Polka Dots

Monday, April 19, 2010

April Virtue: Cooperation

For April, we are focusing on the virtue of Cooperation. Since we are conducting our standardized tests this week, I have gotten a fair number of lessons completed. I'll have some more next week, but here are the highlights.

For Kindergarten, we read Swimmy by Leo Lionni. The students really liked learning about all of the different sea creatures Swimmy encounters as he goes on his journey. We discussed how each fish by him or herself were too scared to swim around and could not scare away the big fish, but together they were able to be brave and keep the larger fish away.

Each student then colored their own fish and I put them together to form a larger fish. The students are having a fun time pointing out their individual fish up on the wall.

In 1st grade, we discussed how bees work together to make honey. We then talked about the many ways that 1st graders work together to get things done.

For the activity, the class was broken up into groups of four students. Each student in the group was given a piece of paper with a school supply on it (Crayons, Scissors, Glue Stick, and Pencil). Only the students with the assigned supply were able to get those supplies out. Each student was given a bee body and wing and had to figure out in their groups how to cut out their bee body and wing, glue the two together, decorate the bee with crayons, and write their name on the back with pencil.

It took a little bit of frustration and discussion to get all of the group members working together. I heard comments like, "I have glue stick, but I can't glue my wing on because I haven't cut it out yet." So that prompted discussions on sharing the materials, using your supply and then passing it along, and asking to borrow something. By the end, each student had created their bee and glued it to the hive.

In 3rd grade, we made "Cooperation Faces". Each student was given a different colored piece of paper. Based on their paper, I asked them to draw the different parts of the face: Right Eye, Left Eye, Right Ear, Left Ear, Nose, Upper Lip and Lower Lip. Then, one by one, they came up to glue their pieces on the poster board. We made four faces and discussed how each student in class is an individual, but when put together they make their 3rd grade class.

In 4th and 5th grade, the students created spaghetti and mini marshmallow structures in small groups. The group with the tallest structure won a small prize.

After building, we had a class discussion on what went well and what could have gone better. Some things we talked about were: listening to each other's ideas, take turns building, being a leader and a follower, and brainstorming ideas. The students really enjoyed it and made some great structures!

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Camera and New Kitchen

So definitely new camera, but only a newly painted kitchen....

I spent part of spring break prepping, painting, and cleaning the kitchen. I thought it would be a good opportunity to reorganize some of the cabinets and get rid of some stuff.

The color is Ocean Tropic by Behr.

I got the curtains at Ikea. They come really long with iron on stitching... I'll probably sew them later, but I just wanted to get them up.

I would love to have a pantry so we didn't have to store cereal and other boxed food on top of the fridge, but I'll get over it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Break To-Dos Update

Half-way through Spring Break and here is what I have accomplished so far:
  • plant an herb garden
  • buy and fill planters of varying sizes to "hide" ugly heatpump on the patio
  • take Sadie to the vet for Rx refills and checkup
  • start on Christmas and birthday presents for nieces and sisters
  • trim the unruly boxwood in front of the house
  • take Sadie to the dog park
And here are the things I still need to accomplish:
  • paint kitchen (we're thinking a light cornflower blue) -- my project for Friday
  • go to the dentist (I'm currently on a wait list because I waited too long to make the appointment - bummer!) -- don't think this is going to happen
  • create and stock up on birthday and holiday cards
  • find a small table/chairs for the patio -- doing some serious searching on CraigsList
  • come up with Cooperation lessons for grades PreK-8 for April -- gotta get those ready
  • make school-themed goody bags for grades 1-5 lunch bunches (ideas: smarties, erasers, pencils, stickers, small toy for each group's theme: train engine for 1st grade "I think I can", race car for 3rd grade "study skills expressway") -- this can wait, still have 2 more sessions before the end
Oh, and I got a new camera!! A Nikon D3000 and I love it!! Here are some pictures of my projects taken with my new camera...

A tin full of goodies including homemade scavenger hunt cards for my niece's 7th birthday.

A jar full of "sunshine" to help my sister in Colorado make it through the last bit of winter. I got the idea from here.

Old Navy dress, homemade hair barrettes and a card for my niece's 1st birthday.

Paper-covered birds for Mother's Day. Idea found here.

Handmade Father's Day cards.

"Gourmet Girl" notes and cards set from Michaels, all wrapped up with a cute blue spatula for my best friend's birthday.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter (a day late)! We spent Easter with friends in DC and had a great time. The weather was phenomenal!

I have seen those orange candy in the shape of carrot treats a lot of places and wanted to try them out myself. They were a big hit and so easy to make!

I made three different kinds - orange jelly beans, orange M&Ms, and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies