Wednesday, April 30, 2014

EVERY DAY IS A HOLIDAY!

Yeah, I love to celebrate just like most children! There are almost as many holidays as there are stars in the sky, and some of them are so ridiculous you’ll need to “delete”!

Most of you are through with testing and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I thought some of these holidays might add a little fun to your final May days.
*I adapted these from this site:
http://www.kidpub.com/story/long-list-random-holidays-dont-matter-811113705

1 Mother Goose Day (Invite every child to say a rhyme.)

2 Brothers and Sisters Day
(Can they do something nice for their siblings?)

3 Great American Grump Out (Can you go all day without being grumpy?)

4 Bird Day (Sing a song, read a book, and do an art project that relates to birds.)

4 International Star Wars day  (May the fourth be with you!)

5 Cinco de Mayo

6 No Diet Day

7 Astronomy Day (Take a night walk and look at the sky.)

8 No Socks Day

9 Lost Sock Memorial Day (Write a story about where lost socks go.)

10 Clean up Your Room Day (Clean your room for homework.)

11 Eat What You Want Day (I try to do this every day!)

12 Limerick Day (Read limericks to your class.)

13 Frog Jumping Day (Have frog races on the playground.)

14 Dance Like a Chicken Day

15 National Chocolate Chip Day (Eat a chocolate chip cookie.)

16 Love a Tree Day (Hug a tree and draw pictures of a tree.)

17 Pack Rat Day (Clean out desks.)

18 National Bike to Work Day - third Friday of month

19 Armed Forces Day - (Third Saturday of month.)

20 Pick Strawberries Day (Or, eat strawberries.)

21 National Memo Day (Make doodle pads from scrap paper.)

22 Buy a Musical Instrument Day (Or, play a musical instrument day.)

23 Lucky Penny Day (Hide pennies around the room for children to find.)

24 National Escargot Day

25 Tap Dance Day

26 International Jazz Day  (Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.)

27 Sun Screen Day (Always a good reminder!)

28 Memorial Day

29 Learn About Composting Day

30 Water a Flower Day

31. Sing and Do the "Happy Dance" Day (I just made that holiday up!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

WRITE RIGHT OUTSIDE!


W.l Opinion – What I Like to Do Outside
Make blank books by folding two sheets of paper in half and stapling the side. Children draw pictures and write WHAT I LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE.

W.2 Descriptive Writing – My Senses

Prepare a worksheet with the following:
I see _______.
I hear _______.
I smell _______.
I touch ______.
I taste ______.

Take children outside with a clipboard (or book they can write on) and have them fill in the blanks. Encourage them to illustrate their sentences and share them with classmates when you return to the room.
*Put these together to make a class book.

W.3 Narrative Cartoon
Prepare cartoon frames for children with 3 or 4 sections. Have them use the cartoon frames to illustrate something in nature, such as the life cycle of a butterfly, how a seed grows, an egg hatching, and so forth. Demonstrate how to add dialogue bubbles so the characters can talk. 

                                  
W.7 I Wonder Research

Make “thinking pads” for children by cutting paper into fourths and stapling several sheets together. Explain that you will take a “wonder walk” on the school grounds. If they see something they’d like to know more about, they can draw a picture or write it on their thinking pads. Let children share what they recorded when you return to the classroom. Brainstorm how they can find out more about their topic.
*Let them do “research” with their parents for homework.

Monday, April 28, 2014

MEASUREMENT AND GEOMETRY GO OUTSIDE

Geometry 
Draw basic geometric shapes (square, triangle, rectangle, oval, rhombus, circle) on 6” cardboard squares. Pass out the shapes and challenge the children can find something on the playground with a similar shape. 
                                         
*Divide children into small groups and let them make shapes with their bodies on the grass.

Measurement
Give children rulers to measure objects on the playground. “Can you find something 2” long? Can you find something smaller than an inch? What’s longer than 5”? How can you measure the slide?”
*Give children a popsicle stick or piece of string and ask them to find something longer, shorter, the same size, etc.

