Sunday, October 22, 2017

Week 8- Sun and Shade

This week we will be learning about sun and shade/shadows. We will be reading the books Moonbear's Shadow and Guess Whose Shadow as well as some excerpts from some nonfiction texts.

We have the delightful book Frog on a Log? to help us firm up our rhyming skill this week. 

We will be thinking about and connecting to our character's feelings. This involves identifying feelings and thinking about the different experiences we have had with these feelings. We will be carrying over this focus to our writing.

We will also be learning about how different punctuation marks mean that sentences should be read in different ways. A period means that we read with a regular voice, but an exclamation point means that we read with a strong feeling.

We are starting a new unit in math, in which we will be focusing on reading writing, and understanding numbers up to 10.

Students will be participating in their first STEM building challenge this week! This challenge is to create a shady spot for their ice cube and to observe and record the effects of sun and shade.

In hopes of reaching our end of the year goal for mastering sight words, it is ideal for your child to be passing their list every week or two. To pass their list they need to be able to identify the words rather quickly and out of order. I am sharing this goal, not to stress you out, but to let you know that a strong sight word base help builds confident readers and that you can help your child build this foundational skill by visiting these sight words as part of your child's homework routine. Sight word practice lends itself well to various games as well as on-the-go practice. Now that many of us have mastered our letter names and sounds (and the rest of us are closing in on them fast), now is the perfect time to include some quick sight word practice as part of our reading homework time. This need only be 2 or 3 minutes. I recommend making simple index card style flash cards with/for your child as they can be used in so many fun ways.
 
A few fun things to do with flash cards: 

* Use them as passwords for specific places - say to get out of the car or on the fridge to get a snack, etc.

* Play Slap It: Lay out 3 sight words, say a word or spell it out, and the child slaps the correct card.  It helps to have the child say and spell the words too. You can switch roles and have them identify words for you or another family member to slap as well.
 
* Play Move It: Place cards around the room. Give a physical direction and state a sightworde. Some examples- skip over to  the word "he", monster stomp to the word "they", tip toe to the word "we". 

* Make a double set of cards to play Memory and Go Fish.

HOMEWORK
Reading: 
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, sight words, and working on alphabet sounds and letter names.

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes.

Monday-
C.1 Learn to count to 10
Tuesday -C.2 Count to 10

Skills can be revisited and repeated to increase your child's automaticity. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Week 7- Seasons (Fall)

This week, much of our learning will center around the changing of the seasons. We will be examining fall leaves and using them as a topic for writing and to sort during math. Thank you for the plethora of leaves that have been provided! Our comparisons shall be rich indeed.

We will be working to produce rhyming words in addition to identifying them.

We have several wonderful books that we will be reading this week: Tap the Magic Tree, Bear Feels Sick, Little Tree, and A Tree For All Seasons.

We will be using an OWL chart (Observations- Wonderings- and Learnings) in science to record our thoughts about the changing seasons.

In math, we will continue to work with the concepts of More and Less. We will also be working with patterning.

The local Firefighters are scheduled to come visit us this week!

I was very impressed last week with how well the students are undertaking the roles of listener and speaker!

We opened our Maker Space this week. A Maker Space is an area in which students can create, tinker, and explore. The creativity was truly flowing.

Here is a peek at the type of materials we use:

Displaying maker space.jpg 

Given the enthusiasm this area has been met with, I am just going to throw out there that we will probably be accepting (read- needing) donations in the not too distant future. Pom-poms, googly eyes, pony beads, pipe cleaners, and lacing strings may be among the first items needing to be replenished :) 

HOMEWORK
Reading: 
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, sight words, and working on alphabet sounds and letter names. I strongly recommend having your child sing and act the Zoo Phonics song with you. These animals serve as fun anchors to the all important letters and sounds that we use so much!

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes.

Monday-
G.3 Fewer and more - compare by counting
Wednesday- reportH.1 Color patterns
Thursday- H.2 Size patterns

Skills can be revisited and repeated to increase your child's automaticity. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Week 6- Firefighters

This week, our thematic focus will be firefighters. We will continue exploring a topic through both fiction and nonfiction. We are revisiting many important concepts this week including:
* fiction vs nonfiction
* purpose
* parts of the book and how they help us get ready for the book
* author/illustrator
* how characters are feeling throughout a story

We also continue our focuses on letter names and sounds, as well as rhyming. We have some fun and valuable rhyming activities centered around the whimsical song Down by the Bay (a personal childhood favorite). 

