Hello all. I know this is the last day of school for many of you and if it isn't the last day it is coming to a close! I hope all of you have a wonderful summer and get some much needed Rest and Relaxation. We aren't out until June 8th and then we will have a Summer Spectacular of 6 weeks! I am very excited for the summer and we have lots of cool things planned. I will be sharing ideas and activities with you all summer.
Until then...Keep on Doin' the Teacher Dance!
Use popcorn to discuss solids, liquids and gases. What really makes the popcorn pop? Read Popcorn by Tommie DePalo and hear about the Indian Legend.
Have older children do popcorn research. What are the many ways popcorn has been used. Pop popcorn in the classroom with an air popper without the lid and watch the popcorn fly! Put down a black or dark sheet to catch it and then use the popcorn for art activities, collage, math and more!
Another way I use popcorn is with Math. I use the popped corn to represent tens and the kernels to represent ones. Make up some numbers for the children to represent by gluing the correct popcorn.
We also always do our Popcorn is: on a white piece of butcher paper that has been cut into the shape of popcorn. After brainstorming words and phrases pick some of those words that have short vowels. Create a piece of paper with popcorn shapes and write short vowel words inside. Have children color each short vowel word a different color and cut them out. Make large bowls out of butcher paper and label them with the short vowels. Children will glue their popcorn in the appropriate bowls. A quick, fun, popcorn review of short vowels.
For preschool or Kindergarten you can write the child’s name on poster board leaving a little space between each letter. I have the children glue popped corn on the capital letter and kernels on the lower case letters. They love it and of course, eat a little as they glue a little.
If you are working on the letter P it is perfectly precious with a plethora of possibilities.
There are a few things for National Popcorn Month. If you don’t like those....next we’ll look at National Pizza Month!
…keep on doin' The Teacher Dance
Where in the heck has the time gone? Things have been crazy around here! You, no doubt, feel the same way. I was hoping that things would settle down a bit when school started but one thing leads to another and then another and then…well, you get the idea. Actually, you are living it! I am trying to do better.
We are having tours every week which is good because this isn’t supposed to be a non-profit! I have been taking a Montessori 101 class that has been time consuming but great! We participated in a Fall Sharing Fair with other Montessori schools in Portland. I have hosted a Parent Social, we are planning a Children’s Clothing Exchange, a float for the neighborhood Halloween Parade and a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. I go home with a list of things to do but my nap is a priority and then I can’t move!
I am also continuing to travel with my consulting so I am booking airlines and hotels, sending handouts, and coordinating everything that needs to be done.
I am not whining or venting. I just hope you understand why I have abandoned you for a time. I am working hard to carve out special, uninterrupted time every week to write. I may have to stop to clean up pee, or comfort a crying child, or give a tour but I am trying to make this work. Hopefully, I will get into a routine…whatever that is in this situation.
One of the things that I do notice is that no matter how tired, sick, cranky, grumpy or foul I feel in the morning when I get to school, when those cherubs start arriving, I get happy. There is nothing like a 3,4,5 year old to make you look at the world in a totally different way. I sit here with my door open and listen to the conversations, the questions, the learning and I just can’t help smiling and sometimes laughing out loud. It is the best of all worlds. I am the Nana teacher. I have the honor of reading to the children in a gathering as they arrive. I love the connecting and conversation. They always have things to share and it gives me the opportunity to share stories in books and from my head. We are working on our Grace and Courtesy lessons so I am trying to develop a series of oral stories to share with the children.
I also get to go outside with the cherubs. I love it when the weather is good but the rain makes me cranky…until I watch these children having the best time and not even noticing that they are getting wet. They all must wear rain boots and coats now that the rainy season is upon us in Portland. They dig in the mud, make mud pies, volcanoes, and goo. We have a rain barrel that provides the water they need. We have bark chips and rose petals that can be added to the birthday cakes, hay bales to climb on, logs to move and a garden of fall veggies that worms are carried to when found in other parts of the play yard.
Life is good and I am blessed to be a part of making a difference in a child’s life. You are blessed as well! Make sure everyday you take a moment out of the craziness and remember why you do what you do. You are a blessing to these children and they are a blessing to the world we are preparing them for. Remember, these kids may be taking care of you at the nursing home. Be kind and loving! It could come back to bite you some day in ways you can’t even imagine.
…keep on doing The Teacher Dance!
I love Johnny Appleseed. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the overalls, the pan for a hat or just someone who struck out on an adventure and planted trees along the way.
Johnny Appleseed is great for all grade levels. It can be used in first grade for the short a sound...a,a,a apple. You can use your apple stamp for patterning. Older children can do research on Johnny Appleseed, sharing their information in a variety of ways. They can do a brochure, a poem that includes information about Johnny, a song, or an alphabet book.
In math you can work on fractions while cutting apples to share with the class and make applesauce.
Take a look at your curriculum and see how Johnny can be the Gotcha for lots of fun fall learning.
Here are a few of my favorite versions:
…keep on doing The Teacher Dance!
Some of you have had your classroom up and running for three to four weeks now and some of you are just starting. Regardless of where you are, you should be training the troops or continuing to train the troops. The time spent training will never be regretted.
Time not spent training will always be regretted!!!
I marvel at what 2 1/2 to 5 year olds can do in the classroom. It is a miracle to watch them be so completely independent and responsible. (These are the returning children who are remembering from last year!) This didn’t happen overnight, the first week, or the first month. It took weeks of training, large group, small group and individual for some of your children…and you know who those children are.
My point in this is that if children at such a young age can do this why can’t 1st, 2nd, 3rd graders and up do the same thing? They can, but it all goes back to the training.
Are you willing to take the time to do what needs to be done? That is the question...what is your answer.
…keep on doing' The Teacher Dance!
I am finally back! It has been a whirlwind of traveling for in-service at schools and getting our school ready to open. We did a complete transformation of the space and since we have no money (does that sound familiar) we did most of the work ourselves.
It has taken a week for the exhaustion and pain to go away! I really needed a massage but I bought curtains instead...
I am including some pictures of our space. It is truly transformed from the basement dungeon we inherited. Bright and cheerful, colorful and open. Lots of choices in five areas; Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language and Art.
The children have a three hour work period where they may choose from any of the work they have had a lesson. There is also “transitional” work available that they would be familiar with that doesn’t require a lesson. During this time children will be called into small group gatherings and whole group gatherings based on what the teacher feels needs to take place. There are times children may choose to join the gathering or continue working. Other times require all children to join the gathering.
Does any of this sound familiar? Giving children choice, small and whole group teaching, appropriate materials available based on curriculum. Yes, preschool is a little different but not that much. The same thing can be done with older children. It takes time, thought, planning and most importantly, trust. You have to trust yourself and you have to trust children.
…keep on doin' The Teacher Dance.
You can't burn out…
if you haven't been on fire.
You can't fill anyone elses cup…
if your cup isn't full.
Do what you can…
with what you have…
where you are.
It's better to keep up…
than to catch up!
Back to School
Here’s how you know it is getting close to the beginning of school...
You buy a new pair of shoes…REALLY???!!!! Your feet and legs won’t hurt enough the first week of school anyway? Go ahead buy them but wait to wear them until you are broken in!
You buy a new box of markers…you just can’t start school without a new box of markers!
You buy a bottle of Cranapple juice…that urinary tract infection is right around the corner so you need to protect yourself. School has started...the peeing has to wait!