Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flat Stanley

I have a wonderful student teacher this semester.  She put together a unit "Me and My World" which incorporated learning about ourselves, our community, and our place in the world.  She used a Montessori activity "Me on the Map" which truly engaged the children and helped them understand the idea of how big our world really is.  (I found a freebie at .) She also incorporated map skills using a classroom treasure hunt in which children had clues to collect "treasure" - pieces of a map of our classroom which they had to read and follow to find the real treasure. She then used the book Flat Stanley to kick off an adventure for our own Flat Stanley visiting each of the other kindergarten classrooms in our school.  The kiddos just love Flat Stanley.  Through their letter writing they learned so much about asking questions to get more information, including important information, and the excitement of a returned message. The unit has worked so well that I am extending it throughout the year by sending Flat Stanley on adventures to other towns in our state, three other states, and at least one other country.  This is such a great opportunity to incorporate geography, math, literacy, and technology skills in the classroom. I have already found three online map units to use as jumping off points to continue geography and global studies. (I've included the links below.) As we continue our adventure, we are going to use Google Earth to follow Flat Stanley's journey.  We are also going to continue using the map wall that the student teacher created to post state, U. S., and world maps to track Flat Stanley during his travels.  As he ventures out of our school, we are going to include information about our state and some souvenirs for his hosts. I am thinking about creating flats of my students to send like penpals. If anyone is interested in hosting a Flat Friend, please let me know!,

Friday, November 16, 2012

Can you believe the holidays are here?

It just seems impossible that the holidays are upon us!  The school year is flying by. As I was catching up with my Facebook and email, I happened upon this gem. If you have ever used Elf on the Shelf, you will certainly enjoy this freebie!  I think it looks like great fun for the holidays. Check it out.   and

Friday, November 2, 2012

Surprise Visitor

     It was an exciting afternoon in our classroom. Several weeks ago I received an out of the blue email from Jessie DeVito asking is she and her husband, New York Jets defensive end Mike DeVito, could visit our classroom as a special surprise for their niece. When they arrived today, I saw the biggest smile that I have ever seen on my little kindie's face.
     What a nice couple. Mike seemed very humble and kind. Jessie, also very sweet, actually grew up in our town and went to our school when she was little. They both came in with smiles on their faces and patient demeanors, comfortable with all of the energy in our room.  Mike sat in my old wooden rocker and read The Runaway Bunny, one of his favorite books when he was in kindergarten, to a class full of very excited kindies.  Jessie, led by the hand by her little niece, sat criss cross applesauce on the rug, and her niece snuggled close to hear the story.
     Well, after story everyone had the chance to check out Mike's helmet and a real NFL football.  That helmet looked so big in those little hands!  When Mike asked if anyone had any questions (and you all know the way kindies question), one little guy said "I really like your sneakers, and they sure are big!" Mike just smiled and agreed that they certainly were.
     Jessie had asked for a list of first names of the children in our class, because they wanted to bring each child an autographed photo.  Well, I was stunned at the wonderful gifts they brought for all of the children, including their own copies of The Runaway Bunny. I think this was a visit the class will talk about all year long.  And let me tell you, this kindergarten teacher is going to take advantage of the excitement.  I am going to spend the weekend making some football related centers and planning all the writing activities I can think of related to our very special visitors.

Special thanks to Mike and Jessie DeVito for creating a wonderful experience for my kindies!
Mrs. B.