Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reflection: Lesson Plans

In preparing for battle, I have found that planning is essential, but plans are useless.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
In my experience as a teacher, I have found that in preparing to teach, planning is essential.

Once the lesson is underway, lesson plans are useless.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday, January 29, 2011

By my count (which may be off by one) today was our 100th day of kindergarten.

We began the day by showing how when you bundle 10 bundles of 10 you get a number we call 100. This number is, basically, a shortcut way around counting to 100 by ones every time.

To the class I said it's the lazy way to count up to one hundred. Maybe it's not lazy so much as smart. Whether we're being lazy, smart, or both, on Monday we'll count up to 101 in just two moves: 100, 101.

Samantha was the person of the day today. She brought us yogurt and some scrumptious popped rice chips. She played the ukulele with her sister and Sam and some percussionists.

Just as P.E. was getting underway we had a fire drill. Our class did a fantastic job. You would have been proud of them to see such order and quiet. We were among the most orderly of classes and we were, as best I could tell, the first all lined up and all accounted for outside.

They say time flies when you're having fun and this day flew by. We were just finishing up snack and Sam's birthday treat when it was time to go home.

Here is a picture of the underwater world Sam asked for.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wax Museum

I don't know about you, but when I was in fifth grade I had to write—let me be frank here—really boring reports on famous people. My problem was this: I knew that anything I had to say about a figure from history would pale beside the account of the authors whose works I based my report on.

These days, thanks to better teaching, students have fewer reports like mine to write, turn in, get graded on, and throw away. Today's fifth graders (at our school, anyway) get to portray the historical figures they profile, complete with monologue, gestures, and costume.

Our kindergarten class visited our buddy fifth grade class today to see their "Wax" museum. We saw our fifth grade friends dressed in costume. Each had a red button, which, when pushed, would bring the figure to life to tell their story.

Because we're kindergarten, we got the premiere performance. Tours of the wax museum continued all afternoon and were enjoyed by everyone at Dunham.

I was mesemerized. Still, I managed to snap a few photos to share here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Raft Game

Today during Buddies I introduced a game from the math program that teaches exchanges. About a third of the students played the Raft Game today and in the coming weeks all the students will have a chance to play.

It's a great game and it gives students the opportunity to practice exchanges in a fun way. As they play they lay the foundation for later on when they exchange dimes for dollars and so forth.

Here are some photos showing the game:

Students roll dice and get the corresponding number of beans

Five beans are exchanged the beans for a plank.

Five planks are exchanged for a raft.

Rafts float across the river carrying bears and blocks.

Blocks are used to build a castle.
This game turns out to be a lot of fun for the students. They don't even know they're practicing a skill that will prove useful later on in math.

I think it's actually good for the fifth graders, too, to get this sort of hands-on practice.

There was time at the end of the day for some indoor play. Look at Marley's deer!

Sam is working on his G7 chord.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011—Twin Day tomorrow

Today we celebrated Quinn's sixth birthday. Quinn's mom, who can bake like Betty Crocker, made up some cupcakes with green frosting that were very good.


As has been the case, the day flew right by—we didn't even have time for indoor choice, so hopefully tomorrow we'll catch up with that.

The birthday boy
Tomorrow is "Twin Day" you don't have to be an actual twin, but simply dress like someone else in class. This is easy enough to do if you dress in one of the school t-shirts of polo shirts. I'll be wearing blue jeans and a burgundy polo, so if you want to twin up with me, that's your ticket.

More news:

We've introduced the skill of counting by 5's yesterday and talked about tallying today. It seems most of the students grasped the skill of tallying. Above are one hundred marks, easy to count as tallies by fives.

Rieley (it was Rieley's day today) shared a book by Dr. Seuss called "The Tooth Book" which we all enjoyed. I expected it to include a shark, but there is no shark in this book.

At the end of the day we still hadn't sung together. Rieley brought his ukulele (a nice Kala KA-S model) and he played a couple of tunes all by himself, leading his classmates in song. He has a solid on-beat strum and he fingers the C-chord with the ring finger, a very good way to do it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Here's the news for today.

We enjoyed Quinn's special pumpkin bread.

 Here's a "thumbs up" from the class for the homemade snack.

We had trouble explaining to Archy how the same thing might measure three feet for Mr. Gurney and four feet for the students. How can that be? How wide is this table? Three feet or four?

Perhaps it's hard for Archy to figure this out because he doesn't have feet?

Anyone want to guess how the King of English pronounced the word, "know"?
I hear the weather's going to be fine here in Northern California the weekend.

I hope you get some time to get out and enjoy it. (I hope to do so.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Here's the day in photos again. I had hoped to post a video, too, of a little bit of a bicycle parade we enjoyed at the end of the day, but I can't upload videos from school.

Anyway here's a few glimpses of our day:

In drama, we learned about props.

Willowby wallowby Warchy, an elephant sat on Archy.

Splendid springlike weather

R. is learning the G7 chord

She made a good start on it today.

5 minutes at the creek

Updated snack calendar.—please note the changes.
You may notice that snacks from Jan 20 to the end of the month have shifted back one day.

The students measured classroom objects using their foot cut outs.

See you tomorrow. I hope you all got to enjoy some time outdoors today. That's how I plan to spend the last hours of the afternoon today--walking outdoors.

Be well.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011: Six Feet Tall

Amazing how many kindergartners are "Six Feet" tall.

We traced our shoes and cut them out today. Using these cut-out feet to measure things around the classroom we found that many of the students were six feet tall. (That's how tall, approximately, their teacher is!) Something to think about....

M. and R. make cut-outs of their feet.

Z. measures G.'s height in kid feet.

We measured the larger Lego constructions.

C. measures M.

Some of the buddies painted pots in the garden.

Some buddies worked in the fifth grade classroom.

And some worked in kindergarten. E.'s buddy is the daughter of a teacher.

M. brought sushi, a very special sushi for snack.

She brought carrots, celery, and hummus too. Yum.

Here's the news of the day as recorded on the chart:
In Tribes we made Valentine's Day cards to send overseas. My tribe and Mrs. Everson's tribe were able to enjoy ten minutes or so outdoors in the fine springlike weather we've been enjoying around here in California's wine country the past few days. Glorious weather.