Posted in Gardening with Kids, Preparing for Kindergarten, Professional Development

Teaching in the Digital Age – Chapter 4

Last night I finished chapter 4 in Teaching in the Digital Age and it was entitled: Use Audio Recordings to Capture Powerful Moments

I thought it would be appropriate to create a podcast with my reflections on chapter 4.  I have used podcasts in the past but now have some more ideas on how I can effectively use audio recordings in a developmentally appropriate manner in my JK/SK class.

Audio Recordings in Kindergarten

It took me a bit to figure out how to add an audio file but I managed to get to work.  Another new skill!

The linky for the Book blog party and a summary on chapter 4 can be found over at Teach Preschool.

I have been thinking for a year about setting up my listening centre and by the end of the year I had enough points on my scholastic account to purchase the traditional set up but now I think I am glad I didn’t. I think it would be a wiser decision to figure out a way to get an iPod touch into the class.  It will be easier for students to use, take up less space, and be much more conducive for sharing audio recordings we make in class.  Another item to add to my wish list!


Posted in Books, Preparing for Kindergarten

Camouflage – Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit

It was one of those really long, but good days.  I want to just curl up and go to bed but I thought I should post about our book today.

Our next book from the “Kindergarten Ready, Set Go!” calendar was Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na.  I read this book to my Kindergarten class back in March as a diagnostic task for assessing their ability to Make Connections.  After studying signs off Fall and our unit on migration in November I wanted to see they  could connect with this book and how the different animals know that it is time for winter.   After that activity I put in on the shelf but pulled it out today to read to Eileen and my niece who is visiting for a couple of days.

Since it is not really a time of year when they can relate to changing seasons, just VERY warm dry weather, I decided to focus on a different aspect of the book.  The rabbit in the book know it is time to change the season and changes the colour of it’s coat.  We talked about why he might change his colour, and with some prompting we figured out that he might want to be able to hide.  In the winter with a white coat, he can hide in the snow but that wouldn’t work very well in the spring so he changes his colour to blend into different surroundings.

I then sent the girls on a hunt to each find 3 stuffed animals in our ‘stuffy bin’ that they could hide outside.  I talked about how we would want them to blend in with their environment.  They really didn’t understand this at all but had fun playing find the stuffy.  I was glad I picked 2 to hide so that it was bit harder for them to find.

They didn’t quite understand the hiding concept and I found them just laying on the grass.  It was kind of funny that Lyric hid her first and then Eileen pretty much just went and put them in the same spot.

I thought that I hid mine in places a bit more difficult to find but I also was more strategic picking what animals to use.

They found the hummingbird pretty easy but needed a lot of guidance to find the brown monkey in the bush – can you find it?

Even though the girls didn’t understand the purpose of the game or really understand camouflage at all we had fun.  If I was to do this again, after reading the book I would show them some images of real animals and how they use their colours to camouflage.  Then I would give them toy animals to hid that they would be able to blend into their environment.  For example they may have had more luck with the green turtle.

After playing we went on a search for some very special twigs and then took them back in to the air conditioned house.  I told them we were going to make our own animals that we would then later hide for Kaitlyn to try and find outside.  I got out the goggly eyes, pipe cleaners, white glue and a bit of gold glitter glue.  We made our own creatures out of our sticks, and the two pinecones the girls just had to use.  I found my inspiration at KinderNature.

They are a bit more camouflaged but the urge for the girls to pick bright colours for their legs won out (mine is the one with the brown legs).  We didn’t have time to hide them for Kailtyn today but we will make sure we do it sometime this weekend before my nieces go home!

Posted in Books, Preparing for Kindergarten

Black All Around

Our next book in the 2012-2013 Kindergarten Ready Set Go Calendary was Black all Around written by Patricia Hubbell and illustrated by Don Tate.  The girls have really enjoyed making their movies so I thought I would expand on that.  I gave them my iPhone and sent them on a hunt throughout the house to find items the colour black.  They love taking pictures on my phone so this wasn’t much of a request.  We then downloaded them to the computer, decided which ones needed retakes, and made a quick slideshow using iPhoto.  They helped me create the opening and closing slides.  Everyone was tired today so I did most of the picture cropping but I think this is something Kaitlyn is almost old enough to do herself.  Voila!

