Saturday, June 2, 2018

Week 36- Our Last Week

The end of the school year can be a time of mixed emotions- for the children and adults alike. We may feel excited, sentimental, relieved, proud, unsure, tired, and happy- all at the same time. I feel truly blessed to be a part of your child's life and educational experience.

This week, we spend some time revisiting some favorite activities, recalling things that make Kindergarten special, and reading books for the sheer enjoyment of sharing a great book.

Our play performance will be Monday at 1:30 in our classroom. This is sure to be a standing room event, but the play is short and sweet.  We hope you are able to come enjoy it with us. You will be able to take your child home just as soon as they are out of costume.

I want to thank you for supporting your child's project work. It was so wonderful to watch the children share their writing and learning with so many people. Two of my favorite things about Oasis are the projects we are able to accomplish and the wonderful families that support us every step of the way!

Thursday is FIELD DAY! This is a big deal at Oasis. The festivities last all day and make for a wonderful celebration of our year together with our classmates and school friends.

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.  
* It works best 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.
* Many children will want to change out of their water clothes at the end of the day. Please send in a plastic bag for us to put wet items in. Please also be sure to send along a pair of underwear as it is an often forgotten part of the wardrobe change.

****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, Eric Carle, and -our class favorite- Mo Willem. 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.


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. Please take advantage of the RazKids 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
Our summer work packet will be coming home with your child this week. It includes the OFFICIAL OASIS work: the reading calendars and math fact skill sheets. The packet also includes the bonus material we discussed at conferences- the checklist page and a packet of writing pages. My son and daughter helped compile these and in their stapling zeal they stapled all of these things together. I do not want the large packet to overwhelm. Please remember, my stuff is 100% optional and is meant to be enjoyable- ditch it if it is not shaping up to be that way. Do have your child complete the reading calendar and math fact sheets.


Reading on a regular basis is vital. Keeping our writing and math skills sharp is important too. I believe your child will be able to access their IXL account over the summer (until my account gets reset for the new school year).

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 27, 2018

Week 35: Ladybugs

This week is our last student selected theme- ladybugs! Our read aloud texts will be the nonfiction text It's a Good Thing There Are Ladybugs and Eric Carle's The Very Grouchy Ladybug.

In writing, we polish up our Mo Willems styled books and practice presenting. 

Our presentation at the library is this Thursday at 4:30. Thank you so much for filling out the Google Form to help us plan. The response for bringing refreshments was remarkable- so much so that I really do not think we need everyone who expressed the willingness to bring items to actually bring items in. We would be overrun by cookies and juice pouches- not a horrible problem to be sure :) Seriously, you people are fantastic. I have created a Sign Up Genius that you may officially sign up for cookies, juice pouches, paper plates, or napkins. If you expressed an interest in bringing items, please take a moment to grab a slot so we can make sure we don't unintentionally go from a plethora of goodies to no goodies.  If there are no more slots and you really wanted to bring something, we won't turn your goodies away :) Thank you for your support and generosity!

SignUp Genius: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090b49aaae29a0f58-refreshments

In math, we review addition and subtraction skills.
 
Lemonade sales continue this week. Please keep Kindergarten bladders in mind when sending in money.

Our school year is quickly coming to a close. This will be our final week of somewhat "regularly scheduled programing". This is the last week we will have our morning reading block so it is the last week our AMAZING volunteers will need to come in for their center rotations. Tuesday is our turn for MAPS testing. This week will also be the last week testing is done for sight words (and spelling words for students who reached those lists). This week is also the last week for tutor groups. We will have groups Tuesday and Wednesday, but not on Thursday as Ms. Morrison and I have Kindergarten Screening and our final presentations at the library to set up.

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. 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. 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 have been working on report cards 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
Reading:
Please continue your nightly reading time activities.
 
* Your child will be bringing home a personalized login card for Raz Kids. This is a computer program your child can use over the summer. It uses the same books as our printed out paper books that we used in reading groups, but as e-readers. You simply login at www.kidsa-z.com and your child should be able to start reading away! Once your child logs in they can head to the Level Up station to systematically work through appropriate books. I recommend having them read a book themselves before they use the option of having it read to them so they can practice keeping their word solving skills sharp. They can even take little quizzes on each book. There is also a Reading Room area that has additional books like we use in class. The section Leveled Books (it is the very first option) has the levels recommended for your child highlighted, with the letter level they should try out first showing up the largest. They can move down a bit for fluency work or up a bit if they seem like they need a bit of a challenge. Your child is also free to explore other areas as well. There is an incentive system embedded in the program where your child can earn stars for reading tasks and then spend them to build a robot or rocket.

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes each night.
Your child may work on any addition or subtraction skill objective. These are IXL sections I, J, K, and L.


