Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Author Visit from Pamela Duncan Edwards and Illustrator Henry Cole

We were very lucky yesterday to have a visit from one of our school's favorite authors, Pamela Duncan Edwards and illustrator Henry Cole. As Ms. Edwards talked to the children about her new book (Princess Pigtoria and the Pea), the students were entertained by Mr. Cole who sketched pictures at the same time. Pamela Duncan Edwards is a bestselling author of more than twenty-five popular picture books. Her titles include: While the World is Sleeping, Livingston Mouse: Roar!, A Noisy Counting Book, Honk, Some Smug Slug, The Worrywarts, and Clara Caterpillar. Pamela grew up in northern England and taught preschool for eleven years. She moved to the United States with her husband and two sons over twenty-five years ago. After moving to the US, she became a children's librarian and author. After their presentation yesterday, many children and parents had the opportunity to get their books personally autographed by Pamela and Henry. It was a real treat and great experience for the students. Listen to a special reading of her new book below:

Untitled from Melanie Holtsman on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eric Carle Author Study Celebration

Today we celebrated the end of our author study of Eric Carle and the fabulous books that he has written. Books that were studied during workshops included The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Busy Spider, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, From Head to Toe, The Very Lonely Firefly, and Eric Carl's favorite book, Do you want to be my friend? There were other books that we used as read alouds which children enjoyed making connections to and comparing them to other books they have heard. This was a wonderful way to introduce students to an author study.
Today, children wore their caterpillar shirts and had fun rotating in centers set up with other kindergarten classrooms. These centers included: reading Mr. Seahorse (a book that the children did not hear before) and an art tissue paper project whereby children glued tissue squares onto an outline of a seahorse, cut it out, and placed it on a blue paper background; next was the Pancake Center - a homage to the book Pancakes, Pancakes - they played bingo or watched an Eric Carle moving while waiting for their pancakes. Then outside fun - an obstacle course including running through tunnels while sequencing an Eric Carle book. Finally, we integrated technology by utilizing a Smartboard. Because Eric Carle books are about animals, the activity revolved around sorting herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores. Special thanks to Melanie H., Pam G., and Nicki H. (all classroom parents) for that activity. The afternoon was full of more Eric Carle books that we did not get to read during the author study, include "Hello Red Fox" which was a big hit with the children - their eyes played tricks on them -- followed by more art activities and of course, our caterpillar cake compliments of Elizabeth H.which will be on the next slide show. The day was about the children celebrating a great author and our goal was accomplished!!
More pictures will be coming shortly.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Homework King and Queen

In an effort to get children over the hump of not wanting to do homework,we came up with the Homework King and Queen of the Week. Being chosen is taken very seriously and is considered a very high honor in our class. Children have been speechless when their names were announced. They have the opportunity to tell the class what their "secret" was in getting their homework picked. This tradition started months ago and each week the students wait with great anticipation for the drum roll and the announcement. Homework has to be done neatly and in its entirety. Miss Karen, our paraprofessional, carefully scrutinizes each sheet and then determines the winners. The children receive a crown and get to choose out of both the treasure box and the treat box! Wow - it gets no better than this!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Voicethread with Us - Leprechaun Visits the Mall-ards!

We think the children will remember this St. Patty's Day for many years. They had so much fun bringing in their traps, telling us how they made them, setting them up, and hoping to be the one who caught the leprechaun. The biggest surprise came when they returned from lunch and saw all the mess that the little green man made while trying to take everyone's gold. Chairs were tossed, traps were closed, and gold was taken. Besides green footprints left on the counters, green glitter in toilet, and a note on the board, he did leave a cookie for each child.

We were very lucky to have Mrs. Holtsman come and photograph the events for all to see and today she came in to teach us about the fun in digital story telling. Today we are adding a special feature and would like for you to participate. It is called Voicethread.

Digital storytelling is using digital tools (online) to tell stories. The benefit to doing it online is that you have a much larger audience for your story and you can get immediate feedback and additions to your story. The website Voicethread allows you to upload photos and create a digital story from them. We uploaded the photos from our St.Patrick's Day activities yesterday. We would love for you to take a moment to add a comment with your child!

Here's how you do it. Go to the website for Voicethread. Click sign in or register for an account. When the login comes up, click register. Register for your free account. You may have to then go to your email account to verify this account you created. Now, go back to the blog to view the voicethread and click the bottom left hand button that says sign in. Once you are signed in, you go to the photo where you would like to leave a comment and click the comment button under the photo. You press "record" and it will allow you to record what your child would like to say for that photo. Some examples may be: what they liked in the photo, what they remembered about what happened...etc. Your computer microphone will record his/her voice. If you want to push the webcam button it can even record a video comment. If you have trouble with the sound, you can push the telephone button to get a phone call to record your comment.

Having all of the boys and girls share their thoughts and memories will complete our digital story. We can't wait to hear what the children and you have to say!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Very Hungry Readers- Let's Hear That Book Again!

Yesterday we had two special guests come in and read one of their favorite Eric Carle books to the class. "K" is in fourth grade and held the big book while her sister "M" who is in second grade read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Both are former students from our class and we were so happy to have them share what they remembered from the Eric Carle author study. "M" also wore her Very Hungry tee shirt especially for the occasion. It was wonderful to see how happy they were to relay their memories with the class. Thanks girls - you both did a great job!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Very Hungry Kindergarteners Love Eric Carle!

We are off and running with our Eric Carle Author Study. Students are learning about Eric Carle and his art, his family, and his love of nature. So far the class favorites are: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, and Eric Carle's favorite book, Do You Want To Be My Friend? In Writer's Workshop, children are writing a response to literature. Their retellings have great beginnings, lots of details, and great endings. A great beginning may sound like this, "Did you know Eric Carle wrote about a ladybug who wasn't friendly...?" In Reader's Workshop, they are making connections to his books and learning about story maps. Last week the children had fun in Reader's Theater retelling The Grouchy Ladybug story. We had a visit from The Very Hungry Caterpillar (one of last year's students came dressed up) for that retelling. Students also decorated t-shirts for our Eric Carle celebration at the end of the month. We are very excited about our author study and can't wait to read the next book.