Thursday, April 16, 2015

Community Helpers

Community Helpers is such a fun topic to study in school. Kids love to make police hats and badges for art and a puppet to start a puppet show writing project. We always sing a few songs about different occupations, read these fun story books,  and do some riddles on the same topic.
Community Helper Stories. Here are some of the fun stories I read the class. For social studies we learn about communities and what that means, and we talked a lot about helpers in our community.
Community Helper Books I read to my class during Community Helpers unit. 
Then we made a brainstorm on the board of all kinds of community helpers. We would make a puppet out of 2 of them and think of a story idea with a problem that could happen to one of the puppets we chose. Then we had to come up with a solution to the problem that another puppet (community helper) might come and fix for us. We made a list of problems and a list of helpers. Then we decided on 3 opening sentences to get us started and everybody chose one.

 I  modeled how to start a puppet show with the class. Our class story had a baker that had a fire start in his bakery and called the fire department and had firemen come put out the fire. Then the baker gave some cupcakes to the firemen and they became friends after that. (gotta have a happy ending people!)

Here we are doing a match game using community helpers and what they do for us. The kids had to match up the occupations with a riddle of what they do. We did it in small cooperative groups of 3 or 4. Here are my little police people matching up their cards. (some of the boys were too "cool" to wear their hats home.) Isn't that so funny? Gotta be macho in Grade 2! tee hee.....)

We also did a few worksheets on vocabulary words from the Reading Streets story and some community helper songs.HERE are a few songs I thought were fun. I played my autoharp and we sang to a few familiar tunes.   I had the kids do a few fun activities like a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting Urban communities with Rural communities.
Here at First Palette.com was a lot of free printables of community helper people to use as puppets. We put heads on bodies out of paper and glued them to tiny popsicle sticks. 
My goal was to have them write a fictional story with a problem, a solution and the setting would be a community helper's place of business. We are learning about story structure. Then they buddied up with a partner who did their puppetry for them while they read their story in a microphone.
Here are the finished puppet shows and puppets. I forgot to take a pic of our puppet theater I got out for the occasion.It was cute seeing them taking it all so seriously. Some of them got "stage fright". Good thing we had a microphone!  It took us all week during writing workshop to finish the puppet shows. Then we read and shared them in the afternoon. HERE at only passionate curiosity are some cute visuals you could put up in a pocket chart. Another cute one that is free and downloadable is HERE at k-3 teacher resources.

 Here is our finished bulletin board. I also had a magnetic match game with these little community helper cutouts they could match up at the magnet center. I'll take a pic of that too.
 Some of the kids made more than 2 puppets, and some had extra visual aides.....like wedding cakes or butterflies.
Lots of great illustrations happened here.....yup! 
     I try to get them to learn the vocabulary in the writing process. The one before sharing is illustrating. So they learn what to do to become great illustrators; at least 4 colors, no white showing.

HERE 
are a few songs I thought were fun. I played my autoharp and we sang to a few familiar tunes. Then I read them a few stories on people that help out in our communities. We are a mixture of urban and rural where we live. And a mixture of both where houses are outside of a city is called Suburban.
Community Helper Puppets and Stories we shared last week to go along with reading The Twins Club.
Bulletin Board of our Community Helpers and our Puppet Show Stories....

We also did a fun activity using URBAN, SUBURBAN, and RURAL. We did a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast both. The kids did it on whiteboards while I did the one on the doc camera.
Kids did a venn similar to this one....
 Then we came to the rug and did a brown bag activity where they each got 3 cards (using the COMMUNITY CHARACTERISTICS CARDS found below at UEN) and they had to decide which bag labeled Urban, Suburban and Rural, to place it in of the 3 Vocabulary Words.. HERE at Utah Education Network are all the activities and some lesson plans to go along with it taken from our Utah core
Each bag had the caption "URBAN" or "RURAL or "SUBURBAN" and kids had to come up and place picture in the right bag. The class all helped. 

