Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Getting Ready for the Holidays

Getting ready for the holidays means many things in our classroom. We are making parent gifts, having guest readers, and enjoying our holiday party with a pizza lunch.

It also includes our class book exchange. Each child is asked to send in one inexpensive book already wrapped. The kids get in a circle and the books are put in the middle. Then I call one child at a time by his/her class number to choose a book out of the pile. No one is allowed to open the book until all children have one in hand. On the count of three - paper was flying everywhere.

There are two rules to our book exchange: 1. You can't choose the book you brought in 2. Be grateful for the book you receive whether you like it or not. For children who are unable to send in a book for any reason, I have extra books I wrap to add to the pile. This way every child walks away with a book! This year is was a great success and the kids were excited for their new books.

Check out the rest of our holiday photos:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our Great Joy

Here are some of our favorite parts to our book of the month...

My favorite part about Great Joy was when Frances creeped down to the living room.

Great Joy
I love when she looked at the person with the monkey.

Great Joy
My favorite part is when Frances said behold. This is at the end of the story.

My favorite part was when Frances looked out the window. She saw the man and the monkey outside the window.

When Frances put the the coin in the monkey cup.

When Frances mom sewed Frances costume for the play. Frances was finished. Now she was ready.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Best Part of Pow Wow

The kids were asked what he/she liked about the day. It really was a fun day for all of us. Here were their thoughts!

Connerly - singing and dancing
Lea - dancing
Emily - dancing
Richa - singing
Faith - dancing
Hannah - dancing
Payton - dancing
Zachary - seeing the teepee
Amy - dancing
Hailey - the story in the teepee
Alex - dancing
Rebecca - dancing
Julia - dancing
Elliot - dancing
Mia - the reading in the teepee
Katie - dancing
Carter - dancing
Cameron - dancing
Lauren - dancing
Brandon - dancing
Matthew - dancing
Alexis - the story in the teepee
Nakyya - the teepee
Jasani - the teepee
Lisa - the teepee

As you can see, the dancing was one of the favorite things about their day. We were very proud of all their hard work. They did a GREAT job!

Nez Perce Kids

Here is our favorite song from our Nez Perce unit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All About our Tribe

The Nez Perce Tribe is one of the most interesting tribes I have ever learned. They have so many great traditions and their way of life was abundant with using only what was needed. The Nez Perce originated in Oregon and Idaho. They were a beautiful people who called themselves Nimipu which meant "real people" or "the people".

We have had a busy two and a half weeks building up to our big day of celebration that will take place on Friday. We are so excited by all the new information we have learned. We have been adding all this great information to our reports. Here are some things we have learned:

Matthew: A good hunter can shoot 10 arrows before one hits the ground.
They used to have a fire in the middle of the teepee.

Jasani: The women did a lot of the storytelling.
The door of the teepee faced East.

Nakyya: They used to have different hair styles.
The top of the teepee let the smoke out.

Lisa: They would take dogs to hunt.
They made their own baskets.

Alexis: The girls played with dolls.
The boys played with stick horses.

Cameron: They had dogs.
The rode Appaloosas.

Brandon: The teepee's went in a circle.
The Nez Perce shot arrows.

Katie: They rode the Appaloosas because they were fast.
They had different hair styles.

Carter: They made teepees out of animal skin and it had a hole in the top to
get smoke out.
The teepee always faced East so the sun came in the door.

Lauren: They live in teepees.
Their teepees are in a circle.

Hailey: They all had different hair styles.
They have a holein the top of their teepee so smoke can come out and the door faced East so they got light.

Alex: The medicine man and the chief live in the middle teepee.
In the middle of the teepee they had a fire.

Amy: They had shapes on their dresses.
They took dogs with them to hunt.

Zachary: I know a good hunter can shoot 10 arrows in the sky before one hits the ground.
I know that they like the deer skin the best because it was soft.

