Learning Lately

Reading- We focused on the name, sound, and formation of c and o this week. We practiced writing sentences as a group and counting syllables in 2 syllable words. We continued to play sound games to help us break apart and put sounds together which are essential skills for reading. We read and discussed The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We also began literacy stations this week. The kids are enjoying a variety of activities that help them learn about reading and writing. As the children are able to participate in their stations independently, I will be able to work with small groups of children on reading skills each child needs.

Writing- We worked on following our checklist of steps to write which includes: put my name at the top, think and plan, draw with pencil first and show who, what, and where. We also read the book Ish by Peter H Reynolds which showed us we don’t have to be perfect but we can “think ishly”. “Thinking ishly” is a silly way of saying we try our best even if it is hard and that is how we learn and grow.

Math: We continued our work with counting.  Sharky the shark puppet helped us learn about numbers 8-9. We worked on describing shapes using words like straight, pointy, round, curves, sides, and corners. We also learned about repeating patterns and growing patterns. We played a fun game called Dot Match Up which is like memory using cards that show numbers with different patterns of dots.

Science/ Social Studies- We enjoyed a Mystery Science video about the biggest apple in the world. We learned 6 rules of living things to help us refine our understanding of living and nonliving. We applied the 6 rules we learned to a plant and figured out it was living!

Our Classroom

The classroom is well on its way to becoming OUR classroom! I purposely leave the room a bit bare at the beginning of the year so the kids can be involved in making the room a place for them.

The kids made name tags, name art and paintings. We displayed the kids pictures as well as pictures of each child’s family. I love to see the classroom transform each year into a unique space that is special to all of us!

Learning about our Schools Namesake: Beulah Ralph

Today a special guest visited our class, Monica Naylor. Mrs. Naylor is Beulah Ralph’s daughter. We learned a little bit about Mrs. Ralph and why she is such an important part of Columbia history. Beulah Ralph was an educator in Columbia Public Schools for decades. She began as a secretary and eventually founded the Home School Communicator Program. Mrs. Ralph was instrumental in CPS’s desegregation process. The Home School Communicator program was initially started as a way to assist black families whose children moved schools as part of the desegregation process. The Home School Communicator program now continues the legacy of equal opportunity education by assisting all families as needed. Mrs. Ralph’s work has been, and continues to be an inspiration to educators.

We want our students to know all about Beulah Ralph, feel proud that are school is named for her, and share her legacy with others. Even though Mrs. Ralph has passed away, we can keep her memory alive and continue her work.

Mrs. Naylor’s visit is a great way for kindergarteners to get to know Beulah Ralph. When Mrs. Naylor visits she tells the students a funny story about her mom when she was a little girl. Each child gets a copy of the story to color and enjoy reading.

The kids really enjoyed Mrs. Naylor’s visit today! We are so thankful she comes to visit each year!

October Dates

Oct. 1- Fall Picture Day (order forms will be sent home closer to time)

Oct. 4- Flash Dash

Oct. 10th- Peach Tree Farms and Cosmo Park field trip

Oct. 21- Dental Clinic(info in the Friday folder this week)

Oct. 29th- Flu Clinic (more info to come)

Oct. 30th Fall Party

Oct. 31st Teacher work day- No school for kids

Dot Day!

Today was Dot Day! This day is inspired by the book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. This book is all about learning to try even when things seem hard. When you try, you can learn. The Dot is also about being creative. We had fun giving some art projects a try!

First we figured out how to take a straight pipe cleaner and turn it into a “Dot”. The kids then made their own dot decorated with beads.

We drew dot doodles.

We did a little science inspired art by decorating coffee filters with markers and spraying them with water.

We rounded out our Dot day with admiring an artistic style that is all about the dot. We took a look at some aboriginal art to see how to use dots to make amazing paintings!

Learning Lately

Reading- We focused on the name, sound, and formation of u and i this week. We learned that some letters are vowels and some letters are consonants. We continued to play sound games to help us break apart and put sounds together which are essential skills for reading. We read and discussed F is for Flag and The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh.

Writing- We continued to work on our drawing skills. We learned to draw with pencil first, then color in with crayons. We also practiced writing our names neatly on the line. We continued to practice using writing materials independently like getting a pencil and paper, and putting our papers in our folders at the end of writing time.

