We had a really interesting discussion today about Martin Luther King, Jr. We listened to a story written by King's niece and learned more about his life at home. The children had a lot of questions about segregation. We watched a short clip of part of the I Have a Dream speech. We talked about solving problems peacefully and discussed how we can solve problems. The children shared examples of problems and what they did to solve them peacefully. We talked about the word compromise too. Ask me to tell you how I can solve problems peacefully.
Of course, we talked about snow today too! There are some pretty excited kids leaving school today! I shared the sites on our website Just for Kids tabs they could visit when they are cooped up during the blizzard.
We are continuing to collect toothbrushes through next Friday. Hopefully we will be back in school before then! Thanks to everyone who has sent in toothbrushes already!
My friends are bundled up and ready for the blizzard! Be safe and I hope you have fun with your little ones in the snow!
Today was a very busy day! I was concerned about not getting all of the end of the semester testing done so I can complete report cards, and because it seems we have a bit of snow coming I am not sure of what this school week will look like, so today we jumped right in and took several short tests. The kids enjoyed it! REALLY! I also had some individual testing to do for math and word wall word recognition. So the children worked with math strategy games, in literacy and math stations, and reading independently. Although I still have some testing to complete tomorrow, I am just about finished. These kinders are great!
I fixed the homework I put up yesterday on the homepage. I must have saved the wrong copy to my One Note and ended up with December homework. This is a review week so that is primarily what the homework is this week.
Have a nice evening!
Today we talked about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We watched a short video and talked about how he was a leader who tried to change what was unfair in our country. We talked about segregation and how not all people were treated the same. We will continue this discussion this week as we learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King and how he lead people to create change that is still happening today. Ask me to tell you what I learned about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We took a look at our mealworms today. The mealworms we got two weeks ago are changing. The mealworms are the larva of the darkling beetle. Most of our mealworms have molted, and some have gone into the pupa stage of the life cycle. Molting, larva and pupa are words we are working with in science. Ask me to tell you what I noticed changing on our mealworms.
We had a great time in math today. We are learning some new strategy games involving ten. One game is called Tower of Ten. The object of the game is to build the tallest tower of ten frames you can. The players take turns rolling dice with ten frames on them. They can take the piece that would help them complete a ten frame, trade a piece, or pass. It's important with strategy games for students to play them many times to develop their own strategy so this is a game they will play often.
The other game another group learned today is called I Sea 10! This game has discs that are all turned face down at the beginning of the game. Most of the discs have numbers on them, but some have sharks. We play the game taking turns turning over the discs and leaving them face up. As students take turns turning over the discs, any player can say "I see 10!" and pick up 2 or 3 discs that added together make ten. This game can also be played just picking up 2 discs which would help them with addition facts for ten. If they turn over a shark, they lose all the discs they have collected.
Both these games are a lot of fun families would enjoy and can be purchased on Amazon, but the Ten Frame Tower game is a little expensive!
I added a tab to our website. I know it's so cold your children have probably been inside, and it looks like they made me inside a little longer with the possibility of a snowstorm this weekend. So I have some fun, and some education, links under "Just for Kids." I'll just warn you, don't get pulled into the HIghlights hidden pictures yourself. I found myself spending a lot of time looking for pencils and apples instead of cleaning during the last cold, wintery weather we had last year.
Violet's mom e-mailed me about a great museum to visit. The Renwick Gallery has reopened after a renovation with a great exhibit called Wonder! Here's a link if you are interested in checking it out. The Renwick is a nice size museum for visiting with little people, and this exhibit would really get them wondering, which is just what we want our little learners to do. Check it out!
Most of this week we will be reviewing and finishing up assessments as we finish the first semester. Homework will be a review of reading and spelling word wall words introduced so far, as well as math sites we have already visited.
Have a nice evening!
We had a great day today talking how we grow and change. We read a poem called Growing, by Mary Ann Hoberman, which was about how a child grows out of clothes. Ask me to tell you about the word shrink.
