Sunday, February 18, 2018

Classroom News

What a busy couple of weeks we have had! These love bugs have celebrated the 100th day of school, Valentine's Day, and even a snow day! 

Reading Workshop

As we continue our focus on comprehension strategies we use with non-fiction text, we saw a familiar strategy that we also have used with fiction text- making connections! With our turn and talk partners, we practiced using the phrase, "This reminds me of..." to share a connection we have to our own lives, or something we have read or heard before to build upon our learning. 

We also learned that as we read non-fiction, we are learning new things throughout the book, and it is important that we stop and identify new learning, or confirm what we already know. We worked through this together as we read the book, How Bees Make Honey, and tried stopping and thinking before, during, and after our reading. We practiced how to confirm what we know and identify new information with our turn and talk partners, by saying things like, "Yes! I already knew that!" or "Wow! I never knew that!". Next, we practiced this strategy on our own with the non-fiction selections we have in our individual book bins, and took turns sharing some of our new learning with the class.

Writing Workshop

During writing, we continue to work on stretching out words to include beginning, middle, and ending sounds. As we work more closely with vowel rules and word patterns during guided reading groups, we transfer that learning into our writing. We are also pushing ourselves to write more! Many students have found that if they go back and add something else to their picture, they may have another detail to add to their writing as well. As we celebrated the 100th day of school, we also did a special writing about what we would buy if we had 100 dollars. I loved hearing their creative ideas!

100th day

Speaking of the 100th day, we had a wonderful time celebrating our 100th day of school together! It's hard to believe we have already had 100 days of kindergarten. Highlights of our 100th day celebration included using dot markers to count to 100 by tens to make a gumball machine, playing Race to 100, and sharing our bottles of 100 things. We were amazed by how different collections of 100 items could look, depending on what item was chosen. We had fun identifying which bottles were the heaviest, lightest, most full, and least full. 


As we explore shapes in this unit of our math curriculum, we first focused on 3-dimensional shapes, or "solid shapes". We learned that some shapes have flat faces, edges, and corners, and some do not. We also practiced identifying cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres, and pyramids. Next, we worked on describing solid shapes, and identifying which "flat shapes" (such as circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles) were part of each solid shape. We also did a fun experiment where we set up a large ramp and tested various solid shapes to see which ones would roll, slide, and stack, and then drew conclusions based on our evidence! 

Valentine's Day

We had a fantastic time preparing for and celebrating Valentine's Day! We are so thankful for our amazing room reps, Mrs. Nunez and Mrs. Pucilowski, for coordinating our party, and our wonderful volunteers, Mrs. Pattie, Mrs. Neri, and Mrs. Coad for helping with our party stations that afternoon. I think the students' favorite part was delivering their valentines to their sweet friends! Thank you for the beautiful roses from the class and sweet cards and thoughtful gestures. You all made my day that much sweeter!

All About Me Weeks

We loved learning more about our friend Mallory! She shared with us a picture of her family all dressed up at a wedding, and a picture of her with her dad for her basketball team- the Tigers. The class enjoyed seeing her Teenie Beanie boos and fidget spinner that glows in the dark. She also shared a special pink bowling pin that she had signed by friends and family at her birthday party, and a 5th birthday book. Finally, we were able to see a book she published, titled Never Give Up. This was made even more special when her guest reader, her grandma, read the book to the class! 

Next, we had the pleasure of learning about our friend Autumn! She shared her special stuffed bear that she sleeps with every night, named Curly. We also learned that she especially enjoys villains in movies, and she shared a toy figurine of the villain from the movie Coco that was her favorite present for Hanukkah. She also shared a toy figurine of Scar from the Lion King, that is extra special to her because it was her daddy's when he was little. She also shared her stuffed animal Marie, and a picture of her family with Elsa from Frozen! 

Toys at School

One more piece of information I wanted to share is that it has been brought to my attention that some students are bringing small toys to school, and are trading them with one another. Aside from being a distraction from the school day, this also causes disappointment and disagreements when a student trades an item and then wants to trade back, and is not able to get the item back from the friend they traded with. There was even a report of a student bringing money to recess to pay another student for an item. I talked with the class as a whole this week about the importance of not bringing toys to school, and explained the reasoning behind this. I wanted to make all parents aware so you may check for small toys or money that may turn up in backpacks, and help students understand why we should not bring our toys to school. Thank you so much for your support with this!

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend! I'm looking forward to seeing all of my kindergarteners back at school on Tuesday!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Classroom News

February is shaping up to be a whirlwind of excitement so far! Here are a few highlights of what we have been working on in kindergarten:


As we wrapped up Chapter 6 of math, we continued to work with ten frames to help make our thinking about numbers more visual and concrete. It also helps us explain our thinking when we identify numbers as greater than or less/fewer than. 

