Sunday, April 21, 2019

Classroom News

We have completed our Reading Workshop unit on poetry, and have moved on to nonfiction as our next genre of study! We revisited the idea of making connections as we read, and identifying the big idea or message that the author or poet wanted to communicate.

After some fun practice with rhyming words, we created our own raindrop poems modeled after the poem, "Raindrops". I loved seeing the creative ideas everyone came up with for this exercise.

We also enjoyed doing a poetry walk in the LMC and listening to various poems as we scanned QR codes along our path.

As a fun little celebration at the end of our unit, we read the poem, "Shout" from Shout! Little Poems that Roar by Brod Bagert. We worked together to make up motions for the poem to act it out. We had a blast!
Shout! from Lauren Glaser on Vimeo.

We showed off our acrostic poem writing skills as we worked together with Mrs. Riesing's class to create an acrostic poem in honor of Mrs. Beane from our kindergarten poets. We were celebrating Mrs. Beane during Assistant Principals' week. Her sunny disposition and helpful nature bring so much joy to our school!

Next, we chose some great new nonfiction books for our book bins! 

In this unit, we will learn about three different types of nonfiction books- reference, literary nonfiction, and biographies. We began by introducing a chart this week that helps us to organize our learning when reading nonfiction. We worked together as a group to identify things we thought we knew about a topic before reading (the game of soccer in this case), and things we wonder about the topic. As we read, we confirmed what we knew, identified any misconceptions, and recorded new learning and questions that came to mind.

Finally, we learned about nonfiction text features that we will encounter as we explore various nonfiction texts. Features such as the table of contents, labels, headings, captions, fun facts, and the glossary can help us easily locate important information as we read!

 In math, our 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 and cubes to explain these number relationships!

In preparation for Earth Day tomorrow, we brainstormed ways in which we can save the Earth and wrote about our ideas. Next we practiced our fine motor skills by tracing our hands, cutting, gluing, and coloring to put together an Earth Day project to display in the hallway!

We also loved learning more about our friend, Phoebe!  She shared with us some beautiful photos of her family, her soccer trophy, a special rock her friend painted for her, and her favorite Shopkin. She also showed us her Seattle snowglobe and a crayon representing her favorite color!

Phoebe's mom joined us to read a few great books! We giggled at The Book with No PicturesElephants Cannot Dance, and Dragons Love Tacos!

We also had an exciting opportunity to welcome Matt Wilhelm to Dryden, thanks to the Dryden PTA. He is a famous BMX athlete who has competed in the X Games, on America's Got Talent, and is a Guinness World Record holder. He taught us how important it is to be kind, stand up to bullying, and to always work hard! I remember him performing at Dryden a few years ago, and saw new, even more amazing tricks in this performance. Even the experts can continue to perfect their craft with hard work and practice! Our friend Andrew was lucky enough to win an autographed poster, which was super exciting as well!

A few important updates:

  • 5th grade service project: This year for the 5th-grade service project, the students will be collecting donations for the cats and dogs at The Animal House Shelter in Huntley, Illinois. A full list of donation items can be found here, but we are focusing our efforts in the areas of care and wellness and other non-perishable items. If you can donate any new/unopened or reusable items, please have your child bring them to school and place them in our grade level's colorful collection box from April 23 – 26.
  • Kindergarten Musical:  The Kindergarten musical is quickly approaching on May 3rd! All students will 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 10:30 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! 
    • Field Day: Field Day will take place on Friday, June 7th. ALL Kindergarten students will attend in the afternoon this day, and there will be NO MORNING KINDERGARTEN. Our afternoon begins at 12:50 p.m. and concludes at 3:35 p.m. More details will be coming, but don't forget to mark this schedule change on your calendar!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Classroom News

Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope everyone had the opportunity to relax and make memories together.

It was such a pleasure meeting with all of you at spring conferences! This group of kinders have much to be proud of. We worked right up until Spring Break- a few of our highlights are below:

We did a few special themed literacy and math centers for St. Patrick's Day, as well as St. Patrick's Day writing about what we would do if we were leprechauns!

We are wrapping up our Reading Workshop instruction on poetry, and used poems to practice comprehension skills that apply to all types of text. We identified words and phrases that jump out at us and help us make mental images and visualize what we were reading. 

We also worked together to figure out unfamiliar words by using pictures, thinking about what was happening in the poem, trying a different word in it's place to see if it makes sense, and using words that come before and after the tricky word as clues.

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! 

During math, we have been working with numbers from 1-100, specifically focusing on place value. We have introduced the tens and ones place with connecting cubes, and learned 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.

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". Dessert Tubs provide hands on activities for students to work on, including writing, math, word work, or activities to build fine motor skills. 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!

Before break, we celebrated Denys and loved learning about him! He brought a Rubik's cube that he solved, two of his favorite Beyblades, and his favorite Skylander. He also showed us a really cool amethyst rock he got when he visited a cave. 

We were excited to have Denys's mom join us to read a story about one of our favorite characters, Pete the Cat Rockin' in my School Shoes!

 Next, we celebrated Kelson! He showed us a sweet photo book with wonderful pictures of his family, and pointed out special picture of his cat, Ginger! We learned that he loves Yoshi, his Stick Bot cat, and his Shark Car, Chomps, as well as Seeing Eye from Roblox.

We had fun listening to Kelson's mom read us the funny story, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss. There were so many fun animal noises to be made!

It was fun to see so many of my kinder friends at the Dryden Family Reading Night! My daughter Brynn joined in the fun and was excited to see all of my big kids!

To celebrate Intergenerational Day, the district had various community members visit our schools to present on a topic. We attended a presentation on Therapy Dogs, and loved meeting Lucy the black lab, and learning about the important work she does at Northwest Community Hospital.