Monday, November 6, 2017

November Update

November Update

We are enjoying getting to know our SeeSaw app and using it to create a digital portfolio.  We are not perfect at it yet... but hopefully you've enjoyed our attempts to record video, upload photos, and share what they have learned in various ways. Slowly, we are getting better. I have shared most of our attempts with you so you can watch them grow as the year progresses.  

Here are a few of the things we have worked on so far:

Counting and using a ten-frame

Taking a photo of our writing and then practice reading what we wrote. 

Counting, writing numbers, and singing!

Parents can join us on November 15th* from 10:55-1:25 and we will share our journal with you, our favorite learning apps, and teach you how we use technology to learn and share our thinking. 

Kindergarten was lucky to have a visit from a local firefighter. 
Fireman Nick taught them the basics of fire safety:
Tools vs.Toys 
...for example, a knife, lighter, matches, etc. are tools not toys!
Stop, Drop, and Roll
...then stay low where there is less smoke and army crawl to safety.
Make a Plan to your parents about where you would meet in an emergency.
Firefighters are Friends
...a firefighter may look and sound scary in their uniform, but don't be afraid. Don't hide from them--let them find and help you!

During reading workshop we have been learning about how to use schema (background knowledge) to increase comprehension. We began this unit by having students brainstorm things they know a lot about. We talked about things they know how to do, places they have been, books they have read, and movies they have seen.  All of these things are part of their schema and helps them make connections with text and the world around them.  I encourage you to use some of these phrases at home while reading to and with your child.

This reminds me of…
That has happened to me so I know…  

I used to think… but now I know…
I learned…

During writing workshop we have been practicing writing narrative stories using their alphabet chart to write the sounds they hear. They are getting better each day with practice.  

During Math we have been exploring counting in various ways. They are counting by 1s, 10s,  and 5s and learning about REALLY big numbers. They can't get enough of BIG numbers. Here is their favorite video. They count to 100 trillion! :)

Students are also learning how to represent numbers using a ten frame. Students practice picking a number, filling in the ten frame and then changing it to represent another number.  Using ten frames is a way to help students create a visual memory for numbers, and begin adding and subtracting numbers.  

 We are also experimenting with using tally marks to represent numbers. They loved interviewing classmates to collect data. They are building number sense while learning that numbers can be represented in many different ways.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Kindergarten News

Thanks to all those that helped with the Digger Dash. 
The kids were adorable and had a great time. Go Red Rockets!

We were excited to meet our 5th grade buddies from Mrs. Rayen's class. Their first assignment was to get to know each other and for 5th graders to teach the kindergarten students how to use the ipads to take a photo and upload it to SeeSaw. What could be better than selfies?  They also had a chance to read with us and get to know us a little better. We look forward to a great year learning together.  

Alphabet Chant  

I made a video of our Alphabet Chant to use in class each day. Every morning we practice and do the sign language that goes with it.  Ask them to show you the sign language for each letter and you will be impressed!  Practice it at home as needed.  


Your kindergarten students were surprised to learn that our Alphabet Chart was not just for those who didn't know the alphabet. Now that they are beginning to know the chant inside and out, the main purpose of the alphabet chart is to help them become independent writers. They will each have one in their writing folder to use as a "spelling" tool. 

How to Spell a Word
Once you know what word you want to spell follow these steps:
  1. Say the word slowly.
  2. Tap it out. (they know how to do that)
  3. What is the first sound you hear?
  4. Find and point to that sound on the chart and the picture that begins with that sound.
  5. Copy the letter.
  6. Go back to the word...what other sounds do you hear? Find them and repeat.
What about Sight Words?
On the back of the Alphabet Chart is a small "word wall" of sight words they can copy. If they can read it, then they can copy it. If they can't, its better to sound it out. They need to be able to read whatever they write, and so if it is a word they can't read...well that defeats the purpose! Don't be tempted to spell words for them. The goal is to develop independent writers. You can't follow them around in life spelling words for them. (That is google and spell check's job!)

What CAN I do to help them?
Ask them what sounds they hear. Help them say it slowly and identify or "tap out" the sounds they hear. Go back to the beginning and start with the first sound. Let them find it on the chart and copy it. Continue with other sounds they hear. Don't worry about them getting all the sounds on paper. They will get more sounds as they develop an ear for it.  

Practice Game
Get the chart out. Say a word. Help them hear the sounds in the word. Have them find and point to each sound as they hear it. For sight words, say a word on the back and let them find it. Feel free to add sight words on the back as they learn them. You'll notice that not all sight words are there, so add the ones they use the most. 

