A Short Second Week

Hello families!

This week was a quick one in Kindergarten. Monday we were off for Labor Day, and I was not in the building on Tuesday and a substitute was in the classroom.

On Tuesday students were introduced to the five senses! They came up with words to describe each sense and they learned which body parts we use each sense for. This is a topic that we will routinely revisit throughout the school year! They also read a story called My Mouth Is A Volcano, which uses a story to tell students why it’s important why we shouldn’t interrupt others.

This week students have dived into handwriting. We worked our way through the introduction pages of our Handwriting workbooks and began working on the first letters we were introduced to this week! We are trying to get into the routine or holding the pencil correctly and having the correct posture so that we can do our best work. We also are trying to drill in the fact that letters need to stay on the bottom line instead of “floating away”.

Thursday and Friday we started our “ABC Bootcamp” with letters P and N. At this point in the year we are focused on simply recognizing the letters. We did a lot of practice cutting with scissors while also practicing sorting the letters and differentiating between uppercase and lowercase. We’ll continue to work on some more letters and eventually work on the letter sounds.

We did a lot of free reading this week, and students got a chance to relax in the cozy corner to do so! Be sure to encourage free reading at home, as this encourages a love of books. We remind students that we can pick up on what a story is about even by looking at just the pictures.

We also have been working with a lot of playdoh because I want to encourage students to work on building up those muscles in your hands. This will help make their pencil grip better and build up their fine motor skills! One way we did this was by having them make their names with playdoh. This also helps with recognizing the shapes of letters and memorizing how to spell their names! We will keep doing this until every student can do it easily!

On Friday students went to their very first Mass at school. They had a lot of questions but most of them did well for their first time there! It’s a big ask for Kindergarten to sit still and quiet for almost a whole hour, so I am proud of them for how they did and excited to see how much better they get.

We also celebrated our first birthday in the classroom – Carter’s! He turned 6 years old! Happy birthday Carter!

Students received some cut and paste homework in their folder this week to practice the letter N some more. I want them to get as much practice with scissors as they can! I also sent home a preschool workbook to review some key concepts like letters, colors, and more!

Be sure to keep checking your students folders for updates and to see student work. And feel free to reach out with any questions you might have!

Love,

Ms. V 🙂

Welcome Class of 2022!

Hello everybody!

This is our very first newsletter of the school year! It’s been a busy start so far. With a full class of 20 kids, Kindergarten is going to be go go go this whole year. But we are looking forward to the challenge!

On the first day of school, we spent time getting to know each other. We read a story called School’s First Day of School, which led to a good conversation about how it’s okay to feel nervous on the first day of school. Students had a packet of coloring pages that they completed as well, which was a great way to see where they are at with seating in their seats, writing their names, and coloring!

Students had plenty of time to play freely, exploring the blocks, building cubes, and playdoh. They did great following the directions given to make sure that things stayed under control.

Look at those smiling faces!

On Friday, our first full day of school, we established the rules in our classroom together. We also talked about the consequences for what happens when these rules are broken. Students then signed their names to say that they agree with the rules we came up with!

We started out our week working on using pencils correctly and tracing our name. Many students did a wonderful job! Our goal will be to memorize how to write our name without looking at our name tag, keeping our letters within the lines given, and using the appropriate capitalization. Some students are also working on holding the pencil correctly, so have them practice writing and coloring as much as they can at home.

To continue working with pencils, we established the class expectations for how to use them appropriately. We also began working in our Handwriting workbooks! These are gunna be kept in their desks. For now we are working on making straight lines and becoming familiar with the structure of the handwriting lines we use.

We also spent days talking about how to appropriately use markers, scissors, and glue. We made charts to separate the Do’s and Don’t’s. When talking about markers, students got to choose what picture they wanted to color with the markers. Then we saved these pictures in our desks and the next day we cut them into strips to practice using scissors safely. Then, we put the pictures back together and glued them to construction paper to practice using the glue sticks.

