Getting back to blogging!

19 Dec

I am so glad the year has finished with Kindy and yet so sad at the same time! I have loved so many aspects of my year with my 18 little darlings! But now I need some time to regroup, clean my poor house, spend time with my family and get back to blogging!

One of my favourite ideas we introduce was the well used and loved ‘pet to take home’ idea! When I was in Sydney I found a lovely Gromit plush toy and he quickly became the class darling! He was loved, washed, loved some more and there have even been tears when it is time for a child to bring him back to class! Over a huge discussion it was decided that he would HAVE to go to Pre Primary so that everyone could see him next year!

Here he is in my husband and my apartment in Melbourne! I have a lovely, long suffering husband who is  was very kind about our extra traveler! Actually if the truth be known he was stuffed in my day bag as we walked around Melbourne and shopped and it was my husband that reminded me to bring Gromit out for photos! What a pair we must have looked, sitting Gromit on the big purse in Central Melbourne! The things you do when you are a teacher! Lucky my husband is a principal and has seen everything!

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Child’s play

15 Feb

We have well and truly started our Kindergarten year! The children have been at school for two weeks and we have done so much already. I have been observing the children as they play and have watched as they drew ideas from each other, creating wonderful imaginative worlds. One particular boy loves everything to do with sea creatures. So much so that when I asked him what he would like to be when he grew up he said, “a sea monster!” I was thinking how important it is to wait and see the things that captivate children and run with that!

We started by looking at sea creatures on clips on the internet and then I found our supply of sea creatures. The children decided they needed a sea so we hunted around for blue fabric and shiny blue material. I had purchased some blue dance shiny material, so that was hung up to create a space for the children to fun with their ideas. A spare plastic clam shell and an old blue sea doona and the children were off and running!

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The imagination space has grown and developed over the last few days  with puppet shows. We added some fiction books about sea creatures and placed some cushions in the corner for the children to discover new creatures that live in the sea. Next week we plan on adding pens and paper for children to draw their own sea creatures.  Sparklebox have a set of sea creature flashcards which we plan on adding to the space. I will keep you posted as the play develops!

Well… the play has moved outside and we have filled water trolleys with water of course! We added some fish to the water and some fishing lines. It always amazes me how different children are in their play. One boy was pushing the fish through the water saying, “this is my banana fish” another boy said, ” no I think it is a Parana fish and it is going to shred you to pieces!”

It is fascinating to see where play goes with children. I am so convinced that if you follow children’s lead the play becomes so rich and meaningful! As the days have progressed there has been talk about mythical creatures such as the Kraken! One little boy loves talking about this creature and  the other day he was saying that these creatures crush pirate ships…. Very soon after this a passion for all things pirates developed with quite a few of the other children. Girls and boys alike. They started making maps in the writing corner and going off and searching for treasure. I raised the legs on two of our tables, took off whatever I had put there!! and covered the table with some brown cloth (yes, the versatile cloth from our cave last term!).  I found some old jewellery from the dress ups (some the children had discovered already). I put some pirate signs around. I think I found them on Teacher’s pet. They are very authentic, with calligraphic  lettering and signs with crinkly edges (which were a nightmare to cut!). As the children came in to school they spotted the space and dived under! They have started making their own signs, asking me to write things  like “beware of the pirates” . They stuck their signs all over the doors! It looks great!   We made some “ye old pirate map paper’ with the old tea bag trick and they were off and running.  I will try and hunt down the signs I found and add them to this post.I will add some photos as well.

 

I am coming back!!!

1 Dec

Wow  I have just spent two terms in a Kindergarten! What a whirlwind! But I am coming back in a few weeks to share some of the great times we had in our classroom! I am looking forward to sharing the fun we had with the story Mrs Wishy Washy and how it really took off, instigated mostly by the children!! Which is always what you want!!! If they love it, you love it!!!

Friday was the last day for our Kindergarten children and I have to admit when one of the girls burst in to tears, realizing that Kindergarten had finished she set me off!! I had been managing until then! Well, I am close to finishing this post!

Ok I am back! I keep trying to get to this post and finish it, it really is a work in progress so here we go………..

1. We started with the book, I read the story and then over the next few weeks we focused on different aspects of the book. We had been looking at titles and they had already learnt about authors and illustrators. We also covered the blurb, one of the children thought it was the blob for quite a while!!!

