Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

Let’s Celebrate!

Today the kindergarten class held our annual Dads and (hot) Dogs celebration. We began preparing for this special day weeks ago! Students painted festive pencil holders for their loved one.

Students also made place mats.

Additionally, they wrote a special book. I always learn so much about the dads in my class from this activity.

The children were BEYOND excited to welcome their loved ones to campus!

We enjoyed lunch and a game of baseball.

Too much fun!

What a special day where many memories were made!

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Castle Project

Last week during Friday Fun, students received a castle kit with some fairy tale characters. They began coloring it here at school, but with so many fun pieces, they quickly ran out of time! I was so excited to receive this picture this morning of a student who spent part of his weekend coloring, constructing, and playing with his castle.

Yay for imagination!

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Mindfulness

The kindergarten and first-grade classes had a very special opportunity to practice mindfulness with Annie Ranger, the author of Mindful Owl Adventures. Ms. Ranger explained that “mindfulness is the act of being fully present in each moment with kindness and without judgment.” She began the lesson by having the students practice breathing.

Ms. Ranger then shared her book.

She ended the lesson by sharing another mindfulness tool….glitter jars.

 

The purpose of these jars is to take calming breaths while the glitter moves from the top of the jar to the bottom. The students could not get enough of these fun jars and begged me to put the recipe on the blog. Here is how you make them:

Find a small water bottle or jar (These were Voss water bottles.) Fill the bottle with 80% water and 20% clear dish soap or clear glue. Add glitter or small acrylic beads, buttons, or scatter like the hearts above. Shake and enjoy the peacefulness the jars create.

 

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Friday Fun

The kindergarteners made more fairy tale magic today during Friday Fun! In the kitchen, they enjoyed making Rapunzel’s braid bread. This was a great activity for fine motor building, as the students had to roll three pieces of dough.

  

They also had to divide the dough into three equal parts and learn how to braid! (more fine motor!)

Students also worked on coloring and creating a 3D castle. This will be such a fun tool for them to use as a setting when they retell their fairy tales!

Finally, students engaged in a STEM kit where they constructed a solid chair that would hold one of the three bears.

One more Friday Fun to go before we live happily ever after….

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Royal STEM Adventures

Have you ever wondered how the princess in the classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, made it to the top of the giant stack of mattresses? The kindergarteners sure did, especially when a beautiful bed stacked high with mattresses showed up in our classroom!

I set out many different supplies that the students could use to construct a way for the princess to reach the top of the mattresses.

They quickly began building different contraptions and revising their ideas.

I loved watching the students design, test, redesign, and then present their creations.

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Peacefulness

During Swooper Citizens this week we introduced the concept of peacefulness or feeling calm and at ease. We talked about how we feel and how our bodies respond when we are peacefulf. I showed this great video clip:

I asked students to identify a place where they go to be peaceful. The lesson then shifted to the practice of mindfulness, as I read aloud the book I Am Peace by Susan Verde.

“When the world feels chaotic, find peace within through an accessible mindfulness practice from the bestselling picture-book dream team that brought us I Am Yoga. Express emotions through direct speech. Find empathy through imagination. Connect with the earth. Wonder at the beauty of the natural world. Breathe, taste, smell, touch, and be present.

Perfect for the classroom or for bedtime, Susan Verde’s gentle, concrete narration and Peter H. Reynolds’s expressive watercolor illustrations bring the tenets of mindfulness to a kid-friendly level. Featuring an author’s note about the importance of mindfulness and a guided meditation for children, I Am Peace will help readers of all ages feel grounded and restored.” (Amazon)

 

At the end of the book is a guided mindfulness activity that the students enjoyed.

We ended the session with a pebble meditation activity based on the book A Handful of Quiet by Thich Nhat Hanh.

I had each of the students choose a pebble to hold in their hand.

 

I modified the practice to include just one pebble. Students were encouraged to rub the pebble as I read a few of the short meditation cards. Practicing pebble meditation can help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude, and can help children deal with difficult emotions.

 

Next week, Annie Ranger, author of Mindful Owl Adventures, will visit our class during Swooper Citizens to continue our practice of mindfulness. We are excited to welcome her!

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Magical Fairy Tales

We have entered the land of fairy tales…quite literally! Students must cross over a drawbridge to enter the classroom!

They also transformed our regular windows into works of stained glass that look as though they belong in a castle!

So, of course, we had to create more magic during Friday Fun! Students made fairy dough, using three simple ingredients: 1 cup of strawberry conditioner, 2 1/2 cups of cornstarch, and pink or red food coloring. (Silver glitter is optional.) Not only does this fairy dough smell amazing, but it feels amazing!

There were HUGE smiles all around!

Students also made a magical reading wand. We will use these wands during reading centers next week.

Learning about fairy tales is the perfect way to end the year!

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Special Yoga Presentation

We were honored to have author and yogi Teresa Power visit our school on Tuesday. She began her morning at our weekly all-school meeting where she discussed being an author and the reason why she wrote a book on yoga. She also taught the students several yoga poses. Later, she visited kindergarten, where she read students her book The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids.

From Amazon: “Children today are faced with overstimulation as they strive to keep up with the demands of our fast-paced society. Practicing simple yoga postures is the ideal way for kids to naturally unwind and obtain physical activity at the same time. With The ABCs of Yoga for Kids, children can practice yoga, a non-competitive form of exercise, while learning the alphabet and reading lyrical explanations of the actual yoga poses. Yoga helps children become calmer and more self-aware. In addition, it develops their flexibility, coordination, focus, and strength. The ABCs of Yoga for Kids uses the alphabet, rhyming vignettes, and colorful illustrations to introduce children to basic yoga postures in a kid-friendly way. Endorsed by Sinjin Smith, Olympian & World Champion Volleyball Player, as well as David Simon, M.D., Medical Director of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga and Free to Love, Free to Heal , this book appeals to both children and adults seeking to incorporate healthy activity into their daily lifestyle.”

 

C is for cat pose.

T is for table pose.

The students LOVED matching the letters of the alphabet to different yoga poses!

Thank you so much, Ms. Power, for visiting Laguna Blanca!

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Mother’s Day

The kindergarteners have been busy preparing for our lovely Mother’s Day Tea. Each student painted a vase for their mom.

They also wrote a very special book that shares the qualities and experiences they appreciate most about their mom.

These responses just make me smile.

I love this one!

The students also made fancy hats to wear at the event. The started by spraying Texas snowflakes with liquid watercolor.

Then we fit the paper to their heads and added some floral flair!

We went on a field trip where we picked flowers to add to the handmade vases.

Students even helped make some of the tea sandwiches!

Finally, after all their hard work, it was time to celebrate Mom!

Beautiful gerbera daisy cookies made by local baker Stephanie Santana.

It was a lovely tea. I enjoyed watching the children swell with pride as they showed their moms all the items they created. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

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Camouflage

Students learned about the concept of camouflage recently and how fish and other ocean life use beautifully to survive. As a follow-up activity, I read aloud the book Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle. In this book, “When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, she does it on Mr. Seahorse’s belly! She knows he will take good care of them. While he swims waiting for the eggs to hatch, he meets other underwater fathers caring for their babies.” (Amazon) This book has beautiful illustrations that cleverly demonstrate camouflage.

Then it was the students’ turn to demonstrate their understanding of camouflage! They used permanent markers in different shades of green and brown to draw reeds and seaweed on a plastic page protector. They glued colored tissue paper squares onto a seahorse.  Once the seahorse dried, we placed them inside the plastic page protector, creating beautiful camouflaged seahorses!

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