Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"
Showing posts with label Concentration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Concentration. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spending time together in gratitude. Activities shared during the month of November.

Where has our month gone? We all had so much fun, this fall that it is hard to let it all go. 

In our classroom at the Living Wisdom School we combined our fall activities with our gratitude month.  Our primary focus for November was on communities, where we live and go to school. Next month we will expand the communities to the world and the many holiday celebrations that happen during this holy season.

Here is list of some of our classroom activities highlighted from the picture above. 
1.  The children glued tissue paper, using starch on their jars that made gratitude trees for their Thanksgiving tables. Each jar, we added fairy, magic glitter and well, a little plaster of paris. (I kept that part a secret. Then they magically turned into trees.) The children just loved it. 

2. This is one of our classmates. His picture is in our 3D mural in our hallway. The children love to climb in our outdoor natural play-space. The children had an idea to create this mural for our family open house in November. 

3. Each day at our circle time we wrote what we were thankful for on small slips of paper. The children loved this activity adding several a day. They were carefully hung on our classroom gratitude tree. 

4. Our nature altar was changed with a real tree on of the boys found in our tree playground. It had blown over in a storm so we brought it in the classroom. 

5. We are all practicing our cutting and pasting skills this month. We made our community neighborhoods. The children are also practicing for our all school fundraising project that we will be making for February. 

6. This is our 3D mural.  This was a several step process, complete with running paths, leaves glued to the service, trees painted by every child, leaves made from melted crayons, leave block painting and our stumps were made from toilet paper rolls, starch, coffee filters and acrylic paints. 

7. The children love the trees. Their pictures were cut out and put in the 3D mural. 

8. Our community "yogi", fireman came to our classroom. We had a wonderful time with Bryan Dotson. Bryan is a multi-talented fireman and teaches his team of firefighters how to meditate and practice yoga. He was a perfect role model for all our students at our school. 
For our community project we cooked cookies from Bryan and his staff. 

9. Concentration was another one of my sub categories in our curriculum. These were our Thanksgiving trees that each child carefully painted gold along each stem.This was extremely challenging for five year olds and they took great pride in their finished trees. All their daily blessings were then added to their own trees. Each tree was then taken home for their family Thanksgiving table settings. 

It was in gratitude that we were able to spend this joyful time together. A beautiful month indeed was shared by all. 


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A blade of grass

Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, “You make such a noise falling! You scatter all my winter dreams.”
Said the leaf indignant, “Low-born and low-dwelling! Song-less  peevish thing! You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.”
Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept. And when spring came she waked again — and she was a blade of grass.
And when it was autumn and her winter sleep was upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves! They make such a noise! They scatter all my winter dreams.”
Khalil Gibran

Today we tried something new in the classroom with the pre-kindergarten class. I wanted to introduce wet wool felting as our handiwork this month. I love the textures, colors, and how the project changes shape right before your eyes. It is very dynamic. I also like to teach children the early stages of non-attachment. Working with wool is a process that has its own life. You have to remain open to the joy that lies before you, not the outcome. It never fails to amaze me the beauty of how felting turns out. 

We began with a fresh batch of wool to touch and feel.

We carefully placed roving wool of all colors of grass into our plastic bags.
We then added hot water, and soap to the wool inside the bags . Carefully we got all the air out and closed the bag tightly. 

Then through pounding and carefully massaging the baggies, the wool felted together like grass in their baggies. 

After each piece is completely felted you rinse out the soap with cold water and let dry on a surface. 
They dry in a day. We are using these for an exhibit at our art show coming up on Saturday. 
Wool felt pieces drying

I guess you will have to come to our art show to see the finished exhibit displayed? 

It’s almost spring and the blades of grass are awakening. 

Joy to you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Give me a light to light my way!

The holidays are a magical time of year with many celebrations happening all around the globe. Our classroom is not an exception. We are celebrating our theme:" Festivals of the Light." This continues this year through December and part of January.

