Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

Just a Little Patience- Swooper Citizens Week 3

Yesterday, our Swooper Citizen theme for the week, patience, was introduced. During Morning Meeting, students were asked to imagine they are waiting in a really LONG line for their favorite ride at Disneyland. What are some things they could do to pass the time? Answers ranged from counting the number of people ahead of you, to playing I Spy, to reading a book. Students quickly saw that waiting in a long line requires a lot of patience.

Later in the day, our class was joined by the First Graders. Ms. Atkinson and I had planned a very exciting and patience-promoting activity using sweet and delicious marshmallows.  Here is a video of Ms. Atkinson giving directions:

It’s fun to hear the excited chatter!

We proceeded to pass out the one marshmallow to each student and I secretly set the timer for two minutes. It was fun to watch how the students handled not eating the marshmallow..

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Some students smelled the marshmallow.

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Some spent the time squishing it.

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And others just stared at them….

Here is one First Graders plan.

In the end, most of the students opted to wait for the second marshmallow, which surprised me!  We discussed how students needed to use patience during the activity, and I asked students to give examples of other times in which patience is important. (“Listening to Mrs. Delwiche” was one of my favorite answers!)

If you have a minute, watch the original marshmallow video. The children’s reactions are adorable.

 

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First Friday Fun!

We had our first Friday Fun of the year!  Now the students want each day to have a special name!  (I came up with Magical Mondays…..and they wanted to know why Mondays are so magical….I said because we’re doing Reading Groups!)

Anyhow, Friday Fun was a huge success. The rotations included a play dough station, a craft activity, a cooking activity, and a listening center activity.

We made a brightly colored batch of turquoise play dough with which the students had a great time sculpting and creating.

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Next, we put our crafting skills to work, and students decorated a picture frame. Parents, I know you will look forward to seeing these Thursday night at Parents’ Night.  (Think of them a little party favor!)

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There were so many collage items from which to choose! This year I have purchased dozens of boxes of Glue Dots.  Have you heard of these? They are AMAZING!  No mess! Students simply peel off a glue dot, and stick it to the item that needs to be glued. No more white, sticky, gooey, messes. No drying time needed! If you like your workstation to be on the neat side, then Glue Dots are for you!! Thanks to first grade parent, Tracey I., for introducing them to me!! I LOVE them!

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Student then listened to the book on cd, Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom! which is read aloud by Ray Charles. There were a lot of dance moves on display in the Book Nook!

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The last activity was making a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom coconut tree, using sliced apples for the palm fronds, grapes for the coconuts, and a graham cracker for the base of the tree. Students made the tree on a piece of paper, and wrote letters climbing up the tree.

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We will enjoy Friday Fun on most Fridays during the school year. Parents are invited to sign up for a cooking or craft activity starting in October. I will have a sign up sheet available at Parents’ Night. Not only is Friday Fun fun, but it gives parents a special opportunity to connect with you child and his/her peers in a classroom setting.

 

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Math Journals

Another new addition to the kindergarten curriculum this year is Math Journals. Math Journals give students an opportunity to work  independently to demonstrate their understanding of a specific concept. So far we have completed a journal activity for each of the lessons in which the students have participated.

The first lesson was a partner match activity, where students found a partner that had a strip of paper that was exactly the same. Then we found strips that were shorter and longer. For the Math Journal activity, students were given two strips of the same color, and they had to categorize the strips correctly. Here is an example.

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After students completed this activity, we discussed the different strategies that were used to determine which lengths were longer or shorter.

The second lesson was on pattern blocks. Students reviewed the names and number of sides that each pattern block has. We played some pattern block games on the Smart Board, and students were given a handful of pattern blocks with which they built a creation.

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The Math Journal activity was to create a graph from a game we played. Students picked a card with a pattern block on it from a pail, and then we colored in each time a specific block was chosen. Here are our results:

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Students were given an opportunity to analyze the graph and think about the data we collected.  I asked questions like:

Which block did we pick the most times?

Which block did we pick the least?

How many more times were squares chosen than hexagons?  etc.

The third Math Journal activity this week corresponded to our review lesson on numbers 1-9. We played some number games, and students listened to the book Ten Black Dots, by Donald Crews. This classic  book is a fun way for students to practice counting and channel their creativity.

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Reading this book aloud lead to an easy transition to our Math Journal activity. Students would create their own page of the Ten Black Dots book! Look how creative the students are!

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You will have a chance to take a peek at your child’s Math Journal at Parents’ Night next week!

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Welcome to Kindergarten!

I love my classroom! The windows, the space, the sink, the STORAGE! When everything was moved out of the classroom this summer during the new carpet installation, I figured I would take advantage and reconfigure some things.

First, the giant cabinet that used to sit behind my desk was moved out.  This opened up that back corner for a bookshelf and my new piece of furniture that houses our Math Centers. I love the lime green bins!

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Next, I moved the Math Manipulatives shelf under the Math Centers. It made more sense to me to have all the math items in one space. Moving the Manipulatives shelf made a space for the play kitchen to be moved to the front area of the classroom. which in turned, allowed for the Reading Center Learning Bins to line up nicely along the back windows.

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On top of that shelf is a new Writing Center, where students will find everything they need to create a masterpiece.

The bulletin boards are all bright and new! I switched out the white paper and owl boarders for turquoise or lime green paper with coordinating borders.

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Work will be going up soon!

I have also added a new bulletin board, which will house important information regarding our Swooper Citizens citizenship program that Ms. Atkinson and I developed over the summer. I am excited to share more information about Swooper Citizens in the coming weeks.

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The Heart Word Wall (high frequency word wall) has been overhauled! After reading a wonderful book by language arts guru, Debbie Diller, I made some key changes. The header letters are red (for vowels) and black (for consonants.) The rainbow colored Heart Words will be replaced with the words typed simply on white paper, since students will see these words in black and white when they are reading. The wall is divided into a grid, as the brain sees in borders. I am excited to give Debbie’s teaching methods a try. I also created dozens of new games that use the Heart Words that students will play either during Reading Centers or once the finish their classwork.

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The job chart has been revamped.

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I have new bins for organizing each tables’ journals and unit notebooks.

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I also decided to try an new system for organizing completed work. When students have finished an activity, the place their paper into the file folder that is labeled with their name. Work will be corrected and returned to each student on Fridays via their Homework Folder.

IMG_2340Finally, I removed the reading pond rug, and changed the name of our classroom library to the Book Nook!

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Here is to a fun and successful year in kindergarten!

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