Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March Kindergarten Update

Wednesday,March 8th & 15th:    Parent/Teacher Conferences
Friday, March 17- April 2nd:        Spring Break
Friday, April 21st:                         No School
Friday, April 28th:                         Egg Drop (weather permitting)

In class we have been reading and writing informational text.  
One thing we noticed is that informational text often has unique features.

We enjoyed exploring text and finding these text features.   
Although we can learn so much from diagrams and photographs, technology has given us a way to access information independently that may be above our current reading level. Pebblego.com  is a website our school uses and that our class loves! On PebbleGo students learn all kinds of information through videos, diagrams, photographs, maps, and text that can be read to you if needed. Now even young readers can access information independently. They are exploring, learning new things, and practicing taking notes in word and picture form.  At home you can use this website by putting in the password: gredigger and username: gredigger. It is a great resource that we will be using throughout the next few months. Try it out at home! Soon students will be picking an animal to study and write about. This site will become very useful in gathering information.

In Math we are learning about teen numbers.
 Our favorite math video right now is Numbers in the Teens Have a Group of Ten

We practiced making teen numbers with one group of ten and then adding the extra ones. As we lined it up we could see the pattern and began to understand it a bit more. Some students even tried making two or three digit numbers by making groups of ten and then adding the extra ones.


As you know our class has been collecting supplies to make a variety of creations and inventions out of craft supplies and recyclables. What you sent in as "junk" came back as something "precious"!  Thank you for your support. As part of our Force and Motion studies students were challenged to make a marble mover. They were amazing inventors, collaborators, critical thinkers and problem solvers. They made plans, executed their plans and changed them to solve problems along the way. You can see your student share their invention on Seesaw.

Here are a few class highlights:

We often start our day with a video or a read aloud book while waiting for everyone to get to school. Sometimes we use it as a brain break and other times during indoor recess or as we pack up for the day. I promised them I would send a few favorites to you so they can watch them at home. One of them is the math one posted above-here are a few others. Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Kindergarten Update

In reader’s workshop we have been learning about and using Mental Images while reading. We began this by encouraging students to use their background knowledge to create an image in their head of something familiar like, their sibling, mom, or their room at home. Next we asked students to activate their imagination to create images of things they had not seen but had heard about, like the Tooth Fairy. We used student language to help us define what a mental image is. Once we defined what a Mental Image was, we practiced using this skill in reading to remember what was read, as well as, increase understanding, engagement, and enjoyment. Here are some examples of Mental Images that students created while listening to books, and poems read aloud.

We read the Great Gracie Chase. Students drew their Mental Images while listening the to story. Next they used their drawings to retell the story into Seesaw.
We read Go Away Big Green Monster. Each page used different descriptive language to describe a monsters face. Students listened to the book a page at a time and used their Mental Image to create a monster. We talked about how our images are each a little different because each of us has our own background knowledge.

We read Harold and the Purple Crayon and we had our own adventures with a purple crayon.
Building Mr. Snowman

We read a poem about building a snowman and they drew the mental image they created
during the poem.

My Neighbor's Dog is Purple
We discussed how mental images can change as the story progresses. In this poem the neighbors dog was purple. They created their mental image of the dog based on the first half of the poem. In the ending they learned that it was really a crocodile painted purple! Whoa, that TOTALLY changed our mental image. 

We also looked at using Mental Images in non-fiction text as a way to build and remember background knowledge. It is important for readers to be able to “picture” what they are reading. For example if a non-fiction text is describing and animal readers need to have an accurate image in their brain while reading. This is where schema and mental images work together to create understanding. 

We have been working playing several math games to learn simple addition using the ten frame, and manipulatives. Students have been learning various ways to add including, counting the total using manipulatives, counting on, using a number line, and writing equations. In addition to this we are celebrating 100 days of learning! We are practicing counting to 100 by ones, tens, fives and twos. I am enjoying the students 100 day projects, they are so creative! 

