Thursday, May 27, 2021

Turning a Fear of Bugs into a Fascination of Bugs

This group did not like bugs!! They didn’t even like to see pictures of bugs! But we started discussing Cicadas and it all started to change! Every 13 years, the Brood X Cicadas come and take over! When they do, there are thousands of them, all coming out of the ground at the exact same time! Since this group was terrified of bugs, I thought I had better prepare them! I showed them videos and pictures of the cicadas and emphasized that they were very friendly and never ever would bite! They are just very big, friendly, noisy insects! Every day we checked to see if they came and started to worry they wouldn’t come to our school, but they finally did! Boy did they change their minds about insects! They started collecting as many as they could to look closer at them! 

After a couple days, the male cicadas started making the noises they are famous for! The kids were so excited to hear them! Now they were interested in al, bugs! Unfortunately we only had a couple days of school left! They started looking for ants and observing them! Then, they fel in love with honeybees! 

We talked about how important honeybees are. To find out more, we read books and watched videos to learn all we could about them! We learned that they only sting because they are scared or protecting themselves, not because they are mean. All of the sudden, they felt empathy for these little bees! We also learned about all the delicious food we would not have if we didn’t have honeybees! Soon, they were searching for them so they could observe them taking the pollen from flower to flower! They were also protective of them making sure no one even thought of hurting them! 

We did a small honeybee project since we only had a couple days!

We ended by eating a honey filled honeycomb! Almost all of them tried it! 

On our last day of school we had field day! We all had so much fun!

And then we said our goodbyes. This group is very close to my heart! It was emotional for all of us. When you have only 15 kids, you have more time to build relationships with everyone together so we were an extra close-knit group this year! 

And so ends my 28th year of teaching kindergarten! 2020 was not easy and was not much fun as we learned online, but 2021, when were were all exploring together in the classroom, was wonderful and turned into an absolutely amazing year with an amazing bunch of little friends! I will miss them dearly! I’ll end this post with my traditional picture of my easel with a years worth of art on it! Have a wonderful summer everyone!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Spring in Room 201: Butterflies and Gardens

Our caterpillars came in while we were in the middle of our Space Inquiry! I made a space for them to look closer and learn more! 

They observed as the grew from tiny to big caterpillars! They looked through the books trying to figure out what they would turn into! A butterfly? A moth? What type?

After a week they crawled to the top and became chrysalises! I took them out so they could take a closer look at them!

They documented and researched some more!

Finally they came out! 

Now that they emerged, they debated on what kind of butterfly they were! This went on for about two days. Some thought they were monarchs and some thought they were painted lady. Both types have orange on their wings. It wasn’t until one mentioned that the color of their bodies were brown like the painted lady not black with white spots like the monarch that they came to their conclusion. We had Painted Lady butterflies!

They painted butterflies on the easel and using watercolor! Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of their beautiful art from the easels but here are their watercolors!

One used a collage method to create a butterfly!

Some used the light table to create their butterflies!

After observing them in their cage, they noticed how their proboscis works by sucking the juice out of the oranges like a straw! After a observing them for a couple days, we freed them into the wild where they could fly, find flowers and continue the butterfly life cycle!

After we let them go, I set up an area for the kids to explore plants!  We started by planting an herb garden and lettuce seeds! We researched what they need to grow. Good soil, water and sunshine. We put them close to the window to get the most sun!

I wanted them to touch and explore and look closer to see what they noticed! This is kindergarten right here! Actively learning and trying to figure out their world and how it works!

Old pumpkin seeds were trying to take over our lettuce so we pulled them out to use for exploring! They liked this one that still had the seed connected showing the roots growing out of the bottom and the sprout from the top!

We read about the life cycle of flowers and they painted beautiful flowers at the easel!

Learning about flowers has grown into a lot of wondering about honey bees so we will start investigating them ASAP since we are running out of time!

Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Kindness Ninjas Strike Again!

It had been a while since the kindness ninjas had done a collective Random Act of Kindness! 

An idea came to me as I was trying to simplify 27 years of stuff accumulated in my classroom closet. I had way more books than I ever could use so I put them out in the hallway for the other teachers. But after they went through it, I still had hundreds of books left! So I hatched a plan with my Kindness Ninjas and they LOVED the idea! 

We set up an area called Kindness Ninja Central. They wrote kind words on bookmarks, decorated them and tied a ribbon to each one. 

Then they picked a book, put their bookmark in it and put it in the “finished” box. 

When we had enough books for a class, we wrapped them in ribbon with a note and added a kindness ninja for their class. We put on our Kindness Ninja headbands and snuck to a classes door.  Then we slid the books into their room and tip toe ran back to our room! Then they would do it again!

When we racked a couple classes, we came in and saw that our kindness Ninjas was filled with so much kindness that he grew! Then after a couple more another kindness ninja joined us! They were so excited!! They left a note that if we made enough bookmarks and gave books to 6 more classes, another kindness ninja family member would join us!

One little friend wanted to know how they write us notes with no hands! 

We met our goal and a baby kindness ninja joined us! But he was sad he didn’t get to do a R.A.K. (Random Act of Kindness) with us and asked if we could do one more class! We did, and that finished off all the kindergarten classes!

Of course they were more than happy too! These special friends made 192 bookmarks and gave 13 kindergarten classes 192 books in one week!

We got caught in the hallways enough times that everyone figured out that we were the kindness ninjas! We received all kinds of thank you cards and writing from other classes thanking us for their books and bookmarks.  Kids came up to us all the time telling us what their bookmark said and what book they picked. The kids were so happy knowing they made so many kids in our school feel special and happy! This was a great Random Act of Kindness to end the year on and will be a special memory for them all!