Students were introduced to our Cozy Corner, which is where students can go to use the Calm Down Kit when they are feeling overwhelmingly sad or angry. The Calm Down Kit has fidget toys, stress balls, coloring books, etc. Students will have a timer set for how long they can be over there. There are also visual reminders for various ways to calm their body.

On Thursday, students played ABC Bingo. This was a great way to do a quick and very general assessment on students’ knowledge of the alphabet. It was also a lot of fun!

We read quite a few book about starting school, including Kindergarten ,Here I Come and Grover Goes to School. We also read the story Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It’s Okay to Walk Away, which is all about learning when to back away and calm your body.

Students also did a STEM activity this week with playdoh and popsicle sticks. Students got creative making airships, flowers, spelling their name, making chairs, and more!

Students also built lots of things during Free Play using various tools and toys around the classroom. It’s a great opportunity to have them work on fine motor skills and express their creativity.

Another thing we discussed this week was the difference between “little deals” and “big deals”. Because we have such a large class, I want students to be able to handle minor disagreements on their own as much as possible. To minimize tattling, I have students differentiate between big deals and little deals that way they know which incidents are a priority and need a grown up’s help. This also helps build resiliency skills. Having this chart up in the classroom is a good visual remind of this as well.

Lastly, Kindergarten is loving using Brain Breaks as a way to break up our day and reset when we start to get antsy. We play Ms. V Says, have dance parties, and more!

We had a great first week, and I’m looking forward to next week! Please keep remembering to send in your student’s folder with them in their backpack every day. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Love,

Ms. V 🙂

Week of 4/19-4/23 and 4/25-4/30

Happy Sunday! Here is what Kindergarten did the past two weeks!

Last week we did a STEAM activity as part of our morning work where students had to create a bridge out of blocks that could actually hold weight. Students worked together and had to make sure the structure was actually a bridge — that something could go underneath it as well! It was fun to see them try and get more elaborate with their bridges as they continued to make them. This activity connected to a story we read later that day about architects and engineers working together to build a skyscraper. Students loved the story On The Construction Site because it has special pages that reveal hidden pictures when you shine a light through the page!

.`

Last week students read several stories, including My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza which they did a class book report on! Students loved how silly this story was. Mrs. Michael, our school principal was a special guest in our room last week and she read Uncle Andy’s by James Warhola which is a true story written by Andy Warhol’s nephew about what it was like to visit his famous uncle.

We have been working on nouns and remembering that they can be people, places, or things (including animals). Last week we did this noun sorting page together. We also are still continuing practicing building words on our own by isolating sounds we hear in a word.

In Math we reviewed some of our addition and subtraction concepts with some fun activities! We used mini erasers as counters to help write number sentences in small groups.

We also practiced using unifix cubes as a whole class!

Last week we read the story Puppy Mind by Andrew Jordan Nance, which is all about calming your “puppy mind” and staying focused. We have been practicing our deep breathing to help us re-center when we start to lose focus. The book also discusses who we need to speak kindly to ourselves and be gentle with ourselves when we are having trouble focusing. To hit this point home, we sat in a circle and practiced complimenting ourselves and the person to our left. Students did a wonderful job finding genuine things to compliment about each other!

Last week we celebrated Reid’s birthday!! Woohoo! Jeremiah’s birthday was also celebrated on Monday, as his birthday was over the weekend. So many six year olds now!

This week in Math, we read a book called 10 For Dinner and used it to practice addition. We are still continuing working on higher numbers, and we also have started working on concepts of time. We started with reviewing vocabulary like “first, next, and last” and the parts of the calendar. We learned about the terms A.M. and P.M. and did a sorting activity of things we do in the morning and night. Next week we will start getting familiar with the different kind of clocks and do some introductions on how to read a clock.

In Reading this week we are still building words and writing sentences. Somehow we got into a conversation about service dogs, so I decided to read one of my favorite books to Kindergarten. Madeline Finn and the Library Dog is about a girl who builds her confidence with her reading skills by reading to a special dog at the library. We then wrote a sentence in our journals about the story! Students are still practicing remembering those sentence writing rules and becoming more confident with their writing.

