Friday, October 11, 2013

Family and Me Art Activity: Who Lives in my Home

Our Kindergarten program is Play-Based which means teachers plan specific activities based on the interest of the children. In the first couple weeks of school, one of my students asked: "Can we talk about families, please?" This allowed us to take that question and turn it into a week of 'Family and Me' themed activities.

One of the activities we did was called Who Lives in my Home. I took many different art materials: fabric, construction paper (different shapes and sizes), tissue paper, stickers, popsicle sticks, cotton swabs, lick-it circles, pipe cleaners, crayons, coloring pencils, markers, and glue.

I made a template of a house and traced it onto different colored construction paper.

Here are some samples of what my students made. They came out SUPER cute!

Monday, October 7, 2013


In the middle of next week (October 15/16), muslims all around the world will be celebrating Eid-ul-Adha (pronounced EED-UL-UDD-HA). 

What is Eid?

Eid is a celebration that muslims take part in every year. There are two different times of the year when Eid is celebrated. One is called Eid-ul-Fitr and the other is called Eid-ul-Adha. This post will be on Eid-ul-Adha. To find my post on Eid-ul-Fitr, please click here

What is Eid-ul-Adha?

The translation from the Arabic title, Eid-ul-Adha, is Festivity of Sacrifice, where Eid means "festivities" and Adha is "sacrifice". This Eid takes place in the last month of the Islamic calendar (a lunar calendar). It is in the remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim (also known as Prophet Abraham) and his son Prophet Ismail (also known as Prophet Ismael). 

The Story Behind Eid-ul-Adha

Prophet Ibrahim loved his only son, Prophet Ismail more than anything in the world. One night, as Prophet Ibrahim was sleeping, he had a dream in which Allah (God) asked him to make a sacrifice in the name of God. He would have to sacrifice his most loved thing for Allah. He had the same dream many other nights in which Allah had asked him to sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim's son. Prophet Ibrahim was very concerned about this task but because he trusted God so much, he agreed to do so. He talked to his son about his recurring dreams and Prophet Ismail agreed to the sacrifice as it was going to be in the name of Allah. When Prophet Ibrahim was going to cut Prophet Ismail's throat, his son had been replaced by a lamb instead by God. This was the sign that the Prophets had passed their test and faith in God.

This is the reason Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated by muslims: to remember the faith of the Prophets and the sacrifice they were willing to make for Allah.

How is Eid-ul-Adha celebrated?

Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated by sacrificing an animal in the name of God. It may be a sheep, goat, cow, and/or, camel. There is a very specific method to how an animal is sacrificed in Islam. It is done by saying the name of God and then slicing the throat so the blood is drained out so the animal is sacrificed in the least most painful way. The name of God is said to acknowledge that the animal is only being sacrificed with respect and not merely to take a life of a living thing (it is sort of like how the tribe in the movie, Avatar, killed their animals for food). 

Through this sacrifice, the meat is considered Halal (permissible) for muslims to eat. The sacrificed meat is divided into three parts. 1/3 is given to the poor and needy, 1/3 is given to your neighbours, and the last is for yourself and your family. It is encouraged for muslims to wear new, clean clothes if they are able to afford it. They visit family and friends on the occasion and also attend the Eid prayers on the morning of Eid-ul-Adha. When the prayers are completed, muslims hug each other in celebration and say Eid Mubarak (meaning Happy Eid and/or Eid Greetings). Many people celebrate Eid in their own different and unique cultural ways, but the sacrifice and the prayer on Eid are key rituals of Eid-ul-Adha. Families have big feasts, girls may get Henna painted on their hands, and/or, families may go out to celebrate with gatherings or to a local Eid Fair. 

Books about Eid-ul-Adha

Eid al-Adha by Robert Walker

The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin

The Perfect Gift by J. Samia Mair

Hamza Learns About Eid-ul-Adha (author's name not provided but can be found online at[1]%20-500x500.jpg

4-3-2-1 Eid-ul-Adha is So Much Fun by Amira Gadd & Mariam Saada

Eid Activities for Children

This website has fun activities for both Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr on the same page. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Trigeminal Neuralgia

My mom's been diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. It's a facial condition that shoots out very sharp pains in her face starting from a nerve below her jaw and going up to her brain. To help raise awareness, please sign this petition for the World Health Organization. That way this condition will be on their list and there will be a wider opportunity for resources, funding, and research. Thank you so much! Also, this is good information for everyone to have in case we know of someone who may be showing symptoms of this condition but have not been diagnosed yet or have been misdiagnosed. After you sign it, it will ask you for donations. You don't have to pay. You can find the 'no, thanks' link at the bottom right when that page appears. Thank you again. I really appreciate it!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Classroom Organization - Walkers and Bus Riders

Looking for a super fast way to organize who takes the bus and who walks home? Make an easy organized list that is visible to any teacher in the classroom. It is easily read if you need a reminder or if a supply teacher is in your room. Saves a couple sheets of paper work in your supply binder!

