This has been a very busy week for the kinders! We had MAP P testing on Monday. I was all set until I realized the new Chromebooks were not charged and the cart of old Chromebooks was going to be used by Miss Kim in the morning. So we flipped our day and did the test in the afternoon! The math test is a little trickier for kinders not because of the content, but because they have to be able to click and drag objects and figure out how to answer some of the questions. It's not consistent like the MAP RF, which is a newer test. Since our class didn't have their Chromebooks, some of this was new to our kinders. However, they did well on the test overall. We use this test only as one data point, and this administration was to really see where the children are at the beginning of kindergarten. We take this assessment two more times. The data is not used for grading.
Before I forget, I want to share some fun videos we use for Brain Breaks. These videos are from Disney Family, and they are so well done. I'm sure your families might enjoy doing this together! I'll post them at the end of this entry and you can save them if you think it's something your family might like to do!
In math, we are continuing to work with counting. We talked about zero, showed different ways to compose numbers to four, and are practicing numeral formation. We are continuing to practice using our fingers for counting the Math Way. If you are unsure of how the children should do this, I have a short video on our math tab under curriculum.
We learned the routine for using our bumpy boards in Orton Gillingham, and used the sand a couple more times. The children are doing such a great job of remembering the rules about the sand. The bumpy boards will be used for writing letters and words.
We worked on retelling a little bit this week. This is something we will work on throughout the year. We started with a simple story called Silly Sally, by Audrey Wood. This cute rhyming story is predictable which makes it easier to retell. As we move into literacy stations next week, the children will have the opportunity to practice retelling this story with picture cards.
We also have been working with identifying fiction and non-fiction books. We know that fiction books are story books that may have animals doing things people do, magic, and most often have illustrations that are drawn, painted or made digitally. We know that a big clue that helps in identifying non-fiction or information books is that it is usually not a story, often has photographs but not always, and has information that is true. We also looked at how the pages look different in some non-fiction books.
In Social Studies we talked about roles we have at home. We talked about responsibilities at home and school. Ask me to tell you a responsibility I have at home and one I have a school. For example, a responsibility that we are working on is to turn in our yellow folder every morning and to take it home each day. I am still reminding them several times, as is Mrs. Greene who helps us out in the morning, but soon it's the expectation that they will remember to do this on their own.
In Science we talked about different kinds of scientists. We also talked about our five senses. We will be talking more about the senses as it relates to talking about weather as we begin our weather unit.
We went outside on Friday morning to review playground rules and routines, as well as learn a tag game they can play on the blacktop. The children really enjoyed Mr. Fenton, our staff development teacher, and Mrs. Kemp teaching them the new game Turtle Tag. Ask me to show you how to play Turtle Tag.
Mrs. Kanter visited on Friday to introduce the children to our No Place for Hate program. This is a program developed by the Anti-Defamation League to help schools provide more inclusive and equitable climates in their schools. I'm suggesting two links on the ADL website you may be interested in to learn more about what we can do to help even our youngest learners become aware of these important issues and learn to be upstanders to provide support and those who may not be included or may not be treated fairly.
Monday we will be signing the No Place for Hate Pledge.
Early Childhood Questions and Answers
Table Talk - more for older kids but this is still a nice resource to check out
Today we read a beautiful book called Islandborn, by Junot Diaz, to introduce Hispanic Heritage Month. This book is about a little girl who was born on an island but does not remember it. At school, she has an assignment to draw a picture that shows where her family is from, but she does not remember it. She takes a notebook and talks to people in her neighborhood about the island to help her make a picture to present to her classmates at school. We had an interesting discussion about where our families are from. You would not believe how many families in our class are from West Virginia or France. It was truly remarkable! I encouraged the kids to ask their family about their family's heritage. We will be having a monthly focus of different cultures throughout the year. We will read books, listen to music, look at maps and flags, look at food, art, and landscapes of these areas. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrate through mid-October. I have included a book trailer for Islandborn if you would like to know more about it. It's a long book so we took a break and read the book in two parts.