In Social Studies we have started learning about money and community as part of a Junior Achievement program. We started learning about choices and how our choices impact everything we do. Students have a journal that we will be using for the next couple of weeks for this!

Friday was a big day in Kindergarten as we had our pajama day and “teddy bear party” as they decided to call it! LOL! We spent most of the morning doing a STEAM activity. As their morning work, students had to build a house for their stuffy that they brought in. Students had a hard time making a house the appropriate size for their stuffies, and remembering that houses have a roof and four walls.

We then did a speaking and listening activity where students had to do a show and tell with their stuffies! They have to practice looking at the class and speaking loudly, and then facing the person speaking and listening quietly when others share.

To continue our STEAM activity, we gave building houses another shot! This time, we used a strategy that we learned about from the book we read last week and made blueprints of what we would want the houses to look like.

Then we made a visit to the Maker Space that has recently been created in our school and used the materials there to build our houses using our blueprints as a reference! It was so interesting to see the different strategies students used. This was a fun way to be introduced to the Maker Space, which we will be using at least one more time before the end of the school year!

In the afternoon, we wrote in our journals about our stuffies and even spent time reading some leveled books to our stuffies. It was so cute and such good practice for reading out loud, just like Madeline Finn practiced reading to the dog in that story!

As I told you all in an email earlier this week, we have decided that graduation will be at 10 am on June 7th (a Monday). I will give you more details about it in the next coming weeks!

As always, let me know if you have any questions or things you want to know!

Love,

Ms. V 🙂

Week of 4/12-4/16

Happy Monday everyone! Let’s do a recap of the past weeks in Kindergarten!

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who met with me for conferences. It was so lovely to talk to you all and I’m really looking forward to wrapping up the end of the school year.

Kindergarten has been doing lots of sentence writing, and I’m excited for you all to get their journals at the end of the year and see their progress!

Students have also been doing a lot of building words on their own, utilizing all sorts of different things like their blocks, spelling games, and of course their white boards! They have been pushing themselves to read more and more challenging books independently and with partners. It’s wonderful to see them read with their classmates and see how they encourage and help each other.

We also have continued to use our tablets as a center, and I have been using my document camera to make it easier for us to do our reading workbook pages! Now that we are getting into sentence building, more and more of our workbook pages have to do with finding missing letters from words or missing words from sentences and figuring out what makes the most sense. We also played sight word bingo the other day on laminated bingo cards so students could just cross out the words they found! This was a fun way to practice their sight words but also practice tapping out and decoding words they did not remember or recognize.

We’ve been doing more and more hands on activities and working in our workbook, so if you see less reading work coming home in student’s folders – that’s why!

A cross curricular moment with our reading and science lessons occurred last week when we ready a story from our reading curriculum about tornados! This sparked a really interesting conversation about the weather and the different kind of extreme storms that can occur. We then made a list of the different kind of storms there are. We also discussed how they happen in different environments and parts of the world, and how there are different ways to keep ourselves safe in these situations.

Last week we celebrated Sola and Loyal’s birthday, which they share! Students got pizza AND ice cream. Such a treat!

In Math we practiced a lot of skip counting, but students also worked on comparing objects based on weight, height, length, and more! We transferred these skills to real life and the students had to put themselves in height order from shortest to tallest without any help from me! It took them a little bit but they got it eventually! It was tricky because a lot of them of are so close in height, but they did a great job.

Stay tuned to see another newsletter this afternoon about the week of April 19th!

2 Short Weeks!

Hello! The past two weeks were short and sweet. But we crammed in a lot of fun activities!

Before Easter Break, Kindergarten learned about the Indian holiday Holi (pronounced like ‘holy’). This Spring holiday celebrates the rebirth we see in nature and focuses on acceptance and inclusion! It is celebrated with a big parade where people throw colorful powders made from flowers and make themselves into a rainbow! We read the book Festival of Colors by Khabir & Surishtha Sehgal to learn about this holiday. Then we did a little experiment with markers, napkins, and water. We colored napkins and then sprayed them with water to watch how the colors bled, spread, and mixed with each other to make something different and beautiful! Students had so much fun waiting for the final results.

