Countdown to Christmas…

IMG_4717As we enjoy another clear, crisp and sunny day in Vancouver this last Sunday in November, our thoughts have already turned to…Christmas.

We’re well past Remembrance Day now, so we’ve allowed ourselves to indulge in thinking about Christmas at home and school.

We’re both early decorators at home for the holidays. Christy has earned

The adorable Christmas Village...

The adorable Christmas Village…

the illustrious nickname of “Christy Christmas” so you can imagine how fun and cute everything is at her house. Me? This picture from my Twitter profile gives you a clue as to what my Christmas obsession has been for the past 15 years.

 

Some of my favourites from my vintage Christmas ornament collection

Some favourites from my vintage collection.

Some favourites from my vintage collection.

Besides planning for the festivities (we’re both cooking Christmas dinner this year), decorating (Christmas tree, outdoor lights, decorative touches around the house, fresh floral arrangements), baking (cookies, cookies and more cookies for the teenagers) there is the final and inevitable task of…Christmas shopping.

We don’t enjoy Christmas shopping like we used to. When our kids were much younger, Christmas shopping was a lot more fun: we would buy what we, the parents, wanted to give them. We would be able to visit one or two wonderful toy stores and cover the majority of our lists. Now their Christmas lists are very specific, from far-flung stores and might we say…expensive?

Here’s a little poem about Christmas gift-giving we came across a few years ago from a comment a reader left in a personal finance blog….

Something you wish for
Something you need
Something to wear
And something to read.

When we proposed this to the teenagers, it didn’t go over particularly well (“What? Only four gifts?”) But they did understand the sentiment behind it, that perhaps simplifying gift-giving at Christmas might be something to be considered when we reflect on what Christmas is truly about on a personal level.

However, the one gift that we haven’t changed too much is the Christmas Book Bag.

The Self-Regulated Teacher

blogA Christmas tradition from our homes has been to give a book bag every year to our children (thank you to Dianne W. for this wonderful idea).

When they were young, we bought mostly picture books, activity books and comics; and although it’s changed to reference books, novels and magazines as they’ve grown older, it’s a gift our kids still look forward to every year. It’s the one present they can open while they’re waiting for the parents to get up. We have to admit it’s pretty funny to walk down the stairs on Christmas morning and see your kids sitting quietly reading around the tree! But it’s extremely gratifying as well.

We thought we’d share with you some of the Christmas books we’ve selected over the years. All of these books are beautifully written, rich with language and charming illustrations. We hope that you might find one (or more)…

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Remembrance Day Reflections-Art, Writing and Literature

IMG_2145We read two very special books this Remembrance Day, A Poppy is to Remember by Heather Patterson and Ron Lightburn and The Peace Book by Todd Parr.

We read A Poppy is to Remember on Tuesday, before we headed off to our Remembrance Day Assembly.  It’s a gorgeous book, beautifully illustrated and an excellent jumping off point for our young students.

IMG_2094One of the art projects we worked on for Remembrance Day was to make a poppy using a block print made from an acorn squash.  The acorn squash had been hanging out in the classroom for a few days, along with a few other gourds.  Each time we passed them as we were lining up, two or three children were always touching them, feeling the deep grooves and ribs and bumps of these fascinating vegetables.

The children watched us cut it open (you don’t often get to see your teacher doing food prep) and a few children excitedly scooped out the seeds.  Then we cut the potato and we were ready to begin.

IMG_2117We painted the acorn squash red and printed it onto grey construction paper.

Then we painted the potato black and printed the centre of our poppy. Gorgeous!

 

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Most of you know that we are huge Todd Parr fans and the The Peace Book is one of our favourites.

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We introduced the book earlier this week, and started with a discussion about the topic of peace.  Here are some of the children’s thoughts:

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And the work they completed for our class big book.

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FullSizeRender-2With our Grade 7 Buddies we made our peace doves.  It’s been really fun with our Buddies over the past number of years because Christy and I taught these very children when they were either in Grade One or Kindergarten as that was the time of our job-share.  We can have a bit of a laugh with the Big Buddies as they remember the crafts from when they were little (and many of them still have their Kindergarten work) and we can all share some stories about their Kindergarten class.

