Thursday, September 29, 2011

 It was another busy week in Kindergarten!
M.B. searching for -an words in her word family book
 Word Study!
This week we began our short vowel study with the letter a. The story that goes along with the short vowel a sound involves opening your mouth wide to take a bite and saying the a sound. The children have loved saying "a apple A!" After introducing the sound we read the -at and -an word family books and began charting any words we knew that had the a sound. Initially we had about 2-3 words per day and today the children added so many that we needed a new chart! Follow up activities included Tic-Tac-Tan and Tic-Tac-Tat where they flipped an alphabet card and had to see if it made a word. The children also received their own copies of the word family books to keep in their book baggies.
Friends writing secret messages with crayon and watercolors
The results of our apple vs. pumpkin study are in! We are studying....... BOTH! The majority wanted to study both and the few that only wanted to study one were happy to know that their topic would not be forgotten. There have also been a few requests for a leaf study so we may throw that into the mix as well!
The children began exploring the + symbol and what it means (a hospital, a sideways x, and, plus etc). We also began using the cognitively guided approach (CGI) towards solving word problems. Children in Room 5 are using their fingers, cubes, pictures, counting on and mental math to solve their problems so the discussions have been quite productive! One of our integrated math jobs was Apple Spill. The children start with 10-20 "seeds" in a jar that they spill onto the apple. They then add up the seeds on each side and create a math equation. The children also began using addition in their grab and count jobs. Next week I will begin the math assessments of your children so many of the jobs that were introduced and practiced this week will be their independent jobs next week.

Our focus this week was on choices we are making on the playground. We have been having a lot of discussions regarding safe play and responsible choices. It can be scary for a kindergarten friend to approach a stranger on recess duty and ask them for help so we discussed options of what to do and I made sure that the children met the teachers on duty before the start of each recess. The week has gone very smoothly, but if your child is still having a tough time please let me know.
Global Buddies & Our Kenya Connection
In Global Buddies we were able to finish up our comparisons of life in Africa with life in America. The children's work is on display near the windows if you would like to stop by and have your child talk with you about what they noticed. One child noticed that a similarity is that children in both countries have chores, even though ours are a lot easier.
I shared the photos and stories of my trip to Africa with the children. Throughout the slideshow we would stop and ask/answer questions about what the children were noticing and think about how it compares to what we are used to. After looking at the photos we discussed the difference between a want and a need. It was a tricky concept for the children to master, but by the time they met with their 4th grade buddies today they had it down. Thank you all so much for your kind donations! I will be mailing the suitcase and letters tomorrow and cannot wait to see photos of their delivery!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Very First Blog Post!

Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging Room 5 families! I have absolutely enjoyed the last 12 days with your children, and have realized that I need to get MUCH better at capturing all of our little stolen moments together! Though I would love for the blog to capture all of the moments we have together, it will end up serving as more of a Best of Blog. Here is a brief run down of what we have done together and where we are headed.
Social Curriculum:
Our Rights and Responsibilities
During our second week together the children used a method of Sharing the Pen to create our Rights and Responsibilities. As we progress through the next few weeks of school we may add or change certain aspects of them and when we are happy with the final product.  Once our Rights & Responsibilities are complete, will all sign them and refer to them as necessary. Sharing the Pen is a way of writing with each other and seeing how to write with "Book Spelling." Children will contribute to the message with either a letter sound they know, or with a complete word. My role is to add in the sneaky e, or the vowel buddy that is often not heard.

 Integrated Curriculum:
J.B. showing us that he knows apples can be red, while pumpkins can be yellow or orange.
The children have enjoyed listening to stories about apples and pumpkins, while spending their job time observing, measuring, drawing, painting (and cleaning) apples and pumpkins. This has given me an opportunity to see what they know about each fruit, as well as how they work independently. On Thursday the children were able to tell me if they wanted to learn more about apples, pumpkins or both. Depending on the outcome (which will be graphed next week) we will know what our fall study will focus on. Below are a few photos the fun we had with our pumpkin.
V.V. measuring our pumpkin

Our painted apples and pumpkin!
Time to get them clean!

Global Buddies:
The real Beatrice, reading her story to children (oh how I wish it was us!)
 Last week we had our first meeting with our fourth grade Global Buddies. We will be meeting with them once a week on Thursday's to learn more about children around the world. During our first meeting we read the book Beatrice's Goat a story about a child growing up in Uganda who desperately wanted to go to school, but could not afford to do so. After being gifted a goat, Beatrice was eventually able to go to school. Based on a follow up conversation we had after reading the book, we were able to watch video's of Beatrice as a child, and where she is now. After learning a little more about Beatrice's story, the classes watched a slideshow of my photo's from the Humble Hearts orphanage in Africa and began comparing like in America, with life in Africa. Next week each group will share with each other what they noticed. My favorite quote from our meeting was when a fourth grader said to himself "Wow, suddenly I don't feel so poor anymore."

During our math lessons I introduced a few math games such as Grab Count & Record, Roll & Record, and Hissss. We read Anno's Counting Book and made versions of our own, and we put together our September calendar and began learning about today, tomorrow and yesterday. My favorite noticing during our calendar lesson was when M.C said "Why does Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Today and Yesterday all end in d-a-y, but tomorrow doesn't?" Yup, I was stumped by a kindergarten cutie.

Assessments & Such:
This week your children were introduced to The Magic Scarf because they are SO good at working independently. This has allowed me to work one on one with each of your children to assess their literacy levels. While I was working independently with your child the class was busy playing Roll & Record, Grab & Count, sharing with me what they know and what to know about pumpkins and apples, as well as getting messy and having fun! Next week I will begin their Math assessments and we will get the learning ball rolling!

Photo Fun:
Some of the children have loved building and organizing their basket choices during peaceful time and drop-off or pick-up. Here are some of the photos they requested that I capture for them. Enjoy (and let them know you saw them).