Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We needed to read Olivia's book to catch up from yesterday. She brought a book that she got at the Book Fair called Funny Farm.

Then we danced her dance since we didn't get to it yesterday.

At centers she assembled quite a structure out of the crystal climbers....

After lunch the students discovered an older version of the Soundabet. They took quite an interest in comparing and contrasting the two versions.

There are some differences. I photographed the old one using a large format so it is possible to click on it to see it up close.

How many differences can your child find between the current version and this older one?
Click to embiggen
Tomorrow we will go caroling around the school. Centers will not happen, as we will see Santa in that time slot.

I hope many of you are able to come at 11:00 to see the party.

No homework tonight!

Be well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today we marked the 80th day of school. We talked a lot about that number's name: EIGHT-TY. Many of the students now understand that the "TY" at the end of "eighty" stands for "TEN." Eighty is simply a quick way to say "eight tens." The numeral has a zero on it to show that there are exactly eight tens and no "ones" to go with them. "80" shows that.

We did a math game called "Roll and Record with 2 dice" for the math lesson today. At this point only a few students can mentally combine the numbers shown on two dice. Most kindergartners right now count the dots on one dice and continue counting spots on the second dice to get a total.

Caleb was one of the few who were able to mentally combine the dots on two dice, one showing five dots and another showing six dots and tell the class that there were eleven dots between them. He also predicted the outcome of the game we were playing, though that was mostly lucky guess. It is true that the sums in the middle of the range can be made more different ways, and that increases the likelihood of that winning. Here is Caleb after the math activity. He guessed that "6" would win and it did.

In my book making center Rocco worked so hard. I could not always see his face under his dad's company hat, but I could feel his concentration.

Just so cute, I had to share a photo:
Way to go, Rocco!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011, take two

The warm, sunny afternoons make it seem like it's still a long time until Christmas. But, gee, it's less than a week away. I cannot remember school being in session this far into December—it sure helps that the weather feels so Octobery.

I spent a fallish Saturday paddling on Tomales Bay in weather that seemed as if it were a week before Halloween. I guess the winter solstice isn't until Thursday, so this IS still fall as reckoned by the solar calendar.

Mercifully (for me) Sunday morning in Sebastopol was appropriately gloomy and foggy, so we got our Christmas tree from a local farmer and trimmed it and decorated the house. Our house is ready for the big day.

Enuf of that! School news.

We started the day with linking cubes, a math manipulative. We saw math-like patterns. By now almost everyone has grasped the AB pattern and can show their mastery. Here's a black white pattern that Bianca made.

We see also some artistic and imaginative uses of these cubes. Stasia made a pony and I made a rider for it.

We got a visit from a dog who works (in the dog's mind, he plays) in law enforcement this morning. He was a friendly, intelligent dog. (Sorry, no names here to keep anonymity of our visitor.)

In centers among many other things, we are making books composed of holiday words written on card stock roughly the size of business cards. Phoenix and Raegan did some really good work this morning.

At story time we were able to finish the book that Madison shared last Friday, Bear Stays Up.

Nathan brought a book he got at the book fair called City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems. It was a very enjoyable book to read. Great illustrations, touching message. I loved it. Children's books are so good nowadays.

We were able to ride bikes today! Yeah! The weather was perfect for it. It may be the last kindergarten bike day of 2011. I'm glad the kindergarten was able to get through the snacktime clean-up period without getting too noisy.

Be well.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

I am grateful that so many fathers volunteer in kindergarten. It's good for the students, both boys and girls to have the opportunity to get to know men within their kindergarten classroom. Thanks to all the fathers and grandfathers who donate time to our cause here.

Caleb's and Tyler's dads were on hand today

In math we explored large geometrical shapes: triangles, squares, rectangles, hexagons, rhombuses, and even a trapezoid. We made these shapes with a length of blue rope and even with our bodies:

A triangle of boys
At the end of the day we got to spend a few minutes outside in the glorious winter sunshine. We finished the day with a quick read of a favorite new book, the one I mentioned yesterday.