2. I found a Youtube clip of Joy Cowley reading her own story which was wonderful as she talks about the things that inspired her to write the book. I shall go off and find the link for you!

3. I dressed up as Mrs Wishy Washy, no photo provided! I wore a red apron/tied my hair up in a 1940′s style with a headband and I found some amazing slippers in the cupboard! As you do! I had a small tub with warm soapy water and one with real mud! I have to tell you as we worked our way through the story, repeating the line ‘ wishy washy wishy washy’ I think we reenacted the story 5 times! They just loved the mud!!!

4. I located  a youtube clip of some children  reenacting the story through role play! I would love to show you phots of  our children reenacting the story  on this post but for privacy reasons I need to show you by other means!

5. The children loved the idea of dressing up as Mrs Wishy Washy,  I had made some small aprons for children to wear and the other children wanted to wear my apron so I just lifted it up at the waiste and tied it on them. I found masks and other wonderful resources from this site http://www.makinglearningfun.com/themepages/MrsWishyWashyPrintables.htm

6. I had two clam shells as part of the role play, one had brown material in it (for the mud) and the other had soft, white fabric for the bubbly water! The children chose different roles to take part in, one was the narrator, one was Mrs Wishy Washy and so on. They swapped roles many times and we all new all the words by the end of the week!!

7. We had a combined Wet Day with the Pre Primary’s and I thought why not have the shells out with the real thing!!!

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The children had the best time!! Clean up time took forever but it was all worth it to see the rapturous joy on their faces!

Sensory baskets for children

9 Oct

I found this amazing blog http://countingcoconuts.blogspot.com.au/ and I don’t know about you but some blogs are so inspiring I have this sense of urgency to rush out and make all of the projects I have seen! When I saw the sensory baskets I started thinking of all of the resources I have collected over the years and how  I finally  could use them in an inspiring and educational way! This is not to say that I didn’t rush out and buy some necessary items! This blog here http://mysmallpotatoes.com/ has amazing sensory resources as well. This blog is incredible as when you have a look around the environment that has been created you just want to live there yourself! I remember a teacher saying to me one day that you have to almost want to play with the resource yourself and since then I have viewed all of the projects I create for children with this philosophy in mind! I have to admit the two blogs I have mentioned make me feel that way!!!!

Here are some of the baskets I have put together and still more are coming!

1. Fruit sorting. I purchased the basket from a Kmart store (family store) for $3 and the fruit came from a gift shop. The little stones came from the garden section in Bunnings (a hardware store). I have collected photos  of all of the fruit and I am going to make pattern strips for children to practice and hone their sequencing skills.

2. The farm set. The little stones are from the same hardware store and I purchased the farm animals in a large packet (Kmart).

3. The fishing set. I had purchased the fishing set while I was on holidays in Sydney. Paddy’s markets are a perfect place for wooden toys. I find there is something special about wood! So natural and inviting! This is where you can go on a virtual tour and see the stall with the toys!http://www.paddysmarkets.com.au/virtualtour.html. The  stall is on the right as you walk in!!!

I have made a new basket and will upload the photo soon! I had some wooden fruit (as you do!) sitting in a box of toys. They are the ones where they have velcro on each side and a wonderful small wooden knife for ‘cutting the fruit!!  I will be back!!!!!!!

Aboriginal activities with Kindergarten children

17 Sep

Finally I can get to do a post!! I have been so busy at school and I have been wanting to share what our Kindergarten class have been discussing. We started with the Olympics and this led on to an interest in Australia. Questions were asked, “How did the world get so big”, “Why are there so many animals”. My favourite question was, “What is the last number in the world!”. I guess when you ask children what they know and what they want to know as far as they are concerned it encompasses everything!!!

We had a big discussion on the mat about Aboriginal people and how they lived. I wanted to ensure that I covered this unit as sensitively as possible and show respect to Indigenous people and their culture. I asked the children if they wanted to paint a picture and there were no shops, no paint and no paper what would they do! They thought for a while and then one child said,” Well , paper comes from trees so I guess you could use the bark!”. Another child was holding her hand up and saying to herself, “if you didn’t have a brush you could use a stick….or” She looked at her hand and said’ ” You could use your finger!” It was good to sit and watch them work it out for themselves! I had picked up some bark from different places, so with paint and their finger and some inspirational prints for reference, the children created some delightful pieces.

