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!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Apples and Sailors!

Reader's Workshop:
During Reader's Workshop we read The Little Red House With A Star Inside. It was the first time we had read a story without pictures and a few of the children were not excited about that idea! The story is about a little boy who goes on an adventure to find a little red house with no doors, and no windows with a star inside then report back to his mother about his adventure. Midway through the story I had the children draw their predictions of what they thought this house might look like. All of the houses were drawn little, red and containing a little star inside. After all of the predictions were completed, I finished reading the story. The little boys journey took him to an apple orchard where he found a big red apple. As he looked at it he thought "Well this could be a little red house, with no doors and no windows, and the stem is a perfect chimney, but where is the star inside?" When he brought it to his mother she cut it open and revealed...
I wish you all could have seen the look on your children's faces as they thought I had magically put a star inside this apple! Maybe they will think you are as magical as I was!

Music With Lauren:
I was able to pick the class up early from Music this week and join them for The Carnival of Animals Lauren has been introducing them to the different musical instruments and helping them hear the story through the music. Lauren will also be helping us get ready for Big Pumpkin!

During science we used our sense of taste to decide whether or not we like green apples or red apples more. The children each tasted a slice of apple and wrote descriptive words to describe what each apple tasted like then decided which they liked the best. We will be graphing the results next week.

Global Buddies:
The children that didn't have a chance to share their observations last week began our meeting time with their share. After sharing and discussing the similarities and differences between like in America and life in Kenya, we read the story Give A Goat. A story about a 5th Grade class who read the story Beatrice's Goat and raised enough money to buy a flock or chickens, a Goat and some honey bees! Next week our Global Buddies will be on a field trip so we will meet with them the following week.
On Friday we had our very special visitors arrive (which is why the blog is a bit delayed)!! After their wonderful introduction at community meeting Sailor Dave joined our class for the morning and answered questions about living on a submarine and traveling around the world. After a long Q&A session (almost 30 minutes!) he read The Giving Tree to the class before they headed off to P.E. It was quite a treat to have Dave with us all morning. He is a father of a kindergartener and he could not stop telling me how polite and smart our class was, of course I was not surprised!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kindergarteners for Kenya!

Thank you all so much for your contributions to our suitcase of school supplies! On Saturday I packed all of the items up and shipped 38 pounds of school supplies and the letters! The man at the UPS store was so touched by what your children were doing that he gave us the box for free and gave me a 10% discount! The box should arrive in Texas this Thursday and Ida will be leaving to Africa with it on the 11th! I'll keep you all posted on an update from Kenya. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the photos below.