Of course the highlight of our day was sharing our timelines. The students were so excited to look at the timelines everyone worked so hard on. We loved seeing pictures that showed how we looked as babies, and the special milestones in our lives. We set up the timelines in the room and walked around to see them up close. Then we shared them with the whole class, telling about one special picture. I love seeing the timelines, and appreciate the work I know families put into the timelines in helping children choose appropriate pictures and getting pictures for them to use on their timelines. It was sweet to hear them tell about pictures from when they were babies, and I hope you had a nice time sharing with them your special memories of them too.
We had a little playtime this afternoon. With all our talk about growing and changing, it was interesting to hear a little group playing with playdough, pretending to be anywhere from 18 to 21 years old. Let's hope they realize how special being five and six is and they aren't in such a hurry to grow up! But pretending sure is fun!
Have a nice, long weekend!
Today we had a visit from our Staff Development Teacher, Mrs. Taylor. I had seen on her Facebook that her grandson has come up with a project to help children in orphanages around the world, so I asked her to come talk about it with our children. In some countries, it's difficult for the orphanages to get the funding necessary for the needs of all the children. Mrs. Taylor's grandson was told by his dentist that a big problem for many of the orphanages was to have enough toothbrushes for each child. Many of the children actually share toothbrushes. Here's the video:
Here's an opportunity for children to learn they can help make a difference in the lives of others who may not be as fortunate as they are. For the price of a toothbrush, your child can help another child in another part of the world by buying them a toothbrush. This is a good opportunity to continue talking with your child about helping others, and the cost of an adult toothbrush is cheap enough that many of our children could buy one with money from their own piggy bank. I'm guessing dollar stores would have toothbrushes and might be a great place to go on a kindergartener's budget! We talked about how many families spend money for their needs, save money for the future, spend some money for fun things, and try to give some to others who need some help to live a healthy life.
To participate, all the children have to do is purchase an ADULT size toothbrush and bring it to our classroom. We will be writing a letter to Drew to let him know we think his idea is great and hope he collects a lot of toothbrushes! Mrs. Taylor and I will see that her grandson gets the toothbrushes, and his father will help him send them on to Global Dental Relief. For more information about this group, go to: http://globaldentalrelief.org/
Just a heads up...in our discussion of orphanages, the children wanted to know why the children didn't have parents. We talked about how some parents couldn't take care of their children because they were living in an area where people needed some extra help because of a war or diseases, and that some of the parents died. I reassured them that where we live, this is not happening. They are good thinkers and ask a lot of questions! One child made a connection to a story we read earlier in the year called Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed, by Emily Pearson.
Thanks for your consideration of this unique opportunity for children to help other children!
Have a great evening!
Today we continued learning about information texts. We learned more about what a fact was and began to learn about how it is different from an opinion, or simply misinformation. We listened to the song Little Known Facts, from the wonderful musical, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and heard Lucy singing. As Lucy does, she sang like she knows everything, when in reality, she is a little mixed up. It was fun to listen and hear all the things she said that were not facts. We know when we write information texts, we are writing what is true and not just our opinion or what we think. Listen to Little Known Facts and ask me to tell you what is not a fact. (Music only, no video.)
We played a fun game called That's a Fact, Jack! We listened to statements to determine whether it was a fact or an opinion or misinformation. So when I said, "Elvis Presley was the world's greatest singer," they said "That's what you think," but if I said "Disney World is in Florida," they said "That's a fact, Jack!" It's a fun game to play! Then students wrote a fact and an opinion or misinformation.
We worked more with ten frames today in math. We played a game to fill up the ten frame boards. Children had to tell how many were on their board after each roll, and how many more they needed to make ten.
We are looking forward to sharing our timelines on Friday! Please check our homepage for some great events happening in our area, as well as our weekly homework.
Have a great evening!
We are enjoying having mealworms in our classroom. Over the weekend they ate all the apple pieces we left for them, except for the skin of the apple. We noticed that our mealworms are very wiggly most of the time. Some of them have begun to molt. Ask me what molting means. This video below will help me remember if I forget. This is a very cool video that shows on mealworm molting then beginning to change to a beetle.
