Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Few More Photos

We have a picture of a child learning to use a Limberjack in music class, a 5th grader reading to kindergartners in book club, making snowflakes which has been very popular and the introduction of journals as an activity that is available during rest time now. There are also two pictures of eyes.

Social Detectives

We recently began exploring Michelle Warner Garcia's social curriculum. This frames behavior as doing things that are expected (what we anticipate other people will do) or unexpected behavior (things that we do not think other people would do). We use the terms expected and unexpected, but are also labeling these actions as things that make us think warm and fuzzy thoughts or things that make us think clunker thoughts. We can then place these warm, fuzzy things (we use pom poms) and the clunker thoughts (we use plastic tiles) in a jar and keep track of how these actions are making us feel. In an example two children were yelling at each other and fighting over a toy during play time (we put a clunker in the jar). Then they talked it out and decided that one child could ask the other child for a turn when he was done (a warm fuzzy).

Anti-Bias Curriculum

We are exploring the many ways that we are the same and that we are different from each other. We are examining what our eyes are like, what our hair is like and our skin color. We made simple puppets from paper towel tubes before we began to look carefully at skin color.

In art we mixed paint to match the color of skin and then decorated more elaborate puppets that BZ made with the children. We will write stories about our puppets and ask BZ if we can display them in a case. We have been making impressions of our hands that we will also paint in skin color tones.

We are making books about ourselves and our families. Thank you to the people who sent in a family photo for your child's book. We took close up shots of children's eyes to include in their books and to use as a matching game. The children are very good at identifying each other by just their eyes! we have made a chart of everyone's hair. It's harder to identify each other just by hair.


We finished up a unit on patterns in December with activities like adding cars on to a train of cubes. Children draw a card that shows them a pattern. They build this pattern and then roll a die that tells them how many of these "cars" they will make. They also practiced breaking a train into cars, marking where a pattern begins to repeat.

In January we started a unit on measurement and numbers. Children began by figuring out how they could measure their feet in a variety of ways. We also measured lines around the room using craft sticks  and small objects around the room using cubes.

We have played Build It, where you draw a number card and place that many pennies on a ten-frame. This is followed by Build On, a game where you draw a card, place the pennies and then roll a die and add that many pennies to the frame. These activities build a foundation for adding and subtracting. Today we played Racing Bears. Children roll a die and move their bear. When they get close to the end, they decide on how to split the number on the die, involving the idea of subtracting the spaces they have already used. In Roll and Record, the children use two dice and have to combine the numbers to figure out their total. We are also doing Quick Images, where we flash an image on a screen, then ask children to copy the image onto their Ten Frame.

Language Arts

We have been focusing on learning ending sounds in words, making booklets of matching ending sounds in words, playing lotto games and making word chains based on the last sound in people's names. We have been making books about ourselves in the anti-bias curriculum we began exploring in January (more about this in another segment).

We have been retelling stories and talking about the beginning, middle and end of a story we have read. Children can then dictate what they recall from the beginning, middle and end. They have also been practicing sight words in three word panels. Using a word tile, they build a word with letter tiles and then write the word. We have begun practicing long vowels as well as short vowels in words.

We have also been assessing children throughout the school using the Benchmark Assessment System. This tracks how children are doing in their reading skills. We are currently working in beginning readers, having spent the fall in pre-decodable books. The kids are doing a great job in reading!

The School Play

The big excitement in December was the school play, Cindyella. The kindergartners were awesome pony riders and did a great circle dance. Much time was invested in rehearsals and learning how to hit just the right stride. Many thanks to our parents for all the help outfitting the children and supporting them in their big debut.