Position I Spy!
Children use positional words to play “I Spy” on the playground. For example: I spy something beside the slide. I spy something behind the tree. I spy something above the sidewalk. I spy something between the big tree and the fence…

Sorting
Ask children to collect different items on the playground. (This will vary with the season and your habitat.) Put their objects together in a big pile. Ask the children to sort the objects. What was their sorting rule?

Seriation
Collect sticks of different lengths and have the children put them in order from smallest to largest.
*They could also seriate leaves, rocks, etc.

Graphing
Ask each child to find a leaf on the playground. Make a graph and have the children lay their leaf in the appropriate space. Compare quantities.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

PLAYGROUND MATH

The sun is shining so let’s take Common Core State Standards out on the playground for some counting and cardinality.

Number Hunt
Take lunch sacks and write different numerals on them. Give each child a bag and ask them to make that set and put it in the bag. Let children share what they have found with their friends. Have children return the objects to where they found them.
*This can also be done with a partner or in small groups.
Hint! Whenever collecting things outside remind the children to only pick up items off the ground. You never want to pull leaves or flowers off plants because it might hurt them.

Counting
Children can count trees, fence posts, balls, bushes, and many other items on the playground.
*Have children estimate how many and then verify their guess by counting.

Exercise and Count
Have children count how many times they can jump rope. How many jumping jacks can they do? How many times can they bounce and catch a ball without dropping it?

Dot to Dot
Take chalk and write numerals 0-20 randomly on a hard play surface. Children start with zero and run, hop, march, or skip to each numeral in order.
*Adapt the amount to the ability of your students.

Estimation
Fill a basket with rocks, pinecones, leaves, or other natural objects. Ask the children to estimate how many there are. Count the objects. Who guessed more? Who guessed less? Who was closest?

Patterns
Collect 5 or 6 leaves, rocks, sticks or other natural objects. Place a leaf, then a rock, a leaf, then a rock. “What will come next?” Let children make up their own patterns with objects in nature.

Addition & Subtraction
Work out addition and subtraction problems with sticks, leaves, and other natural objects.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

OUT THE DOOR WITH COMMON CORE!

Sometimes you just have to think outside the box to make standards more fun!



R.L. 5. Reading Tree
Choose a poetry book, storybook, and non-fiction book to read outside under a shady tree. Can the children identify the books?

R.L. 10 Reading Buddies
Divide children into pairs and let them each choose a favorite book. Go out on the playground, find a shady spot, and enjoy sharing their books with each other.
*Encourage them to ask each other questions about the books they read.

RF. 1.d Alphabet Walk
Write letters on a paved surface with chalk. Challenge the children to step on the letters as they name them. Can they think of something that starts with each sound?

RF. 3.c Word Hopscotch
Draw a hopscotch grid on a paved surface. Write high frequency words in each section. Children hop on the spaces as they read the words.

SL. 2.a Talking Stick
Choose a stick on the playground and then have the children sit in a circle under a tree. Explain that you will start a story. As you pass the stick around, the child holding the stick can add to the story. Only the person holding the stick is allowed to talk. You might want to start a story about the day a space ship landed on the playground or the day animals started to talk.

L.1.e Prepositions on the Move

Using playground equipment, call out various prepositions, such as on, off, over, under, by, between, to, from for the children to demonstrate.

L.5.b We Can Do Opposites
Gather children around playground equipment and tell them you will call out a word. Can they demonstrate the opposite? For example, if the teacher said down, the children would climb up. If the teacher said front, the children would move to the back. Other words could be over, behind, inside, and so forth.

L.5.d Verb Relays
Divide children into relay teams. The teacher names a verb and the children act out the meaning until everyone on their team has completed the movement. For example, you could have them walk, march, strut, prance, and so forth.

Friday, April 25, 2014

THE WATER CYCLE

April certainly brought "showers" to us this year!  Can't wait to see all those May flowers!

