Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

Honesty

The Swooper Citizens character trait of the week is honesty. We started our Morning Meeting with a game called Two Truths. On the Smart Board I typed two truths and one lie. Can you figure out which sentence is not true?

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Ask your child for the answer!

The first graders then joined us for the lesson on Honesty, which started with this catchy tune.

After discussing the lyrics in the song, I read aloud the book Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big.

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The link below will show you a few pages of the book, which tells of Edwurd and his big, big fib. He learns that being honest and telling the truth would have saved him and his town from trouble.

http://www.amazon.com/Edwurd-Fudwupper-Fibbed-Storyopolis-Books/dp/0316144258/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446050774&sr=1-1&keywords=edwurd+fudwupper+fibbed+big#reader_0316144258

After the story, we discussed times when we may have told a big fib. The students’ eyes were wide as stories were shared detailing times when students had been less than honest. We heard stories of breaking picture frames by mistake and not fessing up, and taking things from stores that they hadn’t paid for. Students shared how they cut in line and were not honest when the teacher asked them if they were there first. It became quite a session!

The lesson concluded with a writing activity in the Swooper Citizens journals. Here are some excerpts:

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Honesty is always the best policy!

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Behind the Scenes of the Owl Field Trip

Monday was our big field trip to the ranch to check out the owl boxes. But before the students arrived, my husband John and I had some work to do!

First, we took the backhoe to the spot where the purple owl box is. The purple owl box is the easiest to access, so it is where our field trip would be. John positioned the tractor below the box, and climbed into the bucket so that he could reach the trap door on the owl box. Inside he found just a few pellets, not the amount necessary for the field trip.

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So we continued our quest for pellets to the green owl box that is deep in an avocado orchard.

Jackpot! Watch as John sorts through the items inside the box. Ultimately, he cleans out the box, readying it for another season of barn owl in-habitation.

Here is a close up of the perch.

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And here is the view from inside the box:

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Crazy!!

We brought some of what he found over to the other spot and re positioned the tractor. I wanted him to climb up in front of the students so that they could get the full effect!

Fast forward to Monday morning. We had a leisurely bus ride to the country with a small caravan of mom’s behind us. The bus parked at our garage/work area, and we hiked to the purple owl box. (You may remember that last year we saw bear tracks on this particular ranch road, but this year we saw only squirrels.)

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Once at the owl box, John showed the students a display box that he built and our girls painted. The box will be installed on the ranch this season.

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Students were able to see the perch where the owls sit and search for their prey. They peeked inside the box, and looked through the trap door, where owls nest.

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We talked a bit about how owls are not able to digest certain parts of their prey, and they end up regurgitating these parts in the form of pellets. At that point, John hopped on the tractor and lifted the bucket into place.

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He climbed up, opened the trap door, and grabbed the three pellets that were in the box. (I was surprised that we only got a few “oohs!” The students must have been tired from the weekends’ events!)

John placed the pellets on trays as I passed out gloves and masks to students who were interested in touching and dissecting the pellets.

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We were lucky to have a mom present who just happens to be a veterinarian. She helped dissect the pellets and identify some of the bones.

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Here is a skull and a shoulder blade from a rat!!

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Later, we went up to the house for a good hand-washing, snack, and some more exploring. The children loved the chicken coop, where they held chickens, fed them scratch grains, and collected eggs!

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Once we returned to school, we finished up our worksheets on owl pellets.

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Later in the afternoon, we added information to the Dinner Time page of our Owl and Bat Notebook.

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Learning in the field always leaves a lasting impression on the students!

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Forgiveness

At morning meeting today, I wrote a sad note to the students:

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After sneaking a quick look at my shoes, the students were shocked that my sister would say such a thing, but they thought that I should say, “ok,” and accept her apology. I should forgive her…

This morning message was used to get the students thinking about our Swooper Citizens theme of the week: forgiveness. The first graders came over a few minutes later, we continued to discuss what it means to forgive. Cue to the Oscar moment…..

While I was talking to the students, I “tripped” over Ms. Atkinson’s leg and landed flat on the ground.  Really flat, with a loud boom, and a screech!

“Ms. Atkinson,” I yelled, “You tripped me on purpose! You are so mean! I’m NOT going to play with YOU today!”

“Well, sooo-rrr-yyyyy!” said a not-so-sorry Ms. Atkinson. “It’s your fault. YOU tripped YOURSELF!”

