Food Bank


We just returned from the FoodBank of Santa Barbara, where we donated 105 pounds of food, including 60 non-perishable food items and two turkeys!


When we arrived at the FoodBank, we placed each bag of food and the turkeys on the giant scale. Then we took a quick tour of the facility, where we saw the refrigerator and the freezer. As one might expect, this was the highlight of the trip for many of the students.

fb5This service project gave us plenty of opportunities for learning. In preparation for the field trip, students practiced several math skills. First, whenever an item was brought in, we made a tally mark. Tally marks pose a particular challenge for young children, believe it or not. The concept of crossing the tallies when the number five is reached is hard to remember. This is the main reason we practice recording information with tally marks daily. The second skill the students practiced was division. I placed all 60 food items on the carpet in front of the students and posed the question, “There are eight students in the classroom. How can we divide the cans so that each person gets the same amount?”

food bankSeveral students shared their thoughts  on the best way to make the groups of food “fair”. These included, “take what you brought in”, “fill your bag up,” and “take one and go around the circle.” (Interesting how students perceive things as “fair.”) We tried the “take one and go around the circle” technique.

After many rounds, it was concluded that each student would have seven food items in a bag with four cans left bank 1What did we do with the four left over cans? The students decided that I could carry those! 🙂

Our next service project benefits Angels Bearing Gifts. As you might have guessed, we will be tallying the number of pairs of socks and bottles of shampoo that are donated in order to help reinforce tally marks.



Put Socks in the Box


The kindergarten class is starting our third service project of the year. We presented the idea to the school at our Tecolote Tuesday assembly this morning. Kindergarten will be facilitating the collection of new pairs of adult sized socks and bottles of shampoo and conditioner for the local non-profit Angels Bearing Gifts.

“Angels Bearing Gifts brings happiness to people with developmental disabilities who have no one to remember them by providing gifts on birthdays and holidays. We foster compassion within the community towards those with developmental disabilities via year-round educational outreach and volunteer activities.”

Besides teaching a lesson in compassion and service, I have tied the collection of the socks and shampoo to math. We will be tallying the number of items that come in each day. Our service project will run from now until December 6.

Here’s a little clip from our assembly….an original song about socks:

sock song

(click on the words “sock song” to see the video.)

Check back December 6 to see what the final tally of items is!



Reading Buddies

Last week, Ms. Cummings, our delightful third grade teacher, approached me about starting reading buddies with her class. I eagerly accepted, as this was the perfect opportunity to develop friendships across the grade levels. I envisioned it to be a time for students, both in third grade and kindergarten, to build confidence reading aloud. Finally, reading buddies would allow students an opportunity to practice storytelling.

We agreed to start the very next day. The first step was to put the students into compatible pairs where partners would support each other. Next, we decided what the students would read. I opted to have my kindergarteners read their Home Reading Book from the previous night so that they felt extra confident this first time.


Listen to how supportive this third grader is: (click on the word “buddies” below.)


After the kindergarteners finished reading their books, the third graders read a picture book aloud. I loved hearing their enthusiasm and seeing how far these students have come since they were with me in kindergarten. What a treat!  We will definitely continue to grow this program.


buddies 3



Stuffies, Part 2!

We finished our stuffies today and boy are they cute! Students were taught the whipstitch and encouraged to practice that stitch on their stuffies.


They were such pros! No finger pricks to report, except for the fingers of the parent helper and myself! The students loved putting the stuffing into their stuffies and snuggling with their finished project.


Here are some pictures of our completed projects:


So proud!

We did two other Friday Fun activities as well. The first was a turkey globe votive candle holder. These make such an adorable center piece on a Thanksgiving table.


A student uses Modge Podge to glue down pieces of tissue paper on the outside of the glass votive.


Gobble! Gobble!

The second Friday Fun activity was a cooking activity. The students made Easy, Peasy, Pumpkin Pie!


Here’s the recipe:


Keebler Mini Graham Cracker Ready Crust (the best part!)

Pumpkin Pie filling

Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix


Pumpkin Pie Spices

Whipped Cream


Make the pudding. Once the pudding sets, mix it with the pumpkin and spices. Pour into the graham cracker pie crust. Top with whipped cream.  Easy peasy-no bake! Enjoy!


Feel free to add decorations!