The Water Cycle
(Tune: “My Darlin’ Clementine”)
Evaporation (Push palms up.)
Condensation (Hands together in air.)
Precipitation all around (Wiggle fingers down.)
Accumulation (Sweep arms in circle.)
Evaporation (Push palms up.)
The water cycle goes
Round and round (Make circles with arms.)

Rain in a Jar Experiment - Fill a large glass jar with very hot water. Set a pie pan full of ice cubes on top of the mouth of the jar and observe what happens. Encourage students to draw observations.

Story Bracelet - Children will be able to retell the water cycle with this bead bracelet. Have them string on the following beads as they repeat the water cycle:

Evaporation - clear bead
Condensation - white bead
Precipitation - blue bead
Accumulation - red bead
Evaporation - clear bead

Rain Poem
Rain on the housetop,
rain on the trees.
Rain on the umbrella
but not on me!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

WHAT'S THE GOOD WORD?

Here are some activities for developing vocabulary acquisition and use.
The ideas could also be used to reinforce sight words.

Vocabulary Parade 

Each child chooses a vocabulary word that is new to her.  Give children a long strip of paper where they can write their word. Let them decorate their word with markers, stickers, and other art media. Pin these strips to the children and let them parade around the room to music. Ask children to give the definition of their word and tell classmates why they chose it.

Mixed Up Words 
Take vocabulary words or sight words and mix up the letters. Children try to write them correctly on their paper. 
                               
Secret Code
Write vocabulary words using a secret code. For example, number the letters of the alphabet. (1-a, 2-b, 3-c, etc.) Write the number for each letter in a word. Children act like cryptologists to decode. For example: 3 1 20 (cat)

Action Words 
Make a list of action words. Write words on index cards and put them in a sack. Children choose a word and pantomime while their friends try to guess the movement.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ROSE-COLORED GLASSES

I just have to write this!
Wonder why I like children better than most adults? It’s because they look at the world through rose-colored glasses. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Last week it poured and rained and poured and rained some more in Charleston. There was no way they could do the Easter egg hunt outside, so they moved it inside. The little kids were in one room and the big kids were in another room. There were wall-to-wall eggs all over the floor and the kids had a BALL! They didn’t have to “hunt” – K.J. called it a “walk” because they just walked and picked up eggs. Every child got a basketful of eggs and they were happy. Nobody cried. Nobody got hurt. They were just as happy inside as outside – probably because of the candy. It’s interesting that several of my adult friends (grandparents) are still whining about the egg hunt. What??? The kids didn’t know any difference and they all had a great time. Grown-ups have such high expectations and want “events” to be perfect. Children are happy with plain vanilla, and you and I are lucky to be part of their rose-colored world! 

My fitness teacher said that Easter egg hunts are proof that children can find something that's lost if they really want to!

Here's a "happy appy" for sign language.  I love sign language because it’s so multi-sensory and engaging.  I found several free sign language apps, but I went ahead and bought this one for $2.99, and it’s worth eve
ry penny! There’s a video dictionary with literally thousands of words. There are different categories for the alphabet, fingerspelling, numbers, etc. The reason I like the videos is that there’s a button for “replay” as well as “slow.” You can see the sign for the word as well as the fingerspelling of the word. This would be very useful for: 
         *introducing word wall words
         *spelling words
         *vocabulary

For children who are struggling, sign language can provide another pathway to the brain. For children who need a challenge, this is a whole new opportunity for them.
http://appstore.com/asldictionaryhdamericansignlanguage

I think some of you have already bought my new app called “Read a Book.” Dan Sheffield at Help Me 2 Learn and I are anxious to hear your feedback. And, we'd also like to hear what your children think!  (Personally, for $.99 I think it’s a bargain.  Both of my grandchildren LOVE it!)  You can use the link below or search “dr jean” in the app store. (You’ll find me between the “Bon Appetit Diet” and “Dental Navigator.”) Work is underway for another app called “This Is How You Learn to Read.” Who would have thought ten years ago that the world could be held in the palm of your hand! I’m an old dog that keeps learning new tricks! 

