Saturday, May 31, 2014

Five for Friday!

Happy Fried for Friday! What a week! We have five more days and they're going to be action packed. I don't know about you, but I want kinder graduation to be really wonderful and so, every year I run myself into the ground and end up getting sick the day after school ends. You'd think I'd learn!
So, I pretty much don't have time for this today, but I just can't stay away!!!

Thank you Doodle Bugs!

We had a visit from a bear this week! We've had snakes, squirrels and bats, even mountain lion sightings, but never a bear! It started with kindergarten finding bear scat in our play area.


Then the cook found the trash bins caved in and paw/claw prints everywhere. Next, Mr. Bear decided to sit on the stairs to the upper cut. The sixth grade class could see him from their windows. We obviously had to stay inside until Fish and Game deemed our campus bear free. And we were bear free for a few hours. And then he came back!

We all went back inside.

We cleared our counters off so that we could watch if he came into the yard (we sometimes sit up there to watch the snow or rain fall or anything else interesting going on in our yard). We were all a twitter, I tell ya!

Then, to make the story even more fantastic, the bear actually went into a nearby house that belongs to one of my kindergarten students. Twice!! The first time my kinder kid discovered him and dad didn't believe him! Lots of noise and a wide open door got him to exit. The second time the bear climbed in through the bathroom window and ate a loaf of bread.
We had lots to write about in our journals!!

We survived our annual fishing trip to the trout farm.This is a picture of the pond. Last year I took 16 kids, this year I took 28 kids. But I had 15 parent volunteers!! With that many extra eyes, all was well. The best possible news is that I didn't have to fish!! It's not my thang!
We came back and had to draw our fish!
Here are my samples:

We'll paint them on Monday. 
I love their fishies so much more than mine!
Aren't they the BEST?

Heart shaped rocks for graduation are done and ready for placement in the school garden.

I put their names in the middle of each rock with their graduation year and then Modge Podged everything. I have many heart shaped rocks from my own two boys. They sit on my kitchen window sill or out in my garden and are a source of much happiness for me. I hope my little buddies will come back and look for their rocks as they grow. I have to mention that my nature boy husband was appalled to see the rocks painted!!

Look at this closet! Oh my gosh, what a nightmare! I'm not a good putter-backer.

We send home a large paper doll at the end of the year. The parents are to find out what their children want to be when they grow up and then help the child dress the doll appropriately. They are to be holding something in each hand that goes along with the job. Anyway, it's really fun and they always turn out so sweet. I tell the parents that they may come in and get supplies if they don't have any at home. Guess which closet those supplies are in? I've never been so embarrassed!
Guess what I'll be doing this summer!

Here goes graduation.

While everyone else is busy taking down their bulletin boards, I'm putting new ones up for graduation. Lots to do this week. One of the things that I have out on their desks at our graduation reception is their art portfolios. They contain writing samples as well as our art from the year.

Here's how to make the portfolio, if you're interested. I've had over 1000 visits to this post, so I guess it's turned out to be a good thing for other teachers. I'm so glad!

I also read this little poem at graduation last year. You can edit it and put in your own names!

Well we've come to graduation, how fast the year has gone,
It's time to take your sneakers off and put your flip-flops on.
It's time to put your pencil down and remove your thinking cap;
It's time for you to take a trip, and for me to take a nap.
But before we break for summer and out the door I shove you;
I want to take a moment, to tell you each how much I love you.
Annie I love your beautiful eyes, and Kenny I love your giggle;
And Michael I love the way you wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
David I love the way you think and Peter the way you care.
And Christy what I would give, if I could have your hair
Sally I love your artistry and Kathy the way you sing;
And Laura I am forever thankful that you found the diamond from my ring*.
Brian I love your tenderness; And Katie I love your heart.
And Taylor I love the way you are so very smart.
Natalie I love your sweetness, Betty I love your compassion;
And Crsytal please don't ever, lose your sense of fashion.
And Joey, Joey, Joey, how much I love your zest!
I cannot wait for next year (but first I need some rest).
And all of you together! Well, you make me grin from ear to ear.
We've had a fun adventure; it's been a wonderful year.
But now it's on to first grade; and then grades two and three.
And lickity split, before you know it, you'll be as old as me.
You'll be doctors and farmers and fancy cake bakers.
You'll be pilots and poets and computer game makers.
You'll be rock stars covered with shiny jewels, you'll be fireman covered in cinders.
But whatever you are, for the rest of your life, you'll always be my Kinders.
So, my wishes for you come in one last little burst.
I hope you always remember to put other people first.
I hope you always remember to sing and to dance.
And I hope you never find frogs in your underpants.
That last line was a huge hit!