In writing, we are continuing our writing about what we enjoy doing.

In math, we are continuing our work with sorting by attributes and working on the concepts of same number and more than.

We are also really delving into the oh-so-important skills involved in developing strong Habits of Discussion. These are the specific jobs we have as a speaker and as a listener. We will be creating a chart and using hand movements to help us remember to use these skills in our discussions. 

These jobs include:

Speaker:                                                            
* Look at the audience
* Speak “loud and proud” 
* Speak in whole sentences
* Use people’s names

Listener:
* Track the speaker
* Keep my hands down and still
* Wait until it is my turn to talk
  • This is so important: truly listening to what they are saying AND I give them time to think when they need it.
* Time or help?
  • This is the question you ask if someone seems to be struggling
  • Help is reminders, not just the answer

As we transition into Fall, our weather is fluctuating. Please send in a jacket or sweatshirt with your child- just in case the day turns chilly.

If you get a chance, please collect and send in some colorful leaves. During the week of October 16th, we will be exploring the changing leaves of autumn. I would like to be able to have students observe and sort a variety of real leaves. We are looking for different shapes and colors. We would appreciate any you could contribute to our class. Time spent collecting counts as volunteer time :)



HOMEWORK
Reading:
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, and working on alphabet sounds and letter names. I strongly recommend having your child sing and act the Zoo Phonics song with you. These animals serve as fun anchors to the all important letters and sounds that we use so much!

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes.
Monday-
P.5 Classify and sort by color

Skills can be revisited and repeated to increase your child's automaticity. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Week 5- Bats: Fiction AND Nonfiction

This week we will learn about bats through a nonfiction text as well as enjoy the story of Stellaluna.  We will continue our exploration of fiction and nonfiction as types of text (this is an endeavor we continue throughout the year). We will also be examining how the different parts of the book (front cover, title page, and back cover) help us get our brains ready for what we are going to be reading.

We will continue our work on identifying rhymes.

We will also continue our writing work. The students were thrilled to take home their very first booklets on Thursday! This week's writing will focus on various things we enjoy doing.

We are starting a new math unit this week, which is all about Sorting and Classifying. We will be focusing on how things are alike and different, as well as sorting by attributes. 

We will be meeting our final Tribble Appreciations, while learning about the concept of Bucket Filling. Essentially, "the concept of being a bucket filer comes from Carol McCloud’s Book Have You Filled A Bucket Today?  and stems around the idea that everyone carries around an invisible bucket that throughout the day is being filled by the kind things that you do for others or that others do for you.  A bucket filler is someone who is showing positive character traits (kind, considerate, caring, respectful) and is being a responsible citizen.  When our buckets are full, we feel happy and when our buckets are empty we feel sad." (from https://sites.google.com/site/wearebucketfillers/parent-letter) When we do something that saddens or hurts another person, we are dipping into that person's bucket. We strive to avoid being bucket dippers and to fill others' buckets as often as we can.

We have an important Kindergarten benchmark approaching. We hope to have all students able to identify all of the letters names and primary sounds by the end of the 6th week of school. A handful of students have demonstrated this, with several more quickly approaching this goal. However, this is not a demonstrate-the-skill-one-time-and-we-consider-it-mastered type of skill (nothing really is). Kindergartners are exposed to and are using an astounding amount of information.  They are practicing a wide range of skills.  This can lead to some "using and confusing" of information (such as using the wrong word to identify a new concept or idea -author for illustrator, fiction for nonfcition).  As well as a seeming lack of consistency with some skills (one day they know a letter sound, the next day they don't recall it).  This is normal. Kindergartners are working to transfer information from their short term to their long term memory. This requires a lot of repetition and practice using developing skills. Alphabetic knowledge is key to our students becoming confident readers and writers, so I am urging you to have the Zoo Phonics song be a part of your reading homework each night. These animals and motions are a great anchor for your child’s developing understanding of these letters. Once students have been able to identify letter names and sounds, we work throughout the year to make these skills more solid and automatic.

Your child is accomplishing an amazing amount of learning and growth week in and week out. I am constantly impressed with what these students do!

HOMEWORK
Reading: 
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, and working on alphabet sounds and letter names. I strongly recommend having your child sing and act the Zoo Phonics song with you. These animals serve as fun anchors to the all important letters and sounds that we use so much!

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes.

Monday-
P.1 Different
Tuesday -P.2 Same

Skills can be revisited and repeated to increase your child's automaticity.