Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Dinosaurs are Coming!!!

Are you ready for the Dinosaur Museum? We are so excited to share all of these fascinating exhibits with you. I am not posting a weekly summary or pictures this week because we want to save our activities for the museum.

In case you need a reminder, the Dinosaur Museum is this Tuesday at 10 AM. All parents, grandparents and siblings are invited to attend.

Please have your child wear something green or brown on Tuesday.

We look forward to seeing you then!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lucky Week in Kindergarten

Hello! We had lots of fun celebrating leprechauns and four leaf clovers on Tuesday. We even had a surprise visit from Lucky the Leprechaun. Although he left some green paint and gold glitter, he also gave us special gold coins. We enjoyed a directed drawing activity and made colorful leprechauns.

Here is a short video showing you the excitement in the room when the children arrived to school and found that Lucky had already visited!


Our note from Lucky the Leprechaun

Mrs. Fusco's class made traps. We kept one in of them our room.

Who made those tiny green footprints?

Directed drawing activity 

Reading Workshop/Phonemic Awareness:  Our big book this week was "Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?" It was different from the original song so we had a great time predicting the characters on each page. We learned that readers use clues from the text and pictures to make predictions. In this book, we really needed to rely upon clues in the pictures to figure out who the character would be on the next page. See if your child can remember some of the characters.
We also read the book Koala Lou by Mem Fox. The students completed a retelling strip.

Our nursery rhyme was, "This Little Piggy." We focused on Sneaky Letter Y.  Did you know that the letter Y can be very tricky? Rather than always making the typical y sound, sometimes Y disguises itself as the long e or i sound. We identified several sneaky y words in the nursery rhyme.

We had two new sight words this week. Our word wall is filled with so many words and has become a great resource for the children during Writing Workshop.

Writing Workshop: The children are really enjoying our persuasive unit. They have posted new signs around Hamagrael and have written several letters. The children continue to make the world a better place. Many of them are now writing letters to help stop littering in our town! The children know that in order to be very convincing, they must supply a lot of reasons. We practiced stretching out long words like rubber bands. Also, I have encouraged them to use "amazing vocabulary" in their work.

Here is an example from our first day of persuasive writing.
It also cracked me up - I love Property Brothers, too!

Handwriting: The children have almost finished their handwriting books. I continue to encourage the children to use lowercase letters as much as possible. They know that the first letter of a sentence must be capitalized.

Math: Hula hoop number bonds are quite a hit! This week we looked at numbers 4-8. We used number bonds to break apart the numbers and completed a few of our Envision worksheets as reinforcement. They also enjoy calendar math. This activity will help them prepare for calendar math in first grade. The children write the date at the top. Then, they fill in the ten frames for the date. The rest of the activities are typically done as a whole group activity. However, some of the children are independently completing the addition portion of the sheet :)

Social Studies/Science: We talked a lot about the spring season. Happy spring! We read our latest edition of Let's Find Out and learned about soil.

Next week: We begin our most exciting unit of the year!!! Please check your child's folder this week for a special invitation.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

In Like a Lion and Out Like a Lamb!

Welcome back to the blog! We have been very busy in kindergarten. So here is the update:

Reading Workshop: We continued our study characters, setting and retelling. We read Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato. After reading this fun story we discussed the main events from the story and made retelling strips. Hopefully your child was able tot ell you about the story using the strip. We also made connections to the book and imagined that we had a large potato in our back yard. The children had to draw a picture and write about what they would do with a large potato. Some made them into forts while others made playgrounds!

Guided Reading: Our book clubs are amazing! We learned about Chunky Monkey this week. Chunky Monkey helps us read longer words. The children can look for small words or sight words within the word. They can also look for "chunks" such as blends or digraphs. I am so proud of the growth the students have made in reading.

Shared Reading: Before reading our big book we always read a poem or nursery rhyme together. It warms up our voices and helps us to become fluent readers. Our big book was the classic song "This Old Man." We played Guess the Covered word and looked for sight words and long e words. We learned two new sight words. Please remember to look through your child's reading folder every Monday. It will contain the new sight words for the week and the book or poem we read in class.

