Friday, January 20, 2017

A week in review

News and announcements:

I apologize that this blog has been silent! I am committed to posting every Friday to strengthen our home to school communication.

We have a new student in our class! His first day was on Tuesday. I have noticed so many students welcome their new classmate. Kids are saying hello, showing him around the room, and teaching him all the routines we have at school. We spread that warm and fuzzy feeling when we are kind :)

Our whole school earned a celebration this week for our safe, respectful, and ready to learn behavior. We got to have a rock, paper, scissors, shoot! tournament. We crowned a class champ, Olivia, who went on to the finals this morning. She battled two second graders at our whole school morning meeting! She only could beat one, and lost in the final round. We were cheering for her all the way!

Reading:

This week we were focused on integrating multiple reading strategies to read unfamiliar texts. In reading class, we call reading strategies our reading powers! We have six reading strategies:
1, Pointer Power- a reader uses their finger to point under each word. This way they are monitoring their reading and checking for one to one correspondence. Each word should get one tap to ensure the letters on the page match our ideas.
2. Reread Power- a reader can go back and try again if something does not make sense. This builds a reader's ability to self-correct. We want to encourage new readers to make mistakes and be able to hear their mistakes without an adult telling them. This builds independent readers!
3. Snap Word Power- a reader can find known words on the page, even before they try and read the whole page! I often say, "read what you know." This way, a reader has anchors as they try and make meaning of what is on the page.
4. Picture Power: a reader can get clues from pictures to read an unfamiliar word. In our texts, readers encounter words that can not be sounded out (or tapped out). A picture holds the meaning of a story for emergent readers. Before reading, we will look for clues and make predictions about what words we expect to see written.
5. Sound Power: a reader can make the first sound in a word. Sound Power is strongest when used with Picture Power. When a reader makes the first sound in a word and looks to the picture for evidence, they can make a match.
6. Persistence Power: a reader never gives up! This was our new power this week. We have been building our strategies in isolation and Persistence Power teaches readers that if you get to a tricky word, try a strategy. If your first strategy does not work try another!
Above all, remember you are a super reader!

Writing:

We kicked off our new unit of study last week. We are studying persuasive writing this trimester. We are moving our focus away from writing about our own lives to the idea that writing has the power to change the world! This week, we read The Lorax by Dr. Suess to illustrate how when you care a whole lot, you can try and convince others of your opinion.
Students notice a problem, think about how to fix it, then write! Many writers have written to others at our school about following safety rules. For example. one student tried to convince others to stay off the ice at recess because you could slip! Today, a few creative writers started to realize they could try and convince grown-ups to change. I read books and letters from students trying to convince me that we should be allowed to have food fights, go to extra art classes, and that grilled cheese should be served in the cafeteria every day! Aside from the food fights, I liked the world our kindergartners were envisioning!


Math:

Teen numbers are 10 and some more! That is a phrase we have really been exploring this week. Teen numbers are often referred to as "Tricky Teens." The number names don't follow a pattern as they do in other groups of ten. For example, twenty-two has a two in the tens place and a two in the ones place. But what about the number twelve? The number name does not provide clues to what the digits look like. We have been playing all sorts of games to build our teen number recognition and used many different types of manipulatives, like ten frames, blocks, and counters, to represent the quantity.
We had a major breakthrough in our place value understanding when Mrs. Gamache brought in a really interesting math tool. There were tiny green rectangles that if you grouped into 10 would fit perfectly inside a bigger rectangle, then, if you collected 10 bigger rectangles they would fit inside an even bigger rectangle, and if collected 10 of those even bigger rectangles they fit perfectly inside the biggest rectangle. In the end we realized that we had 1,000 of the tiny rectangles. Students are starting to grasp the understanding that the digits represent different quantities if they are in different positions. We talked about how numbers like 27 and 72 mean really different amounts, even if they both are made up of a 2 and a 7.

Science

We have been studying snow and the science behind winter's wonder. Today, students will be finishing their snowflakes they are creating out of popsicle sticks. We have been reading texts that explain how a snowflake forms. We used the images of snowflakes to try and create our own snowflakes. Six is the magic number for a snow crystal because of the nature of water. Water molecules attach to each other in six-sided rings to form hexagonal crystals. We created our snowflake models to have six arms, just like a real snowflake.