As promised, here are some of the Disney Family videos we have been using for Brain Breaks. I'll have to try and video the kids dancing or stretching when we have Brain Breaks. I think the Brain Breaks are not only important to give the kids a chance to move and take a mental break from learning, but also in following directions. In just the month we've been in school, I've seen the children more able to follow what is happening on the screen and pay attention to feet, legs arms and whole body movements from where they started at the beginning of the year.
Just a quick note about today. We had MAP RF testing in the morning. Since our Chromebooks have not come in, we had to borrow some older Chromebooks. We had to sign the kids in at least twice, then had to pause to practice a Lockdown Drill. Once we got started, and checked the sound and microphones, the kids did a great job following the worm on the screen who tells them what to do. This class is so patient. They waited as we signed in kids, and waited as kids finished the test. They did get to read books quietly as their classmates finished, and they did an amazing job doing that!
In math today, we continued reviewing counting the Math Way, starting with their pinkie on the left hand. We just worked to five and made sure we knew names for the different fingers. We talked about the pinkie, thumb, pointer finger, three middle fingers and the ring finger. We put little caps on our fingers to practice counting the Math Way and to identify the fingers. Here are a few of our friends with their caps on their fingers!
We did have our first Lockdown drill. The kids were awesome. They sat quietly the whole time and didn't question why. I don't share why we are doing this drill, I just tell them they need to stay in the corner of the room and be quiet. The lights are out, the blinds are closed, and the door to the hallway is locked.
Have a nice evening!
The kinders worked hard with our substitute, Mrs. Consroe, on Monday. The studied lines and made some line drawings to help with our fine motor skills. They listened to a story called The Straight Line Wonder, by Mem Fox. This is a story about a line who didn't want other lines to change from straight to zig zag or curved. Then the children looked at some artwork with different kinds of lines. They were inspired by artwork in making their own drawings. We will be making more lines Wednesday with curves, which will help us in making o's. The kinds of lines and direction they go when drawing the lines, is really important as we are working with handwriting. This is the artwork that inspired our art:
We have Get Along Goals we work on in our class to learn about being part of our group. Our first goal we are working on is to choose to be friendly. We know that calling others by their name is one way we can be friendly and respectful. Taking the time to say hello is also part of being friendly. We listened to Hello, My Name is Ruby, by Philip C. Stead. This is the story of a little bird who is friendly to other animals, even if they are not always friendly to her. Ask me to tell you what the bird's name is in the story.
We are working with the letter o in our phonics and handwriting work. We did a couple OG drills, then we read an information book called Gentle, Giant Octopus, by Karen Wallace. This book was about a mother octopus looking for a safe place to lay her eggs. As we study our first vowel, the children are going to listening for the short o sound, as in ahhhhh like they say when the doctor looks down their throat, most of the time in the middle of words. Today we looked at the beginning of words, but tomorrow we will be looking at /o/ in the middle of words.
In math, we worked with counting to five. The children need to have cardinality in counting meaning they know that the last number they say when they count 1:1 is how many. They should not recount. They also are working with showing five in different ways. They can show five the Math Way with their numberline fingers. They used little snowflake building toys to show five in different models and out flat on the floor as well in different ways. They we worked with a more abstract way to show five by drawing sets of five on white boards..
Have a nice evening!
What a day to forget my camera! We had a very busy, fun day and could have had a lot of great pictures!
We learned a new routine for our Orton Gillingham lessons. Today we used the sand trays. We learned how we are going to get them and carefully walk them to the table, and how we stack them to put them away. We know we are to use only one finger in the sand. We also know if we don't follow the routine, we may have to use a glitter board instead, which is not as good for this kind of learning. The kids did an amazing job! We had a little extra time since we are only working with c, so they got to draw and write in the sand for a few minutes.
Mrs. Kanter visited us. She brought a toolbox with things that would help us to remember what she does at our school. You will find a brochure about counseling in your child's folder today. We also filled in a page in our Who Works at Bells Mill book we are working on in Social Studies. Today we drew Mrs. Kanter and her friend she brings to lessons. Ask me to tell you who or what she brought today!
We opened a new station in our play time today. We opened the Art Station. We have construction paper, ordinary and fancy scissors, and glue. I modeled opening and closing glue bottles, using just a dot and smearing it with the tip of the glue bottle, and closing and cleaning off the tip of the glue bottle when they are finished.
