Counting Down to Kindergarten – Blog

Felt Leaf Sewing Project

lightly trace template onto felt

lightly dot a basic plan for veins

knot floss and begin (leaving knot on the wrong side)

keeping floss to the left, begin stitching

always with floss to the left, overlap your stitches a bit if you like

this first twisted vein is ready to end

use the wrong side to “jump” to a new spot to continue veins

I chose for my side veins to never cross over the central one

the wrong side will look ugly and that’s okay

veins complete! Maybe do the same for the second leaf so when we sew the 2 sides together, they will both have veins.

No one will ever see this because it will be between the 2 pretty layers of felt

knot some twine to form a small loop for hanging your leaf on a garland if you like

hot glue the twine loop to the wrong side of one of your felt leaves

begin blanket stitch: form knot and keep it on the wrong side of felt leaf

keeping floss to the left, make a second stitch in the same hole (or close to it)

always keeping floss to the left, make stitches around the edge

this will cause the floss to frame the outside edge of felt leaf

finished project should look something like this

Discussion Guide: Holes, by Louis Sachar

Discussion Guide: Holes, by Louis Sachar

  1. How is the story illustrated by the author’s use of wordplay?


(We see the development of irony and double meaning in expressions :Clyde “Sweet Feet” Livingston and dad’s foot odor spray, Camp “Green” Lake, “Kissing” Kate Barlow, Mr. “Mom” Pendanski, Mr. “Sir”.)

  1. Why do the boys use undesirable nicknames for each other? 


(Perhaps it serves as a coping mechanism during this hardship. It may help them feel like tough guys who are unaffected by the hazardous conditions. It also might be a bit rebellious, distancing their true selves from the staff.)

  1. Stanley lies to his parents when he sends home letters depicting camp as ideal. Why?


(He wants to spare them the burden of knowing the painful truth.)

  1. When Stanley blames his “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing” great-great grandfather for all the family troubles, is he just avoiding accountability?


(We believe this at first, but throughout the book we discover more than injustice that affects generations.)

  1. When Zero runs away, all evidence of him is destroyed as they let him run to his inevitable demise. How does this work to his favor in the end?


(They are forced to release him from camp since there is now no evidence that he belongs there.)

  1. Zero eventually confesses his part in the stolen sneakers story. What effect does this have on his friendship with Stanley?


Stanley finds it easy to forgive his best friend. In fact, he is tickled to have a best friend at all.)

  1. What causes the yellow spotted lizards to decide not to bite the boys?


(They have been eating onions – the ones from Sam’s field. The lizards don’t like “onion blood” and refuse to bite them.)

  1. Barfbag allowed himself to be bitten by a rattlesnake and Kate allowed herself to be bitten by a yellow spotted lizard? Why?


(Barfbag puts an end to his misery. Kate uses death as revenge, avoiding Trout, who demands to know where she hid the loot that she stole from Stanley’s great great grandfather.)

  1. What is sploosh?


(Canning jars of Kate’s spiced peaches. Zero and Stanley find these under Sam’s old boat and enjoy drinking/eating them. The jars are many years old by now, but give the boys something to sustain themselves.)

  1. The song “If Only” seems to link Stanley and Zero. How?


(Zero is a descendant of Madame Zeroni, who gave Stanley’s great-great grandfather the pig in order to impress an eligible bachelorette in town. Stanley’s ancestor broke his promise to carry Madame Z up the mountain to drink the water and sing the song to her. Thus a curse was born, and Stanley’s ancestor became a pig thief. Once Stanley performed this act for Zero, the curse was lifted.)

  1. How was Kissing Kate Barlow’s curse lifted?


(Once it is revealed that Stanley’s name is on the box and the warden has no claim to it, Stanley and Zero are happily on their way to freedom. Now the rain begins after 110 years of drought.)

Discussion Guide: The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander

Discussion Guide: The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander

  1. What technique does the author use to compare basketball to jazz music?


(Poetic phrasing, type font, and word placement is used to visually compare the artistic theater of basketball to the dynamic expression of jazz music)

  1. Why does Josh’s father call him Filthy McNasty?


(A fan of jazz music, the dad compares Josh to a famous song by Horace Silver, the legendary American jazz pianist. Dad says that Josh is “fast and free” like Horace Silver on the piano.)

  1. The author occasionally gives us basketball rules. Are they strictly meant as rules for playing basketball?


(No, they are life lessons)

  1. With dad as a retired basketball player plus a twin brother who is also exceptional at basketball, what complications arise for Josh?


