Fun with Primary Colors-In Person!

Saturday, 26 September 2020 No comments

It’s official. I have taught 22 days of kindergarten virtually—something I never expected to do. However, this past week, I had the opportunity to have some small groups of kids come in for 2 hour blocks of time as a transition day to get them ready to return to in person learning next week. They were so excited to be in their real classroom! 

 Essentially, this small 2-hour window of time was their “first day of kindergarten” in the classroom. It felt so odd after teaching virtually and seeing them on a computer screen everyday, but the kids were so excited to come to school! Amazingly, there weren’t any tears and only happy faces (under their mask, of course)! 


This wasn’t our typical first day of school and these kids were ready for some action, so I decided to do a fun lesson that would incorporate some hands-on fun! I started off by reading “White Rabbit’s Color Book” by Alan Baker (click to get it here from Amazon). After reading the story, which talks about primary colors and what happens when you mix them together, we decided to give it a try. The students gathered around me as I got out a white plate and some red, yellow, and blue paint. We flipped though the story again and discussed the colors the bunny dipped himself in, then tried mixing them on the plate to see if it really made these new colors. The kids were so amazed to see that mixing two primary colors together actually made a new color! 


After our little paint experiment, I decided it was time for the kiddos to try a little experimenting of their own to make a secondary color. Each of them got a cup of white icing and a plate of cookies. They had to decide what two colors they wanted to mix together to get a new color of icing. Once their choice was made, I squirted some gel food coloring into their icing (it just take a little) and they mixed it up well until they got their new color! The excitement in the room was through the roof! They loved using their little plastic knife to spread the icing on their cookies before they enjoyed their treat (Side note: They did amazing with the plastic knife, but I wouldn't trust all groups with it πŸ˜‚) ! 


To conclude this fun little lesson, we did one more experiment together. I saw this video on The Adley Show (my whole Kinder Team loves her and were excited to see her do something we could spin for a project at school) and couldn’t wait to try it for myself. It didn’t disappoint! Once again, the kids gathered around as they watched me perform each step of the experiment. I poured milk into a pie pan. Then I squirted some food coloring around the edges of the pan. I started with blue, then moved toward the middle to do a line of yellow around the pie pan, and then I put a lot of red food coloring right in the center. Next, I soaked a cotton ball in some Gain Laundry Detergent (I cut open a laundry pod) and placed it in the middle of the pie pan. The colors instantly started moving and you can hear the amazement as the kids watched the colors mix! Click below to watch the video of the experiment as it happens and hear their excited voices! 



 This was such a fun little lesson and a great way to start off the year in person with my class. I definitely recommend this experiment and think it would be a fun way to explore primary and secondary colors for various grade levels up to at least 2nd grade. 

Starting Monday, all my students will be able to return in person. Of course we have no idea how long it will last, but we are prepared to take all the precautions we can and take advantage of our time together. I hope everyone else is off to a great start this year and I’m still praying for some normalcy as we get our kids back into our classrooms and ready to learn!

Colorful Fridays: It's Red Day!

Friday, 11 September 2020 No comments


There are so many things to learn in kindergarten!  Although things are very different with having to teach virtually, I am still working super hard to teach it all and still make it fun.  One of my favorite beginning of the year activities the kids always love is learning their colors.

 

Honestly, most of them are able to recognize their colors when they come to kindergarten.  Sometimes they might get mixed up or have a little trouble, so it never hurts to review the colors, but we also work on recognizing and spelling the color words.  My kindergarten team decided to teach one color each week and then celebrate it on Fridays (we are all about the celebrations y’all!).  This is what we have done the past few years and it works for us!

 

We always start out with the color red.  The kids are usually able to recognize it and it’s the shortest color word to spell, so that makes it a good beginning place.  We have many different activities we do with the colors, as well as fun videos we watch throughout the week.  Of course, we have had to modify things a little due to virtual learning, but we still wanted to send some paper and pencil work home for the kids so they can get the full kindergarten experience.  On Friday, we are still celebrating by wearing a red crayon hat (or whatever the color of the week was), telling the kids to wear red clothing, and doing a red-themed Show and Tell!

 

These crayon hats are super cute and a freebie from Crayola Queen on TPT!  We copy them each week for the kiddos in whatever color we need, then they cut them out and glue on a sentence strip to make their hat.  We also had these cute shirts made in 8 different colors by our favorite shirt girl at Lulu’s Vinyl and Gifts!  She has an awesome new website and the shirts are listed here if you might be interested in purchasing the bundle of crayon shirts.  Get 10% off your total order by using the code kindercrazy (this code is good for anyone on any order)!  She offers local pickup if you live nearby or she can ship to you!  There are also lots of other awesome teacher t-shirts and you can even checkout with Sezzle (my favorite part so I can load up my cart and do 4 paymentsπŸ˜‚)!

 

It's Fri-yay and I look exhausted!  Virtual teaching isn't as easy as it looks!

