Friday, August 31, 2012

Have a Good Labor Day Weekend

Friday went very well. Here's a look at the schedule we followed today.

Here's a little daily diary of the day....

Look for the full moon tonight. I'm planning to see it sail up into the eastern sky starting right around 7:30 when the sun will set. I'm gonna see it from my kayak.

We start regular centers on Tuesday. We could use a few more volunteers to lead centers. April Casarotti, Jaelyn's mom, would love to find someone to alternate Fridays with her? Any takers?

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kindergarten Rock & Roll

We're really rockin' and rollin' in kindergarten now.

Curtis brought a book to read about a boy who wanted to be a cat.

We are nearly finished gluing down the 4,000 or so beans to spell out all our names. The names will most likely be up in time for Back to School Night on Wednesday, September 5. The kids who finished early came to the mat to wait for the others to finish.

Wyatt showed the class his way of rocking on his back. The kids enjoyed this little gymnastic exercise as they waited for everyone to finish up.

Rockin' and a rollin'

At the end of the day, Grace decided it was high time she knew how to ride a bicycle on just two wheels. She set herself to the task of learning how to do it. With absolutely no help from me or Mrs Everson, and with just a few minutes of persistent trying, she was able to ride ten feet or so.

Twenty minutes later, at the end of bike time she was riding all around the playground with only a few wobbles here and there.

Grace rides for the first time.
All three of the students who rode on two wheels today have older siblings.... Grace, Noah, and Leland. Having an older brother or sister around to show what being a kid is all about really does help.

A rollin' and a rockin'
Seven families have provided the emergency kits we stockpile in the classroom in case of a natural disaster.

They're basically a ziploc bag with shelf-stable foods along with loving note from the family. If you haven't gotten yours in yet please do. You can turn them in to me or Mrs. Everson.

Please feel free to talk to the school office if you need additional information about putting together  these kits.

Thank you.

Be well.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Short post today....  I will be in a staff meeting today during the time I usually set aside for the blog.

That said, it was another wonderful day here in kindergarten. We are working on gluing beans together to make the letters that will form our names which I will post around the room high on the walls. We had a few minutes to use the wood blocks. Aiden and Noah made a nifty ramp for little cars to roll down.

Here's what it looks like with a car rolling down.

A reminder....

Please plan to come to Back to School Night one week from today on September 5 at 6:00 PM.

I will give you a brief introduction to the kindergarten curriculum at this event. I will try to map out what you can do to help....

Back to School Night is intended for adults. Please do not bring your child to this event.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Here's a photograph of the pocket chart displaying the activities we did today.

We sang "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" at Carley's request. She also requested the "Chicken Dance" which we all enjoyed.

She brought string cheese, strawberries, and pirate's booty. The class really enjoyed it. The math lesson went so smoothly that I'm pretty sure that none of the students realized the lesson we did came out of the math textbook.

We visited the school library and met the librarian, Mrs. Burger, who read us a story. The PE teacher reported the class to be very good.

One thing that didn't make the chart was showing that you've learned the names of all the kindergarten classmates. Robert asked to take the microphone to show everyone he knows everyone's names. Sure enough, he does! This achievement is marked by getting a little red paper heart by the name on he wall. So his name is the first to display this milestone of learning in kindergarten. Congratulations, Robert!

We have started making our names in all uppercase letters using beans. The first letters of each name have now been completed.  The kids did a very good job on these letters as you can see from the photo of these first letters in the drying rack.

All those beans lying side by side.

Be well. And know that a more than a few students told me that they're tired. I recommend an earlier bedtime for the kids. (And for me too!)

Be well.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bike Days: Mondays and Thursdays

I am glad that I came in to work Saturday afternoon. I spent a good chunk of time working at my desk on lesson plans, but I found time to pull some of the trikes out of summer storage and got them ready for today.

On our next bike day, Thursday, I will have a few regular two wheelers for the class to ride as well.

We have about 30 minutes scheduled for bike/trike/ball play outdoors twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from about 11:00 to 11:30.

Bikes parked with care....

Three kindergartners enjoying the same vehicle

Todays math lesson was to introduce a math manipulative that will be around all year, Pattern Blocks. Everyone got a chance to make something. They were really good about sharing the materials.

It was Aidan's day to provide snack. He brought organic baby carrots, string cheese, and pretzels. Good job, Aisha and Mark! 