1. Bark painting

2. We also read Tom Tom by Dee Huxley, a story of a little Aboriginal boy who lives in Lemonade Springs. He goes to Preschool and lives a partly traditional life. The children have been intrigued by his life style compared to their lives and routines

I painted a large piece of cardboard and the children added the features from the story. I went to REmida which is a  recycling centre and the red and yellow pieces were plastic pieces collected from a factory. The blue pieces were from a similar process.


2. I had some stones I had gathered along the way in life, as you do if you are a teacher! We talked about early painting, drawing and symbols. The children painted these river stones. I love the way they are all so different

3. I like using different mediums for children to explore with. We used black paper and pastels. I found a picture of Aboriginal symbols and we talked about the different symbols and how the symbols told a story.

4. Our very own cave!!! I purchased some earth coloured poplin and set about making a space for us to talk, read and share stories. My son had found some rather large stones and I felt inspired to make them into a campfire. I found some shiny orange organza material and voila……our fire!

I am going to put a photo here today!!!

5. This is a Mia Mia that the children helped make.  They decorated the floor (large cardboard) with symbols and they made the ‘fire’ with an old square plastic bucket, covered in poplin.

I shall keep adding more photos as we go………………..

6. On a previous post I showed some examples of styrofoam painting and fortunately  I remembered it when I was planing. We looked at traditional aboriginal symbols and here are the results!

Olympic activities

31 Jul

I have started working in a Kindergarten for one year  (full time maternity relief). So I thought I had better get into the Olympics in a big way!!! I love the opportunity to have a ‘chat on the mat’ with chilren and see what they know already! I am always so amazed at how much  Kindergarten  children know! I think we sometimes underestimate them! I was asking a group of children what they would like to do when they have finished school and they have become adults. Quite a few children said they thought they would like to be teachers, a few said they would like to be ballet dancers and one boy said he was going to go into the army. When I asked if he would like to be an officer, he said he was going to be on the bad side of the army!!!! Because he really liked baddies!!!! I am looking forward to hearing what they know, so I will keep you posted! I thought I would add some ideas I have sourced. I always find it so helpful when someone else has gone and looked for all the neat things you can do and put them all in one place!!!

1. Sun Hats and Wellie Boots http://www.sunhatsandwellieboots.com/2012/07/olympic-torch-winners-medals.html

2. Red Ted’s Art blog http://www.redtedart.com/2012/04/30/quick-craft-olympic-memory/

These are great to use. I have enlarged them from A4 to A3 and I am using one to show the children all the different sporting events. I have made a set of two for children to play concentration or  a snap game.

3. Faithful Provisions  http://faithfulprovisions.com/2012/07/29/olympic-theme-meal-plan-ideas/

I love the idea of planning meals from all of the different countries represented in the games!

4. I can teach my child has wonderful ideas! http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2012/07/free-ebook-olympic-activities-for-kids/

5.  Cheerio’s and Lattes http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com/teachable-moments-in-the-olympics/

I found this site today and I love it! Especially the article about teachable moments!

I felt to include the next two stories as so much of the Olympics are about overcoming difficulties and adversity and striving for a goal and purpose. I came across the story of Wilma Rudolph some time ago and I believe it is so vital for children to learn about persistence.

6. Wilma Rudolph 

NAME: Wilma Glodean Rudolph 

BIRTHDATE: June 23, 1940 

BIRTHPLACE: Clarksville, Tennessee 

EDUCATION: At first, Wilma was tutored at home by her family because she was crippled. She first began school at the age of seven. In 1947, the schools of the Southern states were segregated — black students and white students had to attend separate schools. Even though blacks had to pay the same taxes as whites, the schools for black students were usually poorly funded, so they were less likely to have adequate books, teachers, classrooms, or equipment. 

In junior high, Wilma followed her older sister Yolanda’s example and joined the basketball team. The coach, Clinton Gray, didn’t put her in a single game for three years. Finally, in her sophomore year, she became the starting guard. During the state basketball tournament, she was spotted by Ed Temple, the coach for the famous Tigerbells, the women’s track team at Tennessee State University. Because Burt High School didn’t have the funding for a track team, coach Temple invited Wilma to Tennessee State for a summer sports camp. 

