Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pattern Block Turkeys

We are starting our pattern work in kindergarten. We have talked about AB patterns, ABC patterns, and AABB patterns. Kids have had a little time to explore with our math manipulatives. Today we made our paper pattern block turkeys. Some kids really have a good understanding of how pattern blocks fit together. Many kids really understand the concept of a pattern.

You can see, in these two pictures, how kids are putting the pattern block pieces together.

Some kids are simply gluing pattern block pieces down in a way that looks "pretty" to them, with no pattern at all. That's ok too. Working with pattern blocks, construction paper, and glue sticks is fairly new to some of these kiddos. We let the kids explore and meet them where they are. We love the way their creations are turning out.
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

I'm a book lover. I spend WAY too much money on books. The majority of the books I buy are for use in my classroom. I have a collection of thousands of children's books at school. I buy inexpensive books at garage sales and library sales, but I also shop the bookstores for newly released books. I love buying picture books we can use as mentor texts during Writer's Workshop. Last week, I was on the lookout for easy readers for my kindergarteners.

I stopped by Barnes and Noble and went straight to the children's section. I was down on my knees looking through some easy readers, when an older gentleman came up. He saw my pile of easy readers and said, "Oh, this is the same series I was just looking for. I'm buying some books for my grand daughter. " Well, I'm kind of chatty. I started telling him about my kindergarten students and showed him the books I had found.  As I was walking away, he asked if I buy the books for my classroom with my own money.  I told him that I did, but that it is something I really enjoy being able to provide for my students. 

At that very moment, he took out his wallet and handed me a twenty dollar bill.

 He told me that he'd like to buy the books for my students.  His wife came around the corner and chimed in, telling me that their son is a teacher and they know how much money we spend out of our own pockets for the good of our children. 

I was stunned.  Strangers don't do this kind of thing.  Sometimes parents will donate books to our classroom, but this was a couple I had never seen before and would probably never see again.

I told my kindergarten students, my girl scout troop, and my own children about the kindness of the couple in the bookstore.  I wish I had asked their names or gotten an address so I could send a thank you note. The only way I came up with to thank them, was sending a thank you to the Seattle Times.  Every Sunday, The Times runs a Rants and Raves section.  I looked up who to send this to and sent an email, thanking the kind couple in the bookstore.

I can't tell you how excited I was to see my message of thanks in last Sunday's paper.  I hope they read the newspaper on the weekend and saw my note.  Their kindness brightened my day beyond words.

Since then, I've been on the lookout for ways I can help others, in the same way they helped me.  One act of kindness leads to another.
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Monday, November 7, 2011

Veteran's Day Butterflies

We met our buddy class! Our big buddies came over to help us with a project for our Veteran's Day assembly, later this week.

Every child in our school is creating a butterfly out of red, white, and blue paper. We decorated our butterflies and they will be used to make an American Flag to honor our veterans.

Be sure to ask your child about our buddy visit today!
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New Things To Look For

Over the past few weeks, we have been reading books by Eric Carle.  I know many kids have read these books at home because I hear, "TEACHER!  I have that book!"  When I take out a new book by Eric Carle.

This week, we will be starting to send home our literacy backpacks.  Each backpack will have a book, an activity, or sometimes a stuffed animal to read to.  The backpacks go home with a different student each day, so please be sure to send it back the day after your child brings it home.  If it is an especially busy night, and you don't have time to read the book or complete the activity, please send it back the next day anyway.  We will be sure your child gets a second turn, if they missed out the first time around.  The first book bags will just be a story by Eric Carle and a stuffed animal to read with. 

We are also sending home a writing book.  Each night, a different child will get to take these books home.  Please take a few minutes to fill this out with your child and read through the pages that were done by their classmates.  When each child has had one turn, we will send the books home again.

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