Friday, November 20, 2015

Exploding Friday Folders!!

Holy smokes! Your child's folder is FULL today! Please take the time to review all the items inside. Of the most importance:
-The maze 
-Label a turkey
-Reading baggies

Inside the reading baggies today you will find our newest reading strategy, Lips the Fish. Lips tells us to "say the first sound" when we come to an unknown word. Accompanying this strategy is a book The Turkey (which is perfect for using Eagle Eye and Lips the Fish together) and an alphabet chart with the picture cues we use in our phonics program to help at home. Please take the time to review these things with your student at home. If you could return the baggies back to school I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks and happy reading!


Learning about Thanksgiving

Of course we are all quite blessed so I feel it is important to remind students about gratitude and sharing what we are thankful for with those we love. Today we worked on a few different angles on the Thanksgiving holiday. 

First, we had to learn about the background of this wonderful holiday. Through Scholastic News Online we read a magazine and watched a short video on the history of Thanksgiving. We discussed the Pilgrims and the Native Americans and their respective roles in the history. Next week we will go a little deeper with a retelling bracelet and book about the history of the first Thanksgiving. 

We also talked about The Legend of the Five Kernels of Corn. Please find your child's "maze" in folders today. Attached you will read the legend. Don't forget to flip it over and read about what each kernel means; truly touching and relatable for kindergarten friends. 

"The first winter the pilgrims spent in their new home, there wasn't much food to eat. Some days there was only enough for each person to have five kernels of corn. From that time on, each harvest, the pilgrims put five kernels of corn on each plate to remind them of how far they have come."

What is Thanksgiving without a little fun with turkeys!? We made sight word turkeys on Thursday with feathers that have a different sight word on each. We also labeled a turkey today. Labeling is a major component of writing in kindergarten (and really fun). 

My heart is full of gratitude each and every day as I am lucky enough to paint, color, read, and watch these amazing young learners grow into responsible and respectful citizens. I hope you and your family have a blessed and wonderful holiday! 

Writers Draw Pictures that Help!

This week in Writer's Workshop we published our first pieces!! It was absolutely incredible to have each kiddo come up as I projected his/her work on the board. The students read what they have worked so hard on over the last few weeks. 

On Wednesday we started a new narrative piece. Using our heart maps to guide our thinking, students selected something true that they knew a lot about. One of the focus lessons for this new unit is to make our pictures really understandable so if the writing is tough to understand our pictures can support that writing. We went back to a guided drawing of a person and really tried to add accurate details to our new piece. I can't wait to see what the students have in store as we continue on through our narrative unit. 

Differentiated Math Centers

Our current math goal provides ample opportunity for differentiation based on academic progress and multiple intelligences. All students learn at different paces and in different ways. This week we had a long chat about just that. Even at the young age of 5 or 6 students notice the different work being done by other friends. We talked about how what is hard for me might be easy for someone else and that is ok! Teaching tolerance, empathy, and understanding around varying needs is just another layer to developing respectful citizens. 

This week we worked on our math goal in a variety of ways. Through "Teen Bump", Little Writer on the iPads, teen number books, writing numbers in PlayDoh or salt, and various other games students were immersed in learning that was just right for them! Also, students have a voice in how they practice their goal. Students can self-select the math activity that will best suit making progress (which may not be what your best friend does). Stay tuned for more math excitement!!

The Life Cycle of an Apple Tree

On Monday we focused on finishing up our tree unit by creating the life cycle of an apple tree. A major component of the NextGen Science Standards for K-2 is understanding life cycles. We will use this model for many of our science units. I decided with the upcoming holiday that our apple tree life cycle would be best suited if we used apple pie as the end result. This project based learning opportunity allowed students to explore the life cycle through mentor texts and then creating their own. It was a fun and mouth watering activity.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tricky Teens Video

As you know, our new math goal is "I can recognize numbers from 0-30." After a super successful Math Club last week we have begun focusing on numbers in the teens. Of course, I couldn't do it alone! I brought along a little help from my friend Harry Kindergarten. Enjoy!

Wonderful World of Word Families

Word families are words that have the same ending. For example the -at family consists of cat, sat, may, fat, chat, splat, etc. This week we learned a new sight word, "am". After a few days of identifying and recognizing the word, we started looking at it through a different lense: a word family! We built the family together and then students highlighted a little reader finding all the "am" words. We also built the family in small groups to start identifying the pattern. 

