Sunday, October 30, 2016

Classroom News

We are wrapping up October, and are excited to celebrate Halloween tomorrow!  I will be sure to post pictures of these little cuties in their costumes!

Jolly Phonics

Recently, we've added six new sounds to our Jolly Phonics notebooks and rings.  They are:

/ai/ as in train
/j/ as in jar
/oa/ as in oak tree
/ie/ as in pie
/ee/ as in deep
/or/ as in corn

Reading Workshop

Last week, we began practicing our reading stamina, and continue to track our progress as a class.  We have been graphing how many minutes we can read without interruptions.  We also worked together to create an anchor chart about what problems may come up during Reading Workshop time, and how we can solve those problems if Mrs. Glaser is working with a reading group.  My fantastic Kindergarten actors did a great job helping me stage these pictures so we can remember what each problem and solution is when we look at the chart!

We also practiced making movies in our minds of the books we are reading to help us remember and understand the book.  We traced the pictures with our fingers, said what was happening, then closed our eyes and made the movie in our minds.  Finally, we practiced retelling books using the words once, next, then, after that, later, and finally to help us connect the events in the book as we discuss them with our friends!

Writing Workshop

As we reviewed the four steps we take when writing: think, draw, label, and write, we continued to develop our "Ouch" stories.  We practiced saying the sounds in a word to help us write a label, and then saying the words in a sentence to write our thoughts.  Finally, we worked on a rubric as a class to help us self evaluate our writing.


Mrs. Taldone, our Occupational Therapist, has been working closely with us as we learn to correctly form our letters and numbers.  One strategy we use is the "wet, dry, try" routine with our mini chalkboards.  We first use a wet sponge to make the letter, then use a pom pom to dry the letter, then we use our chalk to try writing it.  Next, we move on to more practice using our pencils.  So far, we have instruction with the letters E and F, and numbers 1 and 2.

Along with the number writing, we have also worked with patterns, shapes, and counting games during math instruction.


For the past two weeks, we have taken turns completing center rotations with the following centers:

Ten Frames practice

Lego table

Book shopping & reading stamina practice

Listening center

Sight word practice with the word "the"

Character Counts Week
This week, we introduced the 6 pillars of good character and learned the basic idea of what each pillar means and what that might look like at school.  We also enjoyed two Digital Citizenship lessons with our technology facilitator, Mrs. Frantz.  She taught us about how to use technology in a safe way, and how to demonstrate good character as a digital citizen.

We practiced those skills as we used the iPads to practice logging into our accounts on ABC mouse, and creating our avatars!

All About Me Students

We learned more about our friend McKenna, who shared with us a book she wrote about Dryden, her special leotard, cupcake erasers to represent her love of cupcakes, a pumpkin because she enjoys pumpkins, and a card because she loves to play cards- Go Fish being her favorite game.  

McKenna's sister and her friend joined us to read an Elephant and Piggie book, and even brought a puppet along to help act out the story!

Next, we learned about Nash!  He shared a picture of his family, a medal he won, a baseball because he loves baseball, a Superman book because he likes superheroes, and a Star Wars puzzle to represent his love of Star Wars.
 Nash's dad joined us to read Curious George Visits a Toy Store, which was special since Curious George was a character that his dad enjoyed as a child, too!

4th grade visit

We were invited to visit Mrs. Schwarz & her 4th graders to read with them.  It was so sweet seeing the Kindergarteners eyes light up when a 4th grader read to them, and to see the 4th graders enjoy the responsibility of reading to the younger children.  What a fabulous reading community we have at Dryden!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Classroom News

One of my favorite quotes I overheard recently was one student saying to another, "Kindergarten seems like it would be not very fun, like it would just be too hard, but it's so much fun, isn't it?"  We are loving learning... see what we've been learning about below!


Along with continued practice to strengthen our counting skills, we have done a lot of work recently with shapes.  We worked together as a class to manipulate tangrams on our Mimio in order to fit into various templates.

We also began working with ten frames.  We learned that we fill in a ten frame in the same manner that we read a book.  Starting on the left side, we fill in the top row, then move to the left side of the bottom row and move to our right again.  Ten frames can help us to visually analyze a number, counting how many spaces are left until we reach ten.  For instance, if we have seven boxes filled, we can easily see we need three more to make ten.

 Next, we went on a number walk around our school, and spotted numbers in various places.  I was so impressed with some of the numbers my kindergarten friends noticed that I had overlooked!  Here are some of our findings:

 Finally, we discussed and identified shapes, and then worked together on a shape sort with items that we would find in our everyday lives.


During reading workshop, we stop during read alouds to "turn and talk" with a partner about what we've been reading.  Now we have learned that there are helpful phrases we can use to share our thoughts in an organized and respectful manner.  We can start by saying, "I think...because" or "I notice..." and then giving our partner the opportunity to agree or disagree.  Our partner can respond to our statement by saying "I agree...because" or "I disagree...because".  We learned that it is not a bad thing for partners to disagree with one another, but that it is important to always back up our statements with a "because", explaining why we feel that way.

Next, we learned that we can read stories again and again, and that helps us to become stronger readers.  When we read something that is familiar to us, it gives us the chance to read more fluently and with expression.  We also may spot details in the story that we didn't notice the first time! 

We began choosing books for our book bins, and practiced using the strategy of studying the cover, looking inside the book and thinking, "Does this interest me?" in order to select our books.  As we choose books, we take care of them by making sure to use two hands to handle them carefully, turn the pages at the top corner, and place them back in the book bin with the covers facing out and right side up.  These kindergarten readers took this VERY seriously, and were so careful choosing their books!

Jolly Phonics & Sight Words

We have recently introduced the following sounds and added them to our Jolly Phonics notebook and the Jolly Phonics sound rings in our blue book baggies:

/g/ as in "girl"
/o/ as in "on"
/u/ as in "umbrella"
/l/ as in "lollipop"
/f/ as in "fish"
/b/ as in "bat"

We also spent time reviewing the sight words we have introduced so far:

You can practice those at home by using the sight word flashcards in the blue book baggies, as well as reading them in context using the mini books in the blue book baggies.  We practiced the word "we" by writing, coloring, finding/circling, and stamping the word.


We spent some time reviewing our writing workshop procedures and the process that authors go through as they write.  We are taking each of the four steps and reviewing them, then putting them into practice on a new writing piece.  Authors think, draw, label, and then write. 

 As we reviewed the "think" step, we read the Elephant & Piggie book, I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems.  We discovered the Mo Willems told the story by telling who was there, what happened, when it happened, and where the characters were.  We then used these guiding questions to turn and talk with a partner about our own "Ouch" story, and shared an experience where we got hurt!


We began our Tracking the Weather science unit by graphing our September weather in our science journals.  We completed three different graphs, one to show the type of weather we had each day (sunny, cloudy, rainy, etc), the temperature, and if the day was windy or not.  We will continue to track the weather each month, and keep track in our science journals so we can compare the weather from month to month.  We also talked about how our clothing changes with the weather, and how our indoor clothing may differ from our outdoor clothing.


Centers continues to be one of our favorite parts of the day.  We were very excited to add the listening center to our rotations!

We have some special dress days coming up to celebrate Character Counts week:
October 21: wear GREEN for responsibility
October 24: wear YELLOW for respect
October 25: wear RED for caring
October 26: wear BLUE for trust
October 27: wear ORANGE for fairness
October 28: wear PURPLE for citizenship