Today we started our day by studying the different ways children around the world get to school. I didn't tell the children that was how the photographs were the same, but after they studied the photographs and talked to their partners, they came up with the idea. The backpacks gave it away! Ask me to tell you which way I would like to go to school. If they tell you they would like me to drive them home on a bus, please tell them that is not in my job description! I'm going to accept it as a compliment. I'm not sure what triggered it but this was an idea they came up with at dismissal today!
We read the story This School Year Will Be the Best, by Kay Winters. In this story, the narrator tells us what will make this year the best. Most of the ideas were very silly! Then, the children made a wish for their kindergarten year. I told them it had to be something they hope happens at school. You will see their wishes at Back to School Night.
We talked about the words exactly the same, almost the same or similar, and different. These words will be used in math in some of our work with Really Great Reading. We studied these items and used these words to talk about what we noticed. Ask me to tell you about the keys using the words exactly the same, almost the same, or different. (None are exactly the same!)
The children went to P.E. today so they probably have a lot to tell you about that! Ask me to tell me the name of my P.E. teacher!
We read a beautiful book called The Golden Rule, by Ilene Cooper. This book introduces the Golden Rule through a discussion a little boy and his grandfather are having as they walk. They see the Golden Rule written on the billboard and the little boy asks what that means. The grandfather tells the little boy about the Golden Rule and shares that the Golden Rule is shared in different cultures and religions around the world. He shares their version of the Golden Rule. The grandfather also talks about how important it is to use your imagination to think about how someone else feels when you do something to them. This is a great beginning for learning about empathy, so I told them children about that word and that making good choices is easy when you think of others. What is tricky is stopping to think before acting so it's important to learn self control and how to identify and handle big feelings. These are the things we will be focusing on in our Social/Emotional learning this year. Ask me to tell you the Golden Rule. If you are looking for a great book for your family or as a gift, this is a great choice. I think it might have been at the PTA Book Fair last year, so if it's something you're interested in you might want to see if it's there this year too!
In math we sorted pictures and math manipulatives. We started to try and work as a group to sort together, and we were close, but some children still wanted to sort their on their own. We will do more sorting tomorrow in our Math Tubs when we come back from lunch.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day by practicing our Picture Talk routine. Each day we will have a photograph, painting, short video or quote that we study. The children first study the picture, then turn knee-to-knee with a partner, and finally we do a whole group share. The children are learning how to turn to the row beside them and talk to the person across from them or moving to a rectangle on the carpet that has a person to talk to. We studied this picture and I modeled how to talk about what I noticed and what I wondered. The children were very quiet at first with their partners but began to talk after I modeled. This will become a routine they will follow easily soon! Ask me about what I noticed and wondered. (To clarify, when I say "Ask me about..." I mean to ask your child.
We read a book called The Straight Line Wonder, by Mem Fox. This story was about three friends, all straight lines, and what happens when the first straight line decides to start jumping in humps, twirling in whirls, and in other ways that are not straight. We talked about how the straight line was doing something different and had a discussion about whether it was okay for him to do something different from his friends. We also talked about the other meaning for the word wonder. We had talked about the wonder as being curious about something, but this time the word wonder was used to describe something as amazing or wonderful. Then we practiced making only straight lines. We used "bumpy board," which is just plastic canvas with tiny squares. The children put their paper on top of the bumpy board and were to draw only straight lines side to side, up and down or slanted down like a sliding board. They can feel the bumps from the lines they drew on the paper. We will use the bumpy boards for writing letters and words throughout the year.
We read a beautiful counting book that had photographs of animals. Then we practiced counting on our fingers The Math Way. This is important for the children to learn because it is used throughout Eureka even into the upper grades. The important part is that the children start with their pinky finger on their left hand for one and count on from there. They go from left to right as if they are reading. I have included a video below so you can see the finger counting and some activities you can do with your child to learn to make the numbers with their fingers quickly. This video shares a few things that are beyond where we are right now, but it is really the best explanation of why we count on fingers The Math Way.
We are working on becoming Strong Listeners. We practiced by passing The Talking Carrot and telling our friends our name and favorite snack. I am reminding the children to look at the talker to not only understand what they are saying better, but to learn their name.