Elliot: The Nez Perce can shoot 10 arrows at a time.
They rode horses to hunt.

Mia: They made their boats out of trees.
They put their teepees in a circle so if they got attacked.

Rebecca: They hunted buffalo.
They fished for Salmon.

Julia: The women would tell stories.
The kids played with dolls and stick horses.

Emily: They always decorate the Appaloosas before they go to battle.
A good hunter could shoot ten arrows in the sky.

Richa: They had different hair styles.
They like animals - deer best because they were soft.

Connerly: Deer skin was soft and used it for blankets.
The teepee.

Lea: They lived in the teepee.
Eat fish. The girls played with dolls.

Faith: They made boats out of trees.
The boys hunted with their dogs and horse. They hunted deer and buffalo.

Payton: They like the buffalo because it was furry and they eat it.
They live in teepee and it has a fire in the middle and a hole in the top.
It was made out of buffalo skin.

Hannah: They painted their teepee.
The babies slept in cradleboards.

Family Night was a success!

At Chets Creek each grade level has a family night. Last night Kindergarten had their Family Night for Pow Wow. Our class made Nez Perce dwellings which were teepees. Here are some highlights from the evening.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mr. Al

We had a great time singing and dancing at Mr. Al this week. Here are some pictures from our trip.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fire Safety

At Chets Creek we always like to do things a little better every year. Luckily one of our parents is a fireman and is always willing to help us out with our Fire Safety program. Yesterday 3 firemen from Station 41 came to our school in full gear.

This year was not just about teaching them what the fire truck looks like, show them the gear, or to make sure they understood what to do if there was a fire. This year the goal was to continue with those ideas as well as show them how a rescue takes place so they wouldn't be frightened if there was an emergency. Let's admit it, when they are dressed in full gear - they look and sound scary.

Our cafeteria was transformed into a two room house. There were tables, bean bags, a sofa, and even a fireplace. But there were also flames from the candle left on the table.

With the lights down low and smoke from a fog machine, we had a house on fire and a victim that was unconscious (me). The firemen came in on their hands and knees and searched each room, put out the fire with the long hose brought in from the truck, and pulled me out of the house.

The rescue was a success.

The kids were in awe and were so excited by the scene. They had lots of questions and lots of stories to tell. The firemen talked about calling 911, making sure each family has a meeting place, checking smoke detectors, and how to stop - drop - and roll. At the end of the presentation, the kids were allowed to walk around the truck and see all the equipement. So many knobs and buttons.

The students were given a homework assignment of discussing the day with their parents and making sure the batteries were new in their own home smoke detectors. At the end of the day, each child was able to go home with a fireman's hat and a great lesson about fire prevention and safety.

Remember, if you haven't changed your batteries recently - daylight savings time is a great time to do it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Here is a glimpse of what has been happening in our class over the last couple weeks. You can see we have had a great time learning about pumpkins and loved dressing up as literary characters!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Our First Field Trip

Our first field trip was a huge success! On Wednesday we took a trip to see Kevin Locke - a Native American of the Lakota and Anishinabe tribes. He is known throughout the world as a hoop dancer, flute player, and story teller as well as many other things. He mostly performs for children and works immensly with children on reservations to ensure the survival of their heritage. We chose to see Kevin's performance as a kick-off to our annual Pow Wow here at Chets Creek. Each year the Kindergarten classes chose a Native American tribe to study in their classrooms. What better way to get our kids excited about the unit study! Kevin Locke's performance included 4 dancers dressed in beautiful Native American attire, dancing, singing, flute and drum playing, story telling, a puppeteer, and hoop dancing. The kids were in awe. The moment the lights went out the audience, which included 219 Kindergartens from our school, it went silent. You can visit his website at www.kevinlock.com

Two of my favorite quotes from the day were:
Alex: Mrs. Harbour, I've never been on a bus before. This is great!
Matthew: That was a great field trip!

Below are some pieces of work which showcase our favorite parts of the day!

