Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Fall Walk

This morning we read a book called Fall. Then we went on a Fall Walk around our school. We looked for signs that Fall is here. As you look at our collage, please ask your child to tell you about the pictures from our walk.

***A Favor: Over the next few weeks, please go on a Leaf Walk with your child. Collect as many leaves in different sizes, shapes, and colors as you can. Here's the most important part... please press the leaves. Place them between two paper towels and put heavy books on top. The leaves may be sent to school when they are dry. Thanks so much for your help. We'll be doing several projects with the leaves.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Calendar Time in Kindergarten

Welcome to the carpet! You'll often hear us asking kids to meet us on the carpet. This is the place where so much learning takes place. Kids have their own special spot on the carpet. They come to the same spot each time they come over to the carpet. We start our time together in the morning by singing a few songs. We sing the "Hello Song" to greet each other. We sing the "SMILE" song to remind us to put on our happy face. Then we have a quiet song to help remember to get our bodies ready for learning.

Next up is the Flag Salute.

We talk about the date, today, tomorrow, and yesterday. We talk about the month and season we are in.

We sing a song about the seven days of the week. Ask your child to sing it for you!
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We do lots of work with numbers during our calendar time. As part of our math curriculum, we count the days we've been in school. Every 5th day, we practice counting by 5's. Every 10th day, we practice counting by 10's. At the end of every column of 10, we place a bracket to really help us see this as a TEN. This is an important concept when working with larger numbers. Then we write equations based on the 10's we have. For example, we might write 10+10+3=23. The kids can see on the chart that we have two groups of tens and three extra days crossed off.

Another part of our math curriculum that we practice during calendar time is number flashing. We practice counting numbers with our fingers, but we work on seeing the numbers quickly as a five and a few more. For example, when we count out 8, we'll say 5 and then add three more fingers saying 6, 7, 8. The dots on the number cards also help kids visually see each number.

Here is our money chart, again a place where we count how many days we have been in school, see our number system in 10's, and write equations based on the number we are working on.

We are also learning to write the numbers during our calendar time. So far we have practiced writing the numbers 1 and 2. We have a poem we say for each number that helps us to remember how to properly form the number. We practice writing the number in the air, on the carpet, our friends' backs, and sometimes on white boards on our laps.
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Finally, stories and poems are a huge part of our time together on the carpet. Sometimes these things happen during our calendar time. Most days, we'll read several stories and several poems on the carpet. Last week we talked about how listening to stories is one of the first steps to becoming a reader.

I hope you enjoyed our time together on the carpet! Be sure to show these pictures to your child and ask them to tell you about them!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Apple Week

Last week I asked families to send an apple to school with their child. If you've had a kindergartener before, you probably knew what we were going to do with them. If not, here's a little "taste" of what you can do with an apple in kindergarten.

We graphed our apples.

We sorted our apples.

We smelled our apples cooking with cinnamon all day long.

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When the apples were cooked, we used the food press to make it into applesauce.


We've read lots of books about apples this week.

We REALLY appreciated the family who donated the large basket of apples to the classroom. (I won't use names of families and children in the blog because there could be weird stalkers out there. I don't want to put personal information out on the internet.) Thank you to the family who donated these! We loved all of the activites we were able to do!
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Play-Doh and Your Five Year Old

Every time my son was invited to a birthday party, I'd go shopping for a gift and my husband would say, "Play-Doh again?" In my opinion, it is the ultimate toy! Now that my son is 9, I can't justify buying his friends Play-Doh. My daughter is in kindergarten this year and Play-Doh is a staple in our house. I buy Play-Doh is bulk and we also make our own Play-Doh.

Why do I love this messy art material that can potentially get ground into your carpet? All of the smooshing, rolling, pounding, and squishing helps develop small motor skills and strengthens fingers, hands, and wrists. We do a lot of sketching, writing, and illustrating in kindergarten. Well developed hand muscles are very helpful! I also love that Play-Doh provides open ended, imaginative play. There is no right or wrong way to create with Play-Doh. (Well, there are the obvious no-no's like don't eat or throw Play-Doh.) Aside from that, Play-Doh play is something everyone can feel successful at. Most importantly, Play-Doh is fun. I dare you not to sit down and make a few snakes with your kids!

We have a large collection of rollers, cookie cutters, and special Play-Doh molds at our house and in our classroom. If you don't have a great collection at home, there are lots of items around your house that you can use for Play-Doh play.

*rolling pins
*popsicle sticks
*cupcake papers
*small plastic animals
*birthday candles
*plastic knives

Here's the recipe for homemade Play-Doh if you'd like to try it out at home.

2 cups flour
1 cup salt (Yep, you read that right - 1 CUP.)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water and a little food coloring

Measure and combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well. Quickly pour boiling water and food coloring into dry ingredients ans stir. Turn onto a table and knead as soon as it is cool enough to handle. Store in an air tight container for up to three months.

I hope you'll give this a try at home. Don't tell him that I told you this, buy my 9 year old still loves to play with my homemade Play-Doh too!

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Day of School Poem

I gave you a little wink and smile as you
Entered my room today.
For I know how hard it is to leave and
Know your child must stay.

You’ve been with him for five years now
And have been a loving guide
But now, alas, the time has come to
Leave him at my side.

Just know that as you drive away and
Tears down your cheeks may flow,
I’ll love him as I would my own and help
Him learn and grow.

For as a parent, I too know how quickly
The years do pass,
And not long ago it was my turn to take
My child to class.

So please put your mind at ease
and cry those tears no more,
For I will love him and take him in
When you leave him at my door.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

10 Things About Water

10 Things You Need to Know About Water

1. 85% of the brain is made of water.

2. For optimum brain function the brain needs water.

3. It is possible that excessive amount of salt, sugar, or protein that we consume requires more water to process in our bodies. (We all know that fruits and vegetables are good choices for healthy snacks, rather than chips and cookies!)

4. Symptoms of dehydration include lethargy and mental confusion. Hmmmm, I'm thinking we want kids to be mentally alert in school.

5. Obviously, water is better for us than pop, fruit juice, or sports drinks.

6. A properly hydrated person needs to use the restroom 5-6 times per day.

7. 6-8 glasses of water per day is optimum for hydration.

8. There is no way, time wise, that 23 kindergarteners can consume 8 glasses of water while taking turns at a drinking fountain.

9. Drinking water increases energy levels. Mild dehydration is a common cause of daytime fatigue. Sleepy kids = poor learning.

10. Please send a water bottle to school with your child. The water bottle will stay at school Monday-Friday. We will send the water bottles home on Friday to be washed. Please send them back to school on Monday of each week. Water bottles must be NO SPILL. (No screw on/screw off lids.)

Water bottles like these can be purchased at REI, Fred Meyer, Target, or many other local stores. They usually cost between $10-$15. Please be sure you LABEL your child's water bottle.

Thanks for your help!!! Water bottles can be sent to school on the first day.