For Easter, we read about the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. We also watched some videos that explained why we paint eggs and do egg hunts on Easter and why we celebrate with an Easter bunny! Both eggs and bunnies are symbols of new life, just as Jesus rising from the dead was a start of a new life for all of us.

In Science, we made diagrams of plants and labeled them! We have been talking about how plants are affected by the weather and how some plants survive better in some climates than others. To connect to weather, we also read the book Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld which is about a very small cloud which finds her own purpose providing water to a small pond for frogs! This then led into a conversation about animal environments, which we will continue learning about in the next couple of weeks!

In Math, we are working on breaking apart numbers 11-20 so that we can use them for addition and subtraction problems! Students have been creating their own Math problems for each other to solve (and me, LOL!). This chapter is very much a review, and just a chance for students to strengthen their skills of counting up to 20 fluently. Soon we will be working on learning about money and time!

In Reading, we have been working on reading words with consonant blends — two consonants next two each other in a word that make distinct, individual sounds. Sometimes we say these blends quickly so it’s hard to realize they are two separate letters making two separate sounds! But with practice it will get easier and easier! Tapping out words and doing so quickly has been our big focus lately in order to become more automatic with the skill. Students also reviewed sight words, and worked on coming up with their own sentences in their journals using sight words. We really are trying to have students remember their rules of capitalization, punctuation, and spacing when writing sentences as well.

This week we also had another visit from Ms. Byron, our school guidance counselor! Kindergarten is still talking about naming their feelings, especially anger, and learning how to recognize those feelings on other people’s faces.

We also welcomed a new student this week, Izaiah! So excited to have a new friend in our room.

Please don’t forget to sign up for parent-teacher conferences which will be on Thursday, April 15, 2021. That will be a half-day of school so that we can have our virtual conferences all afternoon and evening.

Feel free to let me know if there are any questions or concerns you have. Have a wonderful day!

 

Love,

Ms. V 🙂

March Recap!

Hello! I apologize for missing the last couple of newsletters. Things have been extremely hectic outside of school. So let’s recap everything we have been doing this month! Get ready for a long one!

In reading we have continued to hammer in identifying the middle sounds in words. Students have been doing lots practicing pulling out the middle sound by stretching out the word. We stretch out the middle sound in order to make it more known. These middle sounds and vowels are what is trickiest for Kindergarten which is why we have been so focused on it. We also added some new sight words to the board which are words we see so often that we know them easily like ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘in’, ‘so’, etc.

 

We are also trying to work on our sentence writing! Some students need some more work being comfortable coming up with their own sentences, and trying their best without anyone else’s help to write the sentence. This would be a great thing to encourage them to start doing at home! Maybe find a journal or notebook that is just for them that they can use to practice writing whatever they feel like.

We introduced consonant digraphs, which is when two letters work together to make one sound. We made a chart to help remember them: sh-, th-, ch-, ph-, and wh-. The trickiest ones is ‘ch’ vs ‘sh’ and ‘ph’ vs ‘th’. Part of this is due to the way a lot of children speak, but the more we practice annunciating our words the easier this will get!

This week we also focused in on the letter Yy! The letter Yy has many different jobs and sounds that it makes, so students were asking a lot of questions about it. We learned that when the Yy is at the end of a word it can either make the long e or the long i sound.

We also have been drilling building words, decoding them, and tapping out the sounds in 4 sound words. We have been using letter cards to show students how we can replace certain letters and sounds and it changes the whole word.

 

For Saint Patrick’s Day we learned all about Saint Patrick and why we have a holiday named after him! We learned about clovers and shamrocks and made our own, and we also wrote a sentence about what we are lucky for! We read a story about a lucky duck who went looking for a four leaf clover to find some good luck, but realized that having some good friends would give him the good luck he wanted the whole time! It was called Lucky Ducky by Doreen Mulryan. On Saint Patrick’s Day we watched a video about Irish dance and students had a fun time trying to Irish dance themselves! We also played bingo and students got to win prizes from the prize box!

