3, 2, 1....Happy New Year SALE!

There's nothing better than saying goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015 with a big sale!
I've marked down my entire TpT store - 20% off!
(Thank you to Marsha at A Differentiated Kindergarten for creating the cute button!)
If you are looking for some quick and ready-to-use activities for your first week back at school in January, here are some to check out:

Here's a fun and interactive reader all about the winter!
It comes with a teacher big book (for a shared reading) and a blackline master you can photocopy for your students to use!

My Winter Wonderland unit was on the bestsellers list!
Here's another fun unit all about snowmen!
Don't forget to download my FREEBIE!  It's a fun and interactive dramatic poem about the 5 little snowmen!
And my teaching partner, Ann-Marie Parisi, and I just uploaded our 2 new Take Me Home Packs...perfect for those students who need a little extra practice at home with concepts taught in class.

I'm off to start planning for tonight...I'm hosting here at my house and have to start decorating!
(And cooking!)

Wishing you all a wonderful, happy, healthy 2015!


Christmas Capsules

When I went to Dollarama a few weeks back, I found a package of small capsules that expand into various foam Christmas items (such as reindeer, ornaments, stocking, etc.) once you apply warm water.
I thought that the students would really enjoy guessing what they could be, as well as watching the capsules grow, so I brought the pack into our classroom and set it up as a provocation at our Discovery Centre.

I added a paper with a clipboard to each capsule in the jar, entitled "What can it be?" for the students to record their predictions.
The students were so intrigued at this centre!
They began using magnifying glasses and examining the capsules in more detail.
They guessed what they could be and also how long the water would take to dissolve them.
One student had done an activity like this last Easter at home, and shared what he discovered, so he told the students how adding warm water would "melt" the capsule.

Many of the students spent a large part of the day making predictions and recording them on the papers.
We added warm water that afternoon and waited...and waited...and waited...
And then something started to happen....
One of the capsules started to come undone and reveal what was inside!

This was a wonderful activity (and so easy to prepare!) that had many of my students intrigued throughout the entire day!
I loved how the students were making predictions, discussing what or what not it might turn into, and how they all needed to be patient (which they were!) while we waited for our capsules to turn into Christmas items.


Our Space Inquiry

Our latest inquiry, all about what really is in outer space, began about 6 weeks ago with this image of the children working at the light table which sparked a wonder:
S.Q.:  These are shooting stars.  I wonder how we can catch a shooting star?

And so our inquiry into stars, space and everything else beyond planet Earth began...

I found an incredible story book that I found fitting for our new inquiry...
The book, How to Catch a Star, by Oliver Jeffers shows a picture on the cover of a little boy trying to reach for a star.
Before I read the story to the class, I asked them how they thought we could catch a star.  

S.B.:  Go in a rocket ship and up close to a star.
A.M.:  Zoom into outer space with my astronaut suit.
M.R.:  Keep walking and you'll catch a star.
J.R.:  You land on the moon and wait until a star falls.

Students wanted to learn more about planets and stars and so we visited our school librarian for books.
The children were fascinated by what they saw inside, the many pictures and what we read about, that some of them wanted to draw their new findings.

We always document student wonders and keep these posted so that we can refer back to them as we continue to explore and discover more about outer space.
In one of our books, the children were very interested to learn more about constellations, or "star pictures" as one child called it.
I put up this picture on our Bright Links board of constellations and we discussed as a class how the pictures were made.
The next day I left out this provocation, or invitation for learning, which was to make their own constellations using black construction paper, chalk and then to push pin it so that they could hold it to the light and see "stars".
What fun we had!

Each day, as the children came to school, they continued to wonder about many things...including other planets in our solar system.
Through researching together, we read about the other planet names, how far they are from Earth and how much bigger or smaller they are compared to the sun.
The students wanted to create a planet display with their new knowledge so we assisted them in making paper mache planets and displaying them.
We are finishing the last few planets for our display this week and then they will be added.
Just last Friday I moved our Documentation Wall into the hallway as we made room in our classroom.
The picture came out so blurry!

Here are a few close ups of our Space Documentation Wall when it was posted in our classroom.

Santa's Workshop at our Dramatic Play Center

It's just about that time of year...Christmas!
You know it's coming close when all the chit chat in the classrooms suddenly turns to Santa, presents, counting down, and talk of a long awaited Winter Break.

So the students in my classroom, obviously, wanted to turn our Dramatic Center into something fitting for the holidays.
The students contributed by bringing in lots of wrapping paper, bows, ribbon, boxes, cards and bags!
Here is our new Santa's Workshop!
Don't you love the sign?
The children worked very hard on it yesterday.
On the other side of the puppet theatre, we added a place for bows, ribbons, scissors, tape, and boxes.  Gift wrap is found in the large basket to the right.
After choosing a toy or book to wrap for a friend, students select which bow they would like at the Gift Wrapping section.
To encourage writing, we added a Writing Station, complete with cards (some were bought and some were made by me) and tags.  We learned how to address a gift using the words "To" and "From".
One student said "We need a North Pole...pole!" so we made that for our centre today.
To encourage role play and turn taking, we made job necklaces that the students can choose from.
They hang here for the children to choose.
Everyone has a special role to play.  Today "Mrs. Claus" suggested that she bake some cookies to sell.
This student found metal juice lids and decorated them with craft materials to use as our cookies.
Another student who was playing an "Elf" wanted to be responsible for taking pictures with Santa...but we had no camera!  So he made one using a box brought in, a lid and foil.
Other students enjoyed using the cash register.
You can see all of the writing taking place at the Writing Centre today!  Everyone wanted to make a card!
It's on sale until tomorrow night and comes with LOTS of fun things to enrich your play!
Just add wrapping paper, boxes, bows and it's ready-to-use!

We have been talking a lot about list making for the past several weeks.
I put this writing paper out at our Writing Centre along with a variety of toy flyers.
Students were very excited to start a list for Santa by cutting and pasting items that they wanted and writing them.
You can download your own FREE list for Santa by clicking on the above picture.
I also included clip-art of various toys in case you didn't have any flyers available.