Math: We continued our work with counting.  Sharky the shark puppet helped us learn about numbers 4-7. We explored the number 5 in depth using different materials to make the number in different ways. We played a game called quick looks where I show the kids different combinations of dots quickly and they try to see the number without counting one by one.

Science/ Social Studies- We enjoyed a Mystery Science video about the Northern lights-also known as auroras. We learned about the American Flag. We also learned about the Beulah Ralph words kind, respectful, responsible, positive, problem solver. We focused on what being kind means as well as noticing kind actions throughout the week.

Counselor Time with Mrs. Davison

Mrs. Davison, one of our school counselors, visits our class every other week to teach our class. She teaches a variety on concepts. Our last two lessons have focused on safety. The kids are learning about unsafe situations, how to recognize them and what to do if they happen. The kids are learning to recognize unsafe situations, refuse (say no or ask an adult), and report (tell the adult in charge).

Today we learned about bullying. We learned it is not just being mean! Bullying is hurtful and that keeps happening over and over.

Thank you Mrs. Davison!

A Peek Inside our Classroom: Read to Self

Each day the kids spend a few minutes participating in Read to Self. This activity, which we sometimes also call book box time, is exactly what it sounds like. The kids read by themselves. While kids do need reading instruction and to participate in literacy activities, it is so important that kids spend time each day actually reading. At this point in kindergarten, the kids are looking at the pictures and thinking about the story and a few children are reading words as well. The kids choose books from the class library to keep in their book box for this time. We will gradually add alphabet charts, sight word lists, and books from our small group instruction to our book boxes as well. For now, read to self is just about enjoying books and building focus and stamina.

Learning Lately

Reading- We focused on the name, sound, and formation of m and n this week. We played sound games to help us break apart and put sounds together which are essential skills for reading. We enjoyed reading independently from our book boxes and practiced staying focused! The class was able to read for 5 minutes! Wow!

Writing- We worked on adding a background to our pictures to show where the story is happening. We learned about getting and using supplies for writing independently. We worked on writing the whole time and staying focused on our work.

Math: We continued our work with counting with fun games like “count and sit”. Sharky the shark puppet helped us learn about numbers 0-3. We are working on building concepts of what numbers truly mean. We also made a class birthday timeline.

Science/ Social Studies- We continued to learn about school routines. We learned about feelings and how to use feeling buddies to help us handle big feelings. We also learned how to use the safe seat and buddy room appropriately. We took a nature walk and watched a Mystery Science video about Pluto. We also studied a walking stick I found inside the school and put it back outside in nature!

A Peek into our Classroom: Heggerty and Fundations

This post is designed to give you background and information related to different activities we do in kindergarten and the purpose each activity serves. Hopefully you will find this behind the scenes view helpful in understanding what and how your child learns at school.

Heggerty

Heggerty is a series of activities designed to teach children phonemic awareness. We call our Heggerty activities “sound games”. We play sound games to help the kids learn to hear and manipulate sounds in words. We use actions to make the games feel playful. It is important to note that phonemic awareness is all related to sounds and is oral and verbal. There are not visual components and letters are not used. Phonemic awareness is a pre phonics skill. In other words, kids need to be able to do things like rhyme, break apart sounds in words, and blend sounds together before they apply that knowledge to print. Sound games involve noticing if words rhyme or not, counting words in a sentence, saying the beginning or ending sound in a word, and breaking compound words apart and putting compound words together. We will practice more difficult skills as the year progresses and keep breaking words down into smaller and smaller parts.

Fundations

Fundations primarily teaches phonics. This is where we connect sounds to print. We call this “letter time”. We will focus on a few letters each week during the first trimester as well as practicing letters we learned in previous weeks. We use large motor and fine motor activities to teach kids the letter name, the keyword (that helps us know the letters sound) and the letters sound. We work on forming the letters on the lines using specific phrases. Fundations is very repetitive to help the kids become automatic with their phonics and handwriting skills so these skills will become routine and easy. As the year progresses we will learn more about other phonics concepts and applying phonics to reading and writing. Here is a video that shows all the letters, keywords and sounds we practice. Feel free to use this with your child at home to practice- just listen and repeat each letter/keyword/sound!