating his sign.
Since it was decided that all of the students wanted a copy of the recipe, which we ended up photocopying and sending home, I asked the students to help me write a letter to the parents explaining what we did and the importance of the recipes.
Here we are typing up the letter on the Bright Links board.
Other students wanted to draw pictures for the new JK students of all the fun things they do at school and why school is fun.  This student asked to compile all of the work onto a large poster board so that we could display it next to the snack table.
A group of girls decided to make a large sign to show that everything was "Made by Kindergarten Students".
I love "kid-writing", don't you!?!
Here is our finished "Snack Table" in the library - I know that the new JK friends coming to school in September really enjoyed eating a snack made by our class!
I'm looking forward to seeing them again tomorrow night at our Welcome to Kindergarten event!
I think they will all be excited to see our classroom, this time, and the wonderful things that we do on a daily basis!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Invitation to Play - Create a Garden

We have been so busy these past few weeks enjoying the summer-like weather outside, getting ready for Mother's Day and continuing with our planting inquiry (blog post coming soon!).
The other day a teacher at my school told me about this amazing online contest from
I entered for a chance to win a $5000 classroom!
Wouldn't that be just incredible!?!
I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!
So here's how you can help (please, pretty please?)...
1.  Click {HERE}, or the above picture, to take you to the picture of my Invitation to Play (to create a garden using playdough and natural materials).
2.  Enter your e-mail address and click vote.
(I promise this company won't send any spam or junk e-mail)
3.   Click on the confirmation e-mail they will send you to make your vote active.
That's it!
You can click that link once each day to help me win!
(If the page says you already voted, you will have to restart your device and try again)
In return for your help, I promise to post something really fabulous for FREE once the contest in over.
The contest closes in just over 20 days so please, please, PLEASE click on the link or picture above and enter your e-mail address to vote once a day!
I am forever grateful (and so are my students!).  Thank you so much!  Happy weekend!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Airport Dramatic Play Centre

A few weeks ago, one little boy in our class began using the modelling clay set out and created an airplane.  After a few minutes, I noticed that he was concentrating and thinking about his creation. 
He asked me if we could get a book on airplanes to help with his design.  We went to the library and found a few books.  That afternoon, he spent much time tweaking his airplane, being sure to choose colours with care and add detail, just like the ones he noticed in the book.

This student was very interested in making his airplane fly.
A.C.:  It won't fly!  It's too heavy!
So I asked him if he had ever seen or made a paper airplane.  We went over to the computer and researched how to create paper airplanes and then he got to work creating his own!
Another student was interested in making paper airplanes and together, these two friends went into the hallway to test them out and see how far they would fly!
This sparked other students to talk about their upcoming March Break vacations and how they would be taking a plane to get there.  Several students suggested we turn our Dramatic Centre into an airplane or airport.  I asked the students if they had ever been to the airport before...and so we brainstormed many things we experienced when travelling.
We talked about what a passport was, how important it is, and what it looked like by showing pictures on the Bright Links board.  We also learned that many important documents, including our passports, require us to sign our name, or signature, and I showed the students how I wrote my signature.
They all wanted to try and sign their name in a "fancy" way too!
 The students began moving the chairs around in a formation you would find on an airplane.  I showed them how to label each seat with a number as you would find on your airline ticket.
We had a Travel Agent who could help us book our trip and fill out the airline ticket.
Since we learned about metal detectors at airports to help keep us safe, we used out metal hanging rack from our Fashion Inquiry as our metal detector.  We even had security making sure everyone went through before boarding the plane!
We had a special guest parent come in today who is a travel agent!
The students were so excited to hear all about what Mrs. M does!

She even brought us a few things including a small plane that we had to build and put together.
We had so much fun with this!
Mrs. M.'s husband, a graphic designer, created these realistic passports for some students got to work gluing in a picture of themselves and signing their name.
Aren't these amazing!  They look so real!
We learned that as a travel agent, you need to have access to a computer so that you can reserve trips for clients.  So one student felt that it was important to create a computer for our travel agent in our Dramatic Play Centre.
Today's visitor inspired other students to draw and write about their vacations.
E.P.:  I went to Jamaica a long time ago.
Of course we had students looking through all of the books on airplanes and drawing and asking questions about them!
Here is our travel agent looking through a brochure, waiting for clients to book a trip with her.
I put up a list of important vocabulary pertaining to the airport dramatic play centre, as I noticed many students wanting to write about their March Break travels.
S.B.:  Flight attendants use carts to carry the food up and down the aisle.  We need a cart too!
So we used our medical cart from our Doctor's Office dramatic play centre so that our flight attendants would be able to serve food to the passengers.
Mrs. M. also left us with small paper planes to build on our own, so each student took one home today.
Thank you so much, Mrs. M. (and Mr. M. for the passports!) for coming in today and sharing your expertise!  We learned so much!
I can't wait to see where this dramatic play centre (and possible inquiry!) takes off to!
You can find many of the above printables in my Airport Dramatic Play Centre.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Finger weaving and sewing...with a special guest parent!

