Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Iffy Weather

Late May is a time when we've come to expect reliable sunny weather. We've come to expect warm afternoons to the point that I could say we almost take them for granted.

Not this year, apparently. Take a look at the late morning sky over the playground today:

It didn't rain on us at PE, but it seemed to be thinking about it.

Last day of PE for kindergarten.

It was Zander's day today and he brought a wonderful snack. (I forgot all about Zander's strawberries...oops! We'll enjoy them tomorrow or the next day, Zander.)

Bagels and friends

The first grade class gamely stuck to their traditions and did their ice sculptures. In years past I remember seeing these melt away in the hot afternoon sun. Not this year!

The weather forecast for tomorrow's Variety Show is iffy. I think we're going to hope for the best. If the weather turns ugly, we'll have a do-over for the kindergarten ukulele performance in the kindergarten room first thing Friday morning before the festival. We'll do that indoors so as not to tempt the weather gods and goddesses.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Laguna de Santa Rosa May 26, 2011 (Click to enlarge)

The days are flying by. It's hard for me to believe that only 4 days of the kindergarten year remain before summer vacation. I don't have that much time to think about it because the end of the year gets so busy. Next week will be no exception as we have both the Variety Show and the 6th grade promotion ceremony on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Friday is the end-of-the-year school carnival, always a memorable and enjoyable event.

Between then and now I have to finish assessing the class and filling out the report cards. A sprint to the finish!

Today was Samantha's day. She lightened my load by taking over the story time for me. Very competently— as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world—she read aloud the book she brought about Baby Zoo Animals. Here's a moment captured for you to see:

I hope you enjoy your weekend. I don't plan to go very far from home. I'll probably take a walk on the Laguna de Santa Rosa just east of Sebastopol, where I live. It's close enough to paradise for me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sam'sDay, May 26

We stayed until school-wide dismissal, 2:30. The last hour was the "dress rehearsal" for the Variety Show we'll feature next Wednesday, June 1 at 5:00. Let's hope for good weather. The kindergarten class is the first on stage and they did well. I think you will enjoy seeing them perform in six days. I was not able to take photos for you to see, but we will do better next week. Jason Sweeney will video the performance for us and if all goes as planned we'll feature it here.

Another splendid day, though we didn't get out on bikes as I had hoped we would. The weather was good and the sky full of dramatic clouds. We just didn't have the time...

Hannah's mom was out in the garden and she collected a pail of snails. She'll take them home and with the help of backyard hens convert these little fellas into yolks, whites, and shells.

There will be happy hens at Hannah's house.

Probably the highlight for most of the class was today's art lesson with Mark. Here is a photo of the lesson itself.

I think the kindergarten class enjoyed the clean up almost as much. It took quite a while to get the tables and floor clean again. The kids did almost all the work, and they did it with enthusiasm.

Elsa, who sits right next to Ryan, lost a tooth of her own today. It was her second tooth baby tooth to wiggle free.

She was happier about this than the picture shows.
We're making some fine K's. Someone wondered if these were showing the scorekeeper's marks with regard to the Giant's pitching....

The K stands for Kindergarten!
Enjoy the sunshine. I plan to take a walk this afternoon in the Laguna de Santa Rosa.

Be well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Postponement—June 1

Please note that the Variety Show has been postponed for one week until Wednesday, June 1 in the hope of having better weather.

We sent this note home with your child just in case you don't see it here on the blog.

The show is scheduled to begin at 5:00, as before.

Well! How 'bout all that rain in late May? Pretty unusual in these parts, or at least it used to be pretty unusual.

Still it was Ryan's day. He brought a fantastic drum, a Tabla and played it with me at the beginning of class and again later on it the day for Andrew, our music teacher. Ryan's a good percussionist.

In addition to his drum, Ryan brought a pop-up book about the Apollo Moon Landing program. The book captured the imaginations of the class as I read it to them. It's hard for me to believe that the space program got underway when I was a kid more than fifty years ago. Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon a few weeks after I got out of high school.  To recall that our manned Space Shuttle program will soon end—wow, what a journey!

Anyhow, here's Ryan holding up his book.

Ryan also lost a tooth today.

Ryan is holding his tooth in his fingers.

For more on Ryan's drum, click: Tabla

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rieley's Day

Today was Rieley's day. We played "Number Squeeze" again. We began by knowing that the chosen number was somewhere between 120 and 180. Working as a team, the class got the right answer on the seventh guess. Rieley was the student who guessed the correct answer.

