Mindfulness Update

We continued practicing Mindfulness this week. Students listened to the book When Sophie Gets Really, Really Angry, by Molly Bang. In this book, Sophie gets very angry. She yells, and she feels like a volcano ready to explode. She runs until she can’t run anymore. She cries. Then she sits on a rock and listens to the sounds of nature. She feels the breeze, and “The world comforts her.” Students recognized right away that Sophie was practicing mindfulness.

Next, we showed students this video:

We loved the idea of the glitter jar, and we decided to have each student make one.

Add glitter, water, a bit of glycerin, and watch the glitter gently float to the bottom of the jar.

Now that’s relaxing!

What time is it?

It’s time to learn how to tell time to the hour! We started by talking about the need for clocks and the different types of clocks. Students were introduced to the words analog and digital and shared places where one might find a clock: oven, phone, cable box, alarm clock, etc. Next, we looked at an analog clock, taking special notice of the numbers on the clock and the number and size of the hands. I mentioned that the short hand tells the hour and the longer hand is the minute hand and tells what minute it is. Using my Judy clock, I showed students that the number the short hand points to names the hour.

(You may be wondering what a Judy clock is……here’s a picture:)

I continued on to explain that when the long hand points to the 12, we say “o’clock.” We practiced looking at the digital time, say 4:00, and representing that on the Judy clock.

Next, we used our whole bodies to practice!

Students had so much fun using this giant clock!

We have been reinforcing telling time to the hour throughout the day. We even completed some fairy tale themed activities. For those students who are ready, I made some colorful clocks that show what time we have certain activities each day.

Next up…time to the half hour…..

More with Three-Dimensional Shapes

We have been sorting, categorizing, and searching for three-dimensional shapes. Today students enjoyed a three-dimensional shape food sort because sorting with food is ALWAYS more fun!

Students were given a plate with a strawberry, mini marshmallow, cube of cantaloupe, string cheese, a piece of penne, blueberries, carrot, Colby jack cheese, Acini de pepe pasta, and mini chocolate chips. They had to sort these shapes under the three-dimensional shapes name on the sorting mat.


Fairy Tale Friday Fun

It was a magical Friday Fun today as students made Rapunzel’s braid and a sparkly dragon. Here is how we made Rapunzel’s braid…

Using Trader Joe’s pizza dough, students divided their dough ball into three pieces. They then rolled three snakes that they attached together at the top. Next, students braided the dough. One of the last steps was to brush a little butter and olive oil on the braid and sprinkle some magical parsley over the top.

I baked at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, and the braids were ready to enjoy!

For the sparkly dragon, students painted glue on a toilet paper roll and then sprinkled green glitter on it.

To make the fiery breath, students placed yellow, red, and orange tissue paper strips on a piece of masking tape.

Students made eyes using pompoms and googly eyes. All the pieces were glued together, making this fun and interactive dragon!


Over the next several weeks, we will be learning about mindfulness in Swooper Citizens. Being mindful means calming your body and your brain, and focusing on the moment. During this very busy time of year, mindfulness is the perfect thing to practice!

Our lesson began with students identifying what happens to their bodies when they are feeling excited, nervous, mad, sad, or happy. We asked students to discuss what happens to their bodies when they are feeling calm. What happens to your mind when you are calm?

To further introduce the concept of mindfulness to the students, we showed them this short video clip:

“The owl stopped. She noticed her stomach didn’t hurt anymore. She was calm, and her heart felt open.”

One could hear a pin drop during this video. The students’ bodies were calm. They were practicing mindfulness, and they did not even know it yet!

I then mentioned that in order to be mindful, one needs to be able to pause or take a break. I read aloud a book called A World of Pausabilities, by Frank J. Sileo

We also talked about when we might use mindfulness in our every day lives.  Students suggested it might be helpful in situations where they feel nervous, angry, frustrated, or sad — or when they’re trying to fall asleep at night!

