Saturday, March 28, 2015

Easter Chick vs. Easter Bunny

Who's cuter?  Come, on!  I know you've already taken sides.
Easter Basket Bunny - Renee Dawn Teacher Ink
I think we're all born with a maternal instinct.  Or call it a protective instinct.  Because even my 5-year-olds instinctively "ooh..." when they see this chick.
So vulnerable, fluffy, and little.  Everybody smiles and wants to cuddle it. 

 So simple: 2 cotton balls, 2 black hole-punches, one orange square folded diagonally, and a roughly cut egg box.  Reaction: complex and priceless.

 Then we make our bunny baskets!  Same response.  But this fella is architecturally sophisticated.  He's intriguing, and also adorable.  Besides, he can hold all your party goodies, including your precious chick.
 Bunny Basket - Easter Basket
I already told you how to make a chick.  If you want the Bunny Basket, it's really just a quick and easy 1-page printable.  But I made a photo step-by-step, too, so your kids can make it right.

The difficult part is deciding who's cuter.
Disclaimer: I'm the mama--I love 'em both. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring Window Art

Spring has sprung!  Nothing says spring louder than flowers.
We create flowers to decorate our classroom windows.  They hide the safety grill, and they make me feel like I'm teaching kindergarten, well, in a real garden.

 We get inspiration from Flower Garden, by Eve Bunting.
It's about a girl who buys flowers for her window box.  The illustrations are simply gorgeous!
And the picture of the girl looking past her window box of flowers, down at the city street below, makes me happy.  It reminds me of my favorite street corner in Greenwich Village--Macdougal and Bleecker--where creativity flourishes like flowers in my imagination.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pi Day Sale - March 14th

It's a Pi Day sale - March 14th only!  20% off at my store and also at these teacher's stores at
Check out these resources for kids (and teachers) of all ages:

  • Counting Songs MP3s - A soothing voice counts over a relaxing instrumental with a hypnotic beat.  AKA my "Teacher Insomnia Pack!"  Loop these to fall asleep.  Play a single song on your lunch break for deep refreshment.  Teach kids to count or calm down.
  • Pi Medallions - Stylish, beautiful and geeky; for the proud nerd in all of us!
  • Irish Jig MP3 - Complete with dance instructions.  A fiddle and fife, harp, hand clappin’, foot stompin’ and a rousing fun time for all. Irresistible simple Irish tune builds to a fever pitch--it's a brain break for any day of the year.
And lots more goodies, including:

And thanks to Bethany Lau of Science + Math With Mrs. Lau for organizing this Pi Day extravaganza!

Friday, March 13, 2015

How To Catch a Leprechaun

Want to know how to catch a leprechaun?  Ask a kid.
They'll tell you step by step:
First I will...
  • think and plan
  • look
  • be quiet
  • tip toe up to him
  • walk softly
  • sneak up
  • hide

 Next I will...
  • be camouflaged.  I will carry a plant!
  • make a trap
  • dig a hole and put leaves on top
  • ride a bike
  • ride a motorcycle
  • ride a kangaroo
  • say, "Look over there!" then catch him in a net
  • tie him in a rope
Last I will...
  • tie him in a rope
  • catch him in a net
  • put him in a cage
  • hold on tight
  • never let him go
  • say, "Where is your gold?"
  • say, "Take me to the end of the rainbow right now!"

Got it!  Just one question: how will you spend your gold?  On pretty shamrock-shaped paper, by any chance?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Girls in Pink and Pi

My girls will remember this about Pi Day:
It was about math and it was fun.
They'll remember we didn't take tests, and we didn't do any workbook pages.  We played with circles, and created art with circles, and measured parts of circles with wool, and discovered an interesting mathematical formula: C = Pi X D (circumference equals 3.14... multiplied by diameter).

And we learned about a fascinating number that goes by the Greek name Pi.  And, like so much in math, the symbol for Pi is beautifully proportioned. 

They'll remember that girls (and boys) and Pink and Pi go together like Americans and apple pie.

Curtain Call: we blasted the "Circle of Life" song from The Lion King, and we moved our body parts in circular motions, often 2 or 3 body parts at once. 