Writing Workshop: Wow! We  finished our third unit of study. We are now studying persuasive writing. This is such a fantastic unit. The children make signs or write persuasive essays to make the world a better place. Some children have made signs to tell children to stop running in the hall, to wash their hands, and to be quiet in the cafeteria. Soon, they will learn about petitions. Watch out! You may see some petitions at home!

We also have handwriting books. We use these books every Friday. We are becoming experts at lowercase letters.

Phonemic Awareness: We focused on the short e and long e sounds. We learned a poem about vowels.  It says, "When tow vowels go walking the first does the talking." We listed words with "ea" in them such as read, leap, mean, etc. We also listed words with double ee, like sheep, keep, and knee.

Math: We are currently exploring our ninth unit and learning how to decompose numbers. We used number bonds to display the different ways to make the numbers 2-5. We placed three hula hoops on the floor. Five children stood in the top hoop first. Then, we separated them into two groups (the bottom hoops). At first, four children went into one hoop with one child in the other hoop. The students realized that we could make other combinations. After using the hoops, the children used manipulatives to create other number bonds at their tables.

We continue to play the Part Part Whole game. I hope you enjoyed playing it at home.

Social Studies: We read the latest issue of Let's Find Out. We talked about the old saying for March. It comes "in like a lion and out like a lamb." Here is our new bulletin board celebrating the month of March!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy Snow Day!

I hope you had fun today. See you tomorrow and you can tell me all about your snowy adventures.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Are you ready for some football?

Yes! We had tons of fun with our football theme this week.

Reading Workshop: We have graduated to more challenging books. We have learned so many new strategies to decode new words and have earned our super strength reading power. We look for sight words with endings, make predictions, and ask ourselves, "Does it make sense?". We have also increased our reading stamina.

During guided reading groups we practice reading and writing our sight words. We typically review the words that will be in the book we are reading. Then, we whisper read our books, while Mrs. Hepfer listens to each child individually. After we read, we practice retelling the events from the story. You can practice this at home, too. After reading a book, ask your child to retell the main events from the story.

We point to the words we read. We look for sight words while reading.

We played a really fun sight word game called "Where's Football Freddie?" All of our sight words were placed in a pocket chart. A small football player was hidden behind one of the players. The children had to read a word in order to come up to the pocket chart. If he was not behind the card we yelled, "FUMBLE", but when we found him we all yelled, "TOUCHDOWN!". You can download this game below. I suggest that you glue the sight words onto construction paper so you cannot see Football Freddie underneath. Rather than a chart, you can simply place the cards out on a table. Have fun!

Where's Football Freddie?

Writing Workshop: We continued our informational unit writing How To Books. Each book has a title. The title tells the reader what the author will be teaching. We also have writing goals. We have three bins in the writing center. Each child must select a writing goal. For example, one of the goals is to add more details to our writing. If a child chooses this as his or her goal, then the writing folder is placed in this bin. When it is time to begin Writing Workshop, I simply say the writing goal. The children then come up to get folders based on goals. It is another way to reinforce the concept. Ask your child if he or she can remember the three goals we are focusing on currently in our classroom.

We used our handwriting books this week, too. At this point of the school year, I am encouraging the use of lowercase letters as much as possible. I will be sending home a sheet to practice writing first and last names soon. We really focused on proper formation and we need to remember to always start our letters at the top. We even sang a fun song!

Phonemic Awareness: We talked a lot about word endings this week. We also learned about consonant blends and digraphs. When playing our hula hoop game, the first hoop was a digraph. We practiced spellings words like chat, shop, and smile.

 We practiced identifying rhyming words. Words were written on footballs and the children had to match the rhyming pairs.

Math: We love our new addition unit! We practiced the concept of part/part/whole and used white boards to reinforce the concept. We completed a few sheets fork our Envision booklet and learned a new game on the Smart board.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Exploring the Polar Regions

We have been busy exploring the polar regions and the animals that inhabit these areas.

