We had a great morning! We made sure our learning space was ready and removed distractors. We went to breakout rooms and talked about favorite book characters. Children were taking turns and listening to others. When we came back to the main room, I asked children to share what they heard others say. I was so happy to hear so many children able to tell me what other children in their room said, so they were showing that they listened to others and many remembered the names of the children they heard. The children also are learning to show a thumbs up when they have the same idea or answer instead of unmuting and saying that. We do that in the classroom as well. We are also working on piggybacking on what other children say, so we add on and don't repeat what someone else said. That is a skill that will develop throughout the year..
We worked with /g/ again in Orton Gillingham, and worked with the word go. We are working toward automaticity so the sounds and words are remembered, named, read and spelled without stopping to think about it. The kids are doing so well with the OG routines. They know where their supplies are and get them out fairly quickly and put them away where they belong quickly too!
In math, we worked with adding one more to a number. We listened to the Eric Carle story Rooster's Off to See the World. This book has a staircase of animals building in the upper corner of the page that goes with the story. We worked with staircases in math, looking at how adding on one builds the steps. I modeled with connecting cubes and your child can do this as well if they go to our Google Classroom and go to our stream. You will see a link to Unifix cubes. This is a tool children can explore and build their own staircase. They can make patterns and just explore number concepts with these cubes.
The afternoon was a bit bumpy. Once in reading groups, the kids did great. I showed the children the papers I expected them to do before I took groups in to break out rooms. I modeled what to do on each paper. I told them if they finished their work, they were to read books. I would like them to have 3 or 4 books they can read or look at when they finish their work. I have a second computer set up and what I saw was discouraging, but part of learning. In the classroom I would be working with them to stay on task, work quietly, and not play around with their supplies. That's part of learning to be part of our learning community. The same thing is happening online, but they have a greater selection of distractors because they are at home. I came back to a very loud room. I had to raise my voice to get them to hear me to settle down. I'm sorry for this and I hope it doesn't interrupt your work. I don't want the children to turn off their video because I feel responsible for their safety and their attention to their work. I don't want to just always send them to play games online because I know they discover other games that may be more exciting for them then the skill I am giving them practice on. We will be using our Google classroom soon, as well as See Saw where they can submit work on their own and send me a video with their explanation. But it's still important that we work on building their self-control and focus to get their work done. I know each day we will get better at this, and I still love them all dearly. They are a very sweet class, and I am so lucky to be working with them!
Have a nice evening!
We had a busy day! In Benchmark, we started a new unit about characters. We read The Tortoise and the Hare and talked about key events in the story. This is still somewhat difficult for our learners. They seem to have a hard time just focusing in on one thing that happened that is important to the story. I think this is very important to think about because it really shows us so much about their thinking. Often if we are talking to young children about a conflict or something that is bothering them, sometimes it's hard for them to tell just what happened, and in what order. Key events and retelling are skills we will work with throughout the year in reading.
We also wrote about a key event, although I modeled it and they copied. We will come back to this and they will need to write independently. Independently in kindergarten means that they will be writing the sounds they hear which may not be spelled correctly. We are looking for this to develop over time. They are learning words that are not encodable and those words, such as the,, we would expect to be spelled correctly once they are learned and practiced. Being able to talk about their writing, and their drawing is important, so getting their idea across is the most important thing right now in their writing.
In math, we worked with matching numerals to dots, putting numeral cards in order from 1-10 and from 10-1, and putting the dots cards in order. We took time following directions to cut, fold, and make the cards. Following directions is a skill we are working on every day. It's important that they are ready to hear the directions, so we are working on getting rid of "distractors" around them. Some of the kids do an awesome job with this, and others are still working on the self-control to leave things alone and listen. I started the day by talking to them about getting their workspace ready. It's really important that they have the materials they will need in folders and in a basket or bookshelf near by where the children can get them on their own. THANK-YOU for your help with this! It makes our day go so much smoother and we don't lose time looking for things. Moving toys and things they enjoy showing me before class is working pretty well. I'm trying to get them to get up and move them out of reach of the computer. The self-control, following directions, and remembering what they were told are all executive functioning skills that are so important for our young learners. We will be doing some fun activities that will help develop those skills. If you would like to learn more about executive functioning, you might want to go to the ISFP tab on our website and watch the video I put on there about executive functioning skills.
