We started our week off with picture day and I have to admit I truly enjoyed watching our students put forth their best smiles! I am so lucky and thankful I get to see those smiles throughout our days together! On Tuesday, we practiced bus evacuations and our bus driver Erin did an fantastic job explaining how to be safe on a bus and how to exit the bus in different ways. Needless to say, we rocked it!
We read a story called Rainbow Fish and talked about ways we are all unique and special. We are noticing that some things about us are similar and some that are different and we are all so valuable and important! Next, we each decorated a paper fish scale however we wanted. The creative, beautiful scales were wonderful. It wasn't until we put all the scales together did we notice how amazing and powerful our team can be when we work together!
(picture coming soon!)
We are Writers:
This week we spent time noticing what writers do! We practiced drawing using shapes to make pictures. Did you know if you can make a square and a rectangle you can draw a castle? We also read a great book about the importance of adding color to our pictures. We did some guided drawing while singing the Matt Man song that reminds us to draw people with all their body parts.
We are Mathematicians:
We are beginning to have some of our math lessons in a center-type format called Math Daily Three. The components of Math Daily Three are math by myself, math with someone and math writing. So far we have introduced math by myself. During math by myself, students are using their math bins which are filled with "tools" they may need such as items to count, number cards, dice, number lines, known games and more to explore math concepts.
As we progress, the manipulatives and games will change and are differentiated to meet each child's specific learning goals. Right now we are putting the structures, routines and expectations into practice and I am impressed with how amazing our class is doing! They are engaged in learning, have some choice and eventually this will allow me more time to work with small groups of students on specific math concepts while the rest of the class is doing the Math Daily Three.
We are Readers:
This week we learned the letters, sounds, handwriting and position in the alphabet for the letters Mm man /m/ and Nn nut /n/. This time of day is really fun as Echo the Owl has quite a personality and loves to see how amazing we are at trying our best! We also made M's look like martians/monsters and N's look like the night by cutting. gluing and assembling shapes into letter crafts. We are making these projects into our very own alphabet books!
Because we are amazing, in addition to Read to Self, students are practicing Buddy Reading. We find a buddy and bring our book bins to a special quiet, safe and relaxing place in our room and read together. We are reading pictures and making connections about what we know and what might be happening in a story. Children are finding our letters and passwords in lots of books! Please keep practicing passwords at home daily.
Letters/keyword/sound so far: t, b, f, m, n
Passwords so far: I, the, look, on
Ask your child:
~To sing the Matt Man song (about drawing body parts for people)
~How to play Jolly Green Giant (recess game)
~About the Friendship bench on the playground
~What EEKK means when Buddy Reading (hint: we sit Elbow to Elbow and Knee to Knee)
We are building our classroom community. We continue to talk about our behaviors using language and lessons based on The Zones of Regulation (see prior note home from Mr. B.). Students are each making books about how it looks and and feels to be in each zone. We are learning strategies to help us get back into the green which means we are calm, happy and ready to learn. Throughout our days together this involves lots of modeling and practice so students will begin to notice behaviors not only in themselves but also in others and to be mindful. Students are learning that most of us have shown red, yellow or green behaviors before and talk openly about how that feels. To have kindergartners be this open and willing to share feelings, insight and thinking is a testament about how far we are coming as a safe place and a team. I am so impressed!
We continue to practice reading the pictures and building our stamina during "read to self." We also had the opportunity to book shop and switch out the books in our book bin for new exciting ones to read. When choosing a great book we not only look at the outside cover but also inside. Sometimes we pick books that are high interest for us but it is also fun to choose books about things we want to learn about.
Since we are reading the pictures we introduced Eagle Eye the beanie baby eagle. Eagle Eye reminds us to use one of our great decoding strategies and to look really closely at the pictures to help us figure out what is happening in the book. While I have introduced Eagle Eye now, it is eventually used as a reminder to look at the pictures when we are trying to decode (read) words in books.
Our letters and sounds so far are:
Tt top /t/
Bb bat /b/
Ff fun /f/
Passwords so far:
We have introduced numbers 1-3 and are adding to our growing number collection. We are practicing number formation and learning songs to help us remember which way our number go. Kindergartners are also identifying numbers on ten frames and cluster cards. We are playing games like Sparkle to count numbers orally and tools like the rekenrek to help us remember to count one item at a time so we don't get confused while counting.
Ask your child:
~How to sky write number 1-3
~The letters and sounds for t,b,f
~To see if they can find a specific password in a book at home
Teamwork: We are making friends, practicing sharing and turn taking and even helping each other! Some friends were exploring math tools in our room and didn't realize what a mess dumping all the counters out would make. Other friends came to the rescue! THANK YOU! Then we shared some ideas about how to prevent that next time. (side note: I LOVE when natural opportunities like this arise as it allows us to collaborate and learn!)
Hopes, Dreams and Rules: Each year at the beginning of kindergarten we spend time creating our hopes and dreams. First we read books about school and have conversations about why we come to school. Here are some of the reasons classmates came up with about why we come to school:
To make friends
To learn new things
So parents can go to work
To eat in the lunchroom
To sing songs
Next, we read and talked about what it means to hope. We shared our interests and each child came up with their hopes and dream for our year together:
I hope to learn to write a book.
I hope to ride the bus.
I hope to make a friend.
I hope to paint.
I hope to read.
I hope to count to 100
From there we decided that if we wanted to do all these ambitious things, we should have some rules so we can fit it all in! At first, we heard a lot of "Don't bite!" and "You shouldn't kick people!" Next, we changed it into what we could do instead of what not to do! Here is what we came up with for class rules: 1. Be safe (hands, feet, mouth, whole body) 2. Be nice (words and actions) 3. Try our best (it feels good!) Echo: So, as you may have heard, our class has a feathered friend who likes to help us learn letters and sounds. We officially met Echo, the Owl! Echo is part of the FUNdations program we use to teach letters, sounds, handwriting, sentence structure, and reading and writing simple words. Oftentimes, you see her "flying" around the room helping and encouraging students in our class. I sent home a green folder with information about the FUNdations program and how you can help support your child at home if you choose. As we continue through the lessons, I will send home more information! The letters we have introduced so far are Tt top /t/, Bb bat /b/ and Ff fun /f/ ( the letters in / / mean the sound of the letter). Each card has the upper and lowercase letter, a key word picture and then we produce the sound. When practicing at home, please be mindful to produce the sound without an "uh" at the end. For example the sound b makes is /b/ but not "buh." This helps us when we read and spell words.
We are Readers: We read a book called Forrest Friends about an Owl who had a big problem...friends weren't taking care of books! We thought of all the ways we can keep our classroom and library books safe and we have been doing a great job! We also read a book called The Best Place to Read and searched around our room for great places to cozy up with a great book. Here is what we found:
It is best to read in a place where you have some space.
It is best to read in a place where you are comfortable.
It is fun to look at books!
Did you know there are different ways to read a book? We learned that one way to read a book is to read the pictures. Can you believe we read a whole book (Goodnight Gorilla) by reading just the pictures?
We are Mathematicians: We are practicing identifying, writing, showing and finding numbers 1-3 in a variety of ways! At the beginning of the year we introduce numbers 1-10 and create number collections. Did you know that there are different ways to represent numbers? We delve deep into this area as we build early number sense concepts as a base for strong mathematical understanding.
Ask your child: 1. Who is Eagle Eye? 2. To sing the Days of the Week Song 3. To show you three fingers. To show you three fingers in a different way. 4. How do we know when to echo Echo? 5. To tell you the letter, key word and sound for T,B and F 6. About our secret passwords!