You are welcome, and in fact encouraged, to continue having your child 
practice their addition skills by using real world objects- especially if they 
complete the IXL tasks quickly. Yay for math fact fluency! They may also 
visit any of the I section addition skills.


 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Week 34- Butterflies

The students really enjoyed making their Eric Carle inspired webs and spiders last week! Special thanks to the families that sent in materials and the kind soul who joined me for the painting itself!

Along with a nonfiction text about the changes from a caterpillar to a butterfly, we have another of Eric's books for a read aloud this week- a classic- The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (Fun fact- Eric was inspired by a hole puncher to write this story.) 

We will be putting a lot of work into writing projects this week. It has been delightful to watch the students come up with story lines and pull in things we've noticed Mo do in his books. We hope you are able to join us at our upcoming presentations. Please take a moment to fill out this Google Sheet, if have not already.
https://goo.gl/forms/qWpcqq4rmeGN2KA62

In math we continue working on subtraction while strengthening our fact fluency.

As we near the end of the year, we will also be working on some assessments. 

Next week, some of the middle school students are opening up their lemonade stands. This is an Oasis tradition. It is a competitive exercise of commerce and the middle schoolers come up with some very enticing ways to get customers to visit their stands. The price is usually 25 cents per cup. Students tend to spend as much as they are given at one time. This can lead to a lot of liquid in tiny bladders at a time when a lot of young ones are experiencing the same situation which can lead to bathroom accidents. Please keep this in mind when deciding how much money to send with your child. It is also helpful if you remind them that if they drink lemonade at lunch recess, they should also make a bathroom trip during that same break. If you know that your child has a more delicate bladder, it may not be a bad idea to send a change of clothes in their backpacks until the end of the year.


HOMEWORK
Reading:
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in
the binder, and practicing sight words.


Your child should ideally be spending time with familiar texts (such as the
printed books they bring home), as they help reinforce sight words in context
and using word solving strategies. However, these books are not real meaty
when it comes to comprehension, so they should also be spending time with
trade books (high quality children’s literature- like from the local library or
bookstore). These books lend themselves better to conversations. When you
read to them, you are also providing important modeling of a fluent reader
and a pleasant reading experience.

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes each night.
Your child may work on any addition or subtraction skill objective. These are IXL sections I, J, K, and L.


You are welcome, and in fact encouraged, to continue having your child 
practice their addition skills by using real world objects- especially if they 
complete the IXL tasks quickly. Yay for math fact fluency! They may also 
visit any of the I section addition skills.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Week 33- Spiders

This week, we not only take a closer look at spiders, but also one of our focus authors- Eric Carle. His book The Very Busy Spider and a great nonfiction text are in our reading line up. We will be continuing to strengthen our comprehension and discussion skills by sharing interesting facts, comparing and contrasting, discussing the author’s point, and retelling the story.
 
We could use some glitter glue for a raised texture activity- Eric Carle often includes engaging elements in his books that include cutouts, flaps, and raised texture. This is a great way for students to incorporate professional moves into their own work. We will also be doing some painting with different textures so if you have items that you think could lead to interesting textures (things we could use to paint with or drag through paint such as bubble wrap, q tips, toothpicks, cooking implements, pine cones, ribbon...) that you do NOT want returned, we would love to use them. This painting adventure will be taking place Wednesday afternoon and I would greatly appreciate additional helping hands.

Our class’s closer look into Mo Willem’s Piggie and Elephant books has laid the groundwork for them to start writing their own Mo Inspired books this week. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

In math, we continue our work with subtraction. We meet Linus the Minus this week!




HOMEWORK
Reading:
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in
the binder, and practicing sight words.

Your child should ideally be spending time with familiar texts (such as the
printed books they bring home), as they help reinforce sight words in context
and using word solving strategies. However, these books are not real meaty
when it comes to comprehension, so they should also be spending time with
trade books (high quality children’s literature- like from the local library or
bookstore). These books lend themselves better to conversations. When you
read to them, you are also providing important modeling of a fluent reader
and a pleasant reading experience.

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


You are welcome, and in fact encouraged, to continue having your child 
practice their addition skills by using real world objects- especially if they 
complete the IXL tasks quickly. Yay for math fact fluency! They may also 
visit any of the I section addition skills.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Week 32- Jaguars

This week's topic, by popular demand- haha, is jaguars! We learned a bit about jaguars during our rainforest weeks and the students were keen to find out more so here we go! We have a couple of traditional nonfiction texts along with the true tale of a jaguar cub that has become an animal diplomat for raising awareness about the conservation program that helped save him.

In writing, we are delving deeper into our author study of Mo Willems as this work becomes foundationally tied to where our book study project has led. (If you, the adult, have not yet gotten a chance to read a Mo Willem's book, you are missing out. The class would likely recommend any and all Elephant and Piggie books.)