The other thing we talked about, and I am encouraging now, is for students to wear headphones. The headphones help them block out what may be happening in other parts of the house and just helps them stay focused. I was hesitant to wear headphones to listen to music for so long because I live alone and I was afraid I would miss something like a knock on the door or a phone call, but once I started using headphones to listen to music and relax or read, it because a much better activity for me to do to relax and take time for myself. I was really getting away from what was going on around me and could really just focus on my book or the music. I think the same is true with the headphones for learning. If your child does not have headphones with a microphone, this might be something you get for them. If you are not able to do this, please let me know and I will see what I can do to get these to you at the next distribution.
Thank-you for your continued support. I really can't tell you how much your kind words and encouragement mean to me. Even though we have been at this virtual learning for a while now, it's still a challenge and I do still feel like many times we are still "building the plane in the air."
Have a nice evening!
We started working with the /g/ today In Orton Gillingham. We try to have an object that we share with the children as we introduce the letter, but since we are online, I am using a variety of things. It gave me a good reason to show the kids one of my favorite videos of all time. Please enjoy this very persistent, and naughty, goat.
Orton Gillingham is going well for the kids. They are learning the routines, learning to manage their materials and get them out and put them away quickly, and seem to enjoy it. We need to move a little quicker through it and balance it with our Benchmark and our shortened Language Arts block, so I'll be tweaking our schedule a little to fit it all in. I know we are talking about that as a team on Monday during our reading meeting.
Have a great weekend!
Today we worked on finishing our My Calm Down books. This book can be put in their Calm Down Kit to use when the children are working through strong feelings. We talked about how these strong feelings aren't always negative, that sometimes you need to calm down when you become too excited. We worked with Zen Doodling today. The children drew a shape or thing with a thick marker if they had one, then used a thin marker to make different patterns or designs in different parts of the drawing. I showed examples of the kinds of patterns or designs they could use. An important part of Zen Doodling to be very deliberate and work slowly, focusing on the lines you are drawing. I put quiet music on as the children were working. We went through this step-by-step, but one thing that is becoming more difficult is that the children begin working before I am done with directions or have modeled it. A few children drew pictures instead of a design with one big shape or thing such as a flower or fish. Some children colored in their pictures instead of doodling. I'm breaking down tasks into smaller parts to get children to listen to the directions and following them, but it's more difficult online than it is in person to get them to stop what they are doing and listen.
We wrote opinions today. We wrote a beginning sentence together, then they were to write at least one more sentence that tells their reason for their opinion. We will be working more on learning how to spell or write the sounds they hear, but I am giving them more opportunities to do this, and hope that if you are helping them, please help them by encouraging them to stretch out the word and to write the sounds they hear instead of focusing on spelling the word correctly by telling them.
We went to the Benchmark website today. Yesterday I logged in as almost every child and added Benchmark, Clever and See Saw to their favorites. I'm going to be brave tomorrow and try and get them to open a second window and toggle to Benchmark and back to Zoom. We will do this in the afternoon at the end of the day so if they accidentally close out of Zoom, you won't have to log them back on. I try and be very aware of your work situation from home so that you don't have to keep stopping what you are doing to come help, so hopefully we can learn this quickly. If you have time over the weekend, you might want to work with them on toggling between the sites. The other sites you might use are Benchmark, our Google classroom, and Clever. On Clever you could show them Tumblebooks so they could go there to hear stories read to them. Clever will already have the passwords saved so the kids won't have to find all these different passwords for the sites.
Have a nice evening!
We had a bumpy morning today! Orton Gillingham took a little longer because we added a new part in, and many children, as well as myself, had internet issues with freezing and one big drop in service. This happened in all the kindergarten classes today, so I am going to blame it on a flash sale or something on Amazon Prime!
We started to encode today in Orton Gillingham. I gave the children a three letter word to tap out and to write. In Orton Gillingham, they have the children tap with their "other hand" and write at the same time. They tap out the sounds in the word with the opposite hand they use to write. They start tapping with their pinky as they do in math for counting. Right now we are just finger tapping three letter words. As we get into longer words with more syllables, we will also be pounding out the syllables. It's important the children learn these routines now and do them with fidelity so they are a reliable strategy. We also practiced arm tapping our red words.
In Benchmark, we are finishing up our first unit. We will have a few days in between to do an end of unit test, and to do a few other reading and writing activities.