His family brought in a splendid snack this morning. All the food you see in the photograph below disappeared quite rapidly. Several students discovered for the first time, apparently, that they like "Ants on a Log." I think the golden raisins had something to do with it. Are they sweeter??

Ants on a Log, raspberries, cream cheese, cookies
I've begun end-of-the-year assessments for the class. The results of these assessments will be reflected on the report card you'll see on the last day of school. Here's a photo of one of our "hands-on" assessments:

I hope you can come back to Dunham both today and tomorrow evenings.

Tomorrow is the Variety Show. For details, please see the note in the righthand column at the top of this blog.

Tonight is the Dunham Community's first opportunity to meet our new Principal/Superintendent, Adam Shaible. I plan to attend tonight and look forward to the gathering.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Centers Tomorrow

We spent a good chunk of the morning rehearsing for Wednesday's Variety Show. We're almost ready. Tomorrow we will have centers. We will, in fact, be starting off on the final set of center activities for kindergarten.

One of the things we'll make is new this year: a bean mosaic of the letter "K" for kindergarten. It'll be a keepsake.

Here is a photo of the prototype I made today:

Thanks to Frank for the base plate!
Pretty neat, eh?

The other day, by coincidence two boys in our school who share the name Jackson happened to wear the same shirt design. How about that?

See you tomorrow.

Be well.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Names These Days

Poem is protected by the Copyright of Kenn Nesbitt, 2005

Poetry for Kids by Kenn Nesbitt
It's time to enjoy another Funny Poem by Email from Poetry4kids.com.  This week's poem is...

Everyone's From Somewhere Else

Phoenix came from Dallas. Dallas came from Austin. Austin came from Lowell. Lowell came from Boston. Carolina came from Georgia. Georgia's from Savannah. Savannah came from Jackson. Jackson's from Montana. Virginia came from Maryland. Mary's from Dakota. Dakota's from Saint Paul. And Paul's from Minnesota. Madison is from Cheyenne. Cheyenne is from Nebraska. I wonder where the teacher's from? I think maybe Alaska.
  --Kenn Nesbitt

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pedro's Day; Dan's News

It was Pedro's day today. We celebrated for his summer birthday....

The big news of the day was Dan's. His grandma just got back from Hawaii and brought with her a dandy ukulele for Dan.

And, with our warm and sunny weather we got outside for bike time.

Dan learned to ride on two wheels recently and today he showed off his stuff to me and his classmates.

He's already laying down skid marks on the asphalt.

Tonight I'm gonna be up in Occidental with my ukulele pals singing country songs. Yee-haw.

Best Thursday night of the month.

Be well.

The Variety Show

Please plan to attend the Dunham Charter School Variety Show on Wednesday, May 25. 

The whole kindergarten class will go on stage at 5:00 PM. We'll be playing our ukuleles & more. 

We've been rehearsing these past weeks and you won't want to miss this show!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yesterday was Marley's day. Just a quick photo review of that day, then on to the highlights for today.

With today's weather, it's almost hard to believe that yesterday was a cold, wet, and windy day. We had inside PE. Here, Marley poses in the middle of a new and improved game adapted from indoor dodgeball. The class really enjoyed it.

Marley using the "Magic Wand" to release classmates to wash hands for snack.

Hard at work on a drawing.

On to today, Mollie's day....

It was spirit day, and the theme was Hawaii.  Jaden's mom knows Dave R. Polo (I think that's right) who  has been playing ukulele for 23 years—he started at age 5, just like most everyone in class—and is a professional ukulele player. He plays with the Bay Area band, Sage. He said the ukulele changed his life.

We really enjoyed his music.

We enjoyed fifth grade Buddies and Tribes today also.

All in all a good day. I think we are all delighted to welcome Mr. Sol back into our skies. Tomorrow I'll be wearing a green shirt. We should reach into the upper 70's tomorrow. Ahh!

Be well.

Sage's website is HERE.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

First off, I want you to know that the reason there were no posts for Thursday and Friday was that Blogger went down on Thursday and I could not put up a post. As far as I know, I think it was a pretty large phenomenon. There seemed to be people all over the country talking about it on their blogs.  Friday just got too busy—meetings you know.

I'm back now.

Good thing, too. We had a full day.

It was Makayla's day, and she wanted me to know she lost another tooth over the weekend, her second lost tooth in May. Here's her top-of-the-morning-missing-two-front-teeth smile.

