Thursday, December 8, 2011

13 Little Experts

Every morning we begin our day with our morning greeting and news. This is my most favorite part of the day because the personalities of your children come shining through. One of the highlights of my week is our morning meetings the day after a Charger's game. I hope you enjoy the news of our little Charger's fan as much as I do!
Another week has come and gone as the children continue to learn about The Three Little Pigs. This week the children continued to work on their Three Little ______ stories. On Monday and Tuesday, the children used a graphic organizer to convey what happened to each character and their home when the Big Bad _____ came. Today, we began writing our stories and the children were able to choose whether or not they wanted to begin by writing their stories through pictures, words or both. Through out the next week we will continue to work on the stories together in hopes of sharing them with you next Friday.

During morning reader's workshop we read The TRUE story of the Three Little Pigs and the children worked as a class to compare the two versions of the tale. I recorded their feedback and have it hanging on our classroom door if you would like to see what they noticed. They then filled out their own venn diagrams and wrote about whose perspective they believe the most. During our discussion we talked about how some things happen on the playground that seem to be intentional at first ("Someone threw sand at me!") but once we hear what happened from the other perspective ("I was digging a hole and didn't know you were behind me.") we realize that the story may be a little different than we had originally thought.

In Math this week we played two new math games. The first game was called +3. The children rolled a die and found the corresponding number on their chart. Upon finding the corresponding number, the children then added 3 to the number and wrote down the answer in the space provided. The game ended once the child had a row of 5 or a column of 6.  
The second and third games we played were called Roll A Scene and Roll A Story. In both games the children rolled a pair of dice and added number represented. They then had to find that number on their recording sheet and figure out which portion of the story/scene they got to draw. The game got really fun when the children were trying to figure out what combinations they needed to get the final number. I don't think they realized how many math equations they were solving in their quest to complete their story/scene.

In Science this week we had a lot of fun surrounding huffing and puffing. In one of our Huff and Puff experiments the children had to huff and puff a marble, lego, tissue and an object of their choice across the table. Prior to performing the experiment the children predicted which would be the easiest and why.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

3 Little Whats??

Well well well! Our Three Little Pig study is in full swing and going in a completely different direction then I thought it would!! My plan was to be making houses of bricks and sticks, while creating cute little pig and wolf puppets. That did not happen this week.
We began our study by reading one of the original versions of The Three Little Pigs written by Paul Galdone (Where the pigs actually get eaten!!! And then the Wolf does too!!). We followed up that reading with the reading of a very similar original-ish version written by James Marshall. Upon reading the second version of the classic tale, the children began pointing out differences right away. Comments like "No! The apple tree is in the Merry Meadow, not the Merry Garden!" or "The Pig jumped into a milk churn! Not a butter churn!" were constantly stopping the reading and allowing us to have rich discussions about the similarities and differences between the two tales. On Wednesday we spent so much time reading (and talking) that we only had 10 minutes of job time left! By the third reading of the original version I was (finally) prepared, and we began charting the similarities and differences between each of the three stories. Together as a class we revisited each story and recorded what happened in each story and learned that no story is exactly the same! To see what we discovered, please visit our room and look at the HUGE pink chart hanging (temporarily) on our white board. Today we read the Disney version of the story (and I was able to find the online video version to share!) which saved the pigs and the wolf!
Aside from all of our discoveries we have been....

Writer's Workshop:
The children are working to create their own version's of The Three Little Pigs. The children will work to create their own versions of the story, while sticking to the same plot and sequence of events. M.B brought in a version called The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot, which was a perfect way to begin our project. So far, here are the topics your children have decided on.
The Big Bad Gummy & the Three Little Gummies ~S.P
The Big Bad T-Rex & the Three Little Triceratops ~J.B
The Big Bad Doughnut and the Three Little Aliens ~S.Y
The Big Bad Red Domo and the Three Little Domos ~M.C
The Big Bad Fish and the Three Little Pigs ~N.H
The Big Bad Hat and the Three Little Faces ~V.V
The Big Bad Doughnut and the Three Little Kitties ~M.B
The Big Bad Gummy and the Three Little Saturn's ~J.C 
The Big Bad Crab and the Three Little Pigs ~K.F
The Big Bad Doughnut and the Three Little Aliens ~R.L
The Big Bad Moon and the Three Little Plutos ~P.R
The Big Bad Doughnut and the Three Little Hearts ~A.K
The Big Bad Pumpkin and the Three Little Bears ~E.L

Reader's Workshop:
This week the children began reading independently as a whole class, and loved it! On Tuesday we met as a class and came up with all of the things, and ways, we could read and put them together in a big colorful list that is now hanging in our rest and read area. The children then spread out throughout the room to read books from their book baggies, looked at picture books, tried to read chapter books and shared books from our classroom library and read aloud shelf. During this time, I rotate through out the class and read "Just Right" books one-on-one with 3-4 children each day. My favorite quote came from A.K on Wednesday morning when she asked "When is Readers Workshop? I can't wait to sound out the words in my book!" So far so good!

