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Planet Movies

I wanted to share with you the space activity I did with my students. I had the students create their own planet on Kidspix. I encouraged them to be creative. I had a balloon planet and a planet that only cooked blueberry pancakes. After they were done creating the planet, I printed each child's planet and gave it to them. They then had to write about their planet. I told them I wanted at least 3 sentences but most of my students wrote more. They had a great time coming up with new ideas for their planet.

After they were done writing about their planet, I recorded them reading about their planet using Audacity. Each student had a chance to record. They are now so comfortable recording, it only took 19 students about 20 minutes total to record. I was impressed.

When the student were done recording, I exported their planet pictures out of Kidspix as a JPEG and took the MP3 from Audacity and created a planet movie using Microsoft MovieMaker. Here is one example:

You are Cordially Invited to the Wedding of Q & U

This week we prepared for the wedding of the letters Q and U to make the "qu" sound. IMG_1048 Many arrangements were made. The vowels were invited and presents for the bride and groom were made. Girls wore veils and carried flowers and the boys wore top hats. The bridal party marched down the aisle to Cannon in D as the shushers held Quiet signs. The flower girl threw the paper letters and our principal conducted the ceremony.

IMG_1063We started having this ceremony last year to help remind our students that Q always needs U during spelling. The week leading IMG_1035 up to the ceremony, we did activities and read books that helped the students understand the concept. One of the activities is a word blend sorting. I made index   cards that have words begin with "qu", "th", "sh", and "ch" blends. I have the students sort the words and then type the words onto an alphasmart.

After the ceremony, we opened the gifts that the students made for Q and U. The students brought in quarters, Quaker oats, Q-tips, a quarterback, quills, a quilt, and a crown fit for a queen. The students had a blast during the ceremony. They enjoyed sharing their gifts with the class and they will always remember the wedding of Q and U!

Valentine's Day

My class was excited for Valentine's Day. A week before our Valentine's Card Exchange, I sent home a note to the parents with a list of all the student's names for the students to make valentines for their classmates. I had valentines coming in the next day! The entire week leading up to the exchange, the students could only talk about the cards they were making.

Finally Friday was here and we exchanged the valentines. The students had decorated bags for their IMG_0909 cards. I gave them a white paper bag and let them use markers to decorate. There was a peaceful moment as the class was decorating their bags. Some students were talking quietly and some were not talking at all. I allowed them to take as long as they wanted to color the bags.

I also had the students make a tissue paper heart. The students cut out a heart and glued pink, red, and purple tissue paper to the heart. We were also learning symmetry that week and I had the students create another heart that was symmetrical. We had a quiet morning as the students worked hard on their work. I had a thought that we should have more morning like this where the students can relax and work at their own pace. Some mornings, I feel we do too much and the students never have a time to just sit back and relax.

When it was time the students to pass out their cards, I handed each one their pile to pass out. TheIMG_0908 class was so excited to receive cards from their friends. I had students helping each other pass out cards. I let them go through their bags for a short amount of time. I didn't want them to mix up their cards with their friends at their tables too much.

Now when I'm looking back on Friday, I think I had one of those "a little goes a long way" moments. I didn't go overboard with the Valentine's activities but I feel that the students had just as much fun, if not more, than if we had done a big Valentine's party. We had a simple Valentine's Day where the students truly cared about each other. That's what Valentine's Day is all about!

Gobble Gobble

It always seems like this time of year speeds by faster than any other time of year. I love this time of year so much that I want to do every activity, read every holiday book, and sing every turkey song with my students. At times, I do feel overwhelmed with everything. There are times that I have to sit down and relax and just enjoy my time with my class.Img_0537

To celebrate Thanksgiving, the kindergarten classes held a turkey parade. The students were given a  brown paper bag and directions to create a one of a kind turkey at home. The turkeys are special in a way because you begin to see each child's personality in the Img_0536_2turkeys. If you would like a copy of the directions to make a turkey out of a brown paper bag, please feel free to ask me in the comments below.

As the turkeys were being made, the students  practiced Thanksgiving songs at music and any spare minute I had throughout the day. The turkey songs are simple songs that they can easily learn. The students also created Native American costumes to wear during the turkey parade. The students illustrated their vest with Native American symbols.

Superstar Videos

One afternoon, our computer teacher, Mrs. Paul and I were brainstorming ideas on how to have the students become more involved in technology. Having such young students, we were limited at what we could do with them. We finally came up with the idea of allowing the students to take home a digital camera and take pictures of their family, home, friends, etc. After they took the pictures and brought the camera back to school, Mrs. Paul would sit down with the student and upload the pictures into Animoto. The students would choose their music and watch as the movie is made.

Each year I pick one student to be the Superstar of the week. During that week, we learn different things about the student. The student fills out a questionnaire and brings in things from home to share. In the past, I would have the students bring in pictures of their family. After brainstorming the idea with Mrs. Paul, we decided to do the Animoto videos instead.

Mrs. Paul found the digital camera on Ebay for $8.00. The camera is a little dated. It uses 3 1/2 floppy disks but it does its job. I ask for the students to take at least 15 pictures. The first student to take home the camera was Adam. He took around 25 pictures. Mrs. Paul came into our classroom and showed Adam and the rest of the class how to create the video. Mrs. Paul took them through all the steps of uploading the pictures and choosing their music.

The video turned out great! Animoto adds effects to the movie automatically during the process. The videos look like they were professionally done but instead were created by a 5 year old! Below is an example of one of our Superstar videos. Enjoy!

Alphabet Video

Here is our Alphabet video made with Animoto!

Movie Making

I came across this site last year but I was reintroduced a couple of weeks ago in one of my graduate classes. Animoto is a website that creates videos. Animoto is an easy three step process. The first step is to download pictures from your digital camera or computer. Step two is adding music. Animoto provides a music lounge where you can choose a song or you have the option of using your own songs. The final step is finalizing your movie. At this time, Animoto takes your pictures and song choice and publishes your movie.

I saw some videos already made and I wanted to make an Alphabet video with my students. I decided to have the students create the letters using materials that start with the letter. For example, we used acorns to create an A. There were some letters we were stumped on. We could not find anything in our classroom to use so we did the best we could.

The students came up with all the ideas themselves. The only job I had was taking the pictures. I did show the class how to do the letter A and H. I had to give them examples of what I wanted to do. It was a great experience. Before we started, I wrote a list of the letters and as a class we brained stormed ideas for each letter. The students worked together and created each letter. 

Animoto provides everyone free 30 second videos. It also had Animoto for Education. By signing up for Animoto for Education, you have an unlimited account. You can make videos as long as you like. When I signed up for it, they asked for my school email address and it took Animoto one to two days to confirm the account. It was well worth the wait. Now I have another resource for my classroom. 

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