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes
The moral of this story (a moral which I think is lost on most kindergartners, but a good one for us grown ups to keep in mind) is this:

No matter what you step in,
Keep walking along
And sing your song....
because it's all good.

With that, I wish you a wonderful weekend. My plan is to take my kayak out on Tomales Bay, north towards the mouth of it, with my paddling buds.

Be well.

And remember, it's all good.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pajama Day

It was pajama day today.

Dana Davis gave us our second lesson in drama today. Students learned to use their bodies and faces to communicate a variety of emotions.

Dana teaching drama today.

Students were encouraged to bring stuffed animals to story time. We read Kayla K's The Cat in the Hat Comes Back and a story called Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin about a cool cat with shoes. The book was a gift from Ms. Kelly Bengs from Training Wheels preschool.

Thanks, Kelly!!

Stuffed animals at story time

Stuffed animals can be good listeners
Be well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pajama Day Tomorrow

Remember: tomorrow is Pajama Day. It's okay to bring along a stuffed animal small enough to fit in your child's cubby. Shoes should be appropriate for the playground, so for the feet it's a regular day.

After centers we had time to get to know our fifth grade buddies. Half of them stayed behind with us to enjoy some kindergarten time:

Homework tonight is two pages in all:

It's nice to see some sunshine this afternoon after the cold morning fog. I'm going to go out and enjoy a walk in the sun before it goes down.

Be well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday and Tuesday, December 12 & 13, 2011

We started off the week with an exploration of Zoobs, and interesting building pieces that were inspired by biological creatures. We saw:

linear linkages

interlocking squares,

free-form free-standing structures towers that had a Dr. Seussian quality, and

more complex three-dimensional constructions:
Stasia made this one for Dominic.


We began the day writing on slates words like:

Dinosaur (we spelled in "dinosor" for the purposes of this informal lesson)

We visited the book fair today. It's in the library. See below for more information on it.

Kade brought a book to share, The Little Snowflake. It's about a snowflake that wanted to be part of a snowman. The snowflake wound up being a sparkle in the snowman's eye.

In P.E. today, Mrs. Campbell had the kindergarten practice their skipping skills with the assistance of personal coaches from first grade. It was a very successful lesson.
Most kinders can skip.
We had a few minutes at the end of PE to enjoy the lovely winter sunshine outdoors on the "big playground."

A couple of reminders:

Pickup tomorrow is at 1:30. This would be a good time to visit the Scholastic Book Fair in the library. It will be open for business then. If you cannot visit it in person, you can order books online and benefit Dunham by ordering through this link:

Thursday is pajama day. Students can bring a small stuffed animal along on this day. Bring shoes good for playground use. It's still a bike day!

That's all for now.

Be well.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Just two weeks of school left before winter break. Boy, does time fly.

We started off the day making snowman holiday ornaments for the tree in the community room. Room mom Alicia Petersen organized this activity and they came out great. They're the first out on the tree. Thank you, Alicia!

Holiday spirit!

Tanner's got a nice seasonal smile.

My center group continues to sing and play the ukulele. We're a small group of roving musicians spreading some winter cheer around the school each morning. So fun, and such a great way to introduce the fun of making homemade music, the very best sort of music in my estimation.

It was Jake's day today and he brought a book about Corduroy the bear inspired by the book by Don Freeman. I read the original book a little while back. In this one, Corduroy wishes for the happiness of others and finds a greater happiness for himself, a good story with a good message.

Wishing happiness for others...

Jake brought apples and cheese goldfish crackers for snack. See?
Jake's snack—yum!

Next week is the Scholastic Book Fair held in the library after school. It is a good place to buy some holiday books and to support your local PTO at the same time. Proceeds from this book sale will benefit the educational program at Dunham.
The truck delivered the books this morning.

I hope you enjoy the weekend. Maybe some rain Sunday. If so, I hope that you will enjoy the comforts of home, hearth, and family.