This Week in Our Room:  November 8-13, 2015

Please ensure that everyday your child comes with a full kit of clothing for the wet, cold weather.  A warm jacket, hat, gloves and boots are necessities.  If your child wishes to have an addition fleece layer, we think that’s a great idea.

Some of the children have asked us if they can stay inside for the rainy recess times.  Unfortunately, we do not have enough staff for supervision of individual students.  If your child is not feeling well, and cannot manage all aspects of the full day of school, it’s probably best to stay home for a few days, rest and come back to school ready to play.

We’re still collecting wrapping paper, ribbon and clean, tissue-free paper rolls for our Christmas Cracker project.  Thank you for your donations.

 

Hallowe’en Fun in the Kindergarten: Part 2

FullSizeRender-12We’re going to share our Hallowe’en booklist for you in case you missed it.  It was buried deep in last week’s post.

A holiday post from us would not be complete without a booklist.  Here’s the best of what we’re reading to the Kindergarten for Hallowe’en.

  • Franklin’s Hallowe’en (Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
  • The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin (Margaret Wise Brown and Richard Egielski)
  • Harriet’s Hallowe’en Candy (Nancy Carlson)
  • Ten Little Beasties (Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley)
  • Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie (Jill Esbaum)
  • A Day at the Pumpkin Patch (Megan Faulkner and Adam Krawesky)
  • The Pumpkin Book (Gail Gibbons)
  • It’s Pumpkin Time (Zoe Hall and Sheri Halpern)
  • The Littlest Pumpkin (R.A. Herman and Betina Ogden)
  • Little Goblins Ten (Pamela Jane and Jane Manning)
  • The Biggest Pumpkin Ever (Steven Kroll)
  • From Seed to Pumpkin (Wendy Pfeffer and James Graham Hale)
  • 10 Trick-or-Treaters (Janet Schulman and Linda Davick)
  • Big Pumpkin (Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler)
  • One Spooky Night (Kate Stone)
  • Too Many Pumpkins (Linda White and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Pumpkin Blanket (Deborah Turney Zagwyn)

IMG_0435This Week in Our Room:  October 25-29, 2015

With everything that’s been going on for Hallowe’en, we did not work on our next letter, “F.”  We will be back to working on the alphabet next week.

Both of our classrooms had the protective film on our windows replaced this week.  It helps to reduce the light and glare off of our whiteboards which can make it difficult to see when the sun is shining really brightly.

We sent home the November homework calendar.  Please bring back October’s homework calendar next week for a sticker.

IMG_0437Hallowe’en Centres Party

We had a really fun and exciting time at our Hallowe’en Centres party on Wednesday!  First of all, we must say a big “thank you so very much” to the parent volunteers who helped to make this special event possible.  The children had a truly enjoyable morning making their bat craft and decorating their spider cupcakes, creating a Hallowe’en Math pattern, sculpting with play dough and drawing in their Hallowe’en colouring books.

IMG_2069Hallowe’en Parade and Assembly

The Kindergarten led the way through our school hallways as we led the Primary students in our costume parade.  Thank you so much for helping your child to prepare for our fun day!  The children all looked so wonderful.

During our Assembly, we sang Hallowe’en songs and reviewed the safety rules for trick-or-treating:

  1.  Light your way-make sure you can be seen.
  2.  Let’s talk about the route-be certain you know where you are going.
  3.  Don’t touch that-if you don’t know what it is, back away.
  4.  Follow the rules of the road-walk on the sidewalk and wear reflectors if necessary.
  5.  Don’t run-walk carefully so you don’t trip on your costume.
  6.  Get home safely, stay together-being safe is the most important part of the Hallowe’en night!
Party's over....

Party’s over….

Well, Hallowe’en celebrations are finished at school for another year.  We wish everyone a safe and happy Hallowe’en!

 

 

Upcoming Next Week:

Library Day for Division 15 is Monday, and Library Day for Division 16 is Tuesday.

We’re looking forward to seeing our Grade 7 Buddies next week and getting started on our Peace Doves and other art projects for Remembrance Day.

Dates and Reminders:

Wednesday, November 11 is Remembrance Day.  School is not in session.

