Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Toolbox's Listening Tool, Sight Words

Wear Blue Shirts Thursday

Note: Thursday, March 29, is a school spirit day. The idea is for each class to wear the same color shirt on that day. The kindergarten class voted to wear BLUE shirts that day. (No worries with regard to the fact that usually we wear green on Thursdays, for bikes. We can ride bikes anyway, weather permitting.)

Wear blue this Thursday. We'll take a picture.

As forecast, the rain came in today. Raindrops are spattering against the south-facing windows of my little office as I write this. Gusts of wind whoosh through the stand of eucalyptus trees outside the north-facing windows. It's stormy.

We listened to a book that is part of the Toolbox curriculum for this week, called Listen and Learn by Cheri Meiners. It tells about what skills a child uses to listen skillfully. It explains clearly that listening requires that we keep hands, body, and mouth quiet and still. It explains, too, how helpful it is to look at the speaker and focus our minds on what the speaker is saying. It explains that listening involves thinking.

It explains how listening can help us learn. Finally, this book talks about the fact that listening well makes it easier for other classmates to learn.

We'll have a puppet show tomorrow that brings some of these ideas to life.

The Toolbox Project teaches that listening requires us to use our ears, our eyes, and our hearts. To this, Mrs. Meiners and I would add our heads—thinking with our brains—as well. The Toolbox Project puts more emphasis on the heart, I am guessing, because here in America we tend to favor our heads over our hearts when it comes to listening. Many of us need to be reminded to actively recruit our hearts as we listen to each other. I know I do. That said, I know listening with my heart alone can get me into trouble, so I keep my brain engaged too.

There is a hand gesture to signal that we are listening. We use two fingers to point to our ears, eyes, hearts, and heads as we listen attentively to the speaker. It's a good way to show we're "tuned in" to the speaker. Here are four photos showing what this series of hand gestures looks like.

I listen with my ears....

my eyes,

my heart,

and my head.


In other news...

KIDS club is on hiatus until a new configuration is set for the spring trimester. You'll be hearing from me soon.

Four students added the Soundabet Boy card to their list of achievements today: Kade, Ian, Olivia, and Stasia. These kindergartners can read everyone's name. More to come tomorrow!

Speaking of reading: tomorrow, for homework, I will send home the first of several sets of "sight" words for practice at home. These words are called "sight" words because students are expected to "read" these words on sight—without sounding them out. The list comes from the district-adopted Houghton Mifflin Reading Series and are aligned with the California state standards for kindergarten. There are 18 of them in all. You'll get six per week to work on. In the course of April, hopefully everyone in here will master all 18 words.

I have acquainted your child with the words I'm sending home, but he or she has probably not mastered them yet. 

Practice at home ought to seal the deal. We're counting on you....


Be well.

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