The end of the first five day week of school, and I sent home some very tired kids, who had no problem admitting they were tired! The kids are really doing a great job at school with routines, following rules, being kind, and learning the names of their classmates. They have earned lots of Bear Bucks, especially for their outstanding behavior in the cafeteria. I'm so impressed with how well they are able to open most things in the lunch. One friend today actually opened the packet of Craisins, which is not easy!
We listened to the story Thundercake, by Patricia Polacco. This is a story about the author as a child and her fear of thunderstorms. Her grandmother, or Babushka, helps her overcome her fear. Ask me to tell you what her Babushka did to help her find her bravery.
The little girl and her Babushka make a Thundercake during the story. The children could hardly believe that there were tomatoes in this cake. Here's the recipe in case you too would like to make Thundercake!
Patricia Pollaco’s Grandma’s Thunder Cake
Cream together, one at a time:
1 cup shortening
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, separated
(Blend yolks in. Beat whites until they are stiff, then fold in.)
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup pureed tomatoes
2 ½ cups cake flour
½ cup dry cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Mix dry mixture into creamy mixture.
Bake in two greased and floured 8 1/2 –inch round pans at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Frost with chocolate butter frosting. Top with strawberries.
The children drew pictures, wrote some words, and told about a character in the story and a feeling, with evidence from the text of how they knew the character felt that way. We are looking at comprehension of the text, so children can draw, write, and/or tell to show their understanding. I will be sending these papers home next week. You will see a P, I or N circled as well as a rubric that tells about the scores.
Have a great weekend!
I want to let you know that I have been sick this week, and the students had two different substitute teachers. Overall, I got a really good report on the class from both teachers. I want to really reinforce with the students the importance of their best behavior when we have a substitute in our room. It really is a hard job to come in and take over, even with very detailed plans. If you see your child has lost a sticker when a substitute was in the room, I need your help in supporting the substitute and helping your child understand they deserve the same respect and great behavior they have when I am in the room.
Today, we started our day with a book about feelings. We are continuing to look at the whole range of feelings so we can get away from just happy or sad. We then read another Rosemary Wells book about Yoko. This book was about show and tell, and how Yoko took a very special doll in to school to share with her class, even though her mother told her not to take it to school. Ask me to tell you what happens!
In math, the students played a game yesterday with a die. They rolled the die and moved a game piece around a board. They landed on different collections of teddy bears. The purpose of the game is to become more familiar with dot formations and other typical formations of items so the children can begin to recognize the number without counting. I will send this game home on Friday so your child can play it at home as well.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day by analyzing this painting to find out about the weather. We also talked about when this story in the painting might have taken place and where. We worked on telling how they knew from the clues in the painting. Ask me to tell you about the weather in this painting.
Have a great evening!
Today we looked at this quote from Mr. Rogers. We talked about how each of us is special. We focused mostly on the last line, "And I like you just the way you are." We know in kindergarten that there will be days when we make the wrong choice, we make a mistake, or we just aren't ourselves, but that is part of being a human being. But what won't change is that we like each other even when we have a few bumps in the road. We started to talk about a special song that Mr. Rogers wrote. Below is a clip from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood with the song. We will be talking more about this on Monday and will do more work with the song.
I finished almost all of our reading testing today, with only a tiny piece to finish with one child on Monday. We will be starting reading groups next week. I do have some additional testing, but I have enough data now to start. The groups are fluid and will change from time to time. Different kids may even be in with different kids on different days depending upon the focus.
We read a story today that got us very hungry! We read Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. As we read, we put a thumb up for each weather word we heard. Then we made a picture of our home with our favorite foods falling from the sky. The assignment was to think of at least three favorite foods to include in the picture, then stretch them out to label them, using the alphabet chart as a reference if necessary. Ask me to show you my picture and tell you about what I drew.
Have a great weekend!
We had a great day! We got through more of our reading testing, leaving just a few more to test tomorrow. I'm hoping to begin reading groups next week. The children today worked on little "I Like" books. They wrote one thing they liked on each page. I am hoping this will build some confidence in writing, but it also gives us a chance to learn more about each other.
We had our first Shelter in Place and Lockdown drill. The Shelter in Place Drill is not something the children really question since instruction continues after I take attendance and send it to the office online. We went into a Lockdown Drill where the children go to a corner of the room and sit without talking. I scan the hall, turn out the lights, close the blinds, and we sit and wait. We had a couple little blips with kids looking at each other and laughing, so we talked about staying quiet. I told them I would let parents know if they cannot follow that rule due to the importance of this drill. For now, they know it's a quiet drill. They don't know why we are doing it and I won't tell them. They did a really good job!
Have a nice evening!
We played Stand and Deliver today. We went around the carpet saying one word related to weather. We went around the circle once and part of another time with children saying different words related to weather. We will add to these words as we study weather.