                                          
iPad version is: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-a-book-hd/id655603470?mt=8#

iPhone version: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-a-book-hd/id655603470?mt=8


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A BLANK BOOK IN A SNIP AND A SNAP!

Last week I showed you how to make book treasure boxes. This is my favorite blank book that children can make and “save” in their boxes. You could probably do this book instead of a worksheet from now until the end of the year. 

Directions: Fold two sheets of paper in half. Make tears (or snips) about a thumbnail apart down the fold. Bend one tab forward, then the next backward, and so on to bind the pages together.



               
Use for: retelling a story/story elements 

letter book/vowel book
number book/shape book
"The Book”/ “A Book”
coordinate with a unit or theme
environmental print/cut out words they can read
word families, opposites
write the room writing original stories, journals
chit chat books (teacher and child write back & forth)
note taking
vocabulary/spelling words
  Monday – write a word on each page
  Tuesday – write the definition
  Wednesday – illustrate or cut out a picture
  Thursday – write a sentence 


 Hint! Fold paper lengthwise to make a tall book.
 Cut paper in half to make a little book.
 Use a colored sheet of paper on the outside and a white sheet inside. 

                  

Monday, April 21, 2014

WIGGLE THEM!


You might need these finger plays this week after all the chocolate bunnies consumed over the weekend! Both of these end with a silent version which really helps children focus and calm down.

Wiggle Them 

Wiggle them, wiggle them, wiggle them so. (Wiggle fingers.)
Wiggle them high. (Wiggle above your head.)
Wiggle them low. (Wiggle down low.)
Wiggle to the left. (Wiggle to your left.)
Wiggle to the right. (Wiggle to your right.)
Wiggle them, wiggle them, out of sight. (Put your hands behind your back.)

Snap them… (Snap fingers.)
Open and shut them… (Open and shut hands.)
Shake them… (Shake hands.)
Wave them… (Wave hands.)

*Lower your voice as you do the last verse and put your hands behind your back.
*Let children think of other movements they can do with their hands.

The Finger Band
The finger band is     (Start with your hands behind your back
Coming to town,       and wiggle them as you slowly bring
Coming to town,       them in front.)
Coming to town.
The finger band is
Coming to town 




So early in the morning.                       
This is the way (Pretend to play drums.)
They play their drums…
This is the way
They twirl their hats… (Twirl hands around your head.)
This is the way (Pretend to play a horn.)
They play their horns…

(Let children suggest other instruments and motions.)

The finger band         (Slowly wiggle fingers behind you
Is going away,             as you lower your voice to a whisper.)
Going away,
Going away.
The finger band
Is going away
So early in the morning.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

HOPPY DAY!

Easter blessings to all of you!
video

Friday, April 18, 2014

"EGG"STRA! "EGG"STRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

I'm recycling this blog from last year - and here are some ways you can recycle all of those plastic eggs next week!

Write an upper case letter on one half with a permanent marker and the lower case letter on the other half.

                                       
Write onsets (consonants or blends) on one half and rimes (word endings) on the other half. Children twist around and read words. You could also ask children to write the words.

Practice making and reading two letter words by writing a letter on each half.
                                                                        
Write numerals or number words on the eggs. Children fill with the appropriate amount of beans or pennies.

Make compound words with eggs.
                                         
Let children draw pictures of all the animals that come from eggs.
                                                                        
Write a poem about spring on a small sheet of paper. Fold it up and put it in the egg.

Practice addition and subtraction with eggs.
                                        
Write words on the eggs. Write the same word on a 1 ½” x 3” sheet of paper and cut between the letters to make a puzzle. Place puzzle pieces in the egg. Children shake and then open and put the pieces together to make the word.

