Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentine's Day in PreK + K

Welcome to February! 
Welcome to a whole lot of celebrating! 
For the shortest month in the year -- 
there's a lot of opportunity to turn this teeny month into an amazing party. 

Before we 'look' at all things February, 
let me just share an incredible milestone we've just reached together!!  

Yes. Faithful readers and brand-new friends alike(!!) Together we have done an amazing thing here at this Sharing Collaborative. In under fifteen months, without a whole lot of gimmicks and hoopla, we have built a dynamic source of original content -- to benefit you and the children in your lives. We are gaining traction and readership with every passing month. Earlier this week we surpassed the incredible milestone of one million page views!!!! OH HAPPY DAY! 

You're finding us and you're coming back and spending time here combing through the previous articles. We've just installed some slick gizmo-html so that as you hover over any picture in the blog you will see the opportunity to 'pin' the image over to Pinterest. Think of every pin that you create as a good-will gesture to our Early Childhood community and building better bridges between PreK+K! As editor-in-chief and Queen-Bee Numero Uno, I know that every author here appreciates your pin, tweet, + and more! Thank you for your continued trust and support. Your comments are another helpful way of directing our authors to topics near and dear to your heart. THANK YOU!!!! 

It has now been one month since we launched our collaborative 'cyber-mall' known as the 
and its a thrill to tell you that we have our first happy shoppers! We've had authors shipping their traditional 'hard-goods' to eager recipients and we've had even more peers enabled to download materials instantaneously from the EEE 'cloud' of immediate gratification digital files! YEAH team. This time last month we had 4 individual EEEs ready for shopping, today I'm happy to report that we have 23 shops up and operational. Click right here to go shopping in your jammies. Will you be our 24th shop keeper? The more the merrier! We want to be the 'go-to' spot for resources for this significant stage of development. Come on over!

Now let's get the February Party(ies) started!! 

I know that bulletin board displays are the bane of some teacher's existence. I wanted to share this example of a "A School Filled with Love." There are all sorts of possibilities with that headline and creating fish with your peeps. This particular display is filled with glitter galore. Where do you fall on the glitter continuum? 

Just last week I saw this bulletin board display-of-hearts in Ohio, that will continue to grow as the month unfolds. The teachers sent home the pre-cut construction paper hearts to the parents, with the instructions to write an 'act-of-kindness' on the heart that the parent observed at home and then send it back to school. What a great home to school project! 

At my own blog, RainbowsWithinReach, I have an earlier RoundUP of all sorts of ideas to reinforce the skills of kindness -- in the classroom and at home. Click here to go see those earlier thoughts and some amazing visuals. Several ideas revolve around the idea of 'bucket filling.' Our world can always use some more kindness! There are some great bulletin boards and a decorate door worthy of your time.

photo of: Kindness Inspiration, Filling Buckets + Emotional Intelligence RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach
Kindness, Bucket Filling, Emotional Intelligence

It amazes me that the #2 read article here of all time, is one I wrote on Process vs. Product in the art experience for children exactly a year ago. Several reader's comments applauded my taking on a controversial subject? [What's the controversy?] 

That initial article then evolved into subsequent articles on the need for children to "do their own work" when it comes to art (and school and life.) There were folks blowing-the-whistle that they have seen teachers and coworkers 'fix' children's art. Here's an incredible project that combines the open-ended nature of marble-run painting, for the snowglobe back-drop, with the delightful snowmen 'product' outcome. KUDOS! These snow globe snowmen are a perfect project for a February day!

Note-to-self. Insert this collage of images into the original article.

These perky penguin products below were also created by children with special needs -- for whom gluing is a big time effort. I am just thrilled that the teachers have allowed each piece to be the actual work of the student. YEAH!!!! Unique and individual. That's the whole point, right? Both the snow-globes and these penguins are winter Florida projects. You can't even tell, can you?

Now, some very Valentiney work. Here's an awesome bulletin board idea that our own MaryJo Huff shared here last year. When you click back you will also be treated to a simple DIY puppet creation -- she is the puppet queen.

