Sunday, June 4, 2017

Field Day and Goodbye

A rather epic Field Day wrapped up our wonderful year together. 

As I went through my photos, a quote from A.A. Milne (Author of Winnie the Pooh) seemed quite apt...

How lucky I am to have something 
that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Thank you for sharing your children with me! I hope you enjoy your summer and that you continue to have many wonderful adventures together!

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Our Last Week- 5/22/1

YOU MADE IT!  One of the most important years in your child's school life is about to be complete.  This year taught your child so many things, but mostly that school is a great place to be and that they are very capable learners  This foundation for happy learning will carry them through the next few years as they continue to learn and grow. 

This week will be a little crazy!  Here are a few of the items on your child's schedule:
Monday - Junior Achievement will be teaching us about financial literacy.
Tuesday - We will practice with the 8th graders for graduation. We will also attend our 2nd grade's  Reader's Theater.
Wednesday - We will help our 8th graders graduate.  We will walk them in, help them get seated, and watch them graduate.
Thursday - Field Day!
Some points to consider for Field Day:
Check the weather.  We have had hot frying pan days and freezing cold rainy days for Field Day in the past.  Please make decisions based on the weather as much as possible.
Have your child wear water clothes.  Boys can wear swim bottoms and a shirt, girls can wear a one piece swim suit with shorts and a T shirt over it.  Children can also wear shorts and a T shirt that can get wet and is comfortable.  You can send a towel but be sure to mark it with a name.  
No socks, please!  The kids will be moving from water activities to bounce houses or other dry activities.  Socks tend to get lost at the stops along the way.  Also, it works better if your child is able to wear shoes that they can slip on and off easily so that they don't lose a lot of time between activities trying to manage their shoes.
Please send in a snack.  We will stop for a snack break along our journey to keep them from getting hungry.
Please send in a plastic bag that we can put extra wet items into at the end of the day.
****IMPORTANT!  Please sunscreen your child very well before sending them in to school on field day.  By the time I notice they are getting pink, it is too late!  Additionally, I won't know if a child does or doesn't have sunscreen on.  I don't want anyone's day to be ruined by a painful sunburn.
 
I know it is May and the end of the school year is now at hand. Since we do not get to sit down face to face and conference with this grading period, I just want to emphasize a couple of key things as your child makes the transition from Kindergarten to first grade.

Asking and answering questions is a HUGE skill that needs to be reinforced and practiced across a variety of topics- not just because this strengthens reading comprehension, but because it grows critical and collaborative thinkers which is what we want above all else. We want children who pose questions and have conversations about the answers.

Your child has begun to experience the joy of reading several books by the same author/illustrator. We enjoyed several books by Jan Brett and followed Mo Willem's pigeon through several experiences. Beloved authors, series, and characters help fuel a love of reading through their unique combination of novelty and familiarity. Encouraging your child's love of a character or series (even though you may not share their enthusiasm--personal note: Geronimo Stilton is so not my fav BUT my kiddos think he is hilarious and are captivated by him) can help lay a foundation for reading skills and a life long love of reading.


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Having discussions about our writing and revisiting it to add more is a valuable experience and great writing habit for your child.  Thinking "What more can I add?" leads to detailed, engaging writers.

A parent asked about the summer bridge books that I recommended in the last blog.  These are readily available at many places, such as WalMart, Barnes and Noble, and Costco.  There are a large amount on Amazon as well.  The only drawback is that you can't look through the entire book to see what it contains, but there are some sample pages to view if you click on the picture to activate the Look Inside feature.  An example, not an endorsement, can be found at this link: https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Bridge-Activities-Grades-Activities/dp/1483815803/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495375024&sr=8-1&keywords=summer+bridge+activities+k-1 
Additionally, there was a question about children's reading levels and how to find good books for summer reading.  Your child's reading level will be reported on their report card, however, I find that this information is not the most helpful in choosing books. Also, remember that your child may be interested in books that are "above" their level and these may be wonderful books for you to read to/with them. Additionally, I will be sending home a log-in card for the RazKids site. This will come home on Wednesday with the report card. You can access free reading books on that site.  The kids can read right on the website, and at some levels, can even take a comprehension test to see how well they read.  Kids really like it! I have set the site up with a level for your child to start reading. The level is on the easy side as they learn to use the site.  They can just move up as the reading becomes easier for them. There is also a pretty cool reading website called Epic!  Here is the link:  https://www.getepic.com   Children can listen to books or read themselves.  There is a small fee for home use ($4.99 a month, I believe).  There is a free month long trial available. Finally, one of the best ways to keep your child reading is to join the County Library's Summer Reading Program.  They have incentives and fun extra activities to keep your child interested and moving forward over the summer. Plus, I just might see you there!

HOMEWORK
We have a long summer ahead of us. Reading on a regular basis is vital. Keeping our writing and math skills sharp is important too. Shhhh, I have a little gift coming home with your child on Wednesday that incorporates our class love of writing, poems, and Whoop Whoop notes. Your child will be able to choose their own IXL objectives this week- and over the summer (until my account gets reset sometime over the summer).

If you set up a little Work Station and create a Book Bin for the car right now, it will make it more likely that learning continues for your child and the summer slide in skills will be lessened for them. Set up one or both of these for/with your child and shoot me an email- students will get a move up on our color chart. But the real incentive is the continued growth your child will experience :)

Need books? The Churchill County library is top notch (and their summer reading program is the best). You can even use their website to request certain desired books and they will hold them for you to pick up: http://www.churchillcountylibrary.org/  If you want books to keep, check out the Grassroots Bookstore in Reno. It is phenomenal and they have ridiculously fabulous sales: http://www.grassrootsbooks.com/home/

This year has been AMAZING! I have truly enjoyed my time with this class. I sure am going to miss them, but they are ready for new adventures and first grade learning. Our first grade teachers are lucky to be inheriting a group of enthusiastic learners and supportive parents. Thank you for sharing your child with me this year.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Week of 5/15/17- Dinosaurs

This week is our last student selected theme- Dinosaurs! Our texts will include Oh Say, Can You Say Dinosaur? and Dinosaurumpus! 