Then it was time to practice. Using GoNoodle.com, students participated in a wonderful exercise called “From Mindless to Mindful.” We enjoyed it so much, that we completed three other mindful activities.

Here are some short videos of the students participating in mindfulness activities:

We will continue our study of mindfulness in the weeks to come. In the meantime, if you would like to practice mindfulness, head over to youtube or GoNoodle! and search mindfulness activities for kids. Have fun!

3D Shape Sort!

The students have been learning about three-dimensional shapes recently. We discussed the difference between the words two-dimensional (flat) and three-dimensional (pops out!), and students completed a cut and paste activity to demonstrate their knowledge of these shapes. Next, students were introduced to the names of the three-dimensional shapes. We did a sorting activity on the Smart Board.

I showed students some three-dimensional shapes made from foam. We talked about the number of faces and vertices each shape has. I then asked students to sort these shapes into coodinating bin.

This activity helped prepare students for a different shape sort that I had planned…

using the sensory table!!

I covered many three-dimensional shapes with the rice and asked the students to uncover the shapes and sort them into the coordinating bins. You should have seen the excitement in the students’ eyes and the smiles on their faces!

A student places a 3D shape in the coordinating bin.

This was a great way to reinforce students’ learning. Next, we will focus on learning the names of these tricky shapes.

Tea for Twenty!

One tradition I started at Laguna Blanca School when I arrived eight years ago was a Mother’s Day Tea party. Each year it is a beautiful and special event that honors our special moms. This year was no different. We began preparing for the tea party more than a month ago.

Students painted vases.

They created a watercolor botanical place mat.

Each student made a fancy hat, complete with a tissue paper flower.

So colorful!

Students even picked a bouquet of flowers for their moms.

So when the time for tea finally arrived, we were beyond ready!

I asked each student to escort their mom to the Pavilion.

The tables were set and ready for visitors!

Besides tea, we enjoyed strawberries, tea sandwiches, and, of course, cookies!

Students shared a special book they made for their moms, and they played a fun question and answer game.

It was a beautiful afternoon! Happy Mother’s Day to all!


A Princesses Dilemma

Last week, students listened to the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea in preparation for an exciting STEM activity I had planned for Grandfriends’ Day. Imagine that the Queen shows the princess her bed for the evening- it is large and stacked high with mattresses. The princess notices that there is no way for her to get to the top where she will enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep.

This is where the students and their Grandfriends came in… working together, our visitors and students were tasked with inventing something to get the princess to the top of the mattresses. I provided a variety of building materials, like pipe cleaners, marshmallows, toothpicks, spoons, straws, tape and more!

Students brainstormed with their visitors, sketching a draft of their vision. Look at what was created!

a rope

a catapult

a ladder

a pulley elavator

What a fun activity this was!

Once Upon a Time…

there was a teacher who loved fairy tales and waited enthusiastically each year to begin this magical unit! This year there are some new additions to the unit…of course! First, you read about the fairy tale themed sensory bin in my last post….just wait and see all the fun activities in which the students will engage! Next, I created an interactive bulletin board that encourages story writing.

The words settings, characters, and events are actually pockets that hold pictures of places, characters, and events that will help students write fairy tales of their very own!

But before students can begin writing their fairy tales, they need to learn a little more about what exactly makes a fairy tale. Below are some the elements of a fairy tale:

Another new addition is several STEM activities, including a fun Princess and the Pea STEM activity that the students completed during Grandfriends’ Day. Look for a post on that activity soon!

Of course, students needed to create some fairy tale artwork! We have royal self-portraits and shape castles!

And they all lived happily ever after!

Design a Game

An important part of the kindergarten Every Day Math program is games…dice games, card games, number games and more! So for our April Family Stem Project, families were tasked with creating a game. This meant that students had free range to develop the rules, the number of players, the name, and of course, the purpose! Look at what the students came up with!

Of course, once each student described their game concept, we had to play! What fun it was exploring these different games!