Friday, September 15, 2017

More name fun

Students engage in a variety of activities each day to build fine motor skills and work on mastering the skill of writing their names with a capital letter for the first letter and the remaining letters, lower case.  From tearing paper and gluing pieces to their names to tracing their names, writing their names, making them with magnetic letters and even making the letters with Wiki sticks.  

Fifth grade learning partners

Once a week our class partners with Mrs. Swan's fifth grade as learning partners.  This week the students read books together and shared their favorite parts with their buddy.  Building these relationships throughout the year benefit both the 5th graders, allowing them leadership opportunities and the kindergarteners often become more confident and at home at Westwoods due to these relationships.  

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Students made their own coconut trees after we spent time reading the words in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and retelling the story to our friends.  Next, the students will add the letters from their names to their trees.

Library visit

Thursday's visit to the library with Mrs. Maniaci was a hit!  The students loved hearing the story, checking out books and reading to their friends.  

Here are some ways to enhance your child's school library experience:

  • Make a plan with them of where the book can live for the week
  • Have your child read you the pictures in the book or predict about what you could learn if it is informational text
  • Read the words to them sometime throughout the week
  • Make connections to the book, what it reminds you of and why
  • Share your favorite part and why (book talk is the best)
  • Enjoy this amazing experience every opportunity, they are miraculous to be part of
  • Refrain from correcting your child when they make mistakes

Name practice

Everyday the students practice writing their names one way or another.  Here students practice using white board markers.  We emphasize that all letters start at the top.  The kids love to work those small motor muscles with play dough, wiki sticks, legos, cutting, coloring and writing.  There are many ways to build these muscles without rote practice at home and plenty more fun in the kid's eyes:  play with play dough, legos, color (as mentioned above) make bread, cookies, salads and have them help knead, shape, break and cut with your supervision, work puzzles, do a light bright, etch a sketch, and water color paint.  Have fun helping your child build these essential muscles for writing!    

David Shannon

David Shannon is a favorite author in our classroom.  This week we read No David and David Goes to School.  Students made their own David puppet and read these books indepentently and with partners.  We will be exploring the rest of his fabulous books over the next few weeks.

Our Reading Pets Have Been Adopted!

Our classroom pets have found owners!  Students spend time reading to their pet, sharing their new skills with them and teaching them all about reading!  Students will keep the same pet for the first month or two and spend some serious time teaching them all they know about reading.  

Friday, September 8, 2017

Math Partner Work

I rolled a large dice, students then built that number, compared their thinking to their partners by providing evidence of their thinking by counting their objects.  This activity was a fun way to talk about what to do when your partner makes a mistake, how to kindly ask them to check their work and how to learn from mistakes.  The most common mistake we ran into today in this activity was students miscounted 1:1 their objects.  What did we learn from that?  Putting objets in an organized manner (straight line, dice pattern, tens frame, etc) may help students to be accurate and double checking your work by recounting is something mathematicians always do.  

What is a learning partner?

Students practiced taking turns talking and listening to their learning partners.  Students brainstormed ideas of how learning partners would know you were listening, ideas of how to use our bodies to show that we are listening, ways to negotiate who speaks first and who listens first.  Our first activity was to share your favorite food with a partner.  Later we used our partners to make predictions about a story.  Learning partners are a HUGE part of kindergarten and we will be practicing daily with a variety of activities to lay the foundation of how to be a successful learning partner.  

Meeting Larkin

Mrs. Bank, resource room teacher here at Westwoods, brought in her dog Larkin for the students to meet.  Larkin is a daily part of Westwoods and is always with Mrs. Bank.  Larkin is a Leader Dog in Training.  He is the 2nd dog that Mrs. Bank and her family have helped raise for the first year of their lives.  The students learned: 
  • what is a leader dog
  • what to do when you see a leader dog
  • what kinds of work do leader dogs do
They had amazing questions for Mrs. Bank and even got to pet Larkin.  I am sure you will hear lots about him as the year goes on.  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What does reading look like?

Today students learned there are 3 ways to read a book:
  • Read the Pictures
  • Read the Words 
  • Retell the Story

When I told the students that they were already readers this morning, they all yelled "No, I can't read."  I told the students that there are many ways to read and today we will explore three.  As a class we read the pictures in the story The Kissing Hand.  The students help construct the story by looking at the pictures and talking about what could be happening (I really emphasized that authors write books that make sense, so the ideas that we create based on the picture should make sense too!).  When we finished reading the pictures I closed the book and joke with the students that they told me they could not read but they just did!  The room erupted with laughter.  

Here are a few photos of the students in our class reading the pictures today!

Listen the the buzz of the early readers in our classroom today by clicking here.

I read the words to The Kissing Hand and we talked about reading the words as another type of reading that we will do this year.  Tomorrow we will work on making the connection that many of the students can already read some words in context like stop, exit, Meijer, Burger King, etc.  

Students made a handprint today to share with families, this was a visual to help remind them of what the story was about and a little something for the moms and dads out there that were missing their kiddos today (me included).  Tomorrow we will reread the story and practice retelling the story in sequence using character names.  

Have fun reading all three ways with your child:  Share the task and read the pictures in a book and create a story that makes sense, read the words to your child in books and retell stories you have already read using the pictures from the story and the storybook language that goes with it (FROOOOOOOGGGGGGGY, yelled mom...etc).