Random Musings!

I just finished a day of working on our School Improvement Plan with my school’s leadership team.  I was lucky to have a great group to work with and we were very productive.  Too bad these SIPs don’t have any weight or benefit on getting additional resources.  But I digress…

Before I get to the good stuff…I created a Facebook page for my blog.  Here is the link: Smedley’s Smorgasboard of Kindergarten on Facebook! I hope you’ll go and like!!!!!  (And share with your friends and on your blogs and your twitter and everywhere!  I’m not too good to beg…)  Now if anyone in blog land can help this newbie post the Facebook like button on my blog, I will be your biggest fan.

Blog question 2:  How do you all get all of the cute fonts for your posts?!?!  I have thousands of fonts and would love to use them on my blog.  (Speaking of fonts, I have a GREAT IPad app that creates fonts from handwriting….should that be a future blog post?!)

I know some of us are enjoying our summer vacation already and I know that some of us are still chugging away.  To my friends who are still chugging away, YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!    So…for those of you still at it, I wanted to share some photos and ideas from my classroom.  Maybe someone will be inspired to use something they see.  If you are inspired, please leave me some love and let me know and if you wouldn’t mind telling your friends about my new little blog, I would be so grateful!

This is one of my all time favorite projects that my students do all year.  These are “self portraits” that the students create at the beginning of the year to practice cutting.  After we have introduced scissors and practiced a lot of cutting, we embark on our self portraits.  I absolutely love how they perceive themselves.  After we have discussed how many eyes and ears and noses we have, I let the students create themselves.  When we’re finished, we display these in the hallway as our first art project.  Let me just tell you, these quickly become the MUST SEE display in our school.  I always know when people are seeing them for the first time because we will hear people laughing at just how adorable these are.  Every visitor that comes to our school is escorted down to our dungeon  corner of the school to see these creations.  They truly are a hit!  The pictures show the beginning of the year and the end of the year.  What I like about these is that you can see the progression of their cutting and coloring skills.  The blue portrait was done at the very beginning of the year and the red portrait was done the very last week of school.   Of course, i’m also intrigued by this particular friend’s choice of skin colors, but that is another interesting aspect of this project.  The discussions that I overhear about skin colors are so enlightening and powerful.  If only adults saw race and color as a non starter, wouldn’t the world be a much better place?!  It’s interesting to hear 5 year olds debating the color of their own skin and actually being open to the idea that someone is seeing them differently than they view themselves.  Some day I would like to do a study on this very issue.  (Side bar:  I use colors to identify groups for my math and reading centers(pink, purple and green) and when the students asked me what they can do, I often (this is BAD teaching, I know…) will ask them “What color are you?”  Of course I am referring to their group color and not their skin color.  Most of the time and I mean 99% of the time, they know what I’m asking, however, I have one little friend, who I will call Fraggle because she looks like a tiny, adorable fraggle, always looks at her arms and seriously ponders the question, then answers me “I’m brown!!!”  Mr. Smedley needs to work on his teacher language and ask better questions!!!)

And in the top picture you can get a little tiny glimpse into what my classroom looks like!

This is another one of year beginning of the year and end of the year projects that the kids love.  We make our hand prints during the first week of school and then we do another hand print at the end of the year.  The students love seeing how much bigger their hands are after a whole school year.  It’s a great, fun, quick activity for a unit on the five senses or the human body.  And it makes a great keepsake!  
Earlier in the week, I posted some subtraction cards I had created and got great feedback!  THANK YOU!  I was asked to post the recording sheets, so here they are!

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