Today we took a spelling test of all 44 kindergarten word wall words. Although not all the words have been introduced to the whole group, I knew students would know some of the words because they had them in their reading group. The students will be working on the words they do not know. I will give them words in a "Bag of Tricks" so they can practice them during literacy stations. I will send home the spelling test tomorrow so you see what they know. I gave the test in the order the words have been introduced, so you can see that when we get to the last part of the test, they may have more errors. Some children know all the words so they will be working on first grade word wall words. I will send a list of words they are working on home soon. I want to give them another test to see where they need to work.
We have been working on writing about a major event in a story. The children have to identify the event and tell details about it.
Over the weekend, Mr. President and The First Lady, the eagles at the National Arboretum, laid an egg. We looked at the live camera today and talked about what we noticed. I told the children we would check in on the eagles every day, and if the egg, DC4, hatches we will watch several times a day. My class did this last year and loved it. However, I did tell them that there is a chance the egg will not hatch, or if it does that the eaglet may not survive. We talked about that is a part of nature. Last year the eagles had two eggs and two healthy eagles fledged and are on their own somewhere. Hopefully, we will have a similar experience this year. You may want to watch at home. The cameras were fixed or replaced over the summer and there is sound this year. Here's the link to see these famous eagles.
Have a nice evening!
Today we visited Virginia on our Read Across America journey to learn about George Washington's home Mount Vernon. We read a book called Where Was George Washington. This book is narrated by George Washington's cat. The illustrations show what it would have been like to live at Mount Vernon. Ask me to tell you where the cat found George Washington!
We also read Knuffle Bunny Free, by Mo Willems. We talked about what a major event in a story is, and identified supporting details. This book is the third in a trilogy about Trixie and her favorite stuffed animal that somehow gets lost from time to time. This is the story of how Trixie decided it was time to give her friend away to someone who needed it more. Ask me to tell you about the story. Each child identified a major event in the story and wrote about it. We are working on writing more to support our answers from text.
We also talked about solid shapes today. The children know many solid shapes, so we talked about prisms. We looked at many different box shapes and found rectangular prisms, triangular prisms and even a octagonal prism. We also looked at cylinders, cones, spheres, semi-spheres, cubes and pyramids.
Have a nice evening!
We had a great little trip to Montana today as part of our Read Across America journey. We visited the Badlands and read a book about the dinosaurs called Torosaurus and Other Dinosaurs of the Badlands Dig, by Dougal Dixon. This book identifies important external features the dinosaurs had and shows how animals now have some of the same external features. We talked about how these features help the animals to survive.
Next week we are having our class picture taken. Our class is having our picture taken on Friday morning. I will send home the order forms on Monday, but please do not send them in until Thursday. Tuesday will be a bit hectic with Valentine's Day, and Wednesday I will be at training all day. You can also order the class picture online instead of sending in a check to school.
Have a nice weekend!
Today we reviewed the sh digraph. We read the poem Sidewalk Sounds, then thought of other words that begin or end with /sh/. Ask me to name three words that begin or end with sh.
We listened to a story called Pinduli, by Janelle Cannon. We read this story to identify external features of animals. Pinduli is a little hyena who encounters other animals with similar external features, but those animals make fun of him. Ask me to tell you what external features they teased Pinduli about. Pinduli tries to hide in the water from some animals, and when he gets out of the water rolls in dry white dust. He no longer looks like himself, but instead like a ghost. This scares the other animals who think he is a spirit and confess their bad behavior to Pinduli. It turns out the animals had been teasing each other and this bad behavior was passed along to others. This book has a lot of lessons in it, and is worth rereading and discussing!
We studied plane and solid shapes in an art book called I Spy Shapes in Art, by Lucy Micklethwait. This book has famous paintings that have shapes. We studied the pictures and found the shapes, and the children needed to use positional words to describe where the shape could be found in the painting. We also talked about using words such as corners, angles, sides and equal in talking about the shapes. Although the kindergarten curriculum focuses on squares, rectangles, circles, triangles and hexagons, we will study other shapes as well since most of the students can identify these shapes. They do need additional instruction in talking about the shapes. We studied a photograph this morning that opened up discussion about other shapes. Ask me to tell you about the shape is in this photograph.
Stay warm this evening!
Today we studied some amazing subway photographs. We looked at the plane shapes we saw in the photographs. We clarified a few things about these shapes. We know that diamond is often used when talking about a rhombus, but when we are talking about geometric shapes, we are going to call it a rhombus. We also talked about the difference between a square and rectangle. We know a square is a special rectangle with four equal sides, and L shaped corners or 90 degree angles. We know plane shapes are just a shape, not anything we can hold. Ask me to tell you about the shapes I see in these subway photographs.