The children did a good job unpacking today. They are remembering what they need to do so they can do it on their own. They also are packing up well. We added a new step today and that is to put their papers in their yellow folder to take home and to remember to put their folder in their backpack. We are working on the routine of leaving their folder at their seat, going in the "in" entrance to the cubbies, walking through to get their backpack, lunchbox and anything else in their cubby, then bringing that to their seat to pack up. Getting those papers in the folder is a little tricky, but the children really stuck to it!
We read three books today; The Straight Line Wonder, Counting Lions, and There's a Bear on My Chair. Ask me to tell you which book I liked best!
Have a nice evening!
Today was an awesome second day! We came in from the outside line-up and began to learn our morning routines. We just focused on unpacking today, so the children had to turn in their yellow folder to the blue basket, put their lunchbox and water bottle in the lunch baskets outside our door, and hang up their backpack on the hook. They were anxious to play with play doh at their tables. We will be adding on to this routine, but I am taking things slow to help them adjust and not worry about remembering too much yet!
We have another special morning routine and that is to listen for the music "Oh What a Beautiful Morning," by James Taylor as a signal to clean up and come to the edge of our carpet. We pass around a hello each day. We will be saying hello in different languages throughout the year. This week we are saying "Aloha." They also need to say the name of the person next to them. If they don't know their name, they quietly ask.
The children drew a self-portrait today. I will hang this up for Back to School Night, then we will put it in our time capsule as part of a collection of papers that we will look at when we open the time capsule the last day of school. They also had to stay in their seat and work the whole time. It's a hard thing for kindergarteners to understand that they can always add more details to their work and that they may not get up and down from their seats, but most of them did a great job today!
We passed the Talking Carrot again today as part of getting to know each other. The children said their name and told us their favorite place to visit. We are really working on learning the names of our friends as a "Get Along Goal" for our class.
Today the children got to play. Montgomery County requires 20-30 minutes of play each day in kindergarten. The play is to be directed by the children, and they make the choices of what to play with instead being assigned by the teacher. The children had a great time today with many choosing to get the play doh out again, but others building or playing in housekeeping. Tomorrow we will open the art station as an option during play. I use musical transitions throughout the day, and today I introduced our clean-up music to the children. When they hear this song come on they are learning they need to stop and clean up. They are to try to be on the carpet by the end of the music, which helps move them along!
We read a book from our Benchmark reading series about rules today. We started talking about why rules are necessary. Ask your child to tell you why rules are important at school. We will be talking more about rules this week and will establish our classroom rules.
I really enjoyed today. I got to see the children playing together and having fun. I also got to talk a little more with individual children and got to know them better. I know it's going to be a great year!
We had a very busy first day! Almost as soon as we made it to the classroom, we had to quickly get lunch and attendance taken, then go down to an assembly in the APR room. The purpose of the assembly was to go over lunch and recess routines and rules. The kids did their best to sit and listen. We had a Brain Break when we got back to the classroom, but our new software for the Boxlight was having some issues so we only got to do the Milkshake dance.
The children had a good recess, and no rain like we were expecting, and a great lunch. They stayed in their seats, were surprisingly independent in opening up the things in their lunch, and did a great job staying in their seats until they were told to get up and throw away their trash. I enjoyed eating with the children and hope to be able to rotate who sits at the first table so I get time with different children each day.
We read a story about a rabbit who is going through different emotions as he asks where the reader has been. The book is called You're Finally Here, by Melanie Watt, and it's funny but also a good opportunity to talk about the emotions of this rabbit as he continues to ask where the reader has been.
Later in the day we read the story I'm Sticking With You, by Smriti Prasadam-Halls. This is the story of a bear and a squirrel who are best friends, until the squirrel gets annoyed with the bear always wanting to be with him. Ask your child to tell you about this story!
The children brought home a feather today. We quickly talked about how birds stick together in a flock, so now they were part of a new flock that will grow and learn together.
The class also went to Wellness class. Ask me to tell you about Wellness class!
We didn't get through most of what I planned for today, so tomorrow will be a continuation of today! We will be working on sitting in the rectangles on the carpet in our own personal space, sitting facing the talker, and establishing our arrival routines.
Have a nice evening!