Sunday, September 15, 2019

Classroom News

We have been hard at work in Kindergarten recently! Our routines are starting to fall into place, and the class is doing such a nice job of following directions, treating friends kindly, and doing their best work each day. Below are a few pictures and summaries of what we have been doing during our time together!

The books we have read this week have all held important lessons on kindness. As we read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, we empathized with the main character as she was teased for her unique name. We talked about ways other students in the class could have helped Chrysanthemum stop the teasing. Then we celebrated all of our unique and beautiful names by signing our names on a class poster!

Next, we read The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig. In this story, a shy boy who feels invisible at school, with no one to talk to or play with, is changed by a new student in class who includes him. The new student simply used kind words, invited him to play with him, and included him as part of the group, and suddenly the main character was no longer invisible! We practiced using kind words with our classmates, made a promise to include anyone we see who may be feeling lonely, and uncovered our own hidden smiles.

We also read A Little Spot of Kindness by Diane Alber, which provided great discussion points on what it means to be kind, and ways in which we can spread kindness and do good deeds. We all received a spot of kindness to stick to the back of our hands as a visual reminder to do something kind. We hope to spread kindness at school and outside of school, every day! 

During calendar time, many of our math concepts have been slowly increasing in difficulty as we begin to work with larger numbers. So far, we have introduced place value with the tens and ones place in a number, ten frames, counting by ones and tens, and identifying days of the week and months of the year. In math, we have practiced grouping objects by pairs, and identifying similarities and differences between objects, and identifying and writing numbers.

I love watching the students do this exercise where they sort their cubes on a 4-square chart to show 1, 2, 3, and 4 cubes in each square. After observing how some students joined their cubes laying down on the paper, some joined them standing up like a tower, and others left them separated, we talked about how this is what it means to be a mathematician. All of us can do the problem or the task in different ways, but still arrive at the same answer! It was very cool to see and draw their attention to this representation of all of the different ways we can do a math problem.

We have been working hard to build our fine motor muscles, so we can have more control over our letter formation. We had fun rolling play dough and cutting segments. 

Our Handwriting Without Tears materials and routines help us to practice correct letter and number formation. We first practice on our chalkboards with a small sponge, then a pom pom to trace & dry, and then chalk to trace. After practicing on our chalkboards, we use our pencils to trace and write in our Handwriting Without Tears notebooks!

I think most of our Kindergarten friends would agree that centers are their favorite part of Kindergarten! They have been doing a wonderful job of learning how to share, take turns, work together, and handle disappointment that may occur during center time. In Kindergarten, we have two types of centers- free choice play centers, and center rotations. During center rotations, we do more academic based play activities, and our first set of center rotations were all Chester the Raccoon themed. He's one of our favorite characters! We matched lowercase and uppercase letters, matched numerals to collections of objects with that number, did a roll and cover number game, and found missing letters in alphabetical order. 

Last week our centers rotations focused on letters and names! We matched magnetic letters to spell our names as well as those of our friends, completed an ABC puzzle, sorted uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet and put them in order, practiced stamping and writing our names, and perhaps the favorite- made our names and those of our friends with play dough!

Computer time in the LMC is a recent highlight of our week! We have been practicing our click and drag skills with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom letter activities, a shape sort, and even learned all of the steps to locate the Kindergarten activities on the LMC website. We will continue to build our basic technological skills with these fun activities.

Last week, we started our All About Me bag routine, where I modeled the procedure for sharing our "Me Bags" to tell about ourselves and our favorite things. Each child has their own assigned week to share their "Me Bag", and on Friday of your child's week, you are invited to be a guest reader in our class! Because my own parents live far from here, Mr. Glaser served as my guest reader and shared a funny story our little Glasers enjoy, Dinosaur Police, complete with the silliest character voices! In the file folder you received on Curriculum Night, there is a letter about the Me Bag, and on the back of that letter is the schedule for the year. I will send you an email to confirm the week before it is your turn to read. I am excited to learn more about each of our friends in K-1!

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