Hint! I have tried both Sharpies and permanent markers and they rub off. I would suggest just putting clear tape on top of the marker.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

BOOK TREASURE BOXES

This idea was introduced to me many years ago by a teacher who realized that reading is more than decoding words. She wanted her children to fall in LOVE with reading and writing, and her book treasure boxes were the trick to do that!




Why? Books are like treasures you want to open again and again. Some children don’t have books at home, so these treasure boxes can be a meaningful way to encourage summer reading. 

What? shoe boxes or cereal boxes, gold spray paint, fake jewels, glitter, and art scraps, blank books, reproducible books

How? Ask the children to bring in shoeboxes (or cereal boxes) from home. After the teacher spray paints these gold, the children can decorate them like treasure boxes. The children can store the reproducible books they read at school in their treasure boxes. The children can also save the books they write at school in their treasure boxes.

Hint! If you teach in areas where parents are very involved, making these book treasure boxes would be a great family project for children to do at home. 

                                                                   (I’m actually giving this box to Kalina for her birthday.) 

Holly was recently asked to do a segment for Voice of America on making books with children. Take a look and you’ll see K.J.’s third grade classroom as well as Holly making books at home. (Yes, Kalina’s hair is a mess, but Holly didn’t want a melt down right before they filmed! Some of you can identify with the delimma!) http://www.voanews.com/media/video/1891951.html


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MY FAVORITE THINGS!

We didn't have many books in our home when I was a little girl, but we did have this copy of A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES.  "The Swing" was always my favorite because I loved to swing and the rhythm of the poem made me feel like I was actually swinging.
Poems provide a wonderful opportunity for children to close their eyes and use their imaginations.  Children don't visualize much any more because they are always sitting in front of a screen.  
                                      
The Swing
By Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

I memorized "The Duel" when I was in 3rd grade and I loved to recite it to relatives or anyone who would listen to me.  (You'd probably get in trouble now because "The Duel" is so violent!  LOL)  Brain researchers claim that memorizing poetry is actually good for short term memory.  There you go!

The Duel 

by Eugene Field
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I was n't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate—
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)


*Wouldn't it be delightful to let children illustrate this poem?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WHAT'S IN YOUR POCKET?


Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 24th. It’s a day when people of all ages all over the United States select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others. What a perfect way to make those standards meaningful! (R.L.4)

This is a picture of some children from Minnesota who recycled pockets from old jeans and filled them with poems. My version might be a little easier for younger children. Just seal an envelope, cut it in half, decorate, punch holes, tie on a piece of yarn, and let children choose a favorite poem or nursery rhyme to tuck inside. 

                                               
*Have children make the pocket at the beginning of the week and then select a special poem to put in it with their parents.

poetry.org is a great website where you can find more information about different ways to celebrate Poetry Month. Here are a few that I adapted for young children.

Put poetry in an unexpected place – How about taping poems underneath a table or a desk? Children can lay on their backs and read with a flashlight or finger light. You could also put poems on the back of bathroom doors, above water fountains, or other places where children have to wait.

Put a poem on the pavement – Pair up younger students with an upper grade student and let them write poems and decorate with chalk on sidewalks.

Read a poem at an open mic – Plan a “poetry jam” and encourage children to memorize a nursery rhyme or poem that they can recite for their friends. A plastic mike from the dollar store would certainly make it more realistic!

What poem are you going to put in your pocket?  Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you what's in my pocket!

Monday, April 14, 2014

WHAT HAPPENED TO COMMON SENSE?

