Welcome back my All-Stars followers! I realize it’s been a longtime since I’ve done a regular blog-post. I’ve been super busy with workshops, family, and summer projects. However I return with a commitment to bring you more updates and ideas.
Let’s first start out with the biggest update; I have been moved back into a multi-age kindergarten / 1st grade classroom. Still located in the city of Kenai, Alaska. It has definitely been challenging; but I love the change in dynamics and am excited about a few changes to my classroom that I’ve made this year.
This week is our first week in back to school and like usual we are talking about school expectations, rules, and classroom procedures. Our first days we’ve been reading some of my favorite back to school books like No David by David Shannon. Then students made No David puppets to retell the story during free choice centers time.
We’ve been also singing some of our favorite songs that we’ve remembered from preschool and dancing to them using the website http://www.gonoodle.com. Today we sang and danced to 5 Little Monkeys.
We read the story Curious George: Goes to School, created a craft using t-shirt template ideas from this website and taking individual pictures. They turned out very cute!
This last week Friday we finished off our Polar Express week with our very special Polar Express day!! At the beginning of this week I decorated the front of our classroom door and on Friday before school I decorated the tables in the room to look like the Polar Express. The class got to also come to school wearing pajamas like the children in the book got to wear.
Students were given golden tickets to the Polar Express as they went off to lunch. When they came back from lunch they gave me their golden tickets and I punched holes in them like the conductor did in the movie. We then reread the book the Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg and discussed the elements of the story and drew the pictures of the things we discussed.
Finally students got to sit in our “train area” like they would sit on the train and watch the movie. Students got to enjoy cookies and hot chocolate while they watched the movie.
We finished off our Polar Express week with talking about Santa. Students describe him using the Polar Express as an example as well as other Christmas related stories. Students were able to describe how he was kind, giving, jolly, and friendly. Then they wrote their Christmas lists and created their own Santa art.
To be like Santa students also began making Christmas ornament presents for their friends and family. They took clear ornaments and put two different colors of paint and swirled them around to make a marble effect.
As part of our Polar Express week students got to try out hot chocolate before our Polar Express Day. I showed students how to make hot chocolate and they wrote 3 step directions on how to make it. Students also drew pictures on the back of the directions.
Students got to sample the hot chocolate and then we made a class graph on if the class liked hot chocolate or not. It was a very lopsided graph since everyone said the liked hot chocolate!
At the end students cut out a cup of hot chocolate on construction paper and wrote about what they thought hot chocolate is.
For the second day of Polar Express week, students made glyphs based on questions about trains and Polar Express.
Then we read the story Christmas Kitten by Vivian French. We talked about how the girl in the story really wanted a kitten for Christmas, and how the boy in The Polar Express got the bell he really wanted as the first gift of Christmas. We then wrote about what we would pick for the first gift of Christmas.
We read the story Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and created a story map about the story. Then each student illustrated and wrote about the problem in the story.
We also made our own Rudolph’s with a cut and paste activity. Then we read a non fiction about real reindeer (caribou) and made a venn diagram to compare and contrast Rudolph to real reindeer. This reindeer template comes from First School Activities.