During Math job time, we worked on measuring with a ruler through a variety of activities. The children worked to make sturdy homes that had to be exactly 12 inches high and were made up of at least 10 objects. Prior to starting, the children went around the room looking in baskets and on shelves to decide on the object they would use, then recorded which object they chose and why they chose it. We then met as a group and the children had the option to either work independently on their building, or work with the other children that had chosen the same object. After 10 minutes of building time, their structures were complete and it was time for the Big Bad Wolf (me) to try and blow them down. The class were great builders, but I was able to blow over two structures :)

We also used our measuring skills to measure pig tails (and idea I got from Ellen Monfredi). The children first estimated how long the pig tail would be then stretched it out and measured it with a ruler.
It has been a great week and I have no idea what the class has in store for me next week (but I do have ideas of my own).
~Lisa D.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Best Week Ever?

I am not sure if this has been our best week ever, or if we have finally made it through the getting-to-know-you phase of the year. Regardless, we had a wonderful week together. It's about 8:00pm and I have a lot to say, so here we go!
Here is a fun little moment I captured (or may have had them reenact) while the class was waiting for me to pick them up from Spanish. 

We continued our study of Jack and the Beanstalk and the children succeeded in convincing me to assist them in transforming the loft into a castle in the clouds, complete with a dragon's cave. Here are a few photo's of the process.

I have a wonderful photo series of the class making their best dragon faces, but blogspot is picky about my photo placement so above are two of the best. Below are a few of the children explaining what was going on in the dragons cave.

We have been focusing on predicting, observing and learning about plants during our science lessons this week. All with a mini-magical twist. Last week the children made and planted their magic beans and predicted what (and when) they would grow into. Although a few of the beans are beginning to poke through the surface, none have yet shown their roots or stalk/stem. We were treated to a real live beanstalk on Tuesday when K.F's family found that a beanstalk magically appeared in their garden! The children worked to make and decorate a support structure for it and we are excited to see it grow. 
Yesterday the children planted Jellybeans in sugar and fed them with a sprinkle of glitter. I've posted their predictions on what they think the beans may grow into. If my predictions are correct they should turn into something by Friday morning!

The class continued to work together to solve compare problems (The giant's hand is __ blocks long. My hand is __ blocks long. How much longer is the giant's hand than mine?) Separate, Result Unknown problems (Jack's Beanstalk was __ feet tall. He chopped down __ feet. How many feet tall is Jack's Beanstalk now?) and Join, Change Unknown problems (Jack's Beanstalk was __ feet tall. Jack climbed up __ feet and had to rest. How many more feet does he need to climb to get to the top?). Below are a few video's of the children working together to solve some of these problems.

The children also used a giants hand to measure the room while estimating (and counting) how many cubes the could fit in it.

Reader's Workshop
During Reader's Workshop the children read Jenny and the Cornstalk and used a Venn diagram to compare the two stories (Jack vs. Jenny). The children also used words and pictures to describe Jenny's characteristics. We also checked to see whether or not Jenny and the Cornstalk had the elements necessary to be a fairy tale, and they did!

Writer's Workshop
During Writer's Workshop the children learned about the Oh-Ah-Oliver sound and created a very very very long word list of words that have the Oh-Ah-Oliver sound. My favorite was a picture of Oliver the Olive. The children are continuing to practice writing their lowercase letters and bumping the lines. As more and more lowercase letters are introduced they will be held accountable for using these letters in their writer's workshop writing jobs. 

Overall it has been a very busy, and really fun week. They children are so excited about the transformation of our loft area and this has been one of our main focuses this week. One morning the class got so involved in the process that the boys were taping black beards onto their chins while some of the girls were making crowns, rings, necklaces and earrings to wear. We have quite a creative and imaginative group! Here are some fun photos.
V.V. protected with his sheild

Beard? Check! Earrings? Check!

What a glamorous crew!

