Thursday, 26 March 2015

The BEST thing about Easter

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Easter is approaching and it can be  difficult to explain the history of Easter to little ones.  Years ago an amazing family, of a student I was teaching, gave a book to me for my own child (I only had one at the time).  'The Best Thing About Easter' is the most amazing book for talking about Easter with kids!  It is from the perspective of a child who, just like many other children, and adults, loves so many things about Easter - chocolate bunnies, eggs and egg hunts, dressing up in fancy clothes, even spending time together with family.  But the narrator realizes that while all these things are great, Easter is so much more.  The language is kid friendly and the message is simple - Easter is sad, but also happy because of the new life of Jesus and through Jesus.

Here are some ideas for simple Easter crafts.  Here we are rolling 3 different colored marbles on our crosses.

Here is our finished product, once we cut out our crosses and placed them on our cards.

 Here we are making eggs.  Dip pastel colored yarn into glue and wrap it around a small balloon (water balloons work well).  This was great fine-motor practice!  They also required lots of patience, but they turned out great!

We sprayed them with hair spray and gave a coating of podge before we popped the inner balloon.  The yarn held it's shape, and here is our final product!
I placed some Easter words at the felt board and the students began sharing stories of their own experiences with egg hunts and receiving palms at Church, as well as other aspects of Easter.  I love the felt board center because it allows the students to use imaginative play and allows for vocabulary building.    Felt play also enhances fine-motor eye-hand co-ordination and manipulation, and engages students in the development of oral language through speaking, listening, story-telling and enhancing vocabulary.  Some students chose to use the recording sheets as a follow-up which was great since they were now writing about the stories they had just shared with their peers! 

Happy Easter!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Looking Back...Christmas, Looking Forward...A New Year (and celebrating Character Virtues)

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We made some great ornament crafts this year for the holidays.  One of our ornaments was a pasta shell paper plate ornament.  This was so simple to make.  All you need is a study paper plate, pasta shells, an old Holiday card and spray paint (we used gold).  The kids glued the pasta around the edge of the plate (great fine-motor activity), and cut out the Holiday card.  I spray painted the plate and the students attached the middle image.  We punched a hole and later attached ribbon.

My daughter made this beautiful poinsettia with pumpkin seeds.  It's on a hard circular backing.

Christmas was great, and now we look forward to our new year!  New beginnings are full of so much potential and opportunity.  If you haven't focused very much on Character Education, it's a great time to start!  Our School Board teaches Character Education.  Each month we focus on a different character virtue and look for students who exemplify this virtue.  We teach students what it means to be responsible, caring citizens and look for these traits and celebrate them in our students.  Talking about `character matters`allows students to then put into practice acts of kindness, compassion, caring for others and allows them to be self-reflective learners and think about how they treat others and how they, in turn, want to be treated.  These are values they will carry with them their whole lives.  

Our school honors the students who`ve exemplified the virtue of the month with a certificate.  I`ve made a little pack that includes the virtues we focus on each month, as well as MANY, MANY more!  I wanted each student to be recognized for the good that they do in the class and school community.  The students are always showing goodness in action.  

Friends helping friends do up zippers.

Friends helping friends tidy-up (even if they didn`t make that mess).

Classmates sharing materials at a variety of learning centres.

Students consistently participating in P.E. and showing good sportsmanship in cooperative games.

Click the image above for the Awards and Certificates pack.

I wanted to recognize all of these good actions and more.  Recognizing students` good deeds and actions allows them to feel good about themselves and good about helping others.  This pack has over 70 pages of Student Awards and Certificates.  It includes awards for the monthly virtues my school board focuses on, but it also has SO MUCH MORE.  There are enough awards to allow you to recognize EACH STUDENT in your classroom for the goodness that they bring!  Hopefully it can help start the New Year on a positive note! 

Happy New Year!