Tuesday, November 22, 2016

All You Turkeys Dance Around!

To add a little wobble to our gobble we did an awesome Harry Kindergarten song and dance to get our bodies moving! We also learned about some of the turkey habits. Enjoy! 

December Calendar

Please note that as the weather changes students must be dressing accordingly. Also, if we get a lot of the white stuff (snow) students must wear hats, mittens/gloves, coat, snow pants and boots in order to play in the snow! 

Thanksgiving Retelling

The First Thanksgiving is an awesome example of non-fiction that is great for retelling. In order to help us retell the story we used a little reader and mentor texts to help us connect. In small groups students created his/her own retelling bracelet. Each bead color represents a different part of the story. Please have students use the retelling bracelet to share the story with you!

How to Cook a Turkey

I bet you didn't know your kindergarten is also a chef! Today we watched a five minute "how-to" video. Students studied the chef's recipe and directions. Then students had to create a step by step guide for me to follow when I cook my turkey on Thursday. The details and thoroughness was amazing! Please spend some time looking at his how-to writing with you student. Also, how-to writing will be our next writing unit!

STEAM: Can You Build The Mayflower?

STEAM is defined as science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Boy, did we rock that on Monday! We did an awesome Mayflower project where the students were given a challenge to work in groups of three and make a boat. The boat had to hold 5 pennies without sinking and students could only use certain materials. Here is the breakdown of this awesome lesson:

First we had to learn about what the Mayflower is! We discussed the historical aspects of The First Thanksgiving. We learned about the Pilgrims and the Wamponaogs (Native Americans). We read several non-fiction books to help us. We also did our Scholastic Let's Find Out which illustrated different parts of The First Thanksgiving. Doing this research really helped us as we prepared to do our special challenge. 

The science part of our STEM project came from the idea of sink and float. This is a NexGen science standard for kindergarten. We had to remember what it means to sink and float. The technology piece came into play through our research. We also looked at different pictures of ships from that time period to give us ideas on how our boats should be built. The engineering portion was the actual building and rebuilding of the ship. The art piece came into play when we recorded our results and drew our ships as well as in the design phase. The math portion came when we counted the pennies and the materials we needed. 

This collaborative effort was incredible! I could not believe the sophisticated science and engineering conversation. It was a great teaching opportunity for how to solve small problems especially to accomplish a task. Personalities always come into play, but the kiddos were effective communicators! 

Here is our process:

The Research: We explored images of different ships that are similar to the Mayflower.

The Planning Phase: Working with your team come up with your ship design using a dry erase board. 

The Materials: One student came up and shopped for materials for the group. 

The Design Phase: Working together, bring your design to life!

The Testing Phase: Bring your ship up to test to see if it meets the challenge! If it doesn't, return to your plan and revise. 

Report your results: Students then worked in their groups to report their results and draw their ship. 

We Are Thankful!

Exploring the idea of gratitude can sometimes be tricky. We used a couple mentor texts to explore the meaning of gratitude and being thankful. We also unpacked the word Thanksgiving! It actually has the words "thanks" and "giving" -- we are giving thanks! We then brainstormed all of the wonderful things in our lives that we are grateful for. Students created a Plate Full of Thanks that outlined what each student was thankful for. It was an awesome project that brought forward the real meaning of Thanksgiving.

We also made Thanksgiving cards for someone special to share our gratitude. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Math That Fits Us All!

Thanks to our excellent math goal, "I can recognize and write numbers 0-30", we are able to work in focused partners and groups on different levels of that goal. During math we have been working on writing numbers 0-9 primarily. I told the kiddos that if you can write 0-9 you can write any number! With some focused practice in our number writing books and using the board we were able to use our singsongy rhymes that help us remember and recall the way to form each number. 

We have been working in a variety of groups to help solidify this goal. As you can imagine each student is unique in his/her learning needs and what s/he already knows. It is essential that the activities are tailored to each student so that s/he is getting the most out of math time. Of course there are times when we are all working on one thing which could always use more practice -- like number writing. Setting up our routines and structures has proven to be incredibly beneficial was we are able to be independent and work successfully in our classroom!

Leaves Fall

As a part of our tree unit we explored different leaf types and explored their similarities and differences. We discussed the tree types the leaves came from. We then took to a very scientific sorting activity that tested our skills. We were challenged by the nonfiction coloring which required we pay attention to the different leaf colors and why they were that color. It was a very engaging lesson that is happening all around us in autumn!

Exploring and sorting. 

Our scientific analysis begins. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election 2016

It is always so impressive how excited kindergarten students get about their civic duty to vote. Of course we have about 13 more years to wait, but their enthusiasm never disappoints. We have spent a few days over the last couple of weeks discussing the role of the President and what an election actually is. We focused on age appropriate vocabulary like ballot, booth, candidate, and election. Students already knew so much information about the election which reminds us that our kiddos are always listening.

We began by reading three books that illustrated a presidential candidate and discussed elections in an age appropriate way. 

Students then used a specially designed ballot to vote for "teacher", "Duck", or "Grace" for president. We practiced
checking the circle to get ready for our real mock election. If you are wondering who won our character election, Grace won with 8 votes!

We then moved on to our Scholastic Let's Find Out which helped connect the stories we read to the actual election. I hope you had a chance to check out this edition with your student. 

We then brainstormed what we would do if we were president! The answers were both thoughtful and eye opening as to what is actually important in the eyes of our students. 

 We then watched a classic Sesame Street all about the election and the voting process. This helped us get ready for the big show!!

Then came the election! On Monday afternoon we made our selections and were told we were "all business" as we came through and took our civic duty very seriously! It was an awesome experience for all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Spooky Halloween

What an awesome Halloween we had in kindergarten! We started our day with a fun writing called "If my teacher was a witch...". The students heard a read aloud and then brainstormed different things I could do if I were a witch. While this writing was fiction, I tried to help out by adorning my witch's hat! 

Later in the morning we were lucky enough to have four parents come in and help us bring the festive! The four moms prepared and purchased the tools needed to complete four uniquely spooky crafts! The students traveled to the four stations and came home with four different Halloween crafts! It was an awesome time! Thank you so much for to the spectacular volunteers.