Social Studies/Science: We used a globe! The children loved looking at the globe and examining the oceans and landforms. We located the equator and then looked at the northern and southern hemispheres.

First, we studied life in the Arctic. We learned about polar bears, walruses, and other animals. We read a non-fiction book about polar bears and wrote several facts about this amazing animal.

Then, we studied life in Antarctica. The children had a lot of fun learning about penguins. We studied several types including the Emperor penguin and the Macaroni penguin. We read several non-fiction books about penguins and listed facts about them.

We learned that Emperor penguins fathers balance the penguin eggs on their feet. We thought this sounded really cool so we tried to do it, too. Enjoy the video!


Finally, we compared both regions using a Venn Diagram. We realized that although some animals are different, both areas are extremely cold!

We even learned a fun penguin dance and enjoyed it during our penguin party on Friday. Here is the video:

Reading Workshop: We continue to be super readers! We have reading super powers such as pointer power, sight word power, partner power, and pattern power. Although it is a good strategy to look at the picture and beginning letter to decode a new word, we also learned to look at the entire word, too. Ask your child to tell you about Mrs. Hepfer's donut story!

We discussed the importance of looking at each page and examining the words before reading. Sometimes there are words that you can read in a snap (sight words), and do not have to decode. If you know these ahead of time, your reading will be much easier.

We now have super strength reading power and we have graduated to more challenging books. Some children are still comfortable reading books with predictable patterns, but others have decided to try to read books that no longer continue the same pattern through the book. It is an exciting time in our kindergarten reading workshop!

Writing Workshop: Wow! We have so many clever "How To" stories and your children are teaching me some really cool things. I have learned how to swim, how to make homemade pizza, how to play hockey, and how to do several other awesome activities. We looked at some mentor texts and tried to model or include some of the features in our own books. The children have learned to use diagrams in their books and started writing warnings. For example, one child is writing a How To book about swimming. She told her readers to, "Use the steps but be careful not to slip!" We will continue this unit for the next month.

Math: Your children have been learning so many new things in math! We have practiced the hundreds chart, counting by tens, and used ten frames to create large groups of 10 (50, 60, 70...) Our next unit is addition. First, we will begin the concept of part/part/whole and then move onto practicing our facts. Kindergarten students are expected to master addition facts up to the sum of 5.

Next week: We will finish some of our penguin activities and then...

Are you ready for some football???? 

Yes, we will have lots of football fun as we get ready for the Super Bowl! Children are invited to either wear BC school spirit attire or a football jersey to school on Friday.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy new year everyone! I was so happy to see all of those smiling faces on Monday morning. It sounds like all of you have a wonderful December break.

Reading Workshop: Exciting news! I am piloting a new reading unit for Teachers College at Columbia University. It was written by Lucy Calkins and various members of her amazing team of staff developers. I will be sending home a release form for all of you to sign. I have been asked to send work samples from our class. Please be on the lookout for the form this week.

We continue to be super readers and use various reading super powers to figure out challenging words. We have been meeting with our reading partners to practice important reading skills and discuss the books we read. We learned a new game and I will be sending home the directions with your child so you can play it at home, too. I will also send home a special bookmark to use at home.

Ask your child about the new tool we use for our piles of books we have read during independent reading time.

Writing Workshop: We started a new unit! We are writing how-to books. The children are experts at so many wonderful things. We are learning how to write the steps in order and make the books and/or directions easier for our readers to understand. I was amazed to see how many Lego experts we have in our classroom :)

Phomemic Awareness: We will focus on the short vowel sounds. We practiced short a and identified word families. Since we already had a letter a expert, we did not have a new expert.

Math: The children are using the hundreds chart to help them identify larger numbers. We look for number patterns also. We practiced counting by tens and played some fun games to reinforce this skill. We also used several ten frames to build larger numbers and practiced counting on from a given number.

Our theme for next week: Arctic Animals