Monday, November 10, 2014

Celebrating Veteran's Day in Kindergarten


Here are some ideas for you!

Veteran's Day in my kindergarten classroom is a time of year that I hold very close to my heart because as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a Veteran myself. I served in the Army Reserves for 9 years and did a tour in Iraq. I love that I can share my past with my kinders to help them to understand what a Veteran is and to realize that many of them have Veteran's in their very own family!

Throughout the week the kiddos learn about what it means to be patriotic and what our flag looks like and why it looks the way it does. They also learn what a Veteran is an the different branches in which they have served or are currently serving.

To start off our Veteran's Day unit we sing and sign Debbie Clement's  Red, White and Blue book/song. If you don't have this book, you MUST purchase it! It is one of my favorites of all time!

After we sing and sign "Red, White and Blue", I then show my class a slide show of many of my old military photos and photos of many of my colleagues children or spouses who are also veterans. The kiddos really enjoy seeing their teacher in uniform and think it is the "coolest thing ever" that their teacher was in the Army. This get's them super psyched for the whole unit!
Last year, I found so awesome Veteran's day activities on TpT, but one that really stuck out to me was one made by Mary over at Sharing Kindergarten. Included in her Veteran's Day pack was this interactive reader. We completed the reader together and then went back and highlighted sight words that we have been working on. 


I also brought in several of my old uniforms for the kiddos to try on during their choice time. They really enjoyed putting on the uniforms and prancing around the classroom. They then wanted their pictures taken. Some of the kiddos were so comfortable in the uniforms that I think they forgot they even had them on because as you can see in the picture below, they continued about their business without even taking it off!

They worked together to get the uniforms on just right and some even had fun trying on the PT uniform with the combat boots! haha!

After learning about what Veterans are, I send a letter home asking parents to send in picture of anyone in their family, who their child knows, that is a veteran. Once pictures are sent in, the child gets to share their picture(s) with the class and then it goes up on the "veteran's we know" bulletin board in our classroom. 

On our Art day, we took our prior knowledge of the American flag and added a few more details by reading parts of the book The Flag We Love by Pam Munoz Ryan. This book is a little over their heads, so I only read the parts that felt we at their level and would help them to better understand why our flag is the way it is.

After learning a little more about our flag, the kiddos painted American flags to hang up in the hallway and to hang up around our Veteran's showcase that is up year round in our school (shown behind our teachers who are wearing their "I Support Our Troops" shirts). 

And here are the flags they painted. I think they did amazing!

Today, we finished our Veteran's Day mini unit/celebration. To end our unit, I surprised my kiddos by going and changing into my old uniform and wearing my old kevlar. When I stepped foot into the classroom, they were so exited and wanted to come over and touch my uniform (the same ones that they have been wearing for a week now) and to get their picture taken with me. They were in awe that their teacher was there in front of them in her Army uniform! It made it all become more real to them. 

Last but not least, I made sure that my kiddo's knew why there is no school tomorrow, by asking each of them before they left, "Why do we have tomorrow off of school?". All but 2 could tell me why! (the other two thought that it was "Turkey Day", which we haven't even talked all that much about yet! haha).

Be sure to thank a Veteran tomorrow! If you are a Veteran...THANK YOU for your service to this great nation! I am forever grateful for you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day

Today in Kindergarten we excersised our right to vote! We even used an official ballot marker! 

With Election Day today, we discussed how the voting process works. First they must register to vote. Then they go to their polling place (our classroom). Then they had to state their name to receive their ballot. Once they received their ballot they moved to the booth to place their votes! 


Once they put their ballot in the box, they, as we do, received their "I voted today" sticker to wear proudly.

We also found some amazing books that taught us about voting. Here are a few for you to choose from: 

Happy Election Day! We sure to hope that you excersised your right to vote! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today, I was sent to Missouri to join 179 other members of the United States Army to begin our journey to Iraq. Of those 179 other people, I knew about five. We were strangers put together to form a unit to fight together in a foreign country. Strangers who later became family. We set off on a journey together and came home together (Praise The Lord). We shared memories of the good, the bad and the ugly, but we shared those memories none the less. No one will ever understand what we, our unit, our family endured unless they were a part of us. Yes, others have served overseas and understand deployment, but each experience is unique. 