We continued on our Read Across America journey today. We re-read a story we read earlier in the week. This story is called Freedom Summer, by Deborah Wiles. This book is narrated by a little boy whose family has an African American housekeeper. She brings her little boy, John Henry, in the summer, and the narrator and the little boy are best friends. Although John Henry is the best swimmer the little boy knows, he cannot swim in the town pool because it is for whites only. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, the boys thought they would finally be able to swim in the pool together. The boys race over the hill early the next morning only to find the pool being filled in so nobody will be able to swim. We had a good discussion about why this happened, and the children seemed to understand that this was how some white people felt a long time ago, but that now many people do hold those same feelings. We talked about how this was like bullying and that as kindergarteners they can learn to speak up for children who are not being treated fairly. Learning to do this with kindergarten-size problems will help as they grow and experience more difficult situations. The book ends with the two boys going to a store to get ice pops, but this time John Henry goes in to pick and buy his own ice pop. The story ends there and we don't know if he was allowed in the store, but it's a beautiful illustration of the two boys going in the store with their arms around each other's waist. I highly recommend this book. It is told beautifully, and the author is from Frederick, Maryland!
Are we finally going to see some real snow tonight?
Have a nice evening!
Today was the 100th day of school! It's hard to believe it's been 100 days already! We had a "substitute" teacher today. Her name is Miss Crump, and as hard to believe as it is, she is 100 years old. She shared a book with the children about what school was like about 100 years ago. The children saw how children in the country often went to a one room schoolhouse with the teacher having to teach all the children in all grade levels. Usually there were about 20 children. The teacher also had to put wood in a big stove to keep the schoolhouse warm. Most surprising to the children was the lack of indoor plumbing, and no Promethean Board!
We enjoyed seeing the 100 day projects. Here are the projects the children shared:
We talked about using dictionaries and other reference charts in the room. The children are working on a booklet of 100 words of some of their favorite things.
We had a special challenge in the afternoon. The children worked in teams of 4 to build the tallest tower they could with exactly 100 cups. The children were exceptional in their encouragement and persistence. I overheard comments such as "That's okay, we can try it a different way." They were patient with each other for the most part when cups would fall, which was inevitable. They intentionally tried different designs when they were unsuccessful. One group was noticing that their tower was very wide compared to other groups and decided to make their thinner instead of so wide so the tower would be taller. It is such a treat to have them working so independently that I can listen in and really observe closely what is happening. Most of the children really understand that this was a challenge and not a contest and were reminding each other that it wasn't about winning.
Here are some quick snaps of these amazing little builders:
Today we took a survey to see who wanted six more weeks of winter, who wanted an early spring, or who really didn't care which it was. Here are the results of our survey.
I quickly arranged the pictures after the children voted so they could use the ten frame arrangement to answer questions such as how many people voted for winter, spring and no preference, and how many more children voted for an early spring.
We also read an information book about groundhogs. We focused on the bold print words in the text and talked about how those words are important to remember and use in discussing or writing about a topic. Today the students wrote about a new fact they learned about groundhogs. I wrote the bold print words on the Promethean Board for the children to use as a resource in their writing and drawing. We reviewed what facts were, so students were not to write about the the groundhog and his shadow because that is not a fact but just a fun tradition.
We began upgrading our literacy stations today. The children are reading and writing so well, different types of activities were necessary to challenge them during this independent work time. We opened our Art Smart station which will be a place for students to write about art that has a connection to our content areas. We opened Buddy Reading during this time as well with a collection of books in pairs. Partners take turns reading pages. But the most popular new activity is the Quiet Conversations. I'm thrilled it's popular because our station time was quieter. Recently with so many indoor recess days, the children have had a hard time remembering to work quietly during station time. This happens every year during these winter months. Quiet Conversations is a paper and two colored pencils. Two children pick two different colors and have a written conversation. They LOVED this today!
Have a nice evening!
We started our day with an amazing photograph of another way to fish. The children noticed so many things! We talked about the weather, balance, how he uses the net, what kind of boat he was in, why he doesn't tip over, and the children even noticed how happy this man was fishing. The discussions the children have in pairs or triads before we discuss together are really amazing. I love listening in to hear what they are thinking and wondering, and how they respond to each other. Ask me to tell you about what I noticed.
We talked about food all morning! We sorted food into food groups, learned and healthy and sometimes food, and finally the highlight of the morning for me, we met Captain Vegetable. I'll not lie, we watched it twice.
We also listened to the story Gregory, the Terrible Eater, by Mitchell Sharmat. This is the story of a goat who doesn't eat what he is supposed to eat. Ask me to tell you what Gregory ate at the beginning of the story and why that was a problem.
Please check our homework page today. I added a math game, the two new word wall words, and all the way at the bottom I added the Getty Museum link to games for children. I also have handwriting worksheets if you would like to have your child practice more at home.
Have a nice evening!