Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Past Two Months

April 2017

In math we have begun a unit on data. We have made graphs using objects, the pattern blocks, and learning to put them in order from the group with the smallest amount to the group with the largest amount. We have practiced categorizing children on the basis of what they are wearing and we started to categorize our favorite foods today.

We are continuing reading and writing. We have worked in our books that we are making about our bodies. And we have learned about more reading “superpowers”. We use more of the sounds in the words we read to make sense out of what we see in the text and the picture. We are putting our paper bag bodies together and have added about half the systems.

We went to the Quabbin yesterday and stocked rainbow trout. We released 800 trout into the water and then visited the Hatchery to see the eggs, fry, swim-ups and minnows, all different phases of the trout’s life cycle. We fed the trout in tanks and then came home, quite tired from a long day in the sun. A big thanks to Clif Read for organizing this trip each year!!

May 2017

Kindergarten is finishing up their project about the human body, having constructed their bodies and written their book. They are beginning work on their presentations for assembly with the awesome help of Ms. Lobenstine and Ms. Lee.

We are carefully tending our eggs, hoping for a hatch next week.

Everyone is making great progress in their reading. This week we made up play dates with our books. Children thought of a game to play that involved reading their book to a group of children. Things like cover the word and have their group guess what the word was, predict what would happen next in the the story or p[lay teacher and read the book to their group.

We have been working on collecting data and making sense of it in math. Yesterday we correlated all the data on weather we have been collecting for the entire year. We still are working on it. There's lots of data.

We had a fire engine visit as part of the SAFE program in Amherst. Children practiced STOP! DROP! and ROLL! They watched Ms. Ingram dress up in a fire fighter's suit and went on the fire engine. They were totally thrilled!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mo Willems

Kindergarten has finished up a Mo Willems unit. We read books from three different series; Knuffle Bunny, Pigeon and Duckling and Elephant and Piggie. Children wrote opinion pieces on the books they had read and put these together in a Mo Willems book of their own. We'll show them to you at parent conferences.
We have begun a unit in math that is working with numbers in the teens. We have been doing inventory bags and combining two cards to calculate the total. Currently we are doing number orders where children travel to stations placing orders for toys and checking that their order was filled correctly. They love it! We are talking about story problems. We are still interested in whether we are combining groups or taking groups away. We have also started using cubes to represent things in the problem like pencils or blocks.

Our friends from Ms Willis' class join us for cooking on Thursdays.

We are just beginning our body unit and have put our brains in today. We will talk about what our brain does tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fun in the Snow and Ice

Kindergartners have been tracking weather (we added temperature to our weather data) and have been looking at states of matter; liquid and frozen. This has come together happily in ice sculptures. We put containers of colored water in the court yard. When they froze we invited our buddies to help us use them as building blocks in making ice sculptures. That afternoon they started melting and the next day they were covered with snow in our first big storm. They remain covered, but eventually will emerge from the snow and be visible again. Lots of opportunities to see them frozen and melted!

We began a Mo Willems unit and have been reading Knuffle Bunny books. Children are writing opinion pieces on their favorite KB book and stating reasons why they like it. We would appreciate any Mo Willems books you would like to loan us for this study, as we can always use more. If you send some in make sure your child's name in is them.

We made delicious (and healthy) heart shaped chocolates for Valentine's Day. It's the recipe we sent home earlier, using raw cacao powder, coco butter and raw palm sugar. We distributed Valentine's and had a party on Tuesday.

In math we are studying 3-dimensional shapes. We've gone on shape hunts, learned to describe them talking about sides and vertices, made copies of 3-D cube structures (much harder than it sounds) and made a copy of a block by building it with smaller blocks. We have also experimented with creating "group worthy" tasks during our math time. These are activities that require a group of children to work together to figure out the answer. One example was the copying cubes activity. One child held the sculpture and gave the other two children directions on how to build it. They shared feedback with each other during the process, like how many cubes to use, where to place them, whether it looked similar to the model etc. They did quite well.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Stuffies and Jammies

The children have been working on filling a jar with cubes for god behavior. When the jar is full they choose a reward for their behavior. This year the front runners were being kitties and stuffies and jammies. These choices beat out things like a movie and popcorn and a party with our buddies. As you know the final choice was stufies and jammies. See the very cute pictures attached.

