Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Writer's Workshop in Full Swing

As a part of our kindergarten curriculum we utilize Lucy Calkin's Writer's Workshop. This detailed writing program is a guide for transforming our little learners into writers. During writer's workshop I refer to the students only as "writers". During this first unit of writing it is all about launching students into the process of writing. We start by discussing what we know a lot about. I use the phrase, "if you can think it, you can write it!" This empowering message is meant to have students really find ownership in his/her writing. We are focused on narrative writing - true stories that have happened to us.

In the next lessons we discussed that "when you're done you have just begun". There are at least three different things a writer does when he/she is "done". You can always add more to the picture, words, or start a new piece. We never just throw up our hands and say we are finished. I draw connections with books we know and love to remind students that these books weren't a one shot deal. I also used a very popular fish, Dory. By showing the clip "just keep swimming" I remind students that we are like Dory -- we never, ever give up! We "just keep writing, just keep writing..."

Our writers have been hard at work drafting stories and taking risks! I am so impressed by students adopting the "wrong is right" mentality. Although some friends may not be writing correctly yet we will be before we know it!!

October Calendar

Mrs. Hasson Visits the Safari!

Mrs. Hasson came aboard the Safari on Monday. It was great to have her come in and get to know our kiddos. She played a name game as well as singing a little caterpillar song. Building a trusting community of learners is always in the foreground of Pond Cove's mission. It is great to continue to grow and learn together!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Construction Chris

Today Construction Chris came to kindergarten to introduce scissors and glue. Chris remind us of how to use dangerous tools appropriately. He also is a stickler for cleaning up and making sure the tools are in the tool box. Some of the most important scissor guidelines are:
-Thumbs up
-No chicken wings
-Move the paper, not your arm
-Open, close
-Cut away from your body

The students were quick experts. We displayed our work in the hall for you to see at Open House coming up on Monday, September 26th!

Construction Chris ready for action! 

Matman Comes to Kindergarten

Matman is an important part of our class. Matman is a tool used with Handwriting Without Tears, our handwriting program. Matman comes to class and helps us learn about big lines, little lines, big curves and little curves. These types of lines are how we make all letters (and numbers and shapes). Matman is also great for helping us to learn to draw people. Matman also comes with his very own song!

As a part of our Matman lesson we also were introduced to dry erase markers. We used the dry erase boards and markers to do a guided drawing of Matman all together. We then took those pictures and what we knew about Matman and turned it into a class book I see Matman.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Movement Breaks

During kindergarten it is so important to get up and move! Our sitting stamina is not great yet so it is critical to build in as much stretching, breathing, moving as possible. In our classroom we use an awesome website called GoNoodle. GoNoodle has a variety of kid appropriate stretching and moving.  Also there is dancing and yoga! We earn points for the more we stretch and move and our character grows and changes. During indoor recess we use Cosmic Yoga, a wonderful storytelling yoga program geared toward young kiddos. There is lots of research that shows how critical movement is to development and learning... Plus it is fun!!

Here is the Cosmic Kids Yoga we did today!

Guided Discoveries

Guided discoveries are how we get to know our classroom materials in a safe way. Of course all students know how to use crayons or colored pencils perhaps but in a guided discovery we review all the expectations and how to and how not to use different tools in our space. Students model the correct use and I model the incorrect use. I find that through this approach (from The Responsive Classroom) we have less "gray" when it comes to using tools. It also sets clear, student led expectations with each aspect of our classroom.

So far we have explored: crayons, colored pencils, pencils, watercolors, pattern blocks, puzzles, Unifix cubes, Play Doh, and dry erase boards. Each tool is tied into a story and an activity that helps guide the lesson. This is a major undertaking in the beginning of the year but set us up for independence as the year goes on.

This is one of my all time favorites! Elmer is an colorful elephant who struggles to accept himself. We talked about how although each of us are different, we add so much to our group. We used Elmer to introduce water colors. 

Lunchtime Fun

The lunchroom can be a tricky place to navigate but our kiddos are professionals! Sitting next to new and old friends, chatting over a tasty lunch, and making safe choices can be lots of fun! Here is a glimpse into our lunch time munching!

The Kissing Hand

The wonderful story of The Kissing Hand always starts the year off on a positive note. As a nervous raccoon, Chester is given a kiss right in the middle of his hand from his mom to always remember that she loves him and is close to him.

This always prompts a great conversation about how we felt coming to school on the first day. I am impressed by the varying emotions from different students and their honesty. We created our own kissing hands so that we always feel the love and know that school is a safe place to learn and grow.