Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkin Fun!

We had a lot of pumpkin fun this week!

Reading Workshop: We continued our unit about pattern books. During our guided reading groups, we read several pattern books. We noticed that most of the words changed at the end of each sentence and that the last page was usually different than the rest of the book. We talked about using picture clues to help us figure out unknown words. Due to the short week, and the half day on Tuesday, I did not meet with every group.

Our favorite book this week was The Biggest Pumpkin Ever. After reading the story, we identified the main characters. We also compared them using a Venn Diagram. A Venn Diagram helps readers organize their thinking and increases comprehension of the story. After making a large Venn Diagram, the students completed their own.

Our large Venn Diagram

Phonemic Awareness: Mrs. Falco was back to visit us on Friday! We continued to break words apart into individual sounds/phonemes. We used Elkonin boxes this week and learned to "push" the sounds we hear in words. The short vowel sounds are very tricky to identify. We will learn about these sounds all year.

Writing Workshop: I continue to be amazed by my young authors! We learned how to make speech bubbles this week. The children loved using them in their illustrations. We also have a new anchor chart called "How To Write A True Story." We identified the different things a true story must contain, such as who, what, where, what happened.

Authors hard at work!

Math: We completed our second unit and will being unit 3 next week. We made a fun project using different shapes. We made silly pumpkins using rectangles, ovals, and triangles. We explored several concepts during math centers. Look below for pictures of these fun centers. We used candy corn ten frame cards to identify and count various numbers, ordered numbers 0-20 using pumpkins, played on the iPads, and played a fun roll and color game to count up to 12.

Silly Pumpkins!

Starting to order and working as a cooperative group

The finished project!

Counting using ten frames

Using fall counters to count

Sushi Monster!

Roll and Count

Science: We are still learning about the five senses. We talked about our wonderful fall walks and how we used our senses to explore our environment. We also learned about the skills we use as scientists!

Our science anchor chart

Exciting news!!! We have a new student joining us on Monday. Her name is Sarah and we are thrilled to have a new friend in our classroom. Welcome Sarah and family!

Next week we will learn about bats and other nocturnal creatures!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fun on the Farm!

We learned about life on the farm this week!

Reading Workshop: We read the popular big book, Mrs. Wishy Washy. We read it every day for shared reading and located several sight words in the story. We also talked about the characters and setting as we acted out the story. The children loved pretending to be the characters as they jumped in the mud!  We enjoyed several other books about the farm. The children started book club this week! We meet for our guided reading group while the other children are independently reading at their seats. The children meet with me at our meeting table.  We started each group by reviewing sight words and writing them on white boards. Then, we read an emergent reader at their specific levels.  The children bring the books home to read to you for additional review.

We also started a new unit about pattern books. Pattern books are a popular type of book for kindergarten students to read. They have a predictable pattern and repetitive language. We have a new anchor chart describing the different parts of a pattern book and how they help us become stronger readers. We learned that patterns help us figure out words, they help us sound like readers, they help us retell, and patterns help us make predictions.
Mrs. Wishy Washy, the cow, the pig and the duck!

Phonemic Awareness: We had two new letter experts this week. We also focused on rhyming words and counted the number of syllables in various farm words.

Writing Workshop: The children are making great progress with their writing. They are writing "true stories" from their lives and continue to meet with writing partners. They have learned how to plan each story out page to page. They also use the word wall as a tool for writing. During my writing conferences, I have been teaching the children to read back their writing. Often, the children have planned out detailed sentences but omit words when they write them on paper. I taught them to flip the pencil to the eraser side and use it as a pointer. They point to each word as they say the sentence out loud. After pointing to each word, they often realize that they left out some important words. You can practice this at home.

Math: We are still learning about the terms more, fewer and the same. We also learned about ordinal numbers this week. We played a fun game that is now listed under the website section of this page. We also completed four math tubs.

Autumn Sorting

Farm sorting

Farm animal measurement

Greater than 5, Less than 5 game

Science: Wow! Thank you for the great Fall Walk activity sheets! I loved seeing the things you found on your walks. If you did not have your child hand in this assignment, please have them bring it to school next week. We will share them during science.

Technology: The children love using the iPads during math tub rotations and centers. One of the games they really love is called Sushi Monster. Although it is a very challenging game, many of the students love trying to figure out the different math problems at the beginning level. The app is free. Click below the visit the iTunes store.

Key Concepts To Work On At Home:

Name Printing:  While many children are able to write their names with ease, all students need to focus on proper letter formation and neatness.