 Thanks again for another amazing week with your children!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fairy Tales in Full Swing

During our short week together the children and I turned our fairy tale focus towards Jack and the Beanstalk. The children and I read two versions of the classic fairy tale and discussed the choices Jack made throughout the tale. We began to record Jack's good and bad choices on a chart, but quickly had to add a "Not Sure" column because depending on each child's perspective, Jack's choices could have been both good and bad! We also began trying to identify the elements of a fairy tale. During our study we will be comparing one fairy tale to another and recording the various elements of each tale on the white board in our room.   On Tuesday we read a version of Jack and the Beanstalk that no one had ever even heard of before! In The Beanstalk Incident, the story of Jack and his Beanstalk is told through the perspective of the Giant. After reading the story the children used a Venn Diagram to compare the similarities and differences between the character traits of both Jack and the Giant. This, of course, raised some very rich discussions on whether or not Jack was nice or mean; bad or good; loyal or dishonest etc. 

The children's math stories this week were focused on compare and subtraction problems. They estimated how many beans could fit in their hand vs. the giants; stacked cubes to make a beanstalk and recorded how high they could stack and played Race To The Top, a game I should have called Race to the Bottom because none of the characters ever race to the top! In Race To The Top the children worked individually or with a partner to race their characters to the top. Using a die, the children rolled, recorded and graphed the amount of spaces each character could move up the vine.

What's Emerging
The children made their own magic beans, planted them and predicted what would grow. Next week we will have fun predicting what will grow if we plant a jelly bean and other random objects. After Spanish the children worked together as a whole group to create their very own magic beanstalk. Once the green glitter creation was complete there was a special request for a castle in the clouds!

I have a mini-update from Humble Hearts in Africa! Irene (the kindergarten teacher) emailed me and said the children have written letters for our class and she will be sending them soon! They loved the cards and photos of our class and Irene said that the children "treasure the smiles of the pupils". Ida McManus (the woman in Texas who brought our supplies) has photos of the children receiving the supplies and will be sending them soon. I will be sure to post everything as soon as it arrives.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

From Fall to Fairy Tales

With Big Pumpkin, a late blog post & conferences I have to say there is not much to report from Kindergarten Room 5 this week! Here is what we have done for the past 2 days and a sneak peek on what is coming up :)

This week we began our...... Fairy Tale unit of study!! We read The Fairy Tale News and the children wrote down all of the fairy tales they knew (or had the energy to draw). The following day we read The Frog Prince Continued and the children wrote down all of the fairy tale characters they knew, as well as what they thought a fairy tale was. Below are the responses from the class when I asked them the question "What is a fairy tale?"
P.R.: "A fairy tale ends with Happily Ever After and starts with Once Upon a Time."
J.C.: A fairy tale is "a not real story that is made up."
S.Y.: A fairy tale is "Cinderella because Cinderella is beautiful."
J.B.: "Gingerbread Man is a fairy tale because he is made out of gingerbread and he is talking and running; and cookies cannot do that in real life."
N.H.: "The 3 Little Pigs is a fairy tale because pigs can't talk in real life. They just say 'oink, oink, oink.'"
M.B.: "The 3 Little Pigs is a fairy tale because my mom told me. They (fairy tales) always start with Once Upon A Time."
A.K.: "A fairy tale is a story that is really good, with something bad that happens, then people help each other."
E.L.: "A fairy tale is a story that is pretend."
K.F.: "A fairy tale is a story about animals that play together."
R.L.: "A fairy tale is something that starts with Once Upon A Time and ends with Happily Ever After."
S.P.: "Humpty Dumpty is a fairy tale because it is kind of like a Disney character and Disney characters are like fairy tales."
M.C.: "A fairy tale is something that a lot of the time has princesses and princes."

Based upon their responses, it looks like one of the questions we will be trying to answer through out our study is "What is a fairy tale?" We will likely create our own definition and then determine whether or not some of the stories we read are actually fairy tales!
Next week we are going to focus on Jack and The Beanstalk while reading different versions of the classic tale as well as the story through the eyes of the giant.
Here are some of the monsters I captured through out the past few days. My apologies for losing the post-it note that had the names of which child made which monster. Maybe your child can identify their own?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Little Bit of This... And A Little Bit of That

Amidst finishing assessments, writing reports and escaping for the weekend our poor little blog was almost forgotten! Alas, I was able to sneak in a few shots of the happenings in our class. Here is a very brief update on what we have been doing!

Earthquake Practice:
Here are a few videos of your children preparing for an earthquake. They wanted to make sure they were ready for an earthquake in all situations (hence the 3 locations) as you can tell, we had a lot of fun and are very ready!

