Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Wednesday of last week we finally let our butterflies go...the kiddos were so excited to see them fly off into sky. I think this is the first year that I didn't have any tears as we let them go! 

On Thursday, we went our local zoo. It is a perfect size zoo for our kinders. Not too big and not too small. I say local, but it is still about an hour and 10 minutes away from our school, which makes for a LONG bus ride for the kiddos and for teachers!!! Loud, silly kids = teacher's needing ibuprofen! haha! 

The weather was a little chilly...not very seasonal weather for the end of May. We all had to wear jackets to stay warm! But thank goodness the rain held off! 

Once we got the the zoo, the kiddos were sent off with their chaperone to visit all the animals and take a train ride through the zoo. Some students were even able to feed the giraffes! How fun! 

There is also a small petting zoo where students can feed some farm animals and pet them. Which the kiddo's enjoy as well. 

One of the neatest parts of the whole day, was getting to hear the lions making their loud grunting noises. You could hear them all the way across the zoo! We think that the female and the male were fighting over who was in charge in their cage!! 

And then the female went to sleep...maybe to ignore the male (haha) or just out of frustration or exhaustion. 

The lions weren't the only ones who liked the attention from all their noise...I think the monkeys were showing off too! They were screeching so loudly to get everyone's attention. At first the kiddos thought it was birds...but as they soon learned, it was the wild and silly monkeys swinging around on the ropes. 

We also saw a jaguar...well two of them actually. One was just sitting there staring at all of the people and the other one kept creeping in and out of their building every time someone tried to snap a picture. Well....later, we found out why...he was trying to go to the bathroom (which he ended up doing right in front of us...but I guess when ya gotta go, ya gotta go). 

This is the one who let it all out in front of us!
Later, when we went to see the elephants, someone behind us had peanuts and were throwing them to the elephants. It is REALLY AMAZING to watch an elephant pick up a teeny tiny peanut with that big ol' trunk! Just amazing! 

Here are some of the other beautiful animals we saw at the zoo that day.

Bald Eagle 

And then, just to show how exhausted the kiddo's were...here is a picture of one of my cherubs who fell asleep on my lap...I could have joined her, had I not had 50 other kinders on the bus :) 

So all in all, it was a great day!! How can you not have fun at the zoo!?!?!?!

9 more days for us...and then...SUMMER BREAK!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Caterpillars and Butterflies in the Garden!

Last month I taught my students about "line" in Art when we were making a quilt with stripes. (To see that lesson click here.) At that point in time, I only taught them about straight lines. But, as I was looking through some different sources to help better teach my students about line, since we no longer have an Art teacher at our K-1 building. In my search, I came across two very good ones. The first one is Deep Space Sparkle. Deep Space Sparkle is a website that has Art Lesson's for kids. They have Art lessons for grades K-6. The other source I came across was Art's Attack. Art's Attack is a collection of DVD's that teach different Art lessons. If you go to their website, they have a free trial offer. Our school just purchased these DVD's with a grant that we received. 

I took both of these sources and combined them to make a Butterfly Garden in the hallway above my students lockers. I chose to do this because we had just finished up our unit on plants, and we had drawn flowers to hang in the hallway and our next unit was Butterflies! 

I started by reading the lessons on Deep Space Sparkle and watching the lesson on Line from Arts Attack so that I was prepared and knew where to start.  Caterpillars were first because caterpillars come before the Butterfly. 

Each student got a 8.5 X 11 piece of any color paper to practice on. Students come to the carpet with their clipboard and a black felt tip marker. On the smartboard, I brought up the painting "Woman in a Purple Coat" by Henri Matisse. In this painting there are several different types of line to show the students (thick, think, straight, curvy, contour, parallel...). As we discussed each of these lines, I modeled how to make that kind of line and then had the students do the same. 
Once students were done practicing, I showed them how to make a caterpillar using a large circle at first and then using backward C's (curved lines) to make the rest of the caterpillar's body. Then in each circle, I showed them some of the lines I could make. I then sent them off to their seats with a 9 X 12 paper and told them to make their caterpillar with large circles that went the length of the page. 

If you notice, the practice sheet is the purple sheet next to her work.
 I turned them loose and let them design their caterpillar making sure that each circle was different. 

 Since the caterpillars looks so incredibly awesome in black and white, I decided not to have them color them. We just cut them out and hung them in the hallway with our flowers, since caterpillars like to munch on leaves!

