Open House is on 9/27 from 6:30 to 7:30. This is an opportunity for you to walk through the classroom and school and see what your child has been working on! It is usually a very busy night, and I rely on your child to be the tour guide of their learning. It can be a little tricky, as parents sometimes want to use that time to discuss with me specifics of their child, however, I ask that you use this time to look at your student's work and set up a time outside of Open House if there are things you need to discuss with me.
Our very important pal, Baby Echo has been visiting every day to help us recite our letters and the sounds that they make. Baby Echo is an owl finger puppet who is part of a literacy program our school uses, Wilson FUNdations. Baby Echo sits on my finger and when he is hiding the students watch and listen as I hold a flashcard, recite the letter name, a word associated with that letter, and then I produce the sound the letter makes. Then, when Baby Echo is out from behind the card, students echo what I just did. "A, apple, aaaaaaa" is something you may hear your student saying in the next few weeks. This practice is something we do every morning.
In conjunction with learning the names of letters and the sounds they make, we have been practicing handwriting. We also use a script as we instruction letter formation. This helps kids connect the letter name and sound with the physical motion. For example, a lowercase t is "pull down, and cross" We have practiced the letters t,b,f,m, and n. The way I introduce letters has to do with the shape as well as the frequency in which writer's need the letter. After we have a few more letters practiced, I will start sending home some optional homework around printing.
In writing, we have spent time creating our "All About Me" book. p. Each page tells a little bit about who we are and the things that we like. Having some guidance on the topic is allowing our young writers to grow more precise in their illustrations and bolster their awareness of the need for text on their page to explain their ideas.
Our writers are getting really great at a Writer's Share. We are practicing active listening and I have been encouraging students to look closely at each others work to give more specific feedback. We are slowing moving away from "I like your picture" to "I like the way you drew your dog in that picture" or even "You did a nice job writing your letters!"
Science and Engineering
The Makerspace is open! Horray! Horray! This is a new undertaking in my classroom practice. A Makerspace is a place were students are challenged to create something out of recycled materials and collaborate with peers on creating. This space is very open-ended, and today we talked about why reusing materials matters. We discussed landfills, trash in the ocean, pollution, and littering. Our class agreed that we need to take care of our planet so plants and animals can stay healthy.
Today, we practiced making a plan and then using recycled materials to follow our plan. It was fantastic to see every child approach this task with curiosity, creativity, and ingenuity. Kids made cameras, purses, ships, treasure boxes, telescopes, houses, spy gear, necklaces... all sorts of things! I have a shelf in my classroom for incomplete projects and some kids brought theirs home today. Check out Twitter for pictures!
I am ALWAYS looking for donations to our Makerspace. Any household recycling items are welcome...
Paper towel/toilet paper tubes
Plastic bottles, food containers(like strawberry containers, and washed jars)
Plastic lids or soda caps
Send it in! We will figure out a way to use it!
We explored the concept of number and quantity deeply over the past two weeks. Students engaged in a variety of activities that were designed to help students recognize digits, subitize quantities, count with one to one correspondence, and look for patterns and relationships in number.
To subitize something means to be able to tell how many objects are in a set without counting them. We are working on subitizing quanties up to five. Kids created their own subitizing cards by putting stickers in different arrangements on an index card. Kids then played memory, quizzed each other, ordered and matched their subitizing cards. We also played a game "Top It" with the cards. You may be more familiar with the card game "War" where the higher card gets to keep the cards. Top it is the exact same game, just with a different name!
Kids also practiced counting with one to one correspondence. Often times, kindergarteners will count without assigining one number to one thing. We practiced counting strategies like the " doorbell count" and the "pull-away" count to remind students to only count an object once. We are reinforcing the idea that the last number said tells the total number of objects in a set.
We also built number boards and number towers to help students recognize patterns in number. We want students to understand that as we count up, the quantity gets bigger by one each time and when we count down, the number gets smaller by one each time. Building towers is a great visual of how numbers grow as the ascend and get smaller as they descend.
We also solved this word problem on Monday:
"I had a birthday party. I invited 4 friends. I had 3 cupcakes. Do I have enough cupcakes? Yes or no?"
Students used their math notebooks to prove their solution. Most kids drew a picture with 4 people and 3 were holding cupcakes. They all agreed I needed one more cupcake to make sure everyone got one! When I wrote this problem, I wondered if a few kids were going to include the host! A few did, telling me, "Miss Donnelly, you need two more! Don't you want a cupcake?"
This problem was part of the content students have been learning, but also, it was an important job to attend to details. This was the first time students represented their mathematical thinking on paper, and we spent time discussing how to make our work organized in a way that made it easy to understand.
I hope to see you all at Open House tomorrow night! You can see all this hard work in person :)