Sunday, April 21, 2013

Do You Have A Green Thumb?? Plus an Earth Day Freebie!!

   Before I start talking about how I began some Earth Day fun with my little one, here is a little FREEBIE (Earth Day Numbers Book) in celebration of Earth Day!

Click the picture below to get yours now!

   This weekend, I spent some time in my backyard. The house that we are renting has a garden bed that wraps around maybe half of the house, and it needs  A LOT of work!!  But because I have no clue on how to garden or how to even begin a garden, I can’t do a thing about it!
   So all morning, I got to thinking that MAYBE I can attempt to try it out and see if I might have a Green Thumb! Ever since we moved out of Chicago and inner city life and into suburbia here in Western New York, I have taken an interest in lots of new things- such as scrapbooking, crafting, blogging and now maybe I can take a stab at gardening!  It can’t hurt, right?
   I have nowhere to start, so I decided since Earth Day is tomorrow, I can start really small and simple!  Since we are beginning to see flowers sprout up, I thought my daughter might enjoy planting a flower in a small flower pot. So this weekend, I took a trip to my favorite place Michaels- and picked up a few things for my munchkin and I.
   Her favorite colors are purple and pink, so she HAD to have those colors. And when we found pink and purple acrylic paint with glitter, she was over the moon! She wanted to get started right away!
   But we had to stop at Lowes to pick up some flowers to plant in our pots, because again, we are starting small and simple! (We are also going to plant some seeds in a bigger flower pot next weekend)
   And here is my eager artist and learner, excited to start painting!
     Here is her finished pot (I actually needed to add like 2 more coats of paint after she was done) and her chosen flower: Geranium.
    Planting (or repotting?) was a lot of fun for her, especially when she had to use her new princess gardening gloves!!
        She meant serious business when she was patting down the dirt/plant inside the pot and daddy made sure he helped to give it some water.
She was so proud of her work! 

Now let’s just hope that some more geraniums blossom! 

   And here is my chosen flower, African Daisy, repotted in a pink planter.

   I also painted my own flower pot, but the African Daisy plant was much too big for it. 
   So I will have to find another plant or use this flower pot to plant some seeds!
  So that is how I chose to begin some Earth Day fun with my little munchkin!
   The funny thing is that she thinks that the flower is going to grow really big like a Lorax tree!!
   Maybe one day I can plant a tree.maybe one day!!
   Do you have a green thumb??
   Can you share some tips and helpful advice on gardening for this clueless city girl???

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"I Spy" lots of fun ways to learn Letters!

   Wow, I can't believe I haven't blogged all week! I have just been lazy, I guess!!
   Actually I have been in "Bookworm" status and have had my nose in my nook! I set a goal to read 52 books this year and so far, I am on book # 14... that is averaging about a book a week! I'm doing good!! =)  I knew it wouldn't be so hard... I LOVE to read!! It is just about finding the time to read and finding good books to read!

   Anyhow, I have been working on letter identification with my own little munchkin as well as my munchkins in my classroom. I am amazed at how quickly my little one is picking up on things!
 So check out some fun ways that I have been teaching letters!

   She loves the "I Spy" books and I have been debating to get the game as well. BUT in the meantime, I made my own "I Spy" game for her, to reinforce letters! I think the best part for her was using the fun flower magnifying glass!
   Every few days, I ask  her to look for certain letters or I will have her just name a few that she may know. I will probably be changing out the sheets this weekend to give her new letters (and maybe numbers) to find.

   In the classroom, we have played a game that I have named "Letter Soup Scoop". This was one of the games that came out of improvisation!! When it first came to my mind, I realized I had a similar game-- at home!! So I had to improvise with that I had in the classroom that day. I wanted to use letter magnets or letter tiles, but I didn't have enough magnets and well, I didn't like the way letter tiles sat inside the bowl. So I used foam letters instead. The kids had a fun time scooping out letters onto their plates and then identified which ones they knew.
   To make it a little more challenging, I also asked what sound the letter made and asked them to name one object that began with that letter.