The students looked at us wide-eyed. Ms. Atkinson broke character and said, “But really, Mrs. Delwiche, are you ok? That looked like it hurt.”

I smiled and said, “Yes, Ms. Atkinson, I’m fine. I’m sorry I got so mad at you.”

After a good laugh, the students began to discuss what forgiveness is and how your tone of voice and actions can impact your apology and your ability to forgive.

Next, I read a wonderful book, the Forgiving Lion, aloud to the students.

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In the book, Leo the Lion has a hard time forgiving his friends. In fact, when they accidentally scare a bug away or drop a fish, Leo tells them he is so mad that he won’t be their friend. Suddenly Leo has no friends, since he won’t accept their apologies and forgive them. His wise father reminds Leo of a time when his son did something wrong and his father forgave him. Leo realizes that he needs to accept his friends’ apologies and move on.

This book offered us a perfect opportunity to discuss how our bodies begin to feel when we can’t move on from a situation. Some peoples hearts beat faster, other peoples stomachs are knotted up, while others feel their faces tighten. Ms. Atkinson brought up how sometimes she needs to take a break in order to calmly talk about a problem and be productive. This is a great strategy, we agreed.

Students recorded their messages about forgiveness in their Swooper Citizens journal. Here are two examples:

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Pumpkin Fun

Over the past few weeks, students have been investigating their pumpkins from our field trip to Lane Farms. We made this great pumpkin-shaped book where we recorded all of our observations and learning.

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This booklet has lots of fold out doors and little peek-a-boo writing spots. Under each of the letters, students wrote words that describe their pumpkin. Under the pictures of the pumpkins, students wrote that pumpkins can be orange, are squash, and have seeds.

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Students estimated how tall they thought their pumpkin is, and then they measured it using unifix cubes. On a different page, students measured the circumference of their pumpkin.

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Students predicted whether or not a pumpkin would float by coloring the pumpkin either at the bottom of the bucket or floating at the top. Next, we placed the pumpkin in a bucket of water and wrote the results – pumpkins float! The chart on the left shows the original predictions from the class as a whole.

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After listening to a book, students wrote four facts about pumpkins.

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They learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin.

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The last activity in the pumpkin book was graphing students’ favorite way to eat pumpkins- pumpkin pie, seeds, or bread.

With the observations and learning complete, students took their pumpkins to art class and painted them. I love how they turned out!

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Friday Fun Recap

I have missed posting the past few weeks of Friday Fun! In fact, we have had two weeks with parent-led craft and cooking activities. They have been a huge success! Here are some of the activities in which the children participated over the past three Friday Funs!

Because we have been learning about the Five Senses, students have created three crafts with which they can use these senses.

First, students made maracas using a plastic Easter egg, two plastic spoons, dried beans, and washi tape.

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Students added the beans to the plastic egg and then sandwiched the egg between the two plastic spoons. I helped them wrap the first strip of tape around the spoons, and then they were able to do the rest. The maracas were the perfect craft for the students to make to help demonstrate their sense of hearing.

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Next, students decorated binoculars. They had the best time looking at the world through their personal binoculars.

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The third craft incorporating one of the five senses was a kaleidoscope.

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In art, students have been working on creating a collage caterpillar, using the same techniques that the author, Eric Carle did.  So, in the classroom, students listened to the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar on cd. I used the caterpillar as inspiration for a cooking activity. Look at how cute these turned out:

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Students made hot dog mummies, in anticipation of Halloween!

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Today, we made Spirit Bracelets, with the hope that the ribbon will fly as the students run in the Jogathon!

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 The final activity today was to see if a pumpkin would sink or float. The students made a prediction and then placed the pumpkin in a can filled with water. Here’s what happened:

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 Friday’s here at Laguna are always so much FUN!

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Math Centers-October!

Math Centers have been going really well in Kindergarten. I am just thrilled to see the differentiated activities in action. This months current rotation consists of nine centers, each with activities that teach and enrich specific concepts.

Center 1 is a patterning center. Students use Polka-Dot-Painters to make a specific pattern. One side of the worksheet has beginning patterns, while the other offers more complex patterns. Polka-Dot-Painters make ANY activity fun!

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Center 2 is a number recognition activity that provides students a chance to identify the two numbers before a specific number or the number before and the number after the specific number. The numbers to choose from vary from the number 11 to the number 40.

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At Center 3, students count the number of objects in a picture. For students who are practicing one to one correspondence, they  count the items and write how many there are.

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Students who are proficient with one to one correspondence are working on comparing number values.

