We wrapped up Unit 1 in our Benchmark Reading today. The kids took a unit test today. It was just ten questions, and the kids did a good job taking the test. They get to spread out all over the room, and some get to use offices! They are really just dividers, but the kids love it. Overall, the class did well in most areas. The area that caused more kids trouble than any other was listening to the story and answering questions. This is an area you can work on when reading to your child. Ask simple questions about the beginning, middle and end of the story. Tomorrow I start sending home Read to Me, Talk to Me books, and there will be questions at the back of the book that you can talk to with your child.
The kids had a great time in math today. We used our connecting unix cubes, cuisenaire rods and stacking caps to put in order, counting on one for each step. The children really enjoyed using the cuisenaire rods. A virtual cuisenaire rod work area is in our homework tab on our website. It is also on our Google Classroom. The kids can go onto this site and put the rods in order going up and down. They can also compare rods to find out the difference between two rods. And of course, they can use the rods to just make some pictures!
Our Book a Day read aloud was called Stumpkin, by Lucy Ruth Cummins. This book tells the story of pumpkins who are being bought to be made into jack o'lanterns. Here is a link to the publishers page. Near the top of the page, on the left, you can see the first few pages of the book. Ask me to tell you about what is happening, and how the story ends.
Enjoy your evening!
We finished up Unit 1 in Benchmark today. The students did a great job comparing the two texts we read multiple times and writing their opinion about which book was better. The students did a great job remembering the names of text features from the information text we read. I think, though, all the students chose the realistic fiction book, Rules Are Cool, as their favorite. This book has lots of thinking and talking bubbles, and the kids really like that. No wonder they enjoy Mo Willems Piggy and Elephant books so much! The students have other texts we have read in their folders, along with a calendar of activities you can do to review Unit 1. They are also bringing home a letter with ideas to support Unit 2.
Two word. Potato Pants. Potato Pants is a very funny book written by Laurie Keller. Although this is a really silly book, it has a couple lessons about learning to get along. The main character is very excited about the sale of Potato Pants. He rushes over to the store early in the morning to get his pants. But he doesn't go in because he sees Eggplant in the store. The day before Eggplant rushed by Potato and knocked him into a trash can. Ask me to tell you what happens. This is one of those books that is really fun for adults to read because it has some humor adults would enjoy. Check out the trailer below.
I hope you enjoy the rest of this beautiful fall day!
We started our day studying this photograph of a bear. We thought about what was happening in the photo to get an idea of what the bear might be thinking, and what it would say if it could talk. We practiced saying our idea with expression to help us know what kind of punctuation we should use in our talking bubble. Ask me to tell you what I think this bear might say.
In math, we continued to work with counting on one-more. We also used number cards and put them in order from smallest to largest, then largest to smallest. We played a game with our cards. Our partner showed a card, and we found a card in our stack that was one more.
In reading, we compared two texts, a realistic fiction book and an information text. We looked for ways they were the same and different. The kids did a great job and came up with many similarities and differences. We practiced our sight word like and wrote I Like books. The children are bringing these home today. Some children may want to finish the illustrations in their book. Ask me to show you my book.
In our reading groups, we are working with Reader's Theater. The children are assigned parts to read. They know which line to read because it has a colored dot beside it. They are working to read fluently and with expression. We will be finishing up with this next week.
Have a great weekend!
I know you are all thinking I'm obsessed with Mr. Rogers, but I guess I am! Thursdays are my favorite days because we don't have any specials so I get to squeeze in another lesson. I try and make it a social/emotional kind of learning lesson most weeks. This week we talked about kindness, so this quote by Mr. Rogers seemed perfect to share with the children. Ask me to tell you the three ways to be a success. The children did a Turn and Talk and shared with their partner/s if they agreed or disagreed with the quote and talked about how they have shown kindness. Then I asked their partners to share what they had heard their partner say. For some, this is still difficult. Talking seems, for most, much easier than listening.