In Math, we have been wrapping up our chapter on subtraction and doing an in depth review of numbers 11-20! In order to keep these review sessions fun and interesting, we have been doing centers very often. Having manipulatives and seeing addition and subtraction sentences in many different ways makes it more and more like second nature.

We even utilized our rock box in our classroom to practice counting up to higher numbers! We have been skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. We’ve been trying to recognize patterns in the numbers that will make it easier to remember which numbers to use.

On this page, addition and subtraction problems were mixed together!

Here is a link to two songs that Kindergarten goes absolutely nuts for, which we use to practice our skip counting:

We are also working on doing our work independently getting better at double checking our own work to make sure we aren’t making silly mistakes!

In Science, our talk of planets and the Earth has evolved into talking about the weather and plants, which only grow on Earth. We read a story by Eric Carle called the The Tiny Seed. This story shows all of the things that have to go right in order for a plant to grow fully! We also read a story from our reading curriculum books about plants that grow in the desert, which was very informative for both topics. Many students had not known what makes a desert unique, so it was a fun introduction to different environments and climates and how they affect the things that live there. We will continue learning about plants and maybe even get one of our own….stay tuned!

We also read a very wonderful book called Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty. We used this story as our new class book report and we also got to talk about what does it mean to be a scientist! As we recapped the events of the story we realized that Ada is a scientist because she observes the things around her, asks questions, and then does experiments to test out her ideas. We discussed how we can all be scientists too, even though it’s not our job!

As a supplemental tool, we have been watching the show Ask the Storybots (on Netflix Kids) every once in a while during snack time (we usually split one episode up between 2-3 days). We watched the episode about how planets are formed and now we are watching the episode about how flowers grow.

We also brought back some partner yoga, which students are getting better and better at as they get bigger! This week we also tried some guided meditation. Kindergarten learned that yoga gets our bodies ready for meditation so that it is easier for the mind to relax. Here is the one we did:

Ms. Byron came in this week to talk about the emotion of anger and how it can make our body feel. Students learned the important message that it is okay to be angry, but it is not okay to be mean! Students also learned the word empathy and that it can mean learning to figure out how other people are feeling. Kindergarten does a wonderful job of naming their feelings and comforting others who are feeling bad.

We also have been talking about gender stereotypes. Lately, students have been saying a lot of things like, “Girls can’t have big muscles,” or “Boys need to save the girls,” or “That is a boy or girl color.” Statements like this can be harmful because they give way to negative connotations about the genders, especially at this formative age. We read a book called Pink is for Boys which helped reiterate the concept that colors especially should not have a gender and that everyone can enjoy all the colors. If you would like to discuss this further with me personally, do not hesitate to reach out! I minored in Gender & Women’s Studies so this is a topic I am very passionate about and would be happy to share how it influences my teaching philosophy.

Next week is a short week due to Easter break — we will not have school on Thursday or Friday. The following Monday will be a Flexible Instruction Day! Wednesday the 31st of March is a dress down day with jeans, but students must bring in $1. Please be sure to check your student’s folders and have them complete the homework assignment by Wednesday of next week!

Please let me know if there is anything that you need from me or if you have any questions. March has been very hectic but Kindergarten is enjoying every second of it!

Thank you again for your patience and understanding.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Love,

Ms. V 🙂

Welcoming In March!

Hello everyone!

Happy weekend! Kindergarten has accomplished a lot this week — let’s get into it.

In Reading this week, we have been buckling down on reading sentences! Most of our work in our workbook this week was reading sentences and finding the right words that were missing from the sentence, or being able to match the sentence to the appropriate picture. This shows a student’s comprehension of what the words in the sentence actually mean! We also have continued to work on building and decoding words, even if they are silly words that don’t really exist. We did this as morning work, but also incorporated this into our centers this week! Students had to build words using some special dice, and then write down all of the words they built and read on a white board.