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Center 4 has the students creating a game board using either two-dimensional or three-dimensional shapes. They roll a die, find the shape that coordinates with the number rolled, name the specific shape, and then remove the shape card from its position on their game board. Not only does this activity help with shape recognition, but the students are also counting.

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Center 5 has students sorting by color and graphing the results.

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At Center 6, students are exploring the communicative property using images of cats and pumpkins. An extension of this activity is for students to write the equations they have created.

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Center 7 is a measuring activity. Students measure different sized images of pumpkins using a unifix cube ruler.

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Oh Nuts! is the game students play at Center 8. One student hides a squirrel behind a number. The numbers vary according to what the group is ready for. Some students are working on identifying numbers 11-30, while others are exploring 31-50. Watch the game in action:

The last center is an addition and subtraction center. Students choose a card with a certain number of dots on it. They place a bear counter on the number line for that card. Next, a student spins the spinner to see if they are adding two more or taking one away. Finally the students moves the bear counter accordingly. Students who are looking for a challenge are encourage to write the equation using the addition or subtraction sign.

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Math centers are FUN!

*Some of these activities came from TPT seller Marsha Mcguire.

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What is Fair?

So what exactly is fair? Lesson six in our Swooper Citizens curriculum helped students explore the idea of fairness.

We began the lesson by passing out a Life Saver candy to most students. As Ms. Atkinson and I were passing the candies out, we encouraged the students to unwrap and immediately enjoy their special treat. When there were three unsuspecting students left, we suddenly ran out of candies.

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Cries of “That’s not fair!” rang throughout the room. Some students offered to cut their piece of candy in half, while others offered to simply give up their mint. We then asked the students, “Would it be fair if you only got have a candy; your friend got half a candy, and everyone else got a whole one?” The answers were a resounding, “NO!” At this point we gave the three students their mints and breathed a sigh of relief since no one had cried or been upset.

Then we said, “So fairness is everybody getting exactly the same?” “Yes!” was the answer.

Alright…..so to be fair, everyone needs the exact same thing, the exact same treatment. In order to illustrate this idea, Ms. Atkinson asked the students to remember a time when they were hurt and needed a band aid.  After each student found their owies, we started putting a band aid on their hand. Students looked at me like I was crazy! “But my owie is on my knee, not my hand,” said one student. I replied, “Oh I’m just being fair. Everyone gets a band aid in the same spot!”

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It became clear to the kids that fair isn’t necessarily everyone getting the same. Ms. Atkinson summarized fairness perfectly:

We then asked students to share an example of when it is important to be fair.

We ended the lesson with a journal entry.

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We hope to further practice being fair during recess, P.E., and of course Choice Time!

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Confidence

Confidence is an important character trait to possess. When Ms. Atkinson and I were planning a lesson that would teach the importance of confidence, we immediately thought of the rock climbing wall. It was decided the I would scale the wall first and then boast about how great I am and how easy it is to climb. Ms. Atkinson would comment on how she had never climbed the wall before, and she would become visibly upset by my boasting.

Here’s how the lesson worked out:

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I climbed…should have worn more athletic shoes…

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I boasted….just a little.

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I realized how my high confidence level was off-putting to Ms. Atkinson and decided to help her, rather than unintentionally put her down.

The students then each had an opportunity to climb the wall. They were all very encouraging and positive. There was no boasting!

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After the climb, we returned to the classroom to discuss the activity. I had an opportunity to clear my name when Ms. Atkinson pointed out to the students that we had planned for me to be overly confident and boastful. She even told the students that we would still be friends. 🙂  We discussed the importance of being confident and the difference between confidence and boasting. Later today students will record their thoughts in their Swooper Citizenship journals. I am excited to see what else they learned from the lesson.

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Lane Farms

We had our very first field trip of the year to Lane Farms in Goleta. The students were thrilled to be taking the bus with our entire class!

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We arrived to Lane Farms right on time and were greeted by Mrs. Lane. She shared some wonderful facts with us about her family farm. Did you know that Lane Farms is over 100 years old?!

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The students were impressed by her wealth of information and excited to explore the learning centers that the farm offers.

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Students had a chance to sit on a tractor.

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We saw dozens of types of squash, and briefly visited the turkeys!

Next, we played a game of Scarecrow Says and then took a hay ride around the farm!

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Pumpkin picking was next! It was fun watch the students find their perfect pumpkin!

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I’d say this was the most perfect first field trip!  Thanks to all who came!

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