Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Love to All!

Hello to all my Lovely Followers and Readers,

I want to thank you so very much for taking the time to read my posts and, when your heart felt the urge, making a comment! When I started my little blog not quite a year ago, I really did not know what I was getting into and simply had no clue if anyone at all would be interested in what I had to say. So, just the fact that you clicked the "Follow Me" button was a gift far beyond words for me and I thank you so much for that!

I am still so shook by the events in Connecticut. It is just beyond any nightmare that I could ever have had imagined. Children are my life. I see their sweet faces. I smell their little kid scent. I hear their excited voices. I encourage them. I teach them that there is good in the world. I teach them to pray. I teach them to forgive. I teach them to compromise. I teach them to accept that we don't always get our own way and that we should work together for the greater good of our classroom community. And in between all of this, I teach math, reading, social studies, science, and religion...... to think that someone could destroy this innocence in less than a few minutes has caused a huge hole in my heart and much sadness.......

So, in the midst of this horrific tragedy, I am going to take a short break to enjoy my beautiful family this holiday season. I am going to step away from things school related for a week or so and focus on my loving family. Plus my wonderful son will be married over this Christmas break and that happy event must be just that - happy.... So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you, my beautiful friends!

 I thought I would end with a few pictures of my lovely family and wish you all joy, peace, hope, and love.

B



Peace and blessings and May God bless you richly this Christmas season, 
Cindy

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sharing our gingerbread house making

It has been a hard couple of days......... When I woke up on Monday morning, I didn't think I could get through the day without crying. But I knew that my little ones depended on me and needed me to be strong, so I found my smile and hugged each one of them as they walked into my classroom. And my faith assures me that those little precious beings who lost their lives on Friday are in Heaven with God and making Heaven an even better place than it was before.

 I am so blessed to be a teacher and given this beautiful, wonderful opportunity to be a part of the lives of these lovely little children that are my students.

So life has gone on in Room 102....We have been creating special Christmas surprises for our families, putting the finishing touches on our Nativity, practicing our reading and writing skills and doing math. Last week we did our annual Gingerbread House making and I thought I would share a few pictures of that fun activity.  Gingerbread house making is a pretty common activity to do at Christmas with little ones, so probably most of you know the procedures, but just in case, here is how we do them:

We hot glue 2 milk cartons to a sturdy paper plate and then hot glue graham crackers to the outside 
of the milk cartons. We hot glue an upside down sugar cone to the plate for a tree. We move our kindergarten tables together and have tons of parent volunteers to help! Each kindergarten classroom is assigned something to bring; one class brings the graham crackers and sprinkles, another class brings the icing and a bag of candy, and another brings more candy! Then we let our little designers go to town and boy, do they have fun!




  Finally...... my students just LOVED our nutcracker unit and I was so lucky to have found some of the fun nutcrackers that were portrayed in the story!
That's it for now......
Be safe, my friends....

Peace and blessings, Cindy

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sadness over the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School

I had planned to write a post today showcasing our cute gingerbread houses and Christmas Around the World projects. But my heart will not let me do this now as it is broken due to the senseless tragic event that occurred in Sandy Hook School yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut. Instead I am posting a link to a project that a fellow TPT teacher created. It is her attempt to teach how important it is to be kind to one another and to promote positive self esteem to each of our students. Thank you Primary Techie for creating this memorial project. Click on the image to find her link.

Our country must do something to get this senseless use of guns under control. Why do we allow the sale of guns to anyone who has a driver's license? Why is there not a period of waiting before a person is allowed to go home with a gun? Why, why are guns that are created to kill mass amounts of people allowed to be sold to anyone who walks in to purchase one? And also, just as importantly, mental illness must be taken seriously in this country - not shoved under the carpet and kept there until a heinous crime is committed. People afflicted with mental illness can, and do, lead normal lives. But for those that need extended help, it must be available to them.

Our nation's leaders need to get beyond their petty political arguments and begin to work together as  members of the SAME team and not opponents. I invite any politician to witness the negotiations that occur among my little ones. They argue and they listen. They compromise. They negotiate. They work for the greater good of our classroom. They shake hands and go on with their life; better people because of their negotiation. Politicians need to drop their loyalty to their lobbyists and work for the greater good of our country; not just those that fill their pockets. They need to remember the lessons that THEY learned in kindergarten - Play fair. Share. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Understand that there are more people in the room than just you. I implore our politicians to remember these life lessons and work together to ensure that tragedies like this never occur again. The freedom to bear arms is one thing; the freedom to kill at random is another....

The heroes in this tragedy are the teachers, the principal, the support staff, the parents......My deepest sympathy to the families in Newtown. You are in my thoughts and my prayers and always will be.

Peace and blessings, Cindy

Monday, December 10, 2012

More Nutcracker Fun!