Then we read a wordless picture book called, I Walk With Vanessa, by Kerascoët. We have talked so much about authors and illustrators, and this book certainly had an author who developed this simple, yet powerful story, they told the story through illustrations. The story is about a child who is new to the school whose name is Vanessa. She is left out of play and activities at school, and on the way home a boy stops her and looks to be threatening her. A group of children are walking nearby and one of the children in the group notices the boy and Vanessa. The illustrations make it clear that the girl is being treated badly by the boy because there is a red cloud around her. The little girl who notices watches, and seems concerned by the look on her face, but does not act. She is sad at home and has a hard time sleeping, as does Vanessa. The next morning while eating breakfast, Vanessa gets an idea. Ask me to tell you what happens. This book really addresses sticking out your neck to help others when they are involved in a problem. Although it didn't happened during the problem in the story, the little girl who witnessed the incident goes to Vanessa's door the next morning and begins to walk to school with her. The friends she was walking with the day before also see, and they join in, as do other children until we see most of the school children walking toward the school. Off to the side, we see the bully who is watching. We talked briefly about how to help in situations like this one instead of being a bystander. We will continue to talk about this throughout the year. We also talked about how the girl in the story who first walked with Vanessa really was a leader. She made a good change for Vanessa with one simple act of kindness.
Wordless picture books are an excellent way to talk about empathy with your children. In the ISFP section on this website, I have an article from Reading Rockets that may interest you if you would like more information about wordless picture books and developing empathy in children.
In math today, we looked at counting-on one more, as well as representing numbers on ten frames. We looked at horizontal and vertical ten frames. This is a challenge for children, but again very important for children to see dot formations in different configurations.
In reading, we practiced some choral reading to prepare for Reader's Theater. We also talked about describing a character. We talked mostly about what we could see from the illustration since the text is not that deep! Then, the students wrote a description on their own.
We also watched a short video of Mr. Rogers talking with a friend in a wheelchair. It's a pretty famous clip you may have seen already, but at the end of the clip, Mr. Rogers and the little boy sing It's You I Like. This song, written by Mr. Rogers, hangs on our front door so I wanted the children to see it. The video is below. We talked about how when we see people who are different than we are, or have something special about them, that you don't need to look away, and it's not a good idea to just share, but a smile and hello is always welcome.
Have a nice evening!
Today we met with Mrs. Kanter to learn more about DeBug. DeBug is a strategy students can use to solve "kid size" problems. These problems are things that annoy others, not physically hurt others. This strategy has several steps to it. Your child will be bringing home a letter today, along with a little picture of DeBug with the problem solving steps on it.
The students practiced these steps with Mrs. Kanter, but we will spend time reviewing and reinforcing them when we see them. I will be handing out a little card to kids I see using DeBug. Hopefully I won't pass out too many because most likely there won't be much annoying, but today we had a perfect example of ignoring. Tomorrow I'll use that as an example and give out a DeBug sticker card.
Today we wrote an opinion about why the author wrote a story about rules. The children are beginning to be more confident in writing down the sounds they hear in words. They are doing a good job of learning to put spaces between words, use a period at the end of a sentence, and starting their sentence with a capital letter. These are difficult skills for beginning writers! There is so much they need to do! They have to think of what they are going to write, then remember those things that writers do, as well as stretch out words they don't know. It's important to look for what our beginning writers are doing well and build on that to help them become better writers as the year progresses.
In math, we acted out story problems. We didn't use equations, we listened to the language to find out what was happening and noticed if the group of actors was getting smaller or larger. The children had a great time with this!
Have a nice evening! It looks like it will be a beautiful fall evening!
We started our day talking about this quote from Mr. Rogers. We can make the day special for others just by being ourselves. We talked about how we didn't need to be perfect, we just had to be us. We also talked about how we all have different interests, abilities, and mannerisms. We also talked about how we make school days special by sharing our feelings. That's the great thing about kindergarten, They love to share their feelings and do so often!
We read Rules Are Cool in reading and listened for key events. We reviewed what key events are, then the children wrote about a key event from the story. We shared our writing with elbow partners on the carpet. We talked about sitting side-by-side and looking at one partner's writing first and giving the partner compliments for what they noticed their partner doing well. Then the partners switched.
We worked with the short a sound in phonics. Ask me to name three things that begin with short a.
For our Book a Day Challenge, we read Mary Had a Little Glam, by Tammi Sauer. This is a fun rhyming book that tells about a little girl named Mary who loves glam, or to be glamorous. Ask me what it means to be glamorous. When Mary arrives at school the first day, she notices the other children are not glamorous, so she fancies them up. But at recess there's a problem with being glamorous. Ask me to tell you what happens.
In math, we continued to work with counting. We worked with showing how five and five more are ten. We showed this with two rows and with two towers.
