Sunday, January 20, 2019

Classroom News

Welcome back! I was so excited to see all of my kindergarten friends and hear all about their winter break fun! We have hit the ground running in 2019, and I am looking forward to all we will accomplish together. Some of the highlights of our first two weeks back are below:

Reading Workshop

When we returned from break, we wrapped up our study of fiction books. We focused on story maps to recall the main parts of the story, identifying the character, setting, problem/solution, and events of the story, along with the message or lesson the author was trying to teach us.

We also carefully examined the characters to determine their character traits. We learned that character traits can describe how a character appears on the outside, as well as how they act or feel on the inside.


 As we identified characters' feelings, we learned that we can use clues from the story as well as our own personal experiences to help us determine how a character is feeling. We are working hard to use descriptive words to describe characters' feelings, beyond saying they are "happy", "sad", or "good".

We also read a special book, The Crayon Box That Talked, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The crayons in the story did not get along, but eventually learned that they each had unique and beautiful qualities that, when joined together, could make amazing pictures that they could not make on their own.

In the LMC, we heard a story about Dr. King's dream, and worked on a Seesaw activity to share what dreams we have.

Writing Workshop

During writing workshop time, we spent time writing about what fun things we did over winter break as well as the following weekend, and practiced making lists. The students were excited to try out another form of writing!

Students also took some time to set personal goals for the new year.  Each student wrote about a specific book, or how many books, they would like to read, a personal goal that they would like to accomplish, and a new food they want to try.  It was so exciting to see the thought and effort put into writing these goals!

This friend explained in her Seesaw recording that she would like to help her dad, read 50 million books (WOW!) and eat more asparagus. 

During our current math unit, our focus is on building concrete knowledge and number sense of the numbers 0-20. Through rhymes, whole group activities, and hands on work with math manipulatives, we are building a stronger understanding of one more and one less. We have worked on putting numbers in order, and determining what number is missing if there is one that is not included in the lineup. Another concept we have been working extensively with is the ten frame. We use ten frames to help us group numbers by fives and tens, and to make a visual representation of a number. This method helps 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.

Guided Reading

Our guided reading groups are coming along nicely, 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. 

All About Me Week

This week, Nicole presented us with the first Me Bag of 2019! She shared with us her favorite stuffed animal that can store other things in its belly, and a little pet bird that chirps. We learned about the Bulgarian alphabet with a neat little flip book she brought to teach us about the language her family speaks in addition to English! We know that Nicole loves LOL dolls, and she showed us one of her favorites from her collection, as well as a smiley face ball that is special to her because she received it at a friend's birthday party. Finally, she shared an adorable bear from Great Britain, where her grandfather lives, as it was a special gift from him. 

We loved having Nicole's mom join us to read Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams, featuring the Disney Princesses!

I hope you are all getting out and enjoying the snowy weekend in spite of the cold! Please remember there is no school tomorrow in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. See you on Tuesday!