We have been working hard to develop number sense by counting, writing numbers, learning and practicing math vocabulary, and using that vocabulary to share our thinking and observations. We made groups, sets, sorted, counted, drew, wrote numbers, categorized, graphed...and will continue to work on a variety of concepts around numbers going forward.  Here are a few games we have played:

Roll and Record
Students roll dice and record the number they rolled making a bar graph. They practiced using math vocabulary to compare numbers by describing which was greater, less than, equal, etc. Roll and Record can be differentiated to include two dice, writing numbers without tracing support, and using addition problems to represent numbers. They LOVE using dice to turn any math activity into a game!

Grab and count 
This is a game you can play at home to practice number sense. 

  1. Look for a collection of coins, buttons, legos, macaroni, or something similar around the house, and put it in an open container.  
  2. Have your child grab a handful (or pinch) of items out of the container and place it on the table.
  3. Let them count what they grabbed.
  4. Have them write that number on a piece of paper and draw a picture representing that number.
  5. Put the items back in the container and go again!

Online Games

You may have noticed some new links at the bottom of my emails. These are links to games you can play at home provided by our Investigations Math program. These links contain an online version of many of the games we have learned (or will learn) in class. Check it out and add some math games into your homework routine!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Here is what we have been up to:

Name Study

To build phonemic awareness (calling attention to the sounds) and develop some important understandings about words and letters, we are focusing on one student’s name each day. This special student will be the focus for all literacy activities for the day. Some of these activities include: sharing items in special bag, the story of their name, writing a sentence about the special student, adding their name to the word wall, using the alphabet chart to find letters that match the sounds they hear, creating a picture to match the sentence written, counting and rearranging letters, and noticing the letter-sound relationships. (*Basically, its like writing bootcamp!) I am impressed by how well our class is doing at this part of the day. They are great writers.

Social Studies
We are integrating our Civics and Economics Units throughout the day in each subject area. Students are learning:
  • How to be a good citizen - the rules needed, such as courtesy, honesty, going for the GOLD (Give Respect, Own Your Actions, Listen & Learn).  They are having fun earning golden tickets! :) 
  • How to make decisions - learning and following rules, creating a classroom community 
  • How to understand ownership - asking permission and sharing in group settings 
Reading Groups
Thank you to all the parents who are helping with reading groups starting this week, we couldn't do it without you! This week while students are adjusting to the routine we used and sent home the alphabet books. Starting the week of September 11th your child will bring an A-Z leveled book home as well as an alphabet book. These A-Z books are paper books with a colored card stock cover. They need to read it at home and bring it back the next day (You can still keep the alphabet book). That A-Z book goes into their independent reading bag so they can read it again the next day during reading workshop. Rereading builds fluency and confidence. 

Please have your child read the book to you and talk about what the book was about. Be sure to ask them what their favorite part was and have them pick a part that reminds them of something. After reading don't forget to do a quick letter or sight word activity from the homework folder. 

The pick-up line is beginning to go a little smoother as we work out the kinks. Thanks for you patience! If you are using the car loop we ask that you stay in the car while we walk them to the front of the line. It is a little confusing, but since the line is moving faster, I want them to be safe and not get used to stopping and getting in. Please don't encourage them to find you and jump in the car. It may be easier, but it is also less safe. I appreciate your help. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

K News

We had a great start! I hope your little one is as excited as I am. 

Here are a few things to remember this week:

August 16th  Back to School Night
Please plan on attending to learn more about our upcoming year. Dr. Brown will be holding a welcome session in the gym from 5:45-6:00. After, you may come to one of my sessions from 6:05-6:35 or 6:40-7:10 in our classroom.  I look forward to seeing you there!

August 17th or 18th Assessment Days
Gold Rush will be having assessment days this coming Thursday and Friday. Each child will come to school for one hour to complete reading and math assessments. The purpose of these days are to help me get to know your child's academic needs.  I love this time with the students and look forward to meeting one-on-one with your child.

Here is how it works:
1. Arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your schedule time.
2. Greeters will direct you where to go when you arrive.
3. Your child will be escorted to me. I will be giving a few assessments (along with an aide) and getting to know your little learner.  
4. After the hour your child will be delivered back to you so you can take them to get their school picture.

Messenger Folder

Please check your child’s messenger folder each night and send it back to school each day. For organization purposes...please take out the things I sent home the day before and add any messages to me or homework completed in that folder. This lets me know you got the messages. This folder is one way you and I will communicate and will be used for homework all year long.   

Walking or Parking: 
For now, you can meet us outside the door or up by the fence. Please keep all kids off the rocks and the pathway to the fence clear so we can get to the car loop line safety. As the weather gets colder and your child gets more comfortable I'm sure you will want to use the car lane!


If you drive to pick your child up please follow the procedures below:
  • Stay in your car (Once you are one of the first two or three cars in line we will put your child to your car)
  • Pull all the way up (the first car should stop at the one-way sign)
  • Do not park or leave your car while in the car loop. (This lane is meant to be a continuous process so please pull up when the car in front of you pulls up)

Thanks for all you do!