Theme Thursday: Ancient Egypt Edition

Welcome back to another installment of Theme Thursday - a weekly series on my blog where I share tips, tricks, and ideas for different themes I cover in my Kindergarten classroom! Each week (or two), I choose a science or history theme for us to focus on and learn about, not only in our designated block, but also incorporating the theme into the rest of our day! Last week, I shared about our Dinosaur Unit. This week, this post is chock-full of ideas for ANCIENT EGYPT!

This was another one my littles really enjoyed! It took me a minute to get some ideas, as it's a little more in depth than what they're used to. But I tried to introduce them to it, and skim the surface! They really connected to the theme, and had a lot of fun!

On day 1, I engaged my learners by dressing up like a pharaoh! I made a paper headdress, put on some black eyeliner, and wore some gold jewelry!! I love seeing their reactions!

We first learned about pharaohs and made our own headdresses. I found a super easy template from First Palette. I just printed out both pages for each student, and they colored them to their liking. Then, we cut out the pieces and put them together! I kept them on hand for them to wear throughout our theme. Seriously, are they not just SO CUTE?!?!

We LOVE Brainpop Jr., and they have a great video on Ancient Egypt that we watched, so they could be introduced to it! We learned about pyramids, and how much work and thought went into creating them. We made an anchor chart with facts about pyramids (forgot to snap a picture!). PBS has a  website where you can get a virtual tour of the different pyramids. I think this would be so cool to do if you have a smartboard, but they liked seeing it on my computer screen too!

So, naturally, after we discuss pyramids, we had to learn about mummies!! We did an interesting experiment where we mummified apple slices by wrapping them in gauze, and then "embalmed" them in different solutions to see which one kept the apple looking the best. It was probably a bit complex for my kinders, but it would be PERFECT for 1st or 2nd graders!! I got the idea from The Unlikely Homeschool. You can click the link to check out the whole experiment.

Once we mummified the apples, we let them sit in a cool, dark place for a week. (You can imagine how GREAT it smelled in!) Then, we opened up the apples and observed the changes, and what each solution did to the apple. Not going to lie, this is NOT for the faint of heart!! As you can see, there were some pretty DISGUISTING results! Once we opened and observed them all, we voted on which apple looks the best, and discussed why it looked that way. They found it interesting, and it was a fun experiment!!

Then, we mummified each other!! ;) You knew this was coming, right?! Never pass up the opportunity to wrap your friends in TP! Haha! This might've been the highlight of this theme. Some of them needed some help, but they had SO much fun doing it!

And, of course, they had even MORE fun breaking free of the toilet paper!

Next on the list, hieroglyphics and paper weaving!!

We talked about how the Egyptians didn't have paper back then, and how they made their own from weaving reeds together to make papyrus. Then, they would write hieroglyphics on their paper to write down stories and important events. We weaved paper together to make mats, and then we used a hieroglyphics cheat sheet to write our names on our weaved mats!

Math and Literacy Center Connections
There is a GREAT resource with lots of fun math and literacy activities in it for you to use in your centers! This is by 123 Homeschool 4 Me, and it has all kinds of fun Egypt-themed goodies!!

I also found a really cute "Bump Like an Egyptian" game from Kathy Ryan. Bump is a very popular math game, that helps students practice their number recognition, counting, and addition skills!! 

I also have an Ancient Egypt-themed resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!! And, this week only, it is $1.00 instead of $1.50!! It's a Label and Color activity- perfect to add to your literacy center rotation during this theme!

Label and Color is an activity that gets your students thinking about the sounds in words, and transferring those sounds onto paper. It is a crucial part of literacy, and helps with inventive spelling, writing, etc. It's a useful tool to see where your students are on the phonological awareness spectrum!

We also did some fun centers like writing sight words in sand, building pyramids and other 3D shapes to make math connections, and making Egypt word books. There are SO many ideas on pinterest too! Are you following my Kindergarten Classroom Pinterest board? I love posting fun Kinder ideas!

Now, you should know by now that I LOVE music in the classroom, and so do my kids!! This song was a favorite, and we played it more than any other song all year long!! We loved playing "Freeze Dance" with it, and anytime Egypt or pharaohs would come into our discussion, someone would always ask for it!! It is called "Pharaoh Pharaoh"!

I hope you got some new ideas on how to use this theme in your classroom- in all areas!! Make sure you grab that resource for $1 while you can! Leave me a comment below with how you connect the dots and teach with themes!!! 
Much Love, Allie

Theme Thursday: DINOSAURS Edition

Hey there! Happy Summer!!! I hope you teachers are getting some relaxation and time for you!! I have a new weekly series for you to read, pin to Pinterest, and get inspired for next year! I hope you can get some juicy information from this, as I share my tips and tidbits with you all!!

As I've been reflecting over my past year of teaching, I realized that one of my favorite parts of lesson planning was the themes I used in my classroom! Teaching Kindergarten, I don't have any science or history curriculum, so I choose a science or history theme each week(s) to focus on. We have 20 minutes of time devoted to that subject (either science or history) and then I have also tried to incorporate it in every part of our day! So I've been inspired to share what I've done with you all. Each week I'll focus on a different theme, sharing my tips and tricks. This week, I'm kicking it off with DINOSAURS!!

Every kid LOVES dinosaurs in some capacity, right?! This was one of my most popular themes!! I love teaching about dinos in November, because I can utilize a fun activity called, DINOVEMBER. Have you heard of it? It's similar to Elf on a Shelf, without the creepy elf involved! Parents do this at home, but we can also do this in the classroom! Each day you take your dinosaur toys and put them somewhere fun, doing something silly! So, as seen above, my dinos played with pattern blocks one day. They also wrote a message to my kids on the chalkboard, were caught reading books, and much more!! It's a great way to get your students EXCITED about dinosaurs!!

