Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Please make it to the end for a couple of announcements.

It's already the last day of January. We're almost to Day #100 (Thursday) when the homework of collecting 100 objects is due. I hope that most kinders can bring in 4 sets of 100 objects in ziploc baggies so we can see 100 100's. That's ten thousand things in all the collections.

Many enjoyable moments today. For one thing, it was Kayla K.'s sixth birthday today. She brought cupcakes which arrived late in the morning, so we enjoyed them (or saved them) as the day came to and end.

Happy birthday, Kayla!

It being the final day of the month we took one last look at our monthly weather record. In January we had more days that were cold than any other. Sunny days came in second with cloudy days not far behind. There was only one rainy day this month. It's, of course, not normal for January in Northern California to be so dry, but the kinders wouldn't have much reason to know that. Worries me, though.

Today was Emily's day to chart the weather.

We welcomed Tanner back from his sledding trip.

Rocco's dad, Andy Poncia showed up with one of his trucks for us to see.

He answered all the questions we could think of. They get about 6 miles to the gallon. Have about 400 horsepower. Ride on 10 $300 tires that last about 100K miles.

We measured one of the 100 gallon fuel tanks. It was 7 kidfeet long.

Andy showed us how it tips up to dump a load of fertilizer.

We all got to climb into the drivers seat and crawl through the cab to get to the other side. Here's Rocco who's been up in the cab plenty of times before with his dad.

We used our kidfeet to measure other things like my six foot long guitar.

The green mat is 14 kidfeet from front to back.

After cleaning up from snack, Bianca made her way down to the green mat and waited their quietly. Thank you, Bianca!

Here we clean up after ourselves. I can remember in August how difficult it was to learn how to do these tasks smoothly. Now it is almost second nature.

After PE we went to the library to listen to a story read by Mrs. Burger and to refresh our collection of books on loan from the library.
I try to get plenty of nonfiction titles.

As a boy, I loved nonfiction. Still do.

Jessica and Vanessa showed up in these outer garments this morning.

And now, for the announcements:

1. Tomorrow, Wednesday is Tribes. Dismissal is at 1:30.

2. There is "Family Math Night" scheduled for February 2, Thursday evening from 6 to 7 PM. This is a great opportunity to visit the other classrooms and see some of the ways numbers and math concepts can be used for pleasure and enjoyment. Here in kindergarten we'll have the familiar Cusinere Rods and perhaps a few other mathy items available for students to use.

Be well.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012 in Pictures

Emily's Cusinere rod staircase

Jessica's tower

Kindergartners predicted the eraser would be
heavier because it is bigger.

The scales showed otherwise....

Is a ball bearing heavier than the eraser?

No, not one all by itself...

Two ball bearings were heavier, though...

Good scientists take time to record their observations....

We learned to spell "the" with Heidi.

Raegan and Kayla K. invented a dance....

That caught on like wildfire....

Dylan shared a book about a baby dolphin named Winter.

Nathan has mastered the Queen's cards and that means....

More time for everyone to play outdoors.

Cale can cross the monkey bars

As can Emily!
Be well!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

In today's Friday folder you will find a Dragon's Tale announcing a new school wide program which I believe will prove to be a great value to our school.

The new program is called Toolbox. I know many educators who use this program and speak very highly of it. I actually know two of the educators (James Greenwald and Mike Mc Bride) who offer their testimonials on the video you can see here:

Our staff will receive training in using Toolbox in February. I am looking forward to it.

More later.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm sure everyone who went to school can remember days when a substitute teacher took over for the regular teacher.

Some subs kept the classroom humming along quite normally.  The strict subs brightened and tightened the rules acceptable behavior. These subs kept the room quiet and made the classroom wall clock slow to almost a stop. "Will this day ever end?" I can remember wondering. 

Who can forget the subs who never quite grasped the arcane arts of classroom control? Clueless subs made for long days, too, but at least there was entertainment as objects crashed to the floor or sailed overhead.

When either Mrs. Everson or I am not on duty we can expect more anxious energy to flow through the room and ruffle the kindergarten. 