In math, we more formally bring in the plus sign with our helpful friend, Gus the Plus.


(Next week, we meet his brother...)

After a couple more days with addition as our focus, subtraction moves into center stage. As we make this shift, it is important that we help the children see it as a kind of continuation. When we are subtracting, we are still working with a part, part, whole relationship among numbers. Instead of putting two parts together to make the whole, we are now taking the whole apart into the two smaller parts.

Our special this quarter is Drama. The students are pretty excited about sharing their play with you! This is currently slotted to be performed on Monday, June 4th at 1:30pm so mark your calendars.

Keep those interesting words coming! Having the children aware, interested, and actively gathering new words is so important to developing strong readers and lifelong learners!

HOMEWORK
Reading:
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in 
the binder, and practicing sight words.

Your child should ideally be spending time with familiar texts (such as the 
printed books they bring home), as they help reinforce sight words in context 
and using word solving strategies. However, these books are not real meaty 
when it comes to comprehension, so they should also be spending time with 
trade books (high quality children’s literature- like from the local library or 
bookstore). These books lend themselves better to conversations. When you 
read to them, you are also providing important modeling of a fluent reader 
and a pleasant reading experience.

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes each night.
Monday:  I.1 Add with pictures - sums up to 5
Tuesday:  I.2 Addition sentences - sums up to 5
Wednesday:  I.3 Add two numbers - sums up to 5
Thursday:  I.4 Make a number using addition - sums up to 5


You are welcome, and if fact encouraged, to continue having your child practice their addition skills by using real world objects- especially if they complete the IXL tasks quickly. Yay for math fact fluency!



Monday, April 30, 2018

Week 31- Plants

This week, we will be learning about plants- their parts, cycle, and needs. 
We have a great nonfiction text and a couple of fiction texts, including an 
Eric Carle. We have been spending some time thinking about what point 
author’s are making in their books- what they want us to learn. This often 
applies to fiction as well as nonfiction. When a character learns a lesson 
it is often a lesson we can apply to our own lives as well. This is another 
aspect of books that you can touch on in your discussions with your child.

To help encourage the habit of actively expanding our vocabulary, any 
student that brings in an interesting word to share with the class (they 
have to be able to “teach” it using the word and its definition), will get 
to move up on our color chart. Please send the word in on a little piece of 
paper so we can display the words we collect (the definition can be written 
down too, but doesn’t have to be).

We didn’t quite get to shades of meaning because we got pretty into some 
of our other learning activities so I hope to explore topic this week.

We have been generating and searching for words with blends. These are 
letters that work so closely in a word it is like they are making their 
individual sounds together which can make them difficult for Kindergartner 
ears to hear, often they only hear the “stronger” of the two sounds. Some 
examples are bl- blend, blow, blanket and cr- crunch, crack, crash. The kids 
are officially better than me at the “let’s see how many words we can think 
of with this blend” game. Such an impressive group!

In writing, we continue our narrative writing with more of an emphasis on 
checking our own writing for desired components.

In math, we continue with our combinations to make 10. The students have 
been doing a great job with their combinations. Fluency is the name of the 
game!

I had more books/topics that I wanted to explore with the kids than we have 
weeks of school left, so the students voted on our last few themes. We will be 
learning about Jaguars, Spiders, Butterflies, and Ladybugs!

I somehow missed our official Volunteer Appreciation Week, for which I 
sincerely apologize! The support from your families has been amazing 
and I appreciate the time, resources, and support you give. I have a little 
area in my room (right by the hallway door) with tokens of appreciation 
if you are able to swing by this week, please help yourself to a little 
something. Thank you for the important part you play! Our classroom 
is a better place because of you!

HOMEWORK
Reading:
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in 
the binder, and practicing sight words.

Your child should ideally be spending time with familiar texts (such as the 
printed books they bring home), as they help reinforce sight words in context 
and using word solving strategies. However, these books are not real meaty 
when it comes to comprehension, so they should also be spending time with 
trade books (high quality children’s literature- like from the local library or 
bookstore). These books lend themselves better to conversations. When you 
read to them, you are also providing important modeling of a fluent reader 
and a pleasant reading experience.

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes each night.
IXL does offer several objectives that allow for practice with Addition up to 5 
(skill section I), however they use the math symbols + and =. These are not yet 
included as a focus in our math instruction. We are working on laying a strong 
foundation with the important part-part-whole concept so we emphasis the 
language of ___ and ___ make___ at first.

For homework this week, if you wish, you may try out the IXL I skills and 
simply connect the symbols to the language used in class. If this makes sense 
to your child and is not causing confusion or stress, this can be your child’s 
homework practice.

