On September 15th it was International Dot Day. In celebration of Dot Day, we read the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds. This day was started because of this book. We learned and thought about how the book taught us to be brave, try, never give up and most of all to help someone else.
After reading the book each child created their own unique dot with their fifth grade buddy and thought about how they help at home or at school. Each dot now has a message that the fifth or fourth grade buddy wrote for their kindergarten that tells how they are helpful! We will continue to think about and work on being helpful to others. The dots are hanging throughout the building.
We read the "The Dot" online on Tumble Books. You can get to Tumble Books by going to the library web page. It is on the the right hand side of the screen a little ways down the page.
Accurately counting and representing How Many? is an important math skill. We had a lot of fun with Inventory Bags! We counted, doubled checked to make sure we were accurate and then recorded how many items were in the bag. We had to double check our representations too! We are working on showing How Many? in more than one way. This is an activity that you could set up for your child at home. Grab some brown paper lunch bags and fill them with items from around the house: spoons, uncooked pasta, wrapped candy, Legos, crayons, ... Give your son or daughter blank paper and they can record How Many? The kids also recorded the item in the bag by writing the word. They were BRAVE writers and recorded the words "Just Like a Kindergartner!"
Learning about Tigers
We have been learning a lot of interesting facts about tigers as we prepare for the annual Glacier Ridge Tiger Trot. Together, we wrote about some of the things we learned through a practice called interactive writing. During interactive writing, the students use white boards and dry erase markers to write words in our message. We are brave and give words a try. We say the words slowly and listen for the sounds. This a time for the students to work on developing their letter/sound connection as well as practice letter formation and high frequency words. We take turns coming to the easel to add the words to our message. We took our work public by hanging our writing and our art work in the hallway. We hope everyone will stop to read about why tigers need our help and to learn some interesting facts about tigers.
Thinking about 5
In kindergarten we will be working to develop a strong sense of number. Number Sense refers to a student's flexible thinking about numbers. We want the kids to know the parts that make up a given number and to be able to use that knowledge to solve problems. Currently, we are not attaching number sentences or symbols to our work. We started thinking about 5 by doing a simple activity in which the students used 5 red and yellow counters. The counters are red on one side and yellow on the other. The students dropped the chips on the table and then recorded the way they landed. They did this 8 different times. As a class, we looked at our recordings and organized them into groups. After organizing all the recordings, we talked about what we noticed. As we continue to work with 5 and later other numbers, we will refer back to this work. The more experiences the students have with this type of work, and over time, they will come to understand that 5 can be represented in several different ways and this will support them as they think about number and solve problems.
Visiting the Kindergarten Tree
This week we visited The Kindergarten Tree for the first time. After reading the story The Busy Tree, and talking about the importance of trees, we took a close-up look at the beautiful tree in front of our school. Each child made a drawing of the tree. We talked about making our drawing match what we saw. We will visit our tree often during the school year and watch how it changes.
It was a lot of work, but the children have finished their work on their personal letter book! We looked at and read many different alphabet books. Each child found pictures of things that start with the same letter as their first name using Pixie and with support from alphabet books. The pictures were printed, the students cut them out and then added the label for each picture. Soon (when teachers get everything laminated, cut out and made into booklets) we will have a lot of new books to help us think about letters and sounds. :0
A big part of the learning we do in kindergarten is exploring and creating on our own and collaborating with others. We spent a couple days doing those exact things using Pixie4. Pixie is a program on the computer or iPad that allows children to create pictures, write words, create stories, and record their voice and even take photos. Right now the children have learned how to paint, add stickers to their creations and add some words. This is a program we will continue to use throughout the year. It was very neat to see what each group was creating and talking about together.
If you are interested in learning more about Pixie, just ask! This is a great educational program. You can also get this prpgram on an iPad as well.
Before writing our class promises below are a few of the stories that guided our discussions and our thinking. Ask your child about these stories and what message the author is sending.
After so much reading, thinking and talking we created Our Promise. We worked together to write the promise and then we all signed it with a drawing of ourselves as well as our names.
On Friday, we learned that a patriot is someone who loves their country. We talked about The USA and how it is made up of 50 states. We looked at our flag and noticed the 50 stars for each state. We noticed the 13 stripes for the original 13 colonies. We each made a small part of the flag and then brought our pieces together to make one big flag.
Counting and recording how many are two important math skills. We read Mouse Count by Ellen Stolls Walsh and then counted a set of objects in our classroom Counting Jar. We each showed how many objects there were and then shared our work. We came up with different ways to show how many. Take a look!