We are back at work from a relaxing and fun somewhat stressful March Break as we finally moved into our new house!
My week was go, go, GO!  But I am so happy to finally say we are settling in nicely at our new place (just don't count the 400 boxes I have yet to unpack!).
I am so lucky this year to have such supportive parents!
This past Monday we had a special guest parent, Mrs. P., spend the afternoon with the class teaching the students how to finger weave and sew using a needle and thread.
The students had so much fun (and so did I!).
Although it took some practice and patience, the students quickly caught on to finger weaving.
Using the needle and thread proved challenging also - it took complete concentration so we would not get pricked by the needle!
Thank you so much, Mrs. P., for sharing your skills and talents...the students have become so interested in these activities...I wonder what else they will create!

Friday, February 27, 2015

It All Started with a Red Ribbon....our Fashion Inquiry

If you read my last post, you would remember that I wrote that a LOT is happening in our classroom, or should I say in general?!?!  Let's begin by me explaining my lack of blogging lately...I have been busy getting ready to move into our new house, which is just over 2 weeks away!
This is only about 1/10 of the boxes in our house.  The rest are all around the rest of the basement, main floor, kitchen, well, pretty much everywhere!
And in our classroom the month of February, although short, has been packed with lots of things!
We celebrated Carnival and have been sticking out the weather, despite daily indoor recesses.  Every Thursday we have been hosting visiting Kindergarten teachers in our classroom, giving them a glimpse of what the FDK program is all about!
Last month, one teacher who came to visit brought us a present wrapped up in a beautiful black box with a large red ribbon around it.
The students could not stop admiring the red ribbon and were wondering what they might create with it!
(Yes, they loved the present too, thank you Ms. L!)
And so it began....our Fashion Inquiry.
E.S.:  We can use it to decorate our classroom!
M.R.:  It can be used as a sash!
S.S.:  It looks like when you have a contest and you win an award.
The next day one student brought in an American Girl doll and started sketching clothing designs for her.  Another student joined in.
I invited the students to share their creations before lunch time and by late afternoon, many other students were interested in sketching clothes using the red ribbon as our inspiration.
When my teaching partner, Mrs. Parisi, went to the Dollar Store that weekend, she picked up a pad of sketch paper that had girl and boy silhouettes as well as stencils for their clothes.
I left these out the next morning and the students absolutely loved using them to create clothes - we encouraged them to design and make a plan.
We visited our librarian and found many books about Fashion Designers, clothing and more!
Students began bringing in lots of material to support our new inquiry.
After choosing material and then making a plan of what they wanted to make, they set to work.
I love how they helped each other, measured, cut, hot glued (with a little help from Mrs. Petrone!), and made their creations come to life!

Here is one student who wanted to create a dress for her doll that she brought in from home.
First, she choose the fabric she wanted to use.
Then, she made a plan.
And finally, she cut and glued her creation with the help of a friend.

The students designed outfits for their dolls, stuffed animals and each other!

We showed the students a few logos of famous designers and much to our surprise, they knew many of them!
D.P.:  My mom has a purse with this on it!
S.S.:  I saw this before in the closet!
So we chose one famous designer, Prada, and used the overhead to make the sign for our design studio.
We also found this mannequin in the library and often used it to display our creations.
(Don't mind the background - those are pictures from our Space Inquiry from the fall.)
We watched a video all about models walking down a runway and showcasing the designers pieces.
Of course, we had to try it too!
(And there is the famous red ribbon!)
Some students decided that they wanted to create a real runway and have a fashion show - and they wanted to invite students from other classes that might be interested in coming.
They used this picture of a runway to make their own.
(This student is measuring it to see how long she should make ours.)
I have a lot of former students visiting our classroom often...and so when one former student (who is now in grade 3 and has a sibling in the class) asked if he could help out with our inquiry, we were so fortunate!
This grade 3 student has a real passion for fashion and was able to assist the students in adding buttons, lace, and other decoratives to their creations.  He also helped co-ordinate our fashion show - and was our announcer and director!
Thank you M.T. for sharing your talents with our students!

Here are a couple of the many posters that we put up around our school this week.
Two students also wrote a script and read it over the PA System inviting others to attend.
M.R.:  The name of our fashion show is "Fashion Universe".
We kept all of our designer pieces for the show on this rack for display.
After rehearsing daily all week, the students were ready to present today!
We got a chance to rehearse with a live audience this morning with our reading buddies in the hallway.
Isn't our red carpet fabulous?!!!
The show was complete with a variety of strobe lights and music (thanks to a few students who created a list of everything we needed for our big debut!).
A few other students came up with the idea of making cameras as they wanted to be the "paparazzi", just like the ones we saw in the videos of the fashion shows!
We were ready to have the fashion show in our kindergarten hallway this afternoon, thinking that maybe a handful of students and staff would attend, but after speaking to teachers this morning, we anticipated a larger crowd so we relocated to the gymnasium.
The students (as well as Mrs. Petrone and I!) were in complete shock to see how many came out to support our show this afternoon!
I wish I could post a picture but there were so many students (and we can't post pictures of faces) - just imagine our large gym almost full!
It was so nice to have an amazing audience cheering the students on!
For the past month the students have been working hard on designing and bringing their creations to life.
I know that this will be a day that many of us will remember forever!