Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Perfect Song for Right Now: "Gifts for Mommy!"

These 3's are holding their "bees" - carefully!
    Spring is…well, it's trying to spring here in Chicago.  Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup here!  With 1.5” of snow on Monday I think the crocus and anemones in my garden would disagree (not to mention the angry squirrels under my empty birdfeeder!  I've been busy, guys!)
     You may be preparing for a Mother’s Day program, or just need a great song to sing for Spring!  I don’t know where I first heard some of these verses – and I’ve added my own at my students’ requests.  It’s easy to learn, easy to teach, and the children love it.  They get the humor, no bees are squished and it’s downright adorable!  
     You probably already know the tune – “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee!”  If not, it’s on my Sticky Bubble Gum cd – you can hear a clip HERE (track #13) – and it was the Song of the Month on my website in May 2007.
Do you hear your bee? Bzzzz!
    I use Beanie Baby animals for visuals in each verse – you could use pictures or puppets, too.

Verse 1:  Waggle your pointer finger around while buzzing until you catch an imaginary bee.  Check your hands to be sure he’s in there!  Sing:

I’m bringing home a baby bumblebee
Won’t my Mommy be so proud of me!
I’m bringing home a baby bumblebee-
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
Teacher:  Would that be a good present for Mom?
Kids:  NO!
Teacher:  Then let him go – bzzzzzz!  How about a dinosaur?
Stomp! Stomp!


Verse 2:  Pat hands on thighs for dinosaur steps!

I’m bringing home a baby dinosaur
Won’t my Mommy hide behind the door!
I’m bringing home a baby dinosaur –
Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Stomp Stomp!
Teacher:  Would that be a good present for Mommy?
Kids:   Nooo!
Teacher:  How about a crocodile????

Chomp! Chomp!
Verse 3:  Open and close arms vertically in front of you to the beat to make croc jaws!

I’m bringing home a baby crocodile
Won’t my Mommy wear a great big smile!
I’m bringing home a baby crocodile –
Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!
Teacher:  Would Mommy like that?
Kids:   NO!
Teacher:  How about a grizzly bear?






Smiling grizzly bears - it's so much fun to growl!
Verse 4:  Make claw-paws.  Teach kids to put teeth together to growl!

I’m bringing home a baby grizzly bear
Won’t my Mommy tear out all her hair?!?
Oh, I’m bringing home a baby grizzly bear –
Grrrr!  Grrrr!  Grrrr! Grrrr! GRRRRR!
Teacher:  Would THAT make a good present form Mom?
Kids:  NOOO!
Teacher:  What if we brought Mom something she would really like?  Can you think of what your Mommy likes?  I’ve got a great big pot (hold out arms, hands touching in front, to make a big pot.)  What can we put in it that Mom would like?   (take all suggestions – flowers, kisses, chocolate, salad, noodles – yes, it usually includes things the children like, too!)  After all ideas are in, sing:

Verse 5:  Everyone holds a big “pot” in front of them.

I’m bringing home a great big pot of love
So much bigger than the sky above!
Oh, I’m bringing home a great big pot of love –

Hug, hug, kiss, kiss, kiss!
Teacher:  Would Mommy like that?
Kids:   YES!!!

    I have done a ladybug verse (won’t my Mommy give me a big hug?) and even done Daddy verses!  Have fun with this song – all year long!

Yours for a Mommy Song!
"Miss Carole" Stephens

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Montessori-Inspired Kite Activities Using Free Printables

Montessori-Inspired Kite Activities By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now  

April is National Kite Month! In honor of the month-long observance, I've created some kite activities using free printables for preschoolers through first graders. 

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

In addition, I have a new post at Living Montessori Now with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools.  

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  

Kite Counting Activity

  Kite Counting Tray

For this activity, I used the free kite counting printable from the Prek Letter K Printables by Confessions of a Homeschooler. I added ribbons to each of the kites and included 10 miniature clothespins from a craft store. I used a large plastic tray and large hemmed work rug from Montessori Services. 

If you want to use 10 clothespins rather than 55 clothespins for a complete layout, you could turn the kites upside down, let the child draw one, and have the child attach the correct number of clothespins to the ribbon before removing the ribbons to draw the next kite.

Kite Counting Activity

I love that the clothespins look like kite ribbons and add a fine-motor activity at the same time.

Kite Letter Activities with Glass Gems 


Kite Letter Activities with Glass Gems

This tray has three activities using the Romping and Roaring Letter K Pack from 3 Dinosaurs. I used the "Follow the K Path," "Find the Letter Kk's," and "Dot the Kk's" printables. I added a number of spring-colored glass gems and a sugar tong from Montessori Services for more work on fine-motor skills.