In math, we continued to work with counting to ten, writing the numeral ten, and showing ten in different configurations to learn to understand that the quantity has remained the same even though the arrangement of counters has changed. Some of the children are finishing a picture of a charm bracelet to share tomorrow. The bracelet should have ten charms in a circle. I suggested the charms be something they like.
Just a reminder that I will meet with three of our four reading groups tomorrow afternoon. I sent out e-mails to families who have children in those groups and the time they are meeting. I am looking at this reading group time online as a gift because in the classroom, sometimes it's harder to get uninterrupted longer group times, so I'm happy to get started with these groups!
Have a nice evening!
Today we started reading groups. Most days I will meet with 2 - 3 reading groups. I will meet with them for 20-25 minutes. The kids who are not in the reading group will stay online and work on classwork. Most of it will be tasks that have directions that are easy to follow so they can work independently. I also have some coloring/art type activities for them to do because this is a good way for the children to take a break and feel calm. If they are in a reading group, they may not finish all the work, but they can work on it the following day. The children who are in reading group will be reading mostly Benchmark books, but will also read some other books from Epic or that I am sharing on screen. They will also do some word work with me in the group which may be practicing red words, doing sound sorts, writing words or writing a response to their reading. Today went really well. I kept the reading group time short and we just worked on getting in to the break out room, reading together, and going back to the main room. The kids who remained in the Zoom room worked really well and were focused on their work for the most part. I have a second computer set up to monitor that room, so I can see what is going on and if anyone needs help.
I will be sending out more information next week about the Benchmark website where you can go to read with your child and play a few games if you like.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day with a collection of photographs that we analyzed and discussed. We looked for ways the pictures were the same to find out what they were showing. We found that these photographs all showed leaders.
We learned about leaders at home and leaders at school. The tricky part is that we have not been at school, and the children do not know many of the leaders at our school, so we read a short book about what principals do. I asked the children about what other leaders they know and they mentioned me, several super heroes, Paw Patrol characters and Star Wars characters! I was happy to make their list! It was mentioned, finally, that a dad is a leader, but they did not mention a president, a mom, or police officer. We will continue to talk about what a leader is and who leaders are in our community and in our country. We will also talk about how they can be leaders throughout the year by making good choices, helping others and leading by example.
In reading, we read a realistic fiction book about rules. We focused on key events in the story. This is still a rather tricky for the kids to identify. We are working to identify something specific that happened. We work on this throughout the school year. We also reviewed talking and thinking bubbles, which were throughout the book. Then, the children wrote a key detail from the book with me, then wrote one on their own.
We are starting reading groups. Today I introduced them to their groups and we worked on going to break-out rooms. Today I asked them to talk in their breakout room to find out what their friends' favorite desserts are, and to remember their name so they could tell the whole group what dessert was someone from their group's favorite. This encourages them to listen to what others are saying, and will help them learn the names of other children in the groups. Some children will change groups as time goes on, based on what they need to learn in reading and writing. Please don't be worried if this occurs, especially initially because I am going off the MAP-RF data and the data I collected on letters, sounds and words. Some children weren't as comfortable taking risks as others, so some children may get moved. I don't normally name groups because I don't want the children thinking some groups are smarter than others or groups just getting a reputation, but for online I will be naming them to make it faster to get them to breakout rooms. Our groups are named for characters from Toy Story, so we have the Hamms, the Potato Heads, the Slinky Dogs, and Rex's group. The children are so excited to start reading groups, and so am I! It will be a great way for them to get to know each other better in addition to reading instruction.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day thinking about ants again! We watched this short video and talked about what we noticed and about the message. Ask me to tell you what happens in the video that shows "we're stronger when we work together."
We looked at our National Geographic Ants book once again to identify the text features. Then we finished comparing the two texts, Hey, LIttle Ant and Ants. We will in the chart below to organize our thinking.
Have a nice evening!
We had a very busy, productive day! We started our day by studying this photograph, rehearsing what we noticed with our study buddy stuffie, then sharing with the class. Ask me to tell you what I notice about this ant.
We read two texts today about ants. We will be comparing them more tomorrow, but we took time and noticed and talked about the text features in the non-fiction book. Ask me to tell you which book is non-fiction.
National Geographic has really great non-fiction books for all age levels, but in the past ten years has really done a great job of publishing books for the youngest readers and learners. This Level 1 book is really at first or second grade reading level for most kids, but the interest level is great for kindergarten. We read part of it, stopping along the way to talk and study pictures and text features, then read the rest later. We also listened for verbs in the captions on one page. Ask me to listen as you read the captions, and I"ll name the verbs.
