Monday, August 12, 2013

2012-13 Kindergarten Kiddoz

To our 2012-2013 Kindergarten Family~ Thank you for lending us your children. They have all worked hard this year, and we are so proud of them. Best wishes for a 2013-2014 school year!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cat in the Hat at Jumpstart

How do you pick just ONE of Dr. Seuss’ quotes?  I can’t do it, so here are a few of my many favorites!


I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities.” ~Dr. Seuss


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”  ~Dr. Seuss


“A person's a person, no matter how small.”

~Dr. Seuss



Another great day spent in the Jumpstart as we celebrated one of my favorite author’s birthdays.  I also got to spend time with a great group of kids, a great teacher (Miss Stacey) and one of my best friends, who decided to join me, Miss Deb.  I just love Dr. Seuss books, and love the way kiddos are just engrossed in the book, even if they have heard it 100 times before!  I couldn’t decide which story I wanted to read, but Cat in the Hat seemed to be the way to go.  Of course the Lorax is always a great choice too, but time only allowed one story.  I was surprised when Miss Deb showed up with a gift for me~ a Cat in the Hat in a box with my own hat and a new copy of the book for me!  I was thrilled to get to wear it into the Jumpstart classroom. 


We read the story, Cat in the Hat, and when I say we, I mean the students enjoyed chiming in during the parts they remembered.  We completed a sorting activity, talking about different kinds of weather and what pictures went in each category. We talked about what we liked to do on rainy days and then illustrated our rainy day activities and dictated, or helped write, a sentence about our pictures.


We then made our own hats, the same shape as the Cat’s, but ours were decorated very differently.  We discuss how they were the same and different from the Cat’s and from each other’s!


And last, but not least, we put an ice cream cone “hat” on top of a scoop of ice cream.  We used various sweets to decorate our dessert to look like the Cat in the Hat!  Not only fun, but yummy!!


I am already looking forward to my next visit!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Penguins visit Jumpstart...

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real."  ~ Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit


This is my first blog entry that doesn’t address my life in the kindergarten world, or as a mom!  The trend here is…children.  I love the excitement you see on their faces when they learn something new, or create something that they want to tell you all about.  Their imaginations are endless and take us on adventures that prime time cannot compare to.

 I dreamed of being a teacher beginning at the age of 7.    This was the year I had a fabulous teacher (one of many I was fortunate enough to have.)  I loved to read at a young age.  Part of the reason is because it was a challenge in the classroom.  I went to school during the time when SRA was used in the classroom.  Maybe some of you remember the different levels and colors.  We read the stories, answered the questions, and if we did well on the “test” for that book we moved on!  I had a bit of a competitive nature, so I was going to conquer reading those levels first!!  Though I am sure I was not successful, it provided me with drive and determination.  My other dream was to be an author of children’s books.    My mom still thinks I should pursue this avenue; however, I would rather be with the kids, reading the great books to them, rather than writing books for them.

So, I am a full-time mom of two teenagers, a wife, and a full-time special education kindergarten teacher!  On my days off, in between running my teens around and spending time with my friends, I enjoy going to the Jumpstart program run by the YMCA (and held at the former Center Street School) and spending time with the preschool age kiddos!  This is in part due to the lack of responsibility I have there~I get to read my favorite stories, do some of my favorite crafts, and teach using fun resources!  I also taught at CS school for several years before the district consolidation, and enjoy spending time in the place I loved teaching in for years.  Also, Miss Stacey is a good friend of mine, and we had the opportunity to teach together a bit last year, and I enjoy our teaching teamwork!

I had spent some time in the room with Stacey, met the kiddos, and couldn’t wait to enjoy more time with them.  My first theme I decided to cover was Penguins!  One of my favorite kindergarten themes, so I decided I would love to do it twice!  Enjoy the pictures of the children as we read the book Antarctica by Helen Cower.  We then had fun writing word problems to go with our penguin craft and we used water bottles to make our own Penguins!  I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Learning with Dr. Seuss~and much more!

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?  ~Dr. Seuss

(I believe I start every blog post with something about time moving too this month, I will let Dr. Seuss mention it, after all, it was his birthday.)


Dr. Seuss’ birthday is always a favorite for me, and so much fun.  We had a lot of fun activities to celebrate from crazy hats to mismatched socks and ended with Green Eggs and Ham (well, bacon.)  We had a great time wearing pajamas to school and watching the Lorax (my personal favorite.)  We read many of Dr. Seuss’ books, and followed up with some great writings, such as “What would you do with the last truffula seed?”  And “What do you like to do on rainy days.”  We blended words and decided if they were real words or if they were nonsense (Dr. Seuss) words.  We made Thing One and hats that resembled the Cat’s.  We were invited to the library to hear a Dr. Seuss story and then enjoyed cupcakes to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  We also tried green eggs and ham (well, bacon) green pancakes and green milk, but left the juice orange!  I am sorry to say that my camera, which is usually glued to me, has decided to disappear somewhere between rainbows and leprechaun traps!  Fortunately, I had downloaded many of Dr. Seuss pictures, and I have borrowed pictures from others to complete my blog.  My shopping list now includes a new camera! 


