Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Lunch with our Buddies

Children looking at a butterfly

We released the first monarch that hatched yesterday and watched it soar up into the air and disappear over the building. The children were pleased to see it take flight.

We had a great discussion in math today. We have begun our second unit of study in
Investigations today on counting and numbers. The children began counting how many days we have been in school this year. Children noticed the weekend days and holidays, as they debated whether every day counted or only some of the days. One child mentioned that we could not count Thursday, because that had not happened [it is tomorrow]. Many children were convinced that since there was no day marked with a number after September 30th, that must mean kindergarten was over and they were going to First Grade. Kindergartners have lots of great ideas to discuss. We read Anno's Counting Book, discussed some of the pictures in the book and began making our own counting books.

The best part of the day was eating lunch with our 6th grade buddies. we found out who our buddy was today and many children seemed to get along well with their buddy. We will meet with them again on Friday and will finalize the pairing of the children. We hope to have pictures to post in a day or two.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Open House

Many thanks to the parents who attended Open House. We viewed a slide show of some of the activities the children have engaged in this year. Parents had a chance to see the materials their children are using and an opportunity to ask questions about the curriculum. If anyone has questions about the handouts we sent home, feel free to call or email.

We are still learning new activities, like easel painting and making collages. Using corks was very popular as we glued down our creations this afternoon. We are listening to stories on headphones and learning sight words to put in our sight word envelopes. We started working in our math workbooks today, drawing a picture and counting things.

Monarchs Have Hatched

The children found monarch butterflies on our windowsill when they arrived at school today. Two have hatched and one more looks ready to hatch on Tuesday. We put out sugared water for them, but haven't been able to get them to drink yet. We hope we will have a warm day soon, so we can put them in the garden!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Caterpillars, Caterpillars!

Scarves and balls in phys ed with Mrs. Taylor this week.

Look for the portraits in our classroom that BZ had the children make in art last week. They studied their faces carefully as they put together collage materials. They are very cute.

We've had a busy week in kindergarten. We had our first lesson on the Smart Board. Children listened to The Very Hungry Caterpillar and named foods, counted fruits and ordered the days of the week. All on Smart Board.

We drew pictures of caterpillars and also made our own caterpillars with plasticine clay. Some kids chose to make caterpillars and some made chrysalises.

We have also been working on simple rhyming stories about butterflies where children fill in a word on every other page to complete a rhyme.

We are conducting surveys in math to collect data that we can talk about and continuing our counting jar books. We will have our first visit from Polly, our math coach this week.

We are adding new letters and new sounds every day. We plan to start building simple words this week using some of the sounds we have learned. We also began reading our first story, a book with no words.

Children were delighted to check out their first book in library this week.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


We have checked the photo permissions, so here are some photos of math.

Monday, September 13, 2010

We were very lucky last week to find some caterpillars in our backyard that we will watch turn into butterflies. By today, two of them were hanging from the glass jar in a J shape. We hope to see chrysalises in the morning! We drew pictures of our caterpillars, and cut and pasted the stages of a caterpillar's life.

We are learning so many things that we will use in our work all year. We have started our handwriting program and are practicing wet-dry-try every day as we build letters, and write them on small chalkboards. We started our first sound today, practicing the sound /s/ and learning a gesture to go with the sound.

We began exploring new materials in math; tiles, buttons and attribute blocks. We started the counting jar which we will do regularly throughout the year. Everyone counted how many cubes were in the jar and created an equivalent set of buttons. Tomorrow we will record our work in a booklet. We are laying a careful foundation in math, as we help children develop math ideas through discussions and through listening to what each other has to say about their work and their ideas.

We are reading books about friendship and about whether or not it's OK for boys or girls to be excluded from games. We are also reading about butterflies of course.

We are exploring lines and circles in art. Look for our exploration of shapes made from circles on display in the hallways. We are learning how to take care of library books and will check out our first book in a week or two. Ask your child about "No, no, no, never!" regarding things you should never do with a library book. Don't let your dog chew the book!!

Please send lunch orders and money to school with your kindergartner, rather than an older sibling. We need to see the slip or we will not order a lunch for your child. We would also appreciate a change of clothes that can stay in your child's cubby. Thank you for your help with these details.

Monday, September 6, 2010

We're Off and Running

Welcome to the start of new school year. The kindergartners are excited about school and more than ready for the challenge. We spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year learning routines that will make our year flow more smoothly.

We are concentrating on procedures like how to get our lunch in the cafeteria and how to clean it up. Not as easy as you'd think. The composting procedure alone is enough to confuse anyone! Luckily we have Mr. Mahler to help us.

In the classroom we are learning each other's names and are making new friends. We are learning how to use math materials and how to form a community of learners who can share math ideas. So far we have built lots of towers.

We played outside with the 6th graders on Friday and will soon be pairing up kindergartners and 6th graders as buddies for the year. This is an exciting friendship opportunity that benefits both children tremendously.

Beth McCoy is the paraprofessional in our classroom, whom we are delighted to welcome back to Shutesbury School, after the birth of her son who is now three, and the completion of her education degree. She is a warm and welcoming addition to our community.

We will be sending home a paper called Getting to Know Your Child in the next few days and would appreciate you taking the time to fill it out, as this will help us to understand your child better. I will also be calling you, as I enjoy letting you know how your child is adjusting to kindergarten.

Finally, I will be requesting permission to post pictures of children on the blog. As you can see from last year's blog, no children's names are used in captions, so your child will not be identified in photos. We have been practicing skills on pod casting and i movies this summer, so who knows what will happen on the blog this year!

Thank you very much for a supportive start to the school year. As always, our families arre what make Shutesbury such a wonderful place for children.