Problem Solving on the Farm
Taking risks and making mistakes is all in a days work! We had fun singing Old Mac Donald's Had a Farm and then thinking about farm animals as we solved math problems. Drawing pictures was very helpful as we worked on the problems. We discovered that there are different ways to solve some problems. We listened to our friends share their solutions. When someone makes a mistake, it's ok! We know that mistakes are a part of learning!
The kids are off to a GREat start in Kindergarten! We marked Friday as our 13th day of school, and the kids are really getting into the swing of things. Please view the Blog portion of the Weebly site with your child and ask them to tell you about the photos posted here.
We LOVE Books!
The children begin each and every day with books! We love to read with our friends. Here you can see some pictures of us reading together!
Building with 15 Cubes
The children spent one day creating anything they wanted with cubes and then the next day they counted out 15 cubes. They then built something out of the 15 cubes. The children added captions to their photos of their creation. We practiced saying the words slowly, listening for sounds, and recording the sounds with letters. Our work is now hanging in our rooms!
Writing Just Like a Kindergartner
We read Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells and talked about how Max tried his best to write a message to the grocer to get some yummy candy, Red Hot Marshmallow Squirters! In Max's own way, he was able to communicate to the grocer what he wanted. He did the best he could for a very little bunny. We talked about writing in kindergarten. We discussed that we won't write like the teacher or our parents or older brothers and sisters just yet. We will write like kindergartners! We talked about saying words slowly and listening for the sounds of letters.
Below you can see pictures of how we worked together to write Red Hot Marshmallow Squirters - just like kindergartners!
Last week a Dublin Bus Driver helped us learn how to be safe in and around a school bus. Ask your child about how they should sit on the bus (back to the back of the seat and bottom on the bottom of the seat.) Have them tell you about the safety zone all around a school bus (must stay 10 big steps away from all sides of the bus). Ask them to tell you about the hand signals the bus driver uses to signal kids to stop and to go (hand held up means to stop and a lowered hand means they can go).
We played a matching game that helped us think about how many dots were on a 5 Frame and then match it to the correct numeral. Here are some pictures of us playing the game with friends in our classroom.
Your child has jumped right into creating their own books during writing workshop. We have been reading books by Eric Carle and discovering a lot about his illustrations and writing. We have noticed how Eric Carle uses multiple colors as he creates the grass, sky, animals... everything! We also noticed how he sometimes zooms-in to the picture. He did this in The Very Hungry Caterpillar on the page of the egg on a leaf and in Pancakes! Pancakes! on the last page when the boy is eating the pancake. We are thinking about why Eric Carle might do these things. The children are trying out some of these techniques in their own illustrations. You will hear us talk about Mentors all year long as we grow as writers and illustrators!
The kids had a lot of fun being problem solvers as they worked in teams to build bridges out of paper and cups. As members of a team, the children are learning how to collaborate, sharing the work and encouraging friends to join in and help. They are getting opportunities to share their thinking, while also listening to their classmates. They are experiencing failure and learning to keep trying. Collaborating, Sharing Ideas with Confidence and Persevering are 3 of the 6 Habits of Thinkers which we will focus on throughout the year. Creating a bridge allowed the children to explore engineering, estimating, and scientific concepts like strength, flexibility, and other properties of materials.
A note about letter formation... OK, maybe it's a novel.
The children work on quick and efficient letter formation of lower case letters everyday in kindergarten. Please reinforce what you see us working on at home (check your child's sign-in sheets to see our focus.)
Important concepts to remember:
*almost all letters begin at the top
*Magic 'c' helps to form the lower case letters of a, d, g, and q
*most letters are formed without picking up your pencil (one fluid movement is our
*we pair spoken words with our formation example for lower case 'a'- "magic 'c',
Why do we focus on all of this? This type of formation (De'Nelian) is quicker, more efficient, and more legible. We want the formation to be done with little thought so that the writer can focus on the most important thing-- their message. This is ongoing work! Sometimes even beautiful handwriting is not efficient. Watch your child to see how they are forming the letters when they write at home. If they are inefficient, hop over to a blank piece of paper to practice and then go back to their written piece.
We do a lot of letter formation practice during interactive writing. This is when we compose a message together on the large chart paper. All of the students are working on white boards. We are brave as we try to record the sounds we hear in the word we next want to add to the chart. After we work on recording the sounds, we often do some quick formation work. Our letter formation practice is imbedded in real writing. This is what you can do at home! When your child is adding a sign to a Lego or block creation, or making a grocery list, or writing a card, this is a good time to show them correct letter formation. Pick one or two things to work on. Remember the message is the most important thing. Happy writing!