If you want to bring baby carrots, no need to spend extra money on those single serving individual pouches of baby carrots. A regular one-pound (16 oz) bag is plenty. The typical kindergartner will eat about two baby carrots at snack. So 40 baby carrots will cover our snack. (Several choose to pass on carrots.)

We had our first spilled milk today, and so we had our first "Here's the bucket, here's the sponge, and here's how to mop up your own spill" lesson. It went beautifully. 

We went outside to ride the trikes and play outdoors. Robert spent time shooting baskets and got quite a few of them. Way to go, Robert.

A fine late summer day in paradise.

See you tomorrow. Remember, tomorrow we will have PE, so please send your child to school in sturdy playground shoes. 

Be well.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012 News

Well, we did it, and we did it in style—we finished our first week of kindergarten and with only a few "I miss Mom!" tears. Those were outnumbered 21 to 1 with smiles. I've heard from many of you that your child is happy here and already enjoys being in kindergarten. That's wonderful.

As most of you know, I intend this blog to give you the information you need to know about kindergarten and to give you some material to get conversations started at home. You want your child to tell you as much as possible about experiences in kindergarten. Their retelling develops their language skills and their ability to communicate. These skills provide the foundation for writing well. Think of it as the most important part of your child's homework. It is vital.

I try to put up a post here most school days. Sometimes life (long meetings) happens and I skip a day. But usually I will put up something, so I encourage you to check in here whenever you want to "check in" on kindergarten, even once a day on school days.

So what happened today? We got out Cuisenaire rods and used them to explore what might be done with them. They are a math manipulative that can be used to illustrate math concepts in very hands-on, concrete ways. For now we're just exploring them.

Ryder's parking lot & a staircase

We made a graph showing class birthdays and how the birthdays fall into the months of the year.

None in February; 5 in July

We went out to PE, taught by our PE specialist, Ms. Jane Campbell. We have PE on Tuesdays and Fridays. It is important to send your kindergartner to school with sturdy playground shoes on those days.

Jaelyn's sturdy shoes would please any PE teacher....
The kids already want to play the ukulele. A couple of kids got a chance to strum and Taea did great. Here she is in front of the eager audience after playing Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

She has a nice, even strum
Lots have asked about the snack calendar.  Here is the schedule for next week:

Click to embiggen

And here is September's Snack Calendar:

A click of the mouse will make this bigger.
Finally, if your child has little to say, open a conversation about Archy, my puppet mouse. Say,
"Tell me about Archy."

Archy. In preschool or kindergarten for 34 years....

Or ask some of these questions:

What gave Archy a stomachache today?

Why is there a marker in his mouth?

What did Archy have for snack today?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day Two

Another nice day in school. We're building up our routines, finding out where the "boundaries" are and generally relaxing into a good place for learning.

Tomorrow we will work some math lessons into the schedule.


Several of you have asked about volunteering.

We use parent volunteers in a variety of ways.

By far the most work is leading instructional centers in the first hour of each day. Typically a parent will agree to stay until 8:45 one day per week (or more than one day, depending on interest and availability) to lead a small group lesson during center time. You'll get a table with 4 students and an instructional activity to do with them.  Sometimes a team of people (often composed of a father and mother or of grandparents and parents) commits to a slot in the schedule.

You can sign yourself up by filling out a yellow square of paper with your name on it and placing that slip of paper into a slot on the blue pocket chart posted on the wall just inside the classroom door.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Day of the 2012 - 2013 School Year

Just like life outside school, Kindergarten is a mixture of work:

Washing our own dishes after snack

and play:

Our first day of school went very well. Most of the new kindergartners were able to smile as they said goodbye to Mom and Dad this morning. We sang and danced, we listened to a story.

On the first few days of school I invest a good deal of time in going over the ground rules of kindergarten — Safe -- Happy -- Kind.

I  spent a lot of time teaching a few fundamental norms and procedures that want every child to learn and to follow:

taking turns,
raising a hand to talk,
lining up,
washing hands,
asking for permission to use the bathroom,
coming in from recess right away, and. with your help,
being safe around cars in the parking lot.

The time I spend now on these rules, norms and procedures will pay off handsomely in the year ahead.

Everyone did well. It's looking to be a fine year.


Several people have asked me about snack.

Snack today: graham cracker, carrot sticks, apple slices

You do not need to send your child to school with a mid-morning snack.

Instead we share the responsibility of providing morning snack.  About once a month I will ask you to bring a healthy snack for everyone in class to enjoy. Details will be on the bottom of the snack calendar you will find in your child's cubby tomorrow.