There are many youtubes about communities highlighting our vocabulary. I liked this one and it was a short 5 minute video. There are longer ones with reading blurbs on each scene too. ..
 Nice Handwriting and illustrating on all of these cool puppets guys!
 It was fun to listen to such creative stories. We have some budding authors in our class!
Community Helpers Puppet Shows
Our vocabulary for the week were  the amazing words from Reading Streets. I keep them in a pocket chart all week and we do short activities with them every day from acting them out, to switching around the words and then matching them back with definitions. Then we tested them all on Friday. 30 kids all got 100%. Way to go parents!! Woot!
 This little artist in my class won the illustration contest.  We have lots of other good illustrators too!
 Another fun things to do in this unit is to play Community Helper Bingo. A VERY easy one is HERE made by Michelle Prinzo. It would be great to put these words in the pocket chart to help the kids learn the vocabulary of different types of community helpers.
Our finished puppet shows and puppets were awesome.
 It is a fun reading unit and a great story to compare with Country Mouse City Mouse. I have 3 different versions and it's fun to read them to the kids and get a different response and perspective on each one. And we are thankful for all those community helpers we rely on.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Earth Day Activities

We are learning about recycling, plants and seeds, and being a friend to the earth in honor of Earth Day, which is coming up very soon. (April 22nd).

Earth Day Activities we did in my Kindergarten class this week. 

Earth Day Writing Projects 

I love this part of the year where spring is starting to bloom with tulips and daffodils everywhere, new birds and nests all over the trees, and the weather is starting to change and get warmer. My students are loving it too.

I visited Thanksgiving Point recently to see some of the gardens and loved all the tulips in a variety of colors. 

We've been so lucky to have springlike weather early in Utah this year. I love it! 
I wish my garden looked this wonderful. The colors of all the flowers was just fantastic. 
So we did watercolor painting on Monday using coffee filters to make the earth. I put out watercolor paints and used a spray bottle to get just the blue and green wet. Then passed out paint brushes and coffee filters. This makes it easier than using cups of water which always spill. I just walked around respraying the blue and green with water. Then we glued the dried "earths" onto black construction paper.
Then we colored some rainbow cutouts that say "Take Care of Our Earth".  You can also download GOOGLE EARTH  onto your computer and show the kids the earth all the way to the close up school from way up in the sky as it moves closer and closer to your neighborhood. It is way cool! 
Kids do lots of neat things all around the whole world on Earth Day to help and to participate.

I have lots of neat books on Earth Day and they help remind us that we are keepers of the earth. We can help keep it clean, and we can reduce garbage and water usage, even when we are only 5 years old! We read a few Scholastic News on Earth Day that I have collected over the years too.


Just some of the 20 books I have on EARTH DAY topics. I have downloaded copies of things from the U.S. EPA Department too that have many free activities for kids. HERE at epa.gov is a color book. HERE is a free activity book to download too with mazes, math and other fun things. 

After that we colored rainbows and glued down hand die cuts to show how the earth is "in our hands". Then we sang a few earth day songs and read some books on how we can recycle.

BOOKS
Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

My favorite is Michael Recycle. It is a really funny one on a little superhero comes to help us learn how to take better care of things in our homes and yards.
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert is a great book we read right before planting veggies and doing our "Planting a Rainbow" Mural. We added the "parts of the plant" after designing our own flowers and leaves.  The insects and butterflies are stickers. 
Planting a Rainbow mural. 
We colored our own mini book on steps to being helpful on Earth Day. Then we wrote a few ideas on how we can do our part. And we planted our own radish seeds into pots of dirt. Then we made a mural of our own "Planting a Rainbow" like the book above. It turned out really pretty. We all did either a leaf, a flower, or a glued on a seed or stem.
Take Care of the Earth. Plant a plant or tree on Earth Day, April 22nd. 
We wrote about things 5 year old kids can do to help keep our earth clean and green! 
We decided to plant little seeds into biodegradeable pots from Home Depot. I think I got these at Walmart for $2.50 for 24 of them. Then I got free seeds and potting soil (excellent resource) from Thanksgiving Point. The guys in charge of the gardens there do a few classes a year for teachers and gardening enthusiasts and they gave me a box full of stuff for free. Such nice people there!