   We also used connecting cars to form letters. This was another unplanned activity. Don't you just love when you can instantly think of learning activities that come from whatever the kids are interested in? It all started when one child made a circle from the cars and I commented, "Or it could also be the letter O." And I ran with it and asked kids to see what other letters they could make with the connecting cars!

   I believe that the best learning activites are the ones that are spontaneous and simple! Each one of these activities has been a huge hit!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rainy Day Art...

   Well, I managed to make it through the rest of the week. It was quite an emotional week for every teacher in the center.
   I took the advice from a fellow blogger over at First Grade Fireworks and was reminded that I can make a difference in the life of a child, even if that just means that I give them a hug every day, talk and laugh with them while they are in my care. Sometimes, that is more than enough and may be everything to a child.
   So, although my week started off rough, it ended pretty good.
   This week was a VERY Rainy week… and good thing I planned some fun Rain activities.
   A question that I was prepared for was, “Where does rain come from?” And of course, there was a child who answered, “From the sky”, before I was able to explain. And they were all surprised when I began to explain, ‘”No. Rain does not come from the sky. It comes from the clouds.” And they were all in awe! 
   Their brains were tuned into what I was saying. It was a wonderful “teaching moment.” I had their undivided attention as I briefly described the Water Cycle. When I saw that they looked a little confused, I pulled out some simpler picture cards from The Mailbox to explain.
They had fun making rain with droppers and blue watercolor.

   Throughout the week, I encouraged the munchkins to paint rain or storms. I moved the easel closer to the window to allow them to view the rain outside. I also put a spray bottle on the easel for added creativity.
   Here are 2 different rain day paintings.
     We are hoping that now the warm spring weather will follow all of this rain!! 
   According to the news, we are supposed to get up to 70 degrees tomorrow!!  Now that’s what I am waiting for!! J
  Now back to finishing my lesson plans for the week…

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The sad truth...

   So when one is a teacher, one goes into the classroom knowing that behind each child, there is a story. Some stories are great and some...not so much. And then there are some that are downright heart breaking.
    This week, upon returning to the classroom after spring break, I learned of the harsh reality of a child in our center. Now as an inner city teacher, I know that some of the children that we work with on a daily basis have rough home lives. I know that for a fact and I take all those facets of a child's life into account in every aspect of my teaching career. It doesn't scare me and it doesn't deter me from wanting to teach in the inner city. In fact, I prefer to teach in the inner city, where many of these children have to (unfortunately) live a life that I can somewhat relate to in one small form or another.
  And so I always like to think that I understand where they could be coming from and I can understand that they need extra support.  BUT everything is always put into a new light when something happens to a child that you know... it hits too close to home. Too close for comfort. And  it can be heart breaking for any teacher.
   Now even though this child isn't a student of mine, I know who the child is and I have seen the child and talked to the child on a daily basis; even if it was just a simple smile and a "hello". It is a child I came in contact with every single day. And to learn of the horrible reality that the child has had to endure in the past few weeks has really changed how and what I thought I knew and understood about the lives of inner city children and families. It really has made me think twice and ask "Why?"; because at this point, I just do not understand...
   And so as much as I want to share pictures and fun activity ideas with all of you, today I just can't. Today my thoughts and prayers are with the child that has undeservingly been put in a very bad situation. I hope to see the child back in school soon and I hope that the child and the family can get past it all so that the child can continue to be a child and enjoy childhood.

   ** I apologize for such a gloomy blog post tonight, but I had to get it off my chest. My heart hurts for the child. The story behind this sweet child is a very sad one. I know there are children with sad stories and rough home lives, and this one is just so uncalled for, so undeserving and the details are horrible. Too horrible for such a small child to have to endure and I hope the situation is taken care in a just manner.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

And the WINNER is.....

   I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and if you are on Spring Break, like me, I hope you are relaxing a little!!
   Before I flee the country for a few days, I want to announce the winner of my Blog Birthday Giveaway!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

   I will be emailing you very soon with your prizes!

   And a HUGE  THANK  YOU to everyone who participated in this giveaway!! I now have 87 followers!!     YAY!!

   That means I am very close to having a 100 Follower Giveaway in the near future!!

   Anyway, I will be MIA for a few days as I flee the USA and head to Toronto, Canada.... Alicia Keys here I come!!