Hello!
It has been a week since I last posted here - whew! Life has gotten busy; as I am sure it has for you, too!

I thought I would post a few pictures of the nutcrackers that my students made. We had so much fun with our Nutcracker unit! It was such a unique way of studying introductory mapping skills. The nutcrackers brought mapping to life for my kinders and they really enjoyed creating maps for these fun characters. The skills covered were:
1.  Understanding the differences and similarities between a map and globe
2.  Identifying man made and physical features on a map
3.  Identification of and understanding the purpose of a compass rose and map key
4.  Locating cardinal directions on a map
5.  Review of position words i.e. beside, above, next to, etc.
The kids created their own maps as well as the key symbols.

When the mapping was finished, they created their favorite nutcracker from paper scraps and wrote a few words about it. I am so impressed with their work! I gave them the basic directions for creating a nutcracker and that was all. I did not give them a pattern or a tracing template. They created EVERYTHING on their own! I did not give them any clue words for their writing, either.
They s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d the sounds they heard in their words. I continue to believe that this type of work is appropriate for a literacy center. Children must follow sequencing steps to create their picture. Then they must listen to the phonemes in the words that they want to use.
The following pictures are just a few examples. All my kinders did a great job in their nutcracker friend task!
You can find my Nutcracker unit HERE.

Peace and blessings, Cindy

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Christmas bulletin board and a HUGE giveaway!

Hello!

I am editing this post to link up with Kerri from Teacher Bits and Bobs who is hosting a linky party showcasing favorite bulletin boards. This has to be one of my favorites! I have given suggestions for using this in a non-Catholic school setting, too! Thanks Kerri!


First of all, I am going to share this really cute bulletin board our kindergarten team put up this afternoon. In our school, grade level teams sign up to decorate the main hall bulletin board. This is the board that visitors and our students see when they enter the school, so everyone tries to make it eye catching! Plus, the whole school concentrates on a monthly virtue and December is generosity. This bulletin board was REALLY  easy! We have 52 kindergartners in our school so each child colored a star with crayons. We attached their picture to the center of the star. This bulletin board could easily be adapted to a non-Catholic school by changing the center picture to a Christmas gift and making a slight change to the words which would be: THE GREATEST GIFTS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES.

Second, my friends over at Blog Hoppin are hosting a HUGE giveaway! Over 30 units will be given away to 2 lucky winners. I, myself, feel humbled to even be on the same page as some as these awesome ladies! Click the image above to enter!!

Blessings, Cindy

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nutcracker Mapping Unit and Show us What you Bought!

   Whew! After WEEKS, I mean WEEKS and WEEKS of trial and error with this packet, I finally finished it this morning! I like to try out my packets with my students before I post it to work out the bugs and yes, I did find quite a few! But that is okay, because now they have been corrected and I am happy with the outcome.
   So the history behind this project is this: My daughter is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Studio Arts. She is SOOOO talented, but alas, in our country, the arts are not as respected as business or marketing majors. So finding employment after college is not easy. She is presently working at an UNPAID internship at an Art Center. She is hoping that her experience there will lead to a paid position somewhere. In the meantime, she is truly a starving artist! (Smile). Last year, we collaborated on my Butterfly unit for TPT. She drew the loveliest butterflies for this packet, so we brainstormed ways in which we could collaborate on another project. The idea we came up with is unique, for sure! We both LOVE nutcrackers and we wondered if we could use our love of them to create a fun and educational packet for kids. After MUCH, MUCH trial and error, we created a mapping and community helper activity packet based on nutcrackers who might live in Nutcracker Land. The packet begins with basic mapping skills and builds on these skills to create a 3D map, a map of Nutcracker Land using a map KEY, coordinate mapping using a grid, an I Spy directionality game using the nutcrackers, writing activities, and a bunch more!
Here is a picture of my students putting together and using their "map" talk to discuss their 3D maps: Isn't the border art just the cutest? It is from Pink Cat Studio and you can find her link at the end of this post!


And here are the nutcrackers that inspired the project:
Here are a few of the nutcracker friends!


Here are a few pictures of the components found in the packet...
Click HERE to find this unit in my TPT store!


Now...... on to showing you what I bought at the Cyber Monday sale! So many awesome products!

  This one is from Deedee Wills. Love it and have already used it!
 

 I love Kelly Young from Young and Lively in Kindergarten's interactive calendars for Promethean!



I just found Little Red Schoolhouse this week and love their clip art! I actually purchased 5 sets of clip art! Whew!





Growing Kinders has some of my favorite kinder packets!






Another new clip artist I discovered this week was Pink Cat Studio! Awesome Blossom!






And last, but not least, a math packet full of Common Core activities from Math Coach's Corner.









So that's it for now..... the laundry is STILL not done and I am not ready for the school week yet!

Peace and blessings,  Cindy