Saturday, July 27, 2013

STEM- challenge 3

Our last challenge of the year was the hardest…. for my kids and for my assistant. J To her credit, she had never been in my classroom when we were working on our other projects, she wasn't in the room when I explained it, and she didn't know what I expected of the kids.

The project? Paper rockets.
Materials?paper, tape, a ruler, and glue. 
Requirements of the rocket? 8 inches tall and stand up on its own

Of course, the first things that came out of their mouths…. “how do I do it?” “I can’t do it!” “I don’t know how!” But just like all of the other projects, they all slowly headed in the direction of a rocket that met Mrs. Snow’s requirements.

This story is about little J. He is almost too smart for his own good and doesn't like to do things the wrong way. He struggled a lot so Mrs. F sat down with him to work on it. He got frustrated that others at his table were taking up too much space so started to pull him over to the side to help him. Before they got settled in, I told her I wanted to see what he could figure out on his own. She struggled just as much letting him get frustrated as he did being frustrated.

She said, “Can’t I just…” and I said, “just watch him. He will figure it out.” You could tell she was just itching to go over and say, “Measure your paper, cut it, roll it up and tape it.” I will say, it is really hard watching them struggle and not just help them along. BUT, I am also learning to let them learn.

As he worked, he was getting it. Mrs. F was able to help him without giving his the answers. She helped him visualize what a rocket looked like and then he figured out how to make the body of his rocket. Then the tricky part was to make it stand up.

They both went to ‘itching’ again… him itching for the solution and her itching to give it to him. He kept saying, "It just leans this way." and then he would try to push it in the other direction. Mrs. F talked to him about why it was leaning, what it needed to it wouldn't lean. After their talk, he realized it needed "a kickstand". So he went to work making kickstands to go around the bottom. Before long, he had a rocket that met the requirements!

So that wraps up my experience with STEM for the school year. Now I just have to make it through a whole year doing it all over again!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

12 months = 1 year

Time has really flown by! (excuse the lack of a 12 month sticker picture, I forgot to take one on the ipad.)

One year checkup was on Thursday, July 11.
You weighed in at 17 pounds, which put you in the third percentile. (You also got to weigh on the big kid scale since you can stand up.)
You measured at 28.5 inches tall, which they said puts you in the 99th percentile. I did a chart on the Internet that put you in the 25th percentile, which makes more sense to me since you were last in the 6th percentile.
Your head measured at 18 inches so your brain is still growing!

Clothing wise... You wear anything from six months to 12 months, size 2 shoe, and size 2 diapers. If we had known we would be in size two diapers this long, we would not have bought size 3 and 4 when we were stocking up before you were born! I guess you will eventually grow into them so we'll hang onto them.

Sleeping habits... You are still a good nighttime sleeper. You have started waking up in the middle of the night crying. I say it is because you miss us but your Dad isn't sold on that. By saying you have started, I mean you have done it a handful of times in the last two weeks. We have been practicing having an afternoon nap since you will have a nap time when you go to Jade's in the fall. Your nap ranges from one hour to two hours. Generally, you will take a short rest in the morning too.

Eating... What won't you eat? I don't know. We haven't found anything that you won't eat. You have started to share with Tobie and she loves it! You also like to tease her. You will dangle your hand over the edge and just let her sniff or lick your hand. Sometimes, you have food in that hand and Tobie tries her hardest to lick it out of there. She is always at your side when it is eating time!

Right after I took this picture, you looked at me and smiled like you were so proud of yourself for sharing with Tobie.

Talking... You have a lot to say, all the time. Your Dad even commented that "you already talk with attitude and I have no idea what you are saying." Mama and Dada are in your vocabulary when you choose to say them. Sometimes when you talk, it sounds like you are saying things, like 'what is that?', 'where is dad?', and even 'dang it!' You know four signs...  more, milk, please, and dog. Except you don't on know dog means dog. I taught you that is "come here, Tobie." So many times when you see here, you start patting your little leg.

Playing... Over the last month, we really started to notice you playing independently. You still like to for us to play on the floor with you but you don't freak out if no one is down there. You love to open and close things. You will use anything to pull up on. You will walk behind anything that moves. After getting stood up, you can stand for at least 15 seconds before you realize no one is holding your hand and plop yourself back down. You haven't gotten brave enough to try it on your own or to take a step without holding on. You have discovered that you can dump over your little baskets of toys so we pick those up a couple times a day. You also found Tobie's toy basket. It was like a whole new game to toss her animals out of the basket!

Tobie... You still love to torment her. You will follow her all over until she goes into hiding. You are still determined that her food is your food. When we tell you no, you keep trying to get her food or splash in her bowl. Strong-willed, you are. I wonder where you get that?! Be gentle is still a daily phrase.

We celebrated your birthday on July 13. Lots of family and friends came over for a hot dog cookout. It is so warming to know that you are so loved by the people in your life. The 'theme' was " One is Snow much Fun!" We decorated in pink and green. We stayed up late Friday night making strawberry cupcakes and frosting them with hot pink frosting. They were so pretty! You had a giant cupcake as your 'smash cake'. You didn't go too crazy with it but still managed to get hot pink frosting from your head to your legs.