It's when he used the hoops.

The girl was doing a dance.

When the man made the design.

The puppet.

I liked when he rolled the hoola hoops.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Take a look at Mrs. Harbour's blog to find out about a great new experience our kids will be participating in beginning this week. You can check it out on http://harbourhighlights.blogspot.com or by clicking on Mrs. Harbour's blog under Other School Sites.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Class Survey

This month we started to take surveys as part of our daily Math Counts. This week please vote for which star book has been your favorite so far this year. We will post this next week on our graph.

My favorite star book has been:
Caps for Sale
Where the Wild Things Are
Harry the Dirty Dog
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Red Riding Hood

Post your answer by next Monday and receive a treat next week!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Our Small Moments

Over the last couple weeks we have been learning how to write about small moments in our lives. During the workshop mini-lessons, the students have learned strategies to help them think about their story and get their ideas on to paper. The first strategy the students practice daily is to "turn and talk" about their writing topic with their floor buddies. This time helps them to think about their topic, discuss it with a friend, have questions posed to them regarding their topic, and the opportunity to listen to others share what they will be writing about. One writing strategy we use in class is for the student to tap the sentence onto their fingers so he/she is sure of what the sentence is and how many words are in the sentence. While he/she is writing, the student goes back and continues to tap out the words until the sentence is complete. Another strategy students use is to use the chart on the back of their individual writing folder. This chart shows the letters with a picture that begins with that sound. This helps them find the sounds they are unsure about. The most important thing that happens during writing time is conferencing. While students are writing, I am able to meet with children one on one or in small groups to discuss their work and help them learn to sound out their words and organize their thoughts. At the end of our workshop we are able to share our work with our classmates and celebrate all the great work that has been written. Here are some samples of our work from this week:

I have a special dress and I love it really love it cause its like a magic sorceress and it’s really beautiful.

I went to the sleepover

I go to my friends house Anna. I played computer and played tag.

Me and my mom went shopping for clothes. We got clothes. We got two shoes. I got jeans.

I went on the spiderman ride. The car was caught in the web. It was fun.

Today I am going to soccer practice. I played soccer with my friends.

One day at school it rained every-where.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Writer's Workshop

What is Writer's Workshop all about? Each day we learn new ways to become not only a good reader but also a good writer. Writer's Workshop is taught in a similiar fashion to Reader's Workshop. The children come down to the floor for a 7- 10 minute mini-lesson. During this time, they are taught a writing strategy. At the beginning of the year we work on the rituals and routines of the workshop such as where our writing supplies are kept and how to put our work in our writing folder. Other lessons include how to decide what to write about, how to draw our picture at the top of our page and add words to the bottom of the page, and how to begin sounding out our words when writing our story. Right now we are working on writing small moments in our lives which is out of the Lucy Caulkins writing series. The students are thinking about events in their own lives and how to write about them. After the mini-lesson, students return to their seats to for independent writing time.

During this time I am able to conference with students about their work one on one or in small groups. We end our workshop with "share chair" which is a time to showcase students' work that aligned with the mini-lesson from that day. We are also learning how to give compliments to our friends and recognizing their work. Look this week for some examples of our great authors to be posted on the blog.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Literacy Stations

Each day after our silent reading the students participate in our Literacy Stations. Each station is a reading station. The students work in groups of 3-4 depending on how many students are in the class. Although the children are actually reading, or practicing reading skills, they feel like they are playing because the reading activities are fun. What a better way for children to learn that they can love reading. Over the last few weeks we have been learning our new stations and practicing them daily. Here are a few stations that we have already begun: Partner Reading, Mrs. KK's favorites (she is our Media Specialist), Science books, Genre Library, Math Books, Reader's Response, Big Books, and Star Books. Our favorite is character reading - especially with the The Three Billy Goats Gruff puppets.

This week we will begin our Read the Room and Book of the Month station as well.