Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love is Something or 'Magic Penny', A Great Song for Kids

A beautiful song for kids to singalong with. Words and music are by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1955 and 1958 Northern Music Corporation, renewed 1986. a.k.a. "Love Is Something." Despite the later copyright dates, this song was actually written while Malvina's daughter was at a junior high school dance, so around 1949.

My video just has the first verse and chorus but its nice to have all the lyrics here.

Love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

It's just like a magic penny,
Hold it tight and you won't have any.
Lend it, spend it, and you'll have so many
They'll roll all over the floor.

For love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

Money's dandy and we like to use it,1
But love is better if you don't refuse it.
It's a treasure and you'll never lose it
Unless you lock up your door.

For love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

So let's go dancing till the break of day,
And if there's a piper, we can pay.
For love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

For love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Morning Reading Time: Free Choice Noisy Reading Develops Literacy.

Every morning we start our day with Morning Reading. Once the shoes are off and the coats and bags hung up, and the communication book and home reading bag are handed in, the children go to the book corner and choose something to read. They have a choice of classroom books, as well as books I have selected from the library for our collection. Also there are non fiction books in a box reserved for non fiction, and big books.
The children can read alone, or with a friend or in a group. They can read at desks or on the floor.
This is the time that I also call them up one at a time to change the books in their home reading bags which go home every day.
I find that this 'noisy reading time' really stimulates a love of books and of reading. The excitement of discovery and sharing is infectious. Also they read to each other and take pride in one anothers abilities. Conversation flows, listening and speaking skills develop as they decide with peers which book to read, how to share and who to share with. Social skills develop as relationships are negotiated during this time.
I have some pictures here to show how immersed these children are in the reading experience.
This reading time is not about leveled reading books, they are free to choose what books they read or share together in Morning Reading time. We have another reading time, usually after lunch. During this time the children read independently from their personal book bags full of books at their reading level.

Sharing a book together quietly.
Getting up close to take in the details.

Concentrating hard while reading.
Some children choose to read alone.  
Reading fosters discussion and language development.

Lively illustrations inspire reading activities.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Play: Preschooler and Toddler Building With Blocks

Children playing with blocks.
This is interesting as you observe the dynamics between these siblings as they play.
The language and communication between them is interesting. So much is communicated through tone and expression.
Playing like this strengthens bonds and also builds understanding and cooperation. They negotiate and laugh, build and knock down and explore problem solving to be successful at building their towers.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Primary Classroom Calendar with Our Special Helper

Every day as in most Primary classrooms we have Calendar time. Our special helper gets to lead calendar. We put up the number for the date, and do various counting and reading activities connected with the calendar and weather.
In our class we also tack on "Kind Words" at the end of the Calendar Time and before we do our Show and Tell. This activity builds self esteem, community and friendship as well as mutual respect.
I hope you enjoy our Calendar and would appreciate any feedback. I did not include the beginning of the calendar time or the show and tell in order to make the length more practical for blog viewing.
As you can see we had a very capable helper, it seems she may be a future teacher!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Drawing Is Fun, A Chance for Free Expression

Centres time offers lots of opportunity for free expression, putting ideas down on paper, making pictures and cutting out. Children love creating paper crafts, writing letters and adding To and From to pictures, letters and cards created for parents or friends.

This is our writing centre with felts, pencils and scissors, wher books, cards and child inspired crafts can be created.
There is lots of language development happening here and literacy skills and children write messages etc.
Also peer learning happens as ideas are exchanged and skills shared.

Drawing on the chalk board allows for big, broad drawing strokes and help develop perception and thinking/planning skills.  Children must work cooperatively to share the space.

This student wanted a big piece of paper to make a landing strip for his lego ship. I said you could try sticking pieces of paper together to make a long landing strip, he happily went off to find the tape and create his special invention. It is empowering for children to have ideas and then to go off and find the materials they need to make it a reality.
Here he is adding detail with a felt.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kids and Sand Play

It is my experience that children love playing in sand. I have seen lots of classrooms abandon sand and replace it with foam chips or rice etc. Sand is a vital piece in the play equation. It offers so much and is so different as a play activity when it is wet and dry. Properties change and what you can do with it changes too.

Here are some of my students engrossed in sand play.
I will write more on this subject down the road, but I just wanted to post these pictures to demonstrate how play engages children at a deep level.

Smoothing the sand with the flattened hand to create a slope.
These boys are working together, communicating and negotiating how things are done.

Imagination and cooperation develop through sand play.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Power of Play - Segment 1/6

Here is a video speaking to the importance of play.
I quote from the youtube post,
"The Power of Play is an eye opener for parents who may not know just what is appropriate and what is not for their very young children.

The Power of Play captures age appropriate behavior and forms of play that will assist parents in determining the best ways to help their children develop their creative and critical thinking skills in early childhood; skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

The Power of Plays message is clear and compelling: Children need unstructured time and opportunities to simply play; play alone, play with other children, and especially to play with their own parents.

As early childhood experts make clear, "play is a childs job." Unstructured play is crucial to the development of children during their formative years from birth to age eight. It is how they learn about themselves and the world around them.

In todays world of over-scheduling children through well meaning parents who want their children to be prepared as early as possible for school and learning, The Power of Play comes along to refute some of the notions about the benefits of overly structured early childhood education.

This documentary is a must-see for parents, teachers, and anyone else who is in the role of care-giver to young children.


This is the first of six videos in a series from the documentary. Thanks to the producers for sharing these ideas.

Free Play at Centres Time

My kids love Centres Time.

They have free choice on what to do and work together building relationships and learning how to work cooperatively. These play experiences develop communication skills and allow for creativity. Each day something else evolves as they explore and imagine.

Here you can see the intense involvement in playing with the characters inside the base.

 Focus and concentration.
 When I had Magic Puddle Playschool Preschool I used some of the Waldorf philosophy and we had lots of natural materials and toys. Here we see the trees and animals used alongside wooden blocks to create an environment.

 My students love Lego and incorporate it into all kinds of building projects. Here we can see the soft blocks, wooden logs and cardboard bricks being used alongside the Lego.

We can see how small motor skills are developed
in this activity.  So much is being learned while building this structure.

Here you can see how things develop outwards.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Puppet Making ideas with Jim Henson

This is a great video from Public Television in 1969 of Jim Henson showing innovative and simple ways to make puppets with children.
I was reminded of all the different puppets I have made with my kids over the years, especially the wooden spoon and we even used dish soap bottles and all kinds of recycled things for making puppets.

This has truly inspired me to revisit these activities with my class.
I hope you all enjoy this and find it useful.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Red Leaves Falling Down, A song for Fall

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, children's song by Pamela Sunshine

Here Is The Father, a Finger Rhyme for Circle Time

Hana Hana, a Japanese Rhyme by Loretta Jackson

I'm A Little Teapot, Nursery Rhyme by Pamela Sunshine

A Roo Roo, Spanish Lullaby sung by Loretta Jackson