Saturday, December 17, 2016

Classroom News

Wow!  What a fun filled few weeks in December we've had!  I cannot believe how quickly it flew by.


We have spent time exploring common themes in various versions of The Gingerbread Man.  As we read the stories, we identified the similarities and differences with the main characters, settings, repeated phrases, and ending of the stories.  There are many more versions out there, so that may be a fun extension activity if you are looking for something to do at the library over winter break!  The ones we focused on are pictured below:
We also participated in gingerbread themed centers.  Our listening center was with the book, The Gingerbread Bear. Next, we used gumdrop pictures to match the number of gumdrops to the "teen" number on each gingerbread's belly. Another center focused on adding labels, by labeling the parts of a gingerbread person. We also did a color by number gingerbread picture to identify numbers and color words, and played a game called "Gingerbread Bump" to work on number identification.

Our Kindergarten classrooms were also transformed into a Gingerbread house, and they had a great time painting gingerbread kids and making candies and gumdrops to add to the house!  


Using small and large gingerbread cookie pictures, we practiced measuring with nonstandard units, and comparing the number of small gingerbread it took to measure an object, with the number of large gingerbread it took to measure the same object.  To make sure we were doing this tricky task correctly, we enlisted the help of our 5th grade buddies in Mrs. Schindler's class!  They worked so well together, and the kindergarten friends are now so excited when they see their 5th grade friends in the hallways. 

We also explored the concept of symmetry, identifying examples of symmetry in nature and using what we learned about symmetry when we painted our gingerbread kids. Together, we learned how to write a number story by cutting out gingerbread and using them as counters to solve simple addition problems.  We also worked together as a class to analyze data by spinning a wheel and graphing which gingerbread person the spinner landed on each time for a total of ten spins.  Speaking of ten, we have been working hard on counting to 100 by tens, while also continuing to practice counting to 100 by ones.  Finally, we introduced the concept of area by covering a picture of a gingerbread man in pennies, and counting to see how many pennies it took to cover him. 

Jolly Phonics

We have completed our Jolly Phonics notebooks after introducing all of the Jolly Phonics sounds!  I told the students to keep their notebooks at home to review, or use the additional pages to use those sounds to write sentences and illustrate.  All of the Jolly Phonics sounds are now in place on the sound rings in each child's blue book bag.  Those are a great resource for additional sound review as well! When we return from break, we will be using the time previously spent on Jolly Phonics sounds to do more regular handwriting practice with the Handwriting Without Tears materials, so we can introduce and practice the correct strokes for all of the uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as the numbers.  


Our rainbows, colors, and light unit has now concluded, and we enjoyed the discoveries we made with our most recent experiments! We learned about shadows, and how the source of light can change the shadow's size and shape.  At the beginning of the unit, we had completed a chart to record what we knew about rainbows, colors, and light, and what we wanted to learn.  We revisited this chart to identify any misconceptions we had, new information, and new questions we have. 

Finally, we created rainbow stained glass windows.  It was so neat to see the students' creativity shine through in the differences with how they approached this project! 

Art Appreciation

We have been lucky to have two Art Appreciation lessons recently!  First, Kendall's mom joined us to  teach us about Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.  We learned about how her eyes follow you as you move around the room!  We also colored our own version of Mona Lisa.

Next, Alessandro's mom joined us to teach us about Edouard Manet's The Fife Player.  We were then able to create our own fifes and marched around the room to fife music!

All About Me weeks

We loved learning more about Christian!  He did a wonderful job sharing the items he chose to bring in, including a picture of his family, a Pokemon, and his kitty, Jack.  He also brought a toy car that he likes to play with, and a picture he colored to represent his love of coloring!

We also loved learning more about Kendall as she told us about the pictures she brought in of her family, herself with her brother and cousin in their Halloween costumes, and her dog Rozzi- also in costume!  She also shared with us her love of Shopkins and her bunny, Sniffles.  Her parents also joined us with a spirited reading of The Monster at the End of This Book that the students loved!

Hour of Code

During our LMC time, the students loved participating in coding activities, and picked up on the activities SO quickly!  Quite the technology experts we have!!  Mrs. O'Kelly has compiled a list of coding activities for students to explore at home if they are interested.