Self-Dress: Please practice tying shoes and zipping and buttoning up coats.

General Knowledge: Please review your address, phone number and child's birthday.

Looking Ahead:

Next week we will learn about pumpkins! 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Another Wonderful Week in Kindergarten!

Wow! It was a busy week filled with new activities. Please take a moment this weekend to ask your child about our day and see what part of kindergarten they enjoy the most. Lunch does not count :)

Reading Workshop: We continue to increase our reading stamina and become more independent. We will begin guided reading groups next week. We call it "Book Club" in kindergarten. Many of the children told me that their moms are in book clubs, so they were really excited.

We read several books about leaves and the fall season. We enjoyed the big book The Leaves Are Falling. The children were able to read along with me and located sight words such as and, the, am, and are. We also read I Am A Leaf and Pooh's Fall Harvest.

We started the Name Bag this week. Every child will be able to bring the name bag home for one night. You will learn the names of all of our students as your child practices reading and spelling all of our names.

Phonemic Awareness: We had three new letter experts the week. They taught us about the letters T, N and J. The children love to do a drum roll before I announce the name of the new letter expert! The expert writes the letter on our chart paper, tells us about the sound and shows us the things they brought us in their bags.

We had a special guest on Friday. Mrs. Falco , the school district's elementary literacy specialist visited us during our phonemic awareness block. We played the hula hoop game with her! We showed her how to stretch out sounds in CVC words. Then, she helped us figure out how to change certain letters to create rhyming words. For example, we spelled cat. Then, Mrs. Falco said the word bat. They children and to figure out which letter to change to create the new word. The children wrote the words on white boards while I wrote it on the Smartboard (with a little help from Stretchy the Word Snake). They loved it! Mrs. Falco will be back soon to enjoy more kindergarten activities with our class.

This is a picture of the sheet we use to stretch out our words.

Writing Workshop:  We have writing partners! Yes, the children are able to meet with partners to discuss their work and help revise one another's writing. This requires a great deal of modeling so the partnerships will definitely improve over time. We have a new anchor chart called, I Can Revise My Books. It is hanging in our writing center. We also have a revised chart called When We Are Done, We Have Just Begun.

Our revised chart

Our writing center!

Math: We are now learning about the words fewer, more and the same during our second unit of study. We watched math videos on the Pearson website before each activity. We also started something new this week. We now enjoy math stations! After our whole group lesson, the children enjoy a math station at their tables. This week the children explored the following stations:  Acorn Counting, Roll and Count Game, iPads (Monkey Math) and the final station was called Meet With the Teacher. During Meet with the Teacher, I work with a small group to either extend or reinforce specific lessons.

This is a picture of our apple glyph bulletin board.

Science: Our new unit is the five senses! The children brought home a family activity called The Five Senses Walk. Please complete this activity by Friday. I provided an extra copy in the post below.

Morning Meeting: One of our favorite times of the day is our Morning Meeting. We complete a lot of activities on the smart board. First, we sing our monthly song. See if your child remembers the lyrics to our October song. Then, we announce the leader and helper of the day. We complete the calendar. Then, we count the number of days we have attended school and check them off of a hundreds chart. We also look for number patterns on the chart. We complete a daily letter called Chit Chat. I often ask them to find certain letters in it or I leave letters out and see if they can figure out what is missing. Finally, we play a short review game for our sight words.

This is a picture of Chit Chat!

Here is our song for October!

Yes, it was a busy week and your child is learning so much and increasing independence daily. I am so proud of them!

Next week, will be all about Life on the Farm. Thank you to the Holbrook family. We now have a farm playset. I am still looking for clean baby food jars.

We filled our classroom bucket with 75 hearts! The children voted to have a pajama party. Please look for a letter about this special celebration. It will most likely be on Thursday.

Please remember, as the temperature decreases, your child should have a lightweight coat or jacket. Also, I would love donations of tissues. Thanks so much!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Five Senses Walk

On Monday, I sent home the five senses walk family activity. It is due on Friday, October 10th. Have fun!

Click on image for an extra copy.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Happy fall!

Hello kindergarten families! This week was all about apples and enjoying our new fall season! Although it still feels like summer, when the cool air joins us, please remember to pack a light jacket or coat for your child.

A Peek At The Week:

Theme: Apples and Johnny Appleseed

Reading Workshop:  We read several books about apples and Johnny Appleseed. After reading a nonfiction book about apples, we listed words to describe them. We learned that describing words are called adjectives. Some of the words we listed were tasty, delicious, healthy, and delectable. We read Apples by Gail Gibbons and made a project about the life cycle of the apple using information from the book. We also read a book about the life of Johnny Appleseed. The children met with reading buddies this week. Fourth graders from Mr. Hotaling's class visited us on Wednesday to read to us. Each student has a reading partner. We also continue to enjoy independent reading time.

Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: We have new letter experts! The board is looking fantastic with all of our new letter bags and poems. We continue to use our alphabet notebooks. We also completed a few activity sheets this week about beginning sounds. The children learned a fun new game to stretch out sounds. It is called the hula hoop game. We use three hoops and place them on the ground. One child stands in front of each hoop. I say a CVC word, such as cat or bug. We break it apart into each sound and the children must say each sound as they jump into the hoop. The first hoop is for the first sound, second for the vowel, and the third for the last sound. They loved it! We will play this game all year.

Writing Workshop: We are amazing young writers! The children continue to write stories using letters, words, labels or sentences. We stretch out the sounds we hear from the beginning to the end. I started individual writing conferences this week. I meet with the children to discuss their writing and we make a plan to move forward. At this point of the year I can typically meet with two students per writing session. I will continue to conduct small group conferences also.

Math: We reviewed numbers 0-5 using a five frame and introduced 6-10 using a ten frame. The children also completed a glyph about favorite apples. After each child followed specific directions to make the apples we examined the results and created a pictograph to display the information. I also introduced a hundreds chart during morning meeting. We use it to count the number of days we have been in school and we look for number patterns on it. We will being math journals soon!

Science: We continue to explore the world around as us we talked about the new fall season. Our new unit about the five senses will begin next week and I will be sending home a fun activity.

I went raspberry picking on Saturday and I found a plant near the raspberry bushes. I used to love looking at these when I was little. Here is a picture. Do you know what kind of plant it is? We will examine it in school.

Social Studies: We celebrated Johnny Appleseed's birthday on Friday! We learned about his life and made crockpot applesauce, too.

Key Concepts To Work On At Home:

Name Printing:  While many children are able to write their names with ease, all students need to focus on proper letter formation and neatness.

Self-Dress: Please practice tying shoes and zipping and buttoning up coats.

General Knowledge: Please review your address, phone number and child's birthday.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Oh What A Beautiful Day!

Every morning, the children begin the school day by singing, "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" from the musical Oklahoma.  When I turn on the music, the children start to clean up from their morning job and gather on the rug to begin our morning meeting. See if your child can sing part of the song to you. It is also a wonderful way for me to start my day because I hear sweet kindergarten voices singing this great song!  
I was able to find a video on youtube with our version by Joanie Bartels. It is from a dance recital but you can still enjoy the tune (begins around the 30 second mark).

Phonemic Awareness: Wow! We had three letter experts this week. We learned about the letters M, D, and B. We practiced writing the letters, listened to the sounds they make, read poems about them, and wrote sentences using words that begin with these letters. After the letter expert teaches the class about the letter, the children use Alphabet Notebooks. They paste the poem on the left side of the notebook, and the sentence page on the right. We sang the Learning About Letter Sounds song and we also played a rhyming game. 

Reading Workshop: We are still learning the routines of Reading Workshop and building our reading stamina. The children are able to choose three books every day to place in their independent reading bags. As the year progresses, the books will be matched to their specific reading levels. For now, we are building independence and the love for reading, so they are able to choose any book from the book bins. A few of the read-alouds this week were, Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie, The Apple Pie Tree, and Apple Farmer Annie. We discussed the main character in each book. We will begin guided reading groups in a couple of weeks.

Writing Workshop: The children really enjoy Writing Workshop. This week we focused on our chart "When We Are Done We Have Just Begun." The children have learned to add to their pictures by using labels. I displayed a writing sample about our new playground. Then the children helped me decide what I should label in the illustration. When it was time for independent writing, the children were able to take out a piece of writing from their folders and add labels to illustrations. We also discussed stretching out the sounds we hear to spell new words. In my room, when we want to use a new word and we do not know how to spell it we do two things: Say it slow like a turtle. Stretch it like a snake. We sang a new song called Stretchy the Word Snake. Stretchy told us to break the words apart into the sounds we hear from the beginning to the middle and to the end. I will begin individual writing conferences next week. This week I conducted group conferences to work on similar skills at the tables. 

Math: We love writing numbers! We practiced writing numbers 0-5. Although many of the children already know these numbers, they needed to know the proper formation for each number in order to prevent reversals. We have a poem for each number. I will send home the number poems once we have completed 0-10. We also made a graph about apples. Thankfully, we have a very healthy class and all 20 told me that they like apples. 

