Saturday, September 26, 2015

Apple Week Ideas

Happy Johnny Appleseed Day!
We had a great time this week with our apple theme. I wanted to share some of my favorite apple ideas today! Apples are a great theme in September because you can incorporate reading, math, writing, art, science, and social studies.

In Writer's Workshop we are just starting to discuss the importance and roles of labels. We introduced the concept of labeling by labeling the parts of an apple as a whole group. The students then labeled an apple on their own recording sheet. The page I used was from Kindergarten Smiles Apple Unit (which I LOVE). We used many of her reading and math games as well at stations!

My favorite is probably the apple taste test where the students taste and describe each different colored apple. 

We then enjoy our apples for snack. This year we enjoyed apple cider too! I got the cider decently priced at ALDI.

We created sweet "Happy Apples" to practice simple direction following and to create a craft for our Kindergarten Memory Book. I love how they turned out! Click on the picture to get the template! 

We ended the day by watching Disney's Johnny Appleseed! Always wish there was more time. Can never seem to fit it all in. Hope you had a great Apple Week as well.  What are your favorite apple activities? Leave a comment below! :) 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

First Week Fun

The first week back to school in Kindergarten is 

You just have no idea what is coming in those doors. No matter how many hours you spend planning, you can never be fully prepared for those first few days. J

I wanted to share with you what I do on the first days of Kinder.

Day One
The Kissing Hand

I theme my day around the book: The Kissing Hand. We talk about our feelings about leaving home. We tour the school with my Chester doll and visit all of the places the students will eventually get to go to.

We created a Chester mask. I pre-cut all of the pieces (it is not hard when you put multiple papers back to back and get all of the pieces out).  This is a low-pressure craft that helps them to learn to use school glue.

Then we explore and play in the classroom.
Towards the end of the day, I play a book video of The Kissing Hand for the students again.

Day Two
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

On day 2, we start to focus on letters and our names. We read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, a wonderful ABC story. We then make a craft using the letters in our name on a coconut tree. Again, these are PRE-CUT crafts. The students feel successful doing these. I buy ABC foam letters and help the students sort out the letters in their name. I like these because they easily peel off when students incorrectly form their name. Some just do not know yet!
We later watch Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Day 3

On day 3 we read the story of Chrysanthemum. I love this Kevin Henkes story. We talk of how to be a kind friend. When Chrysanthemum gets teased, she feels very sad and her heart starts to wrinkle. After reading the story. I pull out a big, beautiful red heart. I relate that heart to Chrysanthemum's heart. We talk through the story and how her heart soon starts to wrinkle.

 I say: “You live in the garden with DIRT and WORMS” and then I wrinkle up the heart, quickly and sternly. The kids quiver. We repeat this with other quotes from the book. They get the message. Then we say kind words to help flatten and fix the heart. This activity is POWERFUL. Get the printable here. During play time,  I call students over individually to put a band-aid on the heart and pledge with me to always be a friend and not wrinkle other friends' hearts. 

We also practice making our names. We review The Rainbow Song before we make the names and I also do a demonstration. I tell the students we will hang these in our classroom for decorations all year.

That is the first three days of Kindergarten! We can do many fun things while teaching friendship, how to use school materials, our names, the alphabet, emotional regulation, respect, and more!

Enjoy all the wonders and craziness of back to school!