We had a great Halloween day! We read The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything. We listend for nouns and verbs in the story, then drew one of each on a big index card. We labeled them with the words nound and verb.
Today, as part of our Health and Wellness Week, we talked about peacemaking. We read the book How to Apologize, by David LaRochelle. This book has animal characters who have silly conflicts but clearly describes how to apologize. The children were told to say they were sorry for what happened. We talked about being sincere, and practiced how your voice sounds when you are sincere. We also talked about not making excuses, but instead accepting responsibility for what occured. We learned that writing a note is another way to make an apology. This is a great book, and an important topic. Making apologies is an important part of making and keeping healthy friendships.
It was a busy day with our parade at the beginning of the day, and our party at the end of the day. Here are a few pictures from our very exciting day!
I hope you enjoyed the photos!
This week is Health and Wellness Week. This week we will focus on mental health. Today we focused on mindfulness. We started our day with our Picture Talk which included photographs of people meditating in different places. The children talked with their partners about the different settings and shared where they would like to meditate.
We talked about taking care of our self. We used the word self to remind ourselves of the importance of sleep, exercise, leisure (fun for you), and food. Ask me to tell you what each letter of SELF stands for when we talk about taking care of our self.
We talked about what the word calm means and listened to snippets of music to determine which were calming music, and which were not. Then we looked at different photographs to determine if the place would be a calm place or not a calm place for most people. There was quite a debate over the photograph of Main Street, USA in Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Many children insisted it would be a calm place. Maybe in January on a super cold morning, but don't get your hopes up!
We participated in a one minute meditation break with the whole school, but then learned more about meditation with the Butterfly Hug video below. The children took it very seriously. I let them know that if they are feeling like they need to take a break to meditate if they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious that they can go to our calming corner and take a break. Meditation is one option for what they can do there.
We listened to the book Peaceful Piggy Meditation, by Kerry MacLean and learned more about meditating. We saw a great example of when a good time to take a break and meditate, learned about what some things are you could bring to your meditation area, how to sit and finally what to do when you meditate. This is something we will return to soon to help children begin to learn this self-soothing practice.
In Really Great Reading we began to put letters with sounds. This is our phonics instruction now. The program really emphasizes the upper and lower case letters, which is so important because we will be working on writing our names correctly to get rid of all those extra upper case letters. We use capital and upper case interchangeably so the children get used to knowing both are for the "big" letters.
In math we worked with one more and were able to quickly work through the lesson because the children understand this concept. We also did another check on writing numbers in order from 1-10. We had some reversals, but at this point that is developmentally appropriate and I will continue to encourage them to check their nametag that has the numbers on them to see if they are backwards.
Have a nice evening!
Just a quick update...
Today we started talking about a strategy we can use when someone is bugging us. We can use the DeBug strategies to help solve kid-size problems. These are problems that probably can be solved by the children involved. Today we identified what a kid-size problem is and talked about the first thing they can try. The first step in DeBug is to see if it is a kid-size problem. Then, they can try ignoring. We used the example of someone tapping your back during a lesson on the carpet. It's annoying but maybe if you start out ignoring, the other child will stop. There are additional strategies we will talk about next week. The children are making a booklet with the strategies explained, and they are drawing to show what they could do in different scenarios.
I tried to emphasize to the children that just because it's a kid-size problem doesn't mean grown-ups won't help. We know that learning to be part of a group is a big part of what kindergarten is, and we will always help if it is needed when children are having a problem. We do want them to try and work toward being independent with kid-size problems, but we know it isn't always easy. And what seems like a kid-size problem to us may seem like a bigger problem to children. I also emphasized that if they are hurt by someone else, threatened, or bad language is being used they should get adult help immediately.
In math we started working with story problems. Today we acted some problems out as well as do some problems that already had drawings in the workbook. The back of the page has a big x on it because we were skipping this part.
Have a great weekend!
We have been busy! We are really enjoying our science unit about weather. The children enjoy learning about the effects of the Sun on the surface of the Earth. Today we read a really enjoyable book about the sun called Sun: One in a Billion!, by Stacy McAnulty. The Sun brags about how important it is in this book. It's a really enjoyable book filled with fun facts about the Sun. This is part of a series about space and the ocean so if your child enjoyed this book, they might like some of her other books. This class seems really interested in space!
