Feathered Friends

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:

  1. To play
  2. To make friends
  3. To learn new things
  4. So parents can go to work
  5. To eat in the lunchroom
  6. 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:

  1. I hope to learn to write a book.
  2. I hope to ride the bus.
  3. I hope to make a friend.
  4. I hope to paint.
  5. I hope to read.
  6. 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!)

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. 
Image result for echo owl
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: 

  1. It is best to read in a place where you have some space.
  2. It is best to read in a place where you are comfortable.
  3. 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!


Today, we met Mrs. Wood, our Math Specialist. She read a book called Wumbers and then we made pictures that included numbers in them. We are a creative bunch! We can find numbers everywhere!

Mr. Bonnema (Mr. B.), our School Counselor came in to talk about feelings. A paper will come home today with more information. We learned that we all have feelings and we may like some more than others but they are all okay. We are practicing identifying our feelings and figuring out strategies to help us. 

Teamwork: Our class is coming together as a team! There are some nice friendships beginning to form, names being learned and lots of kind words and helpful actions. I use lots of positive reinforcement, encouragement, clear expectations and a little bit of my silly side in our classroom. 

Fire drill: We have had two practice school fire drills (one last week and one today). Both times, they were announced and there was no alarm pulled (so no sound). Soon, we will have drills that will have the alarm and may be announced or unannounced. Our class had practiced what to do and bring (nothing!!!) many times before our drills and so we rocked the real practices! 

Take a break chairs: Sometimes we all need a break! In our classroom we have two take a break chairs for children (and adults) to regroup. It is not a punishment but a place for students to use tools such as belly breathing to restore focus, work through big emotions and regain self-control. As with all tools in our room, it was introduced through lots of modeling and practice. I have been taking lots of breaks to model how to use it, what to do while we are there, and how to return to the group. After a child takes a break on their own accord or is asked by a teacher there is a follow up conversation. Each child in our class has had the opportunity to try out our take a break chair! As we progress, we will learn new "tools" to help us with our feelings.

Morning routine: Each day, we come in and greet Mrs. Margolis with a hello, handshake, high five or hug. Next, we use our handy routine chart on our door to help us remember what to do (hang up our backpack and coat, take out our red folder and then do an activity at our special table spot). This week the table activities have been to explore the math manipulatives and fine motor skills (pattern blocks, unifix cubes and cutting). After exploring, we listen to morning announcements.

What to do on a rainy day...

I am sure you've heard... we have been having a wonderful time exploring the amazing people and activities in our classroom!

Each morning, we have a morning meeting. It is a great way to start our day at school in a fun, engaging, active way. We begin by doing a greeting where we greet everyone in the room (even grown-ups). We have learned a few greetings already and will learn many more! Next, we have a share time. This isn't typically a time to share items but more a time to make connections and learn about each other. Next, we do an activity or energizer and finally read the daily message.

As we learn about the new "tools" (supplies) in our classroom, we introduce how and when to use them as well as how to take care of them and where they are kept. Today we used our cutting and gluing skills to make colorful name mosaics. We noticed that many of our new friends had some of the same letters in their name that we had in ours! 

We also explored pattern blocks, played a counting game using a huge ball, did calendar activities and sang songs. 

Ask your child about...
~The shoe greeting
~The Tooty Ta
~The days of the week song
~How high we counted to during the ball game
~Someone who sits at their table
~Miss Taylor

Happy Friday!

What a wonderful beginning to our year! It has been a fun week as we begin to learn what kindergarten is all about!

What we've been up to...

During our first week of school we have focused on learning about each other and our school community. We are practicing each other’s names and interests. In addition, we are learning routines and expectations (ex: how to sign up for lunch, navigate the huge playground and share the play kitchen). We are also singing, dancing and exploring new “tools” in our room. We have been busy!We are working on building our stamina for a full, busy day. We have a quiet time in the afternoon and have had children fall asleep. 

On Thursday, we had a practice fire drill (with no noise from the alarm) and will have more in the next coming weeks. There will be a time in the next couple of weeks where the alarm will sound.
I hope you have a wonderful long weekend and I will see our classmates on Tuesday. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!

first day!

We rocked the first day of kindergarten! Here are a few pictures...more to come!

Welcome to our new families!

I am excited to meet all of our new kindergartners and their families! I hope you are having a fun summer and I can't wait to see you!