 Then since our caterpillars turned out so incredibly "cool", I decided to have students do the same with our butterflies. When I teach about drawing, designing and coloring butterflies, I also teach about symmetry. Thus, when the students drew a line on one side of the butterfly, they had to go to the other side of the butterfly and do the same. Again, I did some example lines and then sent them to their seats to get started. This time instead of leaving our butterflies black and white like we did the caterpillars, We colored our butterflies in with crayon.

When the butterflies were finished...they were hung in the butterfly garden above the flowers and caterpillars!


We finished up just in time for our real live butterflies to come out of their chrysalis's. We came to school today to discover that FIVE of our six butterflies popped out to join us!!! How exciting for a MONDAY!!!! 

 I hope you all have a fabulous week! 
We are off to the zoo on Thursday! My FAVORITE place for a field trip! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Polk-a-dots and Stripe Galore!

On April 24th, Debbie Clement visited our school and my kinder kiddos welcomed her with three of her most favorite things! 
A quilt!!!

I promised to share how we designed the quilt and I am going to make good on that promise right now! 

First off, I have known Debbie for awhile now and really, anyone that knows her, knows that she loves polk-a-dots, stripes and she is a MAJOR quilter! Check out her books and you will see! 
So, knowing all of that, I hatched a plan...to welcome her to Washington Elementary with just those things! 

I was teaching my children about line...particularly straight lines, at the time and so I had them paint white stripes on black construction paper and orange stripes on white construction paper. 

The following day, we talked about polk-a-dots and where we might see them. Then I gave each student a large pon-pom. Gripping the pon-pom with their finger tips (great fine motor activity),  the students dipped it in the white paint and then smooshed it down on their black paper to make their polk-a-dots all over the page. 

Then the tough part...I re-taught students how to cut circles out of paper by turning their paper as they cut. They had to cut out white circles to glue on orange paper. Thus, continuing the patter or orange/white and black/white.

After all the glue and painted pieces were dry, I took the 9 X 12 construction paper pieces and cut them in half making them 6 X 9. Then, I went and got a long strip of orange butcher paper and we started to tape our pieces in a pattern across the width of the butcher paper and continuing down until the whole strip was filled. By the end, we had a quilt that was from ceiling to floor! I hung it in the hallway so that each time the students would see their hard work daily...and to also let Debbie see it on her way down to see us!! 
Here is the finished product! 

 My kinder kiddos did an amazing job and they were so proud of their quilt! 

Carie Ramirez

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Debbie Clement Came to Visit!

Soooo, I was SOOOO excited to have Debbie Clement visit our school and I have not been able to blog about it! My internet has been going in and out for over a week now!!! I think we are finally up and running THANK GOODNESS!

Debbie and I had been planning for over 2 years to get together and this year, it FINALLY happened! She came and hung out at our K-1 school for the whole day. She did four 50minute sessions with pre-k, kinder and 1st grade kiddos and then did a teacher session where teachers could ask questions and learn more about the guest of honor.  Not only did the students LOVE her...so did the adults! I must say, so many of them needed Debbie this time of the year. Several of them said they had been in a slump and that Debbie's pulled them right out of that slump!  If you haven't had the music lady with stripes and polk-a-dots...AKA Debbie Clement come to your school yet...you need to work on that. You will not be disappointed...but you will be left wanting more!

Here are some photos from that day!

After Debbie's LONG day at Washington school, she then did a show for the whole community at our local community college. Lot's of fun, lot's of laughs and lots of dancing! The students who saw Debbie at school, were so excited to see her again at night AND to get the chance to buy a personally signed copy of  the book "Red, White and Blue" which our school had deemed "THE BEST SONG EVER". I might have just had a LITTLE to do with that because I introduced them to it and introduced SEVERAL others actually! Why? Because it tugged at my heart strings the first time I heard it and it is the book/song that brought Debbie and I together as friends! And the rest is history! To read some of the projects I have done and my colleagues have done in response to Debbie's picture books click on the name of the book below.

The last creation my kinders made was this welcome quilt for Debbie! I will share how we went about making this in my next blog!

SOOOOO, if you haven't booked Debbie Clement....WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!?! Oh, and if you want a little dose of her before she comes to your school...she is the Keynote presenter at the National Kindergarten Conference in LasVegas this summer!