Sunday, December 6, 2009
Being a teacher and being a mom are one in the same to me! One of the holiday traditions that I have started with my own kids actually originated in the classroom with my students. For the month of December, I like to wrap all of the holiday books (books about snow, winter, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza)and allow students to unwrap the book during read aloud time. I do the same thing with my own children. I put them under the Christmas tree and let them choose which book to open and read before bedtime. This tradition is probably my favorite because it shows kids, in a different and fun way, that books are "gifts" ready to be open!!!! What is one of your fun holiday traditions?
Friday, November 27, 2009
One of the amazing centers that students participated in was sitting inside of a huge tepee and learning about the giving ways of Native Americans. Each student was able to share what he/she was thankful for as they passed the special "talking stick" around to each other. It was so sweet to see and hear the children's reactions.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Along with learning about the Nootkas, students had several different homework assignments that supported their learning. They had to create a family totem pole using a coffee or oatmeal can. They decorated them with pictures and symbols of things that were important to them and their family. They also research the Nootka tribe and decorated a "person cut out" to represent a Native American Nootka and how they looked and dressed. Another activity was to come up with a Native American name for themselves. We used these names to decorate on their costumes, and the kids had a good time learning everyone's Native American name that they chose. In the slideshow you will see some of the artifacts that students made: beaded bracelets, woven baskets, hunting spears, cedar bark robes, bearskin cloths, decorated headbands, and animal skin medicine bags. Tonight we had a Make & Take night in which families were invited to come to our class at night and make a "plankhouse." Students brought in empty cartons and glued dyed craft sticks onto them to look like their own miniature version of a plankhouse. Thanks to all of our parents who were able to attend! I hope you also enjoyed visiting each of the other tribes through the hallways and listening to the fifth graders present their information on each tribe! This was something new this year to tie the learning that fifth graders were doing into this same night! Three more days until Pow Wow! We can't wait!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
We have been BUSY! In addition to the daily academics, we have been extending our learning of another culture and way of life...the Nootkas. Students spent some time making crafts and decorating their costumes for our upcoming Pow Wow. They are learning about the way the Nootkas dressed, lived, and hunted. They have learned about their homes and travel too.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Dressing up is so much fun! I love that our school has students dress as their favorite book character. Every student had a costume and got to participate in the parade around the first floor of the school. Parents and other students clapped and cheered as we walked through. Later that evening our school hosted its annual Fall Carnival. I saw many faces trick or treating through the hallways at night! A HUGE thanks to Mariah's mom for organizing volunteers for our tattoo booth. Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers that night. I appreciate the time you donated for helping with our class booth. Many thanks!
Our first field trip to Diamond D Ranch was great! In my ten years of teaching, I have never been to the Diamond D Ranch. I think I enjoyed it as much as the kids did! We were so fortunate to have wonderful parents help chaperone this trip! Students got to ride horses, learn about different animals, ride a little ferris wheel, jump in a bounce house, go on a hay ride, feed baby goats, feed catfish, have a picnic lunch, go on a nature trail, and even more! We have an excellent time! In trying to decide how to post the many, many pictures we received from parents as well as my camera, Mrs. Timmons, and Mrs. Cordoza, I am working on setting up a photo site in which any parent can log in with a username and password and then view and order any pictures they want. (Unfortunately putting a ton of pictures on a slideshow takes a long time and you aren't able to print the pictures out if you want). If you have any other suggestions for fielding this "great problem to have" :) please let me know! Take a look at their faces and you'll see how much they enjoyed this wonderful and educational field trip! Thanks again to our chaperones: Abby's mom, Mariah's mom, Charlotte's dad, Emma's dad, and Parker's mom!
I got a little behind in updating the blog because we have been having so much fun in our class! We had the awesome opportunity of choosing the book The Three Billy Goats Gruff and turning 3 pumpkins and a gourd into the characters. I love these types of projects because it allows kids to work together and really allows their creativity to shine through! Thankfully we also had amazing volunteers who helped the students create a plan for what materials they wanted to use to decorate and make the characters. Each group of students had completely different ideas. They all worked together and had to compromise a little here and there. It was a great project and the students were super proud of the end product! Pictures of the final pumpkins to come in just a little bit (I have them on my other camera!!)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Our very sweet assistant, Mrs. Cordoza worked very hard to make adorable puppet pieces for the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We read the book last week as part of the campaign to have the most Kindergarten classes reading the same book on the same day. Students LOVED the reading and retelling of this book and were able to make their own flap books to take home.