Last season I shared many holiday celebrations, but since this was my second year with my students, I have created a new format for December.

 At the Living Wisdom School we only have two weeks to share the holiday traditions with our children before our Christmas vacation. I will share daily our festivals as we move through each country. 

We began the week with one of my favorite children's stories. It is taken from the Swedish tradition, about a small elf who travels secretly around the farm, talking with the animals.  He begins his evening with his secret rounds doing his caretakers duties in his gentle, loving way. He whispers encouragement to all the sleeping animals and children. The book has such beautiful captivating illustrations and poems.

  Today I was able to draw some of my own illustrations of the Tomten, and made copies for the children to practice their own pencil drawings.  In Prekindergarten we begin to use our pencils for many small muscle coordination enhancement skills.

The children also drew small foot prints. We have a large world map that the footprints will be glued on as the children follow the Tomten's secret travels around the globe this Christmas. The children love the little Tomten.
  The first holiday celebrated is Saint Nicolas Day, December 6th.   

In the spirit of the Tomten and Saint Nicolas we are playing a game with our stockings. As the children secretly do kind deeds for their friends, small stickers are placed in their stockings. The original stockings originated with these Nordic folklore traditions.  At the end of the next week, the stickers from each stocking will be traded in and counted for special treats and gifts. 

 December 6th is Saint Nicolas day. The children all lined up there own shoes today and placed a small gift for Saint Nicolas and his horse inside each shoe . 

True excitement will happen when the children check their shoes tomorrow morning and see the gifts that Saint Nicolas has left.

Tomorrow we will light the way for the "Tomten", as he journey's once again secretly to another country to explore. Our next destination:Italy.

Tune in tomorrow for what the children and the Tomten learn about Italy's Christmas celebrations.

Blessings all.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Come Gather Round/ Books for the Holidays/ Free Giveaway

Christmas is just around the corner and parents are beginning to ask me, "Do you have any suggestions for good spiritual stories for my child?" I have loved children's literature over the years and now many of my favorites I read in my classroom, or at home to my grandchildren. My favorite stories have a theme or a spiritual quality that I'm trying to convey to the children.
There are many things I look for in children's literature. But here are some guidelines that I use when selecting books.  These are some of the questions that go through my mind, when I am quietly selecting a new story. 

         1. Are the illustrations beautiful? Do they uplift the spirit? Do I gain a greater insight from the story 
              through the artwork? Is the technique that the artist's used something we might be able to expand on?  Might the story be used for dramatic play, games, or by exploring additional art techniques? Can it create a week/ month-long theme for learning at home or in the classroom?

         2. Does the story uplift the child's spirit? I have seen some wonderful books that are beautifully 
              illustrated but the story leaves you a tad bit puzzled?
        3.  Do children love it so much they ask for it again and again to read it?. That is the real clincher.

I also do not select books with cartoon, movie or television characters. I am a firm believer in uplifting each child with beauty, color, imagination and uplifting joy. 

We are approaching a mile stone in my blogging history this month. The "Inside Out" blog has almost reached 10,000 page-views. I am so humbled and would personally like to thank each and everyone that has occasionally stopped to read this blog. 

As my thank you, for the person, who I can tell is the 10,000 visitor to read my blog this month I will send one of my favorite books from the list below. Please leave your name with a comment below. Did I leave your favorite book out?

This books I have used several times and have created Education for Life themes around the qualities expressed in the books.

Below are a few of my favorites.                                    Qualities, Themes 

