font-family: 'Shadows Into Light Two', cursive;/ Life in Kindergarten: 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gingergread House Fun

We had a great afternoon building gingerbread houses on Friday! 

Last week during Reading Workshop we spent a lot of time practicing our Gingerbread Baby play.  The children are working on reciting their lines with fluency, confidence, and in character.  They are excited to perform the play on Thursday.  We hope to see you then!

Painting the gingerbread house background for our play

In addition to practicing our play, we also worked on:
  • thinking as we read.  We reviewed that reading is more than just saying the words on a page; reading is thinking!  I taught the children that the books they are reading are either informational text (nonfiction) or stories (fiction).  When they read, they can think about if the the book is a story or if they are learning information about a topic.  
  • talking about our books with our buddies.  Reading with a buddy isn't just about reading the words and then moving on to a new book.  Buddies need to talk about the books they are reading.
  • getting our minds warmed up for reading by doing a picture walk before we read the words.  This can help us figure out what the book is going to be about.  By doing this, we can get a sense of what some of the words might say.
Last week during Writing Workshop we learned that:
  • authors of pattern books can write seesaw patterns.  Instead of writing the same pattern on every page throughout the whole book, authors can go back and forth between two different patterns that are connected to the same pattern.
    This weather is good.  This weather is bad.
  • authors of pattern books can write a question on the first page of their book and then answer the question in a patterned sentence on the rest of the pages in the book.
  • the title of a book needs to hold the book together and connect with the big idea of the book.
  • sentences begin with an uppercase letter and end with a period (or another type of punctuation).
Last week during Math we:
  • learned about and practiced estimating.
  • learned the addition symbol and solved an addition gingerbread man number story.
  • played Follow My Pattern.  I showed the children a pattern, and they had to continue it with pattern blocks.

And of course, there is always time for Free Exploration!

I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gingerbread Kick-Off

This week we started our Gingerbread Man unit.  For the next two weeks, children will engage in gingerbread themed literacy and math activities.  We have started reading different versions of The Gingerbread Man, and over the next two weeks we will compare and contrast the different versions of this tale.  This is an exciting unit for the children!

Here are a few pictures of the children during Free Exploration this week:

This week during Reading we:
  • practiced using the strategy, Skippy Frog.  When children come to a word they don't know, they can skip the word, read to the end of the sentence, then go back to the beginning and think of what would make sense.
  • learned to ask ourselves three questions when we think we have figured out an unknown word: Does it look right?  Does it sound right?  Does it make sense?
  • added "my" to our word wall.
  • read a pattern book called "My Gingerbread Man."
This week during Writing we:
  • worked on thinking of different topics to write about and learned more about how to think of a pattern.
  • learned that illustrators of pattern books need to draw illustrations that will support a reader in figuring out the word that changes on each page.
  • practiced saying the sounds in a word and writing at least one letter for each sound we hear.
  • fancied-up our work (added color to our illustrations...we do this on Fridays and call it Fancy-Up Friday).
This week during Math we:
  • learned how to trace using a pattern block template.  Children made designs using pattern blocks, and then recreated their design on paper using a pattern block template.

  • practiced moving on a number line.  We practiced on a giant number line, and then the children played a number line game called Bunny Hop.

  • solved addition number stories.

  • made a paper gingerbread house using different shapes.

This week we also spent time learning about Hanukkah.  I read aloud two different books about Hanukkah, and the children made a paper menorah.  I hope they were able to tell you about the menorah when they brought it home!

I look forward to having many of you join us for gingerbread houses next Friday!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Last week during Reading Workshop we:
  • worked on choosing books independently while Mrs. Caron read with students.
  • reviewed that readers look at and point under each word for every word they say.
  • learned that sometimes when we sound out a word, it might not sound like a real word.  When that happens, we need to use our other reading strategies to help us figure out the word.
  • learned that often the last page in a book does not follow the pattern that the rest of the pages follow.  Readers recognize this and use everything they know about the story to help them read the last page.
  • read with our first grade reading buddies!

Last week during Writing Workshop we:
  •  learned that just like the books we are reading follow a pattern, we can write pattern books, too.  Many of the words we can use in a pattern are on our word wall, making them easy for us to write.

  • learned that the pages in a pattern book are all about the same topic.
  • wrote a class pattern book about what we do in kindergarten.
  • learned that writers write one word for every word they say when they think of a sentence.  Words need to be separated by spaces.
  • learned that just like the authors of the books we read, we can change the pattern on the last page of our books.
Last week during Math we:
  • learned more about leveling a pan balance.  We put an object of one side of the balance, and then put a clump of clay on the other side.  Through experimentation, we learned that we can add to or take away from the clay to make the scale balanced.
  • played an addition game with cubes to help us add up to a sum of ten.

  • created a class bar graph about our favorite classroom activities.  We then analyzed and discussed the data.
  • learned about, and practiced, counting by tens. 
Enjoy the pictures below of children during centers and free exploration.

Since we only have two days of school this coming week, I will not be updating the blog until the weekend after we get back from break.  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!