Hello Families! It was good to see so many families at Back to School NIght. I am going to catch you up on what we've done the past couple days! We enjoyed Hat Day on Wednesday. We used what we had learned in math using the words exactly the same, the same but different and different to talk about a collection of hats. Using precise language in math is important, so this was great practice, and fun too! Ask me to tell you about the hats!
In Language Arts we have been learning about syllables. We are using an Orton-Gillingham strategy to pound the syllables with the opposite hand that is used for writing. We do this so they can break words apart as they are writing later on as they spell longer words. I have asked them to pound gently on a table, so I hope that's going well on your end! This is a developing skill so we will be practicing this over time. We used some of our favorite superheroes, princesses and Pixar characters to help us practice pounding syllables. Ask me to show you how I can pound out the syllables.
We are continuing to learn about sorting in Math. We are sorting items into groups in different ways by attributes, but also by number in the collection. So today, we colored groups of 2, 3 and 4 different colors. You can find this paper in their math folder if you would like to see how they did. This is reinforced in tonight's homework as well.
Our Picture Talk today was to study a collage of photographs to see how they all go together. I asked the students to think of two words that describe all the photographs. Play and friends were what came to my mind. Ask me to tell you what I notice about these photographs.
The children are really trying hard to focus and pay attention the whole time. We try and take Brain Breaks, and when necessary, I just stop and read a story or give them time to relax. We are working on building stamina, but also on establishing expectations of learning online that will carry-over into the classroom when we return. Being able to sit up during lessons and not play with school supplies or their study buddy is important. Sitting up so we see the faces and feet is important, and being focused and not dancing around or making faces is important. I know they are just learning, so this is expected! It's also expected that it will improve! We have talked about Zoom Rules, now we'll work together to create classroom expectations that we will print and send to you so you can see what we have agreed on as a class. They are doing great! I really am enjoying them so much. Today they made me so happy to see how they respond so well to music.
Thank-you for your continued support, patience and kind words. It means so much to me!
Have a nice evening!
We started our day with a Picture Talk. We thought about what we learned in math with identifying objects that were the same, but different. We identified the objects that were the same, and talked about what made them different from each other. Ask me to tell you about the keys and what makes them the same, but different.
We had a visit from our amazing school counselor, Mrs. Kanter. She talked with the children about COVID-19. They watched a short video and reviewed basic reminders about sneezing and coughing into their elbow, washing hands often, wearing a mask when around people who are not in your family, and maintaining school distance from others.
We also briefly met our ESOL teacher, Mrs. Thomson. Several children will be meeting with her in a break-out room on Zoom for screening to see if they will be part of the ESOL program.
In reading, we talked about what key-events are in stories. We know that key events are important things that happen in the story. We read the story Dozens of Donuts, by Carrie Finison. This is a story many of the children were familiar with if they were in class with me this summer. We read it again and started to identify specific things that happened in the story. Ask me to tell you about some key events from Dozens of Donuts. The author, Carrie Finison, made a video reading the book that I have shared below.
In math, we talked about items with patterns on them, and matched them to coordinating objects with the same pattern. We also talked about items that go together, and talked about why they go together. For example, a cup and straw go together because you can use a straw to drink out of a cup.
It's been a busy, tiring first week of school for all of us! I hope you know how much I appreciate your help and support this week getting kids on to Zoom and helping them with all those math workbooks! We will talk about how we will make that easier for everyone next week, and begin to use the folders for papers. I think the kids are making good progress. I hope everyone has a very safe, relaxing and fun weekend! See you on Tuesday!
We started our day by sharing our Lego or building project. The children were so proud of what they made to share. We are having a fun time getting to know each with our Spirit Days, and are also getting better at muting and unmuting! The kids are doing a great job of speaking up so their classmates can hear and understand them.
We talked about the routine for Readers Workshop. This is a time when we will be listening to books and talking about them. We made a chart that tells what Readers Workshop looks like and sounds like.
In Readers Workshop today, we listened to a story called I'm Sticking With You, by Smriti Prasadam-Halls. This is a sweet story about two friends, a squirrel and a bear. Here's a book trailer about the book. You might want to watch the trailer with your child, then ask them to tell you more about what happened in the book.
We practiced rhyming words again today. We played an online game from ABCYA, called Alphabats - Rhyming. Your child can find a link to this game in our Google Classroom. I showed the children how to play it today as we practiced rhyming words with the game.
In Shared Writing today, we wrote about why we wanted to come to school today in response to the story Katy's First Day of School. I modeled how we get an idea, say the words, then begin to write the words. We talked about how many words we said, then checked to see that was how many words I wrote. We also counted spaces between the words to call attention to putting spaces between words.
