Wednesday, September 17, 2014

International Dot Day

This past Monday, September 15 was International Dot Day!
We celebrated in many ways in our classroom...

We read the story, The Dot, by Peter Reynolds.  If you haven't already read this book, you simply MUST!
It's a wonderful story about trying your best and not saying "I can't".
The students really enjoyed it!
After the story, I showed the children this photo of Kandinsky's  painting on our Bright Links board and we were all amazed!
It was beautiful!
F.V.:  I love all the pretty colours!
L.G.: It is so big and full of circles!
I set out some white, square Bristol board in the middle of the table, as well as pencils, pastels, and plasticine.
Then the students began to create their very own "dot" masterpieces to celebrate the day!

The children paid so much attention to detail!
We showed the children how to use the pastels to colour the entire dot so that there were no white spots left.  They took a long time to complete their work, making sure not to rush the process.
This girl is counting how many dots she created to see if it "matched Kandinsky's work".
You can make dots out of anything!
Dots are bog and dots are small...but they are fun, most of all!

I can't wait to continue to explore dots this week in our classroom by using paint and various tubes, lids and all things circular!

Parents, don't forget to join us tomorrow evening at 7 for our Curriculum Night.
You will have a chance to see these amazing masterpieces on display in our classroom and read all about our dot journey.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hands-on math through play...with a math card FREEBIE!

Children are incredible learners...and they all learn in so many different ways.
My students this year, although it's only been about a week, absolutely love learning with hands-on manipulatives and through play (yes, I can already make that conclusion!).
Our focus in math this week is on number identification and 1:1 correspondence so I wanted to invite the children to use natural materials found in our room to represent numbers.
Here's what happened:
After identifying the foam numbers on the carpet during a whole group lesson, a student went over to the math area, took the numbers and wanted to show that many using loose parts (more on this topic coming soon!).
He chose to use nuts and bolts to represent each number (since those are his favourite for fine motor practice - twisting them together).  However, he ran out after number 8 and chose to use small beads to represent 9.
Look at all the learning happening here!
This student put the numbers in the correct order and was able to show me how many were represented by that number!
The JK students were invited to stay with me on the carpet after our lesson to practice 1:1 correspondence using natural materials.  Many students chose to use glass beads.  By placing a glass bead over top a flower and counting out loud, I was able to determine which students could correctly count objects.
I made these 100-grids last year as I found many students were ready to explore numbers beyond 100.
In this photo, the student was playing a game with a friend...asking him what number was represented on his grid.  His friend knew that counting by 10's would help him get the answer much quicker than counting by 1's!
Another student worked on adding and taking away to get to the number 100.
Here, he is adding 5 to 95 to get 100.
I made these cards to go along with the 1:1 number correspondence.  For many SK's, this was way too easy!  Little did I know what they would do with these cards!
M.D.: "Look, Mrs. Albanese.  I made 30!"
Mrs. Albanese:  "How do you know that's 30?"
M.D.:  "I counted by 10's!  10, 20, 30." (pointing to the large group of cubes on his card).  "I have 3 groups of 10 so that makes 30!"
You can download your own 1:1 math correspondence cards for your classroom for FREE by clicking the picture above and remember...the possibilities are endless - they don't just stop at 10!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

First week done! Time for a GIVEAWAY!

I’m so excited to be teaming up with my favourite freebie-friends for a BIG giveaway to help get you going this school year! Over at the Freebielicious blog, we’re giving away a BIG, GRAND PRIZE (scroll down to the bottom of this post to read all about it!) and right here on my little blog, I’m giving away $25.00 to my favourite online store to go school shopping:
Teachers Pay Teachers, of course!
With the first week of school under my belt, Teachers pay Teachers is always a great place to go to when you are in need of a little extra for your students (or some great clipart for yourself!).
I know you will find a LOT of things to choose from while you are there!
Please enter with integrity, using the Rafflecopter below. I’ll choose a winner a week from today.
But, wait! That’s not ALL!
The Freebielicious ladies know how much of your own hard-earned money goes into buying supplies, tissues, books, and classroom d├ęcor to get your classroom “kid-ready,” and we want to be able to put some of that money right back in your pocket. Over at the Freebielicious blog, we are giving away a $300 Visa gift card! YES...YOU READ THAT RIGHT! $300!!!
To enter the BIG GIVEAWAY, click HERE or on the button below!
Also, while you are there, be sure to check out what the other Freebie-ladies are giving away. Be prepared for some AMAZING prizes. Take a peek at some of them below!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Our First Day!!!

Well we survived the first day...and it was amazing!
Today the Senior Kindergarten students came back to school, many of which were in my class last year.
(The Junior Kindergarten students start tomorrow and Thursday.)
It was great to see all of those faces, both old and new, and welcome them to our classroom.
It was a busy day as we made new friends, caught up with old ones, explored our classroom and had fun playing!
Here are a few of the things we did!
We practiced our names with the magnetic letters.
We made a first day crown to decorate.
We drew lots of pictures of summer memories!
Some students wanted to turn their summer memories into a book!
We did a lot of building on the carpet.
We had fun setting the table and playing at our Dramatic Centre.
Using our imagination with our doll house.
So many books in our class library that we had to stop and read some!
We explored seashells from Mrs. Albanese's and Mrs. Petrone's beach vacations.
Of course, we ate our snack at the snack table when we were hungry!
We practiced our names on the whiteboard so we could take our first day of school picture holding up our names.
I'm so excited to meet our new JK friends in the next couple of days.
Lots more learning ahead!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Back to School with Bic ... GIVEAWAY!

