Monday, February 29, 2016

Backyard Birds

I took this photo of an American Goldfinch 
at my feeder.  It is a beautiful bird!
This is the perfect time of year for you and your child to watch birds in your backyard with spring migration beginning!   Attracting birds to your yard is a  way for your child to see what is in his/her habitat and it is a great way for these kindergarten birders to put their bird knowledge to use.  Backyard birding is fairly inexpensive and its an educational activity that triggers discussion and research for the child and family.  Here are some pointers:

  • Put the bird feeder in the yard where you can view it from a window.
  • It sometimes takes a week or so for the birds to find your feeder.
  • Remember to keep the feeders full and clean.
  • Adding a bird bath will attract even more birds.
  • Have a camera ready to take a photo of the different birds.
  • Your child could get a notebook or journal to place the photo in.  Then they could write the birds name and the first time that they saw it and anything else they'd like. They could share their bird journal with family and friends. Its a great way to work on writing skills during the summer.
  • Make a bird blind by building a stick fort or putting out a toy tent for your child to spy on the birds.
  • Keep a yard list.  Birders often keep a list of all of the birds that they see or hear in or near their yard - including fly-overs.  I keep my list taped to the inside of my cupboard door and I add to it as I go.  This yard list is kind of fun to view.  
  • Your child will probably be able to identify most of the birds, but if they are unsure you could look up birds at "All About Birds".
Visit our local business, "Fairway Seeds" and they could help you get set up with the kind of bird feeder and seed that you would like.  There are finch feeders that you fill with Nyjer thistle seeds.  These feeders will attract American Goldfinches.  Many other birds don't have the correct bill for eating out of these feeders.  Black oil sunflower seeds work in most other feeders.  There are other seeds you could use too. Don't worry about the seed that falls to the ground as it will not go to waste.  Some birds do their feeding only off of the ground.

You may feel frustrated with squirrels or Common Grackles that come and seem to eat too much, but the squirrels are entertaining and they are just doing what squirrels do.  The Common Grackles are only here in large groups for a short time and then most of them will move on.

Watching bird behavior is both entertaining and relaxing.  I hope that you will consider attracting birds to your yard.  I'm sure your child would love it!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Popcorn Party!

To help the students gain a bit more self-control and be able to follow the rules a little better, I have started a new reward system.  If they follow the rules from one recess until the next, they earn a golf ball for the jar.  Once the jar is full they can have a "golf ball party".  This week it was a popcorn party.  Using this incentive and "catching them being good", things are going a bit more smoothly.  

These girls are holding the jar of golf balls.

They LOVED having a popcorn party!

You can see that some Cheetos 
also made there way into the popcorn.

They are funny little people!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Cornell Lab FeederWatch

There are feeders set up at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.  This is a live cam.  Sometimes not much is happening, but sometimes it is quite active.  We check in occasionally at school and the kids love it!

Starfall Books Activity - All About Me

The students loved this activity that I used to practice reading on the Promethean board.

Starfall Books - All About Me

Dental Health Video Links

February is dental health month, so I've been teaching the children about their teeth and how to care for them as well as trying to convince them to eat healthy foods.  In addition to that I've been reading children's trade books to them about taking care of their teeth and about the Tooth Fairy.

They seem pretty excited about taking care of their teeth and eating right, so this is a good time to promote it at home too.  I did send home new toothbrushes for them.  Maybe it would be fun to get new kids' toothpaste. Did you know that there are little timers to put on your child's toothbrush that go off after 2 minutes of brushing?  I think that is a great idea! 

I've noticed that young children tend to want to eat right and don't usually seem to mind it, so be sure to limit sweets and pop and provide them with healthy fruits and vegetables. Establishing these good habits now, will help your child for a lifetime!  Just a thought...

Below are some links to videos online that the kids liked.  There are many more, if you'd want to do a search on it.

How to Brush our Teeth - For Kids

Colgate:  How to Have a Bright Smile

Dr. Rabbit and the Tooth Defenders!

Dr. Rabbit - Legend of Tooth Kingdom Part 1

Dr. Rabbit - Legend of Tooth Kingdom Part 2

Swipe the Sweets Game - How to Make Better Choices 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Day Party

The Valentine's Day party was a fun time!  The kids loved the "Minute to Win It" games and the good food!  Thank you to all who were involved in helping with this special day!

Putting their valentine cards into the 
correct sack was a big job.
In one minute, how many candies can you move 
from one plate to another using chopsticks?
In one minute, how many mini marshmallows can you 
toss into a bowl?
In one minute, how many candy corn pieces can you stand up?
Who can make the tallest tower with candy hearts in a minute?
Its not as easy as it looks!
Lunch was yummy!
They loved opening the valentine sacks!  With 16 
students, they received a lot of cards and goodies!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Penguin Books

To wrap up our penguin unit, I have the students illustrate the booklet that I wrote.  I really enjoy their drawings and attention to detail increases each time we do a new project.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Valentine Art

The boys' valentine sacks were very nice!
The girls' artwork was beautiful too!

These huge hearts were designed by the kindergartners too.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chickadee Bird Club

The 2nd Graders joined us for Chickadee Bird Club on this Friday.  Today we played Bird Bingo with a focus on geography.  I had the world map on the board and we discussed what continent or country each bird was from and what the climate is like at that location.  I also told what I knew about each bird as well.  In this way they are learning about geography, climate, nocturnal/diurnal animals, what different birds eat and which birds are endangered reminding us to be conservation-minded as we move forward in life.

I used my new bird whistle that young Jake brought me from Costa Rica, to get their attention when it got a bit loud.   I was surprised at how many birds they 2nd graders remembered!  As always, it was a fun time and bird club is one of my favorites lessons of the week!

A couple of years ago some kind person 
anonymously gave this to me to use 
with my bird club.  I am very grateful!
This is by far their favorite bingo game!
When they get a bingo they say, "Chickadee-dee-dee!"
 instead of saying, "Bingo".

100 Days of School

Here they are posing for a photo.
Here is what I see each day!  Ha-ha!  Just kidding...
We celebrated our 100th day of school on Thursday, February 4th, 2015!  The kindergartners have learned so much since that first day of school!  I am really proud of them!  Today we did many activities revolving around that number 100.  
  • counted 100 pennies 
  • found other ways to make a dollar using nickels, dimes and quarters
  • counted by 1s, 5s, and 10s to 100
  • wrote 1-100
  • attempted to be quiet for 100 seconds - that was pretty giggly
  • wrote a list of 100 things they learned in kindergarten   
  • illustrated a booklet and  drew pictures of what we could buy with $100, what they could eat 100 of, what they would want 100 of, etc.
  • made a cool headband with the #100 on it
I read several books about the 100th day of school and in the afternoon we had a cupcake to mark this special day!

It still amazes me how much kindergartners
learn during the school year.  These young
people just soak it up so quickly.

Valentine's Art

Penguin Art Project

Groundhog Day

 For Groundhog's Day I had the kindergartners make puppets.  They learned this poem to go with it.  I taught a lesson about groundhogs and we also discussed other animals that live underground.  They thought that was kind of interesting!

On February 2nd, Phil Groundhog pops out to see,
Just how much winter, there's going to be.

If the day is cloudy, he plays outside,
But if it is sunny, he pops back to hide.

Kids love puppets!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Nature Connection Pyramid

Check out this chart and see if you can find 
a way to fit more nature into your child's life. 
 I have found that it is very relaxing and 
it has made for a happier me!  Give it a try!