After graduating from high school, Wilma received a full scholarship to Tennessee State. Because of all the celebrity she received from her track career, she took a year off from her studies to make appearances and compete in international track events. She returned and received a Bachelor’s degree in education, graduating in 1963. 

FAMILY BACKGROUND: Wilma Rudolph was born into a large family — she was the 20th of 22 children! Her parents, Ed and Blanche Rudolph, were honest, hardworking people, but were very poor. Mr. Rudolph worked as a railroad porter and handyman. Mrs. Rudolph did cooking, laundry and housecleaning for wealthy white families. 

In 1940 millions of Americans were poor — our of work and homeless because of the Great Depression. The Rudolphs managed to make ends meet by doing things like making the girls’ dresses out of flour sacks. 

Wilma was born prematurely and weighed only 4.5 pounds. Again, because of racial segregation, she and her mother were not permitted to be cared for at the local hospital. It was for whites only. There was only one black doctor in Clarksville, and the Rudolph’s budget was tight, so Wilma’s mother spent the next several years nursing Wilma through one illness after another: measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox and double pneumonia. But, she had to be taken to the doctor when it was discovered that her left leg and foot were becoming weak and deformed. She was told she had polio, a crippling disease that had no cure. The doctor told Mrs. Rudolph that Wilma would never walk. But Mrs. Rudolph would not give up on Wilma. She found out that she could be treated at Meharry Hospital, the black medical college of Fisk University in Nashville. Even though it was 50 miles away, Wilma’s mother took her there twice a week for two years, until she was able to walk with the aid of a metal leg brace. Then the doctors taught Mrs. Rudolph how to do the physical therapy exercises at home. All of her brothers and sisters helped too, and they did everything to encourage her to be strong and work hard at getting well. Finally, by age 12, she could walk normally, without the crutches, brace, or corrective shoes. It was then that she decided to become an athlete. 

In 1963, Wilma married her high school sweetheart, Robert Eldridge, with whom she had four children: Yolanda (1958), Djuanna (1964), Robert Jr. (1965), and Xurry (1971). They later divorced. 

DESCRIPTION OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Wilma Rudolph’s life is a story of achieving against the odds. Her first accomplishments were to stay alive and get well! 

In high school, she became a basketball star first, who set state records for scoring and led her team to a state championship. Then she became a track star, going to her first Olympic Games in 1956 at the age of 16. She won a bronze medal in the 4×4 relay. 

On September 7th, 1960, in Rome, Wilma became the first American woman to win 3 gold medals in the Olympics. She won the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, and ran the anchor on the 400-meter relay team. 

This achievement led her to become one of the most celebrated female athletes of all time. In addition, her celebrity caused gender barriers to be broken in previously all-male track and field events. 

7. Team Hoyt http://www.teamhoyt.com/

This is hard to watch…….as the tears will most certainly flow, but it needs to be seen by all..

Nature activities for children: Rocks!

14 Jul

Recently I was watching a group of children playing in some slow flowing rapids. Some were sitting on the rocks watching as the water tumbled over the rocks, others were skimming little stones across the water and a few were gathering rocks and using them to create homes for animals.

As I watched I noticed that they were engrossed in this world of make believe and I started thinking how I used to play when I was younger. If I was outside I didn’t need entertaining or lots of commercial toys. I was happy gathering sticks and stones, making fairy houses and playing with my friends.

I started looking closely at the tiny stones in this river.   Some were smooth, others slightly jagged and some were varied in colour.

I played around with the rocks and created some different ideas with them. As I pottered around with the objects I was thinking that this activity would lend itself to enhancing  fine motor development.

Counting 1-5!

Nature Ant! I found some sticks that were segmented, so they worked perfectly for the legs! As you can see I used a thick white wood glue to attach the various pieces.

Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy!

Math measuring!

Lady in a jeweled dress!

I thought about how I would incorporate these ideas into the classroom. I could  discuss with the children  the different stones, their colours, similarities, differences, shape and texture. We could talk about the photographs and why rocks are smooth and how nature fashions them through the constant flow of the water.  Photographs of   the area were the stones had been found would help children have a point of reference. Changing the photos from A4 to A3 allows the photos to be displayed in a corner of the classroom. I would then add the stones,  bark, sticks, twigs and black card for children to come and choose items to create a naturescape. A gallery walk would be a great way for children to view other children’s ideas and share their own creations.

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