We have learned about the effect of the sun on different objects and food left in the hot sun. We made some predictions and watched a video to see them tested. Today we looked at some other materials and made some claims about what we think will happen. Instead of putting them in the sun outside with the cooler weather, we will be using a light and/or hair dryer. We will be using what we find out to build a sun shade.
We studied these two paintings and looked for clues to tell us what the weather was like that day. Ask me to tell you about the clues we found!
In reading we have been working to identify characters in the story, events in the story, and comparing texts. These topics come back again and again throughout the year in Benchmark. We read Duck on a Bike, by David Shannon, and identified events in the story. This is a great book to use when introducing events because nearly every page is a new important event. The children drew a picture and practiced labeling important parts of their picture. Labeling is a great way to get students listening for sounds and writing down the sounds they hear. This is a great way to introduce listening to write the sounds because we aren't dealing with all those pesky conventions of writing that can overwhelm a beginning writer. This supports what we are doing in Really Great Reading at this point. We are now not only peeling off the beginning sounds, but we are tapping out the sounds in three phoneme words. The children are using their thumb, forefinger, tall finger and ring finger as they separate the sounds in the word. This is a really great strategy for the students to use as they write.
Yesterday we read a book called The Wrinkled Heart, by Tracy Hoexter. This is a book about a little boy, Elliot, who has a rough morning. His feelings are hurt, his heart is wrinkled, the response he gets from three different characters. We wrinkled a paper heart as we listened to the story and heard a part where Elliot's feelings were hurt. Ask me to tell you how his feelings were hurt three times in the story. As the story goes on, the characters who wrinkled Elliot's heart make amends. It's a really sweet story to illustrate how what we do and say effects others. We tried unwrinkling the heart as each character apologized to Elliot, but we found it impossible to get rid of all the wrinkles.
In math, we have been working on writing numerals, without reversals, and writing them from 0-10. We have also been working to notice the relationship to five 6-10 have, as well as composing and decomposing different numbers. We have made it to ten and will be continuing to practice writing numerals, but also learning about story problems and what strategies we can use to solve them.
In Health, we talked about medicine. We showed a short video and talked briefly about medicine. I'm including the video below so you can continue to discussion at home. I did not tell the kids this, but at 4 years of age, I medicated myself and my brother with a bottle of baby asprin. I liked to share. My mother kept it in her closet in her bedroom, above the hanging clothes, behind the door frame, and I still managed to get it! I did not share that with the kids, but it's just a reminder of how kids notice everything! In those days we didn't have safety lids, so I know things are much safer now but it's still an important topic to discuss.
Have a great evening!
A quick blog on this Friday the 13th! Nothing scary happened today, just a lot of joy in listening to good music and dancing with friends!
A few photos from the wonderful performance we went to this morning by the Leonardo Garcia y Son Horizonte Latin jazz group in honor of Hispanic Heritage month. The children were completly drawn in by the beautiful music and were a really great audience. I was so proud of their behavior and the attention to the performance.
Brain Breaks are a special part of our day. Here are a few sanpshots of the class getting up and moving!
I am working hard to get every child participating in our Picture Talk each day. Today I tempted them with these goodies! We studied the donuts to notice what the toppings were, and talked with our partner/s about which donut we would choose and why. We also worked on using the top, middle, bottom, as well as ordinal numbers first, second, third and fourth to describe where the donut is we would like. We had a lot of children eager to talk about these donuts. There has been a lot more participation in Picture Talk since the beginning of the year, but I wanted to really entice those reluctant children to join in, and this definitely worked! I might just try it with vegetables tomorrow!
We worked with responding to a story today by writing about a friend. In Kindergarten, writing at this point in the year is often a detailed picture that tells a story, possibly letters being used to represent their idea, or a sentence dictated by the student and written by the teacher. When we work with writing, we sketch with pencil and do not use crayons until we have fixed up our writing. Using a pencil gives students a better opportunity to include details instead of trying to do that with crayons. I also have students just make an x over mistakes instead of spending time erasing. I shared with them that their mistakes are a part of learning, and that teachers love to see that they caught their mistake and fixed it up. We will continue to do more writing, build confidence so that the children will begin to get letters down that represent sounds and share their stories with others.
In math we worked with writing numbers in order counting forward and backward, practiced subitizing, and worked with decomposing quantities. A big part of Eureka math is following directions on the papers they do. I have many children skipping parts of the workbook page or not following the directions. There are often a couple sets of directions for a page, but I go over and over the directions and often model what they need to do. We are really taking time to listen and to use our fingers to countdown the steps we need to follow when completing work.
