I taught kindergarten for 16 years and was a district k-1 strategist for 2. I have a masters degree in curriculum and instruction from Dallas Baptist and a doctorate in early childhood studies with a minor in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Texas. I am currently working for Dallas ISD as a prek instructional specialist.
the kinderkorner website has a lot of good farm ideas- http://www.kinderkorner.com/farm.html
how to make butter- I buy heavy whipping cream and pour it into glass mason (canning) jars. I fill the jars about half way. I have my girls make one circle on the floor and my boys make another. The students take turns shaking the jar and passing it around the circle. After about 10 t0 15 minutes, the cream starts to turn from a liquid to a solid. When most of the liquid is gone, we refrigerate the butter for awhile and then eat it with crackers.
a few of my favorite farm books:
You Tube has a video from a very old episode of Sesame Street. It is called "The story of Bert's Blanket." It tells how the wool goes from sheep to blanket. This is a great video to use with the book "Farmer Brown Sheers His Sheep."
One of my "super colleagues" gave me this book for Christmas. I started laughing on the first page and did not quit until after I was finished. No matter what grade you teach, if you are an elementary school teacher, you will relate to all of Mrs. Mimi's teacher stories. I highly recommend this book for a good laugh, to calm you when the visionaries are ruining your zen, and when all of those things that go on outside of your classroom attempt to take away from the reason you do what you do (your rock star students). You can also visit Mrs. Mimi's blog for stories and laughs at http://itsnotallflowersandsausages.blogspot.com/
We have a special reading of The Polar Express in the library. We also watch it online while we sit with our chairs in a train shape.
The site is http://www.storylineonline.net/
We drink chocolate milk with whipped cream and sprinkles and we eat cookies.
We make winter trains and brainstorm things that the Polar Express train could see on the way to the North Pole.
I make polar express trains for each child to take home as a reminder of the day.
I chose one child to be the train conductor. He or she welcomes people aboard, takes tickets, and blows the train whistle when we are ready to leave the station.
At the end of the year, I make each student a memory book. I put together pages about what we have done throughout the year. Some pages are things I kept when we did them and some pages we make at the end of the year. My students are much better writers at the end of the year, so their writing is much easier to read if we wait.
I recently found this new groundhog's day book. It looks like a cute one!
These are a few of my favorite groundhog books:
These groundhogs are from the site www.makinglearningfun.com. Look under the directional art activities.
Every year, my class participates in Project Groundhog. We learn about other cities, states, and countries and the kids who go to school there. We also, learn about weather, temperature, and predicting. We record the weather conditions and temperature everyday to determine if the groundhog is a good predictor of the weather.
You can learn more about Project Groundhog at http://www.cdli.ca/Groundhog/NewGhog/
Sometime in January, you can sign up to be on a team and particpate in the project.
I do not teach a letter a week, but I celebrate a letter a week. We have special days throughout the week to celebrate the letter. I teach all of the letters all of the time, but having special days to celebrate the letters makes student learning more fun and it makes it meaningful to them.
This is the book, Underwear, that we read on Big Underwear Day.
This is the Joe Scruggs' CD that has Big Underwear, the song, on it.
This site has the lyrics to the song and a sound clip on it.
I really like the book "No More Letter of the Week" for teaching the alphabet. I make the rhymes into a big book that we can use when learning and reviewing the letters and for students to use when they have free reading time or centers.