We started our 100th day of school by thinking about a place we would like to go that is about 100 miles from our school for a 100 day of school field trip. We considered exploring the caverns in Luray, Virginia, spending time around Cambridge, MD watching birds, looking at the beautiful Choptank River and walking along the coast,
We read a beautiful story called 100 Chapatis by Derek Mascarenhas about a grandfather and his grandson making 100 chapatis while waiting on the little boy's new baby sister to be born.. This was something the grandfater did with his wife while waiting on the birth of the little boy.
We covered a chart with 100 small stickers. We made it into a race to remind us of working quicker and not stopping. This was also a great fine motor activitiy to have the children using their fringers to pull the small stickers off the strips of ten I gave them. To help them rember to work quickly, I played music such as The Fight of the Bumblebee and the Theme from the Lone Ranger to get the kids moving. We stopped after each song played and counted how many stickers we had put on our paper all ready. We kept starting and stopping until the chart was covered.
We enjoyed the projects the children did to show 100. The children did a great job os explaining how they made their projects!
We ended our day with the 100 Cup Tower Challenge. This was the first time the children were building with the cups so they needed to work together to find the best way to stack the cups. They also needed to uderstand that a tower would need to have space in the middle and could not just be a wall. Before the challenge began, we talked about encouraging each other and being patient and careful. We knew there would be times when the tower fell down, but that we were not going to blame anyone or get upset. I'm happy t say the children were worked very well in the groups of four they selected. The children had a great time with this challenge!
It was a great 100th day of school!
We started our day by studying this picture from a Pixar short we were going to watch. In reading we will be working to make predictions, so we looked for clues in the picture to make a prediction about what might happen. We watched the video to check our prediction. We thought about what the message or lesson the writers might have wanted us to understand by watching the video. We talked about kindness, including others, and not making judgements about others based on what they look like. It was interesting to hear children sharing with their partner that they thought the big bird was mean because of the black rings around its eyes. We also practiced retelling. The children do a great job remember events in the story, but getting them in the right order and not leaving out important events is more difficult for them. Ask me to retell this story to you before we watch it together.
We have started a new unit in our Benchmark reading. This unit is called "Why do people tell stories?" We talked about folktales being stories that were told by people to other people. We know many of these stories have been made into books. We watched an African inspired folktale/song performed by the great Pete Seeger. Ask me to tell you the story of Abiyoyo. I have included the video below but I am warning you, you might be singing Abiyoyo the rest of the night!
We will be reading more folktales over the next few weeks in recognition of Black History Month as well as the Lunar New Year. So many good stories to share, so little time!
We practiced reading the text for our current unit in Really Great Reading. I pointed out to the children that one BIG thing I noticed is that they are not stretching out the words now. They are making their eyes move across the word to read it without saying each sound first. This is something we have worked on for a couple weeks now and I am seeing big improvements. We are moving on to making our eyes move across the whole line, chunking the words into groups so our reading sounds more like people talking than a robot talking.
The children are getting more practice in reading short, simple books during our Independent Reading Time we have each day after lunch. They choose books and a magazine and find a quiet place to read on their own. I need to spend some time getting the books organized a little better so children will have an easier time finding books that are just right for them. It's exciting to watch the changes I have seen since we first started this up until now. They are becoming more focused and are building stamina.
We are practicing counting to 100. Many of the children can do it already but enjoy getting up and moving to Jack Hartman as he exercises and counts to 100. The end of the year benchmark is 120.
We are continuing to work with the concept of more and less in math. Being able to articulate which set has more or less is more of a challenge than just circling which one is more or which is less. Although it is not in our curriculum, we are stretching and looking at sets to determine how many more or how many less. They are doing this with manipulatives, pictures in the workbook and with just the numeral. They are using the visualization strategy as well as learning to use a numberline.
Have a nice evening!
So far this week, we have been talking about the food groups. We know it's important to include all the food groups in our diets, so we are learning about the different choices we have as we think about what we would like to eat. We learned that vegetables are a root, stem or leaf that is eaten, and fruits are from flowering plants that grow into a fruit that encloses or has seeds. Interesting!
We have been working on writing our information text about groundhogs. We are keeping it simple, and I am modeling before they write to try and reinforce using a capital at the beginning of a sentence, spaces between words, and punctuation at the end of a sentence. That is on top of finger stretching unknown words, which means we are gently pounding syllables to help break up the word so we can finger stretch. The children also need to determine the words they are going to use to share their information. That's a lot of work for these little people who have been on Earth five or six years! The indicators for writing include the words "with adult help" so teachers do model the process for the students. What the children need to do independently though is the mechanics of writing; putting spaces between their words, using upper and lower case letters appropriately, and using simple punctuation. We will work on this in writing stories and texts, and for practice.