In the afternoon, our Bear Buddies came to make Halloween decorations with us for our classroom. We used construction paper and sticker eyeballs to create monsters, ghosts, witches and other creepy characters to decorate our room on Halloween. The kids had a great time working together, and our kinders did an awesome job cleaning up! They are so responsible and love to help.
Have a nice evening!
We continued to work with number paths in math. A number path helps us count accurately so we don't skip any items or count something twice. I have demonstrated how counting items from left to right when in a line or scattered helps. We have also talked about starting from the left and moving up and down, left to right. When items are in a circle, we suggest starting at 1:00 and moving around the circle clockwise, stopping at 12:00. The kids did a good job, although the collections were all ten, so they may have caught on! We also worked with our Rekenreks today. This is a mini-abacus with two rows of beads, each row with five red and five white beads. We start with all beads at the right. We are working to move five all at once for quantities more than five, then moving more beads for the total. We play a rollercoaster game with the quantities going up and down, so the children are learning to think fluently and move from adding on beads to moving beads away. This is helping to build a strong understanding of five which will help them develop stronger number sense.
In reading, we reviewed the m sound and listened for where it occurs in different words. Mostly we have worked with m at the beginning and ending of words. We also studied two texts and compared them, looking for similarities and differences in the texts. We noticed a big difference in the text features we found. We continue to look for headings, captions, bold print, glossaries, labels and a table of contents.
We also read about rules for listening. Ask me to tell you about paying attention and listening closely to the speaker.
I'm going to bring my camera in later on this week and get a few more pictures of these little whipper snappers!
Watch for an e-mail about accessing Benchmark and Bells Mill spirit wear.
Have a nice evening!
We had the most amazing discussion this morning. I told the children that a great leader had passed away this morning, and that he was from our state of Maryland. I told them about how Elijah Cummings had bottles thrown at him when he was a kid and was called very bad names when he and a friend would try and go to the swimming pool in their community. I told them how they weren't allowed to swim in the big pool and weren't treated the same as others. We discussed how he was an African American and that he had dark skin and because of that, he was not treated fairly and that people were often unkind to him, but that he didn't let it change how he treated others. He was kind, polite, empathetic and worked all his life to make our country a better place for all people no matter where they came from, what language they spoke, what color their skin was or any other differences. One of our little friend said he knew another leader. He named one of the Ninja Turtles, which now I can't remember which one he said was the leader. Other kids "piggybacked" on what he said and talked about other super heroes who were leaders. Then another friend said he watched Mulan on Netflix, but it's not on Netflix anymore, and that there was a leader of China in that movie but the bad guys were trying to get him and Mulan saved him. So I asked, was Mulan a hero? Most agreed she was, but a few were on the fence. Which then led to a discussion of how Mulan was a girl but pretended to be a boy so she could be in the army, which then led to a brief discussion of how girls weren't always allowed to do the same things as boys, and how in some places that is still the way things are. It's a good thing we didn't have a special this morning because I would have hated to have to stop this discussion. It's the 31st day of school I think, and they are already listening to each other, piggybacking on what others say, and making connections to what they already knew. This class! I am going to savor every minute with them!
A million years ago, when I was in undergraduate school, I remember my social studies methods professor had one class session devoted to difficult topics and how to discuss them with young children. He said it wasn't enough time to discuss this topic, but shared a few ideas. These days we could have a whole course in this, but what I think is important is that we take time to discuss difficult topics like inequalities of the past and present and be honest about it. We have been talking about leaders, and today sadly presented a change in who I was going to talk about in social studies, but was instead guided by the children in their discussion.
To honor Elijah Cummings, we listened to jazz music today. I remember recently hearing that after a particularly difficult day someone asked him what he was going to do when he went home, and he said listen to some jazz. It seemed only fitting that we listened to some jazz.
In reading, we talked about what a glossary is and where to find it in information texts. We found words in the glossary in bold print in the book we were using, and tomorrow will find them on our own in texts.
In math we continued to work with counting, writing equations, and learning about counting on from five. The children are doing well with ten frames and recognizing dots on a ten frame when shown quickly. They are becoming quite good at subitizing.
