Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good Problems....

When people ask me how the school year is going, I must say it's going great. We are busy making the pinto bean names which will appear on the walls by early next week. The kids are doing a very good job on them. Neat rows of pinto beans.

The class gets along really well. They share, take turns, work together, help each other out. This reflects well on the families and preschools they come from.

I'm having a good "problems" with the kindergartners, easy to fix problems—like washing their snack plates so long and so carefully that they slow down the line.

For this particular problem I've made up a little Plate Washing Song set to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Singing it while washing up should cut to twenty seconds or so the time spent washing, rinsing, and racking plates. A musical timer, if you will.

The words go like this:

Plate Washing Song
to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Rub and scrub this little plate
Quickly now, don’t be late.
Don’t take long, sing this song
Friends are lined up, move along.
Dip it, rinse it, rack your plate.
So your friends can wash their plate.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another Fine Day in Kindergarten

Some years ago I figured out that if you want kids to enjoy playing with blocks, you've got to make it easy to put away the blocks when it's time to clean up.

So I ordered some milk crates from Duluth Trading Company so kids could quickly put them in any which way at clean up time. That's usually what happens. It's how I do it.

But this year's kindergarten class is taking a strong interest in cleaning up with care. When washing their dishes they take plenty of time to get the plates really clean.

When it's time to clean up the blocks, well, they do it more carefully than me.

Rocco and Drew

Anthony can read with his eyes shut!

First grade came by to read us a poem.

Mrs. Campbell finishing up the stretches.

Mrs. Burger read us Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Centers will begin the Tuesday after Labor Day, September 6. We still have some openings to fill, especially on Mondays. If you can, please volunteer to lead a small instructional group from 8:10 to 8:45 or so.

Be well.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday, 8/29 First Day with Bikes

We began the second week of school this morning with a school wide assembly to meet Mr. Schaible, our new principal, and Mr. Hanson, our new Resource Specialist teacher. Here are two photos showing the whole student body of Dunham School assembled in the community room:

We began sharing of books and snack from home. Today was Aidan's day to share. He brought a book for read aloud sharing called Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. The class enjoyed it.

Aidan also brought snack: watermelon and string cheese. We are still learning the finer points of the snacktime procedures. For the most part, students are almost too helpful in taking responsibility for serving themselves and cleaning up after. This is a good problem for me to have, I know.

We're also learning about how to use the bicycles and tricycles safely and responsibly. Again, these guys seem to going a bit overboard with safety. Helmets are not needed for tricycles.

Taking turns is an important part of kindergarten. Here a group of kindergartners await their turn on the tricycles.

FYI: Weather permitting, we will have bicycle days most Mondays and Thursdays. On those days, if you wish to bring a bicycle and helmet from home, please feel free, starting this Thursday, September 1.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday's Report

We finished up the first week of school today. All is well in kindergarten.

A math activity at the end of the day today.

We had our first P.E. lesson today with Ms. Campbell. She has learned everyone's name and taught us a game of tag to play on the field. She said our kindergarten class was, in her words, "awesome." I'd have to agree.

Your child went home with a Friday folder. Please be sure to return the empty folder to school on Monday.

Parent volunteers don't begin next week; the first day for parent volunteers will be Tuesday, September 6.

Have a great weekend!

Be well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Second Day, Snack Information

Another happy day. The class is settling into school very quickly. 

Our focus is on learning the basic rules and procedures that allow us to conduct the business of learning with efficiency and fun.

We had a snack today of corn thins, salami, edamame (steamed & seasoned soybeans in the shell, from Ian's family) and apple slices. For many students, edamame is a new food—and they loved it. This is one of many reasons I love community snacks. Kids get to share favorite foods with their friends and they get to try something new that their classmates like.

Here's how snack looked as we set it out:

The edamame is in the black tray.

Students learned how to wash their plates and clean the tables and floors. Everyone pitched in beautifully. It was a pleasure to see them take responsibility for themselves so well and willingly.

Tomorrow you will receive a snack calendar that will assign you to a day to bring in snack for the whole class. I will include some simple guidelines to help you. Two of our children are allergic to peanuts and products containing peanuts, so we have to avoid anything with peanuts as an ingredient.

Washing dishes
We ended the day with a few minutes  to play on the west playground. We went over over the three fundamental rules,

1. Be safe.
2. Be happy.
3. Be kind.

and played for a few minutes in the late morning sun.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day Faces

Here's a quick look into our first day of school.

We took the time to photograph each member of the class and listen to the one thing they wanted to tell us about themselves.
The hills south of Dunham on August 24, 2011

Mr. Gurney begins his 31st year.
Today is his 37th wedding anniversary.

Mrs. Everson loves kids, especially kindergarten students.

Aidan wants you to know his dad is a firefighter.

Anthony told us his mom works in a winery.

Bella likes playing hide and seat with pop-pop Scott.

Bianca has older sisters who went to kindergarten here.

Cale's dad manages the In 'N Out Burger.

Caleb's dad is a firefighter.

Diana likes to play with her two year old brother.
Dominic has a big sister at school.

Drew's dad saw a big fish.

Dylan likes tractors.

Emily loves her mom; she thinks she's sweet.

Ian likes penguins.

Jackson likes to play with his mom.

Jake has a big sister at Dunham.

Jessica's mom works at Chuck E. Cheese.

Kade likes baseball and soccer.

Kayla Sue's mom works at a dentist's office.

Kayla's dad, aunt and uncle went to kindergarten here.

MacKenzie's dad is a police officer. Her mom works for a dentist.

Nathan's dad plays softball.
Nathan goes to all of his games.

Olivia's dad is a firefighter.

Phoenix's dad works at a winery.

Raegan's dad works at Garden Tractor.

Rocco's dad drives tractors (trucks) and makes compost.

Stasia (pronounced "Staysha" afterall) Chagnon's mom works
for a dentist. Dad is a house painter.

Tanner's dad works at a paintball park.

Tyler's dad prospects for gold and raises chickens.

Vanessa dad works at a ranch for cows.

Mrs. Shimada with an impromptu Spanish lesson.

First day, and everyone knows how to line up!

Went out briefly to play on bars.

Choice time inside.





We had a great day.

This class can SING! We sang for Mrs. Mc Carthey, Mrs. Shimada, and Mr. Schaible.

It will be a good year.

See you tomorrow.

Be well.