In class students have been studying force and motion. We began this unit by exploring forces and how things move. Students discovered that force can be categorized into two categories, either a push or a pull. After building students background knowledge and vocabulary around force and motion we headed to the STEAM lab where students created simple machines. We spent 4 days in the STEAM lab exploring, building, and collaborating to create simple machines using Legos. Hopefully you got to check out your child’s Seesaw entries where they explained how the machines they created used with a push or a pull to move. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Kindergarten Update

Here are some things we have been doing since my last blog post.

If you haven't been to the new Parker Library...well, you should get there soon! We were lucky to have one of their Storytime readers, Andrea Wyant, visit our class in December. She captivated the classes with a read aloud book, music, movement, puppets, props and a whole lot of fun. Who knew reading could be so fun? 

How do I take care of my teeth?     

Dr. Kaelin was kind enough to send us one of their dental assistants, Amanda, to teach us all about it. They learned how to brush and take care of their teeth and what to expect when they go to a dentist. Hopefully, they told you all about it and showed you their new toothbrush.

We had to chance this week and last to go to the STEAM lab to learn with Mrs. Fleet. The S.T.E.A.M. lab is another place where students can explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Math. "STEAM" is an educational approach to learning that uses each of these subjects to guide student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The goal is to teach students to take thoughtful risks and engage in experiential learning. They solve problems, collaborate with others, and work through the creative process.  

* To learn more about STEAM I've attached a webpage: What is STEM and STEAM mean? 

 In the lab we met DOT and DASH. We learned that robots need to be programed to work using tech tools (coding) that tell them step by step what to do. Then students explored both robots, compared features, and used an ipad program to control them. The BOTS learned to talk, light up and blink in a variety of ways, make noises students chose or recorded, and Dash could even move in a variety of ways following commands students gave. If you haven't heard about it yet, just ask them. They loved it!

Next month we will work in the STEAM lab making simple machines with Legos as we explore the Forces of Motion using levers, wheels, ramps, and gears.

They love to take photos of their work!
If you haven't taken the time to sign up for your child's learning journal please take a moment and sign up. We are using Seesaw as a tool to collect and share your child's learning with me and with you.  Not all entries are exactly "polished" but it gives you a chance to see some of their work and growth. Let's face it--even the less polished attempts are pretty cute.  Each month they learn a different feature and different way to communicate their thinking and learning. Students will continue to use this as a learning tool and journal as they go through Gold Rush. Here are a few things students are doing on Seesaw:
This is a screenshot of work done on a geo-board app.
Students read their book about the Sun on Seesaw.
Look at how good they are getting at reading their own writing.

Six ways to make a hexagon. When I listen to the audio I can assess
their shape knowledge. (3 rhombus, 6 triangles, 4 triangles and 1 rhombus, etc.)

This writing is a response to a book we read. 

We learned to "make connections" in reading.
This activity probably makes no sense when it comes home...
but when you add the audio included in Seesaw it becomes more clear.

Students made videos about shapes on a fun program called
Chatter PIX. You can download it on your phone or device at home.
Kids love it and it is a fun way to let me know what they know.

Veteran's Day activity

Here we made videos where we could write the numbers as we
counted the objects. It was tricky, but many students mastered this skill.

We talked about using our "Schema" (background knowledge) to make
connections to books in order to increase comprehension. Here is a snapshot of
one student's drawing of what is in his brain!

Students could take photos of their favorite part of a book and record why.

Students record their work with a photo and then tell what they learned
in the audio. Here I was checking to see if they could use math vocabulary
words such as "greater than" and "less than"  "more" and "less", etc. 

They uploaded a photo with their 5th grade buddy.

I have been teaching Kindergarten for MANY years and this digital journal is truly a game changer! Please don't miss the opportunity to keep up with their work, talk with your child about their work, and even put a comment on things you like. 

Just in case you haven't signed up...Here is how!