That is all for this week!
All the best,

Allison

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Parade-Friday 10/30

We will be hosting a Halloween Party and Parade on Friday October, 30. Students are allowed to bring a costume to school to wear during the parade. The parade starts at 1:50.
We will be having a class party before the parade. Please arrive at 1:30 to help get into costumes and enjoy some snacks! Heidi Igneri has been helping me organize the class party. Look for an e-mail from her about suggested snacks! If you are planning to contribute a snack you can drop it off in the morning or bring it along when you arrive.

Event Guidelines:

No masks for adults or students.
No costumes with violent themes or weapons.
Parents and guardians may take their child home after signing out their child with me.
Children may not wear costumes on the bus.
If you do not want your child to participate in the event, please let me know! Students who are not participating will be creating a shared snack to enjoy together.

Please remember, parking at PPS is limited!! Check for no parking signs on side streets to avoid being ticketed.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

W.A..L.T.

We have been focused on a very important acronym in Kindergarten...W.A.L.T. which stands for "We Are Learning To." At the start of every lesson, I frame our learning by stating a W.A.L.T. This helps students focus on exactly what I want them to know and what to do.
Here are a few examples from this past week:

We are learning to name our letters and the sounds they make.
You may have heard your child repeating something like "A, apple, aaaaaaaa" around the house. Every day our class recites the FUNdations cue for letter, sound and a word that begins with this sound. When we wrote our W.A.L.T. today we had a great conversation about why it is important to know your letters and the sounds that they make. Students volunteered ideas like, ""Because I want to learn how to read!" or "I want to write my own book."  You may have also heard of Baby Echo! He visits everyday to remind students to listen first, then echo back.

We are learning to write our letters.
Along with learning the names of letters and the sound a letter makes, we have been practicing our handwriting. There is a verbal path that guides children as they write. Having something to recite while they are writing helps form the letters correctly. We use special paper that has a hat line, belt line and foot line. Students are practicing pulling their pencils down form either the hat line or the belt line. If you would like to reinforce the verbal path at home, check back here weekly for the letters of the week! The more practice students get with handwriting, the easier it will be for them!

These three letters are hat line letters we have learned:

T "Pull down and cross"
t "Pull down and cross"

B "Pull down, up, around, in, back, and around"
b "Pull down, up, and around"

F "Pull down, across, across"
f  "Pull back, down and cross"

This week, we are starting two letters that start on the belt line. A lowercase m and a lowercase n.

W.A.L.T. say how we are feeling.

A big part of the kindergarten school day is learning how to be a friend and be a part of our group. The first part of this social curriculum is to understand how to identify emotions in yourself. From their we can learn strategies to help when things are tough or how to help someone else when they are feeling upset.

We have been working on two projects that help us recognize feelings. One, is the feelings mask. Students created a mask that has a happy, sad and angry face. We practiced saying something that makes us feel each emotion.

We also made our own version of the books No, David! and  David Goes to School by David Shannon. This is a story about a little boy who often forgets the expectations. Each student picked a time in the book when David was acting up, for example, David stayed outside after recess is over or David tried to put paint on a classmate. After illustrating what happened, we brainstormed a list of how David felt when he was acting that way. Then, we thought about how other people felt when David acted that way. The big idea of this project was when you feel a certain way, you act a certain way.








Wednesday, September 9, 2015

First Few Weeks...


What a fantastic and exciting start in Room 14! We have been keeping busy getting to know the school, our classmates, our teachers and all the exciting learning that has started!!

In math we have....

Learned how to use the manipulatives and materials we need for the rest of the year. In class, a model of guided discovery allows children learn how to be responsible for materials as well as their many uses.


Learned strategies for counting and early number sense. Practicing counting is an excellent thing to do at home. The big idea for kindergarteners, at this point, is that a number represents a quantity. Dumping a collection of some sort onto your kitchen table and trying to figure out "how many" is a great way for kids to practice. Using our counting collections in class we will develop skills like, number sequencing, number writing, and naming the successive number. All of this leads to addition and subtraction by the end of the year!


In Literacy we have....

