Sunday, April 29, 2018

Classroom News

We ended the week on a fun note with our pajama day and short movie party to celebrate filling our class behavior board! I love how cozy and relaxed they all look!

You may have noticed the 100s chart with a list of suggestions for practicing with the chart that came home in your child's folder last week. This would be a great way to get in a few minutes of math practice every day over the summer to keep our number sense strong as we transition into first grade. As we finished Chapter 8, we continued to practice building two digit numbers with cubes, using towers to represent the tens place in the number and individual cubes to represent the ones place.

Next, we dove into Chapter 12, where the focus has been on counting up to 10 and back from 10.  We are using our fingers to talk through number stories, and learning how combinations of numbers make 10. For example, students are learning to connect these pairs of numbers by understanding that if we start at 6, we count up 4 to get to 10. If we start at 10, and count back 6, we arrive at 4. This understanding is instrumental in learning why addition and subtraction work the way they do, and being able to verbalize and explain relationships between numbers. Here we are, using our fingers to explain these number relationships to our table partners!

During Reading Workshop, we continued our study of poetry by taking a closer look at literary devices. We read various poems and had such fun identifying examples of repetition, alliteration, and onomatopoeia! 

We also used our five senses to help us create a movie in our minds to connect to what we are reading and make it more memorable or concrete in our minds. We loved building upon one another's ideas. One particular poem led to vivid mental pictures of Fourth of July celebrations, including the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of this summer holiday.

Finally, we listened to the poem "Kids Rule!" and recorded what we visualized with our own pictures and labels.

As we studied poetry in Reading Workshop, we also carried this over to our Writing Workshop time, as we learned about acrostic poems and wrote our own Spring acrostic poems! This tied in perfectly with Earth Day as well, and we spent time brainstorming and writing about ways we can take care of the earth. We had a great time making a special craft to go with our writing, and practice our tracing and cutting skills! They are proudly displayed in the hallway for you to see when joining us for the Kindergarten Musical!

Speaking of the Kindergarten Musical, it is quickly approaching this Friday! Please remember that ALL kindergarten students will attend in the MORNING this Friday, May 4th, and there will be NO PM CLASSES. Students are to arrive at 8:55 a.m., and line up at the front doors where we normally do. They will not need to bring backpacks this day, just their smiles for the stage! All kindergarten classes will have a dress rehearsal together, and the musical will begin at 10:25 a.m. Parents and loved ones are welcome to arrive anytime after 10 a.m. After the show, there will be light refreshments served in the gym, and families are welcome to return to the classroom. The morning will conclude at 11:50 a.m., but we typically finish up around 11:30. You are welcome to take your child home early, just make sure to sign them out on the sign-out sheets we have available so that everyone is accounted for. We look forward to celebrating the growth of our kindergarten friends this year with you! See you Friday!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Classroom News

These kindergarten friends are rejuvenated after Spring Break and were feeling silly on Crazy Hair Day! I loved seeing all of their creative hairstyles!

When we returned from break, we began our next Reading Workshop unit, which focuses on poetry! We learned that when we read poetry, we think about the title and what we see in the illustrations to make predictions. As we read, we make connections and also spot interesting features that poems sometimes have. We think about how the poem looks and how it sounds, as well as how it makes us feel.

In some of the poems we've read so far, we've discovered that poems sometimes have lines that go in directions other than what we typically see to illustrate a concept:

repeat words to sound like a song:

follow a pattern with rhyming words at the end of lines:

or use sound words to help us imagine what we would hear in such a setting:

During math, we continue to work with numbers from 1-100, specifically focusing on place value. We have introduced the tens and ones place with connecting cubes, and are learning how we can use the tens groups to count the total more quickly.

We have also discovered that knowing the tens and ones place can help us to write two digit numbers, by writing the number of tens towers in the tens place, and the number of individual cubes in the ones place.

Another concept we've been practicing is transitioning between each group of tens. For instance, from 58, 59, to 60, 61, and so on.

In LMC, we learned more about the season of spring, then returned to our classroom to review all four seasons and choose our favorites. 

Once we each decided on a favorite season, we wrote about that season. We also had to include reasons to explain why that season is our favorite. We have been working hard on making sure our sentences are complete, with a capital at the beginning, punctuation at the end, and expressing a complete thought with a "who" and a "what". I've enjoyed reading the reasons behind our favorite seasons- they were all very well thought out and included nice details!

I've been so pleased to see what wonderful progress the students have made as readers. In our Guided Reading groups, we have a chance to work on certain decoding and comprehension strategies, depending on the needs of the group. When I'm meeting with Guided Reading groups, the rest of the class is working independently on a task such as short vowel work with CVC words or place value exercises, followed by the option to read from their book bins or work with our "Dessert Tubs". These students are enjoying using letter beads to build sight words, and in the background, completing a puzzle that matches letter sounds with pictures. We are working hard to build our stamina for independent work and independent or partner reading, which will help us prepare for more independence in first grade. We have come a long way!

Our Kindergarten Musical is quickly approaching on May 4th. ALL kindergarten students will attend in the morning, and there will be NO afternoon kindergarten that day. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks for reading! Looking forward to another fabulous week!