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.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

We have been learning different ways of reading a book to ourselves and to our partners. We learn to look at the pages again and see what we missed the first time. We pay attention to the parts of the book that make us more curious or more excited. We look for words that might be connected to what the book is about. We relate what's in the book to things we already know about. We look at the pictures and connect them to words. What does this look like? When we are reading a book about beetles, we notice that one beetle is spraying something. What's that? It's poisonous gas to protect itself! Two beetles are fighting. What are those great big "antlers"? Oh, they use them to fight. If the book is about beetles can we find a word that looks like beetle on each page? We recently spent our time looking for the word "the" in our books and noting it when we saw it. We looked for the word "is" too.  Using these kinds of clues one child discovered that he could read half of his book about soccer to the class. It's exciting. We are working in our reading groups too and are matching rhyming words and beginning sounds as well.

We have been measuring lots of things in math. Most recently we measured our names by making a cube letter for each letter in our name and comparing our towers to the names of other kids in the class. Currently we are taking four handfuls of cubes and comparing the towers we build, as we put them in order from the smallest to the largest. We are also emphasizing vocabulary such as more, most, less, least, fewer, fewest, and greater, greatest, as we talk about our towers.

Tomorrow we will make leaf collage pictures with our buddies and plan to have them ready to share at assembly on Friday, November 18th. I will let you know closer to the time.


Friday, October 14, 2016

We have been cooking up a storm with apples and pumpkins. We think the apple store will be on Monday and Tuesday. The sixth grade class cooks apple treats and sells them for 50 cents or $1 to raise money. Please send some money in with your child on both days for this exciting treat! So far our class is the most enthused about applesauce bundt cake (with a few chocolate chips - we think that is the prizewinning ingredient). All our recipes are gluten free. Sometimes they come out really good and sometimes it's back to the drawing board.

We have been prepping a program called Words Their Way. It is almost set up and we began using it with the children this week. So far they seem to like it. There's a lot of cutting and gluing. Some groups are putting pictures into categories like clothes and food, while other groups are sorting by beginning sounds. Look in your child's folder for some of this work.

We have been doing a yoga class on Tuesday afternoons with Grace, the preschool teacher. She is teaching yoga to staff and to many classes at Shutesbury. Hooray for Grace!

We continue to learn sounds in Jolly Phonics. They will bring home their first two books next week. On each page there is a little box that shows the gesture for each sound. If you try it with your child I'm sure they'll be happy to show you how they make the gestures. We have begun reading groups and are looking at very repetitous stories for the beginning readers. We have more challenging books for the children who are already reading.

We are playing some games in math around counting. Today we began measuring objects using a stick that each child had made with cubes. Many children wanted to alter their stick to find out how many cubes long each item was. That will come later, for now we are looking at what is shorter and what is longer than ten cubes. One of the more interesting discussions in math right now is asking children if it matters whether the answer is the same or different when you repeatedly count the same group of objects. So far one child insists that it's OK if the answer is 10 the first time, 8 the second time and 7 the third time. Another child insists that the answer should be the same each time. Many children are inbetween, thinking sometimes it needs to come out with the "right" answer and other times it doesn't really matter. We will continue this discussion for a long time.

Lisa and I are planning to get out the camera more often next week. We need pictures for our blog. I'll try to include some soon.Thanks for your patience!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Welcome Kindergarten Families and Friends

And They’re Off

The kindergartners are off to a great start this year. We go very slowly at this time of year to make sure everyone understands the routines and the expectations in kindergarten. We teach how to get in a line, how to stand in a line, how to walk down the hallway and how to enter a room. We line up in a different way outside than we do inside and we still gather at the flagpole every morning and find a partner before we go to the room. 

We are learning greetings, how to read the morning message and how to share. We talk about how other people feel if you won’t hold their hand or say good morning to them. We’ll talk about this a lot and may use some Social Thinking curriculum this year to help children understand another person’s perspective.

We have been exploring materials in math and talking about all the different ways we can count the children in our class. We have learned the sounds for the letters /s/, /a/, /t/, /i/ and /p/. It’s amazing how many words you can make with those letters. Tomorrow is /n/.

We have just begun building letters with sticks. Next we will make them with chalkboards and then we will learn how to write them. Ask your child to show you a pencil pickup.


We will put a link in soon for the recipe for the GF Oat Muffins we made on Friday. They were a big hit! The blog will become much more interesting when we learn whom we have permission to include photographs for.