The first half of the day we had the very capable help of Ms. G who has been subbing here at Dunham of late. But when she had to go off on another assignment halfway through the morning, I knew I'd have to step it up a notch. We did have a few moments, but thankfully, Ian's dad Pat Higgins stayed the morning and helped me keep us more or less on track.

Tomorrow Mrs. Everson and the regular program returns.

We did manage to get through a drawing lesson featuring the Cat in the Hat. Some good drawings were made and are now on display in the front of the room.

We also enjoyed some activities from the Drama Enrichment program. In the photo below Aidan is the castle gate, Kade and MacKenzie are the casstle towers, and inside the castle are two fair maidens awaiting rescue. (I think I got that right.)

Dominic brought a book to share about reptiles that by happy coincidence featured the Cat in the Hat as  narrator. So we read it with pleasure. He brought today's snack featuring homemade fruit bars and organic applesauce. 

We got to ride bikes at the end of the day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tomorrow Mrs. Everson will be away to a training and we'll have partial coverage for her in the morning. In lieu of centers we will have an art project that the whole class will participate together in. If you are a regular parent volunteer on Thursday, you are invited (but not strictly needed) to stay through the regular center time. Centers will resume as usual on Friday.

Here, in eight photos, is a quick look into the classroom today. We began the day simply enough with 1" wooden cubes. I encouraged students to see how many they could stack up. No one did better than the Balzarini kids, Dominic and his big sister Maddie who got a stack as tall as my pointer is long.

Bianca was happy with her effort while Caleb made a more staircase with his cubes.

And you can see Kayla K and Raegan got some pretty high towers. It helps if no one accidentally bumps your table....

Vanessa and Anthony over at table seven go some good things going....

Today was our Fifth Grade Buddy day. In the reading room we had a quiet group working on reading and puzzles.

The Rodriguez brothers made a tall tower.

At story Diana produced a book about Cows that use a typewriter. I have one in my room so we had a look at an forty-plus year old typewriter.... the one I took to college with me. My parents told me it would be the only typewriter I'd ever need in my whole life.....

They were right, of course. Back in 1969 as far as I know, no one had yet imagined personal computers or word processors..... and I grew up in Silicone Valley where they would be invented in the years ahead.

The homework sent home today does not need to be turned in until a week from tomorrow.

Be well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One big difference between my younger self as a teacher and the teacher I am today is in my view of repeating activities. When I began teaching more than 30 years ago I had the wrong idea that doing an activity more than once was a waste of time. I worried, too, that the students would find it boring.

How wrong I was! Now I understand that repeating activities is often not just valuable, but often essential to learning. Going back over a lesson or an activity can help it settle down and solidify in the mind of the learner. It's not boring the second or third time because the second time through you're a different person as a learner than you were the first time: you bring a memory of having "been there before."

So, now, with enthusiasm born from experience, I embrace lessons done before.

This morning we went back to the lesson on patterning with craft sticks. The kids knew just what to do and took off. They even got creative and made their own patterns. I particularly like Stasia's use of the square figure in her pattern.

We began a new round of centers this morning. Because we were so short of volunteers, we nixed the literacy center I had planned for me to do so that I could teach a math center using balance scales. Boy, I had fun! We used the balance scales and wrote records of our findings. Below is a photo of the third recording sheets we completed.

Caleb came to school with a story book to share, one called Super Friends Big Heroes. Books like these help keep me more up to speed on today's popular stories. Asking the class, I found that most of the kids could guess the end coming before it did.

Ms. Campbell taught PE today. The clouds were just about to clear out as we finished our PE time.

Lining up is an important part of kindergarten, one a few of us are still working on. (One child is out of frame here.)

In the library we've come to that part of the year when students can choose books for the classroom box of books. The students were very excited to have their choices included. They more than filled the box up.

Mrs. Everson noted that at recess the kindergartners were particularly responsible about lining up, so we got ten minutes time to play on the bars before going home today.

All is well. Enjoy the sun, and

Be well.