We also have been intensifying our small group work so that students can be making larger strides in their reading progress. I’m so excited with what I’m seeing! They have really been using the different strategies that they have been taught (breaking up the word, tapping it out, stretching it out, etc.) and putting them into practice. I would urge  you all at home to have them keep reading anything you have, as often as they can. They more they can practice using these strategies the better! Really encourage the process of trying to figure out the word, or praise the specific letter sounds they got right. Also, be sure to keep having them practice their letter sounds so they stay sharp! Particularly the vowel sounds. It’s easy for kids to mix up the vowel sounds, so we want to make sure that we are constantly reviewing it both at home and at school. Here’s a fun video we watched that reviews letter sounds!

Watch the Letters Get Down-Reggae Remix (2018) MISTER B-Dr. Anthony Broughton – YouTube

In Math, we have been increasing the difficulty of our subtraction problems. Students are now subtracting by 4! The vocabulary of taking things away has been most key for having students comprehend this concept! They have had lots of practice using the different strategies try to show them concrete evidence of subtraction concepts. Students love to draw pictures to help understand it, which is what we use the SmartBoard for! We are still continuing our skip counting and working on recognizing higher numbers.

We’ve continued learning about the sun and the moon, and we started this week by making our own! We looked at some real pictures taken by NASA of the sun and the moon. Students were fascinated by how they both looked so different than what we imagine them to look like. We also watched some informational videos while we made our suns and moons to help inspire them.

Some students even made their moon to be different shapes to reflect how the moon looks different depending on what phase it is in!

Here is what the windows in our classroom look like now that we have our suns and moons up! They are on either side of our lists that we made last week.

 

On Wednesday, as part of our celebration for good behavior, we went outside for some extra recess. But before we made our way to the playground we stopped in the lawn beside the church to have some outdoor story time! We read a beautiful book called Dear Children of the Earth, which is written in the form of a letter from the Earth to all of the people living on it asking us all to take care of our home and all the animals that live here with us. Kindergarten loved the beautiful and unique paintings in this book. They also really enjoyed the sunshine!

 

Students loved having a special pizza snack, and even got creative with it! It was well deserved!

We also learned this week about the meaning of Saint Patrick’s Day and where it began. We will talk about this more next week! We also will start to talk about Lent and Easter, as it gets closer and closer.

I hope you all get to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend, stay safe!

Love,

Ms. V 🙂

Finally Done With February

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Kindergarten had an awesome week, let’s look back at what we did!

In Math Kindergarten has started skip counting by 2s. Below is a fun video we watched to get them more familiar with it, it’s a tricky skill! being able to look at all of the numbers and visualize actually skipping over the odd numbers will make it easier.

We also have begun our subtraction chapter! At first, Kindergarten wanted to keep adding and had some trouble understanding that we were switching gears and now taking things away. But they soon got the hang of it! We have been using the vocabulary “take away”, “take apart”, “minus”, and “subtract”. During centers this week, they got to practice counting higher numbers and use white boards with me to practice writing these higher numbers correctly. We also got to bring out the flexible seating options while we did one of our worksheets!

In reading we have been doing lots of hands on activities this week, which is why you probably noticed there were not many worksheets sent home for this subject! Students have been using whiteboards, puzzles, our SmartBoard, and have done some projects to strengthen our skills! The whiteboards have been helpful in connect the sounds students here to text, students have to write the word first and then decode it. We reviewed our sight words by being given two choices and then circling the sight word I asked for! Students have begun to start sounding out words that have 4 different sounds in them. This will be a challenge, but they have been doing so well with three sound words that I have no doubts they will be able to rise to the challenge. I did some progress monitoring for them, and I’m so proud of the progress they have been making!

Students also created their own ABC puzzle tournament during Morning Work time! They finished their work early and split into teams to see who could finish their respective puzzle faster. It was awesome to see them creating this moment for teamwork and healthy peer competition all on their own.