Fifteen years ago I was invited to Millville, NJ, to do a workshop for kindergarten teachers. Nancy May was the principal and her husband, Alex, was the technology “go to” for the school system. I wonder now where I would be without Alex. I mean, who had a website 15 years ago? Alex offered to help me and I guess the rest is history. Alex and Nancy are both retired, but a more active couple you’ll never find! From skiing, to boating, to hiking, to geocaching…they are always on the GO with their dog
Wigo! Alex still does consulting for charter schools and has an unquenchable thirst to learn new things. (He’s also the definition of PATIENCE as anyone who’s had trouble with a download from my Song Store will agree.) Alex and Nancy both have COMMON SENSE, which many in the field of education have lost recently. I thought you’d enjoy his insight and wisdom from a recent email:


We met two teachers from Indiana the other evening and had a very interesting conversation. During that time I remembered that I had recently read about Indiana backing out of Common Core.
Here is a link:
http://n.pr/1fDbnTZ
The woman was upset about it as her school and her team of teachers had put so much effort over the past three years into aligning curriculum, preparing materials and trying to teach to the Common Core standards. She said the state just tossed all of their work and no one at her school really knows why.

We commented about how many times we were forced to embrace a new program knowing that in about three years we would be trading it for another new program. I think it could all be much simpler.

All students should:
Get along and work well together
Read well enough to understand and apply what they read.
Perform whatever math they need for personal finance and for employment.
Be able to analyze a problem and suggest a solution.
Strive for excellence.
Just think if we were able to accomplish this with most of our students!


Just think if we could appoint Alex May to Secretary of Education!!!!


I'm "hoppy" "hoppy" because Kalina and K.J. are coming this week.  Here are some of our projects.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

TOOTSIE ROLL...

Many of you know this attention grabber:
         Tootsie roll, (Roll hands around.)
         Lollipop, (Pretend to lick a lollipop.)
         We’ve been talking, (Open and close fingers like a mouth.)
         Now, let’s stop. (Pretend to chop one palm with the other hand - sign language for “stop.”)

Lori Whitehouse, Principal at Owensboro Catholic (K-3 Campus), sent me this note:
Your little “tootsie roll” attention grabber is used throughout our school and the children all love it. I can get a student body of 415 students all ages 8 and under quiet in 3 seconds just by starting off with the words “tootsie roll”!!

When they had a contest for the yearbook cover one of the kindergarten students entered the picture below. It’s got to make you smile!

                                             

Here are a few other attention grabbers you might want to try this week:

Student Heroes
5-4-3-2-1-zero (Hold up hand and put down one finger at a time.)
I’m looking for my (Make circles with index fingers and thumbs and place 

                      student heroes. around eyes like glasses.)

Hocus Pocus
Teacher says:
“Hocus Pocus!” (Stick out index finger and circle around like a magic wand.)
Children respond:
“Everybody focus!” (Children make circles with fingers and thumbs and place
                               around eyes like spectacles.)

Hands on Top
Teacher says:
"Hands on top." (Teacher puts hands on head.)
Children respond:
"Everybody stop." (Children put hands on head and freeze.)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

BIBBITY BOBBITY BOO!

Bibbity – bobbity – boo!
Ideas from Iowa and Illinois for you!

Bibbity Boppity Boo Cheer (Emily Matus)
Bibbity boppity boo - (Pretend to tap wand three times.)
Three cheers for you! (Wave pretend wand in the air.)

Bubble Cup (Emily Matus)
(Pretend to hold your cup and blow 3 bubbles with your wand.)
Clap! Clap! Clap! (Pretend to pop the bubbles.)

Basketball Cheer (Emily Matus)
Dribble, dribble, dribble… (Pretend to dribble a basketball.)
Slam dunk! (Pretend to slam dunk a ball.)

Journal Book Idea (Becky Bertrand) 

1.  Take a cereal box and open both ends.
2.  Cut the bottom and top flaps off.
3.  Flatten the box so it has the food information on the left side.
4.  Cut a thin part off the right side of the box.
5.  Open on crease and place blank paper inside.
6.  Close and staple papers on the crease. Flip open and write. 








Giant Magnetic Board
(Gerry Gilbert)
Purchase 3’ x 4’ metal oil drip pan at Walmart in the auto department. The children can write on them with dry erase markers and make roads for cars or they can be used with magnetic letters, numbers, and shapes. They are very versatile and can be used inside or outside.