Now, I'm off to pick up a retirement cake for my last two old time teaching buddies. I told them I'm very mad they're leaving me and I'm never going to forgive them. I am now one of the oldest teachers at our school. I still think I'm 27 so it's a little tough to admit...

Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend and that you're not putting up new bulletin boards for graduation! HA!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Five for Friday

Happy Five for Friday! Thanks again Doodle Bugs!

I've got lots to get done this weekend so this will be quick! 
Report cards, graduation invitations, portraits, and silhouettes.
And, not to be forgotten, volunteer thank you gifts.
At least the cards are done!

This happens to me every Memorial Day.
You'd think I'd learn!
Why yes, I'm a bit stressed. Why do you ask?

Graduation project. Just need tassels!

Our countdown chain. I saw this on Pinterest and it has really
helped my kids with the those pesky teens.
Great visual.

We have a ladybug whisperer in our class.
 He catches more ladybugs than any kid I've ever met.
We had to make this art project in honor of his efforts!

We had a crash course on our Five Senses this week. I used my friend 
Carolyn Kisloski's Mr. Broom and all her lessons on the Five senses with my kids.
They had a blast!!
Go check out her posts on the senses. They're wonderful!

I love my window pens!
Do you write on your windows?
I often leave something off of my weekly note and simply 
add it to the window! So easy!

We have our annual field trip to the trout farm next week.

Water, fish hooks and five year olds. 




This year I'm taking 12 more kids than last year.
Actually, it's really special and the squeals 
of delight as they catch their first fish is a happy memory.
I spend my time running from group to group taking pictures
of the big moment because...
I can't stand fishing!
I feel so sorry for those little fishies!

The kids are always exhausted at the end of the day.
Here's last year's group fast asleep on the way home!

This made me smile!
Kindergarten Graduation - DYNAMITE SONG

Sweet graduation thought:

Happy weekend to you!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Five for Friday

Hellooooo! I was sick this week with what I suspect was food poisoning. I never, ever want to experience that awfulness again. And so, I don't have much to post about.
Here goes a weak week of Five for Friday pictures. Thanks to Doodle Bugs for hosting!

Our son graduated from law school on Saturday and it will go down as one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. I'm not kidding when I tell you that I started crying 2 hours before the ceremony even began.
And I never stopped smiling.
So many sweet things happened.
To begin with, my youngest drove for two days to be present for the graduation and his brother.
 It was so thoughtful and wonderful to see him. What a sweetheart.
(What is it about big boy hugs? They swoop in and encircle you with those giant arms. It's the BEST!)
Graduation was in the most beautiful place. Not a bad seat in the house.
At least that's what I thought...
Until a VERY tall woman sat right in front of Mama Welch.
And then she put on her sun hat.
Here was my view of the stage:

My sweet sister in law saw what was coming (more tears, but not happy ones) and quickly changed places with me. That was great until the tall woman's equally tall daughter sat next to her.
I moved again and harmony was restored.
As we watched the students walk across the stage to get their degrees, we couldn't help but notice the power shoes that some of the women were wearing. They meant business, I tell ya! I've never seen high heels like that. They sort of scared me.  I realize I spend my days with people who wear their shoes on the wrong feet or maybe even wear two different shoes... but still.
And then my son's adorable girlfriend walked across the stage in a pair of red Keds.
I love that girl!
Congratulations to them!!
Here I am with my boy.
I couldn't get that smile off of my face!

So proud, so proud, so proud!
I know that he has found a purpose, not a profession, and will do amazing things to help others.
I'm sure this is more than you ever wanted to know about my family, so we'll move on!

I posted about Cowboy Day last Friday and was asked if I had any pictures of the chair horses in action.

Nope. Sorry partner.
But I took a few pictures to give you an idea of how we use them.

We sing around the campfire while we sit on our chair horses. Yes, I realize that no one sits on their horse around the campfire and sings. That would be plain silly. However, I could justify it because we learned "Happy Trails to You," and that's a song about meeting a fellow cowboy on the trail. We also sing this song at graduation and what better way to practice than on a horse! HA!
It was something to see....

