Saturday, May 31, 2014

Making a Rosary

As many of you already know, I teach in a Catholic school about 20 minutes outside of Toronto.  Our focus in May was learning about Mother Mary and reciting the Hail Mary prayer.
I wanted to dive a little deeper with prayers and why we recite them.
So I brought in a few different rosaries and we discussed the importance and meaning of them.
This rosary was created and sent to me by my sweet friend, Leigh Ann.
We set up a variety of pipe cleaners and beads at the Creative Table.  We also laid out some pre-made pipe cleaner crosses to attach at the end of the rosary.
And then the children got to work!
They made such beautiful rosaries!
And now, of course, they can use them while reciting the Hail Mary.
What a wonderful way to end this beautiful month of May!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Our Spider Inquiry

We "found" a little visitor a couple of weeks back in our classroom...a spider!
Yes, he was hiding (or should I saw crawling) right near our blocks area.
All I remember hearing was loud shrieks (of excitement, not fear) from the students.  When I got to that area, I realized that they saw a spider.
So here I am, thinking...what am I going to do with this little fellow?
I am actually quite frightened by insects (yes, even little spiders!) but I thought this would be a great teachable moment.
So I found a small container and we gently scooped our new friend into it.
And so our new spider inquiry began...
 
The children spent a long time starring and observing the spider in his new home.
They had a lot of questions about how he got into our classroom! 
S.P. - "Why does the spider want to come into our classroom?"
N.T. - "Does he live outside?"
M.P. - "He probably has a family outside looking for him."
 
We wrote down our wonders about this new pet of ours and set out to find out more about him.
I took a group of students down to the library to get some non-fiction books on spiders.
The children spent a long time looking through and researching about spiders.  They set out to find what kind of spider he was.
They also decided that our new pet needed a name.  So they took a vote.
We ended up deciding on "Phil Kessel" - yes, he is named after a hockey player!
Some children wanted to draw the different spiders they found in the books.  We looked at how many body parts a spider had, how many legs and where his eyes were.
Our class decided that the spider needed a proper home.  So after searching through the books and reading about where spiders live and what they like to be surrounded by and eat, we made a list of things we needed to collect and add to his home.  At recess, we went out to the big field and started collecting twigs, small rocks, grass and leaves.
We learned that a spider has 2 main body parts, pedipalps (to turn his prey into liquid and suck him up) and a spinneret (to make a web).  We also learned that the reason spiders don't stick to their own webs was because they have oil on the bottom of their legs.
We wanted to make our own spider, complete with all the body parts, so we started creating him out of paper mache.
It was so much fun mixing the flour and water together to get things ready!
We also used yarn to create a web hanging from our ceiling to hang our spider on...right on top of our real pet!
The students decided to create insects at the creative table to add to the web.
I wanted to read the students one of my favourite books....Aaargh Spider! by Lydia Monks.  I found the book on You Tube and showed it to them on our Bright Links board....they loved saying "aaargh spider" on each page!
Something happened on the Friday of that week...when the students came to school one child noticed that the door was left open on the cage and "Phil" was gone!  The students thought he had escaped!
We searched all around our classroom for him!
He was nowhere to be found!  So the students decided to make "lost" posters and got to work making these signs to post around the school in the hopes that we would be able to find our lost spider.  We posted them everywhere...including on the staff room door.  Other students from around the school loved helping us look for "Phil".
Something happened last week...while in the library the students found a spider!
But it wasn't "Phil", as they quickly realized that this spider looked a little different.  He was a different colour and a little bigger in size (yikes!)...but they wanted to put him in our cage and observe him too.
One student even made a sign that the spider had been found!
This is a picture of our documentation wall.  I hope to add to it as we learn more about our new spider...whose name is, ready for this..."Hello Kitty".

