I hope your weekend has been treating you well! Kindergarten had a very exciting week, let’s get into it!
We had a new student join us the week, and Kindergarten was so welcoming to him. We are happy to have you Neko!
In Reading this week we worked on the letters Ll, Ff, Hh, and Pp.
We practiced sorting the new letters by uppercase and lowercase, we made frog headbands for the letter Ff, and more! We not only have been working on letter recognition, handwriting, and introducing letter sounds but we also have been introducing the difference between vowels and consonants. We will not get into more detail about this until later in the year but I would rather them be familiar with the words now. When going over the words we have been also listening to some songs that help us remember the letter sound each letter makes — our current favorite is the videos that Have Fun Teaching’s channel makes on Youtube!
Some fun activities we did to practice these new letters we learned (and review the letters from the previous week) involved doing centers that included letter tile and letter magnet exploration, an uppercase and lowercase matching puzzle, letter tracing in sand, rhyming puzzles, and word puzzles. Some of these centers were more open ended and allowed students to just experiment and get more exposure to letters (for example, students loved grouping letter tiles together like finding all the Aa’s, etc.), while others had more structure. Most of the puzzles we use are self-correcting, to encourage independence to ensure they are retaining accurate information. Letter tracing in sand is a great way to use a sensory tool to also practice handwriting!
We also have been working on learning the difference between a letter and a word. This is a skill that is part of “concepts of print”. Students need to recognize that letters have individual sounds but when they are put together they make a word, and that word can be recognized on paper by the way print is grouped together. We talked about finger spaces (aka, meatball spaces – LOL) that show us when one word has ended, and spaghetti spaces which is the much more minute space in between letters in a word so that we are still able to determine what those letters are. An easy way to keep practicing this is to have your child sit next to you while you read aloud to them and point to each word while you read. This also models what they will be learning to do later this year, and connects sound to print.
This week in Math we finished up our chapter on sorting and have moved on to reviewing numbers 1 through 5. We focused mainly on writing these numbers correctly/recognizing what the number looks like and identifying the number word. Next week will be working on ordering these numbers and learning vocabulary words such as fewer, most, and equal to. We also have been periodically been discussing patterns to continue to strengthen that skill.
Some other activities we do to help encourage math (and science) skills are building! Building things can help teach spatial reasoning, engineering skills, problem-solving. Even more so, it can help build and strengthen fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, creativity, and divergent thinking! We use lots of different building tools and materials — wooden blocks, legos, connectors of all different shapes, magnets, and more!
On the other end of the spectrum, we also have been utilizing imaginative play as much as we can during our Free Play time. Imaginative (or dramatic) play, which is when students are given the opportunity to pretend and imitate either real life or imaginary situations, has many equally as important benefits. Imaginative play fosters and strengthens language development, social skills, emotional competence and empathy, problem-solving, creativity, and independence. Unfortunately, in our society, children are usually pushed into only one kind of play based on their gender. Boys tend to not be given enough opportunities to practice imaginative play, and girls are not often given enough opportunities to practice building. The important thing is finding balance, which is something we try to do as often as possible in Kindergarten! We have things like puppets, dress up clothes, people and animal toys, TV show character toys, and other toys that encourage dramatic play like a veterinarian toy set and a gardening toy set. Closely aligned with this, is allowing plenty of opportunities to allow students to create Art. Another option I provide often during Free Play is the opportunity to create utilizing our Art Cart which contains scissors, glue, crayons, colored pencils, markers, paint sticks, and various kinds of paper. This also encourages creativity and independence but can still be an opportunity for students to practice fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, language development, and additionally can be a way to express their emotions. As you can see below, Justice is showing off some of her creations!
In Social Studies this week we have been continuing our discussion on problem solving and our now moving into discussing different kinds of communities. While we have already learned about our classroom community, now we move on to the next tier of community — family! To kick this off, we read The Family Book by Todd Parr. This book beautifully illustrates the different kinds of family we can have in a very inclusive way, and offers great adjectives for describing your own family. Next week students will be writing about their own families!
Speaking of community, we also celebrated a birthday this week! The first birthday of the school year! Happy sixth birthday to Ta’Liah, and thank you to her mother for sending in cupcakes! For birthday celebrations in our classroom we always have a treat, the birthday student gets a chance to show everyone their baby pictures, and students all make a card for the student that includes that student’s favorite things (which they share with everyone beforehand). Some of Ta’Liah’s favorite things are the color blue, oranges, and playing with toys including her hoverboard!
This week we also read I Am Yoga by Susan Verde, and if you can, read the author’s note to see why I choose to read this wonderful book every year (sometimes more than once a year) to Kindergarten! They always have fun with it, and we continue to practice calming our bodies when we are feeling over-energized, angry, or sad.
Students also enjoyed their first time going to their club! Clubs at STBCA are new this year and have been included in our school schedule so that all students have an opportunity to participate. It will alternate with Mass, which is held every other Friday. So weeks that we do not have Mass we have Clubs instead! I am running the Arts & Crafts club for the upper grades but some of the clubs Kindergarten students are participating in are the Jump Start Art Club (arts & crafts for primary grades), Music Club, and Book Club! Students had the opportunity to give their top 3 choices and were then sorted into a club based on their choices and club availability. Students reported back that they had a wonderful time and we look forward to the next session!
Next week we will be working on letters Ss, Uu, Mm, and Rr in reading, and we will also be doing some DIBELS testing — this is the school wide testing that we do to measure reading and phonics skills.
Open House has been scheduled for October 5th from 6 – 7:30 pm. I look forward to all of you visiting!
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. Enjoy your week!
Ms. V 🙂