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

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We are all different!

Our class and Mrs. Bradford's class were very fortunate to be able to plan Rowe School's January Community Meeting.  Our community meeting focused on how everyone is different.  We shared that Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who believed everyone should be treated fairly and kindly, just like we believe at Rowe School.  The two classes learned and shared a poem with the rest of the school.  The poem focused on imagining what the world would be like with just one color.  The children worked hard to learn the poem, and it showed when they shared the poem today! 

The pictures above show children painting paper crayons for the community meeting.

 Last week in Reading we:
  • Created an anchor chart for the different ways to buddy read.  Children modeled the different ways and then all children practiced with their buddy.  This was a review lesson.

  • Reviewed that readers say a story back to themselves when they finish reading a book.  I taught the children to go back and reread if they can't remember parts of a story.
  • Learned that partners can share predictions with each other when buddy reading.
Last week during Word Work we:
  • Added "like" to our word wall.
  • Matched pictures with the letter the picture word begins with.
  • Practiced spelling and writing word wall words.
  • Learned color words and matched color words.

Last week in Writing we:
  • Learned that small moment stories are stories that happen in one place, at one time, and are about one thing.
  • Used Google Earth to learn how to zoom in on a topic.  The children loved this!  We began by looking at the whole world and eventually zoomed in on Rowe School.
  • Learned about "watermelon stories" and "seed stories."  This is an analogy I shared to help children understand the difference between a big topic and a small moment story.

Last week in Math we:
  • Used our bodies and string to make giant shapes.  Later in the week we compared and contrasted shapes that are the same but different in ways.  

  • Sorted blocks by attributes the children defined.

  • Played a game called Dice Roll.  Children rolled two dice and then added the dots together to find the sum.  After finding the sum they colored one square above that number on a bar graph.  They did this until one number reached the top of their graph.  We then compiled this data into a class bar graph to determine which sum was most likely to be rolled.  We discussed why certain sums were less likely to be rolled than others (ex. There are less ways to make a sum of 2 than 8 when rolling two dice.).
  • Solved subtraction number stories.
We have a cold week ahead of us!  Let's hope it warms up enough for the children to get outside a few times!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Year, New Learning!

Sometimes I need to remind myself that I'm teaching Kindergarten...these kindergartners impress me every day and often make me think I am teaching first grade again!

The children had a smooth transition back to school after our holiday vacation.  Last week, we spent time reviewing the expectations and procedures for all parts of our day.  Responsive Classroom research supports that it is important to to do this throughout the year, such as before or after a vacation.  Mrs. Gross, our school counselor, came in on Monday to teach our class about good listening skills.  The children love her puppet shows!

In addition to reviewing/practicing routines and procedures, we also reviewed reading strategies.  I introduced children to an animal that they can use to remember each reading strategy:
  • EAGLE Eye - Look at the pictures to help you figure out a word
  • Lips the FISH - Get your lips/mouth ready with the first sound of the word
  • Skippy FROG - Skip the word you don't know, read to the end of the sentence, and then go back to the beginning of the sentence to see if you know what the word is
  • Stretchy SNAKE - stretch the word out and say all the sounds you hear
Ask your children about these strategies, and I bet they will be able to explain them to you!!
  • During Reading Workshop we also reviewed cross-checking: Asking ourselves if the word we're thinking of looks right, sounds right, and makes sense.
  • After reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear and I Went Walking, the children completed a "Snowman, Snowman, What do you See?" activity.  These are hanging in the hallway, so be sure to check them out when you come for your child's conference.

  • During reading centers, children practiced matching uppercase letters to lower case letters, and they practiced reading and writing word wall words.

With the new year brought a new writing unit: small moment stories.  Prior to vacation the children had been immersed in writing pattern books.  A long vacation was the perfect time to transition to writing small moment stories, as I'm sure the children's vacations were filled with small moments!  Throughout the week the children practiced telling and then writing small moment stories.

Last week in Math we:
  • Learned a new game, Bunny Hop.  This game helps children practice adding and subtracting on a number line.
  • Played "Follow My Pattern."  One child creates a pattern and his/her partner has to continue the pattern.  I was impressed with the multiple part patterns children were creating! 

  • Played "Number Top-It" to practice comparing numbers.
  • Solved addition and subtraction number stories.
One of our biggest obstacles to overcome the last two weeks has been getting ready for recess! Every day the children become more and more independent and efficient when getting their snow gear on.  Seeing their joy when they finally get into the snow makes the process all worth it!!

Conferences are just a few weeks away.  I am excited to meet with all of you to share your child's growth since last time we met!