Friday, April 11, 2014

CARDBOARD BOX BONANZA

You know all those cardboard food boxes you throw away?  Well, here's a great opportunity to give them a second life, teach your children to recycle, and make some cool materials for your classroom.  Send a note asking families to save their cardboard food boxes for a week and then let the fun begin!

Cardboard Castle – Let children use masking tape to create a castle or other play sculpture.
                                        
What's for Breakfast? Book - Each child chooses the front of their favorite cereal box.  They can write original sentences or fill in the blank "(Child's name) likes (cereal)."







Puzzles – Cut box fronts into puzzle shapes. Store in zip bags. For younger children use two like boxes. Cut one up and let them place the pieces on the second box.
                                                                             
Fronts and Backs – Cut front and back panels off of boxes. Mix them up and then ask the children to match up the ones that go together.
*Play a memory game where you place the fronts and backs face down on the floor. Children try to match up pairs.

Stencils and Templates – Cut geometric shapes out of box fronts. Children can trace these with colored pencils, crayons, or markers.
*Cut seasonal shapes or objects that relate to a unit of study for the children to trace.
                                                  
Sewing Cards – Punch holes around the sides of boxes. Children can sew these with yarn, string, or old shoelaces.

Weaving – Cut notches around the sides of boxes and let children weave through these with yarn.

Fractions – Give each child the front panel off a box. Can you cut it in half? Fourths? Eights?
                                                                               
Math – Have children sort the boxes by product, size, etc. Graph favorite cereals, cookies, crackers, etc.

Nutrition – Cut the side panels with nutritional information from cereal boxes. Have children rank them according to sugar content, food value, etc.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

THE GREEN TEAM

The Green Team (Tune: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”)
We are on the Green Team. (March in place as you swing your arms.)
Hoorah! Hoorah! (Fist in air as if cheering.)
We can recycle every day. (March in place as you roll your arms around.)
Hoorah! Hoorah! (Fist in air as if cheering.)
Aluminum, glass, tin, (March in place.)
Put paper and cans in recycle bins. (March in place.)
Join the Green Team, (March in place.)
Defend the earth and keep it clean. (Put both fists in the air like a hero.)

We are on the Green Team. Hoorah! Hoorah!
We can reduce what we use. Hoorah! Hoorah!
Turn off water and the lights.
Walk, take a bus, or ride your bike.
Join the Green Team.
Defend the earth and keep it clean.

We are on the Green Team. Hoorah! Hoorah!
We can reuse many things. Hoorah! Hoorah!
Share old toys and old clothes, too.
Give away what you don't use.
Join the Green Team,
Defend the earth and keep it clean.

We are on the Green Team. Hoorah! Hoorah!
We can keep our planet clean. Hoorah! Hoorah!
Pick up all the trash you see.
Protect wildlife and plant new trees.
Join the Green Team.
Defend the earth and keep it clean.

*Make a language experience chart of children’s suggestions for what it means to be on the “Green Team.” Have children dip their thumb in green paint and “sign” it on the list to signify that they are going to join the “Green Team.”

                                            

*Walk around the school and encourage the children to draw pictures or write suggestions for conserving energy and making the learning environment “green.” Compile results and ask the principal to visit your class and discuss improvements that can be made.

*Make a naturalist kit by recycling a detergent box or similar container with a handle. Make binoculars by cutting a cardboard paper towel roll in half. Tape the halves together and hole punch at the top. Tie on a piece of string so children can easily take the binoculars on and off their heads. Add a magnifying glass, field guide, tweezers, film canister (for collecting specimens), paper, pencil, etc. Talk about what naturalists do. Can you be a naturalist? Divide children up into groups of two and let them take turns playing “naturalist” on the playground.
                             

*Put out scrap materials in the art center and encourage children to make “Green Team” badges. You can also let them decorate sheets of newspaper and staple them around their necks to make “Super Green Hero” capes. Let children dramatize what they would do if they were a “Super Green Hero.”