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2018-2019 Archives

We are continuing our fables, folk, and fairy tales theme. Today's story was Rapunzel. I challenged the students to use only string and tape to find a safe way for Rapunzel to get from her tower (chair) to the ground (floor). Students planned, experimented, revised, and retried. Some groups experienced success, some did not.

Rapunzel's Tower Challenge

Once upon a time in a kindergarten classroom, there were some students who loved folk and fairy tales. We are reading lots of different versions of fairy tales, with a topical theme for each day. Familiar stories lead to great opportunities for writing, acting, and other ways of retelling. One of our classroom favorites is the retelling basket with little items, such as a bundle of sticks, a jar of straw, and a bag of bricks. The children love to "huff and puff and blow your house down." http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/blog/reading/2014/06/5-reasons-why-fairy-tales-are-good-for-children
We have read The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Little Pigs, Chicken Little, Little Red Riding Hood, The Princess and the Pea, The Little Red Hen, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Hansel and Gretel.
One day we read the Three Billy Goats Gruff. We pretended the goats couldn't get across the bridge, and the children had to brainstorm other ways they could cross the river. Some of the ideas were to make a glider, climb a tree and jump, and cut down a tree to make a little bridge. Eventually they decided that a boat was the best option. The students were split into three groups to design, build, test, and modify boats to get the goat to float. (And yes, they identified the rhyming words!)

Boats to Float a Goat

PreK and Kindergarten enjoyed reading lots of books written and/or illustrated by Eric Carle. We explored different painting techniques, then created animals for our bulletin board with the papers we'd crafted. In Language Arts, we've been working on reading and writing consonant-vowel-consonant words and high frequency "sight words", rhyming, and playing games to practice these skills. In Math, Kindergarten has been working on using addition and subtraction to make the whole numbers 1-10 with different parts using a logical sequence. In Science, we explored different musical instruments to see how we could make sounds. PreK and K made rainsticks with empty Crystal Light containers, nails, and either beans or rice, then decorate them with colored duct tape. Kindergarten made spinning hand-held drums with beads and recycled materials. We have been waiting patiently for good weather so we can pretend to have a parade outside with our percussion instruments.
I am very proud of all the hard work our students put into the Cry Wolf production with Children's Stage Adventures. It was such a fun week! 

PreK has been practicing reading and writing their letters and numbers 1-5. Kindergarten has been focusing on reading and writing CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and sight words. In Math, Kindergarten has been listening to and telling subtraction stories, as well as learning how to write subtraction sentences. Both grades read quite a few of Dr. Seuss' books. We also learned about light traveling through objects. We tested several items around the classroom to find out if they were transparent, translucent, or opaque. 
I am looking for supplies for an upcoming unit. If you have any plastic or cardboard containers & lids from foods such as Pringles, oatmeal, bread crumbs, cans, etc., and coffee cans, please send them in. Thank you!

February has been a short month full of learning and fun. We celebrated our 100th day of school on the 7th, Valentine's Day on the 14th, and Winter Carnival is on the 22nd. Kindergarten has finished learning how to read and write all capital and lowercase letters. We've read about Groundhog's day and Presidents Day. We did an experiment about teeth. We have practiced telling joining stories and writing addition sentences. After vacation, we will switch from addition to subtraction. We will continue learning more sight words and cvc (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. The whole school will celebrate Read Across America week and Dr. Seuss' birthday. 

Pre-K and Kindergarten have spent several weeks reading and investigating books by Jan Brett. We read over 20 of her books, but our favorites included Mossy, which we read, then followed along with a video as Jan Brett told us step by step how to draw a turtle. We read The Mitten then re-enacted the story with characters from the book. We read The Umbrella, then made puppets from illustrations Jan Brett had drawn. She has lots of free resources on her website: www.janbrett.com that would be great for a day that's too cold to go outside. 
In Math, we learned about the attributes of several (2-dimensional) shapes, such as rectangle, square, triangle, circle, hexagon; and solids (3-dimensional), such as cube, sphere, cone, and cylinder. We welcomed both Mrs. Crossley and Mrs. Fellows into our classrooms several times over the past couple of weeks to talk to us about feelings. We are learning to identify our own feelings, as well as look at our classmate's facial expressions to get clues about their feelings. Mrs. Crossley has been coming in once a week. Mrs. Fellows once or twice a month. Mrs. Fellows shared a wonderful story with us that describes feelings "as big as a mountain", "as small as a button", "or medium sized, like a chair." We took turns playing a game matching our feelings to the facial expressions on cards and deciding how big that feeling would be, and what part of our body might show that feeling. For example, feeling anxious or frustrated might feel like a belly-ache. We are excited to see what next month will bring. 