Hallowe’en Fun in the Kindergarten: Part 1

FullSizeRender-13Five years ago was the beginning of a changing lens on Hallowe’en for Christy and I at school.  Our school hallways are traditionally decorated, and a grotesque figure in the main foyer one year upset a Kindergarten child.  She refused to walk past it, and we had to shield her view to usher her into the library which was our destination.  We’ve never forgotten that incident and it continues to shape much of what we do today.

Outside of school, the children have lots to be excited about on Hallowe’en. The idea of dressing up as your favourite character and collecting candy is very appealing.  But Hallowe’en has become noticeably scarier over the years, with more gore and hints of creepiness evident in costumes and commercial decorations.  We struggle every year as we try to focus on the best and most appropriate parts of Hallowe’en for our young students in the classroom.

Reconciling a calm, self-regulated learning environment and Hallowe’en has required some thoughtful planning and reflection on our part.

IMG_2027We’ve added some beautiful orange fairy lights along some of our bulletin boards. With the cloudy days being a little darker, the lights are warm and welcoming. We’ve actually just been enjoying looking at the lights and listening to a little Charlie Brown jazz music.  (True story:  as I was hanging up the lights during lunch, one of my students asked, “Mrs. Daudlin, why are you putting up Christmas lights already?”  While I was pondering my response, another student replied, “Oh, those are for Hallowe’en.  She’s going to put up rainbow lights at Christmas.”  How cute is that?)

IMG_2026We’re putting up far less Hallowe’en “stuff” on our walls.

Instead, we brainstormed some familiar Hallowe’en vocabulary and created a Hallowe’en word bank with pictures and labels to support the children in their drawing and writing.

We’ll be learning about the life cycle of the pumpkin and the names of the various stages.

And we’re providing more opportunities for oral language as we sing FullSizeRender-15Hallowe’en songs and chant poems.

We’ve created some fabulous Hallowe’en themed art to decorate our classrooms.

FullSizeRender-14We drew and coloured our beautiful monthly self-portraits.  We love looking back at the growth in maturity as the children’s drawings of themselves become more sophisticated over the school year.

Deep Space Sparkle Pumpkins. We introduced warm colour mixing with red, yellow and orange on pumpkins we had drawn with white pastel. We mixed the paint right on the paper.  Then we were inspired by a photo of some pumpkin art from our Principal. We found ourselves cutting out our pumpkins to mount on black paper, then added painted paper stems, leaves and grass.  We’ve hung them up quilt style, and next week, we will add the Jack-o-lantern features for some Hallowe’en fun.  These are our favourite kinds of art projects as we love creating the anticipation for completion.  We will have taken three weeks from start to finish, and our children are learning the valuable lessons of patience, perseverance and delayed gratification.

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Hallowe’en Wreaths.  Our wreaths are in progress as we make them with our Grade 7 Buddies.  Each Big and Little Buddy pair use tracers to trace and cut out the four shapes of pumpkin, bat, moon and ghost.  These are decorated simply with crayons, and glued onto a wreath shape.  Bows and stickers are the final details to complete our sweet project.

FullSizeRender-12Of course a holiday post from us would not be complete without a booklist.  Here’s the best of what we’re reading to the Kindergarten for Hallowe’en.

 

  • Franklin’s Hallowe’en (Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
  • The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin (Margaret Wise Brown and Richard Egielski)
  • Harriet’s Hallowe’en Candy (Nancy Carlson)
  • Ten Little Beasties (Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley)
  • Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie (Jill Esbaum)
  • A Day at the Pumpkin Patch (Megan Faulkner and Adam Krawesky)
  • The Pumpkin Book (Gail Gibbons)
  • It’s Pumpkin Time (Zoe Hall and Sheri Halpern)
  • The Littlest Pumpkin (R.A. Herman and Betina Ogden)
  • Little Goblins Ten (Pamela Jane and Jane Manning)
  • The Biggest Pumpkin Ever (Steven Kroll)
  • From Seed to Pumpkin (Wendy Pfeffer and James Graham Hale)
  • 10 Trick-or-Treaters (Janet Schulman and Linda Davick)
  • Big Pumpkin (Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler)
  • One Spooky Night (Kate Stone)
  • Too Many Pumpkins (Linda White and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Pumpkin Blanket (Deborah Turney Zagwyn)

One of the benefits of a simpler Hallowe’en has been to downsize our decorations.  We’ll be making the drive to the Salvation Army this weekend.

