Monday, January 23, 2012

Snow is a four letter word!

It's late January and we finally have snow! Since we came back from our holiday break we've been making snowmen, reading snow stories and making snow predictions but the weather just didn't want to cooperate. Until...
This weekend when we finally were blessed with 4-6" of the white fluffy stuff.
So today before it all melts away I planned some really fun snowy activities!
While my little snowflakes were at art this morning I filled a bucket with snow, collected some materials and waited for them to return.

I sat them all in a circle and we built a new little friend.
We talked about what we thought would happen to our snowman during the day. 
Some thought he'd run away like our gingerbread man, but most knew he was going to melt.
I gave them each a simple recording sheet so we could draw our observations at different intervals throughout the day.
recording our observations!

We measured our new friend to see how many cubes tall he is.
And then we made some predictions.
He melted...
and melted...
and melted!
We were sad to see our new friend reduced to snowman soup, but we sure had a lot of fun watching him!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

C is for Community

 I am grateful and humbled. Today I personally witnessed a community come together to make a difference in the lives of young children.

With only 4 days left to fund my DonorsChoose project, I watched my email box fill with notifications of donations. Someone was doing some networking on my behalf. I am not completely positive who that someone was, but I'm 99% sure and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank that person.

I have always known my school was a special place. A place where teachers and parents come together to make education better for their children. We truly are a community of caring individuals and I can't imagine teaching anywhere else.

The last email I received was from DonorsChoose telling me that my latest project has been fully funded! What a great surprise! As one of my donors said, "it takes a village!" I couldn't agree more.

Thank you all for your kindness and is truly beyond measure.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

G is for Giving

There are two reasons for this post, first and foremost to thank some very generous people for their incredible generosity. With their compassion and donations my classroom is a better place for students to learn and grow.
Donors Choose is an on-line charity where teachers like me can post classroom projects that are not or can not be funded through traditional school budgets. The items we ask for enrich the learning experiences of our students in ways that would normally not be possible.

During the past two years, because of this wonderful organization and the people who donate here, my students have two brand new classroom carpets, and a beautiful reading area with new book shelves, book baskets, and comfy cozy bean bag chairs.

I can not begin to tell you what a difference these items have made to the look and feel of my room. The children choose to sit in the library area to read, play a game, or just sit quietly with a friend. Books are more accessible and children are wanting to read, and therefore becoming better readers!

Many kindergarten teachers can attest to the fact that kindergarten has become very academic and because of that, it has also become less developmentally appropriate. Academics and a very full schedule have taken the place of play. There have been many studies that show the importance of play in early childhood education. Through my latest project "Let's Put the Kid Back In Kindergarten" I am attempting to do just that!

I am lucky to have a playhouse built right into my classroom. This playhouse has been there since 1946! It's adorable and has seen it's share of 5 year-olds. I've recently given it a new paint job, but it's needs a bit more. 
In my latest project I'm asking for dress up clothes, and some new pretend food and dishes. All materials to help foster imagination and pretend play. Play, that's so important to development. Where young children can learn to share, imagine, negotiate and just have fun without a lot of direct adult interaction.

With only 6 days left to fund this project I am asking for your help. Any donations are greatly appreciated but if that's not possible, just pass it on and get the word out!

If you are a teacher, I can not tell you what a valuable resource DonorsChoose can be. It's not a lengthy process to post a project and it's worth every minute spent doing it. Your students will thank you for it!
Thank you!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

M is for Memory

I do some of my best thinking in the shower. It's the one truly quiet moment of my day. I'm usually the first one awake in the morning, so while the rest of my family is still snoring beneath the covers I'm starting my day with my brain working overtime trying to solve the world's problems.

Okay, maybe not the problems of the entire world, but at least the part of it that I'm in charge classroom.

There is a little girl in my classroom, she is one of the sweetest little girls I have ever come across. She's exceptionally kind to her friends, always has a smile on her face, comes from a wonderful home with parents who read to her, work with her, and truly care about the success of their child. She listens during lessons and tries hard to finish her work the best that she can, but for whatever reason, she's struggling to remember the letters and sounds I have introduced.

There is just a connection that is not being made. I've tried different strategies, her parents are working with her at home, but it's just not "sticking" for lack of a better term.

So there I was in the shower thinking about her...and then I remembered something!

On Friday while in line to go out to play she asked me to tie her shoe, as I knelt to do that she said, "Mrs. Collins, you smell just like my mom." Then later that same day, after blowing her nose, she gave herself a squirt of hand sanitizer then said, "That stuff smells like my doctor's hands!"

Wow! Who doesn't have scents that bring us right back to a place or time? Smells that remind us of people we know or knew? Jergen's lotion reminds me of my grandfather, Polo by Ralph Lauren reminds me of the big man on campus at college, incidentally I'm pretty sure he took a bath in that stuff, the smell of Johnson's baby powder brings me right back to changing diapers when my boys were babies and when I smell Coppertone, I'm baking in the sun at the local beach.

So there I the shower, rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, the same shampoo that reminds my little cherub of her mom. So, I thought what if I somehow match each letter to a scent? The letter O smells like oranges...B like a banana! If certain smells help her to remember, I'm willing to try. It might get a little tricky somewhere around the letter Q, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!
Wish us luck...I'll keep you posted!

"Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived." ~ Helen Keller

Monday, January 2, 2012

V is for Versatile!

A really big thank you to Sarah at A Kinder Garden in Bloom who is my newest follower and has graciously awarded me wtih The Versatile Blogger Award!

These are the rules:

1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link back to them. 
2. Tell 7 things about yourself. 
3. Pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know that they’ve received an award!  
And now 7 things about me...
1. I truly love my job. I work with the best teachers on the planet hands down. Even when I've had a bad day, I can't wait to go back and try again.

2. I rock at parallel parking!

3. I am the mom of three really good boys. All brilliant and very handsome.

4. I am married to a teacher and my oldest son wants to be one.

5. I live in the Halloween capital of the world, and Halloween is my favorite holiday.

6. I am a huge Red Sox fan, even though I'm currently mad at them.

7. I love the summer and despise the winter. Considering I live in New England I get the best, or worst of both seasons!

And some really great kindergarten blogs!

And there you have it! Thanks again Sarah!