Our classroom has been as busy as Santa's workshop! We started the month learning about Polar Opposites: Antarctica and the Arctic. We learned which animals live in each place and how they've adapted to living in cold climates. We did several experiments to learn about those adaptations, such as wearing a "polar bear paw" mitten made of zippered plastic bags and shortening, then sticking both our hands in the snow. The students were amazed that the hand in the "paw" stayed nice and toasty while the other hand got cold. We also learned about the waxy coating on a penguin's feathers repelling the water. Ask your child to tell you more about what we did. 
In Math, we've been practicing how to count, read, and write the numbers 11 to 20. 
In Language Arts, we finished up the last of the CAPITAL letters in our Handwriting Without Tears books. We're reading holiday books by Jan Brett and writing about events in the stories. We've also had a lot of fun unwrapping a book and reading a Christmas story each day just for pleasure. Reading is "snow" much fun!
This week we've been working on our "Top Secret Christmas presents" with grades Pre-K to 2. The children have been very patient and excellent listeners during this busy time. They can't wait to show you what they've done! (Pictures to be posted after the holiday break so we don't ruin the surprise.). 

November may be a short month, but the days go by fast and are jam-packed! In Math, Kindergarten is continuing to practice the numbers 0-10, including recognizing, reading, writing, counting, and comparing. In Science, we have learned a bit about rocks and the different ways they are formed. We did an experiment where we tried to make a sedimentary rock in a cup. Children who added a little bit of glue were successful, but those who added a lot of glue ended up with a gooey mess even after more than a week of drying time. In Language Arts, both Pre-K and Kindergarten have been working on capital letters. We have now learned how to read and write all of them except A, I, J, and T, which we'll focus on after Thanksgiving break. Once we are done the capital letters, we'll cycle through the alphabet again, this time focusing on the lowercase letters.

We began the month of October with a scientific investigation of apples. We used our five senses to explore the apples, then wrote about our observations. The middle of the month was spent on a Social Studies unit about Kindness. We are ending the month with another Science unit about Pumpkins. 
We have learned how to read and write the letters R, N, M, H, K, L, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. We will learn the Center Starting Capitals next week, beginning with Magic C, "the amazing letter than can transform into all sorts of other letters!"
In Math, we have been reading, writing, and counting numbers 0 to 10. We are working hard on counting groups of objects accurately. 
As always, we have been reading lots of books. It is very exciting for me to watch the children sit down with a partner and retell the story based on the pictures, and point out known words on the pages. These are all the building blocks of foundational skills of reading. 

September was a super busy month! We've been working on routines and procedures, getting to know each other, and diving into the curriculum. We learned all about monarch butterflies, then a bit about farms. We've practiced the capital letters F, E, and D and are listening for their sounds. We've been learning how to read, write, and count 1-5. We've learned the high frequency words the, and I.  Next up is see and an apple exploration.  

We successfully released 10 butterflies. A few of the children were able to watch the last three butterflies emerge from their chrysalis.After their wings were dry, we took the habitat outside and opened the door. As the butterflies flew away, the kids happily told them "Have a safe trip to Mexico!" 

Excitement on 8/30/18
We noticed some changes in our habitat right before we left for the weekend. The students made me promise to get flowers so the butterflies have something to eat when they do emerge. 


So after school I picked some wildflowers and put them in the habitat. Check out the "housing cluster" in the corner. :) There are a total of 10 chrysalises in there. 


First Day of Kindergarten 8/28/18
We had a great first day of Kindergarten. We began the day with free choice centers, followed by Morning Meeting. The students went to Art with Mr. Wade, then had snack. After snack, we carefully observed the habitat in the classroom and discovered 10 chrysalises. The children did their best scientific drawings of them, paying attention to the shape, size, and color. After that we did an exploration of the Lego bricks and built all sorts of creations. We went out to recess with First and Second Grades. After we came back inside, we explored the playdough and playdough tools. We had lunch (Yum!), then listened to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The children found their names on the coconut tree display in the hallway, then made their own tree to display using a variety of materials. For Math time, we read Caps for Sale and counted the objects on the pages. We had snack again in the afternoon, while watching The Letter Factory. The movie ended just in time for dismissal. What a busy day!

August 2018
As summer vacation draws to a close, I've had a few parents reach out and ask what supplies they should get for the PreK or Kindergarten student(s). SCS happily supplies everything except for a backpack (should fit a standard 8.5X11 agenda that you'll receive when school starts), possibly a lunch box, and shoes with a sole (no slippers, please). If you have any questions, please email me at lhemon@scs.sau7.org. I look forward to seeing Kindergarten on August 28th and PreK on September 4th! 

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