Saturday, September 30, 2017

Classroom News

We have our first full month of school under our belts, and we are picking up the pace in Kindergarten! There has been so much excitement in our classroom these past two weeks- here are some highlights:

Reading Workshop

During reading workshop, we spent time thinking about who we are as readers. As we explored various genres, we discovered that we are all unique readers who have different interests in books! Some of us like poetry books, while others enjoy books about animals. Some of us were excited about dinosaur books, and others love fairy tales. Identifying these favorites will help us choose books that are a good fit for us, but we learned that it is also important to try different kinds of books to see what else is out there that we may enjoy! Thank you so much for helping your kindergartener fill out the reading survey on their book preferences. These will come in handy as we begin selecting books for our individual book bins that we use for independent reading time during reading workshop. 

We also learned about the differences between fiction and nonfiction books, and the characteristics of each. We discovered features of nonfiction books such as how-to pages, diagrams, labeled photographs or illustrations, and fun facts. As we studied fiction books, we practiced reading the pictures along with the words. We had a fabulous time discussing the details in the illustrations that gave us more information about the story with our turn-and-talk partners. When we piece together the pictures and the words, we make meaning!

Novel Engineering

Speaking of fiction books, we had a special treat this week, as Mrs. Wasik, our Advanced Learning Facilitator at Dryden, joined us for a novel engineering lesson. First, we read the book, Peter's Chair together, and learned that the main character, Peter, had outgrown his chair. His chair was then passed down to his little sister, leaving Peter without a chair. We quickly identified Peter's problem- that he needed a new chair of his own! Next, we worked in groups to design a chair for Peter. After working together to combine ideas and make a decision about what the best chair for Peter would look like, these Kindergarten engineers moved forward with their building plans! Together, they selected materials and created a model of the design they had created on paper. I was so impressed with the way they worked in teams and let their creativity shine!


During math, we have been working hard to spot differences, and explain WHY something is different. We have practiced this in various forms, by comparing objects, people, and pictures. We truly understand a concept when we can explain why, and these Kindergarten friends have become experts at spotting AND explaining differences!

Number formation has been another focus of our first math lessons. We use the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum for both letter and number formation, and have started with numbers. So far, we have introduced the numbers 1, 2, and 3. We reinforce this practice in our math lessons, and I am starting to see improvements with those numbers! Next up are 4 and 5, which are a little trickier. We will keep practicing!

Center Rotations

In Kindergarten, we have two different types of centers- free choice play centers, and center rotations. During center rotations, we do more academic based play activities, and our last set of center rotations were all based on one another's names! We matched letter cards and magnetic letters to spell our names, and those of our friends, did name puzzles to reveal a hidden picture, completed an ABC train puzzle, and sorted uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet and put them in order.


Computer time in the LMC is always a highlight of our week! Most recently, we have practiced our click and drag skills with a shape sort, and learned how to login to PebbleGo. PebbleGo is a fantastic resource we will use to research various topics. It is very Kindergarten friendly, as the text is read aloud to you on each page!

Zones of Regulation

Last week, we introduced the Zones of Regulation, and began with the book, The Way I Feel. Together, we identified the emotions in the book, and learned that our emotions can be categorized into four zones, red, yellow, green, and blue. We always strive to be in the green zone, where we are feeling happy and ready to learn! We sorted the emotions we identified in the book into the four zones. Our next step will be to learn how to identify which zone we are in when we leave the green zone, and ways in which we can transition back to the green zone successfully!

All About Me weeks

Our "All About Me" routines are in full swing, and we have enjoyed learning more about a couple of our friends. First up was Michael, who shared his NASA monkey, a meditation book with emotions (perfect tie-in to our Zones of Regulation lesson!), a calendar piece for his birthday to represent his birthday AND because he wants to be a teacher when he grows up. He also shared the game "Spot It" that he likes to play at bedtime, and a picture of his family paddle boating at Twin Lakes. Michael's mom and dad joined us as guest readers to share a feelings book and a silly book. We loved hearing their stories!

Next, we learned about Polina! She shared her special stuffed animal that was a gift from her older sister, her swim goggles because she loves swimming in her backyard pool, and a special necklace that was given to her by her mom for her birthday. She also shared a picture of her family, and a comb, because she loves to do hair with her sister!

One Book, One School

On Friday, we attended an assembly hosted by Mrs. O'Kelly to kick off our One Book, One School experience! Even Celeste made a guest appearance, sneaking up behind Mrs. O'Kelly as she was speaking! You should have received an email from me on Friday afternoon with all of the details about this project, and the book for your family to share was sent home in your child's backpack. It should be an exciting adventure!

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Classroom 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 three, I, can, and we.  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.

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! Each page should have at least 3 examples for the beginning sound we are focusing on for that day. Thank you for your help with this at home! In the classroom, we have been reflecting on our coloring using a self reflection rubric. It's so wonderful to see them thinking about the rubric and putting forth their best effort!


Our first unit in math is underway, and we are learning about numbers from 1-5 in depth, and are working on identifying what is the same and what is different about various objects. We also identified matching objects, and used manipulatives to practice making a match with our partners. We have practiced sorting objects by attributes such as color, shape, and size. This helped solidify our thinking and made it easier to discuss with our partners why objects are similar or different.

Play Centers

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. This week, I even heard conversations that tied into our math lessons as the group discussed what was the same and different about the structures they were building with the magnetic blocks! Music to a teacher's ears!


The LMC has been full of excitement these past two weeks!  We began with a an emoji hunt in the library to learn about important places and procedures in the LMC.  The kids worked together in a small group so nicely, with the guidance of myself, Mrs. O'Kelly, or Mrs. Kenney, to find each stop on their scavenger hunt, and scan the QR code with the iPad to find emojis at each important place. They had so much fun!

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. We will keep practicing basic tech skills throughout the year as part of our LMC lessons!

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, Ten Little Dinosaurs!  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!

Dryden Kids Care

This week, Dryden will be collecting donations to help students in Texas and Florida recover from the hurricane.  Please label any envelopes with donations "Hurricane Help". As we learn about the pillars of good character, so far we have introduced good citizenship and responsibility. This week, we will learn about respect, caring, trust, and fairness. 

Looking forward to another great week! Thanks for reading!