Thursday, 11 December 2014

Mommy School ~ Vv is for Van

Aaahhhh...the holidays are upon us!  Because of the amount of winter parties we are attending this week, I decided to keep it short and sweet for Letter Vv, which we covered on Tuesday.

We read Jane Belk Moncure's My "v" book, followed by our van craft.

Pipe cleaners were a favourite!  Here, Kai was using pipe cleaners to make Vv's and match uppercase/lowercase Vv's.  I also asked him to dot-mark uppercase V green & lowercase v blue.  We counted the green and blue Vv's together.

We didn't do an uppercase V craft since Kai made one in playgroup before.
Vv is for violets in a vase

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Monday, 8 December 2014

Samiclaus Tag (St. Nicholas Day) ~ Swiss-style!

December 6th is a traditional day for St. Nicholas to visit in many parts of Europe.  In the German-speaking regions of Switzerland like Basel, St. Nicholas is known as Samiclaus.  This Swiss Santa does not bring presents on Christmas Day but instead, give edible treats in a burlap sack consisting of clementine oranges, unshelled peanuts, chocolates and gingerbread-like cookies (lebkuchen).  
(Source: SRF)
It is a tradition among Swiss children to leave their polished shoes/boots out on the night of December 5th, and wake up the next day to find their shoes/boots filled with little treats (if you have been nice) or twigs (if you have been naughty!).  My 5-year old son said: "Samiclaus only gives presents to Swiss children and I am not Swiss!"  Because of this, my kids didn't leave their boots out on December 5th.  ;)

  Samiclaus is accompanied by his black-faced, black-robed assistant called Schmutzli.  I was told that if the kids have been naughty, Schmutzli will take them away to the Black Forest to be whipped with twigs and to peel carrots for the donkeys for the entire year!  In Switzerland, you can actually hire Samiclaus & Schmutzli to visit your house.  However, the waitlist is long and often, you have to book half a year in advance!
Samiclaus and Schmutzli
(Source: Confessions of a Part-time Working Mom)
Last year when Keefe was in Preschool 2, Samiclaus visited their class.  He read from his golden book to check whether the kids had been nice or naughty during the previous year.  Each kid was given a grattimaa/grittibanz, the Swiss version of the gingerbread man which originated from Basel in the 16th century.

 Swiss families usually bake and eat grattimaa/grittibanz on December 6th.  My kids love them so we decided to make these little bread men on St. Nicholas Day.  The kids enjoyed playing with the dough and Keefe decided that his grattimaa should be shaped as Santa Claus!

Kai saw Saint Nicolas when we were in Saint Louis, France on the morning of December 6th.  Saint Nicolas gave him a small bag of treat consisting of mannala (the French version of the grattimaa) and a chocolate fashioned like Saint Nicolas.

Our day ended with a parade of Santas driving their festively decorated Harley Davidson motorbikes in Marktplatz.  This is an annual event in Basel and is very popular - I wonder why we didn't watch it last year!
(Source: Yahoo)
(Source: Flickr)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Mommy School ~ Uu is for Underground and Umbrella

Here's what we did for Letter Uu today:

Uu is for Underground
We read a wonderful book called Life Underground, which we borrowed from the school library.  The book had pretty illustrations of how bunnies dig their home (burrow) and meet other underground creatures along the way.  We made our underground craft and added ants (made with Kai's thumbprints).  This was followed by a worksheet to identify the animals that live underground.

Uu is for Umbrella
Kai was amused that we used a Disney Cars cupcake liner as an umbrella.
I love using Teaching Mama's printables because they are simple and does not require prep work at my end.  I will have to continue working with Kai on patterns and size sequencing.

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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

I Heart Cyber Monday!

I love TpT sales!  My cart was filled!

I absolutely adore Nikki's kidlettes.  I own several of them and just had to add these to my growing kidlette collection!

My 5-year old will be studying pond life next year so I bought Krista's pond life clipart to create some resources for him.

I normally don't buy clipart I haven't seen, but this one was too good to pass.  I really hope it's for year-round use because I tend not to buy seasonal clipart.

I own lots of borders but realised I didn't own any header frames!  I've bought Kelly's borders before so I know these header frames will turn out great! 