We also read the book Hey, LIttle Ant. This book is a good book to talk about with your kinder. It has a good lesson. I will be sending it as part of our Wednesday Work and will share it as Read to Me, Talk to Me book, like we would do in the classroom if kids were borrowing books. You will have questions to use to guide your discussion with your child and a short "project" to do after, if you choose to. It's not a requirement, but we hope with Read to Me, Talk to Me that families will read the book a couple of times over the week and use the questions that are supplied to guide your discussion. When we are in the classroom, children bring their projects from the book to school and we hang them on a bulletin board, but if you just want to take a picture and send it in, I'll share it with the class. You have a week to do these projects, and as I said, I will include it with your Wednesday Work.
We added another sound in Orton Gillingham today. We began to work with the short sound of a, which is why we were talking about ants! We will continue to work through our drills tomorrow with a, but we studied this picture to find words that started with a, or had short a in them. Ask me to name at least five things in the picture that start with or have short a in them.
We had a lesson on calm-down strategies. We talked about ten different ways to calm down, and learned about them. One thing we did was listen to music. A great way to deal with stress, sadness, or just a good alternative to time-out is to put on headphones and listen to music. I think for me what works best is to listen to calming music. We listened to excerpts from different pieces to determine if the music made us calm, or riled us up. The kids did a really great job of identifying which, until the last piece! It's such a treat for me to get to see their faces up close and watch them respond and move to the music. We also talked about movement, and one thing I told them that I had read a lot about was hula hooping to relieve stress. If your child doesn't already have a hula hoop, for some kids this can be very calming, once they have learned to hula hoop. There are even weighted hula hoops that are supposed to be even better for relieving stress. I'll be supplying a list of these strategies for the Calm-Down Kit we are working on tomorrow that you can choose to print out. We also watched some Nature Relaxation videos. I'll post some of these in our Google classroom in the next day or two. I'm not sure if you are able to see what I post in there from YouTube, so please let me know if I post things in there you cannot access. Here is an example of a Nature Relaxation video.
Have a nice evening!
We started our week with a Social/Emotional Learning lesson that focused on frustration. We studied these four photographs and talked about how they were they same and what feeling that showed. We talked about how the faces of the children, and the adult in one picture, looked and how their whole bodies even looked when they were feeling frustrated. Ask me to tell you about the word frustrated.
Here's a short video we watched to understand the word frustrated more.
We talked about one thing we can do to help us when we feel frustrated. We got the "stress heart" out of our supply bag and talked about how squeezing that is a good way to relieve some stress. This week, we will be creating a Calm Down Kit. The children will need a shoe box or medium size gift or paper bag to decorate. They will also need things to decorate the box or bag with, such as construction paper, scrap pieces of wrapping paper, cotton balls, markers, magazines, etc. to decorate the box or bag. They do not need all those supplies, just some things to decorate it to make it special. These items will be used Wednesday afternoon to make a container to hold our Calm Down Kit Items. This kit will be something your child can use when they are feeling stressed, frustrated, mad, "wound up" with excitement, or sad. There will be other items in there, and a few things I would like you to print out to include, that can be used to calm down. I need a calm down kid too!
In OG, we practiced our auditory drill as well as added the word like as a red word. We used the bumpy board and began to learn the drill for that, as well as reviewed the arm tapping to learn a new word. The kids are doing a great job learning these routines. I know space can be an issue, but having their materials for these exercises at their desk is important so we can move through them quickly.
In Benchmark reading, we reviewed the text features side bar, caption and chapter title or heading. We wrote a caption together to go with two pictures.
In math we looked for hidden partners in seven, practiced adding on one more, and showed the magnitude of numbers using the Rekenrek and moving our arms and bodies like we were going up and down on a rollercoaster. We practiced writing the number 7.
We ended our day by reading a beautiful book called Layla's Happiness, by Mariahadessa E'Kere Tallie. This beautiful book is about what makes her happy. We read the book, then listened to identify verbs on some of the pages. Then we wrote an "I like" sentence that included a verb that told something we like to do.
We had a great day, and I'm happy to say after several hours on the phone, a new gateway, paying Comcast more money for internet, and getting more holes in my wall, I think my internet is good now. Tomorrow I try out two computers online. Cross your fingers for smooth sailing!
Have a nice evening!