(Pressure. He lives with the pressure to live up to his dad’s reputation and standards, but also has to deal with competition from his twin. There is the need to be seen as an individual but also to exceed already high expectations placed on him socially)

  1. Give some examples of intentional double meanings that the author employs to make an impact:


(chapters titled “the nosebleed section”, “storm” , “man to man”, chapter ending in “game over”, and the book title “crossover” to name a few)

  1. Josh and his brother experience conflicts with each other. How does the author convey Josh’s feelings about their struggle?


(pg. 156 “Sometimes it’s the things that aren’t said that kill you.” JB gives Josh the silent treatment and won’t accept his apology. Josh begins to feel very alone and alienated without his brother’s support. We see this in the letter Josh writes to JB on pg. 159 and many other chapters as well.)

  1. Josh had to learn CPR in gym class and rolled his eyes over the whole experience. Was it a waste of time?


(the father’s health fails and Josh has to perform CPR on him. Thankfully, he recalls his training during this very stressful scene.)

  1. The doctor encourages Josh to speak to his father who is in a coma. Did it help?


(Immensely. First, Josh is able to speak from the heart without pressure. When he opens up, he asks his father when he decided to “jump ship.” Once awake, the father replies, “Filthy, I didn’t jump ship.” His father did, in fact, hear Josh – and the message was clear.)

  1. The championship game and the father’s failing heart take place at the same time. What feelings come to the surface for Josh?


(Guilt, because he was playing basketball with his dad when the heart attack happened. Loneliness, because his brother is still angry with him and barely speaking to him. Jealousy, because his brother has a new girl and Josh has no one. Frustration, because his parents removed him from the team as a punishment and now he has a chance to play in the big game, but his dad is terribly unstable at the same time. Scared, because he doesn’t know how they’ll be a family without their dad. Unprepared to face his father’s death. Plus many more feelings, I’m sure.)

  1. Why did the parents allow Josh and his brother to play the championship game if their father was on his deathbed?


(Perhaps the father didn’t want his sons to see him weak and dying. He wanted to protect them. Also, they technically had an opportunity to say their goodbyes to him when he was in and out of a coma. Going to the game gave them a chance to do something about their situation: to pay tribute to their dad’s legacy and to move on with their lives in a positive way.)

Felt S’mores

Felt S’mores

You will need: needle, thread, scissors

  1. Embroider the face onto the center of the white rectangle. I used the black sequin as the base and stacked a black bead on top to make a 3 dimensional eye.
  1. Make the eyes approximately 1 inch apart
  1. Use embroidery floss to stitch a smile
  1. Stitch the bottom circle to the rectangle
  1. When you finish the bottom circle, then close the flap on the rectangle
  1. Stitch the top circle, adding fiberfill before closing up
  1. Square up the tan felt if necessary for making the top and bottom cracker. Each cracker piece will be doubled up with just a pinch of fiberfill to go inside. Stitch both crackers.
  1. Make a wavy cut for the bottom piece of brown chocolate. Also freehand cut a drip or two for the top piece of brown chocolate
  1. Assemble your smores and use long piece of thread to sew it top to bottom, securing all 5 layers

DIY Resume Examples and Builder

Copy and paste the following links for Free Resume examples and tips.

The Importance of Play through the Senses

Each week at Counting Down to Kindergarten, I will have a sensory bin set out. Sensory bins provide opportunities for the children to interact, negotiate, and problem solve with each other. They use communication with each other, and with help, expand their vocabulary.  Also, while playing at the bins, the children are exploring the properties of the materials through their hands and sense of touch, and exploring concepts such as flow, sinking or floating, and viscosity.

Much of the learning in preschool is embedded in play. I usually hide letters or numbers in the sensory bin for the children to find and match with a poster that is usually set along side it. This way, as a child finds a letter, the parents or teacher can explain what letter it is and what sound it makes. This type of learning is very natural and is easily absorbed by the child. The sensory bin also helps calm an anxious child as playing with the materials is soothing to him/her. I have found, as a preschool teacher that the sensory bin or reading to a child helps comfort the child in transitional periods such as separating from parents, starting something new, or the child is shy. So you can see why sensory bins are such an important element of our program. So much learning and reinforcement of concepts can be accomplished through sensory bins.

To read more about the importance of play through the senses click here and here.