We also organized groups of objects by counting the items, labeling them with number cards, and then ordering them from least to greatest. Perhaps a favorite of the crowd was a guessing game in which we had to give clues to our friends about the secret number by telling them if the number was greater than or less/fewer than the number they guessed. We use the words "fewer" and "fewest" frequently in the program, although less than comes more naturally to the students. The terms used now will continue to be built upon in first grade, second grade, and so on, so it is important that we learn all of the possible terminology now! We try to use a few different terms to describe- for instance, if a student said the collection of erasers was the smallest collection, we may ask ourselves, "What's another way we could say that?", and identify other words like fewest or less than.

Next, we worked together in our table groups to exchange numbers, build towers out of connecting cubes that matched those numbers, and had discussions comparing the towers, telling one another which one represented the greatest number, the fewest, and which were greater or less than with the towers in between.


During reading workshop time, we continue to explore various types of nonfiction text and nonfiction text strategies. Typically, we learn the strategy as a whole group, as we examine a book together. Then we go back to our book bins to try the strategy out with our chosen books. 

A new type of nonfiction book for us was a biography. We learned about the characteristics of a biography, as well as literary nonfiction, as we read the book, Me...Jane about Jane Goodall. This book is the true story of her life, but is written more like a storybook with mostly drawings, rather than photographs. It taught us that we cannot always assume that a book with illustrations is fiction, and book with photographs is nonfiction, and vice versa! 

Next, we learned that asking questions as we are reading can help us understand more of what we read. We used the book, I See a Kookaburra! to practice this strategy with it's detailed illustrations that led us to ask many questions about the different kinds of animals that live in various regions.

As we read nonfiction books, we come across new words, of which we may not know the meaning. We introduced a few strategies to try when we encounter an unknown word, and practiced these by revisiting a nonfiction book we have read before about bees. 

Next, we learned about identifying the main idea and supporting details with a book about taking care of ourselves, called Healthy Habits. Finally, we focused on previewing a new nonfiction book to get our brains ready to analyze the information presented. This sparked a lot of great discussion between our turn and talk partners when we previewed the book, What We Wear: Dressing up Around the World. I was amazed as I listened to the partner discussions as we read this book. I heard students sharing knowledge of their cultural heritage, from Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, and my favorite, St. Louis! There's nothing like these kindergarten discussions to bring a smile to your face!

Guided Reading

Our guided reading groups are underway, and it has been so exciting to see the enthusiasm and feelings of success all of the students are exhibiting in their groups! When I meet with the small groups, we work on a variety of skills, such as word families, vowel rules, reviewing letter sounds and blends, sight words, identifying beginning, middle, and ending sounds, and so on. As we decode our new text, we work together to read and discuss the book. After we have read through the book as a group, we read it independently to practice reading with fluency and expression. Guided reading is another time that we reinforce the comprehension strategies we have learned about during reading workshop time, and apply those to the text at our individual reading levels. Be sure to check the blue book bag in your child's backpack for their reading group books. These books will remain in their blue bags so it is always available for additional reading practice until the next time I meet with their group. 


After our motion walk last week, we examined examples of motion in a variety of picture books. We took one action from our motion walk and illustrated it using some of the techniques we saw in the books! This includes lines trailing behind the object in motion, lines around the outside of the object to show side to side movement, or dotted lines showing the path of an object. Here are a few of our friends showing off the examples of motion they found in these books!

Groundhog Predictions

In honor of Groundhog Day, we read a couple of Groundhog stories and watched a video of Punxsutawney Phil making his prediction. The entire class predicted he would NOT see his shadow! Except for Mrs. Glaser...I'm a realist :) We had fun making our graph and finding out the results, though!

Zones of Regulation

As we continue to learn about the Zones of Regulation and practice them to help us regulate our emotions at school, we took the next step in our lessons to work on identifying big or little problems. We sorted problems together and learned that the size of our reaction should match the size of our problem!

All About Me & Guest Readers

We loved learning more about Leo! He told us all about a Benny the Bull doll he got at a Bulls game, a special ID badge he was able to wear when he went to visit his mom at work, and Super Mario Maker because he loves playing with his DS. He also brought goggles in since he loves going to swim lessons, and he's made it to the green level! We also got to see a Batman figure he brought to represent his favorite movie, and pictures of his family and friends! We had a great time when Leo's mom joined us to read the adorable story, The Pout Pout Fish Goes to School.

We also had the pleasure of learning about Claire this week! She shared with us her Beanie Boo named Trixie, a squishy from her birthday party, and another Beanie Boo that is special to Halloween, named Mask. Claire says she absolutely loves Halloween! Her favorite item to share with us was a giant cat with a secret pocket that holds two little friends, and the best part- it smells like cupcakes. 

Claire's dad and brother joined us as our special guest readers, and read the book The Toad!

Enjoy the weekend!!