Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Class Field Trips - But Not During School

This is my 5th year teaching at the Pre-K/ Kindergarten level. I absolutely love the age! I particularly love the 5 year olds because they "get it" and I can usually challenge them a lot more than the younger 4s. A year makes a huge difference!
When I found out I was teaching the 4s again, I decided to focus on themes and fun. My school is a private one and while parents have wished for field trips, the logistical nightmare of carting around any number of 4-5 year olds is daunting - to say in the least. So, I decided that I would create a field trip for each month based on my theme. However, instead of doing it during school hours, I set them up for either a week night or a weekend. 
Week nights are obviously not ideal so I scheduled them primarily on Thursdays or Fridays - with the weekend in sight!!! :) 
September's theme was the circus. Our first outing was on a Thursday night to the circus that had come to town. Half the class showed up and it was the first time most of them (even parents!) had visited the circus. Granted, my students are only 4 years old so they have not had a lot of time in their young lives to experience this adventure. Regardless, I took pride in the fact that I was the one to introduce them to the excitement of a circus. :) 
 Thankfully, none of them tried to do this in the class the next day:

 or these amazing feats:

He is not your normal tight rope walker! He did ride a unicycle on it but then he pulled out a ladder and somehow did this incredible handstand!!!
The couple below continued the jaw dropping action with their stunts on the trapeze. More often than not, they were hanging off of each other (example in picture) by their limbs - feet hooked around each other, necks held in foot locks, etc. 
We got our money's worth, that's for sure!
We moved from the circus to the barn when October rolled around. It has been a great month of exploring everything you might find in a barn or on a farm. It gave opportunity to introduce some special sounds like CH (chicken), SH (sheep),  and AR (barn/farm/farmer). When the children have something experiential to attach to the learning process, it sticks that much more! 
This past Saturday found us at a local farm that was hosting a fall festival. It turned out to be such a wonderful experience!!! Only a few students showed up with their parents but we had such a blast! The farm did a fabulous job at letting the children experience farm life too. They had the obligatory petting option but then the children could help milk a cow, play games using old corn husks, remove the corn kernels from corn cobs on wooden machines, peel and slice an apple the old-fashion way, toss an apple into the cider mill for pressing and watch a machine plane wood! We easily spent two hours doing everything and the weather was absolutely gorgeous - a perfect fall day!

 I am not sure which part the students loved the most but they spent a lot of time petting the baby calves and goats. They also wanted to be sure we saw the 2 week old pigs because we have been reading Charlotte's Web in conjunction with Barn/Farm month. They just had to see "Wilbur"! :) 
The children finished up their exciting morning on the farm by taking a carousel ride on a historic merry-go-round located on the grounds of the farm.

My extracurricular field trip idea has been a fabulous success as far as I can tell. I do hope to get more families involved for future activities. 

Next month is community helpers themed and I have ideas for what to do but if you have an idea you would like to share, please leave a comment below! :)

Also, I would love to hear others' experience with similar situations.  
I did put some thought into my theme planning so October makes sense for the farm. However, I got lucky with the September circus theme and the fact that a traveling circus happened to be in town! I know that a lot of community helper events took place recently due to Fire Safety Week so I missed the timing on that one. Hopefully, I will come up with a fun learning experience before the end of November! :)
December finds us celebrating Christmas and then we have great themes for 2013 including books/ nursery rhymes, transportation, sports/ human body, ocean/ beach, and much more! Stay tuned for reports on those adventures!

Thank you!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Welcome to Love.Laugh.Teach

Love.Laugh.Teach. My philosophy for teaching. Love what you do and love the students. Laugh with them and create a happy environment. Teach them and because they are happy and know they are loved, they will try their best and be eager to please.
Over the years I have spent approximately 10 years in the classroom. It started out in ESL classes in the public and private classrooms of Moscow, Russia. It then moved to the private classrooms in the U.S. - first, teaching ESL and then pre-k and kindergarten. I have enjoyed every step of the journey and now will document it here. 
Check out my Love page for things I love about teaching and things my students love.
The Laugh page will feature funny, humorous moments in the classroom (there are usually plenty of those, right??)
My Teach page will feature new things we are covering in class and any tips I have will be shared there.