Music and Movement: We enjoyed two new songs this week from Koo Koo Kangaroo. We danced to Dinosaur Stomp and What Did You Say? 

Social Studies and Science: We are continuing our discussion about classroom rules and routines. We have already placed 55 hearts in our bucket! Once we get 75 we will have a party!
Our new Science unit is the Five Senses. I will be sending home a very simple five senses homework activity soon.

Technology:  Have you noticed the cute avatar at the top? Have your child click on it to hear someone talk to them. This avatar will change throughout the year to give them a Voki challenge. 
The children love using our iPads and iPod Touches. Here are some of their favorite apps (Click on it to go to the iTunes store):

Monkey Math

Beginning Sounds Interactive Game

Key Concepts To Work On At Home:

Name Printing:  While many children are able to write their names with ease, all students need to focus on proper letter formation and neatness.

Self-Dress: Please practice tying shoes and zipping and buttoning up coats.

General Knowledge: Please review your address, phone number and child's birthday.

Looking Ahead:

Next week we will enjoy a fun apple theme! If possible, please send one apple with your child by Friday for a special activity. Thank you!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Kindergarten is a blast!

Our first full week together was great. We are still learning about our routines and rules in the classroom, cafeteria, playground and school community. We enjoyed all of our special subject classes, too!

                                                            Peek At The Week:

Theme: Our School Community

Writing Workshop: We began our first unit of study: Launching the Writing Workshop. We will have Writing Workshop every day. We begin each workshop with a mini-lesson on the rug, have independent writing time, and end it with a sharing time. The children received new writing folders. We also practiced visiting the writing center to get new paper and other materials. Our saying for the week was, "When We Are Done, We Have Just Begun." Sometimes, when we think we have finished a piece of writing, we actually have more to add. We can add to the pictures or the words. Please ask your child why they have a red sticker on one side of the folder and a green sticker on the other side.

Reading Workshop and Phonemic Awareness: We have two new letter experts! We learned about the letters A and S. We learned a poem and chant for each letter and had so much fun looking at the things the experts brought from home. We sing a song called "Learning About Letter Sounds" by Jack Hartmann. The link to his video is on the right hand side of the page under Music and Movement.
We read several books during Reading Workshop. Some of the books we read were Pete the Cat: Too Cool For School, Countdown to Kindergarten, and Teacher for Bear. We have new independent reading bags and practiced the routines of Reading Workshop. The children can choose three books for the independent reading bags. Then we practiced our "reading stamina." We were able to read quietly for 6 minutes, uninterrupted. That's a kindergarten record!

This anchor chart teaches us one of the routines of Reading Workshop.

Math: We started Unit 1 from our math series. We are exploring basic number sense and counting strategies. We also use math manipulatives to either reinforce or extend their understanding of the concepts. We also reviewed colors and graphed our favorite colors. We made a fun display in the hallway.

Social Studies: We read David Goes to School and How To Be Peacemakers. Ask your child what it means to be a peacemaker - not a peace breaker.
We have a bucket in our classroom! After reading the book, How To Fill A Bucket, we discussed how we can follow the rules of the classroom and be kind and compassionate in order to fill the classroom bucket. Once our bucket has 75 hearts in it, we will have a small celebration.

Science: We are scientists! We learned that scientists ask questions, observe, test, record and share results from experiments. We will have three units this year for our science curriculum. They are: The Five Senses, Properties, and Water play. In addition to these units, we will enjoy a lot of fun experiments. For our first experiment, we learned about the word, "Reaction." We conducted the Mentos experiment. We went outside and place a Mentos candy inside a 2 Liter bottle of Diet Coke. The children loved this experiment. They squealed with delight!

Here is the reaction!

Key Concepts To Work On At Home:

Name Printing:  While many children are able to write their names with ease, all students need to focus on proper letter formation and neatness.

Self-Dress: Please practice tying shoes and zipping and buttoning up coats.

General Knowledge: Please review your address, phone number and child's birthday.

Looking Ahead:

Next week we will have new letter experts. Please check your child's folder to see when he or she is our new letter expert!

I love the family photos and the children enjoy looking at them during the school day. If you have not sent one into school, please send in a framed family photo. A 4x6 photo is a great size. If you do not have a frame, I can provide one for you.

Also, please provide an extra set of clothes (shorts/pants, underwear, shirt, socks) to be stored in our classroom.

Our first family project was sent home last Friday. Please review the directions with your child.