I had stencils of a school bus and a foot. I traced it out on construction paper. I always type one sheet of class names on address labels and then print out the whole class set on many sheets at the beginning of the school year. It saves time because  don't have to constantly write children's names on everything. Stick it on and ready to go!

Here is my Bus Riders list. It's right next to the front of the classroom where the bus riders exit from at the end of the day.

Here is my Walkers list. It's right next to the back door where the children enter and exit from.

Surprise Playdough
For the first week of school, I wanted to make play dough for the students. On Monday night I took out all my ingredients for my regular recipe. My play dough recipe can be found here: Play Dough Recipe

One of the ingredients is flour and I usually have the all-purpose flour at home for the play dough. Of course, when I needed it, there wasn't any left. And it was a holiday so most stores were not even open so I couldn't buy it at the time. Luckily, I also had whole wheat/bran flour. My grandma uses it to make roti (pita bread) sometimes and I thought: well, it's still flour so let's see if it works.

The play dough came out pretty awesome!!! Below is the picture of what it looked like with the whole wheat and bran flour I used instead of the all-purpose. The texture was different as you could feel the bran particles as you played with the play dough. 

I didn't get a chance to go further with an activity but perhaps this could be hardened and put into the sand bin with some sand. The children can dig for "treasure" and pretend it to be valuable rocks they are on a hunt for!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kindergarten Classroom Set-up

This year I have been blessed again to have a Kindergarten classroom. I am at a new school so it means new classroom and new students. The first week has already passed us by and it went absolutely fantastic. This is the classroom set-up for right now. I don't think I will be making changes to it as it has worked very well within the first week of school.

The back of the classroom. My ECE and I decided to keep the table there as the sensory table.

We use blue bins for the kids' lunch boxes. The children come in every morning and their routine is to put their lunch boxes inside their blue bins and then hang their backpacks on the hooks. It helps to clear out a bit of the traffic when children are getting their lunches out from their backpacks during lunch and snack time. The red bins are for any art work they want to take home as well as all the forms and newsletters that need to be sent home for the day. The children clear out both their bins at the end of each day. This promotes self-regulation and independence. And of course it cuts down a bit of the work for the teachers as well!
Another view of the bins. I printed out the class list of names on mailing label stickers. Then I put them on card stock and taped it to the bins. They look fantastic and we were done all this work in about 20 minutes.
Here is my carpet area. We have a nice bookshelf and another book bin for large size books. There are carpet toys in the big wooden bins. And my white board is full of a really tiny calendar (because I am not big on calendar) and it has the basics such as days of the week, seasons, colors, months of the year, O Canada, picture schedule, and a stash of books we will be reading to the children during the day. 
This is one end of the carpet area. My easel goes in the middle. The left side is the dramatic centre. The left side of the easel is my science table because it is near the windows.
My reading centre. Children can read books here during centre time if they wish and they can play with the toys on the bench and the shelves under the bench. (At the back of the picture you can see the easel and the science centre table more clearly).
On the other side of the 100s carpet is the computer table. In this picture is the large table which we use mainly for creative work and literacy. On the shelf if my awesome typewriter which the kids LOVE. You can also see other literacy items such as my mini blackboard on one side and the other side of it has a white board. The other end of the shelf is puzzles, Math books and other Math toys.
Finally, this is the front of my classroom. It consists of an awesome reading table and two small tables. The table next to the sink is where I will be using Paint quite often. It also has a dry rack near by. At the right side of the picture you can spot a little blue lid right by the sink. That is the water table. We also have a sand table but you can't see it here as it is by the bathroom behind the dry rack.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Meet Ryze

A few posts ago, I shared pictures about my Australian budgie, Raja. Now, I would like to show you my pet chameleon, Ryze. 

Ryze is 2 and a half years old. I brought him home from the reptile store in April of 2011 when he was 2 months old.

Ryze on the day we brought him home. He was this tiny!!!

He is a veiled chameleon. He can change colors from different shades of browns and greens. Ryze eats crickets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He is quite big now. This is him on my leg just hanging out!

If you have any more questions about Ryze, please feel free to ask!
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