Carolyn from Holding Hands and Sticking Together wrote a sweet post about wishes. After I read it, I remembered a fun looking art project that I thought would go perfectly with her idea.

dandelion craft with Q-tips
This is the perfect example of why it's always better to be the second person to try an art project.

Use a darker green pastel.
Even though I kind like this "blown" look, you have to model how to work in a circle. I actually drew a circle around the center for some and that helped. There are always those who want nothing more than to finish and go crazy with big blobs of white paint.
Encourage them to barely dip the cotton swab into the paint. Some of the kids overloaded their swabs and had trouble.
Here's the finished product:

Some of the kids wouldn't tell me their wish because they said it would never come true if they did.
It's never easy, is it?
 I worked out all the kinks for you and hope yours turn out better!

This is another wonderful idea for puffs but I think it would be tough for kinders.

Straight line and dot--- dandelion

Make a wish!

I'm a little surprised I took this next project on.
It's going to be a lot of work!
I'm starting a heart rock garden with the kids for graduation.
Each child brought me a heart shaped rock to be painted with their name and graduation year.
We'll have a little celebration and place them in a special spot in our school garden.
What was I thinking?
I need to practice first! My hand's not too steady!
I'll need some Modge Podge to finish them off.

I get up at 5am every morning and look at blog posts while I have a cup of coffee. You all inspire me and have made my teaching so much better. Thank you! Today I read a post that resonated with me.
My friend Carolyn Kisloski wrote her Five for Friday post and, as usual,  it was wonderful.
All of it.
Her number 5 really hit home with me. I hope you'll take a moment to read it.
I've worried for a long time about how hard we're pushing academics and not looking at the importance of play in a child's daily life.

Social interaction, role playing, and imaginative play are vital to their healthy development.
My kids are with me for such a short time and, in order to get all the curriculum covered,
 they work hard.
And EVERY morning, someone will say, "Mrs. Welch, when do we play?" They know the schedule. It's been the same all year. They have to have station time and then they get a 15 minute recess.
I work hard to make learning fun, but it doesn't replace free, unstructured play time.
I love these quotes:

and this:
So, today was our weekly Indoor/outdoor  Day.
The kids get to go from inside to outside as they desire. I'm usually inside and my TA supervises outside. They are so busy dreaming up things, building, chasing, organizing, arguing and then working together. They are covered in mud or dressed in princess dresses. It's busy time and they always have a ball. Today it was all about butterflies and tea parties.

A group of girls set an elaborate table, colored a beautiful invitation and went to get the principal and our secretary for a tea party. (Our principal taught preschool, kindergarten and first grade for many years and understands the importance of play). They all sat together and ate mini Oreos and poured milk from a little teapot. Cutest thing EVER!
Social Skills and Manners 101.

 We  also happened to have a bunch of butterflies in our play yard yesterday. Out came the butterfly nets and all the hoopla that goes with them! The kids had to figure out a system for sharing. It was a very valuable lesson in negotiations. We got out our butterfly books and talked about how not to hurt them.

Earlier that morning, I found this note from the same little friend who wrote last week's "Summer is coming up" note. Let me translate his "kinderese" for you! It says,
Dear  Sandy (HA!),
It's me (his name).
I want a camera for taking pictures.
So, my buddy and I spent the morning running around taking pictures with MY camera of every insect and butterfly we could find. Here's one of his masterpieces:

( Don't your kids love when you stop to play with them?) 

While I know that my kids have covered the common core curriculum, and have the foundation to be academically successful in first grade, it 's equally important that they have been encouraged to work with others and to be kind, to listen, to celebrate differences. They have been given an opportunity to be creative, to solve problems in more than one way, to have empathy, to apologize and move on. They have failed and learned from their mistakes. They have had to start over. They have felt joy, they have laughed hard. They have sung songs and danced like nobody's business. They have been celebrated and challenged. These life skills aren't from my lesson plans. They come from PLAY!!!!

 I pray that my littles are happy people who can apply their knowledge in a productive and meaningful way in this very complex world. They will need to work together. They can be brilliant, but if they can't relate to others, there will be a price to pay.
As another year comes to an end, I'll tearfully send them off, but will watch from a distance as their biggest fan. I hope they play as hard as they work. 
I hope someday that they find a purpose, not a profession.

Whew! Sorry about that!
I hope you play all weekend!
Kids Project : Cardboard Slide