If you’d like to have your students practice their syllables (which we do usually as an exit ticket or a time filler), here’s a funny video that helps explain it and can give you some ideas for words to have them clap out!

Syllables! | Scratch Garden – YouTube

In Science we started talking about the planets! We read a book about Mae Jemison, the first black woman to go to space, and students were extremely fascinated by the job of astronauts! We started with the book The Sun is Kind of A Big Deal. This introduced the students to the concept of the solar system — they learned about the planets and even a song from my childhood to help remember them, what the Sun does for us, and how the Earth moves! We used one of our bouncy balls from the Cozy Corner to be the Sun and the students got to take turns pretending to be the Earth and the Moon, it was a lot of fun to see them try to spin in time with each other! We also read a book called So That’s  How the Moon Changes Shape! by Allan Fowler which explains the moon phases and had lots of photographs of the moon that the students enjoyed. We then made two lists about what we know about the Sun and the Moon to compare and contrast the two and got to spend time reading other books from our classroom library about space. It’s been fun to let the students guide the direction of this topic and I’m interested to see how we further our learning about space!

Here’s the planet song we learned, it’s from Blues Clues!

Blues Clues – Planet Song Music Video! By Hanksterman/Merry Xmas Everyone! – YouTube

This week we had another OperaTots lesson. This time, students got to do it together on the carpet, and we did lots of dancing! We will be taking a little break but the next time we join Ms. Emily we will be watching the opera!

Students were so excited that we got to have recess outside almost every day this week. It’s been so long, but the fresh air was much needed!

We also read the story My Mouth Is A Volcano by Julia Cook, which teaches students why it’s not polite to yell out and interrupt others when they’re speaking and offers strategies to help practice keeping our voices off until it is our turn. Now when I hear students try to yell out, I remind them that their “volcano is erupting” and that we need to fix that!

Please don’t forget to have your student complete their homework that is in their yellow folders (due on Friday), and be sure to check out all of the information in the Keep At Home side of the folder! There is information about lunch, the pepperoni roll fundraiser, and more.

Your student might have informed you that I am going to start gradually decreasing the frequency they get snack in order for them to get accustomed to not having it. Next year in first grade, they only receive snack when the school provides their fruit or vegetable snack a couple times a week! It’s crazy to think about but we are getting so close to the end of the school year!

Love,

Ms. V 🙂

 

 

A Short and Snowy Week In February

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.

Here is a recap of how our week went!

In reading this week we are still practicing middle and ending sounds. We did some puzzles to put together words that had short i sounds, long e, and short e sounds! We are practicing decoding (a fancy word for “sounding out”) words more and more, and students got to pair up and practice reading some sentences to each other from their reading workbooks. They love helping out if someone gets stuck, and this positive encouragement and help from peers can help build confidence and engagement! Now that students know all of their sounds we are working on them being able to apply this knowledge and do it quickly! The goal is to have them reading automatically. Drilling the letter sounds and sight words at home will make this easier!

We also did another class book report, but decided to combine it with Social Studies! We are still learning about “the past”, so we read a story about Jackie Robinson. This was our first book report on a non-fiction story, so it looked a little different than usual. But Kindergarten gave all of the information needed because they were really into this story! They loved that Jackie Robinson played many sports, and they were inspired by his ability to make “good choices”, as we call them in our classroom, even in the face of adversity. Talking about Jackie Robinson even inspired a conversation about women’s rights back when he was alive! A student asked, “How come there were no girls playing baseball?” We had an honest discussion about this, and I told them that in the future we will be learning about some famous black female athletes as well. I am so proud of how perceptive they are and how they challenge these stories!

In Math we are finishing up our chapter on addition! Students had a couple of “projects” (aka, assignments that are a multiple step process and require more time) that had to do with addition, including doing a multistep color by numbers and using manipulatives to complete a cut and paste addition sentence making ten. We are still reviewing numbers 11 to 100, and students are getting better and better at writing these bigger numbers correctly! We did a lot of fun counting games and even did a worksheet to practice identifying higher numbers correctly.