We listened to one of my favorite stories for our Book a Day Challenge called Love is My Favorite Thing, by Emma Chichester Clark. This story is about a dog named Plum who is still learning self-control. She knows what not to do, but has a hard time stopping herself from doing it. Ask me to tell you some of the things Plum did in the story. Plum has to go to her bed and is alone, in the dark after an especially bad choice Plum made. She wants to know if her owners still love her. Ask me to tell you how the story ends. This is a great book to add to your family collection if you don't already have it because it gives you the opportunity to tell your little ones again that you are still going to love them, even when they make mistakes or make the wrong choice. We know learning better self-control doesn't happen overnight, but what isn't going to change is the love we have for them.
We had a very happy delivery of a box of a box for books from the Book Fair. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to our classroom library. We looked at the covers of all the books and can't wait to read them. Thank-you for your generosity and kindness. It is truly appreciated by me and my little friends!
Have a nice evening!
We had a great day! The kids enjoyed getting their picture taken, and today was our first indoor recess day. Our playtime and indoor recess looks like a little factory with most of the kids choosing to create, draw and color.
In reading we worked with verbs. We talked about verbs as action words. We acted out some action words. We played a game to practice identifying nouns and verbs. If the word was a noun, the children sat down. If it was a verb, they acted it out. They had such a fun time! Ask me to name three nouns, and three verbs.
We read an information text about rules. We looked at the text features in the book. This is new for us and will take time to learn because these words are unfamiliar and not heard often, so this will be something that we will be noticing throughout the year. Today we really focused on the table of contents, bold print and headings. We reviewed captions that we found under pictures.
During our Book a Day, we read a story called Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathman. This is a funny book about a police officer who does safety talks at schools each year, but the students do not listen and even fall asleep. Ask me to tell you what happens when Office Buckle gets a police dog.
Have a nice evening!
We found out we have a Lincoln expert in our group! During Talk Time today, we studied this painting of one of our great leaders. The children noticed lots of details that gave them clues about this man, but then one of our friends shared that this was indeed Abraham Lincoln. He remembered so much from a book he read with his family. Using his background knowledge, we learned a little more about this important man! Thanks Jacob for sharing so much of what you know to help us all learn more about Lincoln! We will be learning more about leaders this week.
In math, we worked with writing equations to represent different numbers of beans placed on the corners of a square. The children looked to see how many were on the corners and how many were in a group at the bottom of the picture. Then they wrote the equations using the addition and equal sign. We played a really fun game that helped the kids practice counting-on. We sat around the edge of the carpet, then each child said 3 numbers in sequence, such as 1-2-3, then the next counting on three more, and so on until 10. The person who said 10 said only one number and had to stand up. We played quickly until all the children were standing. We will play this again but starting with different numbers and making a different target number. Counting-on is an important skill that will help with addition facts.
In reading, we reviewed identifying the main character in stories and key details. We read a poem about rules and practiced reciting a couple lines as a mini-choral reading. Then we read a very funny rhyming book called The Rules, by Marty Kelley. Ask me to tell you some of the funny rules in this book!
We have started our small group work in reading. The children will be pulled in groups either to read, work on a specific skill, or to write. This is a really important time for the children. While they are working in their group, the rest of the children are working in literacy stations. One station that we did not open yesterday when you visited was our Technology Station. In this station, the children will work on the Chromebooks, listen to a story on cd or work on the Promethean Board. The children are doing a really nice job of using mostly 6-inch voices during this time.
We read Not Friends, by Rebecca Bender for our Book a Day selection. This book is about a giraffe and bird who say they are not friends. Each of them is annoyed by many things the other does. I chose this book today to talk about how sometimes in groups or even with brothers and sisters there are things that are annoying to us. We will be learning about DeBug tomorrow and then again next week with Mrs. Kanter to learn and practice strategies for what we can do when someone annoys us. These would be kid-size annoyances that would be appropriate for children to learn to handle on their own. In the story, the giraffe and bird find out how important they are to each other during a thunderstorm. Learning to be part of a group is something we work on a lot in kindergarten. Learning strategies and developing better self-control so the children can give themselves time to stop and think before they make the wrong choice in how to deal with annoyances is something that will develop more over time.
Watch your e-mail for a Sign-Up Genius from me to sign up for a conference time. If the times on the sign-up do not work for you, just e-mail me and let me know a couple other times that will work for you. I'll try to accomodate if possible! Thanks!
Don't forget, tomorrow is individual class picture day!
Have a nice evening!