November Newsletter (Catching Up!)

Hello parents!!

Thank you all for your patience and understanding with the newsletters. November is the busiest month of the year in a lot of ways! So let’s recap.

In reading we have been learning letter sounds! We are about halfway through the alphabet again. We took a break to review and reinforce the letters we had already learned and to strengthen other skills like rhyming, identifying story elements, and more. We’ve also been doing a lot of decoding together as a class, trying to identify all of the sounds in short words and then blend the sounds back together to figure out what the word is.

One special day in November we got a visit from the Reading Is Fundamental group, who read a story to Kindergarten and did some fun activities with them. Then students got to pick their own book to take home! They were so excited they couldn’t even wait to get into the classroom to read their books!

In Math, we have finished talking about tally marks and numbers 1-10 and lately have been talking about 2D shapes and higher numbers like 11-20. These topics in Math are really fun to teach because there are so many fun hands on activities to incorporate. It’s interesting to let students play with tools and see what they do with no direction. With the shapes, many students made animals or robots but some of them began sorting them on their own volition.

We wrapped up Science this month with making a diagram of a flower! Students enjoyed making their flowers unique and we discussed what each part of the flower is for. Their beautiful diagrams are all hanging out in the hallway.

Also in the hallway is a collection of turkeys that students made for Thanksgiving! We watched a video about turkeys so that they could see what they look like in real life, and then students were given options on what colors to use for their turkey. Everyone’s turkey is so unique and they look great all together. We also gave every student a chance to share what they were thankful for, and they gave the sweetest responses.

We also have been talking a lot about our feelings lately. Taking the time to stop and figure out what we need to do in order to calm our body down is an important part of learning how to deal with our emotions. Our school counselors have been a big help in our room as well!

Students have received, and will continue to receive differentiated homework based on what each student needs to be working on and to also give you all a good idea of what kind of academic reinforcement is needed at home! As Thanksgiving break is coming up please don’t forget to utilize the time off to read as much as you can with your student! I hope you all have a safe time with family over the holiday!

 

Love,
Ms. V 🙂

 

Weeks of 10/18 and 10/25

Hello!

I hope you all have been enjoying all the Halloween festivities this long weekend. Here is a recap of the past two weeks in Kindergarten!

In Reading we have really been diving into doing our letter sounds. We wrapped up the alphabet and then began it all over, this time around focusing on the sounds the letters make and what words start with those letters. We worked on letters Pp, Nn, Cc, Bb, Rr, and Dd. We have been making charts with a list of words that have that letter in the beginning. We also have been working in our reading books to also practice writing these letters and words.

We also have been working on more sight words and finding them independently. In their Flexible Instruction packet they received a list of sight words to practice at home. I will be sending out some more words as the year goes on.

Math puzzles have been a regular practice to practice number recognition and sequencing.

We have still been reviewing numbers 0-10, on how to write them correctly.

We recently started learning about tally marks, and we did a tally mark scavenger hunt where students had to find the Halloween pictures in the classroom and count the tally marks. They loved the challenge of having to search for the answer independently.

On Thursday students had a full day of Halloween fun! In the morning we watched a Halloween movie and ate popcorn, and then after lunch students change into their costumes before going on their trunk-or-treat. All the students did a wonderful job walking nicely outside and using their manners. Afterwards, students enjoyed emptying all of the guts and seeds out of some pumpkins. Students worked together in teams to separate the seeds from the pumpkin guts. It was a fun sensory activity for the students, and it was hilarious to see the way they reacted to and described the feeling of the pumpkins’ insides.
We talked about what the seeds are used for other than growing more pumpkins. One group of students got really lucky and their pumpkin had several sprouts growing inside of it. All of the other students were fascinated to see what grew from the seeds. Also I would like to give a special thank you to Ms. Keica, Gregory Marshall’s mom, for coming in to help Miss Kelly and I supervise!
Looking forward to this week, students got sent home with a flexible instruction day packet of work to complete on their own. Students have until Friday to finish their packets in order to be considered present for Tuesday, November 2. If the pack is not turned in by Friday they will be considered absent for that day. I will be available on Tuesday from 9 to 12 AM via email, and if needed I can be available on zoom, to help with any questions or concerns about the work in the packet.
I will also be sending out an email this week about signing up for parent -teacher conferences. I can’t believe we are already at that point in the year!
Let me know if you have any questions about anything at all. I look forward to talking to you all soon.
Love,
Ms. V 🙂

Week of 10/4/2021 and 10/11/2021

Hello everyone!

Thank you for being patient with these! Let’s recap these past two weeks.