I also modeled cutting. We know to hold the scissors with our writing hand, and turn the paper with our hand that holds the paper, not the scissors.
We had our first fire drill today. The kids did pretty well but were very talkative on the way out. That usually happens the first time even though we tell them to go out quietly, but they get excited. We have a siren with a voice that comes on saying to leave the building, so it's not a loud, scary beeping. Everyone seemed fine and didn't need much reassurance about this just being a drill.
This week was our week to eat outside in the courtyard. It's a beautiful area with lots of shade. The kids did a good job eating and not getting up and down all the time. We rotate weeks where we eat in the courtyard. When the children are eating in the cafeteria, they have the option to go outside beside the cafeteria and eat. They sit in the grass and must remain seated while eating. Today when I went in to the cafeteria, Dr. Smith was putting numbers on the benches in the cafeteria. Each child will be assigned a number where they will sit. I asked last week who wanted to sit with whom, and we came up with some pods of students. I'll assign numbers based on those pods.
I will be out on Monday and Friday next week. This weekend I get to see my parents for the first time in about 20 months, and my nephew for the first time in about four years. Normally I would not be out so early in the year, but this is a very important family event that my sister scheduled that originally I was not going to attend. My trip in August had to be cancelled so I decided to go for part of this family trip to take my mom to West Virginia to see where she was born and other family places. Friday I have to have dental work. Both days I have Mrs. Consroe who is, without a doubt, the most amazing and kind substitute teacher EVER! The kids will love her! I will be sending you an e-mail about this as well just to be sure that if you have any changes in dismissal, please call the office and they will tell Mrs. Consroe.
Have a wonderful weekend!
We had a great first week of school. The children are doing a great job of learning routines, starting instruction in math, reading and social studies, and most importantly building relationships with new friends and teachers. Today's blog will be mostly photographs. The kids are anxious for you to see what has been happening at school. I wasn't able to get many photos the first day, and I had a problem with blurry pictures because something on my camera was selected that shouldn't have been, so if you don't see your child in the photographs, you will see them next week.
Here are a few pictures of the kids in their Bells Mill Kindergarten shirts. The feather is to remind them they are part of a special flock here at Bells Mill.
Kids and books. What could be better!
Play! I had more pictures, but the blurry pics had to be cut. I take a lot of pictures so more will be coming soon!
Today we drew pictures to help us find friends who liked some of the same things we liked. The kids walked around with their papers and introduced themselves and tried to find some matches.
I'll be sending out a newsletter later tonight or tomorrow with information and updates.
Thanks for all your support and understanding this week! We have a lot of new routines at school that we tweaked as the week went on. It was a busy, fun week and I'm looking forward to getting to know your children better. It's going to be a great year!
Enjoy the long weekend!
We had a great day! We continued to work on, and make some upgrades, to some of our routines. The kids now have to turn in their yellow folder every day, their lunch box and water to put on the bottom of their cubby, put a water bottle at their table, wash their hands and go read a book. This is also a great time to use the bathroom before we start our lessons.
Today we got to play! The kids really enjoyed playing and were not too loud or too rough! We do need some reminders that at Bells Mill, we are not going to play or build pretend guns. Ask me to tell you what I played with today!
In math, we started counting using our fingers. Eureka Math, our program, has a special way of counting with fingers. They start with the left hand pinky and count to five, ending with the thumb, then count on with the right hand starting with the thumb and ending on ten on the pinky. I put a video of counting the math way under the curriculum tab in the math section.
Have a nice evening!
Well that was an eventful day!
Today we worked with rhyming words. We read a quick poem and added a couple verses of our own following the poem's pattern. Ask me to show you the poem!
We watched a funny video with a sassy goat, so we wanted to let you have a chuckle too!
We talked about playing with toys today and were all set to play during indoor recess, then we got the message that we were going home. So, another day and a broken promise. So MAYBE tomorrow we will play! No photos today either. With the events of the day, it just wasn't possible.
We listened to the story Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathman. This is a cute story about safety rules. We will be talking more about rules over the next couple weeks, but I was set to introduce our simple classroom rules today. I guess I'll do that tomorrow too!