Saturday, September 17, 2016

Kindergarten News

We have been hard at work in Kindergarten recently!  Our routines are starting to fall into place, and the class is doing such a nice job of following directions, treating friends kindly, and doing their best work each day.  Below are a few pictures and summaries of what we have been doing during our time together!

Reading Workshop

During our initial Reading Workshop lessons, we have been focusing on what it means to listen, share, and read.  We practiced doing "turn and talks" with our reading partners to share our thoughts during read alouds.  We discovered that it helps us to understand the story more when we discuss it with our partners!  It also helped us to understand on a deeper level when we took the time to study the illustrations before reading each page.  There were many details we spotted that gave us clues about what may happen next, or how the characters were feeling!  Another focus of our lessons was identifying the differences between a letter, word, and sentence.

As our procedures for reading routines are falling into place, you may notice the blue book bag in your child's backpack has two plastic bags inside with a growing collection.  The smaller bag contains sight word cards.  So far we have only two, I and can.  The larger bag contains paper mini books that go with the sight word of the week.  We will keep adding to these bags!  These are great ways to practice the sight words in context.  Please keep reviewing these at home with your child, and keep them in the blue bag in their backpack!  Once our Guided Reading routines begin (where I will meet with small reading groups at their varying instructional levels), you will also see a book at your child's reading level in the bag to practice as well.  

Writing Workshop

The authors in K-3 have been learning the writing process- first we THINK, then DRAW, then LABEL, and finally, WRITE.  When we are labeling pictures, it's ok to only have a few letters of the word, or even just the letter that goes with the first sound.  We will keep working on stretching those words out to include middle and ending sounds!

Jolly Phonics

Our Jolly Phonics notebooks are growing!  We typically add a new sound each Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so look for your child's notebook to come home on those days.  At home, you can support your child by asking them to tell you about their drawings, helping them stretch out the word to add sounds in their labels, and come up with more examples to add to their page!  Thank you for your help with this at home!


During math, we have been practicing many different mathematical skills.  One skill has been comparing lengths, by using words like shorter, longer, and equal when describing objects.  The students used varying lengths of strips of paper to compare and discuss the lengths of their paper strip in comparison to a friend's paper strip.

We compared pattern blocks by identifying different shapes, sizes, and colors.  We practiced counting the number of sides on each shape as well.  Of course, we then had fun building or making patterns with the blocks- I loved seeing each child's creativity shine through as they decided what they were going to do with their set of blocks!

Using the letters in each student's name, we created a class graph to organize our names by the number of letters.  This went along nicely with our Reading Workshop lesson about the difference between a letter and a word!  Once our graph was complete, we were able to use the graph to discuss the results, such as the longest name in our class, the shortest name in our class, and identifying names that have the same number of letters.


I think most of our Kindergarten friends would agree that centers are their favorite part of Kindergarten!  They have been doing a wonderful job of learning how to share, take turns, work together, and handle disappointment if they are not able to go to their first choice of centers right away.


The LMC has been full of excitement these past two weeks!  We began with a Pokemon Go hunt in the library to learn about important places and procedures in the LMC.  The kids worked together so nicely to find each stop on their scavenger hunt, and scan the QR code with the iPad to find and catch their Pokemon!

This week, we practiced our click and drag skills on the touchpad of the laptops with a few fun games that went along with the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I was so impressed with the tech skills these Kindergarten friends have!

Guest Reader

This week, we started our "All About Me" bag routine, where I modeled the procedure for sharing our "Me Bags" to tell about ourselves.  Each child has their own assigned week to share their "Me Bag", and on Friday of your child's week, you are invited to be a guest reader in our class!  Because my own parents live far from here, Mr. Glaser served as my guest reader and shared one of our son's favorite books, Dinosaurumpus!  In the red folder you received on Curriculum Night, there is a letter about the Me Bag, and on the back of that letter is the schedule for the year.  I am excited to learn more about each of our friends in K-3!

One last housekeeping item that I wanted to mention is the blue take home folder in your child's backpack.  Make sure to check those each night for important papers, and take those papers out to keep at home!  That way, if something needs to be returned to school, your child can easily find it when opening his or her folder in the morning.  We have been working hard on our unpacking routine upon arriving, and some students have difficulty seeing if they have papers to return to me if they have papers from the previous days inside the folder.

Thank you so much for your support at home- I greatly appreciate it!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

First Week of School

We have had a terrific first week of school!  I have been amazed by the way these Kindergarten friends have caught on to our classroom routines so quickly.  It has been so much fun getting to know this sweet bunch of little ones, and watching them make new friends and enjoy exploring new things with old friends!

Throughout the first week, many of our activities have been linked to the lovable book character, Chester the raccoon.  On the first day, we read the book, The Kissing Hand, about Chester the raccoon, who was nervous about going to school and missing his mommy.  His mom gave him a special kiss in the palm of his hand, so anytime he was missing her, he could put his hand to his cheek and remind himself that his mommy loves him.  After we read the story, we noticed a clue that Chester the raccoon had left in our room, which led us on a search around the school for him!  We kept spotting raccoon footprints on the walls in the hallway that reassured us we were on the right track.  On our scavenger hunt for Chester, we found important places in the school, like the LMC, the art room, music room, gym, and office.  When we returned to our room, we found special sparkly hearts that Chester must have left for us on our supply boxes while we were touring the school!  We are keeping these gifts from Chester in our supply boxes, so if we are ever missing someone at home during the school day, we can hold the heart in our hands to remind us that our grown ups love us!  Over the next few days, we read more Chester stories, A Pocketful of Kisses, Chester and the Big, Bad Bully, and Chester the Brave. Chester helped us learn about overcoming our fears and being a good friend.  The students also made their own kissing hand projects, coloring and cutting out a poem about The Kissing Hand, painting their hands to press to the paper, and adding a kissing hand sticker to the middle.  They had such fun!

To end the week, we explored a set of Chester games, which focused on practicing matching our uppercase and lowercase letters, recognizing numbers, counting and matching numbers, and playing memory.  We also worked on a first week of kindergarten book this week, which helped us to not only practice the routines of getting our supplies out and putting them away, but also listening and following directions, coloring, and writing.

I am looking forward to seeing these sweet, smiling faces on Tuesday!  Enjoy the long weekend!