As I look back, I am forever thankful for the experiences I had, the people I met, the friends I gained through my deployment. I am truly thankful that the Good Lord blessed me with so many wonderful things in my life, especially a husband who stuck around when the going got tough (I was deployed our whole first year of marriage). 

With all of that said, I find it most intriguing that I honestly went from a Soldier fighting in Iraq, to kindergarten teacher within months. I love my job, I love teaching and I love that I was given the opportunity to serve both my country and now serve my community as an educator. As I said before, I am blessed beyond words. 
I love my country and I love my couldn't be any more perfect! 
        My battle buddy and I in Iraq.

One of my little Kindergartners from last year and I. 

Thanks for visiting my blog! 


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Guided Drawing Project

A couple years ago, I was goofing around and did a "fly by the seat of my pants" hand print activity. I had the kiddo's trace their hands and then at that moment, caught a glimpse of my "Thing 2" classroom pointer. This game me a great idea! From this point on, I was going to make it a guided drawing lesson.

I had the children write a C in each of their hand prints then  draw a backward C next to it. Next, make a big black dot in each of the C's. ...The list went on and then at the very end, I had them draw their traced fingers blue. And all of the sudden, THING 1 and THING 2 came to life for them! They were so thrilled that they just drew a Dr. Seuss character...or should I say characters with an S since there were two of them! This is what the final product looked like!

This year, many of my colleagues used the Art series that we use to make The Cat in the Hat but I wanted to do something different. So again, I put on my thinking cap and went to work. How could I make this a guided drawing lesson so that these little fellas ACTUALLY look like Thing 1 and Thing 2. There was no better way to try than to just go for it...if they turned out horrible...well, we could try again.
So, again, I began with hand prints for the head. I reminded students that what ever we did on one hand print, we would do to the other. Next I  made sure we had a neck and a round-oval shaped body. The legs we wrote the letter L and then wrote another one next to it and closed it up. Then a backward L for the next leg and repeated the process. The arms were done very similar to the legs. This time I told students to draw a straight line out then a short line down. Then close them up. One of the students said "hey, that is a side-ways L"! So, we drew a side-ways L on the other side and closed it up.

Then we started to color their hair...AKA the students' fingers...

After coloring their hair, I realized that I almost forgot to draw the circles on their bellies!!! So, we stopped and drew a circle in the center of their bellies and wrote Thing 1 and Thing 2! 

Last but not least...I had students color the bodies red and then had them trace over the facial features with a black crayon. Then VIOLA...they turned out like THIS!!!!

 So, for trying a guided drawing lesson from scratch, I thought they turned out pretty good if I don't say so myself! 

You can pick up the directions at my TpT store! Just click the picture above!!!

Have a Seusstastic Weekend!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Silly Rhyme Writing in Kindergarten

I am always looking for new ways to involve writing in the classroom. This year, the students in our team have been struggling with rhyming. They are just so inconsistent. Right when we think they have it, they don't! So I decided to work on writing and rhyming at the same time. I dug through my tub of rhyming books and found one of my favorites titled Cat is Back at Bat by John Stadler. 

The book is full of silly animal rhymes. Each page holds it's own rhyme and illustration for that rhyme. After reading the book through once, we went back through and talked about the word family/rime that was used on each page. We did this to review why words rhyme!

The next day, we focused on a certain word family/rime and wrote out the words that students built in the winter word family book we used from Debi Goodman. I chose to use these books because then we wouldn't have too many words to choose from when making our rhyme, otherwise it becomes too much for the kiddos.

Once we came up with our list, the students worked together to come up with a silly rhyme. This process was repeated daily for 7 days (on the last day, we did two rhymes). This resulted in eight silly rhymes, thus eight pages to a class book. We titled our book "Stop and Hop," Said the Mop. The title came from one of the pages in the book that we wrote just like in the book Cat is Back at Bat

Below you will see the cover of the book.

Here is some of the students' work and a few of the pages included in the book we wrote together. 

 On the final day, I stapled the books together and sent them home with each child. The kiddos were very excited to get a book, written by them, to take home to read to their family! They are officially author's of a Kindergarten Published book! 

If you have fun writing activities to share, leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you! 

This week we are celebrating Dr. Seuss! I will have a guided drawing activity up soon! On that note...I need to get going on my outfit tomorrow!! It is Wacky Wednesday...MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE WHOLE YEAR!!!!