We introduced the idea of equations as part of making a math book. Children made pages of tiles for the numbers 5-10 and we have just begun to ask them how they see groups of tiles. In the number six, some might see 1+3+2 = 6, others might see 3+3 = 6 and someone else might see 4+2 = 6. We will wrap this up soon and come back to it later. We continue to tell story problems and ask children to repeat the story we told, visualize it and act it out. W are more interested in laying the groundwork now than in solving the problem. We begin a unit on 3D geometry next week.

We are focused on sight words in language arts. We call them snap words and hope to learn to say them in a snap. We have been playing lotto games, car races and practice cheering the words as well as writing them.We are developing our picture power in ou reading, our snap word power and our sound power (does the word we are reading sound the same at the beginning as the word we see on the page).

We plan to begin a Mo Willems unit soon.

We have stopped doing yoga for now, as Grace can no longer meet with us during the time we had set aside. We'll let you know if we can find a new slot.

There is no school on Monday, March 13th for the kindergarten class only. This is the visit day for next year's class, so we ask the kindergartners to stay home. The following day, March 14th is a field trip to the Fine Arts Center to see Frog and Toad. This will be for K, 1 and 2. We haven't told the kids yet.

Children continue to enjoy doing DreamBox and like to play hide-and-seek. They seem to have dropped the idea of a robot play.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Adding and Subtracting

We are jumping into more complex work in kindergarten math. We played One More One less, where children figured out what the answer would be when they added or subtracted one. Then we played Build It, Change It; one person drew a card and put pennies on the board to match the number and the other person drew a card and changed the pennies to match the second card. Both activities were confusing initially, but the children figured them out with practice. We have been practicing writing numbers and visualizing dots on a ten-frame so we can make a copy.

We are working on our Super Powers in reading. We have learned about pointing power, the power to match the word we are saying to the word on the page. We are paying attention to the first letter and sound in a word to help us match what we are saying to the word we are pointing to. We practiced songs and poems that we are familiar with to learn to match our pointer to what we were saying. We've talked about reread power, where we go back and read again, if our pointing does not match the number of words in a sentence. Next week we will talk about partner power, where our reading partners help us match the print to what we are saying. It's work being a Super Hero!!

We made our own chocolate using cacao powder. We dipped fruit in it and thought it was so delicious that we sent the recipe home with children. That was an alternative to taking home pieces of chocolate dipped fruit to share with our parents.

Some children want to make a play about robots. They are working on costumes, but haven't started work on a script. If they told you to come to assembly to see the play, don't believe them yet. They have a long way to go.

We read a story and talked about Martin Luther King Jr. and how his white friend told him that his parents wouldn't let him play with Martin anymore because he was colored not white. That provoked some thoughtful discussion on skin color and discrimination. The children have good ideas about kindeness that go beyond outrage over the unfairness.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year

We had a very busy week leading up to the break, getting gifts ready to send home, making perler bead frames and cards for our buddies and making gift wrap. We hope you enjoyed your ball.

We have introduced kindergarten to DreamBox, an on-line math program. Everyone will have set up their account by the end of the day and a letter will come home on Friday telling you how you can access it at home, if you choose. We realize not everyone has a fast internet connection at home. I will send you their password (a picture) when the letter comes home and will check with Polly to see that the home part of the program is set up later in the week.

In reading we will begin a unit called Super Powers, calling children to use their Super Power of reading to read charts, labels. signs and books!

We are counting, adding and playing games such as Collect 15, One More or One Less and acting out story problems in math.

We have been collecting data on weather for several months and will add information on temperature to this in the new year. We will look at freezing and thawing; liquid and solid states of water as we track the temperature.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Fix-It Shop

We have been working hard in the fix-it shop, figuring out ways to take apart old appliances. One child is expert with a screwdriver and understands "Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty". Many children use the claw on a hammer to take things apart and some just bang away with the hammer. Your child may have brought home some prize parts to use at home in projects.