Cut and Glue Kite

Cut and Glue Kite

The Cut and Glue Kite printable from 1+1+1=1 reminds me a bit of Montessori constructive triangles and is a great way to reinforce shapes. This activity is also a fun way to work on scissors skills.

Flying a Kite Word Family Activity

Ake Words Tray

This activity uses the Flying a Kite Word Family printable from Really Roper at Teachers Notebook. There are "op" family words in the printable as well as "ake" family words. I like that the printable uses both nonsense words and real words.

Ake Words Layout

Carp Kite Craft

Carp Kite Craft

This activity adds a cultural element with the Carp Kite Craft printable (for Children's Day in Japan May 5) from Activity Village. For first graders, you could print out the directions (similar to the photo), add the necessary materials, and allow children to complete the craft independently.

More Free Kite Printables 

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to lots of kite freebies from around the blogosphere: Free Kite Printables and Montessori-Inspired Kite Activities.

For more April activities (and spring activities of all kinds), check out my April Themed Activities for Kids at Living Montessori Now.
Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBookIf you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my new eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12.
Have a great rest of the spring!
Deb - SigantureLiving Montessori Now Button
Deb ChitwoodDeb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 38 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and baby granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now. 

May be linked to Afterschool Express, Thoughtful Spot, Tuesday Tots, The Mommy Club Resources and Solutions at Milk and Cuddles and Crystal & Co., Mom’s Library, It’s Playtime, The Weekly Kid’s Co-op, Hearts for Home Blog Hop, Learn & Link, TGIF Linky Party, Preschool Corner, Ultimate Homeschool Pinterest Party, Sharing Saturday, Saturday Show & Tell, Share It Saturday, Show-and-Share Saturday, The Sunday Showcase, Link & Learn

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Parent (or Teacher), Happy Child

Two pianos were sitting next to each other in a room.  A person sitting at one piano pressed one key, causing a tone to fill the air.   Instantly, the string responsible for creating the same tone on the OTHER piano began to vibrate.  This isn’t the start of a joke, but an experiment that has been tested by physics experts.  The tone created by the first piano is a wave of vibrations that are absorbed by the strings on the other piano.  The one string on that other piano capable of producing the same tone that filled the air, responds by amplifying its own vibration.

People behave in a similar manner as pianos.  When one person enters a room expressing emotion, it is quite likely that one or more other persons in that room are likely to instantly take on that emotion.  Has this ever happened to you; your significant other or child began to express an intensified level of joy, excitement, worry, fear or anger, and before you realized it, you too were feeling a similar sense of that same emotion?

We are emotional creatures and we are each capable of taking on the emotion of someone we care about.  A close friend stops by with sad news and instantly we feel sad.  Our child arrives home announcing ecstatically that she’s won an award and we too are now feeling great joy.  Our significant other wakes up in a bad mood and we seem to absorb those vibrations, suddenly becoming moody ourselves.

The parents I work with complain to me about their children; the kids won’t cooperate, they scream “NO” at their parents, they talk back, they have frequent meltdowns, and they won’t help out, just to name a few of the common challenges.  Some of the common causes of these types of frustrating behaviors are created by the parents, and include: a lack of consistency in rules, little or no boundaries, talking too much, too many outside activities for the kids to keep up with, too much ‘screen time,’ and not enough parent/child connection time.

But one of the biggest causes is a lack of peace and calmness in the adults who care for the children.  Like the pianos, parents who have not been taking good care of themselves transmit negative frequencies to their families and then wonder why they aren’t getting the level of cooperation and peacefulness they desire.  If you want peaceful children, you must first become a peaceful parent.
When I prescribe this solution to some parents however, I’m quickly met with resistance.  I hear comments such as, “When I can afford a nanny or a housekeeper, then I can become more calm and peaceful.”  I remember the challenge myself; employed full-time, working hard to maintain a peaceful home, and raising three young children who liked to fight and challenge me every step of the way.


I realized that it was my responsibility to do whatever it took to learn how to calm myself and to take better care of me.  I quickly discovered that during weeks when I made time to take care of myself physically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally, it became easier for me to know how to handle situations at home and my children became easier to care for.  So what will YOU do this week to take better care of you?  Start by giving yourself permission to MAKE the time and follow through.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Art For the Sky!

A couple of weeks ago, our school participated in the most amazing community art project, and I wanted to share it with you!
(Look closely, the "paint" on this alligator is made up of about 750 students and staff members at our school!)

