The Best Part of Me: Body Parts Activity

September 1st, 16

The first unit that we are covering this year in Science is on the five senses and how they are used to discover the world around us.  To prepare students for this unit we breifly reviewed the parts of the body using songs, poems, drawing and picturebooks.


During the summer I searched for new picturebooks to use this year in my class and  as this quick body parts review came to an end I remebered Wendy Ewald´s book, The Best Part of Me.  I wasn´t able to get a hold of the hard copy of the book (#teachabroadproblems) but I´m a huge fan using YouTube read-alouds in their place.


Here are a few samples of a homework assignment that grew out of reading The Best Part of Me.








Written by: Ana Kari, category: Beginning of the Year, Language & Literacy, Science, Uncategorized

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First Annual Book Fair

April 26th, 16

On April 23rd “El Dia del Idioma” (the Day of the [Spanish] Language) is celebrated in Colombia and other Spanish speaking countries.  On this day the Spanish language is celebrated in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, the great Spanish author of “Don Quixote de La Mancha”.


As I work in a bilingual school, the school didn’t limit its celebration to the Spanish language but rather it celebrated all of the languages spoken by our students .  In Stage 1 we decided to add to the festivities by celebrating our love for books by hosting our first annual book fair.


A week before the celebration we sent home a note explaining the book fair project.  We asked the families to read a book at home with their child and then to create a display that the child would use on “El Dia del Idioma” in order to share the story with friends and family.  We tied the activity into our curriculum by having students identify various story elements from their books.


Here’s what some of the projects turned out like…

Book Fair project on Dumbo



Some students got creative with their displays instead of using the classic tri-fold



Others opted for using boxes to display their book fair projects





Some students gave out yummie treats that tied into their book’s theme. This student shared some pumpkin shaped cookies at her Cinderella display.



This student gave out small toys as she shared a story of a bunny that goes to a toy store and wants to buy everything!



This student’s creativity was flowing…



… so they decided to explain the story elements on a model cake!


This year’s first annual book fair was a huge success!  The parents told me that they enjoyed working on the projects at home with their kids and the kids enjoyed sharing some of their favorite books with their classmates!  Stay tuned for our second annual book fair next year!

Written by: Ana Kari, category: Celebrations, Language & Literacy, News, Student Favorites

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Cat in the Hat Classroom Journal

February 24th, 16

Every year my kids work on creating a collaborative classroom journal.  We decorate a notebook and then the kids take turns bringning the notebook home and writing in it as if it were their own personal journal.  They write about the things that matter most to them such as their family, friends, after-school activities, etc.  They´re also encouraged to add pictures of themselves and decorate their journal entries.


This year we brought some new life into the traveling journal activity!


At the begninning of the month, we read Dr. Seuss´ The Cat in the Hat Comes Back so we decided to use our favorite character as a theme to our traveling classroom journal.


Here´s how we prepared our traveling journal…

The Cat in the Hat Classroom Journal


My diary entry...

My journal entry…


The kids have been taking the Cat in the Hat home with them, along with the journal.  The cat visits each home for 2 nights and the kids take pictures with him and describe what they do with him.  Here are some of the entries so far…








The Cat in the Hat should be back in class just in time for next week´s celebrations as we celebrate our favorite author´s birthday!


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Skype in the Classroom

January 15th, 16

On December 3rd and 4th Microsoft and Skype hosted a Skype-a-Thon where classrooms around the world had the chance to connect with one another.  The two day event allowed students to take virtual field trips to meet fellow “classmates” and learn about their schools, towns/ cities and cultures.


Stage 1B learning without borders on December 3rd and 4th

Stage 1B learning without borders on December 3rd and 4th


Throughout the registration process I discovered that teachers all over the world are willing to connect with other classrooms year round… not just during the Skype-a-Thon event.  Signing up for a classroom profile is easy over at Microsoft´s education site.   You´ll be prompted to fill in a simple profile which is used to connect you to similar classrooms around the world.


I´m proud to say that Stage 1B helped the Skype-a-Thon reach its goal of 1 million miles by participating in 2 skype sessions, traveling a total of 4,318 miles from Medellín, Colombia to South Carolina and Indiana, USA.  Here´s what the Skype-a-Thon looked like in our classroom…


A quick "hello" to start off our Skype sessions

A quick “hello” to start off our Skype sessions


We started the Skype sessions by greeting each other and sharing some of our names… but not our locations as we were playing “Mystery Skype”.  This is a game where the classrooms take turns asking “yes/ no” questions in order to find the other´s location.


Stage 1B trying to figure out our "classmates" location

Stage 1B trying to figure out our “classmates” location


My kids had three sets of maps on three different pages.  The first was a map by continents, the second by country and the third by state.  I had set these up beforehand, as I knew that both our sessions would be with classrooms from the USA.  The kids asked questions such as, “Are you in Europe?” and each yes/no got them closer and closer to the correct location.


After the mystery locations were discovered, students from each classroom took turns sharing information about their schools, cities/ towns and cultures.  During one of the Skype sessions we decided that we would share one of my kids favorite holiday songs, “El Burrito Sabanero” and then the other class decided to sing “Jingle Bells”.  It turned out my kids knew their song so both classrooms ended up singing along together… from over 2,000 miles apart!



Written by: Ana Kari, category: Language & Literacy, News, Technology

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“Days Before Christmas Break” Activities

December 19th, 15

The last days of school before holiday break are always crazy. As teachers we are running low on energy and our kids suffer from the complete opposite… too much energy! Here are two activities that we did with the kids right before the holiday break, as our grades were already in for the marking period and we had tons of time!



Rudolph Photos:

I started off by taking pictures of the kids. They cut out their pictures and pasted them on a frame that they created using red and green squares. The kids used a circle of red glitter and glue as Rudolph´s nose. Then they traced their hands, cut them out and filled in their hand patterns with gold glitter as Rudolph´s antlers. Here are two of our finished pieces…







This sign was hung up with our Rudolph photos and it was used to count down to Christmas.


Shoe Box Nativities:

The kids brought in shoe boxes and 4-5 toilet paper rolls for this craft. For the rest of the Nativity we used different types of fabrics, string, beads, paint, glitter and wood shavings. Here´s how these simple materials turned into Nativity scenes…


PicMonkey Collage

Some details of our Nativity Scenes



Written by: Ana Kari, category: Arts & Crafts, Holidays, News

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