We started our day today with an executive functioning activity. We worked on remembering items in a collection. I showed the children 9 items on a tic-tac-toe grid. I had them draw their own grid before I showed the items, then I named each item, left it on the second for 30 seconds, then had them draw as many items as they remembered. I put 9 items on hoping they would remember some of them, but knowing they would not be able to remember all of them. We talked about remembering details, and how organizing our paper and thinking about the arrangement might help us remember the items. We will play more of these types of games to continue to exercise our memory and make it stronger! This is a fun game for a family to play as well! It's an old wedding and baby shower game!
We continued talking about characters today. We compared two characters from different stories, then wrote our opinion of which character we liked better. We know when we write an opinion we have to tell what our opinion is and a reason. The children worked on their own to write and draw a picture, although I had modeled an example of what they could do. Then, I asked the children to take a picture of their writing on Seesaw. Many of the children were able to do that on their own, and a few needed a little help. I know it will get easier!
I math we learned about hexagons, and practiced using precise math language when talking about shapes. We used words such as sides, corners or verticies or angles, and flat shape.
We added the red word "got' to our collection of words. We continued to practice working with /i/ .
We had a great day!
We had a busy day! We started our day chatting in small groups in breakout rooms as students came in. They were talking about characters from movies. A couple groups had some problems. One group had someone screaming and yelling while kids were trying to talk. We had talked about a signal we could use to let people know they needed to stop so someone else could be heard. Another group had friends who did not stick to the topic. This is why we do these types of activities. Learning to stick to the topic is something we work on in kindergarten. We will continue to work on listening to each other as well. When we came back together, I asked the children to tell me what someone else said in their group, and some were not able to do that. We also need to work to be sure the kids are learning the names of other children.
In Benchmark, we read a shared reading about a fox and a bear. Ask me to tell you what happened in this very short story. We practiced visualizing as I read, so we did not look at the illustrations first. We read the story and drew what we visualized, talked a little about the details in the story that should also be in the illustration, then looked at the illustration in the book and compared. We added details to show how the characters were feeling. We talked about the word sneaky. Ask me to tell you what it means to be sneaky and who was sneaky in the story.
We talked more about the characters in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We talked about text dependent questions, or 'right :there" questions that are in the book and illustration. Then we talked about the characters and chose one to describe in writing.
In math, we talked about triangles, and what makes a triangle. We also used virtual geoboards to make triangles, rectangles and squares. The link to this is in my Google classroom.
Let's hope this rain stops soon!
Have a nice evening!
We had a busy day! We started our day with a biography about Joe Biden, written by his wife Jill Biden. The book is called Joey, and it tells stories about Biden's childhood and a little about his life as an adult, and the experiences that led to him becoming a leader. This book had many clear examples of how even as a young person, you can begin the skills necessary to become a leader, which fits perfectly with our Social Studies curriculum right now. Ask me to tell you about what I learned about Joe Biden!
In reading, we listened to another version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears written by Steven Kellogg. This book has more details than the version we read several times in Benchmark. We practiced asking and answering who, what and where questions, as well as answering these questions too. We reviewed red words we already have studied, and introduced two new words, had and can. Ask me to sing you our three letter word song with the words had and can. The song we sing is to the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush." The words go like this:
We can spell can
We can spell can
We can spell can.
We also began working with /t/. The children continue to work hard going through the Orton Gillingham routines. We are working hard to move more quickly through the drills, which is an important part of this program.
In math, we began our lesson with a fluency drill of making five. The children were presented with groups of dots and had to draw more to make five. They needed to do this quickly. They did a great job and were very quick!
We started a short geometry unit. We will be learning about flat and solid shapes. Today we sorted shapes that had either curved or straight lines. We will be building vocabulary necessary to talk about the shapes so the students are able to talk about the characteristics of the shapes, and not just name the shapes.
Have a nice evening!
Thursday and Friday I was finishing up retesting foundational skills that need to be reported out on the report card each marking period. Once a child has completed all the items on the checklist, they aren't retested, but it's meant to be done throughout the year because this is what we are learning in kindergarten. I was able to pull kids into breakout rooms to do this work, while the other kids worked independently. This showed me how hard they have come this first marking period. They were able to do their work, follow directions, navigate with a little support to other sites to do work, and read on their own away from the screen. I think that's amazing for five and six year olds to be able to do all that in the beginning of November. Thank-you for your support, especially in helping the children toggle to Google classroom and Seesaw. As the children become more comfortable with these sites, I will be able to add more that they can do independently.
Today we talked about feelings. We looked at some Todd Parr feelings flashcards, then read his book online. The children then drew in the style of Todd Parr and wrote sentences to go with their feelings pictures. Ask me to show you my feelings pictures.