Kindergarten has been doing a lot of centers work the past two weeks. With Ms. Kelly’s help, students have been doing some small group work to practice some reading and math skills. They’ve been working on having the responsibility of working in a small group and working as a team to complete a task.

Ms. Byron, one of the school guidance counselors, came to our classroom to help work on some listening skills. Students will get visits from her a few times this year.

In Science we have started talking about how living things survive and grow. We talked about the things that we need to survive as humans and then we talked about how plants need very similar things. We made some KWL charts about plants — what students already Know and what they are Wondering. When we are done we will make a what I Learned about chart. It’s interesting to see what students have already learned so that we can see where to start and what they are interested in! We went on a nature walk earlier this past week, in which students used their five senses to make observations about the plants around our school. We smelled lots of flowers and saw tomatoes growing in the garden. We even got gifted some tomatoes and tasted them during snack time! We also read a story about grass growing, and it had a another message about how we all are unique and grow in our own ways.

 

Students have also been practicing their puzzles! They’ve even started working together as a team to complete some bigger floor puzzles together.

In Math, students have been working on putting numbers in counting order and forming them correctly. We have been using play-doh to practice making them. We also did a class vote on student’s favorite special in order to introduce tally marks, which we will be working on along with learning vocabulary words like ‘less than’ and ‘greater than’.

During quiet time (when we have our mask break) this past Friday students made some jack-0-lanterns that will be hung up in the classroom. They cut up shapes to make the face and some students even got really creative with their faces!

In reading, students have been working on letters Ss, Ll, Rr, Vv, Oo, Zz, Cc, Jj, and Qq. They have also been adding a few words to their word wall and practice using them in sentences. We have been doing words like ‘like’ and ‘to’ and having students practice reading short sentences but also picking them out of passages. We also have been utilizing tools in our classroom like our white boards to play games. One has been that students have to write down the letter I say out loud and hide their letter until we all reveal them all at the same time and see who wrote down what. Students have also been placed in reading groups based on what skills they need to work on and we have started working on those skills during centers. We also learned about syllables or “clapping out” the beats of a word and students have picked up on it very nicely!

Students have also been using their tickets to earn different prizes. One of the big ones that has been popular now is the new flexible seating prize — students have options to use bouncy balls as chairs as well as “wobble” chairs, scoop chairs, and more! Some students have evens saved up enough tickets to have big prizes like sitting in the teacher chair for a whole day and having their shoes off in the classroom!

We will be diving into some more Halloween activities within the next week! Please reach out if you have any other questions about what has been going on in our classroom.

Have a great week!

Love,

Ms. V 🙂

Week of 9/27/2021

Hello everyone! I hope you had a lovely weekend.

This week in Math we have been working on recognizing numbers 0-5 and practicing writing them. Students also got to practice doing some independent work and had to complete these assignments on their own and have me check it for them afterwards. Being able to count orally and being able to recognize the numbers (out of order) are two different skills, and the latter one is what most Kindergarten students need to work on right now. Next week, we will start working on numbers 6 through 10.

In Reading, students worked on letters Dd, Bb, Gg, Ww, and Ee this week. They made disco balls for the letter Dd that are now hanging on the door and they made waffle headbands, for the letter Ww. Students have had lots of practice this week reviewing letters that we have already learned.

Students also had their first Class Book Report! This is something that I try to do monthly with Kindergarten. This helps students with story concepts and understanding and remembering the sequence of events of a story. The first book report was on Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer. We read this so that we could also have a conversation about the importance of listening and how if we don’t listen, we miss out on important information.

In Science we are still working on learning about the four seasons. Students started this week with an art project in which students made trees for certain seasons. Students got to choose which season they did and they made the trunk of the tree with crayon. Students put their fingers in the ink and used their fingerprints to make leaves. The beautiful trees are now hanging in the hallway for everyone to see!

Students got some time to work on puzzles this week, and they have gradually been getting harder puzzles to work on to challenge them more and more. Challenging them in this way also helps build resiliency skills! They get such a thrill when they realize they accomplished something the didn’t think they could before!

Students did a great job listening for Mrs. Michael this week, when I was out sick one day this week. I’ve been proud of the way that some students have been growing with their behavior and getting better and better!

I’m looking forward to seeing how students do this week, and I am thankful for all of the wonderful communication I have had with all of you parents! Thank you for working with me to make sure your students grow and learn as much as they can in school.

As always, reach out to me with any questions you may have.

Love,

Ms. V 🙂

 

 

 

 

Week of 9/20/2021

Hello everyone!

Thank you for being so understanding about this week’s newsletter being delayed. Let’s get into it!

