Thankful Books

What are you thankful for?

The kids answered this question today by creating pocket books filled with things they are thankful for. First we defined thankful and brainstormed people, places, and things we were thankful for. The kids had some great ideas; everything from family members to earrings came up in our discussion.

I showed the kids how to fold and create a book with pockets. They drew and cut out things they were thankful for and put them in the pockets. The children worked hard to copy the phrase, “I am thankful for…” on their books as well as label their pockets by stretching out the words and writing the sounds they hear.

The kids really enjoyed this opportunity for creative self-expression. We also practiced being respectful listeners to our friends as they shared their book with the class.

Please ask your child to share their book with you!

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Great Reads for Kindergarten

Kindergarteners love books! They get swept up in stories with humor or suspense and are equally spellbound by nonfiction books on a variety of topics. Thanks to a PTA voucher I was able to expand our classroom library with some great reads for kindergarten.

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Earlier this year I had a parent request for a list of books beloved by the kindergarten age group. Without further ado, here are five kindergarten book series or author suggestions. I will make more suggestions as the school year goes on!

1. Pigeon books by Mo Willems
Pigeon has many hilarious escapades such as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!

2. Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems
Also from the comic genius, Mo Willems, this series has simple story lines with a great message. The text is more straight forward so they are very readable for independent readers.

3. It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
Todd Par books combine open minded and empowering messages for kids with colorful illustrations and humor.

4. The Wall by Eve Bunting
A more serious story that is great for Veteran’s Day.

5. Anything Pete the Cat
Kindergarteners just love Pete the Cat. Adults can appreciate the mellow attitude Pete models for the kids as he survives various wardrobe malfunctions.

Happy reading!

Little Hands

Those little kindergarten hands are amazing. Think of all the things those little hands have learned to do in the last 5 or 6 years…whoa…it is just mind blowing!

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A big part of any kindergarteners success with kindergarten skills is the strength of their hands as well as their dexterity. Lots of our literacy work, math work, and play choices are designed to build fine motor skills as well as practice academic content.

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Here are some ideas for fine motor activities to try with your little lovely.

Sand Tray
Fill a tray with sand, salt, or coffee grounds. Definitely use decaf coffee grounds! Little fingers can draw, write letters or their name. Your child can also use a small paintbrush or chopstick. If you really want to get crazy, you could do the same thing with shaving cream. That could be cool on the shower wall during bath time!

Clothes Pin Play
Clothes pins are a great way to build hand strength and gripping needed to hold a pencil. Kids can clip them on the edge of thin plastic bowls. Some kids will be happy just clipping away. Other kids might need a more structured activity. You can make a counting game out of it by giving asking your child to clip a certain number to the bowl or giving them a dice to roll. You can color or decorate the clothes pins with markers so your child can sort and clip or clip patterns.

Here is a link to a blog post I found that has ideas of fine motor materials you can buy. I have not tried any of these yet, but I would love to buy some for our classroom. This would be a great list to pass onto grandparents who love to spoil kids.

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Next Week’s Learning Goals

Our upcoming learning goals are similar to last weeks as we continue to refine our skills as readers, writers, and mathematical thinkers.

Literacy
Letter name, sound, and formation of “a” and “g”
Writing our names the kindergarten way
Rhyming
Beginning sounds
Labeling our drawings with appropriate beginning sounds
Using resources to spell words
Pointing to each word when reading
Choosing books and staying focused during reading

Math
Numeral formation 0-10
Counting objects 0-10
Conceptualizing numbers 0-10
Rote counting to 20

Other
Germs and hand washing
Fire prevention and safety
Using words to solve problems

Letter Formation

One of the trickier kindergarten skills we work on is letter formation. I explicitly teach a particular way to form each letter. We learn the letter formation with the letter sound simultaneously. I then provide many guided practice opportunities. I am very picky (in a fun way) about how students learn to write their letters. Having taught second grade, I learned first hand how important it is for students to have efficient ways to form letters. It is also so important for students to be able to form their letter easily and automatically so they can focus on the content of their writing, spelling and punctuation.
The kids are working very hard at school to learn to write letters “the kindergarten way”. Our class loves to take the time to celebrate and acknowledge each child’s effort, hard work, and successes.
Here is Isa posing by her “f” which she worked hard to make the kindergarten way! Love that proud smile!

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We’ve been busy…

The past month has been overflowing with working and learning. Here are a few pictures of what we have been up to.

Mrs. McBride’s class raised painted lady butterflies. They invited all the kindergarteners to join their class as they released the butterflies.

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We have been up to our ears in literacy work, developing fine motor skills, pre reading skills, writing skills, and reading skills.

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We explored shapes and basic counting and number sense in math.

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There is always time for exploring, playing, and developing friendships.

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Next Week’s Learning Goals

Literacy

Letter name, sound and formation of “c” and “o”

Writing a “teaching book” using details in picture and labels

Pointing to each word when we read

Concept of letters, words, and spaces in books

Choosing books

Rhyming words

Beginning and ending sounds of words

Writing first name

 

Math

Counting objects to 10

Writing numerals to 10

Rote counting to 20

Comparing numbers 0-10

 

Other Learning Goals

Weather and clouds

Stopping when someone says stop

Using words to solve problems with others

 

 

You can learn anything!

Today we learned about one of the most important concepts we will learn about in kindergarten. We began learning about how our brain works and the growth mindset. Basically, we learned that you can learn anything!
We began by looking at what our brain looks like inside our heads using the My Incredible Body app. We watched a short video that illustrated some of the main parts of the brain and their functions. We ended our lesson with this inspiring video about the growth mindset.
As the year progresses we will learn more about how our brains work. We will also more fully explore the concept that our intelligence can grow rather than being fixed or static.