This week key vocabulary words will be:
paleontologist-a scientist who studies fossils
museum-a special place where you can see and learn about things like history, science, and art

In math, we are continuing our work with combinations to 10. This is a huge foundational skill and lucky for us there are a variety of fun activities that help us practice it.

We will be doing some STEM BIN Building Challenges this week. You don't need to send in any materials as we will be using things we already have in the classroom. Each group will receive a structure card and try to build a recognizable model for the other students to guess.

Lemonade sales continue this week.

This will be the last week that we have sight word testing. This will also be the last week that I will post usual homework.  Next week would be the perfect time to set up a home study area for your child.  If you get some special pencils and paper and make an "office" they will really enjoy using it.  Next, choose a time of day that will fit well with your summer schedule and try to really stick to it.  It will only take a small portion of the day but if it is scheduled it is so much easier to make it happen.  You will receive information about summer reading expectations and math work on IXL from the whole school email.  Additionally, some parents like to purchase "summer bridge" activity books for their child to work in to keep their skills sharp.  One caution would be to look through the book to be sure it is an appropriate level of work for your child.  They can vary widely and you want to be sure you child isn't bored by too easy, or frustrated by too hard, material. We have a longer than normal summer this year, please try to include a daily reading time. A nightly bedtime reading time or keeping a small bin of books in the backseat of the car could do the trick. More than keeping reading skills sharp- now is a wonderful time in your child's life to instill a lifelong love of reading (and learning in general). One of my favorite quotes is: Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. - Emilie Buchwald
Next week will be a bit crazy with extra activities planned on each day.  One of the most important for you to keep in mind is field day on the last day.  It takes MANY volunteers to make field day work!  Information about how you can help will come from whole school email.  It is fun and fast and fantastic so come out and enjoy this time if you can.
 
I am nearly done with end of the year assessments and I have to say WOW! These kiddos have worked so hard and grown so much. I want to thank you for the amazing support that you have given to your child and our class. I am so incredibly proud of each and every student! I am going to miss them so much!

Homework
In addition to your nightly "Reading Time", please have your child complete work on the following IXL objectives: 

Monday- J.5Complete the addition sentence - make ten 
Tuesday- J.6Complete the addition sentence - sums up to 10 
Wednesday- J.7Write addition sentences 
Thursday- J.8Addition word problems - sums up to 10

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Week of 5/8/17- Pandas

This week the middle school math lemonade stands will begin.  Lemonade will be sold on the playground during the lunch period.  Stands are able to set their own price but it is normally about 25 cents a cup.  The lemonade stand project is a competitive business experience.  I like to encourage our Kindergartners to ask for jobs in order to earn lemonade money rather than to just ask for it. Please take a moment to think of a few jobs that your child can do to earn a few quarters.  Also,  it is very difficult for our little ones to manage their money.  If they bring a dollar they will frequently spend the whole thing by either buying multiple cups of lemonade or buying for all of their friends.  It is up to you how you want to encourage or limit their buying.  I usually encourage bringing a quarter a day rather than more.  Additionally, if you do not want your child to participate there is no pressure to do so!

This week is another student selected theme: Pandas. Our fiction text is another adapted version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (which gives us another opportunity to compare and contrast). Our read alouds will be Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas and Pandas.

This week key vocabulary words will be:
catapulted-move suddenly with great speed
communicate-to pass on information

 We will be working on another STEM challenge this week: "Can you create a catapult that will launch a pompom the farthest distance?" Part of this project includes making changes to our original designs to make them more effective. Thank you to all of the parents who are sending in the supplies that will make this learning opportunity successful!

In writing, we are continuing to write fiction stories. The class is doing quite well with writing stories with a beginning, middle, and end. We are now emphasizing adding more to each page.  This can include adding information about how a character looks or feels. It can also involve using dialogue or adding in more details to help the reader better understand what is happening.

In math, we will continue to focus on addition facts, increasing our focus up to within 10. We will also be spiraling in review of some other important skills.

Our Field Day will be the last day of school. Amazing parent volunteers go a looooong way in making such an event a success. If you are able to volunteer that day, it would be greatly appreciated. In order to make sure the day flows well and there is proper adult supervision at each activity, you would be assigned an area to help out in. There will be a separate email from the school that you can sign up through. I hope to see you there!

The remaining time will go very quickly.  While some of the children are becoming tired and ready for a break, they also may become anxious about becoming a first grader.  This is totally normal! If your child expresses concern, just reassure them that just as they adjusted to kindergarten, they will adjust to first grade and grow to love it! We can set the stage for a successful transition by celebrating all they have learned while letting them know that a fantastic new adventure awaits them in first grade!

Homework
In addition to your nightly "Reading Time", please have your child complete work on the following IXL objectives:
Monday- J.1Add with pictures - sums up to 10 
Tuesday- J.2Addition sentences - sums up to 10 
Wednesday- J.3Add two numbers - sums up to 10 
Thursday- J.4Make a number using addition - sums up to 10

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trash to Treasure


Saying that the students enjoyed our STEM challenge is definitely an understatement.

The conversations, planning, and problem solving were fantastic.

A great BIG "Thank you!" to those who were able to send in materials for us to use in our creations. Your contributions helped spark creativity and make building even more engaging and valuable.