Sometimes rhyming is tricky and down right hard! One of the greatest tools for struggling rhymers is word families. By visually seeing the words spelled out and the commonalities students are able to hear and see the rhyme. Encourage your kiddos at home to listen for the common endings (word families). It is fun and really important for early reading development. 

Writers Publish

This week in Writer's Workshop we have had a strong focus on publishing the true pieces that we have been so diligently working on. We talked about how not all pieces get to be published; only the ones that we are truly proud of and want to share with readers. 

Prior to "fancying up" we used a writing checklist and a partner to see if we are truly ready to publish. Students went through each piece of criteria with their writing partner and decided if they were ready or needed to do a bit more work. I was so impressed with the honesty and mature feedback the students gave. 

We then defined what "fancying up" really looks like. We needed to add quality color, a cover, and make sure our writing is easy to read (no eraser marks, spelled our sight words correctly). The best part was watching the students' excitement when they got their BRAND NEW writing folders!! This has been a huge week of growth for our writers. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans Day Appreciation

What a wonderful couple days discussing the meaning of Veterans Day. Through Scholastic News, a few clips, and mentor texts we learned all about what it means to be a veteran and how we can share appreciation. We also used discussed all of the freedoms we are lucky to have thanks to our wonderful service men and women. In honor of Veterans Day we created tear art poppies that I will be delivering to Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough tomorrow. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Turkey Trouble

Uh oh! It is that season again where the turkeys need to run and hide! Your child brought home a turkey yesterday that is desperate for a disguise! This family project is a great way to get creative and have some Thanksgiving fun! Here are a few past examples that may help spark your creativity! Have fun!

November Calendar

Here is a copy of our November calendar to keep track of all the upcoming adventures. 

Guidance Greatness!

Today Mrs. Gallagher came in and presented a fabulous lesson on what to do when you are faced with a "bully". Mrs. G. also reminded students that "bullying" doesn't fit everything and it is a very powerful and strong word. She helped the students identify that "bullying" is when something happens all the time and is a pattern. She also said that bullying is not just being "annoyed" by someone. Rather it evokes a much stronger emotion (sadness, loneliness, anger). After reading an awesome mentor text, the students identified three major components of standing up to "bullying".

1) Be a friend! Mrs. G said only good things come from being a good friend and staying with someone who has been bullied or someone who is sad.
2) Speak up! It is ok to tell someone that is not ok! Words can be very powerful and it is important to stand up for yourself and others.
3) Tell an adult! Sometimes problems get too big to solve and you need an adult to help and that is ok! 

This is a very valuable less as we continue to grow strong, kind, and independent thinkers. 

Recognizing Numbers

OOne of our biggest math goals in kindergarten is recognizing numbers. Our standard for kindergarten is, "I can recognize numbers 0-30." While most of us are strong 0-10, we are now working out those tricky teens! Through a variety of activities, we have started composing these numbers and started building them into our schema. Safari Stan came to school on Tuesday and delivered our math goal. Together we unpacked the language of this standard; especially the word recognize. We unpacked that big word to mean "you see it and you know it!" Through some body movements students are really starting to understand what is expected when I ask them to "recognize numbers".

In math club Mrs. Butterworth reinforced this goal through three awesome centers on Wednesday. We used the Smartboard to find missing teens, a teen board (that went home on Wednesday), and turkey teens. It was an awesome morning filled with deeper exposure to these numbers.

One of the greatest pieces of this goal is to see students really start finding the patterns in math and numbers. We use the 100s chart to reinforce the patterns when we practice counting to 100 and looking at counting by 10s and how that repeats, too!

Next week we will unpack the other part of this goal: "I can write numbers 0-30." Although we unpack them separately, I feel like you can't do one without the other. This is a great way for kiddos to practice writing their numbers as a way to recognize. You can help reinforce this skill at home by finding numbers all around!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Terrific Trees

Last week we began our tree science unit. This unit is all about how things grow, are reused, and the big question of why we need trees. This time of year is perfect to observe the gorgeous foliage and explore the evergreens. We started with an anchor chart to guide our thinking. This unit we used a KWL (what do you know, want to know, and what did you learn). 

On Monday we went outside and walked the grounds of Pond Cove and the middle school. We were primarily looking for the different parts of the tree. We found a gorgeous apple tree located on campus. This tree was perfect for us to see the roots, trunk, branches, leaves, and the fruit. When we returned inside we labeled our own tree. I am excited to continue on with this unit.