Guided Reading

I have met with each child individually over these past few weeks to read with them and help me get an idea of what books are a good fit for them at this point, as well as what their strengths and goals as a reader may be.  When we return in January, I will begin meeting with them in Guided Reading groups to provide targeted instruction at their individual reading levels.  I am excited to watch them continue to grow as readers!

Winter Break!

I hope you all have a restful, yet fun Winter Break with your families!  I am so lucky and thankful to spend each day with these joyful kindergarteners.  Happy Holidays from my family to each of yours! I will see you when we return on Tuesday, January 3rd! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Classroom News

These weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving have flown by!  I'll begin with a long overdue post of these kindergarten cuties in their Halloween costumes.  A big thank you to our room representative, Mrs. Closs, for planning our party!  We also want to thank our party volunteers, Mrs. Carroll, Mrs. Titova, Mrs. Zhang, and Mrs. Simpson.  The kids had a fantastic time parading through the neighborhood, playing games, and making Halloween masks!

Halloween 2016 from Lauren Glaser on Vimeo.


In a coin matching game, students rolled a cube with pictures of pennies, nickels, and dimes on the sides.  With their table groups, they took turns identifying and matching coins to sort them into groups.  They had so much fun, and used their critical thinking skills along with good teamwork to sort all of their coins!

Our recent math lessons have focused mainly on the "teen" numbers.  We started by learning about digits, and how the numbers 0-9 can make any other number, just by moving the place value.  Next, we began practicing the "tricky teens".  We are also introducing the idea that the number 14 is 10 with 4 more, or the number 17 is 10 with 7 more.  This is a tough concept, but one we will keep revisiting to help our little mathematicians think about numbers in different ways to understand how numbers work on a deeper level!


During reading workshop recently, we have been exploring fiction stories.   We first identified the difference between real and fantasy stories with the book, Could Be Worse by James Stevenson.  Next, we began focusing on familiar tales, like Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  As we read and reread these tales, we worked on retelling stories by naming the characters and setting, then telling the main events of the story using the words "first", "next", "then", "after that", and "last".  Finally, we took a closer look at the problem the main character encounters in a story, and made predictions about how they may solve their problem.  Identifying the problem and solution in a story helped us to think about what lesson the story might be teaching us!

We have also added the following Jolly Phonics sounds to our notebooks: z like in the word "zebra", ng like in the word "ring", v as in "vest", oo/oo as in "look" and "zoom", y like in the word "yellow", x as in the word "box", and ch like in the word "chair".

During centers time, students listened to the book, The Runaway Pumpkin at listening centers, practiced patterns with unifix cubes, used the iPads to complete literacy activities on the abcmouse app, played a fun sight word game, and worked on ten frames with a pumpkin puzzle!


After working so hard on our "ouch" stories, the students used the rubric we created together to reflect on their writing.  They were very thoughtful and took a close look at their work to determine what areas they were very strong in, and what areas they could focus on for improvement.

We made special writing crowns and enjoyed sharing our writing with our friends!

We also did a writing in preparation for our upcoming holiday, where we wrote about what food we like to eat on Thanksgiving.  Many students mentioned turkey, which goes right along with the cute turkey wreaths we made.  First we painted, then we worked on strengthening our fine motor skills by pinching and crumpling tissue paper squares and gluing them on to make the turkey feathers.  They turned out beautifully!


During our Rainbows, Colors, and Light unit in science, we have been making exciting discoveries! We began by reading A Rainbow of My Own, and explored prisms.  We experimented with light and a prism to find small rainbows.

Next, we took a close look at our eyes.  We studied what our eyes look like, and experimented with light and darkness to discover that our pupils get larger when it is dark, and smaller when it is light.  We also chose crayon colors in the dark to determine whether or not we can see color in the dark.

Next, we explored with paints and play dough to see what happens when we mix colors!

All About Me Weeks

We enjoyed learning about Johann as he shared his me bag with us!  He was very proud to share his special stuffed Mickey Mouses, a Mickey book, and his Thomas the Train engines.

Johann's mom and sister joined us as guest readers to share a Paw Patrol book with us, complete with a Paw Patrol sticker for everyone!

Next up was Sophia, who shared with us beautiful pictures of herself in a beautiful traditional dress and a picture of her family, a special bear that she sleeps with, an American flag, and her favorite My Little Pony!

I hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving, and I look forward to seeing my kindergarten friends back next week!