Circles Rule!
"May the circle be with you..."

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Irish Jig is Up!

I'm not going to lie to you.  Like any respectable leprechaun I can't lie, but I will trick you! 

Yes, I'll trick you into dancing up an Irish storm of a jig with me-- complete with hand clappin', foot stompin', fiddle, fife, and harp heaven.

It'll start with a simple hook of a tune, and build up to a fine frenzy.  And when it's over, we'll want to dance it again.

I might even weave in a story about the Little Leprechaun, who drew us into the forest at night, promising a pot of gold.  But first we'd have to drink a mug of grog, and dance with him and his friends in the moonlight.

The dance would make us dizzy and we'd find ourselves back in our own bed, wondering if it was all a dream.

So if you're in my kindergarten, I'll trick you into dancing my Irish Jig almost every day in March.  I'll say that we're learning about Irish Culture, and St. Paddy's.

But really, I just want to dance my Irish Jig and laugh away a couple o' minutes of my life.  Don't you?

Pi Day - Wear Your Math!

Pi Day is the day to celebrate math--its wonders and beauty!
Pi Day Medallion - Renee Dawn TPT
The Greek letter Pi stands for a number that is infinite, and can be rounded off to 3.14--and so is celebrated on 3/14 (March 14th).  This year is special, because the first 10 digits of Pi will click into place on 3-14-15 at 9:26:53 
The number Pi can be used to find the measurements of a circle.  The circumference of a circle equals Pi multiplied by the diameter of the circle. 
In other words, the circumference is a little more than 3X the diameter.  
Try it!  Cut a string that's the length of the diameter (straight across the middle of a circle), and three of those (plus a little more--3.14...) go once around the edge.
There's more: you can find the area of a circle using Pi.  The area is Pi multiplied by the radius squared.

A = Pi X R2
A = Pi X R X R

It works every time, with every circle.  How cool is that?  No doubt about it, math is fascinating and beautiful.
I created a Pi Day Medallion so kids can wear their love of math stylishly.  It's so chic and geeky--in the best sense--that kids of all ages can wear it proudly.
Pi Day Medallion - Renee Dawn

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Lorax - The Next Generation

Dr. Seuss' Lorax was a first-generation environmentalist.
My Kindergarteners are next-gen. 
 They know all about loving the Earth; reusing, replenishing, and recycling.  All that's left is for them to create stunning art posters of the Earth with their favorite slogans.

Some of them are...

  •  I Speak for the Trees (to quote the Lorax)
  •  The Earth is a Poem!
  •  I Love Earth
  •  There is Only One Earth!  Recycle It!
  •  Save the Earth!
  •  Earth is Beautiful!
  •  Earth is My Favorite Place!

Their art pieces sort of speak for themselves.  Except for the red blotch on one child's Earth.  When I asked him what that was, he answered, "That's where the Earth is damaged." 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Green Eggs and Ham and Beyond

Want to go beyond Green Eggs and Ham?  Dr. Seuss would approve!

First we list foods that are really green, talk about them, and write about our favorites.

Then we tell about foods we would not like to eat--ever.  Or, maybe...We discuss what we might do to make the foods more edible, such as adding sugar, cheese, or deep frying them.

Here's a superb Green Eggs and Ham Video!  It's got animated versions of the book drawings, and funny song asides.  But the kids don't just watch the video.  They stand up and recite along with the book, and act it out.  And they dance to the funny songs.  It's a great sequencing activity.  Also great for rhyming, dramatic play, dancing, brain breaks, and laughing. 

I download the video from YouTube.  But many schools don't allow YouTube on their computers, so I convert it to an MP4, then I play it on my Smartboard.

What a delicious way to spend 24 minutes of your life!  More delicious than green eggs and ham, I think!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dr. Seuss Hats You've Never Seen

No, you haven't seen these Dr. Seuss hats before.

That's because they were just created today.  Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!  This is the best tribute I can think of.  Kids read Dr. Seuss books, and followed him in his 3-toed, furry footsteps.

My kids created and wore these all day--and felt creative, silly, and regal all at the same time.

A very happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!