TERRARIUMS (using empty 2 liter bottles)

A really fun activity to teach seeds and plants is to make individual terrariums. A good step by step how to is found at this link to Teaching Tiny Tots HERE. I love how she used ivy. I'd like to use fast growing grass seeds or radish seeds so the students can see the roots and how they grow up into stems and then on the radish, leaves. Start by reading the book From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons. She is a master of children's science books.
 2 Liter bottle terrarium instructions HERE
I made this pretty Earth Day banner that says "LOVE OUR EARTH" and strung it up on twine. Then I added blue and green ribbons to the ends. It is neat. You can get a free copy HERE. as the banner on our bulletin board.


Another fun activity is making these EARTH DAY Bracelets on a pipe cleaner. They are easy using green and blue pony beads and some foam beads I got at HERE at Oriental Trading is some foam shapes that have peel and stick. I'd take pictures of the kids and make a picture frame with them. 

You could also make some blue and green playdough for Earth Day. The recipe is super easy. I would add some blueberry Koolaid for a cool berry smell and blue color. 

Ingredients for Play Dough 
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • blue or green Food coloring
  • Mix it all up in a mixing bowl and blend for a few minutes. Add 1 package Blueberry Koolaid for a cool smell. Put into "snack bag" size ziplock baggies. 

 HERE is a cute bookmark and writing paper. HERE is a mini book we copied and read. And  HERE is a bingo game. It was a little advanced for my kiddos having terms such as "fossil fuels". But it would be great for older kids 3rd grade and up. 
 


The students did a good job coming up with ideas for me to write on the board. So we did a brainstorm of Things like picking up trash at the park, turning off the water while brushing teeth, recycling old clothes and toys, planting flowers and trees, and not being a litter bug.

Here are our finished pots and seeds to finish off our week of projects. I like doing radish seeds because they only take 3 weeks to germinate. So the kids won't have to wait long to see some stems and leaves sprout!


Happy Earth Day April 22nd! Plant a tree, or a bulb, or some veggies in your backyard today!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Bunny and Easter Chick Cupcakes


We  had a lot of fun yesterday having our family over for dinner and egg hunting and making Easter Egg Cupcakes.
With these Easter Bunny Cupcakes, the ears are a large marshmallow cut on the diagonal and dipped in colored sugars.  
My youngest granddaughter decorating her Easter cupcake. You GO GIRL! 

Easter Cupcakes using colored coconut and jelly beans. The chicky beak is made from a fruit roll up. 
Cute little Bunny and Chick cupcakes. We also made little "nests" using coconut and jelly beans. 


I had 5 of my 6 grandkiddos there for Pin the tail on the bunny, and some bubble blowing too.
We just had them close their eyes and they were pretty good about keeping them closed while they tried to find the bunny's behind.


Here we are adding the "tails" to the Pin the tail on the bunny. Megan was the winner! Yay.  I found a freebie HERE at partydelights.

I loved watching the daddies help their youngest kiddos hunt for the eggs. It made me tear up a little. sniff...
My oldest son and his youngest daughter. It is neat to see him being a daddy. 

And my son in law is also a great dad. Here he is with his youngest and my only grandson. 


 And I got a GREAT picture of all my grandkiddos after collecting all the eggs.



 Here are my two youngest grandkids hunting together. Aren't they sweet?
"Hey I think I've got more than you do. You better get busy dude!" 

And I loved seeing the kids hunting for eggs, playing games, creating and loving it. We are all artists. The kids love to be artistic and create beautiful things. It gives them a sense of pride to create, no matter how old they are.
Coloring eggs is a yearly tradition in our family. We have always done it. And it is now the next generation carrying on the tradition for the 3rd generation. Traditions are great things to develop in your family. 

These were my oldest granddaughter's eggs. 

And her sister's eggs too. 

I was feeling my creativity too on Easter Sunday.  I made this cool veggie and dip platter shaped like a spring scene.

 Hope you all had a fun Easter! We have one more day of Spring Break! Enjoy the day!
I know I will. I think I'll go eat a cupcake now. :D 




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