This month we also enjoyed listening to Steven share his “Star of the Week” poster.  We learned that he loves super heros, dinosaurs, and his baby brother, Dallas.  His favorite food is spaghetti with meatballs and he enjoys fishing! 


I love when the kiddos do things outside of school and bring it in to share.  Two of our students participated in a science fair and brought their projects in to share with their friends.  They did a great job explaining their project and demonstrating how they did it! 


Of course, March brings Leprechauns (named Laddy) who leave footprints all over our classroom, as well as gold coins (candy) at our tables.  Laddy got himself into some trouble too, when he lost his shoe in the cake trap set by Brandon.  Mrs. Saggese’s computer ended up missing too, but Laddy let us know that he would trade the laptop for his special shoe, so Mrs. Saggese met him to make the trade!  We learned about Ireland and their traditions while we read a nonfiction text.  The students’ at home project for March included making a rainbow or a leprechaun trap, and many did both.  The enjoyed sharing them and were quite comical.  You can check out the videos on Mrs. Saggese’s blog: 


Since celebrating the beginning of spring didn’t seem like the thing to do a day after a snowstorm, we waited an extra day and celebrated Tanner’s birthday instead!  We enjoyed a presentation by his Martial Arts instructor, Mr. C from Jin Shil Martial Arts, and Tanner enjoyed sharing what he loves to do.  The kiddos were excited as they got the opportunity to get up and try it out!  After this special treat, we got a sweet treat of make your own ice cream sundaes.  Tanner’s parents joined us in helping the class make their sundaes and after singing to Tanner, they dug in!  Happy Birthday Tanner! 


We ended our week by doing some Jelly Bean graphing, used Jelly Beans to solve some word problems, and talked about Jelly Beans using our Five Senses.


After break, we will continue talking about and learning about our Five Senses and spring, followed by the Oviparous theme!  Have a safe and refreshing break and enjoy those kiddos! 


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Are we allowed to have this much fun in school?


People may be said to resemble not the bricks of which a house is built, but the pieces of a picture puzzle, each differing in shape, but matching the rest, and thus bringing out the picture.

 – Felix Adler




Whether it is religion, culture, abilities, interests, shapes or sizes we are all different.  As a special education teacher, this is a lesson that can’t be taught enough.  We all have greatness to add to the classroom and each of the 21 unique kiddos that I get to spend every day with certainly are a resemblance of that.  We spend time in our groups talking about strengths and I love that they have learned which friend to go to when they need help.  We discuss the friend that can read, the friend that can write, and the friend that is a math whiz.  We also discuss the “artist,” the one that can help tie shoes, and the one that will help us with anything we ask.  Of course, this discussion always starts as I try to draw a picture on the board that typically ends up not resembling in the least what my intent was.  My compassionate students now respond with comments such as, “It is perfect, Mrs. Ganio,” or “You are getting so much better.”  I then end up calling on a “friend” to help me!  We love to celebrate differences and I love the way the students feel when they are called upon by their peers to help them.  Even the kiddo that struggles the most with the academic challenges has so much to offer his friends.

I also enjoy when parents and students share with the class their traditions and their cultural backgrounds.  I have learned so much this year from the class and their parents, I often wonder if I should be called the student.  Sometimes it is the student’s star week when they bring a parent to help share this information, and sometimes it is the time of the year.  In February, we were fortunate enough to have Sam and his mom come and share with us about the Asian New Year!  With a wonderful slideshow and interacting, we all sat and enjoyed what they had to share!

No different from any other month we were busy and on the go.  In addition to learning about differences we learned about the heart and keeping our bodies healthy. 

We then had a wonderful Valentine’s Day event and enjoyed eating healthy, red snacks that the parents shared with us.  (I must admit that I was at a training this day and was not able to be a part of the festivities.  I asked my wonderful co-teacher to be sure that she took a lot of pictures for me….she did admit later that they forgot and so she “staged” most of the pictures that ended up on my camera.)

Josie turned six years old in February and it was an exciting time for her, and the rest of us, as she shared her Star Student poster and told us all about her family, favorite book, favorite music and favorite food!  It amazes me sometimes at how even the quietest students gain a louder voice, more confidence, and answer questions with determination as they talk about the important things in their lives. 

Our hundredth day of school arrived one day before Valentine’s day this year and what fun it was to see all of the kiddos (and Mrs. Saggese) to be dressed up like they were 100 years old.  Conversations of what would be happening a year from now took place, as well as many fun stations that involved counting 100 items to make necklaces, using the numbers in 100 to make a picture, and sharing our At Home Family Projects that students used 100 of something to make.

This month we also wrapped up our Penguin unit, and had fun learning addition.  I introduced Touchmath to each student as another method of addition.  We then made our own number cards using stickers to represent our touch spots!

We also enjoyed a special event called “Healthy Snacks.”  The kiddos loved using the ingredients to make a healthy snack with a guest speaker.  They each got a turn to help in measuring or mixing.  Of course, they all had the opportunity to taste a bit of the smoothie they made.

We are looking forward to March when we will have two new participators joining our class from SUNY Oneonta, and my favorite time….Dr. Seuss!!