ALTERNATIVELY, you may continue to do the below type of math practice, 
preferably with an emphasis on solving math stories or addition based dice or 
card games. It is best to start with lower numbers/amounts and work up to 
larger amounts as your child builds confidence and fluency.
This is a great time to play math games with your child. You can use materials 
from Math Night, online or printable activities, or traditional board/card 
games that have a math component.

Revisit any skill from the Comparing (G) section. We will be reinforcing 
comparing smaller amounts for a couple of days, before moving into 
comparing the teen numbers. IXL does not have objectives for comparing 
items within 20, so this is where materials from Math Night or collections of 
items from around the house can come in handy.  If your child seems pretty 
solid with comparing within 10, move on to comparing groups of real items 
up to 20. Using terms, such as “more”, “less”, “fewer”, “the same”, and 
“equal”. It is also great to practice “how many more/fewer”. For example if 
I have 12 crayons and 10 pencils, I could talk about how I have 2 more 
crayons or 2 fewer pencils. When making such comparisons, noting groups 
of 10 or how far away from a group of 10 is valuable too (I have 7 gummy 
bears- that’s just 3 away from a whole group of 10). When using real items 
you can physically group them into 10s. You can also physically line them 
up item to item to see how many more/fewer there are.

If it seems appropriate for your child, you may also spend some time 
revisiting any D section skill.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Week 30- Bees

Building off of last week's science focus of taking care of the world around us, this week we will be learning about bees. We will read a nonfiction text that shows how they are helpful, interesting animals. We will use this text to further explore how author's support their points. We will also read a story called The Greedy Bee. We will be using this book to help us build a habit of collecting interesting words.

We will be exploring Shades of Meaning this week. This is a very fun skill to work on and helps reinforce our search for interesting words and strong word choice.

In writing, we continue working on narratives with a focus on seeing ourselves as storytellers and making sure our stories include key information including the feelings of ourselves and other people.

This week in math, we will be spending quite a bit of time with making combinations to 10. I think our extra time on combinations to 5 paid off- the students have been pretty fluent and seem ready for this stretch. This is another super important foundational skill so I plan to linger here a bit.

We have a very talented dance instructor coming in to extend upon our exploration of colors and feelings by adding in movement!
 
Project Update:
A helpful parent pointed out that our original date for the presentation of our project was the same night as graduation. I met with our lovely librarian again and we came up with a new date. Please save Thursday May 31st at 4:30 on your calendars!

HOMEWORK
Reading:
10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in 
the binder, and practicing sight words.

Try for a combination of paper familiar reads and trade book read alongs. 

Some notes to guide book discussions:

When reading together, remember to ask questions and share thoughts about the 
characters and what they are thinking, feeling, or doing. It is also a good idea to 
talk about the problem the character had (the uh-oh part of the story) and the  
solution-how it was fixed (the phew part of the story).  See if your child can tell you 
most of the important things that happened in the story.

If you are reading a non-fiction book together, some of the things you can discuss include:
* facts that you learn
* things that surprised you
* things you are wondering about
* connections to other things you have read
* connections to things you have experienced   

Math:
Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes each night.
IXL does offer several objectives that allow for practice with Addition up to 5 
(skill section I), however they use the math symbols + and =. These are not 
yet included as a focus in our math instruction. We are working on laying a 
strong foundation with the important part-part-whole concept so we emphasis 
the language of ___ and ___ make___ at first.

For homework this week, if you wish, you may try out the IXL I skills and 
simply connect the symbols to the language used in class. If this makes sense 
to your child and is not causing confusion or stress, this can be your child’s 
homework practice.

ALTERNATIVELY, you may continue to do the below type of math practice,
 preferably with an emphasis on solving math stories or addition based dice or 
card games. It is best to start with lower numbers/amounts and work up to 
larger amounts as your child builds confidence and fluency.
This is a great time to play math games with your child. You can use materials 
from Math Night, online or printable activities, or traditional board/card 
games that have a math component.

Revisit any skill from the Comparing (G) section. We will be reinforcing 
comparing smaller amounts for a couple of days, before moving into 
comparing the teen numbers. IXL does not have objectives for comparing 
items within 20, so this is where materials from Math Night or collections 
of items from around the house can come in handy.  If your child seems 
pretty solid with comparing within 10, move on to comparing groups of
real items up to 20. Using terms, such as “more”, “less”, “fewer”, 
“the same”, and “equal”. It is also great to practice “how many more/fewer”. 
For example if I have 12 crayons and 10 pencils, I could talk about how I 
have 2 more crayons or 2 fewer pencils. When making such comparisons, 
noting groups of 10 or how far away from a group of 10 is valuable too 
(I have 7 gummy bears- that’s just 3 away from a whole group of 10). When 
using real items you can physically group them into 10s. You can also 
physically line them up item to item to see how many more/fewer there are.

If it seems appropriate for your child, you may also spend some time revisiting 
any D section skill.