This idea I got from Marsha - Differentiated Kindergarten. It is the FIRST thing I did for our Dinosaur Unit. She calls it "The Hook". You can read her insightful post HERE, but basically, you make a dinosaur egg, place it in your classroom, create drama and intrigue around it, and throughout the day, the egg "hatches" and out comes the dinosaur!

The how-to on making a dino egg: get a small dinosaur and put it into a balloon. Blow up the balloon. Paper mache the balloon with a flour/water paste, and let fully dry. Paint the egg to make it look more interesting.

Seriously, the kids LOVED this. We made predictions during our morning meeting on what they thought was in the egg. Then, during snack (when they weren't watching), I used an exacto knife to cut the egg, to make it look like it was hatching. During a bathroom break, I broke it open to reveal the dinosaur! They were SO intrigued! =success!

Dinosaur Math Activities
(to use in centers or as whole group activities)

This activity (above) is from Pre-K Pages. Vanessa has SO many great ideas for your dinosaur unit! Here's the link to all her ideas! This Dino Roll and Stamp is a freebie, and the student rolls 2 dice, counts the dots (or adds the numbers) and stamps or colors in the dino with that number on their page! Super simple!

This picture above is not my own. I could have sworn I snapped some pictures of my students' crafts, but don't have any. :( So I'm using Julie from Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten's photo, since she inspired me to do this with my students! Your students make a stegosaurus, and they make a pattern with the spikes on his back! It was PERFECT, as we were learning about patterns in math too! I made up my own paper to go with the stegosaurus, so if you want it, you can download it for free here: Stegosaurus Craftivity Paper.

Here are some other great Dinosaur math resources:

Dinosaur Literacy Activities and Book Suggestions

This is an art response to the book, "If the Dinosaurs Came Back." I got this idea from Kay, of Sommer's Lion Pride. She has a whole blog post on this activity, and I loved the idea! It took some time, and turned out really cute!!! They drew the black/white backgrounds, drew pictures of dinos on colored paper, cut out the dinos, and glued them on the backgrounds. I love how the dinos pop off the page!!

Dinosaur Label and Color

This is a great way to help your students practice turning sounds in their heads into letters on their papers. I have three differentiated levels for pre-k through 2nd grade, and they label the parts of a dinosaur! For the first 24 hours that this post is live, you can get this product for $1.00!! Head over to my TpT Store (click the pictures above or below) and get it for 33% off!!

Other Dinosaur Activities and Ideas

We went on a "dinosaur bone" dig!! I made bones out of salt dough, buried them in the sandbox, and we went out and dug them up! The students were SO excited to find the bones, and I taught them the word paleontologist and told them that's what they were! They had so much fun, discovering and exploring!

We also played Dino Bingo, used playdough to make dino eggs and did some simple adding and taking away. We had to do the Koo Koo Kangaroo Dinosaur Stomp brain break too!!

I also look for music to use for the transitions, that goes with our theme, and this was a favorite!

There are SO many more awesome Dinosaur-themed activities out there, (THANK YOU PINTEREST) but I hope you can use a handful of these in your classroom! Let me know in the comments what your favorite dinosaur activities are! Make sure you grab my Dinosaur Label and Color for it's sale price too!!

Much Love, Allie

Revolving Doors

Missionary life can be both really hard and really exciting and fulfilling, all at the same time. There are SO many highlights to share with you, but today I am feeling the effects of one of the hardest parts of being a missionary. And the best analogy I've heard (from a friend) to describe it is revolving doors.

Let me take you back to the beginning: I volunteer for an organization here in Tanzania called Global-Effect. Under Global-Effect is Hope International School, where I teach. Global-Effect provides housing, airfare, and visas for the teachers of the school, and we raise support for our living expenses. So each of us, not having met before, travel to Moshi, to live and volunteer here for 10 months. We come from all over the world, and most-likely would not have met each other if it was not for our connection through Global-Effect and Hope.

So imagine these 9 strangers, coming together in a foreign country, living in the same house, working together, grocery shopping together, hanging out together, etc. Basically, we go from not knowing each other, to spending (almost) every waking moment together! It takes a while to build these relationships, but when we do, we form family-like bonds. We live life together as a family unit, and end up as great friends.

Now, back to present time. We have finished up our school year, and have been preparing to make the trip back to America. Some of us, just for a couple of months. Others, for an unknown amount of time, maybe never getting the chance to return to Tanzania. Our family, who has been through thick and thin together, has to be broken up. There are SO many emotions- thankfulness for this time together and for the friendships made, being heartbroken because you know that you won't have this time of doing life all together again, sadness because of the inevitable goodbyes, etc.

But, I also remember that I am returning back to those who I originally had to say goodbye to- my family and friends in America, who I haven't seen in almost a whole year. I get excited to say hello to that set of loved ones, even though my heart still hurts from being away from my "family" in Tanzania. I get to spend time with them, and catch up on life. And, in a couple months, I will once again be saying goodbye to them, and hello to my friends in Tanzania, some who I've already built relationships with, others who I've never met but who I know I will, once again, build friendships with. 

Hence, the revolving doors of missionary life. Whenever you say hello to one group of loved ones in one part of the world, it means you're saying goodbye to another. And whenever you say goodbye, you get to say hello. Though it is hard, and there are MANY tears shed, it makes me happy to have so many friends in different parts of the world to connect and grow with. I think God made these doors to be revolving so that we get the joy of saying HELLO after a heartwrenching GOODBYE. 

What are your thoughts on this? Are you a missionary going through the revolving doors too? I'd love to connect with you in the comments!

Much Love, Allie