These activities are to help prepare Eileen for Kindergarten and this one was great for colour practice but I got some good ideas for Kaitlyn out of this exercise.  Some of the photos were not great so in 1 minute I talked to her about staging the items and holding the camera/phone very still – her retakes were a huge improvement. I am thinking she may almost be ready for her own camera – or maybe even just giving her my old camera.      It needs to be fixed but I may take it in and if it doesn’t cost too much I think she would love it.  Then we can start to teach her how to use a camera properly and I am pretty sure that soon enough she will be taking better pictures than me!

Posted in Books, Preparing for Kindergarten

Best Babysitter

The next book on our “Getting Ready for Kindergarten” list was Froggy’s Best Babysitter by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz.  This would be a great book for teaching concepts of print, styles of text or even onomatopeia but we decided to continue making connections.  This worked very well for us because a favourite movie of ours lately has been Mary Poppins.  Last time we watched it I made sure to point out the part at the beginning when Michael and Jane are reading their father their own advertisement for their new nanny.  After reading the book today I challenged my children to come up with their own qualification for their “Best Babysitter”.  We decided to share their ideas in a movie.

Posted in Preparing for Kindergarten

Getting Reading for Kindergarten

When you register for Kindergarten in our school board (Grand Erie District School Board), one of the items in your package is the calendar “Kindergarten: Ready Set Go!” This is a collaboration of a number of organizations included school boards, heath units, libraries and the Ontario Early Years Centre.  Throughout the calendar there are pages to help parents prepare their children for Kindergarten.

For February the information was on immunization requirements.  My children are up to date on their immunizations but tracking them is a pain.  In this age of electronics I don’t know why I can’t just authorize my family doctor to send the records to the health unit every time they get a new vaccination.  It just seems it would save a lot of time and man power on every end.  But I digress from the reason I am blogging.

In each month there are 2 or 3 books listed.  When Kaitlyn was getting ready for JK we read all the books listed but this year I thought we would do something a little more formal with Eileen.  We are going to be reading all the book in the calendar and sharing the activities we do for each book.  My goal is to do this every Saturday or Sunday but we will see how that schedule goes.  We are starting a bit behind the eight ball.  We didn’t register until February so we missed January (we will try and make those books up later).  It took a few weeks for the February books to come in so we will work on collecting our books earlier but hopefully we are on a roll now.

Our first book was Happy Valentine Day, Curious George by N. Di Angelo.

I realize Valentines Day had already passed but I thought we could read the book anyway.  This is a very cute Valentines Day book, with fold out flaps.  For us that means we keep it well out of Michael’s reach!  For teachable moments, the flaps give a great opportunity for making predictions. In the story George and the man in the yellow had invite the neighbourhood over for Valentines Day.  They  decorate the house, make cookies, and make valentines to exchange.  Like many children George finds a box and is immediate intrigued with the box.  He set to decorating the box to put his valentines in.  This would have been a perfect book to read before Valentines Day and then we could make a box for our Valentines, but I wasn’t going to let that stop us.  Instead we made our own special treasure boxes.

I had my niece and Eileen for the afternoon last Sunday while Kaitlyn was at a birthday party so I thought it would be the perfect time.  We went to the dollar store to find boxes.  I didn’t want to use cardboard so that they would be more sturdy and last longer but you could easily use cardboard boxes.   I also let them each get a package of letter stickers.  I wanted them to practice spelling their names on their boxes but other than that they could decorate them any way they wanted.  First I let them paint the box any colour they wanted.  Of course they both picked pink.  I didn’t have any pink paint but that never stops us – we learned that when you mix red and white together you get pink.

After drying Gramma had come by so she helped the girls spell their names on their boxes.  Then I gave them a wide variety of materials from our craft bins to decorate their boxes.  They mostly picked hearts, jewels and stickers to decorate.  Many stuck on themselves but a few needed to be glued.

They turned out pretty cute – and we could make a connection to the book we had just read. We decorated boxes just like George!