This was the only non-graphic resource I bought!  My 5-year old is currently working on long vowel teams and I needed a resource that was simple, no-prep and low on ink.  This bundle covers all the long vowel teams and I love that the seller provided both colour and blackline options for the picture word cards.  

A Peek into Kindergarten ~ 2nd 6 Weeks

For the past two months, the bulletin boards adorning the kindergarten corridor had been about autumn leaves, shapes, lines and patterns.
I couldn't resist taking photos of these adorable autumn handprint art made by the preschoolers!
After the autumn break, the kindergarteners started their new unit of inquiry, "Mix It Up".  
Bulletin board inside the classroom
Initial assessment of what the children know about solids, liquids and gases through drawings
This unit involved a lot of hands-on experiments, with the help of Discovery Dog.  Keefe's class mixed up solids and liquids, and changed the state of matter as part of the inquiry and investigation process.

Undeniably, his most favourite experiment was when they mixed "magic powder" (Insta-Snow) and water to create...instant snow!  

Keefe was exposed to new vocabulary words and would come home talking about new words he learnt like "dissolve", "hypothesis" and "evaporate".  One of the words the class learnt was "particles", which the teacher explained they couldn't see.  So the class acted out the particles that make up a solid, liquid and gas.  How creative!

Towards the end of the unit, the kindergarteners were asked to plan and carry out an experiment where they could change matter to a different state.  Keefe decided he wanted to make an ice lolly experiment (changing a liquid to a solid, and a solid back to a liquid).  He designed his plan in class and conducted his experiment at home.  He reflected on his experiment and got to share his experiment with other parents in the class last November 27th.  He also shared his portfolio with his dad on the same day. 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Mommy School ~ Tt is for Tiger and Turkey

Tt is for Tiger
Craft idea from Mrs Ricca's Kindergarten
Tiger printables from 1+1+1=1
Tt is for Turkey (on Thanksgiving Day!)
The turkey feathers were made using Kai's handprints.
Thanksgiving printables from Our Little Monkeys and Over the Big Moon
Our little Pilgrim boy!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Mommy School ~ Rr is for Rain

Somehow this autumn, we have been getting A LOT of rain which works great with our letter Rr week!  We made rain clouds in a jar yesterday evening while Belle and Keefe were around.  The kids had never seen (or touched!) shaving cream so they found this experiement very interesting.

We read a non-fiction book called Down Comes the Rain today, but Kai was bored after we read half of the book so we made our rain craft.

Kai worked on rain-themed printables (mostly from here and some I created myself).  The letter matching sheets were a great review for him.  I realised he was unsure of the lowercase "p" and "q" so we'll practice these more.  We are still working on recognising the Chinese numbers 1 to 5 -- I'm sure we'll get there...someday!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Mommy School ~ Rr is for Rocket

We did Rr is for Rocket yesterday, and there were lots of smiles and laughter.  Probably because we have the Little Einsteins theme song playing and he kept singing it!  We read the Little Einsteins book, Blast Off! and made our rocket craft.  Kai has been able to spell his name for a while now, and was happy to stick glittery letters onto his rocket.

We worked on literacy and math skills using rocket-themed printables.  He was tickled that our new gluestick turned out to be purple!  He was proud of his number order puzzle.  He enjoyed painting the rockets yesterday and kept wanting to paint more.  

Kai was out of school today because of a slightly swollen/itchy left eye.  He did more rocket-painting, and we worked on pasting paper neatly.  He watched a few Little Einsteins episodes afterwards.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Mommy School ~ Qq is for Queen

Somehow when it gets to letter Qq, I get stuck for inspiration!  We were in London March of this year for the spring break and I pulled out a photo of Kai with the Queen.  Well, this was the closest we could get to see the Queen!  Kai hasn't turned 3 in this photo!

For our Qq is for Queen theme, we used Teaching Mama's printable pack.  We are still working on patterns but he seemed to have a better understanding of the concept.  We added a robe to our queen craft and Kai thought the queen was a superhero!

Kai made a quail craft in school last September so we did not do a separate uppercase Q craft this time around.