This Week in Our Room:  October 19-22, 2015

This week we learned the correct formation for the letter “E.”  As we are brainstorming ideas, segmenting words and labelling our pictures, the children are solidifying the sound/symbol relationship of each of the alphabet letters.

In Math, we’ve been creating AB, AAB, and ABC patterns using manipulatives during our Math rotations.  This week we represented our learning by choosing a pattern and creating a patterned frame around our name.

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Our school watched our first Cultural Event, “Marimba Muzuva” on Wednesday.  We were delighted with the children’s audience behaviour; they sat politely and listened for almost an hour in a very hot gym.  The children were able to enjoy some of the songs, stories and dances of Zimbabwe and participated with clapping, chanting and dancing with the rest of the student population. Thank you very much to our RPAC for sponsoring this event.

Reminders

It’s a Professional Day tomorrow and students are not in session.  We are attending the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative Leadership Roundtable tomorrow, “Building School Capacity to Support Student Success:  Creating Quality Learning Environments Through a Self-Regulation Lens.”  We look forward to learning more about creating the best self-regulated learning environment we can for our students.

Library Day is Monday for Division 15, and Tuesday for Division 16. Please return your Library Book so you may borrow a new one.

Our classes are starting to catch colds and coughs and some children have had fevers.  It’s probably a good time to review the use of Kleenex, hand washing and coughing into your elbow at home again with your child.  If your children are sick, please keep them at home.  We know the children want to come to school but they simply do not have the stamina and energy required for the full day.  As their parents, you can and should make that decision for them.  The children need to stay at home, and come back to school rested and in good health.

Next Wednesday we are holding our annual Hallowe’en Centres party for our children, from 9-10:30. The children do not need to dress up in their costumes, but they may certainly wear their Hallowe’en t-shirts, black and orange, headpieces and jewelry.  They will be very busy participating in Hallowe’en themed activities!

All next week Ridgeview will also be collecting non-perishable food items for the “We Scare Hunger” Campaign, sponsored by our Grade 7 Me to We team.  Please send the donations to our classroom and your children will deliver them to the collection area in the main hallway.

Friday, October 30, is another great Ridgeview tradition:  Our annual Hallowe’en Parade and Assembly.  All students are invited to dress up in their Hallowe’en costumes.  Please remember not to send in any items that resemble weapons.  Our Principal will lead our costumed students through our hallowed hallways as we make our way to the gym for a fun assembly of Safety Information, songs and stories.  This will take place from 9:15-10:00.

Easter Fun

Easter is so much fun in the Kindergarten.  It’s such a lovely time, full of hope and anticipation about photo 2-3everything that’s new and growing.  It’s a lot like how we see our Kindergarten children:  we are so full of hope for them as we anticipate their growth and maturity, and we head into our final term together.

We had just a short turnaround from Spring Break to get ready for Easter at school.

 

We created some wonderful art:

We completed our monthly self-portraits with an Easter theme.

We completed our monthly self-portraits with an Easter theme.

 

We made glitter torn paper eggs for our classroom tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We used pastels to pattern our eggs, and then we gave them a watercolour wash.

We used pastels to pattern our eggs, and then we gave them a watercolour wash.

 

 

 

 

 

We made bunny baskets with our Grade 7 Buddies.

We made bunny baskets with our Grade 7 Buddies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And we just had a fun Easter egg hunt where we each looked for one special egg, filled with alphabet letters and chocolate mini eggs. We demonstrated excellent self-regulation, remaining calm and quiet on the carpet as we waited for our friends to find their egg. We didn’t open our eggs until we all returned to the tables.

 

 

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Then we glued the alphabet letters onto an Easter word puzzle to spell a special message.