Students participate in Skills Centers as part of our Literacy Block. This time allows students to practice applying the skills that they are learning each day. It is also a great time for myself and Mrs. Timmons to assess the students to see if they are mastering the skills and ready to move on to new skills!
This week students learned the basics of "Partner Reading." Students were assigned a partner and were allowed to choose a quiet spot around the room that they would like to sit at together. We reviewed the rules of Partner Reading: Each student chooses one book to bring down to the floor. You have to decide which book you are going to read first. Take turns retelling or reading the story. Use nice, quiet voices. Sit knee to knee, shoulder to shoulder. As the year progresses, students will learn other strategies such as questions to ask their partner about their book or sharing predictions about a book they haven't read yet. Ask your child who his/her reading partner is and what books they read together.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We've been working hard on mastering the art of making patterns. This week, students played a game called "Extend the Pattern." They worked together in pairs. One student made a pattern and then the other student rolled a dice with numbers 1 and 2 on it. If the dice showed a 1, the student needed to add one more color tile to the pattern. If the dice showed a 2, the student needed to add two more color tiles to the pattern. Students did a great job working with their partners, taking turns, and making challenging patterns!
Students have a great time drawing pictures and sounding words during our daily Skills Block and Writer's Workshop! They had a blast trying to think of words and pictures that go along with each letter in their name. Students were encouraged to use pictures from the class alphabet strip and also from their name tag (which has a picture for each letter in the alphabet). Not only was this a fun and creative activity, it also taught the students to use resources from around the classroom to help them with their work!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Last week we started class jobs. Each student has a classroom responsibility. This helps students feel a sense of belonging as well as ownership. We have a few "unique" jobs such as "mystery job," which could be any special task throughout the day. We also have an "energy supervisor," who is responsible for turning off lights and saving energy. Ask your child what job he/she has each week.
We just began our new math unit on Patterns and students are already taking it to a new level! Students got to practice acting out patterns, for example (clap, clap, jump, clap, clap, jump). We also used students to make different types of patterns, for example (boy, girl, boy, girl or blue shirt, red shirt, pink shirt, blue shirt, red shirt, pink shirt). Students should be able to make and recognize AB, ABB, AAB, and ABC patterns. Don't forget to practice making patterns at home using items from around your house!!
We spend time every day in Reader's Workshop. Students have been learning all about characters and settings of books. We practice reading our "Star Books," nursery rhymes, and other familiar books. We begin Reader's Workshop each day with our reading song. Take a peek at our super readers!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
We have been studying Nursery Rhymes as part of our daily Skills Block. We use these nursery rhymes to learn about letters, sounds, rhyming words, and vocabulary. Students have the opportunity to sing, read, and act out each nursery rhyme. They also get a copy of each to put in their special "Nursery Rhyme" book to practice reading during Reader's Workshop. Because these nursery rhymes are already familiar to most kids and fairly short, they are great for students to begin pointing to the words. As you will see below, students are having a great time acting these rhymes out. And if it wasn't their turn today, they know that they will get a turn as we continue to study each rhyme. Check out the great acting and singing below...I don't think we have one shy student in the group! (press play and give the video one minute to begin)
We have been studying "Star Books" in our class. Star Books are familiar or classic children's stories. We read these books over and over again for students to become very familiar with them. Students have been practicing "reading" these stories by retelling them during Reader's Workshop. They also have many opportunities to act the story out, use puppets to retell, and use flannel cut out pieces of the characters. Students are having so much fun retelling these Star Books as you will see just a little bit of the FUN captured in the video below. Enjoy!!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
We have had a BLAST these first few days. The students are beginning to learn some of the rituals and routines as we go about each part of our day. We have done so much in such a short amount of time!! Students attended a musical performance on the first day and were given new T-shirts from PTA. They have learned new songs, colored pictures, painted handprints, read books, listened to stories, took a tour of the school, participated in a fire drill, ate lunch in the cafeteria, learned the rules of the playground, learned about the calendar, wrote their first story, made new friends, worked together in a group, used pattern blocks, used their imaginations in dress up play, blocks, and other fun centers, and SO MUCH MORE! And that was only our first three days. I am so excited for the many, many more amazing learning opportunities and experiences these students will have this year!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Here are a few pictures of your new Kindergarten classroom. I hope that you will be able to share these photos with your family and friends and share your excitement about starting Kindergarten with them! I can't wait to meet all of the new students tomorrow at Orientation. Looking forward to a very exciting and fun-filled year!