Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bears in a Cave

We had a little bit of math fun in kindergarten on Wednesday.  Our math curriculum asks us to create number combinations with

Well, we decided to have a little fun with our number combinations of 6.  We played Bears in a Cave with Teddy Grahams and paper cups bear caves.

The kids were SO engaged in creating their number combinations!  It probably helped that they were allowed to eat their math manipulatives when they were finished with math.
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Loving Some Valentine Fun

The kids were SO excited on Valentine's Day.  Honestly, I've never seen a class as excited.  Their enthusiasm was absolutely fabulous!  We started out with Conversation Heart math.

There was graphing.

We did some estimating, counting, and sorting.

There was a bit of writing as well.

The day ended with cookie decorating, cupcakes, and passing out Valentine cards.  

For the record, they were allowed to eat 5 conversation hearts, and they had to choose between eating a cookie or a cupcake.  They got to take the other things home, but I didn't want to send them home on a sugar high.  I have your backs, parents.

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day!
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100th Day of School

We're 100 days smarter in kindergarten!  Take a look at a few of the fun projects Mrs. Harrison did with the class on Friday.

We made the 100 day crowns.

We wrote and drew about the best thing we did in the first 100 days of school.

We made an art picture using 1 and 2 0’s!

We made an art project of us at 100 years old. (I loved the way these turned out!)

We made a 100's day snack mix.
It's hard to believe we are on the downhill slope in kindergarten!

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Few Centers

Just about every day, in full day kindergarten, we have time for developmental centers.  There is so much to value in free play.  Kids have the chance to be creative, interact with their peers, solve problems, and learn which activities they truly enjoy.

I snapped this photo the other day, of one small portion of the classroom, during center time.  It shows a wide variety of activities going on.
 (Sorry if the photo looks blurry.  I pixilated out the kids' faces.)

Just in this one photo you can see a few boys engaged in dramatic play in our home center/fruit market, two kids painting at the easel, two kids playing reading games on the computer, and two kids exploring the light table.  Learning in kindergarten comes in so many forms.  During this 20 minute block, kids learn so many different skills!

Sometimes, it's all about Playful Learning!
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Sight Words and Writing Homework

Recently, we sent home two sets of sight word cards with each child.  These cards are for you to keep at home.  This is the list of 42 words that we expect our kindergarten students to know at the end of the year.

At my house, when the kids were in kindergarten and first grade, we would use these cards to play Memory.  Remember that game when you were little?  I would encourage you to start with a smaller number of cards.  Having 84 word cards on the floor in front of you seems quite overwhelming.  I would suggest choosing 10 words, to start, and finding their matches.  That way you only have 20 total cards staring at you. (By the way, I have found that my memory must be declining as I get older.  My kids would always beat me, even when I was truly trying.)

Another thing you may want to do, is use these cards as flash cards.  You can keep one set at home and one set in the car.  I found that this ended whining in the car.  As soon as my kids started to whine about being bored, I said, "Hey, let's practice those sight words!"  Voila!  No more whining!

One last tip for practicing sight words.
 (and I LOVE this idea)
Write all of the words on your child's pillow case, with a permanent marker.  (Buy a cheap pillow case first!)  Then, every night at bedtime, ask your child to pick a handful of words to read.  It's quick and easy, and you'll also have a visual reminder to practice the sight words every single night!  My kids loved this!

By the way, the green folders that were sent home are yours to keep.  We thought they would be a good place for you to keep your child's work.  The name cards are for practicing first and last name with proper letter formation.  The sight word practice sheets are something we are going to use in the classroom, but I accidentally copied a whole bunch.  Rather than recycle them, I thought you might want to have your child practice the words at home.  No need to return these two items.

Also, if the writing homework is too much, please feel free to modify!  You are your child's first and best teacher!  You know how much is too much for them.  Kindergarten homework should not be torture!  Have them do what they can and then set a new goal for the following week.  We will only have this writing homework for a few weeks.  That being said, I would certainly encourage writing at home even when the homework ends!  Kids love to write cards, books, notes to friends, and even grocery lists.

Happy reading and writing!
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