Hooray for the 50th Day!

We have been in school 50 days as of today! Kindergarteners enjoyed spending the day like it was 1950. They came to school dressed and ready for a sock hop.

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We looked at a Power Point that compared technology, clothes, and cars from the 1950’s and from today. Later the students created their own picture sort of these items.

50 2

Students answered the writing prompt, “I wish I had 50 …” Look at some of these adorable answers!

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“pieces of popcorn because I like popcorn.”

50 7

“dogs because they’re cute. I also wish I had 50 trees in my garden for more oxygen. I also wish I had 50 fish.”

50 8

“Chihuahuas because they are cute and cuddly and tiny.”

50 10

“pieces of bubble gum because I like to blow bubbles.”

Students also illustrated a self portrait of themselves in 2013 and in 50 years.

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During math, we represented the number 50 using tally marks and coins. Students wrote equations that equaled 50 and the counted to 50 by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. The final math activity was making a pink poodle from 50 marshmallows. Students first had to make five rows of ten marshmallows, and then they glued them to the poodle. And all this happened before lunch!

50 5

After lunch, I taught the students how to blow a bubble gum bubble. They try so hard to get their little tongues in the right spot, but often times the gum gets blown out of their mouths.

Students also learned the Hand Jive. Here’s a quick video of them performing this classic dance. (Click on the blue Hand)

Hand Jive Video

Our day ended with a sock hop in the back yard where students hula hooped, threw Frisbees, and did different activities in a 50 second time period. Famished from all the activities, students enjoyed a root beer float before heading home. (Click on Learning to Hula Hoop to see a cute video that showcases determination.)

Learning to Hula Hoop

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Frisbee throwing


Not only is sewing a great way to develop fine motor skills in young children, but it is also a lost art. Each year I have done a few sewing projects with the kindergarteners, including hand sewing squash and using a sewing machine to make reusable snack bags. This year, when Mr. Surber arrived at Laguna, I mentioned the kindergarten sewing activities to him. He suggested I take a look at a book called Sewing School, written by a teacher, Amie Petronis Plumlyey, with whom he worked at his previous school. I immediately ordered the book and was delighted by its contents. Inspired by what I read, I made it my goal is to complete at least four more hand sewing projects this year.

Today during Friday Fun, we took the first step in making Stuffies, a fancy name for stuffed animals. Each student received a piece of muslin, cut about the size of a piece of paper. My parent helper and I taped the muslin down to the desks to be sure the muslin didn’t move as the students drew their stuffies.

stuffies 2

Students were encouraged to use fabric markers to draw an animal, real or fictional, of their choice.


After the students were done drawing, I cut around the shape and went over the markers with a hot iron.


Stuffie creations included a magical rainbow dog, a polka dot snake, an apple tree, a bat using echolocation to catch insects, two rainbows, a unicorn, and a heart.

Next week. students will add a piece of coordinating felt to the back of their stuffie and begin sewing. I can’t wait to see the finished products!

Service Project

We are beginning our second service project of the school year. Next Wednesday is our 50th day of school! This day will be full of activities that celebrate the number 50. In anticipation of this special day, Kindergarteners are collecting 50 non-perishable food items and frozen turkeys that we will deliver to the Food Bank of Santa Barbara. So far, the students have brought in 15 items!


We are using tally marks to represent the number of items collected. This is a perfect way to reinforce tally marks with the Kindergarteners. Check back in a week to see what we have collected!

Owls in Wonderland

This Sunday Laguna Blanca Lower School will be transformed into Wonderland. Each teacher will have a section of the school where he/she will be in charge of exciting, whimsical, and engaging learning activities. In the Kindergarten classroom, guests will enjoy an owl shape activity, a pattern block activity, and play dough.

The kindergarteners took on making 14 batches of play dough as give away prizes. When the visitors come to Kindergarten, not only will they be able to play with brightly colored play dough, but they will be able to take a baggie home! The process began with measuring the ingredients, a terrific way for students to learn about mass and volume.

playdough owls 2

playdough owls

Some students even gave up their Choice Time to help make the play dough.

After completing the batches, the next step was to roll the play dough into 200 balls and place a play dough ball in a Ziploc baggie.



The project will be complete with bright labels stapled to the top of each bag.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.  Thank you kindergarteners for all your help!