Sunday, May 22, 2011

Father's Day and End of the Year :(

Well, it has happened once again, our school year has ended. I think the end of the school year is like Thanksgiving. I know it is coming, I understand that things need to be done, I get excited thinking about it, but after it is over I am always sad. Am I CRAZY??? Probably! Anyway, I decided that if my sweet class was going to HAVE to leave me then they were going to leave me with a BANG! I pulled out all the tricks in my preschool teachers book! Here is a recap of my last week of school for 2010-11 . . . .

The week started with what the children thought would be a typical "Marvelous Monday". Right after carpool we walked down the hall to . . . . an . . . . empty classroom! No toys, no music, no special tables, nothing! The look on their faces was priceless. I told them to "grab their bubbles" and follow me. I took them straight through the bathroom to my partner-in-crime, Christi's classroom, and there it was 16+ glorious feet of blank cardboard! (My husband and I had a new patio door install a few weeks ago. The cardboard was wrapped around the door. A preschool teacher's DREAM!) Of course we had the paint hid so everyone was dying to know what we were going to do. Christi and I pulled out bottles and bottles of paint and just about any type of brush and roller you could ask for. Let the fun begin! There was only ONE rule (I know I don't like rules but you have to have them), you could not paint OVER anyones work. Now, 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . PAINT! And paint we did!
I am still amazed at how very quiet the entire room became. Of course it didn't last long. There is always that one child that started complaining and wanting another color or another brush. We were planning on changing up colors and brushes but because of the "whining" we let them continue for a little longer before the switch. Suddenly, everyone realized that this was REALLY FUN! Colors were being swapped with the teacher's help! People were being NICE TO EACH OTHER! No one was complaining! SUCCESS! Here is our masterpiece!Of course this couldn't go home with anyone so we took a big group picture and with the help of my computer genius hubby, everyone got a lovely picture!

Monday really was Marvelous!

Tuesday was busy as usual. I wanted to do a quick little Father's Day. We have been practicing our writing skills all year long and it was now time to put all that work to good use. First, we made some background paper by painting a piece of white card stock. We used a mixture of rubbing alcohol and paint (any three colors the child wanted). The effect is amazing. It is quick to dry, doesn't warp the paper AND it is a great way to get the last of the paint out of the bottle. Plus, it smells funny! Next came our hand print (we used regular strength paint here). We carefully added some old left over letters that were cut from our Ellison die-cut machine and a glittery heart left over from Valentine's Day. Finally, we added our names!! The perfect Father's Day gift!
Can you believe that the children that wrote these JUST TURNED FOUR! WOW!
Wednesday came way too quickly. Thursday was our big end of the year bash so I wanted to do something meaningful. Several weeks ago I read a book during story time about a mother bird and her babies. The mother bird took care of the babies until it was time for them to leave. All of a sudden "A" spoke up and said, "Mrs. Carrie (I know my name is Karen, but she pronounces it Carrie), you are like the momma bird and we are your babies!" Hmmm . . . an idea was born. Our end of the year project! As you can see the next was made from scrap paper that the children cut themselves. Theirs is the little hand print and that is my big 'ole hand sitting beside them. The top reads, "It is time to spread your wings and fly". And then written on the side, "But, I will always be here for you! Mrs. Karen"

Thursday was the last day for me to be with my class. It had been a good year. Of course there were difficulties, challenges, laughs, tears and a few temper tantrums, but over all it was an amazing year. Our new director, Mrs. Cynthia, did an amazing job with our May Play Day. Each of our classes rotated to different play stations during the day. My station was science and snack! My class has a small science lesson once a week and a special snack on Friday, so it was fun to share this with the other rooms. Here is our "SUMMER SUN SNACK"! A simple sugar cookie with freshly made (by the child of course) yellow icing and pretzels for the rays.It was a great way to say goodbye to all the children. We ended our day with a wonderful picnic lunch from Chik-fil-a out on the soccer field.

I'm not sure that this part should be included, but hey, it's MY blog! I wasn't going to return to school at the end of LAST year. I wasn't happy and I'm at the wonderful place in my life that I don't have to go to work each day. I work because I love the children and love my co-workers. I'm blessed and I know it. I didn't want to return and be miserable. I knew there were other schools that had asked me to join them, so I knew I had options. Then the most wonderful thing happened. I listened to God! I didn't just TELL Him what I wanted or thought I needed. I asked Him for guidance and then I shut up and listened to Him. He spoke loudly and clearly. A new director was named to our school. Things are wonderful. God is wonderful. I am glad I listened to Him and was (for probably the first time) patient. Thank you Lord for helping me to listen.

I guess I'll spend the next 90 days reflecting on my school year. I expect to research books and blogs so I can make some changes to my classroom, add more things and maybe even delete a few things that didn't work. We will see. For now, I'm taking a week off to be with my husband. Have a great week. I'll talk to you next Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Z" Week and FUN!

Oh no, it is the dreaded letter "Z" week! That means "the end of school" is almost here (visualize me with a very SAD face here)! I like to end the year with a huge BANG so hold on to your hats . . . here comes our "Z" week.

