Monday, September 28, 2009

What is Reader's Workshop

Each day we spend an hour of our morning in Reader's Workshop. At the beginning of Kindergarten, this time is a little shorter due to the length of time young children are able to work independently. In the workshop, we begin with a 10 minute mini-lesson where the children come to the floor and I teach them a reading strategy. For the first couple weeks of school, our mini-lessons revolve around the rituals and routines of our workshop such as "What Good Reader's Do" or " How to Read a Book". This is also the time that we start introducing our Literary Stations which we will begin this week. After our mini-lesson, the students return to their seats with his/her own book bin and read for about 10 minutes quietly. At the beginning of Kindergarten the book bins contain books that are simple ABC books, books from home, nursery rhyme notebooks, and maybe a favorite book from the room. We also include one of our Star Books in each child's bag so he/she can practice retelling familiar books (especially with the puppets we made in class). Although most children at this time are unable to read, they mimic reading practices by what has been modeled for them such as predicting what the book will be about, pointing to the words, looking at beginning sounds, and looking at the pictures. As the year progresses the books will become books that are "just right" for them individually. After independent reading, the students work in Literacy Stations. Once again they are reading during this time. The last 10 minutes of our workshop is our closing. Here they are able to discuss what they learned from our mini-lesson that day and how they applied that during their reading time. The closing is very important to our workshop because it provides students the opportunity to discuss their own learning and how that impacts what we are doing in the classroom. Ask your child each day what he/she did in Reader's Workshop. You will be amazed!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Science Fun at Home!

We've been talking about how we use our five senses. Today we were reading a cool book that has some fun exciting activities your child can do at home. If he/she does one of these activities, write a note about what he/she observed. Anyone who does the activity by Monday gets a special reward. Have fun!

Our eyes help us see:

Dim the lights. Look at your eyes in the mirror. Are your pupils big? Now turn on a bright light. Did you see your pupils get smaller? Your pupils get bigger and smaller to let in just the right amount of light.

Our ears help us hear:
Turn on the radio or TV. Play it very softly. Stand on the other side of the room. Cup your hands behind your ears. The sound seems louder, doesn't it?

Hickory Dickory Dock

Over the last couple weeks we have been learning new nursery rhymes. Here is one our favorites. Hope you enjoy the video.

Hickory Dickory Dock from Debbie Harbour on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Kindergarten Mathematician of the Day

Every day we have a special student who is our "Mathematician of the Day". This child receives a special sticker and becomes the assistant for Calendar Math. The Mathematician of the Day leads us in determining the pattern of our calendar, finding the complete date, keeping track of our days in school, and completing our counting tape - which your child will teach you about at Open House this week. As the year progresses, so will the level of Calendar Math activities. Watch for your child to be the Mathematician of the Day!

What is Star Student?

At the beginning of the year we work on a unit called Star Names. Each day we begin with activities based on our "Star Student". Each child in the class has the opportunity to be the "star student" throughout the first couple weeks of school. Using his/her name, we complete fun activites such as comparing their names to other children, finding words that begin with the same sounds, and make noticings about his/her name. At the end of our whole group, the students draw a picture of the Star Student and write his/her name on top. We put these drawings together as a keepsake book. It is a time that makes all our children feel like they are a star in our small world.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Learning About Our 5 Senses

Last week we began talking about how scientists use their 5 senses to help them. This week we will begin reading books about each of our senses and how they help us in the world around us. We will also be referencing our newest glog - Our 5 Senses. Ask your child this week about their 5 senses and what body part goes with each sense.

September Book of the Month

Each month our principal chooses a special book for our school's Book of the Month. This month our book is 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy. This is a heartwarming true story about one nation's gift to America. After the devastating attacks on our nation on 9/11, Kimeli, a Maasai warrior, returns to Kenya and tells about the tragic events to his tribe. They are so moved by the tragic story that they offer their most prized possession as a gesture of goodwill in an effort to reach out to a suffering nation - 14 cows.

Last week we shared this book in our class. The children shared what was their most prized possessions that they would be willing to give to others. On Friday we were treated to hearing Mrs. Phillips read the book. Ask your child what the cows meant to the Maasai people and what he/she would be willing to give to another person who were suffering.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Busy Kindergarteners

Hard to believe that we are going into our third week of school. The kids have been busy learning all the rituals and routines of our class. Last week we began our nursery rhyme unit and our Star Book vocabulary unit. Our nursery rhyme unit is taught in our skill block and focuses on phonemic awareness. Throughout the day we have been listening to our Star Books such as Caps for Sale and The 3 Billy Goats Gruff. We use these stories to help us learn how to retell stories orally and through dramatic play. These books are all rich in language which we use to help broaden their vocabulary. In Writer's Workshop we have learned how to tell "sharing events" to our friends and begin to write those stories with pictures and words. Math has been a time of exploration. Students have learned about the different manipulatives we have in class and have had free time to explore all the many ways they can be used. This week we were also able to finish our math diagnostic test which will help us know how to best teach your child. In Science we have been learning about what Science means and what Scientists do. If you haven't checked out our glog - make sure you do. This time of the year is also a great time to learn about family which we have been doing in Social Studies. Students have been able to draw and share pictures of their families. Somewhere in between all this they have had time to do some crafts, enjoy recess, and play with new friends.

Check in frequently to see all the great things we are doing. Have your child write a comment about what he/she has liked most about the first two weeks of school.