In Social Studies we are learning about Economics. We read a great book called Wants Vs. Needs Vs. Robots. We built on what we learned in our Benchmark reading about what plants and animals need to survive. We then found out that robots, in this book, need four things. Ask me to tell you the four things these robots needed. One robot wanted other things and traded things they needed to survive. Ask me to tell you about what happened and what better trades the robot made at the end of the story.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day by studying photographs of groundhogs. We looked closely at their external features and made connections to other animals they are similar to. We read about groundhogs and found out they are called by other names. One of the names is woodchuck, and the other is whistling pig. We are going to do our writing research project together and use the information we learned about their shelters in our book. Ask me to tell you what I learned about the shelter. Did you know groundhogs can climb trees?
We talked a little about Groundhogs Day and the tradition of watching Punxsatawney Phil come out of his burrow to determine if we will have six more weeks of winter or an early spring. We collected data to find out which our class hoped would happen. Ask me to tell you about our data and what more of our class would like to happen.
In math we took a fluency test with five. The children had to move through boxes with objects and either add to them or cross out so there were five. This meant they had to stay focused. I asked them to go not too fast, and not too slow because we were trying to be as accurate as possible. The Eureka routine for fluency tests is for the children to grade them, so we went over it together and they used a crayon to mark with a checkmark if they were right and to fix it up with the crayon if they were not.
We played a game to practice naming one more or less than a number. The children either rolled one or two dice and added one on. They had to cover four in a row to win. The children with two dice had to add the dice and then add one more.
Are you hoping for an early spring or just no more snow days?
We are trying to get back on our reading journey across the United States. In honor of Black History Month, we visited Alabama and read Preaching to the Chickens, by Jabari Asim and beautifully illustrated by E.B. White. This is a story of civil rights leader John Lewis' early life on a farm in Alabama. We talked about how John Lewis grew up to become a civil rights leader and member of the House of Representatives later in his life. I forgot to give them the postcard before they went home so I'll send it home Monday. We also talked about Huntsville, Alabama. We studied the photographs, and as I expected with this group, they shared a lot of knowledge they have about space and rockets. We took some time to watch Apollo 11 land on the moon. This group is so interested in space and rockets!
We worked together to write a page for our animal shelter information text they are writing. We included a bold print word and labels on our picture. I modeled for the students and gave them three words they could copy from the board to help move them along. We will work more on the text next week.
In math we worked with equal sets. We didn't get far because our writing ran long, so we will need to make that up next Monday!
Have a great weekend!
Our week started with an exciting assembly for the Lunar New Year. The children enjoyed seeing the lion and learning about the meaning behind certain traditions of the Lunar New Year. Master Chua and his team were amazing in their performance and presentation of information. A huge thank-you to the PTA for bringing this program to us! Ask me to tell you about the assembly!
We talked Tuesday about the Kindergarten Sock Drive. I shared with the students about people and families who may be going through a rough time and need extra help. We listened to a beautiful story called The Tooth, by Avi Slodovnick. This is a story of a little girl who observes a man who is homeless and is empathetic about his situation. Ask me to tell you what she does to help the man. I will put the link to Storyline so you can enjoy this story too.
Today we continued our discussion and looked at a wordless picture book about helping others. This story is called A Circle of Friends, by Giora Carmi. This is the story of a little boy who buys a muffin and shares it with others. I have also linked this below if you would like to enjoy this beautiful wordless book too.
This week, and throughout the quarter, we will be learning about good nutrition. We learned about the food groups and My Plate. We will do more with My Plate, but it is a visual for children to use to understand how much of each food group is necessary for good nutrition. We focused primarily on the vegetable group yesterday, which gave me to the opportunity to share with them one of my favorite Sesame Street clips ever! Enjoy meeting Captain Vegetable!
Today we met this intesting guy. We studied the painting then learned a little more about the Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Ask me to tell you what I noticed about this painting. Would like to hang a painting like this in your home? The children sketched this picture in their Doodle Journals today. They did a great job! Friday they will be creating their own portaits using only food so we were getting in some practice. Using shapes to help sketch, then adding details to our pictures will help us in our writing too!
In math, we worked with area. We used digi-blocks to cover an area then them. We then put the digi blocks in their little suitcases by tens and left any extras outside the suitcase. Then the children could name the number by saying for example 2 ten 4 for 24. The digi-blocks are a great manipulative for children to learn about place value, and they have fun with them too! I giot a couple pictures of the children working before my memory card filled up!
What a week! We had so much planned for this week, but didn't get the chance to do it! Next week will be really busy for us!