 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"La Pizzeria"

Last Thursday, I overheard a few students in my class discussing restaurants...one of my favourite things to talk about!
So naturally I jumped in on the conversation.
One of my students ordered pizza for dinner the night before and was telling her friends the toppings that she liked on her pizza.
This lead us to think about changing our Dramatic Centre into a "Pizzeria".
And so we began to think about what a pizzeria might look like and what kinds of food it would serve.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
This is the area for the pizza toppings...these are all made from felt!
The tongs are for the Pizza Maker to use...and it's also a great way to work on our fine motor skills!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
The "pizza makers" were responsible for making each pizza, made to order!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
 http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
The "server" seated the customers and brought them a menu to look through.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
Then the pizza orders were taken using this form.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
We have "tables" everywhere in the class because this centre is so popular!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
We posted a list of toppings.  I love how the children also referred to this list when writing daily in our room.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pizzeria-Dramatic-Play-Center-1242368
I just posted this fun dramatic play centre on Teachers Pay Teachers and it's on
SALE
until tomorrow night!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Solanos-Pizzeria-Pizza-Unit-398834
If you are looking for more "pizza" fun, be sure to check out Tanya Solano's
Pizzeria Unit!  Lots of fun activities to add to your pizza theme!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Week

I'm getting ready to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week by throwing a sale in my TpT store...everything will be 20% off Tuesday and Wednesday!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Alessia-Albanese
Don't forget to use code TPTXO at checkout to save an additional 10%!
(Thank you, Maria, for the adorable graphic.)
 
Here's even more great news...
Do you wish you could get resources and materials for your classroom for FREE?
Well, you can!
If you live in the US, you'll want to check out the website Donors Choose, and if you are Canadian, the website My Class Needs both offer teachers the opportunity to ask potential donors to help fund an item(s) for their classroom.
I used My Class Needs last spring and asked donors to help fund a guided reading table for my classroom....guess what?  I got a guided reading table!
http://freebie-licious.blogspot.ca/2014/05/fund-your-classroom-projects-with.html
You can learn more about these amazing organizations, and even promote your project, by visiting the Freebielicious blog.
 
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week...and happy shopping!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Ice Cream Parlor - Dramatic Play Center

Do you have a Dramatic Play Center in your classroom?
I sure do!
That has to be one of the most popular centers...the students come up with all sorts of things they want to turn it into!
Recently, I overheard the students having a conversation about going out for ice cream (this was just over a week ago when the weather was warmer than it is now!).
I asked the students if they wanted to turn our Dramatic Center into an Ice Cream Parlor and they quickly got to work.
I involve the students as much as I can when we decide on something for our classroom.  We drew a plan of what we would like the Ice Cream Parlor to look like and have, then rearranged furniture and started collecting materials.
After much discussion of what the actual "ice cream" could be, we decided that Playdough would work best.
I went to the Dollar store that night and bought some real ice cream scoopers and containers to put the Playdough in so that it wouldn't turn hard.

The next day, the children decided that an ordering form would be great to have and students could colour the ice cream of their choice.  They also wanted to leave some ordering forms by the cashier (along with a telephone) in case they received any phone in orders (this sparked from one child who said her mother ordered her an ice cream cake for her birthday and called the store).
And off we went...
This area is for employees (the "scoopers") who take orders and scoop ice cream.
Bowls, spoons, napkins and cones are organized along with toppings.
The children decided to offer a few flavors of the day.  The rest of the ice cream was stored in the freezer (the cupboards that you see in the picture).  We would rotate the ice cream daily for new flavours.
The children had various roles they could play...scooper, server, cashier and, of course, customers (which was just as popular as the others!).
These were the toppings.  We learned that we all like different things on our ice cream!
I had labels for these topping containers including:  sprinkles, cherries, peanuts and marshmallows (all with pretend toppings inside, of course, which were sealed with tape so nothing could really come out!).
 
Customers could choose from either bowls or cones.  We didn't have pretend cones so instead we used these glasses (from Ikea - aren't they adorable?!).
 
I just posted this Ice Cream Dramatic Play Center in my TpT store...and it's on SALE until tomorrow night!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ice-Cream-Parlor-Dramatic-Play-Center-1230995
Want to win a copy?
Be sure to LIKE my Facebook page (click HERE to take you there).  Look for my entry and leave me your e-mail underneath as a comment.  I will be choosing 3 winners tonight!