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Monday, January 20, 2014

The Crayon Box That Talked

     Since I started teaching, we have celebrated Martin Luther King's birthday on January 15th with a presentation of  The Crayon Box That Talked.    I introduce Martin Luther King by reading Martin's Big Words by Bryan Collier. This is a wonderful book for kindergarteners and pre-kers.

The next day we read The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane DeRolf.  The story is actually a simple poem about a box of crayons that doesn't get along.  After a little girl buys the crayons and colors a drawing, the crayons decide that they do like each other and that while "each one (is) unique, when (they) get together the picture is complete." We talk about how at the beginning of the book, the crayons didn't like the other colors.  At the end of the story, they realize that it is much better to have lots of different colors in a picture and that they do like and need each other.  The kids right away make the connection to people not liking each other because of the color of their skin.
This was the 7th year I have used the same costumes.  I simply took pieces of bulletin board  paper and folded them in thirds into large rectangles.  I then used another narrow piece of the bulletin board paper folded in half to make the piece that goes around the child's neck and holds the "crayon."  The hats are laminated pieces of construction paper made into a cone with a piece of elastic stapled on to it to hold the hat on.  Very simple, but very effective.  For the last few years, I have thought about making new costumes by simply cutting a piece of poster board in half (a few of my originals do have an awful lot of staple holes:).  Maybe next year…

      I start by making a list of all of the colored costumes I have.  I let each child pick the color they want. (I usually end up making one or two new ones each year so that everyone is happy:).  After everyone has a color, I put their names (and color if necessary) into the Crayon Box That Talked poem that I have typed up.
This is a page of the script.
 I uploaded a copy of the poem to dropbox here. I then line up the kids in the order they will speak in the poem.  Each child has one short line (depending on numbers, sometimes 2 kids speak together).  The kids can get in line correctly and remember their line after one or two practices.  It really is a perfect little play for young children.
The poem ends "We are a box of crayons  each one of us unique  but when we get together the picture is complete." The kids pick up this long picture they painted on the back of bulletin board paper when they say "complete."
       After the play, we recite the poem we learned about Martin Luther King:
I have a dream said Martin Luther King
We're going to make that dream come true.
Let freedom ring said Martin Luther King.
It's up to me and you!

It's not the color of your hair,
It's not the color of your skin,
It doesn't matter what you wear.
It's the character within.
I'm not sure where I first found this poem but I use it as another opportunity to talk about character.  I loved that this year, one of my kiddos said that the poem reminded him of Katalina Matalina.  Katalina Matalina is a Dr Jean song about a funny looking person with a heart of gold. Makes a teacher's heart happy to see the kids making these text to text connections. :)
        One last thing we always do is talk about the fact that Martin Luther King followed in his father's footsteps to become a leader and a preacher.  We talk about what kind of people we want to be like and each child draws a picture of someone they want to be like when they grow up.  These are always very sweet (and cute because I add the child's footprint to their drawing). 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beautiful Snowflakes

 Colorful Snowflakes

I like this fun poem, "If snow came down in colors." I recently received an email from Patty Fotheringham letting me know that she had thought of this poem years ago (during an especially long winter).   Last year, we were inspired by the poem to make these colorful snowmen with liquid water colors and coffee filters.
This year we didn't have as much time so we just made colorful snowflakes.  First we used droppers to add liquid watercolors to a coffee filter. (I piled them up so they shared colors) .  After the filters dried, I showed small groups of kids how to fold the the circles in half again and again (until they looked like ice cream cones).  I then took a pencil and drew triangles on each of the 3 edges.  The kids then followed the lines and cut out the little triangles.  Perfectly beautiful snowflakes!
I love the concentration as he works
The folded filters were easy for the kids to cut.  I have found that kids are much more confident about cutting snowflakes if they have lines to follow.  Several of the kids drew their own lines on subsequent snowflakes.

Geometric Snowflakes

My photographs don't begin to do justice to these huge snowflakes that were designed by our kindergarteners.  The children used notched popsicle sticks and each designed a geometric snowflake. After their designs were complete, they used hot glue to carefully glue the pieces together.  They then painted the snowflakes and then added glitter so they sparkle in the sun.  Truly spectacular!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Post-a-Day Blog Challenge - Day 3

         Today's blog prompt from  Kinderchat's 2014 January Post-a-Day Blog Challenge is:
TGIF: The very best thing about 2013 was….

         Although there were lots of highlights in 2013 for me and my family, my trip to British Columbia defiantly stands out as especially wonderful.  I blogged here about my trip to see my son who was working on  a  bio-dynamic and therapeutic farm on Victoria Island. In addition to visiting Tad, I got to  explore an area of the world that I have never been to before and  I got to meet two of my favorite bloggers!  It was a wonderful experience!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Post-a-Day Blog Challenge Day 2

Today's blog prompt from  Kinderchat's 2014 January Post-a-Day Blog Challenge is:
2. One resolution for 2014
         I don't make resolutions any more. I've never been very successful with it.  Last year I tried  One Little Word.  The idea is to pick one word that will inspire you all year.   For the life of me, I can't remember what my word was.  Obviously, it has not inspired me:) 
         However, I have found a way of working towards goals that I really love.  Last July, when I turned 54,  I wrote a list of "55 Things I Want to Do During My 55th Year."  The list has big and little goals.  I keep it on my refrigerator and highlight things as I complete them. Some goals relate to school (lots of sensory bins and walks), some to my interactions with my friends and family (girls weekend, visits to relatives, dates with my husband), some are intended to "improve myself" (go to weight watchers, volunteer somewhere), some will push me out of my comfort zone (eat by myself at a restaurant) and some are just fun (sleep outside, take a picture every day). I'm not sure I will reach all of the goals before July but the list has encouraged me to try to new things and it's been fun too.  I'm really happy with this approach to setting goals.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Post-a-Day Blog Challenge

         I have been very unmotivated to blog,  I'm really not sure why but I just haven't been able to make myself post (even about ideas that I'd like to share).  I haven't even been very good about following the blogs that I love which has been really frustrating when I do spend some time on the internet and see the thoughtful posts I've missed. Today I did check out a few of my favorite bloggers and saw that Sandi from Rubberboots and Elf Shoes has taken the #kinderchat 2014 January Post-a-Day Blog Challenge.  31 prompts in 31 days. 31 posts seems rather ambitious but I think it might be good for me to give it a try. Being reflective about my teaching and life has to be good for me. Right?
The first challenge is
Wordless Wednesday: A photo to represent 2013 

This is a photo that my husband and I took after we dropped our youngest off at college.  In truth I was pretty sad about the end of my role as "live in Mom" for my four kids. However, this photo sort of represents all the transitions that happened in 2013.  It turns out Ed and I really like each other and we are enjoying our empty nest (and LOVING any time at home or on the road that we get to spend with the kids:)