  • All the rainbow fish books   Marcus Pfister                 Friendships, forgiveness, sharing, love
  • Holey Moley              Marcus Pfister                       JOY, love, cooperation,
  • Milo and the Magic Stones   “”                             Choices, joy, service to others
  • The Little yellow leaf   Carin Berger                         Seasons, friendship, expansion
  • Badgers Bad Mood  Hiawyn Oram/ Susan Varley    Friendship, creating good habits
  • Angels, Angels, Everywhere   De Paola                    Love, joy, expansion, wonder 
  • Art Lesson                              De Paola                   JOY, love of art, friendships 
  • Diamonds in the Snow          Marcus Pfister               Light, nature, winter, seasons
  • Gift of Nothing           Patrick McDonnell                  Your presence of love is the gift
  • Just like Heaven            “”           “”                           Love all around us, even on earth
  • Grandfather Twilight        Berger                                Light, wonder, nature
  • Oma's Quilt                     Bourgeois                          Love, change, excepting life
  • Big All Series and Shrimpy  Clements                       True friendships, courage, love
  • Brave Charlotte Anu Stohner and Henrike Wilson    Courage, faith, Do it now, joy 
  • Moles' Music David McPhail                                    Inspiration, music, expansion
  • The Kissing Hand        Audry Penn                            First day / school Mothers love!   
  • You are Special         Max Lucia                                Self esteem,                                                  
  • Each Breath I Smile    Thich Nhat Hahn                     Meditations, nature, peace
  • Great Kapok Tree      Lynne Cherry                          Endangered species, love for all
  • Everybody needs a Rock  Byrd Baylor                     Nature, earth, deep understanding
  • Mother Earth     Sibylle von Olfers                            Earth, contentment, acceptance
  • Story of the Root Children Sibylle von Olfers            The story of the Season
  • Fox makes Friends   Adam Reif                             Friendship book for the beginning of school year
  • Little Yoga (Toddler Book)                                       Yoga Book
  • Gossie and Gertie Oliver Dunrea                                Toddler friendships
  • Photographer Mole Dennis Haseley                           Happiness, joy, families
  • Chubbos Pool        Betsy Lewin                                 Happiness, joy, friendship
  • My love for you all year long                                     Nice collage book on loving.
  • “Little Cloud “          Eric Carles                                Art calmess, peace, stillness
  • Om Baby    Schamet Horsfield                                 Community, Peace, Harmony                    
  • Fletcher and the Falling Leaves  Rawlinson               Fall, love, nature, acceptance
  •   Stone Soup   Jon Muth                                          Building Community, Harmony                  
   For Older Children
  • Monkeys and the Mango Tree                              Indian Stories and Parables
  • Tenzin’s Deer    Barbara Soros                              Harmony, love, wisdom
  • Zen Shorts  Jon Muth
  • Little Secret of Friendship  J. Donald Walters        Focus one a day.                                                
  • The Little Troll     Thomas Berger                          Friendship, service, expansion
  • The Gardener          S.Stewart                              Love, faith, serving,joy under all circumstances      Caldecott Award Winner
  • The Three Questions  Jon Muth                             Expansion,service, harmony, peace          
I hope this can give you a starting point for some new literature to share with your family this holiday season. 

Please leave a comment if I have left your favorite storybook off my list. 
I will continue to write book reviews for these and others on my favorite lists in the coming weeks. 


Friday, February 24, 2012

Heart and hands connected.

Handiwork and sewing have been important activities in my kindergarten and
preschool classroom this month.

About a year ago, I read an inspiring blog piece on handiwork for the young
child.  I want to connect you with her post from January 2011
 It is from : Fairy Dusting and Sally Haughey.

This was the first stage of our pillows

This pillow is almost completed pillow.
Here is the Kindergarten project we worked on together for our last full
moon day celebration.  These are moon pillows.  Each child individually wet
felted their own moon by using roving wool.  We then attached it very
carefully with felting needles to a piece of prepared felt.  The children
then sewed the two felt pieces together and we filled each one with rice.

When the moon pillows are warmed for 15 seconds in a microwave, the children can use
them in their coat pockets on cold winter day or at night tucked
under their blankets for a gentle night's sleep.

In the preschool classroom we completed our Valentine's hearts. During the process of completing both of these projects, I had the opportunity to
connect individually with each child.  Handiwork for the child can deepen the child's level of concentration and focus; it also challenges their willpower to complete something 

they are truly proud of. 

 Try some sewing projects with your child . These were delightful.