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 When Prophet Ibrahim was going to cut Prophet Ismail's throat, his son had been replaced by a lamb instead by God.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!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bulletin Board - Diving Into Kindergarten

A new school year begins in a few days! I have left my old school and moved to a newer one. And by the looks of it, it seems absolutely fantastic! The administration is wonderful, my team is great, and my ECE partner is amazing! I went in everyday last week to clean and set-up my classroom. I will be doing another post on my set-up for this year. But I spent around an hour making the bulletin board and putting it together before the first day of school begins. I am teaching Kindergarten again this year and this is what the board looks like. And yes, the fish are 3-D!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Free Coloring Pages for Ramadan

If you have not yet had a chance to read my posts about Ramadan, please click here. To find out more about Eid-ul-Fitr, please click here.

Ramadan is coming to an end and it will be celebrated with Eid-ul-Fitr. Use these free coloring pages to keep children and their artsy mind healthy. They have been provided by Crayola. You can print them off or you can color them online. Here is the link to all the coloring pages:

Here are the pages if you would like to print them right away:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Teacher's Hefty Salaries..."

I found this amazing post circling around few months ago and have no idea why I didn't share it. It is totally worth a read!

"Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - babysit! We can get that for minimum wage. That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That...would be $19.20 a day (7:45 to.....3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan -- that equals 6 1/2 hours). Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations. LET'S SEE...That's $585 x 180 = $105, 300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries). What about those special education teachers and the ones with the Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 x 6 1/2 hours x 30 children x 180 days = $280, 800 per year. Wait a minute -- there's something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher's salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students = $9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student -- a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!

Heaven forbid we take into account highly qualified teachers or NCLB...

Make a teacher smile; re-post this to show appreciation!"

Friday, June 21, 2013

Online Reading Links

As teachnology is on a constant rise, children are spending more and more time with it. I am taking courses in my Masters about incorporaring technology not just in the classroom but also at home. Here are some links that children and families can access on their computers. I have yet to try them on tablets or iPads but they definitely work on the computer.

Tumble Books has an online collection of e-books for children and families (focus on elementary schools).

Children have choices in parts of Clifford stories making it interactive and fun for kids.

Little Critter stories online.

Screen Actors Guild Foundation (SAG) is  an online streaming video program featuring SAG members reading children’s books aloud.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kids Yoga Adventures

I was covering planning time for another teacher this week and in her Kindergarten class, the children did Yoga watching these videos. I can't believe I didn't know about them earlier! There are many episodes that you can do on different days or even for the whole week if it matches your theme. They are great for indoor physical activity time (as they are about 15 minutes long) and keep the children busy! Here are some links with the themes for a quick search!

Ocean Adventure

Circus Adventure

An Australian Adventure

Arctic/Penguin Adventure

Polar Bear Adventure

Bee Adventure

Space Adventure

Faritytale Adventure

Thursday, May 23, 2013

19 Storytelling Techniques
I have been meaning to write a post about storytelling techniques for quite sometime. I have finally gotten a few minutes in my super busy schedule to come up with one! Here is a list of a few techniques I have used and some I haven't (but learned about them when I was doing my undergrad). Enjoy! Oh, and please post some other ideas that you know of or use in your classroom!

Felt Stories

Tell a story using felt! It allows for great visuals especially for books that may have patterns. An example of how I did a felt story can be found here: Silly Sally - Felt Storytelling Technique

Finger Puppets

Using finger puppets are so engaging! Use them while you are reading or tell a story without the book. Works wonders each way! A fun story that I always like to do is The Three Little Pigs. 

Puppet Show

Oh my! What a fantastic idea to create your own puppet theatre! Use one of those 3-panel presentation boards (they cost around 8 dollars from Staples)! Got this picture from Google images and has now inspired me to create my own puppet theatre!

Stick Puppets
Tell a story with stick puppets. Just as much fun as any other technique! Remember, any of these techniques work with poems and songs as well!

Cut a Story
As you read the story, cut out a shape that may represent the shape. For example, "The girl was waiting for a valentine to arrive"; You can cut the shape of a valentine as you tell the story.

Draw a Story
Create a Class Story

Okay, I LOVE using this technique. That is a story that I drew in my classroom this year on the whiteboard. It can also be done on chart paper and then posted in the room. I chose to do it on the whiteboard. My students actually came up with this whole story on their own. Each child was given the opportunity to create the story. We started in a circle. One student gave one sentence. And the next student gave the next sentence of the story. We came up with this class story. Then they went to the desks and drew a picture of what their creation of the story was. It also became a class storybook! 

Real Props

This is one my most favourite stories! I have used this technique many times during my teaching experience. I used the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. I bought all the props (from the dollar store) needed from the story and put them in order of the story in the basket. As I read the story, I pulled out the item/prop and laid it in front of me. The kids love it and so do I!

Role Play
Role play the story! You can add students as you go along. I did it with my students and they loved it! Caps for Sale is awesome to read! Grab a bunch of hats as props and you're good to go!!! Here we can build role playing and theatre skills!

Storybox Technique

Fun way to have a few props in the box. An easy carry-with-you-anywhere box with all the things you need for the story. Check out my post Moosetache to find out how I did mine!

Musical Instruments

Simple! Use musical instruments while you tell your story. Mortimer is a great one to use. Check out my post to learn more about how I used Mortimer in my classroom. 

Get a strong clothesline. Buy some clothespins. Get pictures for the story (make from felt or photocopy the pages of the book and laminate them for forever-use). As you read the book, ask a child to put the corresponding item on the clothesline. This book is fantastic for it! 

Flashlight Fun
Reading a story is SO much fun with the lights turned off and blinds shut. Make the room dark and turn on a flashlight!!! I love this technique. So much fun to do at any time of the day. Gives children a change and lets them know that reading can be done during the night as long as you have a flash light!!

Large Books
Large books are great because the kids can see the pictures and words in a much bigger size! Awesome to listen to!

Other techniques can include: Singing chants during a story/song (We're going on a bear hunt), Physically participating (stamping feet, clapping hands), Use stuffed animals to tell a story, Word Cards/Pictures (when they hear a part of the story, they hold up their card/picture), and Hear and Respond (every time they hear a certain word, they must respond with an action/chant. Ex., "little frog" say ribbit ribbit or jump 3 times). 
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