Have a nice evening!
We studied this Norman Rockwell painting today. We looked closely at the people in the painting and talked about how it looked like they were feeling. We thought about why they might be feeling the way they did and we noticed not everyone had the same feelings. Ask me to tell you what I noticed and wondered about after studying this painting.
We spent time today blending a beginning sound with a couple more sounds to make a word. The children are getting very good at this! We worked with the /g/ and practiced writing the letter g. We had an interesting discussion about being perfect. The handwriting papers we are doing now are practice. It isn't expected to be perfect because they are learning something new. We looked at the words on one of the walls in our room that says "Mistakes allowed here!" to remind the children that as they learn new things, they will make mistakes. I discourage erasing when they are practicing handwriting or even writing stories, which we will be doing more of very soon! I would rather they fix up their writing after they have written a first draft. At this point, that isn't an expectation. But we do love erasers in this class!
We listened to a beautiful story about friendship called Friends, by Helme Heine. This book is the story of three animal friends who love to be together. Ask me to tell you what things they did together in the book.
Have a great evening!
Last week we started talking about feeling frustrated. We studied these photographs and even copied what the frustrated people were doing in the photographs. We studied each of the smaller photographs and tried to determine why the people were frustrated. Even though we looked at photographs of grown-ups, we talked about times we were frustrated with partners.
We also talked about what feeling frustrated looks like, sounds like and feels like. We know that we can be a little frustrated all the way to really frustrated where we have very strong feelings and our bodies feel tense and tight. We have begun to talk about what we can do when we feel this way. We did a guided lesson on melting today. The children first became frozen, then slowly melted down to a puddle on the ground, releasing deep breaths. We also visualized a balloon we pulled down gently. We will continue to talk about feelings, and read a few stories about characters who become frustrated and how they deal with their strong feelings. Ask me to tell and show you how I can freeze and melt to help when I'm having strong feelings.
In math we learned a new math game. The format of this game is one we will use with other concepts in both reading and math. It's a kind of bingo game the children can either play on their own, in a pair, or in a small group. Friday when we played another game during our Math Bin time after lunch, we had some problems with dice being thrown hard and lost, loud voices, and children just getting carried away. Today was so much better. They were focused and played the game quieter. This game worked with two hands showing fingers to represent quantities, and other children had bears in a ten frame formation. The children are good at counting and recognizing numerals, but this game helps them become more familiar with looking at small quantities and knowing how many without counting, and begins to help them look at five and some more to help build a relationship between those numbers. This will provide a good foundation for working with numbers in addition and subtraction.
We took a mini virtual field trip to the Statue of Liberty. We learned about the symbols on the statue and were told what they stand for, and took a quick look inside the state.
Have a nice evening!
Today we studied a collection of photographs that were symbols of the United States. The children quickly guessed how the photographs all go together. Later, during Social Studies, we watched Brain Pop Jr. and learned more about symbols of the United States. Ask me to name at least two symbols of the United States.
We worked with the /v/ today in Really Great Reading. We have been working with mirrors to watch our mouths as we make the sounds, and we pay attention to feel the air and where it goes. Ask me to show and tell you about what my mouth, teeth and tongue do when I make the sound.
We have been working with nouns, and I forgot to post a very important video from my childhood. Enjoy!
In math we are continuing to work with hidden partners and will be practicing how to form the numbers.
Read to Me, Talk to Me books are in the children's backpacks. I think I was so overcome with joy over being done with testing that it slipped my mind to save time to pass them out at the end of the day!
Have a great evening!
We have finally finished the formal assessments we have had to do and can now go about our day without interruption! We can work on reinforcing a normal schedule and routines!
Today we worked with the /r/ in Really Great Reading. We also worked more with peeling off the beginning sound of words and putting them together with the rest of the words. We read a beautiful book about a robot called The Robot and the Bluebird. We determined the book was fiction and talked more about what robots are really like and that they don't have feelings like the robot in this book. While I was testing I had the children draw robots. Some of the children often say they can't draw, so I showed them some robots made of simple shapes and encouraged them to try and put shapes together to make robots.
In math we worked with hidden partners and talked more about two parts being put together to make the whole. We also worked with numbers and found more than one set of hidden partners.
Have a great evening!