In the afternoon, we worked independently in the Google classroom and on Seesaw, and also played one of the Bingo counting games in our folder. Your child can go to Google classroom and Seesaw anytime to work on activities and games. I will release new activities that I want them to do in class as we do them, so anything they don't finish in class, they can do another time if they want, or at another time in class.
I wanted to read to the children before we dismissed for the weekend. I read the book Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor. This beautiful book is about differences, and learning about how those differences really show us how much we are the same. We will be reading this book again and doing several lessons with it next week, but I wanted them to hear the beauty of the book before I stopped along the way to talk about the content. I'm including a YouTube reading of the story if you would like to listen to it with your child.
Just a reminder that the children do not have school on Monday. I will send out a revised schedule for Wednesdays from now on.
I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!
We talked about voting and elections today. We didn't talk about the candidates for president, but we talked about what a president does and watched a video to learn more about the duties of a president. Ask me to tell you one thing the president has to do. We read a great book called I Voted: Making a Choice Makes a Difference, by Marc Shulman. This book is so well-done. It makes voting understandable to young children. It also talks about the results of voting not always being what you want it to be, but it's still important to vote.
We had a great time listening to Halloween stories during our Story Hour today. It was fun to just get to listen, and I think some of the children did some drawing too. We listened to Turkey Trick or Treat by Wendy Silvano,
The Very Brave Witch by Allison McGhee, Pig and Pug Trick or Treat by Sue Lowell Gallion, Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman, It's Raining Bats and Frogs by Rebecca Colby, The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain, Hallo-weener by Dav Pilkey, and the Witch's Cat and the Cooking Catastrophe by Kristie Watson. Ask me to tell you my favorite story!
During our afternoon class we read The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams. We listened to the story and identified the key events. We then found pieces of clothing that went with the story, and a doll to use as the little old lady, and practiced retelling the story using my words. I modeled this and we used the book to go through the story. It's a long story but fun to retell! The clothes all make a movement and a sound that are part of the retelling. Then, the children went to break out rooms to practice retelling the story. Ask me to retell The LIttle Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything! Then, remind me to put away the clothes I used!
We practiced listening and writing. I said a Halloween sentence and the children wrote it. The sentences had some "red words" that we have been learning in Orton Gillingham, and some words they needed to tap out to hear the sounds and write the letters that go with the sounds. We also were working on using spaces between words, a capital letter to start the sentence, and puctuation at the end of the sentence.
I hope you have a great Halloween and weekend!
It's been a busy week, and I'm sorry I've not blogged! I had training this week after class in math and in the new report card system.
Monday, Mrs. Abramson, came in to help me with teaching the children to use See Saw, and to help them learn to toggle to a different website while staying in Zoom. I will be sending you information about See Saw so you can visit this site with your child. The great thing about See Saw is that it does everything I need it to do! The children will be able to submit work to me, take pictures of work, make short videos to answer prompts and explain their thinking. The children were really patient in waiting for help, and although we couldn't get to everyone then, hopefully the information I send you will help you get them started. I am pretty sure once they start using it, they will be able to do many things independently.
We have read a couple fables and talked about the characteristics of fables. We also continued to identify key events in stories, for example in The Tortoise and the Hare, the hare took a nap by the tree would be a key detail. We compared characters from two fables we read. We compare the mouse and the tortoise. These lessons connect to the writing prompts, so we also wrote a narrative about what the charters were feeling. We used the illustrations in the story to help with an idea for what the character might be thinking. I model my thinking and idea, then model the writing, and now am starting to pull back some so the children can begin writing more on their own. We are going through the writing process of thinking of the idea we will write, rehearsing it with our study buddy, then writing it. We have some children share their writing when finishing.
In math, we working with drawing sets with one more and one less, counting items in a circular arrangement, and ordering numbers and sets from 1 - 10 and 10 - 1. I also did a few checks to fill in any gaps in my assessments for this unit that we have finished. We will be starting a short unit on geometry soon.
In Social Studies, we continued talking about leaders. We have learned about George Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr. so far. We will continue to talk about leaders next week as well.
This week, in the morning when the children came into the Zoom room, I put them in a breakout room with other children so they can get to know each other better. It's random, basically whoever comes in around the same time. We talked about how to talk in a small group, take turns, and encourage others to talk. We will continue to work on this next week as well!
Have a nice evening!
We started our day with an exercise to practice using short term memory. I asked the children to find three things: 1. Something blue, 2. Something that makes them happy, 3. Something that is soft. I repeated the directions orally twice, then sent them off to look for the items. They were so quick! They found the items needed for the list and quickly brought them back. We shared what some of them brought back for each one. We talked about the importance of listening to directions the first time they are given and that as we go on, I will not be repeating directions as often because that is only teaching them that they don't have to listen closely the first time directions are given.