Be well.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Today we enjoyed the first day of our trimester of Thursday drama lessons. Dana Davis, our drama teacher just finished the production of a musical based loosely on The Jungle Book that was performed last Friday evening. Dana is a talented instructor. Our introductory lesson gave the kindergartners a taste of how much fun drama can be.

Here's a snapshot taken during the first lesson this morning as the students pretended to be animals walking around the room.

Tyler achieved a milestone today—riding on two wheels. He required all of about 10 seconds of instruction to get to the point he could ride, stop, and start riding all by himself.

Congratulations, Tyler!

Be well, everyone.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Our first day of Tribes went very well. All the kindergartners made it over to their Tribe and back. The idea of tribes is to increase the number of people here who know—and are looking out for—the kindergarten class.

Each kindergarten student now has about one staff member and about 10 older children who are connected through their Tribe and will help keep them safe, happy, and kind at school. As the years go by your child will stay in the same Tribe and eventually become an older student helping to care for the kindergartners of the future.

Soon after they arrived these three girls asked me to take their picture.

Quite a structure built out of the cardboard bricks.

Kayla K was in a center where she was asked to make a pattern with the shells. We see many linear patterns like AB patterns as well as the occasional ABC pattern. We were impressed by this radial sunshine like pattern that Kayla made.

Ian brought a book about friendship, Little Bear's Special Friend. It tells the story of a friendship that develops between a bear and a snowman that must end with the spring. It teaches that friendships can be interrupted by circumstances even though we may wish we could keep our friends forever.

Ian also brought a snack that proved VERY popular with the class. Those precooked lightly salted soybeans in pods [brand name Okami's Organic Edamame] are really popular. Kids ate them right up.

In the store, they look like this:

On the plate, they look like this. I had to take the picture quickly. This guy lost his nose, eyebrows and smile right away.

Get outside, and be well.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011--Tribes Tomorrow

Today's schedule
Emily brought snack and a book today. The class enjoyed Pete's a Pizza and the apples and graham crackers she shared.

Tomorrow is Ian's day to share.

We started off the day using the rods to make A-B-C patterns using three colors of blocks. Here are several examples of student work.

After several minutes of pattern making I turned them loose. Jackson made this long-legged human figure.

Anthony made this face.
He seems to be a good listener

Tomorrow is Wednesday. Please remember to order a lunch or send one along with your child.

The kindergartners will go to their TRIBES groups in the afternoon. We talked about the purpose of the TRIBES program—to enrich the connections among students across grades.

Each tribe consists of an adult leader and about a dozen students made up of representatives from all grades kindergarten through sixth.

Please remind your child of who their adult leader will be. Here is the list below showing the adult leaders.

Aidan—Mrs. Burger
Anthony—Mrs. Schmidt
Bella—Ms. Fisher
Bianca—Mrs. Everson
Cale—Mrs. Lehmann
Caleb—Mrs. Amador
Diana—Mrs. Lehmann
Dominic—Mrs. Wilde
Drew—Mr. Gurney
Dylan—Mr. Gurney
Emily—Mr. Hanson
Ian—Mr. Hanson
Jackson—Mrs. Schmidt
Jake—Mrs. Campbell
Jessica—Mrs. Schmidt
Kade—Mrs. Carter
Kayla Sue—Mrs. Buckner
Kayla K.—Mrs. Burger
MacKenzie—Mr. Hanson
Nathan—Mr. Hanson
Olivia—Ms. Fisher
Phoenix—Mr. Schaible
Raegan—Mr. Gurney
Rocco—Mrs. Amador
Stasia—Mrs. Schmidt
Tanner—Mrs. Everson
Tyler—Mr. Hanson
Vanessa—Mrs. Wilde

Finally, unlike other Wednesdays, you cannot pick up your kinder student a tad early to avoid traffic. On this one, you have to use the parking lot. Expect a traffic jam. Pick up is at 1:30 from the kindergarten room.


Be well.