Monday, May 30, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Splash Day!

The day is hot, humid, and brightly sunny.  Definitely not a day to take the kids outside and go running around having sack races and whatnot.  But when you throw in water, the rules change for the best!

Even if your school doesn't have a Splash Day (or Field Day), you can have your own!  Here are some tips to help keep everyone cool and safe when you're outside on the playground.

1.  Keep a water sprayer to spritz the children.  You'll find them running up to you and yelling, "Do me!"  (Hint:  Don't give any water pistols to the kids.  Otherwise you might end up with hurt feelings and maybe an eye injury.)

2.  Hand-size sponges are cheap.  Get several so they can get them wet and squeeze them over other children's heads.  The picture you see here is of a relay race where members of two teams dunk a huge sponge into a big bucket of water to get it soaking wet, put the sponge on their heads, race to the other end where they squeeze out the water, and hand the dry sponge over to the next person in line, who runs to the other end to get it wet.  Winner is the team with the most water in their return bucket, not the one who finishes first.

3.  Dont forget your sunglasses and hats!  And lots of sunscreen!

4.Give them several breaks to go to the water fountain.  Or provide popsicles.  (A cheap alternative - those frozen tubes of ice.)

5.  Make sure you've notified the parents ahead of time so the children can bring towels and/or an extra change of clothing.  Oh, and flipflops might be more appropriate than closed-in shoes.

6.  Finally, limit your time outdoors to 20-30 min. before you seek shade or shelter.  Watch the kids' faces for signs of heat stress.  If a student looks like he's overdoing it, having him sit out.

7.  Most importantly, have fun!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sudoku for Kids

My class loves to do Sudoku.  Of course, we do these together as a whole group, but it's different, and it works the brain in analytical ways to help them grow smarter.

The object is simple.  Using just the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4, each row and column has to have one of each number.  The strategy I use is to find the rows with the fewest empty squares and solve them first.  This makes the puzzle fill up faster and it gets easier to solve.

Below is the answer guide.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Zipper Bag Ice Cream

Here's a quick little activity you can do with your class for fun, or as a science experiment, or with your own kids after school is out.


1 tbl sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
about 1/2 c. rock salt
sandwich or quart size zipper bag
gallon zipper bag
ice cubes or crushed ice

*Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt.  Seal the bag.
*Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag.  Seal the bag.
*Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
*Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
*Wipe off the top of the small bag, and then open it carefully.


Friday, May 20, 2011

I Want One of These for Every Child!

I first saw these on the evening news.  A teacher came up with the concept to help her children who could not keep still.  The child put his foot on the bar at the bottom, and literally pumped it back and forth.  The movement allowed him to do his work, and kept him from distracting his fellow classmates.

I was astonished to see what appeared to be a class full of working children.  Yet "under water" their feet were going a mile a minute!  (I immediately wondered when someone would come up with the idea to convert all that energy into running a small refrigerator, or something similar, LOL!)

The desk is adjustable to allow the child to stand or sit.  And every year I have students who could benefit from this!

You can order from AlphaBetter.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Many Words?

Remember when your teacher would give you a big word and you had to see how many words you could make out of it?  It works for Kindergarten, too!

I started out giving them the word "Halloween".  By the end of October we were finished with learning our letter sounds and were just beginning to blend. We did it as a group and copied the words off the board. "Thanksgiving" followed, then "Christmas".

By the time we reached "Valentine", I had the students go to their tables and work in groups to see how many words they could find, rewarding the group with the most correctly spelled words with stickers.

Today we had "graduation".  The winning table found 20 words, including the word "guard".

Monday, May 16, 2011

Keep the Room Filled With Music

I keep music going in the classroom all day long.  But not the kind of music my kids listen to on the radio or on TV.  I pick up CDs which feature a variety of regional and cultural music they might not get to hear otherwise.  Music with a beat.  Music that's fun to listen to.  Music that stimulates their little brains, like Cajun, upbeat Country and Western, and Celtic.

On the other side of the coin, when it's time to calm down and rest and relax a little, I play a nice tranquil CD.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Free Homework Pass!

I have a treat box that each child can go into and select a goodie/toy once they complete their sticker chart.  But another reward is quickly becoming their preferred choice:

A Free Homework Pass!

We have reading homework every night, 4 nights a week.  So to skip one night of reading is a delight to them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Makes You Happy?

We're studying FUN IN THE SUN this week and next, and the question of the day was "What makes you happy?"  Here are some random answers I thought I'd share:

My puppy.

When my sister tickles me.

Ice cream and candy.

Baby birds.

When Mom and me clean house (this from a boy).

When Dad takes me fishing.

My toys.

Going to the movies.

Going outside to play.

Going to see Daddy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Want to Thank a Teacher?

Teacher Appreciation Week is over, but I wanted to say that if you ever want to give your child's teacher a gift that will be gratefully accepted, here are a few ideas:

* Sharpie markers and highlighters
* drink vouchers, instant drink packages (if you know what they prefer), or at the least, $ for the vending machine
* a spiral notebook (large and small)
* pen on a rope (seriously!)
* colored index cards (if the school doesn't provide them)
* photo boxes (the ones that look like elaborately decorated shoe boxes - great for storage!)
* pencils (lots and lots of pencils)
* stickers

Things to avoid:

* food or candy
* plaques, buttons, signs, trinkets, statues, or other stuff that may add to an already crowded desk
* jewelry, necklaces, bracelets

Please remember, not all teachers have access to refrigerators or microwave ovens to keep things cold or heat things up in their rooms.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Free Comic Book Day is Saturday!

I'm a firm believer that sometimes it's the material that keeps a child from getting the reading bug and becoming a better reader.  This is why I support Free Comic Book Day, which is tomorrow, May 7th.

Take your child to your nearest comic book store (or if you don't have one, many bookstores sell comic books), and give them something to read!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It Only Takes the Little Things make a child's day.

This parent has no idea how much her simple note meant to her daughter when she went to go get her snack.

Or maybe she does.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Slap Words!

The game is simple.  I put our vocabulary words on different colored sheets of tag board.  (That way if a word gets mixed up with another stack, it's easy to spot.)  Words cards lie on top of table face up.  I call out a word.  Person to find it first slaps their hand down on top of the card, then takes the card and puts it to the side in "their pile".  Person with the most words wins!

(Hint:  Don't call out the last word when there's just one card left on the table.  Otherwise it becomes a wrestling match.)