Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Eric Carle -- Author Study - Celebration Day

Today all kindergarten classes celebrated the end of our author study of Eric Carle by having a big celebration this morning. Students visited stations which included: making ladybug hats (The Grouchy Ladybug), caterpillar necklaces (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), and eating pancakes (Pancakes, Pancakes). They played games such as Eric Carle Bingo; we had a book scavenger hunt (using copies of the front cover of the books); and E.C. jeopardy (with questions about characters, etc. from his books). In the afternoon, the children were delighted when I read two books that they haven't heard yet from the author study: "Papa Please Get Me the Moon" and "The Honeybee and the Robber." The level at which we now discuss books is at a new height from a few weeks ago when we just started our author study. Now text-to-self connections and text-to-text connections abound!! The children were relating how some characters were the same, how pictures were similar, and how the patterns in some books imitated other books. Students discussed the author and what he must have experienced in order for him to write these books. For instance, they wondered if he had a cat because cats are in so many of his books and if he lived near a zoo because of all the animals in his books. They also asked if he was coming to our celebration! One child answered, "He's too busy writing - don't you know?" This author study was the springboard for many author studies to come in the next five years. In First Grade, there will be a Kevin Henkes and Mem Fox author study. However, students always remember this first one, Eric Carle, with great fondness and affection. Eric Carle will be their favorite author for a very long time!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Grouchy Ladybug Helps Us With Time

One of my favorite Eric Carle books is The Grouchy Ladybug. The students have heard this story several times in the last few weeks and now can retell it with confidence and intonation. This story is classic Eric Carle in that he not only teaches life skills such as manners and sharing but also teaches children about the passage of time. As each hour of the ladybug's journey from insect to animal passes, a clock is in the upper right hand corner of the page shows the time. This gives children a visual image of what the time looks like on an analog clock. This is something that we don't think a lot about, but many clocks in children's homes are digital. Cell phones have digital time and so do computers (at the bottom right hand corner of the screen.) Telling time is fun for a child and once they have mastered the "o'clock", it's off to "__:30" and so on. During this retelling, children had the chance to move the hands of their own Grouchy Ladybug clock that they made earlier: http://www.vickiblackwell.com/lit/ladybug.html This added an interactive element to the story and made it a lot of fun to hear again. Now, when they take their clocks home, they can discuss the story and tell time too!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Celebration Activities

Spring has Sprung in Room 104

This was a very busy week in Room 104. On Monday, the leprechaun visited us (even though we never did trap him) and today we celebrated the coming of Spring. In preparation for today's activities we read books including "The Bunny Book," and "The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings." Our centers included making bunny hats, hand print rabbits, chicks in a nest, and water-coloring hard boiled eggs. Our morning was complete after our egg hunt on the playground. In the afternoon, students had fun counting and graphing a bag of jelly beans. It was a another great day of learning fun in Room 104!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Leprachaun Traps - Will He Be Trapped?

Leprechaun Traps Abound In Our Classroom

For homework last week, children were tasked with a family project of building a leprechaun trap that would surely catch that rascal so that they would get that pot of gold. As you can see there were many clever traps made but much to our dismay, the little man was not fooled this time. I heard that he visited while the children were at lunch. The room was upside down with chairs, crayons, books, and papers tossed about. He left his green footprints on the tables and he escaped through the window - leaving it wide open. Undoubtedly, the children had a day to remember and will probably try next year to catch that little man in green!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

We're goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo...

We're goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo - How about you, you, you? - You can come too, too, too! - We're goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo! Before we went to the zoo, our days were filled with singing that song!!
The children were so excited and today was our long-awaited trip to the zoo. We have been preparing for weeks. Students have been learning about giraffes, monkeys, elephants, snakes, etc.. They have been learning about their habitats, foods, and the names of the mothers, fathers and babies (with some help from Eric Carle - "Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?") Did you know that a father kangaroo is a boomer, a mother is a flyer, and a joey is the baby? Well, our students do!! In preparing for the trip, an animal that is at the Jacksonville Zoo was our focus each day. A chart was created with lots of fun facts about each animal. As a culminating activity on each animal, the children were invited to make an animal (with construction paper and glue) and it was placed on our zoo mural outside the classroom. As a bonus, we adopted a baby giraffe (student's choice) with money children made on their own by doing chores around the house. After touring the zoo, we were invited to the Educational Center where we saw (up close) a bearded dragon, toad, snake, chinchilla, and baby alligator. Some children were even brave enough to pet these animals!! Our field trip to the zoo was perfect - the weather, the bus ride, the chaperones, the lunch, and of course, the animals!! And as we pulled away from the zoo, I heard some students singing the last lines from the zoo song... "We went to the zoo, zoo, zoo. - How about you, you, you? - You came too, too, too. - We went to the zoo, zoo, zoo!!!"

A Few Pictures From Our Zoo Trip

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Very Busy Spider Meets Kindergarteners

These "Very Busy Kindergarteners" were weaving an elaborate web as the story of "The Very Busy Spider" was read to them a second time. Students had the chance to partake in this very busy spider weaving his web to capture that pesky fly! This simple yarn activity was a wonderful way to bring the story to life as a retelling. By doing this, the children had the chance to hear the story again, work on the web, and most of all - have a lot of fun!
We are staying very busy learning about Eric Carle and his books. We are looking for writing patterns, text-to-self and text-to-text connections, and finding similarities with his other books. Today students noticed that Eric Carle paints the sun and moon in most of his books. They noticed certain animals repeated in some of his books. And they wondered why Eric Carle loves animals and insects so much. All of these wonderings and noticings lead to a deeper level of conversation and a deeper understanding of our author's works. We plan on staying busy for a few more weeks and find out a lot more about Eric Carle and his wonderful cast of characters!!