Pinned Image

The old Art-teacher in me looks forward to the monthly insight of our Art teachers.
Follow this link to see the instructions for how our own Laura of 'Painted Paper' had her students create these ubber AMAZING Valentines captured below. She is very specific in how she directed these masterpieces. The finished collaboration is simply glorious.

Our Maggy of "Red Ted Art" walked you through the basics of some clever card making, this time last year.
Valentine's Day Cards

Last year Bill put together an amazing article with TONS of ideas -- from a parenting perspective. 

Valentine's Day Box Creation

Let's go now to the 'process' of weaving a heart and creating a dream catcher. 
These sculptures below were created by kindergarten students in Florida and given to me as parting gifts at the conclusion of my day in their midst making one of my Author/Illustrator visits.

They are simply breath-taking.
Texture. Color. Effort. Fine motor. 
To see the process involved and the fingers in action, click over to my blog here.  
As you may have guessed:
Pipe cleaners + Yarn + Energy = PRICELESS!

While we're on 'hearts' here's a few more from my travels.
Blotto. Folds.

I know that we're theoretically on the 'early/young' chapter here,
but these next print-making beauties were just too lovely too leave on the cutting room floor.

Speaking of Feb. articles worthy of a second glance around here.....
I was JUST with Barbara of Character Counts, in Friendswood, Texas last week.

Our time together was the culmination of over a year of dreaming and scheming.
Not even a head-on collision by a drunk-driver could keep her away from our time together. 
Go back here to read her 'kindness' article from last year. 
The woman has a heart as big as her adopted Texas.

Our Carolyn of here and Wise Owl Factory created quite the happy FREEBIE for Valentines that combined Penguins and oh-so-cute hearts. Did you get it last year?
It's not too late to click back and download.

Valentine Penguin Game, free PDF, printable page student example photo

With schools starting at every possible point on the calendar, I'm sure some of you have already had your big festivities for your 100 Day Party. Others are no doubt just around the corner. Take a look at this 100th Day Party Drum! This would be an awesome addition to the big day and an incredible tool to lead the parade!

Here's the link over to my recent RoundUP of all things 100 Day! 

So what do you know about the "Project Based Learning" Approach? 
Is it the way that your program unfolds? 
I am always tickled to learn the latest acronyms and see how I 'fit-in' to the soup.
[Click here for the origination of PBL at Buck Institute, or an overview by Edutopia on PBL or Wikipedia here for the gathering thoughts there.]

Since the inception of our collaborative blog the word I've heard over + over is: 
The question in my mind, is how to you aspire to rigor --
in a developmentally appropriate manner?

Also making an appearance in February is President's Day.
I present you with this AMaZInG Kinder PBL project that was spear-headed by my picture book, "Red, White and Blue."

You seriously want to click back to my blog to see all that they did to connect their project to the 'real world' for their kinders and their community. Their model could easily be fine-tuned for an older or younger audience.

I continue at my blog, marching along on my on-going series of Fine Motor Friday.
Recent RoundUPS have been Installment #42 on all things "Snowflake."

And a week earlier Installment #41 focused on all things "Penguin"
(including some clever penguin piggy-back rhyme-songs.)

As I sit here typing on February-eve, in Ohio, the snow is mounting up outside.
These ought to come in handy.

In the last month at my own blog, I participated in the most rigorous blogging experience of my career. I joined the 5 day series challenge sponsored by KBN (Kid Blogger Network) and pulled together my thoughts on the ABCs of Arts Integration. I created that series at my 'calling card' for future reference. Please come over and check that series out -- during the next SNOW DAY on your agenda.

It's time to sign off until next month! 
Have fun with all of your celebrating.

-- Debbie --

Debbie Clement has written and recorded over 100 original songs for children and transformed three of her songs into the traditional picture book format -- where the song's lyrics become the text of the book. She is all about collaboration and sharing..... and shining a spotlight on the hard work of others. You can shop for her digital songs and traditional books, under the big umbrella of amazing Early Childhood materials by clicking right here to hop to the Early Education Emporium. She's also something of a Princess on Pinterest and is nearing her first 100K followers over there. You owe it to yourself to follow her pinning escapades!

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