Today we started with writing from personal experience. The children were to write about what they had done over the snow days or the weekend. Most of them chose the snow day of course! They were so excited to write about playing in the snow. We are working now on making sure we start sentences with a capital letter, put spaces between words, and end sentences with punctuation. I am encouraging the children to go slow and finger stretch the words they are writing. We are working to learn to spell more than CVC words, consonant vowel consonant, and write multiple syllable words. To do this we are pounding out the syllables and breaking the word into parts so that we can finger stretch the parts.
The kindergarten team was working overtime today trying to teach and get ready for a potential virtual day. Although we were somewhat ready, we needed to get current materials together and last minute details finished. We also needed to get the children back on the Chromebooks and practice zooming. The children did a really great job logging in independently, most using their log-in sheet to remind themselves of their username and password. They went to Clever and just had to go to our Zoom link and wait to be let in to the Zoom Room. I'm really glad we practiced because there are some differences in Zoom from when we were virtual during the pandemic. There are a lot of distractions available to the users, like tons of emojis and backgrounds. I locked all of those so the children will not be able to use them if have to go virtual at any time. The biggest thing I noticed was the lack of focus and listening with the Chromebook in front of them during our Zoom practice. We will continue to work on listening in general, but also in focusing instead of thinking of the Chromebook as a toy and the websites as playgrounds. We will talk about the Chromebook being a tool and talk about consequences for not staying on the website or Zoom assigned.. One of the big things they might need to do is turn on the camera, and they know how to do that now, and turn on their microphone when necessary. We tried that but with a room full of Chromebooks with mics on and kids talking, it sounded like a million mice in a tunnel and it just kept getting louder. So I had to mute them all and we didn't get as much practice on that as I wanted. With the latest information from the county about virtual snow days, it looks like this will only be used in the event of a major snow event like a blizzard. And I'm pretty sure the K Team has jinxed the possibilty of a blizzard with our readiness now!
I hope the children have fun in the snow tomorrow! Please stay safe and warm!
Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a great start!
The children were certainly happy to see each other when they came back on Wednesday. We passed the Talking Carrot to share something we did over the Winter Break. We focused on listening to others and speaking in complete sentences. Then we read an interesting book called Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas, by Gail Piernas-Davenport. The story is about a family that is preparing for their New Year's celebration with their traditional foods; black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, baked ham and corn bread. But the family soon finds out they forgot to buy the black-eyed peas, or cow beans as they are also called. It's bad luck not to eat black-eyed peas for New Years, so Shante goes to her neighbors to see if they have any black-eyed peas. We learned about the different foods other cultures have for New Year's as Shante goes door to door.
We talked about what a resolution is and came up with three resolutions for 2024. One resolution was for home, one for wellness, and one for school. I will send these home next week. We broke this down into parts so we could be thoughtful as we determined an appropriate resolution for each part.
This week we also read about what animals need in Benchmark. Ask me to tell you what animals need to survive. We talked about what a topic is, and we closely examined different text features as we read. The children wrote a key detail from the book that supported the topic of what animals need to survive. We focused on starting the sentence with a capital letter, putting spaces between words, ending the sentence with punctuation and spelling any Heart Words in the sentence correctly. We continued to work with this topic and read an information book that gave us a lot more information about what foods animals eat. The children will write more about animals and the food they eat to survive next week.
We also listened to a story about hummingbirds. Ask me to pound out the syllables for hummingbirds then spell this 12 letter word! We did not look at pictures for this story but instead used the strategy of visualization to remember key details in this story. We used our doodle journals to draw quick pictures and write a couple words to remind us the important details of the story. Ask me to tell you what I learned about hummingbirds and what I drew in my doodle journal.
In math we worked more with balance scales and counting. We will continue to practice measuring length, height, weight and will learn about capacity next week.
We also practiced reading nonsense words. I will be reviewing this with children before we do the next Dibels test. What I have noticed with some of the children is that they are trying to make sense of the words, and that when the word doesn't sound right using the sounds of the letters they are reading, they substitute a real word. Their brain seems to naturally do that although we need to "prove" they are not guessing, so nonsense words are used to measure what they know about the sounds and letters. We will practice this a few more times just to help them understand it is okay if the word sounds funny and to not change it to a word they know. I hope that made sense!!!