Today we had a class meeting to discuss a problem we have been having in our class. Some children are getting very "wound up" and running or moving unsafely around the room. There also seems to be a competition to be first in line for everything. During clean up times, some children are rushing around to put things away, often throwing them into the boxes or trying to help carry a box when it already has some who is able to carry it on their own. We talked about being safe in the class, but also slowing down. The children know when I remind them to "cool their jets" they need to slow down. We know that sometimes our engines get running to fast and we make unsafe choices. In fact, a few kids have bumped heads or into each other because they were rushing around so much. We read a great story about three friends, a beaver, a bear, and a moose, who had a similar problem. The story Walk on the Wild Side, by Nicholas Oldland is a fable-type story that teaches the lesson that slowing down and not making everything you do a competition is important. Ask me to tell you about the problems these characters had when they were racing up the mountain.
We have been working with breaking numbers apart in math. Ask me to tell you what decomposition means. We know there are different ways to make each number. We used beans yesterday and mittens today to break numbers into parts.
We have finished our reading testing for midyear. The children are doing a great job and moving right along.
We have been working to write simple, little words faster so they don't slow us down in our writing. We have been working with short vowel sounds for a and o. We are doing a great job of writing lots of words fast with these two sounds. We also worked on our Word Wall words for this week. This week, said is one of our word wall words, and probably one of the trickiest on the kindergarten word wall because it doesn't follow the rules! We know we need to practice the middle part of this word a lot because it's the trickiest part since it doesn't look like it sounds.
Twenty three little people left this room today hoping to see some white flakes falling from the sky. I'm afraid they will be disappointed when they find they have little or nothing to make a snowman with this time!
Have a nice evening!
Today we practiced writing upper and lowercase Ww's. and working with our Word Wall Words. We also worked more with short o. We wrote words with short o quickly, having a Writing Spree. The purpose of a writing spree is to build fluency in writing.
We also got to know our mealworms better. We spent time in small groups studying the mealworms and holding them. Here are a few pictures that will tell the whole story!
Happy New Year! We had a great first day back yesterday. We passed the Talking Fish and shared something special that happened on our Winter Break. We also talked about what a resolution is and thought of words that mean about the same as resolution. We came up with the words goal and promise to think about when we hear the word resolution. We thought fluently and made a list of several things we would like to try and do in the New Year. Then we zoomed in and focused on one resolution. The children wrote and illustrated their resolution, telling why this was an important goal for them this year.
Today we started reading testing for the middle of the year. This testing is much less involved than the testing done at the beginning of the year and we should be done with it by the end of the week.
We started a new unit of study in Writing Workshop. We are working on writing informational texts. Up until now, in Writing Workshop, the children have written from personal experience. Now they will begin to write about what they know using facts. We began this unit by thinking about topics we know about that would be good to use in writing an informational text, and topics we couldn't write about because we don't know enough about the topic to write. We discussed thinking fluently and brainstormed both topics, narrowing it down to one topic for our first book. This first book will focus on using text features found in informational texts and will not involve researching the topic. We will be doing that later in the year.
We also watched a short clip of the book Chicken Soup with Rice, by Maurice Sendak. This version has the great Carole King singing the book. We loved it, and listened to other Carole King songs written for children. Unfortunately, I looped the music and now still have Alligators All Around in my head. The children wanted to share Chicken Soup with Rice with you, so here it is!
In math, we have begun working with story problems involving addition and subtraction. We listened to several story problems to determine what the question was that was being asked, what information was needed from the story to solve the problem, determining whether the problem was a combining problem or taking away, and shared strategies to figure out the answer. We learned about acting out the problem, drawing a picture, and using manipulatives. We wrote number sentences to go with the problem, using the addition or subtraction sign. It's really important for children to think through the whole problem and what it is asking. Often, especially as the problem become more complex, students who do not do this do not answer the question that was asked, instead focusing on the numbers and doing an algorithm to arrive at an answer that may not be answering the question. The process of reading and thinking about the problem is more important at this point than the answer.
We met some little critters who will be in our room for the next couple months as we learn more about life cycles. The children got a quick peek of the mealworms today and are very excited to learn more about them.
Have a great evening!