I had to be out on Monday of "Z" week because my Mom and I attended my niece's college graduation way down in Auburn. It was well worth the 2 1/2 hour drive! So I left a little fun for the substitute. They started out with a very simple watercolored "Z" My class has always enjoyed painting with water colors so I thought one last hurray! Next they moved to the clay, lots and lots of "Z's" were created with the clay. Best part, it is the end of the year - take your clay HOME!

I was back with them on Tuesday and I was ready to go! We did an amazing black and white collage to honor our letter "Z". I love them all!

Do you see the "Z"eros? I like mixing the paint with the glue to make a 3-D effect.

Wednesday was our "Z"ero the Hero day. Wish I could show you a picture, I'm just not sure where they are :(

Thursday ended up being BUSY! We continued talking about "Z" and putting the finishing touches up on our "Brown Bear Book" (more about that later) so our art project was simple. FUN, but simple. Anything and I do mean anything I could find that was round was dipped into white paint and we made "Z"ero art. I knew there was a reason I kept all those laundry detergent caps. Since they were white on black paper everyone kept calling them our "Z"ebra "Z"eros! SUPER fun!

We also decided to make a "Z"ebra puppet. To be honest, I thought it was boring but after it was all done everyone loved them. We even had a "Z"ebra parade!

Friday was the day we had all waited for! I had teased everyone all week about the fun we were going to have. And boy did we have fun! First, we were not allowed to "walk" down the hall, we had to "Z"ig "Z"ag. Our art project was amazing. I know I use that word a lot but seriously it was amazing! I saw this post from Teacher Tom ( ) and knew we just had to do it. To say the children LOVED it is an understatement. Well, there are no words, just look for yourself -
Some got a little carried away pouring the glue, but who cares? Certainly not me! These will take days to dry so we left them in our storage room for the weekend. I can hardly wait until Monday!

As always on Friday we headed to the kitchen for a science experiment. Hmmm . . . last FABULOUS FUN FRIDAY, this had better be good! IT WAS! We made our very own "Superballs". Here is the recipe and here is our version

And yes, they really bounce!

Were we done? NO! Next we made our own homemade ice cream. We used the following recipe for each child.

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon sugar

We put the children in groups of 3, tripled the recipe and put the ingredients into a large ziplock freezer bag. CLOSE IT TIGHTLY! We put the baggie into a large round plastic container (ours were large plastic pretzel containers) with crushed ice and rock salt. Next we rolled, and rolled, and rolled. We actually rolled for about 15 minutes, just because it was fun!

There was one accident (I think I didn't have the top screwed on tight enough) but no one minded, it just was fun to pick up the ice!

The ice cream was so good! Super way to celebrate our last Fabulous Fun Friday!

It was a busy week and to be honest I expect next week, our final week, to be even more busy. I hope you stop by and see how we ended our year!

"Y" Week and Mother's Day

Opps, I did it again! (AHHHH! Do I should like Britney Spears?) I'm not sure why the end of the school year/Mother's Day/Art Show week always seems to sneak up on me, but once again it did. To say the week of May 2nd was busy is like saying preschool children have a lot of energy! First we were finishing up our wonderful Mother's Day surprises. For my children's special gift we dress them up in old clothes and take their pictures. I always turn the pictures into sepia tone and well you just look at the one of the pictures and tell me if there is another word besides adorable to use . . . .

Too cute! But of course the children have to make them their own so we got busy!Everyone painted their frame their Mom's favorite color. Next we added finger print flowers. PERFECTLY done! I forgot to take pictures of the final product, so I just cropped this from another picture OOOOOOPPPS!

Now everyone knows that you have to give your Mom some flowers for Mother's Day, right? But I'm not a big fan of cut flowers, they just die, so we made our own. These can be kept for years and years.

I think the reason I like these SO much is that they were made from scraps of paper and recycled mailing tubes that I retrieved from the garbage last summer. We even used some shredded paper (not sure you can see it) for dirt. I wish I had one of these of my son's hand. Hmmm . . . do you think I could talk a 24 year old police officer into making one of these?????

We didn't forget our letter of the week. "Y" is a difficult letter to learn. Not a lot of fun "Y" words but I tried. We take all different color yard and wrap it around a "Y" cut from poster board scraps. For some reason the children adore this. They sit longer than I ever expect and wind the yarn, round and round. Fine motor skills; I like it! Here is our "Yarn Y" - Of course we spent the entire week "Y"awning and using the color "Y"ellow as much as possible. We also put a "Y"awn in our mouth as we traveled down the hall. FUN, FUN, FUN!

Our Fabulous Fun Friday came way to soon this week. We wanted to make one more little surprise for our Moms. Luckily for me, my dear friend, Myra, told me about making a flower from styrofoam cups! OOOOOOHHHH yes, a science experiment AND a Mother's Day gift all in one - PERFECT! We started with a styrofoam cup and colored it with markers and crayons (just a note, the crayons did much better). Next, the chidren cut the sides of the cup.Finally, into the oven.We had our oven set for 350 degrees. Watch them VERY carefully because it only takes about a minute. Add a craft stick , some leaves and the final results are amazing -


I hope you will come back and check on us as we finish up our school year and talk about the letter "Z"!