Last week students learned about the color red. We will be doing a new color every week, working on recognizing the color word along with identifying the color (which should be a review for them).

In reading last week we learned the letters Yy, Ff, and Aa. We then took Thursday and Friday to review all of the letters we have previously learned! Students have been searching for letters throughout the room and practicing writing them. But they also had the chance to practice writing letters in the sand in a sensory activity we did during centers on Friday! Students loved this activity and all were on their best behavior so that they could take part in it.

They also reviewed the sight word ‘am’.

We also played ABC Bingo once again, and it’s wonderful to see progress already with the letters that students are able to recognize now versus the ones they recognized at the beginning of the year!

We also completed our DIBELS assessments for their reading skills, which will help us differentiate student’s reading needs throughout the year. I will be progress monitoring them throughout the year and doing this assessment two more times, at the middle and the end of the year.

In Math this week students wrapped up their chapter on sorting. They got to try using the SMART board while we checked our independent work together!

In Science, we got more in depth with the seasons. With Fall beginning, it was the perfect opportunity to start learning more and more about the differences between the seasons. We listened to two different songs about the seasons to help us learn about them. Here are the links to both:

Seasons

Then we did a sorting activity where we sorted different clothes and objects that we would need in certain seasons. We also read the book Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak which gives more details about the differences between Summer and Autumn.

Students also had Mass again this week and they did a wonderful job!

Many students have collected enough tickets for good behavior to start earning prizes throughout the week. A popular one has been bringing a toy from home, bubble during Free Play, and eating lunch with Ms. V. 🙂 Some students have been saving their tickets for one of the larger prizes, and I’m proud of their patience this early on in the year! LOL!

Thank you to everyone who responded to my email about missing jackets. Please be sure to write your student’s initials or name in theirs so that we are able to keep track of everyone’s! Also – please don’t forget to be checking your student’s folder, especially the items on the Return To School side. Thanks for your continued help with having smooth communication!

Have a great day!

 

Love,

Ms. V

Week of 9/13

Hello families!
I hope you all have had a great weekend.
This week Kindergarten has been working a lot on keeping our hands to ourselves. One thing I’ve been hearing a lot from students is that they’ve been told that if someone hits them, they should hit them back. I have been telling students that at school the rule is if someone touches them in a way they don’t want them too that they need to walk away and come tell an adult. This is so that situations don’t escalate and that they aren’t feeding into another student’s poor choices. A lot of students are also not being malicious in the way they touch another student, but it’s more just disruptive than anything else. On Tuesday we watched this video that teaches us that “hands are for helping”. Feel free to watch it again with your student and use the same language at home about controlling our body. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsQxZq1BoiY&t=327s&ab_channel=TheFuZees
This week Kindergarten learned the letters M, H, I, T, and K. Students have been learning about what the letter looks like in uppercase and lowercase, how to write them, and have been introduced to the sounds the letter makes and listening for the sound in the beginning of the word. We started working in our reading workbooks for the first time!
All of the cutting and pasting practice has already been making a big difference with their ability to use scissors correctly. They’ve been doing great!
Students also have been enjoying some free reading and using headphones when they need to cancel out any unwanted noise!
Students also have learned their first two sight words: “I” and “the”. They have been posted up on our word wall and throughout the year we will be adding a couple more a week. One way students can practice these words at home is to look for them wherever they can and have them point them out! They can look for them in books, signs, magazines, etc.
In Science this week, students had the chance to use their different senses to try and figure out what was in our Mystery Box. They had to put their hand in with their eyes closed and feel it, we shook the box and listened to the sound it made, and they even smelled what was inside the box!
We also have started working in our Math books this week. Students are working on sorting things and learning the vocabulary words “same” , “alike”, and “different”. We sorted some toys by color as a whole class before we began working in our workbooks.
We also have been working on recognizing numbers 1-10. We used color blotters and rolled dice as a class so that we could count the dots and then find the correct number to use. Students have also been doing some color by numbers worksheets, which helps with recognizing the numbers and identifying color words.
Students have been enjoying doing yoga every day after we have our quiet time.
Some students have been very forgetful with their belongings, but we’re working on it! Learning to be responsible for our belongings is a skill we work on all year. This one jacket has been in the room for over a week and none of the students can seem to remember who it belongs to. Let me know if you recognize it!
This upcoming week students will have Mass again, and we will have Ms. Kelly in our room to help out the whole week! We also will have DIBELS testing next week to evaluate where students are at with some key reading skills.

It’s been great to be able to talk to so many of you about your students… please feel free to reach out if you’d like to speak further about anything!

Hope you all have a great week.
Love,
Ms. V

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!

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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!