Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Arts Day Recap

Here are some of the highlights from our tremendous Arts Day! A huge shout out to the PCPA for organizing such an enriching event!

Hatching Chicks

Over the last month we have been caring for fertilized chicken eggs in our incubator. As a part of our bird studies unit students actively participated in observing and tending to the eggs. We created a quiet space for the eggs as they made their 21 day journey to hatching! We observed the eggs, the incubator, discussed the life cycle, made predictions, and eventually got to watch the chicks hatch! This powerful learning experience was joyous and exciting!

Pumpkin Planting Party

Caitlin Jordan of Alewive's Farm joined us this morning to plant pumpkin seeds. As first graders the students travel to Alewive's on a vegetable tour. Caitlin approached the kindergarten team with a great idea to have students plant their own pumpkin seeds to be picked as first graders! We were super excited to dig into the soil! For the next couple of weeks we will watch our pumpkins grow! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fantastic Fourth Grade Friends!

We are so lucky to have so many fourth grade friends come in to our room to be helpers and mentors! Today we were entertained by a very hardworking fourth grader. He read us two classic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Moose a Muffin. It was a great opportunity to hear some great reading! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Over the last month and a half we have been reading Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and the Motorcycle. This chapter book is a great read aloud for these almost first graders. The author uses vivid description and dense vocabulary that helps enhance the reading and listening experience. Throughout the read aloud we focused on a variety of story elements including characters, setting, problems, and solutions. As we read we retold the important pieces and focused on key details and themes that carried throughout the book like Ralph (mouse) and Keith (young boy) were both anxious to grow up quickly and be "big". These themes really helped us remember and retell the book. Today we compared the 40 minute movie to the book! It was a really cool opportunity to do something new (and watch a really awesome 1987 film)!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

For the last couple of guidance sessions Mrs. Gallagher has challenged our brains by talking about our brains! Mrs. G. has been teaching us that our brains are always learning and making connections. A few weeks ago Mrs. G helped us identify what we could do as babies, toddles, and now as kindergarteners! Minds were blown as we identified all the things we can do now! This activity is to teach kiddos about the growth mindset! My heart was full with happiness with Kip raised his hand and shared with Mrs. G "It's like when we are doing subtraction and we get something wrong. That's ok because that means we are learning." I think we have learned a lot about the growth mindset from Mrs. G and throughout the year!

Our incredible brainstorming at work! 

Mrs. G modeling how our brains make connections from when we are babies! 

Don't forget to check out Mrs. G's blog for frequent updates! http://pondcoveguidance.blogspot.com

Our Bird Unit Begins

This week we began our bird unit. This unit will take us right to the beginning of June. We began by "activating our schema" and discussing what we already know about birds. We also brainstormed our wonders and what we would like to know about birds. This always is a great way for me to plan the unit based on student interest and also build on what we already know.

From there our special eggs were delivered! We read a really terrific book What Makes a Bird a Bird? This nonfiction book helped get us interested and hook us into the lesson. Then we finally were able to observe the eggs in the incubator! We read An Egg is Quiet which is a fantastic book which discusses all types of eggs from birds to reptiles. It also talks about how eggs can be different shapes, sizes, etc. We then did our first of three observation pages where students drew and wrote exactly what they observed. We then did our first definition page for "incubator". Students were to define the term and draw a picture to match. All of our observations, definition pages, and other work will go into a bird studies folder that students will take home as a summative activity for the unit. 

On Friday we studied the lifecycle of a chicken. We did a craftivity where students created the life cycle of a chicken beginning with the egg and going all the way around to the chicken. Although we don't really know which comes first, the students chose to start with the egg. We also discussed how different animals that lay eggs take care of them differently as do most birds. Next week we will define "oviparous" and "ornithologist". We will also do a candling activity where we try to observe the inside of the egg as well. 

I wanna iguana... or another pet.

Persuasive writing was taken to another level last week! Using two mentor texts, I Wanna Iguana and The Perfect Pet, we brainstormed the perfect pet for each one of us. We drafted a web that helped organize all of our reasons why we would want this pet and how we would care for it. Then using the book The Day the Crayons Quit we spent two mornings discussing the the proper format for a friendly letter. The students did not one but two drafts of their letter to make it neat and organized to be sent in the mail to your house. 

This incredible week of writing is a true testament to the learning that has taken place and how excited your child is about writing and using their “superhero writing powers” to persuade and make change. Please celebrate this letter with your child as it represents a lot of hard work. Also, please forgive the teacher for getting your child super excited about a new pet as we did discuss how sometimes even the most persuasive arguments with lots of reasons why, still get turned down.  

We also learned about how the United States Post Office works and the journey a letter takes once it enters the mail. Although it is truly amazing to have technology at our fingertips, there is still something pretty cool to send a letter in the mail. Students really got excited when we delivered our letters to the outgoing mail spot at the office. I hope you all enjoyed your letters! 

Our brainstorming phase began by creating a web to organize our thoughts. 

Alex is so excited to send his letter. 

Ashley signed, sealed, and ready to deliver her letter! 

Going out into the wild world of mail! 

The Action of Subtraction

Subtraction can be a very tricky concept for kiddos. I find it is most relatable by food story problems! When we eat something, you have less -- much like when we subtract. Beginning with some story problems as practiced our counting backwards. We then began to unpack our newest standard, "I can show different ways to show subtraction." We defined "subtraction" to mean "taking away, counting back". We also made the point to identify that when you subtract you end up with less! By using Linus the Minus we learned that whatever we need to take away comes after the minus sign.

We then put our subtraction skills to work through bowling! We set up our own little bowling allies throughout the classroom (and hallways -- sorry to our fellow kindergarteners). We talked about how when we bowl we are starting with a set number of pins up. The goal of bowling is to end up with less than what you started with; subtraction in action! It was a blast to bowl and work on our math skills all at once! 

From there we used a variety of different ways to show subtraction. We drew pictures, used objects, and used our fingers. Probably the most important way we learned to show subtraction was through using a number line. A number line shows a clear and concise way of subtracting. Students could really see the numbers becoming "less". During Morning Meeting on Thursday students blew me away when they asked "Why do we have to start with the largest number when we subtract? Why can't we subtract with the smaller number?" WHOA! This opened up a whole conversation about negative numbers and why we try to avoid negative numbers like negative temperatures or negative dollars in a bank account. When students begin having such sophisticated math conversations my heart is full. I can not believe how far we have come. 


Next week we will check in on our subtraction goal. Then we will begin talking about coins and money. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Visiting Artist Kristine Beigel

Ms. Kristine came to Pond Cove this week to do a wonderful two day artist in residency with lessons on sculpture, mixed mediums, and 3D art. Ms. Kristine is the owner of The Creative Child in Scarborough. Her incredible approach was both engaging, gentle, and fun! Ms. Kristine incorporated our bird unit by helping students mold a Maine bird from clay and then accurately paint the bird.

Using images of four Maine birds (Chickadee, Bard Eagle, Cardinal, and Blue Jay), the students molded their bird by observing what they saw. After creating their bird, students built a habitat for the bird. On the second day students began by adding the details with Sharpie. Then they painted their bird using water colors. They were responsible for making sure the details and paint were accurate to their bird type. Ms. Kristine then hot glued our birds on their habitat. Students then shared what they loved about their art in front of the class. It was an absolutely amazing experience that the students ROCKED!!

A big thank you to Ms. Kristine for her creativity, Heather Reeves and Mika Reynolds for being committed volunteers, and the PCPA for funding our artist residency!