In centers there is a lot going on. One center is making is wood structures made by gluing little pieces of wood that Dan's grandpa Frank provided for us. Thank you, Frank!!
Quinn's construction

Makayla read a story to the class today that she got from the library. She did a SPLENDID job reading to her classmates.

After storytime we were off to the Community Room where my old pal, Rob Dicely and his wife, Barbara put on their Wild Cat Show. (Rob's wife, Barbara taught preschool to my daughter years and years ago. Rob used to be in the housebuilding business and he worked on our house twice.

Anyway, Rob and Barbara showed us four of their wild cats.

Canadian Lynx

King's Cheetah


Geoffrey's Cat
 You can visit their website by clicking here Wild Cat Fund.

Ivan invited Rebecca to KIDS club and we got to play a little dulcimer in the last few minutes of the time.
Looby Loo is easy to play on the dulcimer.

Be well!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SPECIAL NOTICE: Tomorrow at centers time (8:15 to 8:45) will be our first rehearsal for the Variety Show ukulele performance. We won't need our usual parent volunteers for this center time rehearsal. In fact, please plan NOT to come tomorrow. We want our performance to be fresh for you on May 25. You have marked your calendar for that event on May 25, yes?

Also, early reminder: tomorrow is Open House at Dunham from 6:00 to 7:30PM.

Wednesdays always pass by quickly here in kindergarten. We have buddies, music, lunch, and the extended day schedule. We started our final rotation of buddy activities. (I find it hard to believe we have just a little more than three weeks to go!)

Ms. Schmidt gave the kinders a taste of kickball with the assistance of their fifth grade buddies.

Maryann took a group in the garden to do various activities: weeding, harvesting, and painting. What finer way to spend a half hour than in the garden with friends?

Inside a group was absorbed in block building. I'm always pleased by how well the buddies mix when engaged in blocks.

Jaden brought a book for me to read to the class that the class seemed to enjoy very much.

Tonight's homework does not need to be handed back in to school. Please keep it and read it again tomorrow. Reading these wannabe words builds the decoding muscles that your child will need to have as they go along as readers. Be sure to correct any tendency to make the vowels long. (A word like "lej" should sound like "ledge" [short e] and not like "leej" [long ee]).

Here's some more online practice:

Click to embiggen.
May you be well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 Jackson's Day

Click to embiggen. Read 10 times.

Another fun and busy day. I did not get my camera out until after school when all the kids had already gone home.

It was Jackson's day and a good one. He brought a story of his own, one that he authored and illustrated. He did a good job as line leader. He also got to call the dance (Hap Palmer's Sammy played by yours truly) and the song (Looby Loo) for the day. We managed to "catch up" by reading Gavin's and Hannah's stories. P.E. etc.

I suppose the best news—from the boys' point of view—is that we got the LEGOS back.

We're practicing for the end-of-the-year reading assessments. We'll start on these reading assessments Friday, so now is the time to practice.

You can help your child do well by having your child "sing" these wannabe words all in one note. Time them to see how long it takes to read all 15 words. They are doing well if they can read these 15 words twice through in one minute.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

We looked at consonant-vowel-consonant "Wannabe Words" this morning.

Wannabe Words aren't really words yet. You can read them, spell them, and say them. But since they have no meaning yet, they're not real words. Real words have to have meaning.

The ability to read Wannabe Words is one of the ways we see how students are coming along in their early reading skills. Skillful readers can sound out words even if they've never heard or seen them before (since they're not real words). The skills they need to have are mainly two:

(1) automaticity with saying letter sounds and

(2)  the ability to blend sounds into words.

All the kids in class have the first skill down quite well. The second skill, the blending part, is easier for some than for others.

One way to help with blending is to "sing" the words together in one note. We're trying to eliminate any and all sound gaps, even brief gaps, in the sounding out of a word. Allow even the smallest sound gap to appear, and the word will go out the window.

Singing the word together into one note really helps a lot of students. Try it.

Here are some you might want to try out with your child at home:

vuf    fev     mib      zep     vip

tam    baz    kob     nif      heb

bup    yed    buk    dat      bez    

There will be more in this week's homework.

Second grade came by today to share stories they wrote about hats. I got my camera out for this part of the day.

Toward the end of the day we got out on bikes in this beautiful weather.

Thanks for dropping by...

Be well.