Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wild Things Out in the Woods

The last two days have been so much fun. I recently went to professional development regarding outdoor education and getting kids outside for some free explore time. Over the years, the amount of time kids experience outdoors with unstructured explore time has dwindled. There are many reasons for this: the growth of technology and time spent on devices, the heightened academic expectations for young children, the fear that something might happen to children if we are not supervising them at all times. I struggle with these too, but I am making a dedicated effort to get these 5 and 6 year olds outdoors. I hope I can make a commitment to once a week next year with the incoming class. Children need time to dive into and explore their natural surroundings. Not only does it provoke curiosity and questions about how the world works, but it is also a great time to get exercise our bodies, create structures, observe wildlife, use our imaginations, and take risks.

It all started with a letter from a fairy when I was out on Monday:
Dear Eden Kindergarten students,
My name is Carissa and I am a fairy who has been watching your classroom since last September. You see, fairies do exist and my other fairy friends and I have been living in the woods at Eden Central School for many, many years. Last year, however, we heard that the old Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Tobin, was not returning this year. This made us sad and very afraid. We were afraid becauseMrs. Tobin and her old classes used to make sure we had homes to stay in every summer before your school year ended. We were not sure if your new teacher, Ms. Schmempsey—Is that her name?—would do the same for us. Do you think she would? We thought it was safe to write you while she is gone today and ask to see if you, the students are willing to help make houses for us this year? The summer is fast approaching and we are without homes. Our gnome friends are also homeless. Please, please help us! I have enclosed some fairy dust in this envelope with the hope that you believe me. We need your help!
Carissa, the golden fairy

PS: If you choose to build homes for the gnomes and fairies, please make sure you only use things from our earth. Plastic toys and other things from your classroom scare us and can actually make us very sick.

Of course we decided to help them! So on Tuesday we designed some blueprints on paper and headed to the woods to build fairy houses!!! Here are some pictures.

CM found a slug!

On Wednesday, we continued these outdoor explorations which of course led to tree climbing.

Oh, and did I mention the kids saw Bigfoot? They were running all over the place, yelling "BIGFOOT! IT'S BIGFOOT! 

Here were some of the highlights of our adventures from the kids themselves:

We saw Bigfoot. -Finley

We found a snail and fairies went in our fairy houses! -Jack

There was no where to get down [from the tree] so I had to put my foot down on an easy branch and it snapped! I had to hold on with one hand and then I let go. I fell on another branch and flipped over!
Me: Were you scared? 
No, I wasn't scared -Lonny

At our fairy house, we found pixie dust-Hunter

Finley and I built a new house with the pine needles. I used sticks and bark and rocks and some pinecones. Then I put a snail in the home for a fairy pet -Paige

I found a slug! -Colin

We got to climb trees and we went to see Bigfoot. I was so excited. -Luci

Me and wolfgang put a buttercup flower on top of Jack's fairy house -Grayson

I saw a BIG footprint! I think it was Bigfoot. -Weston

Ms. Crystal and I made a fairy house -Olivia

Bigfoot attacked me and I got scrapes -Brody

I saw Bigfoot too. -Raelyn

I was going to build a fairy house but I didn't. I ran to see Bigfoot. I saw the track with Lonny, Hunter, and Brody. We saw the big track. I saw Bigfoot. -Brayten

I was so sweaty! -Liv

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cat in the Hat Play

I just want to extend a thank you to all of you who were able to make it to our Cat in the Hat play this afternoon. Also, a big thank you to families who practiced and listened to these songs over and over with the kiddos. This was such a special day for them and they all did an amazing job. I am so proud of them! Over the last few weeks, I saw their confidence grow and I know it meant a lot to see such a big, loving and supportive audience this afternoon. It was a blast working on it with them, as well as the 4th grade students. What a great way to end our year!


On Monday, the children had a "Read-a-Thon" with first grade. We all came to school in our pajamas with our favorite stuffies and blankets to get comfy and READ! We spent the whole morning reading together. Ms. Cunningham and I read our favorite picture books to the class and some of our kids even volunteered to read books to every one. They were so brave!

In the afternoon, we explored some audio books which the kids loved. I hope to invest more time in audio books with my future classes. They were riveted!

Here are some pictures of the event:

BW and FN read together

JN, HV, and BB looking cozy with some books

We ate lunch with first grade!

LW's mom came to join the party.

LM reads "There's a Bird on Your Head" by Mo Willems

BB reads "Over the River" from his book bin.

Making our Thing Hats!

Here are some pictures of the Kinders working with their 4th graders book buddies to create their "Thing" hats for our Cat in the Hat play!


Monday, May 30, 2016

Ever wonder what Kindergarten math looks like?!

I had one of the students help make these videos today during our tutoring program. Watch as he explains some different math concepts, materials, and models that we use in our room.

Ten Frame Video


Number Corner

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pictures from our Publishing Party!

Ms. Judy reads with OT and HV

Mrs. McNally reads with PC

Mr. Hance joined us and read with LM and PC

JN and GG read their books to each other.

LH's mom joined us and learned all about dinosaurs!

FN's Grandparents visited

Ms. Crystal hearing all about BW's detailed cover page

CM's dad looking through his year long writing folder

Smile for the camera!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beaver Lodge Construction

We had a surprise package on Monday addressed from a mysterious "Baxter the Beaver." When we opened it, we found a beaver inside! He had also written a note which I am reading in the picture below that asked if our class would be kind enough to build him a home. 

HV feeding Baxter carrots

From there, we had a mission. We brainstormed some of the items we would need to construct his lodge: sticks, mud, branches, leaves. Then we bundled up in our winter gear (because April in Vermont is not too Springy) and gathered the materials from the woods:

Sadly we did not have time to construct the lodge on the same day, so Baxter left us a frustrated note the next morning.

So then we had to build!

Baxter was very pleased with the results. His lodge will be on display at the Celebration of Student Work this Thursday at 5:30!