Sunday, April 27, 2014

Plip, Plip Plop!

We have actually seen more sun this spring than we did all of last winter and spring combined! We did have rain this week, thank goodness, since the water cycle was part of our lesson plan for preschool. Parents were amazed at how their four and five year- olds grasped the concept of the water cycle through the hands-on experiments that we did to represent the water cycle.  You have to love the cotton ball as a cloud that sucks up the water and then the rain is represented when you squeeze the cotton ball. J The children loved watching their cups of water too to see if the water would really evaporate.  It is so cool to hear them use the term evaporation when they are talking to each other!

On the other side of the water (not literally), kindergarten was talking about animals that live in the water. Sharks and whales are usually a topic of excitement, but there are lots of interesting animals that live in the ocean and plenty of fun activities that you can do to include a variety of them.  Our kindergarten class did research on an ocean animal and incorporated technology in their research to present what they learned. Awesome!

Web Quest: The unit of study on ocean animals started out with a web quest and listening to Bart the Shark (Voki).  The students were on a quest to find the information about their ocean animal and created their books.  Some were published on Educreations and others on Simplebooklet.

I just made a new Voki. See it here:

Educreations Reports:
Some of the students were allowed to create their animal report on Educreations. Please excuse the pictures that are sideways.  They did an incredible job considering it was the first time they were allowed to be fully independent on their creation!
Simplebooklet Reports:

Under the Sea Pixie Slides showing what they learned:

Other activities:

Kindness Book of the Week:

We couldn’t decide between these two books to focus on for our Kindness book of the week because they are both so incredible.  Fish is Fish is a story that’s simply and wonderfully symbolic of how friends can remain friends even when they change as they grow up.  Swimmy is the story of little fish banding together to scare off bully fish.

iPad Apps:

Youtube video:

Pictures of the waters in Lipsi (Greece)

Have a great Dolphin Week!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Froehe Ostern!

Happy Easter from Germany! Easter is a big holiday celebration in Germany. It begins on Good Friday and ends on Easter Monday, with both Friday and Monday being a holiday. Schools usually have two weeks off during this time. (Wish we did too!) Easter Sunday is celebrated like many families do in the states, hiding hard boiled eggs and candy for the children, attending an Easter service and then a family dinner. The traditional German Easter lunch includes lamb, potatoes and fresh vegetables. Yum!
Another Easter tradition is the use of the noise maker by the village children.  Beginning on Thursday before Easter Sunday, the church bells are silenced and the village children go around with wooden noise makers at various times of the day with their wooden noise makers to fill in for the quiet church bells.  Many of these noise makers are very old and are family heirlooms. 

Preparations for Easter begin several weeks ahead of time with flowers being displayed in planters, trees being decorated with eggs, and Easter markets where vendors sell handcrafted Easter eggs and Easter crafts. Did you know that boiling and painting eggs is a custom that began in Germany? The eggs symbolize new life and the colors characterize sunlight and growth. Germany is also the birth place for the chocolate bunny. Thank you Germany!  

This week's activities included the egg and oviparous animals. 

Pixie slides on the egg:

Pixie slides on Oviparous Animals:

This weeks activities included research projects. Writing samples:

German Klappern (noise maker)

Kindness book of the week: One Hundred Eggs for Henrietta by Sally Huss

Henrietta the hen learns that there will be 100 children coming for the egg hunt. She begins racing around collecting eggs and realizes they will not have enough. So, being the hen in charge, she decides to call on the ducks, swans and geese for help. She also has to enlist the help of the rabbits, the cats and a hummingbird in order to complete their mission. This story illustrates the importance of working together and being helpful.  It is a great story to teach children about teamwork, and about not giving up when things look impossible. 

Easter and the egg iPads Apps:

iColor Easter Eggs is an Easter app for any age. Using iColor Easter Eggs you can create a custom Easter Egg and then share it with your friends through email, Facebook or save it to your photo library.

"Fingerprint Art" allows you to create fingerprint art.

Paint Easter Eggs: This egg painting app is perfect for children of all ages. Take some drawing and relax time together and color some eggs.  

Check out these Pinterest boards on the egg and insects:

Instead of an egg timer - what about a rotation timer for your center time? Here's a freebie:

Youtube video links on the egg and insects:

Finally, a Smilebox slide of several eggs from all over the world including Jordan and Russia. This is a collection of eggs that Ms G and I have collected over the years!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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Another free digital slideshow by Smilebox


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Take time to honor a military child!

Yes, April is the Month of the Military Child. We think it's wonderful that organizations recognize the unique circumstances of a child being raised with parents in the military and take the time to honor these children! There are many challenges a military child faces from numerous moves, including living in a different country, to having parents deployed for extended periods of time. The schools are encouraged to plan activities to support and recognize our children since we play such a vital role in their lives and provide an environment of stability especially when there may be many stressors occurring at home.  AND as teachers, we know how important it is to build our students' self-esteem and recognize their self-worth.

Here are some FUN activities that do just that!

Military Me:

“My military child sees amazing parts of the world, not just learns about them in books ~ meeting people and making friends from all around the world”

Children’s Writings:


Wordle T-shirts:

“My military child doesn’t know his grandparents very well or any other family member stateside ~ watching their little hearts break when we tell friends good bye. I think it makes it that much more special when we do take them "home" to see family."

Tech4Learning Pixies:

Other Activities:

“We love being here because it's a lot like where we grew up (farms and country). We have made some great German "family" friends by being here.”

Kindness Book:  Dandelions by Eve Bunting

OMG!  Talk about making connections to a book whose message is so close to our hearts:
  The dandelion is like the military child.  Its 
  seeds are scattered by the wind and it puts
  down roots anywhere.  It adapts to life
  among other plants surviving in any location             around the world!

This pioneer family moves looking for a better life despite the family’s depression and sadness.  Trying to cheer her mom up - she finds something that she hopes will make her mother happy:  a clump of dandelions. After Zoe and her sister plant the dandelions on the roof of their sod house, their mother agrees that their family is hardy and will bloom just as the dandelions are sure to do no matter where they live. This is so true about our military families!  I accidently came across this book and I just finished previewing it and am excited to read it to our kids!  

Month of the Military Child Books: These were all simply wonderful and were more special to listen to because they were read by our parents!

“I do think military kids have to grow up a bit faster just because of everything they have to deal with...sometimes I feel like they don't get to "be kids"  They deal with so much uprooting and sadness telling friends bye.”

Apps for Military Kids:

All Fixed Up Interactive Kids’ Book for iPads

An excellent app for children who have a parent in the military and deployed!  It does so much! You can customize your voice or your child’s voice, add your interests, draw your own story and then share with your loved one who is far away!  Does a lot for 5.99!

Feel Electric!

This app is also geared for the military family.  It’s free and I particularly like the words that express the emotions of how one may be feeling.  Lots of activities.

The Big Moving Adventure

This app is free all and geared to the 2-5 year old child.  The child can create his own friend and help him/her through the moving process of hearing the news, packing, saying goodbye, expressing their feelings, traveling, looking for a new home and going through the cycle of making new friends.  Does this sound familiar? 

Month of the Military Child Pinterest Board:

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 Salute the Military Child Product:

“not belonging to a "home".  The saying “Home is where the military sends you” is the key!!  We make the best out of where we go ~ Deployments/ Daddy misses activities, special days, birthdays, plays, games…”

I hope you will take away an appreciation for our military children.  I leave you with a heart- warming video that shows their patriotism.  Have a wonderful week!