We worked with Daniel Dancer, an aerial artist from Oregon to create this jumbo-sized work of art on our soccer field. It was a true test of patience, collaboration, and community to pull the whole thing off! It is called "Art For the Sky"- a program that teaches children to utilize donated, post-consumer goods to create a giant, living painting using people. I worked closely with Mr. Dancer to design our project, which will be prominently displayed in our hallways for the next 40 years!

One of the teachings of Art for the Sky was that of "impermanence"...that this project is not forever. All of the materials we used will either be absorbed into the Earth or back into our community. The alligator's teeth were created using sand from our beach.

The water that made up the alligator's habitat was made up of over 500 pairs of jeans donated by our students and families. When the project was over, we donated the jeans to our local Salvation Army and to a local church who will be making them into shoes to send to Africa. 

Black mulch was used to outline our design, and red and yellow t-shirts made up the inside of the mouth and the eye. 


Finally it was time to call out the troops- all 650 students and 75 staff members to make up the "paint" of the alligator! We were lucky enough to have a local fire department bring their ladder truck so we could get the aerial shot. All our students crouched down and held it for about 5 minutes...and...
WE DID IT! It was such a great experience...to be a part of the whole, a symbolic piece of this school, and a memory for many years to come!

If you would like more information about Art for the Sky, or Daniel Dancer, please visit his website at www.artforthesky.com




Monday, April 7, 2014

Play Is Where Learning Begins: WOYC




Hi! I'm Ayn and I am a Ga. Pre-K teacher, serving 4 and 5 year olds in an inclusive setting. I share my classroom adventures on my blog, little illuminations.

April 6-12 is NAEYC's official "Week of the Young Child". The theme this year is "Early Years Are Learning Years". 


shared from the NAEYC website: http://www.naeyc.org/woyc

The purpose is "to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs". (NAEYC 2014) There are also several sub-themes, but today I'd like to focus on "Play: Where Learning Begins". 

Teachers and parents often ask what they can do to help celebrate WOYC. The answer is fairly simple! Provide lots of open ended opportunities for play, exploration and investigation! Children learn through play. Trial and error is an essential part of development. 

Provide opportunities for sensory exploration. 






Children will draw, write letters or their name, just about anywhere! 



Children learn about balance through play. They discover how their bodies move in space and how objects in their world around them react to their actions. 






This little boy filled dishes with sand and placed each one, precariously balancing on the last. 



When the tower would begin to wobble, he'd take each dish down, trying to get the balance just right. 




Finally, the tower stood tall!



These boys poured sand down the slide over and over again. They tried a variety of different ways and even used damp sand and very dry sand, sometimes trying to catch the sand at the bottom. At one point, they even attempted to slide with the sand!






In addition to open ended play, we often provide a game or two during our outside play. This helps children learn rules, social interactions and turn taking, in addition to the gross motor skills that these games often develop.






Pretend play is one of the ways children relate to the world around them. Provide lots of opportunities for children to explore family and occupational roles.














Allowing for free play with toys and materials as "loose parts" enhances creative and critical thinking skills. I remember in my first years teaching hearing other teachers tell children, "That's not how you play with those materials. Play with them the right way or you'll have to put them away." This was not just one situation or just one teacher. It was common practice. I cringe now when I think about those words and the creativity it stifled!





One of the greatest things about this type of play is the dialogue that goes along with it. I hear wonderful stories with intricate details about the loose parts play.

"This is a skyscraper. It has 17 floors!"




"We're making shapes!"



"This is my church!"



A movie theater


Another movie theater, by a different child, on a different day.



A pet village






The party at the top of the tree from "Go, Dog! Go!"




An elaborate marble run.




Here's a sign that even the children understand that play is important. This little tableau was made by a group on the playground early in the day, right in the middle of the playground. I took this picture late in the day, after several groups had come and gone. Every group left it be ---- without children or adults asking them to. 



Music, movement and dance are  great ways for child to learn and express themselves!








NAEYC is hosting a "Week of the Young Child Music Fest" Google Hangout April 9. You can find more information here. Also on that page is a list of resources about how children play with music. The article, "Young Children and Movement: The Power of Creative Dance" is by our very own Connie Dow! It is a GREAT resource!

I'm proud to say that I am a part of a weekly blog hop called "Just Playing?", hosted by Amy of Child Central Station. For great pictures and provocations of children at play, stop by Child Central Station or little illuminations on Thursdays to see how children are learning through play. Don't forget to check out the links at the bottom to see posts from other bloggers participating in the blog hop! We also have a Pinterest board of all the "Just Playing?" posts!




1-2-3-4  PLAY MATTERS!!!!!!!



Stop by and visit me anytime at littleilluminations.blogspot.com or visit the little illuminations fanpage on facebook! And be sure to check out PreK+K Sharing EEE!

 
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