We read a great book this week called Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, by Christine Baldacchino. Morris is a little boy who loves to wear a tangerine dress that is in the dress up corner at school. He also likes to wear some of the different shoes. Soon he is teased by other children about a boy wearing a dress and he is left out of activities and teased by the other children. It upsets him so much that his stomach hurts. We stopped reading the story at this point and talked about what Morris could do about his problem. We brainstormed good solutions as well as solutions that were not so good. We turned and talked to a buddy about what they thought Morris should do. In the story, Morris tells his mom his stomach hurts, and he stays in bed for a day instead of going to school. On the weekend he feels better and paints a picture that shows Morris on an elephant in the tangerine dress. Morris shows his mom the picture and tells her about the dress he wears that is tangerine and that reminds him of his mother's hair. He tells her how it swishes like an elephant, his favorite animal, walking through grasses, and how the clicking of the shoes he wears reminds him tigers teeth as they eat giant leaves. His mother understands what is happening, and Morris feels more secure in being who he is and is ready to go back to the school on Monday. We talked about how important it is to share your worries and problems with others, like your family, teachers or anyone else you are close to that can help you. We also talked about how important it is to accept others and let them be who they want to be. The children have started giving books ratings. This one got a 10/10, and a few other incredible ratings. Often I think they give ratings to books because I think they think that's what I want them to do, but I do think they liked this book. Taking time to read part of the book, then continue with the book later in the day after reviewing the first part is a great way to get kids to think more deeply about the book and not be overwhelmed with a story that gives them a lot to think about.
I hope you have a great weekend! We started the week with kids talking about snow coming for the weekend, but I'm afraid those snowmen they were planning to build will have to wait! They had a hard time understanding that the winter break being over didn't mean that winter was over!
Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas
rIt's been a busy week! This week we have been working on the Chromebooks. The children are getting better with logging on independently, but some children still need help. We have many children who can help now! The children are learning to navigate to the RGR site to work on the Playground. They are also learning how to get to our Google classrooms. We will be using two Google classrooms. One will have activities to support and give students additional practice with what we are doing in the classroom. We also have a Read the U.S.A. classroom that will be used to follow up on read alouds we do for the rest of the year that will take us to every state and the District of Columbia. You will hear more about that tomorrow. Later we will be adding some additional sites.
In math, we have started a new unit in measurement. The children will enjoy this unit with many hands-on activities. We are also learning about teen numbers, and numbers greater than 20 as well.
In Benchmark, we have been going through the writing process to write an additional event or ending to the story The Little Red Hen. We learned about brainstorming, planning, and writing a draft. We will work to fix up our writing, focusing on spaces between words, a period at the end of a sentence, and a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence.
In our Social Emotional Learning, we began talking about what it means to be a bystander and an upstander. We got to the bystander part, but tomorrow will focus on how to be an upstander. In school, while learning to be part of a group, children have to learn what to do when someone is hurting them or others. We can use DeBug for kid-size problems, and we can get adult help when we have been hurt or the problem was too big, but we also need to learn what to do so we are not in those situations. This is not easy and it doesn't happened over night, but we can learn to be more confident and persistent in asking for help. Today we talked about being a bystander. A bystander is watching what is going on and can go and report situations where someone is being hurt physically, intentionally left out repeatedly, or inappropriate language, comments or names are being used. When a bystander tells an adult about these situations it is reporting, not tattling, and the response of the adult will be to follow-through with a consequence as necessary. We read a story called Super Many Stands Up, by Kelly DiPUcchio. This story is about Manny who likes to pretend he is a superhero at home. He has different color capes he uses for saving the world different villains. At school he has an invisible cape, and when one of the characters is bullied, Manny stands up to stop it. When Manny stands up, others do as well, and the bully loses his power over the group. Manny was an upstander. Tomorrow we will learn more about being an upstander and what it is and isn't. We will practice walking, talking and showing confidence in our own inner strength by our body language. This is all part of building a stronger community that does not tolerate fighting, exclusion, teasing, and inappropriate language. These lessons are not one and done; they are lessons that will be repeated and that we will check-in with students to be sure they are being heard, supported, and that they feel safe. It's also important to know that the children who are behaving in an inappropriate way are getting the support they need to learn how to be part of a group and to get help in handling their own emotions and situations that led to their inappropriate behavior. I really stressed to the children that they do not have to feel alone and that their classmates are here to support them, as well as the adults at the school.
As we are approaching the holidays, we are seeing more emotional responses to situations. The children are chattier, sillier, and more easily upset over little things. This happens during times when there will be a transition to a break, around holidays and birthdays, and when the snow comes! We are going to maintain our routines, take a few more brain breaks, and engage in some mindfulness lessons and activities to help with managing those emotions. I will be sending information over the weekend about putting together a calm-down box which you might want to put together for your children in handling those strong emotions of happiness, disappointment, anger, etc. or times when your child just needs to take a break to be proactive so they do not get to a point where they are overstimulated and make poor choices. Grown-ups can use the tools in the calm down box too! I broke into the calm-down kit at my desk today when I had to ask six times to speak to a person when I called Comcast. I probably confused the robot because after asking to speak to a human or agent four times, I accidentally started saying I needed to speak to a grown up. That's when I broke into the calm down kit and grabbed a squishy. It helped. I was able to talk calmly to the human they finally connected me with to fix my problem who was indeed, a grown-up.
Have a nice evening!