Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Three Days Off

Hello Families!

It's conference time, and I've been busily meeting with a few families today.  While, I'm here working, many of you are at home with your kids.  What will you be doing on these days off?  (If you're stuck at work, like me, just keep thinking that it's almost the weekend.)

If you do happen to be at home with the kids, and you're looking for something fun to do, I always recommend the zoo, aquarium, or science center.  If you're looking for something a little less expensive, like FREE, then I'd like to suggest a trip to Bothell Feed Center. (by Fred Meyer's at Thrasher's Corner)  We have a pet bunny at home.  This is Cookie.

I buy everything we need for Cookie at Bothell Feed Center.  I'm a farm girl at heart, so making the trip to the local feed store just feels better than going to a big chain pet store.  Anyway, I was at Bothell Feed Center last week and can you guess what they had there?  BABY CHICKS!  I was soooo close to taking a few chicks home and telling my hubby he had to build a chicken coop. 

Heading to Bothell Feed Center would make a GREAT field trip over the next few days.  As an extension, here are a few questions you might want to ask your child:

What is something that you can do that a baby can't do?
What are some ways we take care of babies until they can care for themselves?
How do you think you would care for a baby chick, or another baby animal?  (This would be a great question to ask at the feed center too.)
Where did you sleep when you were a baby?
Where do baby animals sleep?
How do animals stay warm at night?
Where do you think a bird might sleep?
How do you think birds make their nests?
What do you think they use to make their nests?

The conversations could be endless!  I love to talk with curious kids.  They are full of wonder and excitement about learning.  Turning a simple trip to the pet store into an inquiry project is really exciting for kids.

Here are a few books you might want to track down too:

Chicks & Chickens

Animal Babies

First the Egg (Caldecott Honor Book and Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book (Awards))

If You Were Born A Kitten

Here's a great idea for helping the birds too!

And here is the link to the original post, if you'd like to read more about it.  By the way, Bothell Feed Center has an excellent supply of wild bird food, if you're interested in feeding the birds.

Have your kids create a stuffed animal play area in your house.  Encourage them to show what they know about how animal parents care for their babies.

The possibilities are endless!  I hope you're enjoying your time with your kids and finding some wonderful learning experiences to fill your days!  We'll see you all on Monday, and I hope you have great stories to tell about your days off. 

Happy Field Tripping!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Writer's Worshop in March

After wrapping up our cooking unit, we are shifting our focus to other nonfiction topics.  In our Guided Reading groups, many students read this book about life at the beach.

In our whole class discussion, our conversation was about the author's purpose.  We decided that the author must really love the beach.  She must know a lot about the beach too.  Some kids even suggested that she may live at the beach.  At the very least, they decided she must have visited the beach at some time and just wanted to share her excitement about it.

As kindergarten authors, we are doing the same thing!  We are taking topics we know a lot about, and turning them into books.  Of course there is a range of topics. 

 Cats, dogs, butterflies, birds, and rainbows seem to be the favorites.  Kids are also writing about their favorite sports, games they love, and we even have one "sleep expert" in our class.

Prewriting, in kindergarten, looks very different than it does in older grades.  Most of our prewriting is done verbally.  One of my favorite ways to plan out a story, is to tell the story across your fingers.  We touch our thumb and say the title of the story.  The four remaining fingers represent one idea as well as one page of the book.

I'm working on uploading a video to demonstrate this.

Happy writing!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Nonfiction Reading Lesson Objectives

Well, the title of this post sounds like the most boring entry you could possibly read!  While the title sounds incredibly boring, the content is anything but boring.  Our reading lessons for the week have to do with nonfiction books about animals.

Everyone knows that kindergarteners LOVE animals.  Of course, their love of animals encourages a love of animal books.  This week, in our reading program, we're reading Animals in Their Habitats.

Our objectives are to:

*build vocabulary related to animals
*summarize information
*build oral language
*identify and discuss nonfiction text features

As much as the kids like this book, they REALLY like the other animal books we have around our classroom.  My favorite animal books are the DK books.  Here's a link to Amazon, to see a few good titles. Many of these books are available at the public library as well.

A good way to add books to your home library is to visit the gift shops when you go on an outing.  A few weeks ago, when I took my kids to the aquarium, I let them each pick out a new animal book on the way out.  This is a book my daughter has come back to many times in the past few weeks.  She can almost read it by herself now. 

As you're reading with your child, make sure you point out things like table of contents, bold words, or the glossary.  Talk about new words and see if they can relate their learning to something they already know.  For example, one of the books we read today, described a polar bear's paws as webbed.  Many kids knew that frogs' feet are webbed too, which helps them to swim.  We learned this in a book we read last month and kids were able to use their schema and make that connection.
Of course, cookbooks are a great type of nonfiction book too!  This is another great opportunity to discuss text features in cookbooks!  (More on this later in the week.)
Happy reading!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Baking Up Some Zucchini

Our cooking project of the week was baked zucchini.  We made this recipe on Wednesday and wrote about it on Thursday.  I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the kids said they really liked this!

I sliced the zucchini and put it into a Ziploc bag.  We sprayed some olive oil on the zucchini slices and then added the yummy stuff.  We sprinkled in a little Parmesan cheese, some bread crumbs, a little bit of all purpose seasoning, and a pinch of salt.  We zipped up the bag and shook it like crazy.  (Of course, the kids loved this part!)

We baked them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, and snack was ready.  The kids loved these and even asked for seconds!  We're not quite done writing about this recipe, so I'll share it when we finish up.

Happy cooking!
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