 

 

Of course, we read Easter stories from some of our favourite authors:

  • The Easter Egg (Jan Brett)photo 4-2
  • The Chocolate Rabbit (Maria Claret)
  • Quiet Bunny’s Many Colours ((Lisa McCue)
  • Max’s Chocolate Chicken (Rosemary Wells)
  • The Bunny Who Found Easter (Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Helen Craig)

We wish you a Happy Easter and hope that all your Chocolate dreams come true!

Winter Celebrations in the Kindergarten

There’s no doubt we’ve been super busy this month.

We’re ice-skating on Wednesdays, our school had Crazy Hat and Hair Day this week and we’ve just had two fun Winter celebrations in our class, Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year.

Valentine’s Day

photo 1-1Valentine’s Day generated a lot of excitement this year in our classes.  We made some crafts, read a few Valentine stories and held a Valentine card exchange.

We made Valentine card holders out of paper bags and decorated them.  In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day the children brought their Valentines for each other and placed them into the appropriate bags.  Our only restriction is that each student, if he or she wishes to give out the Valentines, gives to all the girls, or all the boys, or everyone.  We stapled up the bags to send home as many of the cards had sweets attached to them.  As each family has their own rules for the consumption of candy, we thought it best to let moms and dads decide with their children.

In our class, Valentine’s Day is all about Friendship, and that is illustrated so well in the book Franklin’s Valentine by Paulette Bourgeois.  Franklin’s Valentines fall out of his unbuckled backpack and he’s sad and disappointed, thinking his friends won’t give him a Valentine if doesn’t have any to exchange.  Franklin’s friends all have special cards for him, and he learns that friendship is not about the cards, but the caring and kindness of others.

We had a small party and enjoyed a delicious snack of fruit and veggie trays and cupcakes and cookies, all supplied by our generous parent group.

Valentine Books We’ve Read

  • Franklin’s Valentine (Paulette Bourgeois, illustrated by Brenda Clark)
  • My Heart is Like a Zoo (Michael Hall)
  • I Spy Little Hearts (Jean Marzollo, photographs by Walter Wick)
  • Mouse’s First Valentine (Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Buket Ergogan)

photo 2-1Chinese New Year

Gung Hay Fat Choy!  It’s the Year of the Goat (or Sheep, depending upon your calendar).

We’ve enjoyed sharing some excellent books about Chinese New Year with our students, which have focused on the traditions and symbols of this special time spent with our families and friends.

 

  • Sam and the Lucky Money (Kevin Chinn, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright)photo 1-2
  • D is for Dragon (Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Yongsheng Xuan)
  • The Runaway Wok (Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Sebastia Serra)
  • Dragon Dance (Joan Holub, illustrated by Benrei Huang)
  • My First Chinese New Year  (Karen Katz)
  • Chinese New Year (David F. Marx)
  • Lon Po Po (A Red Riding Hood Story from China) (Ed Young)

 

 

We kicked off our celebrations on Chinese New Year’s Eve with oranges and “ly-cee” bags, the special red envelopes, donated from one of our families.

Mrs. Kennedy, our teacher-librarian, started reading The Runaway Wok with the Kindergarten and will finish our story next week.

We decorated some pretty flowering branches to symbolize the upcoming spring and all things new and growing.

We made Chinese dragons in Art, like the dragons in the Chinese Dragon Dance.

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We celebrated Chinese New Year’s in our classes on Friday.  We read the amazing book, Lon Po Po, by Ed Young.  It is similar to the fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, but set in China.  We illustrated our favourite part of the story in pastel, and we’ll give our pictures a watercolour wash next week.  Then we’ll cut the pictures into panels and back them onto construction paper.  This Chinese art form will be similar to the pictures in Lon Po Po, where the illustrations are featured as panels.

The Chinese New Year banquet is of great importance, as food is in all of our great cultural celebrations.  For the Kindergarten, we ate a delicious Chinese New Year’s “snack” provided by our wonderful parents.

We ate noodles for a healthy, long life, and dumplings.photo 4

We ate oranges, which stand for prosperity and good luck.

And of course, what makes a Chinese meal for the children?  Fortune cookies!

And we had “ly-cee,” the special red envelopes which symbolize prosperity, filled with a special candy.

Thank you so very much to all of the families who donated food and their time to support our Kindergarten program.

Gung Hay Fat Choy to all of you, good health, good luck and prosperity in the New Year!

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