Learned how to use the materials in the art and writing center we will need to become writers! We learned how to be safe with scissors and how much glue and tape to use! Check out the students' creations below!

Read and responded to books about the start of school. Books like, Big Plans inspired us to write some big plans of our own, Students wrote one hope they have for school and one plan they have for when they grow up. I was so happy to read school hopes like "I hope everyone is nice."  "I hope I make new friends." and "I hope I learn how to read a book by myself!" There were some pretty big plans for their careers, we have a classroom full of artists, nurses, policemen and secret agents!


Started to write our All About Me books, Our focus this week is drawing pictures that match the words. Today, the students worked on illustrating their favorite thing to do!



In school we have...

Participated in all of our Unified Arts classes. In Guidance, Mr. Kriger taught us about Whole Body Listening. This means to use your whole body to show someone you are listening. We practiced things like eye contact, sitting with good posture, and keeping our voices quiet when someone else is talking.

We also are having a ton of fun!!! We having been playing, making friends, and learning. We even made some playdough!

Lots of love from Room 14!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Community Helpers

In our classroom, we have spent the past few weeks studying community helpers.  We did several learning activities to meet our learning objectives, or the "W.A.L.T." as we call it in Room 3!
In this unit We Are Learning To...
explain what a community is

To understand what a community is we watched a video on BrainPop Jr. that explained what different types of communities there are. We decided that our community, Colchester, is a suburban community. We thought this because "the houses are not super close together" and because "we are close by to a city and people go to work in the city." We also created community maps after we decided what buildings are needed in a community. It was enjoyable to see how students laid out their towns. Many students wanted their maps to be representative of  their street, putting several houses together to make a neighborhood. Other students chose to make their "ideal" community, putting their house right by a swimming pool or right next door to the zoo!

We also decided that a community works best when people work together and have responsibilities. We brainstormed a list of jobs that people have in our community. We also had community helpers come visit our classroom. Two Colchester Police Officers came in to talk about their job and explain the tools they use to keep our community safe. We also had a visit from the Colchester Fire Department. The firefighters talked to us about smoke detectors, setting up a meeting place with our family in case of a fire, and showed us what they looked like with their oxygen masks on. The firefighters reminded our students that even though an oxygen mask can make a firefighter look scary, they are there to help.

Our second learning intention in this unit was:
We Are Learning To: describe how people help our communities.
After we spent time understanding what a community is and how every person has a job or responsibility in our town, we started to think about the parts of a person's job. We read several non- fiction books that explained each community helper from our list in more depth. We talked about the similarities in people's jobs and some differences. Students were very interested in understanding how the emergency professions, such as fire, police, EMT and doctors, worked together to do their jobs. Each student drew a card to pick a community helper to illustrate and explain how that person helps. Each student then made a video explaining their thoughts. Their videos can be found on their blog.
If you don't see your student's video yet, hang tight! We had a few technical glitches and they should be up soon :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

**Attention Parents**

We are in need of another Four Winds classroom volunteer!! The Four Winds program is a fantastic program based on teaching our students about the natural sciences. To have this program run smoothly, there should be two parents. If you are interested in volunteering please send me an e-mail!!!
We would be thrilled to have you teach in our classroom!

Monday, September 29, 2014

3 Expectations


At Porter's Point School we use a school wide discipline program called PBIS, which stands for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. Teachers promote positive behavior by highlighting when students are exhibiting desired behavior. You may have seen "warm fuzzies" around our school, heard about warm fuzzies or seen a few come home in your child's pocket!! The warm fuzzies are given out when a student is doing what is expected.
We spent some time these past few weeks talking about our three school-wide expectations. They are:
Be Safe
Be Respectful
Be Ready to Learn

We spent time each afternoon discussing our expectations in our classroom and more importantly why we have these rules. I enjoyed hearing the students thoughts and involving them in the creation of class expectations.

Their investment in creating and understanding school expectations have produced fantastic results! We have earned two class celebrations for our excellent first grade behavior! The first class celebration we had was to have some free choice time in our class room. Students could draw in our art center, play with board games or play with the math center materials. This Friday our class met the class goal of filling our bear. We had a dance party at the very end of the day.