You are very blessed to have so many friends and family come celebrate sweet little you! You got lots of books to add to the small collection you had, puzzles, toys, balls and a shopping cart that you love to empty. Putting your groceries back into the cart is a work in progress. In the days since your party, you love to 'read' your cards. You take them out of the bucket at least once, probably more like three or four, times a day.

Now I need to work on putting all the treasures I kept from your first year into your baby book before you turn two! I am a year behind so I don't need another one to creep up on me! Slow down your growing, baby girl!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

One Year

Today my baby girl turns one.... She went to bed a baby and will wake up a one year old.

To my sweet little Snowflake,

Everyone says it so I might as well join the crowd... "I can't believe it has been one year" since we welcomed your sweet face into this world. Everyone also says, "It seems like yesterday!" and it truly does. For a year now, on the 17th of every month your Dad and I say, "we were doing __(insert any thing from the day)__ x months ago." Then on the 18th of every month, we make sure to recognize your "birthday". Looking back at each monthly picture brings back such sweet memories of you growing and changing. 

You are so blessed to have so many people in your life that truly love you. Your number one fan is your Daddy. He loves him some Tobie but you were able to squeeze your way into his heart (and right passed Tobie) the second he saw you. It really is precious the way he loves you. I pray that love only grows bigger and deeper as you grow up. When asked what he loves about being a dad, he said, "just hanging with Kinbin." I think he could hang with you forever and you with him. He's a pretty good first love for you.

It is so crazy to think that one year ago I hadn't seen your adorable face in person or held your precious little self and now every day I am blessed to kiss your sweet cheeks. You make being a mommy pure joy. Although I wish I could bottle you up and keep you so little,  I am eager to see the person you grow into, to see you blossom into yourself {but take your time}. 

Now that I've known you for a year, I have more hopes for you [not that I didn't have them before, I just didn't think to publish them]: I hope your life is full of love and kindness. I hope you learn good patience. I hope you learn to stand up for what you think is right and fair. I hope you learn to stand up for yourself even when it is hard. I hope you find happiness wherever you go. If you don't find happiness there, I hope you create it, for yourself and others. I hope you love yourself. I hope you always know how much I love you and know that every day I love you a little more.

You are all because two people fell in love.

I'll always be here,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

STEM- challenge 2

In April, I attended an Engineering Made Easy workshop. At that workshop, we had to do some engineering projects with our table. Each challenge had guidelines to meet. For example, our race car was made out of straws, tape, and index cards. It had to roll down a ramp carrying a pencil top eraser as a driver. Another challenge was to construct the tallest freestanding tower out of one sheet of paper.

During this workshop, I discovered two things... well, I knew these things about myself, this day just helped confirm them.... 1- I would not like to be on Project Runway type shows where you are given a challenge and only a short amount of time to do them. I need more time to think about my projects than were given. 2-I am more of a visual person that needs to see it before I really know what I am doing.

Anywho, the STEM Academy (what my school will be in the fall) is going to force me to help my little kids to think outside of the box. After this workshop, I took our little projects and made them more kindergarten friendly. I decided we were going to build a car. I gave my kids tape, index cards and straws. I told them it had to have 4 wheels and stand off of the table [so it needed to sit up on its four wheels]. The kicker for this project was that they had to work with a partner! I partnered them up with the person who sat next to them, which generally is someone of the opposite personality... you know a loud kid and a quiet kid, a good reader and an emergent reader, a good counter and a counter... they tend to balance each other out. They were supposed to talk to their partner to decide how to make the car before they did anything. In the grown-up world, we might call this brainstorming or project planning. I didn't want them to just dive in and not have any direction.

It wouldn't be a learning project if we didn't start with, "I don't know what to do?" "how do I build a car?" or "I can't do it!"

For the most part, my groups worked very well together for a first time partner project. Some I had to keep reminding them to talk to their partner. I constantly reminded them I wanted it to have 4 wheels and stand off of the table. This was a trickier challenge than their house challenge but there were a lot of successful groups. Groups that worked well together, groups that had cars that met the requirements and groups that tried without giving up.

We had our struggles too. This partner challenge helped me to see leaders, followers, bossy pants, strong-willed, and those that were happy to let their partner do the work [all of which I probably could have identified before].

One table stood out to me… A and P were partners. They kept forgetting that this was a partner project, even though I kept reminding them and one of their other tablemates, K, kept reminding them too. They seemed to have taken only the materials they thought they needed and tried to do the project on their own. “But I don’t have a straw!” and I would say, “You do but A is holding it. Talk and find out how you two can work together to build your car.” Or “He won’t give me anymore paper.” to which I would say “Well, you two have to share it. Talk and work together to build your car.” It went on like this for the whole time…. Until K pipes in. Here are some of the things I overheard…
“A, if you say you can’t. You really can’t do it.”
“We’re AmeriCANS, not AmeriCAN’Ts” {sound familiar? Remember STEM project 1?}

After a couple more encouraging words from K, A had enough and said “STOP!” K quickly fired back, “I won’t stop. We have to stay as a team.”