The children are continuing to work on their number writing/recognition and counting skills with games such as Triple Roll & Record (rolling a die 3 times, writing the numeral associated with the dot pattern they rolled and adding up the dots/numerals) and Domino Addition (choosing a domino from the basket, recording the dots, or numerical value, and adding up both sides). We have also been working on finding a variety of groupings that equal 10 through the game Tiny Tumbling Town (breaking 10 into 2 groups, depending on which side of the mountain the tiny tumbler tumbles down) and Building Towers of Ten (rolling a die and finding out how many more are needed to build a tower of 10).
Through the use of Cognitively Guided Instruction (C.G.I) the children have been working on simple addition word problems (join where the result is unknown; part-part-whole where the whole is unknown) and simple subtraction problems (separating two groups where the result is unknown). This past week I introduced more complex word problems to the class that challenges their mathematical understanding of what is being asked. An example of such a problem is below:
Room 5 has a collection of __ pumpkins, ___ of them are orange and the rest are white. How many pumkins are white? 
This problem cannot be directly modeled because it is set up as a part-part-whole problem where the part is unknown. It was a great problem for everyone and challenged everyone's abilities.   

The children spent this week focusing on the u /u/ up sound and reading Zug the Bug and Billy the Bug and his Big Glass Jug although the stories are often based on word families, our jobs have been focused on the individual sounds. The children have been sorting pictures based on short vowel sounds, labeling pictures with simple and complex words as well as adding to our short vowel word list.

Integrated Learning:
Next week we will focus briefly on the lightly requested leaf study and wrap up our study of fall, pumpkins and apples. After conferences we will be beginning our fairy tale unit! I cannot wait to find out which stories the children want to learn about!
Photos and Such:
Here are a few snap shots of your cute children.
"Can you take a picture of us with our pens on the paper?" M.C and S.P in Spanish

We are all so happy to have Brian back! I think he is happy too! We got to play with all of his stuff!

They were quite excited to show me their Iguanas!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The First 6 Weeks of School.... Are Done!

Yet another amazing week (with record breaking temperatures!) has come and gone. Many of our jobs this week focused around Halloween and pumpkin themed stories and of course Big Pumpkin. We made a great text-text connection between One Witch and Big Pumpkin when we discovered that they were both illustrated by S.D. Schindler! Here is a quick recap of our week together.
A behind the scenes look at picture day!
During math I continued working one-on-one with your children while I assessed them on their mathematical knowledge and number sense. The estimation jar this week was filled with plastic rats (next week will be spiders!) and the children tried so hard to make a reasonable estimation without opening the jar. We will open it tomorrow and the children will use cubes, pictures, counting on, counting up or other strategies to determine how close or far they were from the actual amount.
We integrated math with literacy while reading One Witch a counting story about a witch who is making a stew. The children illustrated their own One Witch books (they are very similar to the Ano's Counting Books that the children worked on in September) and calculated how many characters were invited to the party (55!).

Reader's Workshop:
We read The Legend of Spookly the Square Pumpkin a cute little story about being different and being accepted. After reading the story, children drew their individual Spookly pumpkins and wrote about its shape, color and how it was feeling. They also made their own Spookly pumpkins which are on display in our classroom.
We had a shared reading of the big book version of Yuk Soup. Prior to the reading I covered up all of the main words and the children and I discussed different methods of "reading" a word beyond sounding it out. The class used the pictures, the pattern of the text and sometimes the first letter of the word to determine what it was. I think they were all a little surprised to be able to read a book without even seeing all of the words! As a follow up to the reading the children are making their own Yuk Soup  book that you can see after our performance of Big Pumpkin.

Global Buddies:
We joined our Global Buddies in their classroom this week and researched Heifer International. The stories we have read (Give A Goat and Beatrice's Goat) were both based upon a gift from Heifer International. During our time together the children began trying to find out where the animals were sent, how much they cost and what animals were available. Next week the groups will share their findings and we will use our world map to categorize our findings.

 Birthday Celebrations:
This week we had our first Kindergarten birthday celebration for V.V's birthday. To celebrate birthdays in our class, each child is invited to sit in the middle of the rug while their friends gather around them on the perimeter of the rug. Each child is asked to share something they love or find special about their birthday friend. After each child has shared, the birthday friend shares what is special about him/herself. After the appreciation feast we then enjoy a special birthday snack. This week we were treated to mini banana muffins and grapes, a perfect birthday treat!