So, while we are all celebrating in our red hats and red clothing (it’s always neat to see what the kiddos pull out of their closets), we have Red Show and Tell!  The kids are allowed to bring one item that is red to show the class.  They can’t show items of any other color and must wait until that week.  When it is their turn, they can show off whatever they brought to their classmates and tell them something about it.  They usually bring toys and plushies for this, but that is perfectly fine (you can make your own rules).  They are only allowed to have it out during Show and Tell.  


Since this is starting out as a virtual activity (I’m still holding out hope for going back to school in person), the kids presented over Google Meet.  This is a great time to get them comfortable talking in front of their classmates.  They are usually so excited to show off their toy (or whatever item they have), that they don’t even think about it!  Each week they are presenting in front of the class and working on public speaking skills, as well as practicing their listening skills when they listen to their other classmates present!  It’s a win-win situation and amazing to see them build confidence week after week!


These shirts also make super cute Halloween costumes!

Crayon shirts by Lulu's Vinyl and Gifts
Use discount code kindercrazy to get 10% off your total order (so you can add even more things to your cart!)


Five Things I Have Learned During Virtual Learning

Sunday, 6 September 2020 1 comment
"Teachers Can Do Virtually Anything"


Virtual learning has been a real experience.  It has been very different than I ever expected, but I’ve already learned so much along the way.  I officially have one full week under my belt and feel like I’m finally starting to get in the groove of things.  I’ve spent some time reflecting this weekend, and here are five big things I have learned through this process.

 

1.    Virtual Learning is NOTHING like in-person learning.  I teach kindergarten, so this is my perspective.  I’m sure teachers from other grades might have different opinions than I do, but I think we can all agree that teaching and learning just isn’t the same online through a computer.  I am having to be concerned about the screen time of my students, conscious about the type of work I am assigning because they may not have help at home, and there’s just no way to fit a whole day of lessons we would typically do in the classroom, into a day of virtual teaching.  I am currently teaching live 1.5 hours per day (divided into 2 sessions) and trying to hit the big topics and slide other content in through various books during read alouds.  I would much rather have my kiddos all day at school so we could learn all the fun stuff, I could help them with their work and hands on activities, and we would have limited screen time because we were busy engaging in the real world with each other.

 

2.    The mute button is amazing. πŸ˜‚  I never thought I’d see myself teaching the first days of school online.  It definitely wasn’t easy and it was so strange to teach the students how to mute and unmute….and then see their mouths move and them wiggling all over the screen but never hear a sound. Hahaha  I could literally just continue with the story and not have to stop and redirect anyone 100 times on the first day!  It was so strange to be teaching and reading in a completely silent room.  After I got through a couple more days, I really began to appreciate that mute button more and more.  I mean this in the nicest way possible because I'd love nothing more than to have them all in my classroom, gathered around a rug where we could truly dive into a good book and discuss the story as we read along together.

 

3.    There is some amazing technology out there.  We are required to go into work and teach from school.  I was so thrilled to do this after what we went through in the spring and trying to teach from home.  We got these awesome boards that have been amazing as we are trying to teach through this pandemic, but they will also be awesome when the students get back to school.  My Google Meets look huge on this screen, so I can really see my student’s faces.  I have a remote that will let me zoom in and out, as well as move the camera around.  So I can teach from anywhere in the room!

 

I love my new technology!  It is amazing!

4.    I miss real life interaction with my students.  I am thankful for our daily Google Meets.  I am thankful for their smiling faces and getting to see their eyes light up as they learn something new or realize they know the answer to a question.  I am thankful that I am able to hear their sweet voices and giggles.  But, nothing can replace actually being in the classroom with these amazing kiddos everyday.  I miss the hugs, the high fives, the dancing and singing together (it’s just not the same virtually), doing all our letter activities, and so much more!  A computer will never be able to replace the feel-good feelings you get from real human interaction—especially with my sweet kinderbabies! πŸ’•

 

5.    Virtual teaching is waaaaaay more work than anyone realizes.  Several “outsiders” have commented that I must not be doing much work right or that my job must be really easy right now.  Those people are CRAZY!  There are so many rounds of trial and error to figure out what works for the students in my class.  The prep work is killer and everything we plan to do for each week has to be meticulously planned ahead of time.  We are doing weekly material pickups, so if we don’t have everything planned exactly right, then it will completely throw off my lesson plans for the week!  Last week felt like running a marathon to prep for the upcoming week.  If we end up doing this long term, I hope things get a little easier as we go along.  But, last week just about took me out!

 

So how is Virtual Learning going for you?  Any tips, tricks, or successes you’d like to share?  Feedback from my parents has been very positive and that is truly keeping me going until I can get my kinderbabies back in person.  I am so thankful for this three-day weekend to rest and recover, but I’m ready to dive right back in on Tuesday and see what kind of progress I can make with my class!