We read another fable today. Fables are generally a more difficult genre, but the Benchmark versions of these stories are simplified and very short, so we are able to focus on key events, lessons and characters in the story. Today we focused on retelling using key events. I asked the children to go find two little stuffies or little characters to use to retell the story. We practiced together and tried to really exaggerate our voices to sound like the characters talking, and to tell the story in order. After we practiced as a group, we went into breakout rooms with a partner and practice with them as well. The children loved this and are anxious to share the story with you. Ask me to tell me the story of The Little Helper with my stuffies.
In math, we worked with the concept of one less. We also took the sprint that focused on "one more" that we took yesterday. We worked once again on the sprint routine, then took the sprint. Most of the children reported an increase in the number of problems they were able to complete.
We worked hard all week, and were able to take some time at the end of the day to work on self-control, following directions, and drawing a scarecrow. We read the beautiful book Scarecrow, by Cynthia Rylant, and took several breaks to follow directions to draw a scarecrow. We got our marker and paper ready, then listened to the story until they were told to draw something on their paper. We used mostly shapes to draw the scarecrow, but then they had time to decorate the scarecrow as they wished.
Have a wonderful, relaxing and safe weekend!
We had such a great day today! We are starting our day by making sure our work area is clear of distractions; toys are put away from the workspace, and school supplies should be put in a school box until they are needed. The children did a great job finding the right math book, which is one we have rarely used but they found it and found the pages we needed. They are moving quicker in getting their supplies for the most part, although we do still have a few stragglers. It's important they stop one activity and transition quickly to the next. This is true when we are in school as well, so it's something we work on there too. We learned how to do a math sprint today. We actually did just the first part today because it was some listening to learn the routine, then the work. Math sprints occur more often in the upper grades, but we will be having more as the year goes on. The purpose of the math sprint is to build speed. The children need to think fluently, stay focused, and work quickly and accurately. We will usually do the exact same paper two times in a row. The children are given a specific time limit so they have to start together and end at the same time, although they may not have finished the page. We count to see how many problems they finished at the end of the first sprint, and they try and do better on the second sprint. We will do the sprint we did today again tomorrow. Automaticity and fluent thinking are important for learners in all subject areas. In math, we want them to have strong, basic skills so that is where our sprints will often be found. In reading, we work to have kids read words, especially sight words, quickly, not sounding them out but just knowing them automatically. We work toward that in spelling those words as well, and in learning parts of words that can be used quickly in writing. This is why Orton Gillingham is such a great methodology and why kindergarten is so happy that we are able to implement this year.
We are working in math with the concept of one more, and looking at how it looks with cubes in a staircase, which will help them to visualize this, and will be a good foundation for addition.
In reading, we talked again about the characters from The Tortoise and the Hare. We talked about what the characters were like from what happened in the story. Then, the children wrote an opinion piece about which character they liked best. They know they need to state their opinion and a reason that is related to the story. I have done a lot of modeling in writing so far this year, and they have copied a lot so far. I'm starting to pull back some and encouraging them to stretch out the words and write the sounds they hear. They are really doing a great job. I don't see them looking frustrated, and although they are not writing much yet, they are attempting and getting something down. I put some words up they can copy, for example today they could copy tortoise or hare. Using resources is a good strategy to learn as a beginning reader, but we don't want the children to become overly concerned about conventional spelling of words that they haven't learned yet. For shorter words, they are learning how to finger tap with their "other hand" to hear the sounds.
We talked about leaders again today. We focused on George Washington. We studied the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware river and talked about what we noticed. I was happy to see we have a couple children who are very interested in history! Ask me to tell you what I learned about George Washington!
Reading groups went so well today. The children needed to write about George Washington, do three math papers, and read a book if they finished before groups were done. The times I checked back in with the big room, I found almost every child working, and it was quiet! I'm not going to brag because EVERY teacher knows when you do that, the next day will be crazy! But they were really good! I surprised them with a reward of watching an episode of Charlie and Lola, and we actually ran a little late today doing that, but it was worth it! They seemed to really enjoy it.
One of the kids asked in the morning if we could do a craft. I told them couldn't but if we have a good day today, and a good morning tomorrow, we would be able to get through what we needed to do and we would do a craft in the afternoon. So I'm hoping tomorrow afternoon, we will be making a scarecrow. If you happen to have construction paper, or old scrapbooking paper, your child would love to use it for their scarecrow. If not, no worries! They can use plain paper and color it to make their scarecrow. We will be focusing on following directions and cutting.
Have a great evening!
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!