 

Here is a link to a great skip counting video you can watch at home for practice!

Students also had TWO visits from the school guidance counselor, Ms. Byron! They learned about how to be assertive, confident, and direct when asking for something or telling the truth about something that happened. They also practiced identifying feelings through facial expressions and body language! These are both two important social-emotional skills that we will continue to work on on our own. On Friday we had our second OperaTots session! Students learned the plot of the opera they are going to see, and learned some theater vocabulary like stage, audience, curtain, etc. They even got to look at different pictures of different kinds of theaters and stages! They of course got to dance and sing quite a bit as well.

Be sure to have your student submit their homework (the dominos addition page) by next Friday. I am looking forward to next week and all of the fun new things we will do!

Love,

Ms. V

A Week Full of Celebrations

Hello everyone!  I hope you enjoyed your Valentine’s Day, and are enjoying your day off today!

Last week was fun and a little bit crazy, let’s check out what we did!

One thing Kindergarten has been consistently working on since learning about short and longs vowel sounds is the silent e! When there is a silent e at the end of the word, it makes the vowel in the middle “say it’s name” (aka, a long vowel sound!). Here is a fun song that can help students remember the difference.

On Monday, students read the story Jack B. Ninja by Tim McCanna. This story is about a kid who goes on a ninja mission, only to find out the bad guys were his family in disguise just to give him a birthday surprise! This story was a rhyming story, and is a play on the nursery rhyme Jack Be Nimble. After we read the story, students then had to look at pictures from the story and put them in the order that they happened in the story. This sequencing activity tests student’s comprehension skills. We also did an activity where we had to name the characters in the story and then write who they are. I have been pushing Kindergarten to work on their sentence writing more and more, as I want them to have lots of experience with this before first grade! Even if they are not spelling every word correctly, it gives me insight into what sounds they are hearing in a word and how their brain is connecting the sounds to the letters. It also encourages their creativity! An easy way to encourage this at home is to have students write a sentence of their own either about a story they read together or give them a random word to use in a sentence!

We have also been working on finding some new fun ways to review some old skills! Working on letter sounds and matching upper and lowercase letters by making a game out of it, and taking our workbooks to the floor to practice decoding or reading words. We are still reviewing vowels and the different sounds they make, and we will soon be moving from words with 3 sounds to words with 4 sounds! We also are continuing working on writing sentences independently, which includes having Kindergarten students “build” words on their own!

On Wednesday we celebrated Mikel’s sixth birthday! It was very exciting and we had a great time listening to some dance music, making cards for him, and eating ice cream after he shared his adorable baby pictures.

Also on Wednesday, we got to have our first session with a program called OperaTots! STBCA has partnered with the Pittsburgh Opera to do their special virtual program. Students used their tablets to join Ms. Emily on Zoom, and she taught them about what an opera is, sang some songs with us, and introduced us to the opera that students are going to be able to see in a couple months at the end of the program.

On Thursday we celebrated our 100th day of school! We dressed up and did some super fun activities like reading stories about the 100th day of school, practicing writing to 100, and making bracelets to practice our skip counting to 100 by tens!

Students built things using 100 popsicle sticks…

And they also came up with ideas of what they would do if they had $100! Some of their ideas were so creative! This was also some good reading practice.

Kindergarten also had some incredible costumes, they really hit the nail on the head! LOL!

In Social Studies this week, as we continue to learn about the past, present, and future, we learned about Ruby Bridges! Students were fascinated with her bravery and that she is still alive today! We read the children’s version of her autobiography.

On Friday, we celebrate Valentine’s Day! Students made valentines for you, their parents, and got some special treats! They also made Get Well Soon cards for their classmate Sydney who has been sick for the past week or so. We hope she returns soon! Also a special shout out to Reid’s grandmother who made cute Valentine’s Day masks for the whole class. They are lovely. 🙂

It was a fun-filled and exciting week! I’m looking forward to this one being just as great.

Love,

Ms. V 🙂