Thursday, December 26, 2019

Classroom News

We have been walking in a ginger-wonderland in kindergarten! We transformed our kindergarten hallway into a gingerbread house, as we began studying and comparing different versions of The Gingerbread Man. We used what we have learned during reading workshop time to discuss and analyze these stories to identify the main character, setting, problem, and solution. The gingerbread stories also have an added element of a repeated phrase throughout the book. We made some fantastic comparisons between these versions, and strengthened our retelling skills!

They were so surprised!

Using picture clues to sequence the story & retell the important events and story elements

We also had two sets of centers that tied into the gingerbread study, as we practiced simple addition with gumdrops and gingerbread men, as well as the game, Gingerbread Bump.

We practiced our writing skills with a Write the Room hunt for gingerbread story themed words to copy, and worked with number identification and ten frames.

 Finally, we enjoyed listening to the book, The Gingerbread Bear on the iPads and following along in the text.

Our next round of centers we saved for the week before break, and they were more play based gingerbread themed centers! One was a gingerbread STEM kit, where we worked together to construct a vessel that could safely transport the gingerbread man across the river to escape those who were chasing him!

In our kitchen area, we had a cookie baking station, where we pretended to bake and decorate gingerbread men, set the table, and served our cookies.

We loved playing Candyland...

as well as a game that practiced our letters!

Another favorite was the center where we created and decorated gingerbread men with play dough.

During math instruction, we focused on composing and decomposing numbers to give us a better foundational understanding of addition and subtraction. Next, we spent time ordering numbers to form a number line, which we then used to solve "one more" problems to practice "counting on" from a particular number on the number line. We also learned that using our fingers (and toes!) can be a quick and effective strategy when working with numbers.

Another special activity we spent time on over the past few weeks was the Cardboard Challenge! In Kindergarten, we do a modified version with a bit more structure, just to introduce the youngest students to the process of designing and building their project. Next year, they will have the freedom to create anything they can dream up! First, we used our imaginations to design gingerbread houses out of cardboard. Our initial step was to identify what features a gingerbread person might need in a gingerbread house. Next, we came up with our design on paper to accommodate our gingerbread person's needs. Finally, we moved on to construction! With a little cutting, taping, gluing, and a whole lot of glitter, our designs came to life! I was thrilled to see our kindergarten friends coming up with such creative ideas and executing them with the materials we had on hand, working together with their partners. We learned lessons in cooperation, compromise, problem solving, and planning, just to name a few!

We also loved trying out the older students' games and admiring their creations!

We filled our class good behavior board, and went on a scavenger hunt around the school to celebrate! It was great fun! We are already well on our way to filling our next behavior board. I can't wait to see what reward they choose next. 

All About Me Weeks & Guest Readers

We loved having Maeve's dad join us to read two books by Julia Donaldson, Room on the Broom, and The Cook and the King!

Next, we enjoyed learning more about our friend Justin! He shared with us that snakes are his favorite animal, showed us a flower he built all on his own, and an ABC animal book because he loves animals. He also brought in his most special hippo stuffy that he sleeps with, and his favorite dinosaur squishies! Mrs. Kovacic was Justin's special guest reader, and she read a book that Justin picked out, We are Growing!

Up next was Nathan, and we had a great time learning more about him! We saw pictures from some of his favorite places to visit: Disney World, Palm Springs, and the Cayman Islands, as well as photos from his birthday and of him playing his favorite sport, soccer. He brought in his favorite book that he can read on his own, and his favorite squishy toy monster! He shared a Captain America car that he loves to play with, and a special turtle souvenir that he bought in the Cayman Islands. We learned that turtles are his favorite animal! We were also lucky enough to see his elf!

Finally, we were ready to learn more about Alice! She showed us a picture from her 4th birthday at Legoland, and a special painting that she made for her mother for mothers day with the word 'mom' in many different languages! She brought some of her favorite toys to share with us, her unicorn ballerina named Blue, her favorite doll Bella, and a unicorn ears headband that her grandmother made especially for her. We also saw the cutest photo booth photo strip from when she was a baby, with her mom, dad, and twin sister, Rebeca!

 Alice's parents joined us to share a fun Minnie Mouse story with the class!

 I sincerely hope that everyone is having a fantastic break with their families! This is such a sweet group of kindergarteners, and I feel so lucky to spend my days with them! They have already grown and learned so much, and I am eager to see them continue to progress in 2020. I also want to thank you for the sweet cards and gifts for the holidays, you are all too kind! Thank you for sharing your most precious gifts with me- I absolutely love working with them. See you in January!