It's the final long weekend of the summer before we all head back to school on Tuesday.
What better way to go back than with a HUGE prize pack from Bic!
I was asked to review some of their products and, boy, am I impressed!
Look at all of these products that were sent to me!
I could hard wait to get my hands on them!
I absolutely love this stylus!  The yellow raised line in the middle of the stylus guides students to keep their fingers in the correct spot, as if using a pencil.
With a big push this year for using technology in the classroom, and the iPad being so popular in my class, I can't wait to introduce this stylus to the children.
This pen is great for the children, too, because it also has the yellow raised line for proper finger placement, but it allows you to peel and stick a label where you can write your child's name on it (as you can see by the picture, my daughter really loves this pen!)
These coloured Atlantis pens are perfect for colour-coding my Teacher Planner and Calendar.
I write so many things down for the month that it helps to have them in different colours.
My little guy will be starting JK next month (equivalent to Pre-K in the USA) and I love how this mechanical pencil teaches him where to place his fingers as he is still learning how to hold a pencil properly and write his name.
(I wrote his name on this pencil using the labels that come with it before my daughter could claim this as her own too!)
I have always used the Bic 4-colour pens because I love that you get 4 different colours on one pen.  So easy for me when I am planning for my students.
My ECE and I write a LOT of documentation notes in the classroom on a daily basis.
These Atlantis pens glide so easily that I can write quickly without having the pen smudge.
I can't wait to put these metallic pencils out at the Writing Centre this year.  I know that the students will love them...especially because they shine!
Want to win all of the above?
Here's your chance!
Simply enter the Rafflecopter below...but hurry!  Contest closes on Tuesday!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Classroom Setup...with lots of photos!

I'm done!!!
My classroom is officially ready to go for our first day back at school next Tuesday.
A few things have changed from last year (you can see those photos by clicking here) and I think the kids will just love it!
Let me take you around...
This is the view as soon as you walk in to the room.  The table straight ahead is our snack table.
The children can eat snack anytime they are hungry.  They just grab their snack, wash hands, sit down and eat.
Sometimes the table gets full.  I simply tell children that it's like a restaurant:  sometimes you have to wait for a table!
This is the side where the shelves and sinks are.  My sand and sensory boxes are there.  The classroom library is at the back corner (with a beautiful lamp from Ikea).
Here is my guided reading/writing area.  I house a lot of my books back here, and since I don't have a teacher's desk anymore (got rid of it a few years back), that white drawer you see in the background is now my desk!
Student portfolios are kept on the shelf behind this table too.  The children can go anytime to get them (they are the white binders you see).
Here's a closer look at the snack table.  In the centre, there is a glass Lazy Susan on top of a mirror.  I have a glass that holds scissors (so that the children can learn to cut their own snacks open and not ask one of the teachers) and cutlery.  Once they use something, they know to wash it and then put it on the drying rack (at the end of the day I always go back and rewash it before putting it away just in case!).  Oh, and I love plants so I had to add a small one there!
This is the newest addition to my classroom....and it's, by far, one of my favourite places in the room!
I plan on making it provocation table, or place interesting things that the children bring in.  Right now I am going to add my seashells that I found on my vacation to Jamaica (I already added my seashells book).
I found this table at Value Village for only $15!
All 4 legs on the table were a little loose so my husband had to fix those, otherwise, a quick cleaning and it was in great shape!
The wicker chair is from Ikea.  I have to bring the other one in next week so for now I just put smaller chairs around.
I also found the mirrors at Ikea last year and finally found a great place for them!
(Just like plants, I love mirrors around the room!)
If you remember my art studio from last year, I had it on the other side of the room.  This summer I read a lot about FDK classrooms and searched many pictures and realized that moving the art area to a place full of natural light would be much better.
Here's another view of the art studio (complete with a lamp and mirror too!).
I'll add various glass containers full of beads, tissue, glitter, sparkles soon too!
Don't you love the mirror?
Another Value Village find...$15!
The Dramatic Centre has always been a popular place in my classroom.  All of the children love role playing so much that I moved this centre to the middle of my class and made it the focal point (it's also the area that is the largest since so many children play here).
Stay tuned for all that this area becomes in the next few months - for more information, you might want to check out my Dramatic Play Centres - The Complete Set.
I added a new tablecloth, real cutlery and, of course, the ceramic tableware from Ikea.
Many people ask me if all of the glass and ceramic breaks in the room.  We spend a great deal of time the first few weeks of class teaching the children how to properly handle all the materials in the room so luckily we haven't had any accidents!  Also, my floor looks like hardwood but it's actually a soft rubber so even when things fall by accident, they don't break.
This area is the Writing Centre.  It's pretty much the same as last year, I just turned it sideways to add more room.
The children are invited to write in any way, shape or form so a variety of materials, including my Vocabulary Flip Books, are here.
It's a little hard to tell from this picture, but these are mason jars filled with water and food colouring.
I love how they look in the light.  Not only is this area aesthetically appealing, we always seem to discuss colours the first few weeks of school and the children enjoy colour mixing and talking about the various shades they see.
I made this area my Math Centre - I really want the children to experiment with different math manipulatives and I'm hoping to replace this carpet with the Learning Carpet.
My ECE works daily with small groups of children so I wanted to give her an area where she can house her resources/manipulatives and have lots of space with the kids.
The blocks are on these two shelves around the carpet area.
Here's a picture of the front of my room, where my Bright Links board is.  I also post my Daily Schedule so that everyone knows what our day looks like.
To learn more about our visual schedule click here.
This is our classroom library.  Although a little small, I know that this area will be comfortable and quiet.  I added the doll house here as well.
I can't wait to see how the children love their new classroom next week!
Stay tuned for a HUGE giveaway to help you kick start your school year...coming VERY soon!!!