We read a poem about bugs. The word fond was in the poem, so we used context clues to determine what the word fond meant. Then we drew and labeled things we are fond of in our poetry folders. We stretched the words out to hear the sounds, and used the alphabet chart to remind us of the letters and sounds.
Today your child is bringing home a baggie with some animal pictures. Ask me to sort my animals at least three different ways.
Just a reminder that tomorrow we do not have school!
Have a nice evening!
Your child is bringing home homework and a bunch of book order forms today. The homework is optional and does not need to be returned, I hope children will be read to each day for 1o - 15 minutes, and they can keep track of that on the homework paper so they can keep track. The book order forms are for you to order if you would like. The book clubs are a great way to build your child's library. I won't usually send so many at once, I think they just sent a lot of different clubs since it's the beginning of the year. You can order online. The instructions for ordering are in a letter I sent home. I changed the due date to Monday, September 24. Usually I will give you a couple weeks to decide, but since we are more than half way through the month, I needed to set a quick deadline.
We had a busy day! We read a fun poem and reviewed the word "it." We practiced writing two new word wall words; the and like.
We read a book called My Best Friend, by Mary Ann Rodman and illustrated by E.B. Lewis. This story is about a little girl, Lily, who wants an older girl, Tamika, to be her best friend. The older girl already has a friend she plays with, and they exclude and sometimes tease Lily. We talked about what the word "exclude" means, and then looked at our Bells Mill Bear Necessities to talk about "I include others in my work and play." We talked about how it feels to be included in play and work, and how it feels to be excluded. This is a topic we will revisit from time to time because it's so important. We often see children coming to school with friendships that are already established who never get to know other children in their class because they always want to play with the friend they already knew. They are missing out on building new relationships, so we encourage children to sit with other people at lunch and play with other students during recess so they can have a wide circle of friends. We are learning about characters and key details in our reading, so we talked about how Lily tried to get Tamika to be her friend. Ask me to tell you what Lily did to try and get Tamika to be her best friend. Did it work?
We had a visit from our school counselor in the afternoon. Mrs. Kanter introduced herself again to the children and told them more about what she does at school. You will find a yellow brochure in your child's folder from Mrs. Kanter.
In math, we worked in table groups to sort collections. The children had to decide together on how they were going to sort the collection, then sort them together. Many children want to just make their own sorts, but I encouraged them to listen to others and put all the items into one sort. Then they had to find a different way to sort the collection. They rotated to a different collection and did this again with another collection of items. We talked about collaboration and how they had to decide together on a plan of what the sorting rule would be and how/where they would put their groups. Learning to listen to the ideas of others and deciding together isn't always easy, but with practice and over time it will become easier. To illustrate the idea of collaboration better, we looked at three short commercials, one at a time. We talked about what the problem was and how it was solved by working together. We talked about how it looked like the animals had a plan. Ask me to tell you about how they worked together as you watch the videos together.
I sent home our daily schedule today. Tomorrow is our library day, so please help your child remember to bring their book to school.
Have a nice evening!
We had a great Friday! In the morning, we worked on handwriting. We made the letter Ll, and also worked with the Word Wall word it. We sang a song to help remember how to spell the word it. The two letter word wall song goes to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It", so it would go like this:
If you want to spell it say i-t-,
If you want to spell it say i-t-,
It's as easy as can be,
When you sing and spell with me
,If you want to spell it say i-t-,
We also worked on making designs using only vertical and horizontal lines. We made a special design on scratch board.
We read one of my all time favorite books today. The story is called Oh No George, but Chris Haughton. This story is about a dog who really tries to do the right thing, but unfortunately he has a hard time with self-control, so sometimes he makes the wrong choice. Ask me to tell you the wrong choices George made. George is very sad when his owner comes home and sees what George has done. But George's owner believes in forgiveness and second chances so they go on a walk together. We talked about how at Bells Mill one of our Bear Necessities is "I give second chances and forgive," which is just what happened in the story. Here's a trailer for this great book!
We are continuing to talk about feelings. We spend time looking at some cards that showed feelings that were opposite. I'm trying to help the children develop a wider vocabulary of feeling words so we don't always hear words like sad, good or bad.
The past two days I shared photos for Talk Time that showed strong emotions. We analyzed the photos looking at the different parts to understand what the story behind the photo is, and looked at the person in each photo and discussed how they might be feeling. Here are the two photos we looked at. Ask me to tell you how I think the men are feeling in the photo.
I'm starting to get through some of our reading testing. I'm hoping to get through a lot more next week so I can be finished by the end of the week so I can start having reading groups.