I was probably not much help because I stood back and would chime in “Preach on sister” to K. It frustrated A but I did not see any harm in her peer encouraging her and trying to help her see that it was in fact a team project and she wasn’t pulling her weight. But girlfriend had a point so I encouraged her. I did end up going to talk to A under the table and explain how K was trying to encourage her and help her and P finish their project.

Slowly, as groups were finishing their cars, I could be heard saying, "I knew you two could figure it out!", "Look at that car you guys built as a team!" or "Who told me in the beginning they couldn't build a car? It must not have been you guys."

In the end, A and P did not have a team car. They did get a lesson in team work in which I saw it show a little in our third project…

We are still engineering!

Monday, July 1, 2013

STEM- challenge 1

What is STEM? Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Why does that matter? Because my school is going to be Liberty STEM Academy in the fall.
How will I do that? I am not totally sure and I don't know that many teachers at my building are.

In January, I visited a STEM school with my principal and two other teachers. After seeing their school, here is my take... what I am doing in kindergarten probably won't change a whole lot. Obviously, kids have to learn to read and write... and younger grades, like kindergarten and pre-k, is where that starts to take shape. I think older grades (3-5) may have a harder time transitioning to this since everything they seem the eat, breathe, and sleep is state testing. I digress... For my classroom, I see more hands on projects that relate to topics we already cover and more independent learning/exploring for the friends. This learning/exploring will be harder for them because many are used to a grown up swooping in and giving them the answer instead of letting them problem solve.

Anywho, on with a story about my little sweeties and our attempt at kindergarten engineering...
My first grade teacher friend inspired me to introduce some simple engineering feats to my kindergartners. She was telling me how she had her firsties build a house out of paper that had to stand up. I thought, "why can't my friends do that?" To which I answered myself saying, "duh. You haven't pushed them to do it." So, we built a house out of paper.

I told the friends we were going to build a house out of paper, scissors, tape, and a pencil. Immediately, they said, "How do I do it?", "I don't know how!", or [my favorite] "I can't!". {to which I immediate respond with, "you are an AmeriCAN, not an ameriCANT. Stop saying you can't do something."}

One of my first friends that said she couldn't was one of the first to make her house stand. She drew a house on her paper, cut it out, and then folded it in half so it would prop itself up. I didn't say how it had to stand, just that it could stand. When we finished, there were 9 houses standing out of 18. Some houses were flat like mentioned before, others were round-ish and a couple were square with a flat roof on top. The next day when the kids came back, some of them were determined to see if they could get their house to stand.

We are on our way to engineering...

11 months

How is it that 11 months have gone by when July 18th, 2012, seems like yesterday?!

Pictures are harder to come by since Kinley has discovered that she can peel the sticker right off of her shirt. "Good thing we just have one more month of stickers," says Dad.

We have a mover deluxe on our hands. No actual crawling but she scoots herself wherever she thinks she needs to go. Kinley hasn't found a food she doesn't like. Not even one that is really spit out or makes her have a sad face. Some new things she has tried are pickles, frozen blueberries, corn, tortillas, taco meat, spaghetti and more! Literally, anything that we eat, she will eat. We have refrained from sharing our sweet stuff. She has mastered signing 'more'! She loves drinking water out of her cup too.

We will start a mommy and me swim class at the Sapulpa pool on June 24. A friend told me the instructor will drop her into the water and I have to count to three before I can grab her so I am definitely not looking forward to that. I do think she will enjoy splashing in the water though.


Kinley has a lot to say a lot of the time. She often gets the case of the giggles while walking with her walker. She is still always trying to run Tobie over so she spends a lot of time in hiding. After Kinley goes to bed, Tobie reappears for the evening. Speaking of bed, we still have a champion sleeper! Since it is summer and most days we don't have anywhere to be, we tend to stay up later. I doing that, she gets to spend more time with her dad but still gets the sleep she needs. She is a little better about having an afternoon nap. We are working on it in hopes it won't be a brand new thing in the fall.

For three weeks, we went to Jade's for a music a class once a week. Jade is a girl I went to OSU with and taught with for a few years before she decided to stay home with her two kids. So I know she will be in good hands when I return to school in the fall. 

Kinley also finds Tobie very funny. One day Tobie sneezed and Kinley thought it was the funniest thing so, of course, we made her sneeze again just to hear that sweet little laugh. 

Tobie is enjoying the summer weather. She is busy in the backyard trying to catch the gophers and moles so make sure you watch your step. 

Kinley still loves to try and play in the water dish. I say she must get her stubborn nature from her father because that girl will go back time and time again to try and play. :D

Since we are actually in your birth month {17 days away!} I suppose I should post this... As always, blessed to be your mommy!