We practiced handwriting again today. We will be going through the alphabet to review how to write letters, but will spend more time on each letter soon. I have to tell you how impressed I am with the handwriting I am seeing! The kids are doing a really great job of writing their letters neatly and so others can easily read them.
We practiced "belly breathing" today. We can use belly breathing to settle down when we have strong feelings. Sometimes the strong feelings are anger, but they can also be sadness, worried feelings, being over excited, or any feeling that is making it hard to focus. We watching this video that tells about belly breathing.
We also drew pictures of a peaceful, calm place we can visualize as we belly breathe. Ask me to show you my peaceful place picture.
In math we continued to talk about objects that are the same, but different. We also practiced counting, using our math fingers which are like a number line.
In the afternoon we talked about rules at school and at home. We talked about why rules are important. The children drew pictures of a rule they have at home. Most of the children did the assignment, but several students did not. I just want you to be aware that it's the expectation that children participate, but I know it was the end of the day and the children were getting tired. Ask your child to share their picture of the rule they drew. If they did not draw a rule, you may want to talk to them about giving it a try, and that they need to listen and do what the teachers tells them to do, just like they were in a classroom at school.
Enjoy your evening!
Today we began our Benchmark Reading instruction, and our Eureka Math Instruction. Our Benchmark Reading instruction begins with 12 days of learning routines and reviewing foundational skills. Today we talked about what makes a strong listener. We know strong listeners pay attention, look at the person who is talking, waits for the speaker to finish talking and sits still. We also practiced following directions. I gave the children some simple two and three step directions to follow which got them up and out of their chairs, too!
We listened to a story called Katy's First Day of School. We looked at parts of the cover of the book and discussed what the author and illustrator do, and how you can find the title. We read the book and noticed the thinking bubbles above Katy's head that showed what she was thinking, not what had happened. This book was a rhyming book, so we talked about rhyming words, then practiced making pairs of rhyming words from a word bank.
If we were in the classroom, we would often be doing a "turn and talk" where the children would turn to a partner so their knees were touching, and they would share ideas and thinking before sharing with the whole class. I still want to establish this routine, so the children can have a study buddy they can turn and talk with during our lessons. They can choose a stuffed animal or doll to use as their study buddy as long as the study buddy does not interfere with learning. So the study buddy can be nearby, off-camera, but then be held when sharing ideas or thinking, or when listening to a story. As with the break basket, the study buddy needs to be nearby and shouldn't be something the kids go away from the screen and search for during a lesson.
The big challenge in math today was getting used to three different books to use in math, and to find the page I needed them to use during the lesson. Thank-you for helping your child be organized with the books in a place near the computer so they are ready to use during our lesson.
We talked today about counting the math way by using our fingers. In Eureka, the children count on their fingers starting with the pinkie on their left hand and putting each finger up as they say one number, stopping at their thumb with 5. We used counters to put on a hand showing that same order. We also talked about the same, and exactly the same.
I hope your child has some time to create a structure or something they built out of Legos or other building material for our Lego Building Spirit Day!
Have a nice evening!
We had a great second day of school. Today we continued to get to know each other. We started our day by telling our friends our name and what we would like to learn about more. Many of the children had similar interests. We have many friends who are interested in space! We shared some of the five picture All About Me project. Thanks for helping the children with this special project. I know they have fun seeing pictures of the kids and their families, as well as what they love.
We learned about our brain today, and how it is elastic and grows and changes as we learn. We drew three brains and drew something we already learned, something we are learning, and something we want to learn. This is part of a growth mindset lesson I am doing with the children to help them set goals in their learning. We also made a wish for our kindergarten year. Many of the children made a wish to learn to read or to make friends.
In math, we started with a scavenger hunt. I had the children get up and find different items that represented a topic we will learn about in math this year. They seemed to like the scavenger hunt, so I'm hoping we can do an activity like that from time to time to get them up and moving. Ask me to tell you what I found on the scavenger hunt. We are working on following rules and routines, so we established these rules for our scavenger hunt:
Since we dressed in our favorite color for our Spirit Day, we collected data and made a pictograph to show our favorite colors. Ask me to tell you about this pictograph.
Each day we will be reading a book as part of our Book a Day project. Today's book was Purple, Green and Yellow, by Robert Munsch. This author writes funny books that have a lot of repetition and exaggeration in them, but he also is the author of the beloved book Love You Forever. Ask me to tell you about the funny things that happened in Purple, Green and Yellow!
Remember, Wednesdays we have class until 11:30, then we have the afternoon for meetings, small group instruction and interventions. I will e-mail you with activities your child can do, off-screen, for the afternoon. Thank-you to everyone who has signed up for a testing time in the afternoon tomorrow, and for those who signed up for a slot before school begins.
Have a nice evening!