In math, we started the counting jar. This will be a routine we will have each week in math. Children will count the objects in the counting jar and represent them in some way. Today the students counted out an group of counters equal to the rubber ducks that were in our counting jar. Then, they counted out the same or equal amount of counters at their table. Finally, they showed how many on a card with squares or circles they drew and some also wrote the numeral that goes with the set. The counting jar will be used for many different lessons
I wanted a share a funny thing that happened at lunch today. The kids I was sitting near were talking about what they had for lunch today. One child said "I have rice and hot dogs that come from pigs." The child sitting across from him said, "I didn't know pigs laid hot dogs!"
Have a great weekend!
Thank-you to everyone who came out to Back to School Night last night. I wanted to make one correction. I said the children use the mouse pad on the Chromebooks, but actually we have touch screen Chromebooks, so they can use either.
We had our first Bear Bucks reward today. We had set a rather low number of 10 for our first reward point, and we actually had 12 Bear Bucks today. We watched a quick video for our reward. We set our next reward at 25 Bear Bucks.
Yesterday we started our day by talking about Belly Breathing. We practiced breathing in through our nose and out through our mouth to help calm down or to focus better. We then talked about meditating and thinking of a quiet, calm place in our head as we practiced breathing.
I didn't mention our Brain Breaks at Back to School Night last night, so I'll let you know right now that we take a short break in the morning to stretch and take a break from our lessons. We sometimes watch a dance party or GoNoodle video and copy what the dancers are doing. Sometimes I put music on and the children will move around the room to music using scarves or ribbons. We moved to quiet music from Tangled, then got a little more active and galloped to Hoedown by Aaron Copeland, until they were soooo tired, or so they said!. Galloping is hard work! Here are some snaps from our Brain Break.
Yesterday we started handwriting. We have a special routine for getting supplies ready, so we took some time in learning that routine. The kids really listened and did a great job doing what was asked. We practiced drawing straight vertical and horizontal lines, then talked about how saying the verbal path for the letter will help them remember how to write the letter the correct way. I snapped a few more pictures to show how they work on the white boards to practice their handwriting and word wall words.
We read a story called Bella's Rules, by Elissa Haden Guest, about a little girl who makes up her own rules instead of following her parents' rules. Her parents call her grandmother to come help with this problem. Ask me to tell you what the grandmother does to help Bella learn about why rules are important.
Today, we took some time to get to know each other even better. We read My Name is Ruby, by Phillip Stead. This beautiful bird book is about Ruby, a little yellow bird, trying to make new friends. She makes friends with other birds who are like her in some ways, but different in other ways. After we read the book, we colored four pictures to show how we like to move, where we like to visit, what we like to do, and our favorite food. Then we walked around to find friends who liked the same things we did. Here the kids are asking each other questions to find friends that have something in common.
We continued talking about the Bells Mill Bear Necessities today. We focused on "I tell the truth about my actions." We reviewed the word action and moved to show some action words. Ask me to show you an action word. We watched Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Monkey on His Back to learn more about being honest about your actions and choices. We also discussed how it's important to learn to be honest when you have kid-size problems and before not being honest becomes a habit. I told the children I would post the video so you could watch it with them at home if you want.
In science we will begin learning about weather. We collected data today in Math to find out what our favorite type of weather is. We studied the data and found which kind of weather was favored most, and found some that were actually equal. I'm not going to say I threw the vote, but I did vote for snowy weather. I told them children they should pick the weather they really like and not copy what I picked or their friends chose. Here's our data. Ask me to tell you what I noticed about our data.
Have a great evening!
Another great day in kindergarten! The kids did an awesome job remembering their morning responsibilities, then reading books quietly. Today for our Talk Time we talked about this quote: "Mistakes are good." The children talked with a partner to agree or disagree about the quote. We talked about how it's important to try new things, or answer even if you aren't sure as you are learning new things. If you never make mistakes, then you must not be trying to learn things. We have the words "Mistakes Allowed Here!" in our classroom as a reminder. We also talked about the difference between a mistake and a poor or bad choice. We talked about times when someone does something they know is not right but do it anyway because they want something, as in taking something from someone.
We are continuing to learn about the Bells Mill Bear Necessities. We talked about "We listen and follow directions." In our classroom, when the teacher gives directions, children need to put down what's in their hands and stop, look and listen. It's important for the children to wait until the directions are finished before they move, so we will have a different word we use everyday to signal the kids to move. We used avocado today. We read the story Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen, by Howard Binkow. Howard gets into some trouble because he doesn't listen to his teacher and his friends. Ask me to tell you what happened to Howard when he didn't listen.
In math, we talked about sorting. We talked about how we can sort things into groups where every thing in the group is the same. We looked at our classroom library and began to sort the books into baskets by topic. This is the rule for the basket, then we labeled it. We also played a game called Guess My Rule. I called students up to the front one at a time who had something in common. The children guessed the rule.
I hope to see you in our classroom tomorrow night at 6:30 for Back to School.
Have a nice evening!