Thanksgiving

We enjoyed learning about Thanksgiving! We read some funny, silly, and inspiring Thanksgiving books.  The Thankful Book taught us how to be thankful for something everyday. Duck for Turkey Day taught us that everyone can celebrate Thanksgiving in a special and unique way.

Thanksgiving is a tricky holiday to teach about because of it’s historical context. There is a lot of mythology around the history of “the first Thanksgiving” that is untrue and disrespectful to Native Americans. Here is an article that adults can read to learn a little more about this The class talked only briefly about this history because it is pretty gruesome and pretty violent. We did not dwell on that but it is important for kids to know that Native Americans had been living in North American for thousands of years before Europeans decided they wanted the continent for themselves. It is also important for students to know that Native Americans still live in the United States!

Instead of dwelling on the history, we spend a little time learning about Native American history on this interesting website. Here is a link to another article written for teachers you may find helpful if you are interested in socially responsible ways to teach your child about Thanksgiving or if you would like more information for yourself.

We also enjoyed a Cherokee story of gratitude!

 

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!

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!

 

Eat the Rainbow Party!

What a fun, colorful, delicious day we had! Thanks to everyone who sent in party items!

We had a yummy spread of colorful fruits and vegetables. The kids served themselves and chose foods to try. We discovered new favorites and found a few things we did not care for. The kids loved tasting and kept lining up for more!

We also played “Layla take my picture” while doing silly things with our food.

We drew a variety of fruits and veggies of different colors and displayed them in our room to remind us of all the yummy choices we have to eat.

We also used rainbow colors to make paper chain accessories! It was great to see how far the kids have come with both their focus skills and their fine motor skills. This is a hard craft that most of the kids would have struggled with at the beginning of the year. We are expert cutters, gluers, and problem solvers!

Happy Spring!

Here is a little sunshine on this dreary first day of spring!

We did a few things to celebrate the day including delivering flowers to teachers around the school and wishing them a happy spring! We had to do some problem solving to figure out how many flowers we had because I bought 3 packages of 12. The kids used some awesome strategies to figure out how many flowers we had. We made a list of teachers, principals, secretaries, lunch ladies, and custodians around the school and the kids each gave someone a flower.

This is the Dream!

We have had a busy week reading about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. These are big ideas and tough to understand at this age. Especially since kindergartners are so naturally open hearting and loving.

We are proud that even though there are still people in the world who are not kind to others who look different, we help Dr. King’s dream come true each day!

This is the dream…

Family Traditions

We are having a great time learning about the family traditions in our class. The kids are doing a great job using a speaking voice to share about their tradition as well as listening respectfully when others are sharing. It is fun to hear the big variety of traditions in our class, make connections, and learn something new about each other. If your child has not brought in their things to share, please send it sometime this week.

Love

It was a very loving week this week. We read Love by Micheal De La Pena which is about the various little ways love shows up in our lives. In good times and bad, as well as in everyday acts. The book is beautifully illustrated by Loren Long with multi culture images of all kinds of families and all kinds of people. The kids enjoyed the book and we were quiet and contemplative while I read it to them.

The kids were happy to share the love by sharing the valentines they had prepared for their friends.

Channing said, ” I like giving even better than I like getting!”

Sammy said…

From Classroom to School Home

The kids have been hard at working creating and making as they are inclined to do at this age. Our classroom is gradually transforming from just a classroom to our home away from home. You might have noticed when you first visited our classroom it was a bit empty. It probably seemed incomplete. At least that is what I was going for. I intentionally leave space for the kids to make the classroom theirs. Literally and figuratively the classroom is not complete until each child arrives. For more on how bare walls show kids their are important click here.

Here are some photos of how the kids have contributed so far.

Our Hopes and Dreams display. You helped with this too!

Name collages…

And self portraits!

Our room is becoming colorful, beautiful, though provoking, and whimsical, just like the little people who live here for a little while.

Who We Are

On our front wall, big and bold, are our Beulah Ralph Expectations. These words describe who we strive to be. Surrounding these word are our self portraits. 

This display is a powerful expression of ourselves as individuals and ourselves as members of our class and school. 

Each of us is unique but we also have common ground. Both our differences and similarities connect us together.