Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Puppets Rock!

Puppets...they never get old.  I've seen a resurgence in puppet play in the last few weeks in the classroom. There may be a correlation between "doing stories" and the idea of acting things out.  It's such a great way to encourage communication literacy.  The kids have no problem acting things out with one another. Walls are let down and confidence is boosted. Kids do and say things with a puppet on their hand or fingers that they wouldn't normally do on their own.  They're playing...and learning too. I love that!

We had "inside-recess" today, and of all the choices they had in the room - a bunch of them flocked to the puppet stand.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Doing" Stories

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend the National Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference in Orlando, Florida. My mind is still spinning from the take-aways from this incredible conference which hosts one of the largest contingents of early childhood educators in the country.

The opening keynote was by Vivian Paley - who is well known in the realms of early education. I was refreshed and inspired.  Vivian shared her thoughts and ideas through the art of storytelling. One idea she shared was that of "doing stories".  She shared an example of a students' dictated story and bringing it to life through theater. She simply gathered the author and a few players (actors) for the story. While she narrated, they acted it out.  The entire process took only a couple of minutes. I was eager to use this technique with the kids. I modified it slightly by using stories that the children had already written. The results were magical.

I less time than it takes to make popcorn in the microwave, I was able to lift up and encourage the entire class through this process of "doing stories". It was so simple. The entire class - author, actors, and audience - was empowered by the physical act of sharing a story.  Every child was engaged. Every was included. Awesome!

Here is an example of our class doing one of our young authors story.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

We are thankful for 5th brade Buddies

One of the highlights during my year of teaching is to have a mentor (or buddy) classroom. We typically join forces with our neighboring 5th grade classroom down the hall. Several times each year we meet to do projects together, read to each other, or play some games and team building activities. Today we met our buddies for the first time to create our "I am thankful for..." books.  It is wonderful to for our littlest ones to have older kids to look up to. This relationship encourages confidence and self-esteem as kindergarteners proudly wave and give "hi-fives" to their buddies in the hallway and on the playground. It is also great to see our 5th grade students, in their final year of elementary school, take a little one under their wings while reminiscing about their days-of-old. I've never met a group of older students who didn't love spending some time with a kindergartener. The big-brother/big-sister instinct is strong, regardless of whether or not they have siblings themselves. I love the special memories we create throughout the year. Thank you 5B!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Several weeks ago we read a book in our Reading Street program called Plaidypus Lost. Each year we supplement this fun-filled week of learning with a silly song and video by Steve Axtell called P-P-Platypus.  The kids think it's pretty hilarious. This year it, Steve Axtell held a contest in response to the video. An authentic, professional Platypus puppet (as seen in the video) would be given to the group with the most people singing/performing the Platypus song.  Mr. Schaefer, fellow kindergarten teacher, spearheaded this plan for our entry into the contest.  Cold Springs School kindergarten (4 classes, approx 20 in each) and our neighboring Chief Charlo school kindergarten (4 classes, approx 20 in each - and a 2nd grade class) Skyped each other to record the entire group singing the song.  It worked out to about 180 students in total. We won! Here is is picture of the KF Dragons with their new friend.

Here is our winning video. Click here to see the Steve Axtell P-P-Platypus video on Youtube.