Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

Friday Fun Time

Does it SMELL great in kindergarten today! We made applesauce during Friday Fun today.

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Students helped chop the apples and of course, add the cinnamon. It took some muscles to cut the apples with our child safe knives!

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Students enjoyed a snack of apples an cinnamon after their hard work.

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Our plan is to share the homemade applesauce with our third grade buddies this afternoon.

At the craft center today students made maracas to celebrate the sense of sound.

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The students are hoping to parade around the school shaking their maracas….I’m still considering their request 🙂

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Project Linus Is Complete!

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This morning, the Santa Barbara Chapter Coordinator of Project Linus, Iris, stopped by the kindergarten classroom to receive the blankets we made earlier in the week. She shared some background information about the organization and expressed her gratitude to the students for their hard work in creating the blankets. Ms. Iris also left this information sheet with me which provides more details about the mission of Project Linus, as well as an example of the tag she will sew into each blanket.

 

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Ms. Iris’ visit was a nice way for the students to see the impact of their hard work. Well done, kindergartners.

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Showing Kindness

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Today the kindergarten and first grade students participated in their first service learning project of the year, making blankets for the nonprofit organization, Project Linus.

(http://projectlinus.org/)

Project Linus provides homemade blankets to children in need. As we were introducing this project to the students, we touched on the idea that a blanket or special snuggle often provides a feeling of calmness or security to a child. Students shared stories about their special toys or blankets with the class.

Then we had the students move to the corners of the room so that we could lay out the fabric. Each blanket was assigned four students…one student to work on each side.

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Using their fingers to pull the one inch fabric strips through a pre-cut hole, this activity was also beneficial in strengthening fine motor skills and encouraging teamwork.

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The room was silent at the groups worked together. I was impressed with how focused the students were….we could have easily made twice as many blankets if we had more prepared!

The Project Linus Santa Barbara Chapter Coordinator will be stopping by the classroom at the end of the week to receive our donations.

If you are interested in making a no sew fleece blanket for Project Linus, here are the instructions:

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If you are interested in preparing blankets for the class to make, please let me know. (I have extra fleece that can be cut….it does take about 30 minutes or more to make all the cuts.) This would be a great ongoing activity for Choice Time.

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Sorting By Attributes

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We had a math lesson recently that was a big hit. Students were introduced to the concept of sorting items by different attributes. One part of the Everyday Math curriculum that I love is the vocabulary words that are introduced with each lesson. A word like “attribute” seems like a mouthful for a kindergarten, but with the way the lesson was structured, each student was quickly using this new vocabulary word with confidence! After introducing the word attribute I had the students identify an attribute that a classmate had that was the same as themselves. For example, one boy was wearing short sleeves and he noticed that the girl across from him had that same attribute. Each student had the opportunity to identify someone in the class that had a matching attribute as themselves. Next, I called students with shoe laces to a spot on the carpet. I told the students that the attributes I was sorting by were laces or no laces. I asked the remainder of the students to organize themselves according to these attributes. Clear as day, right?!

Moving on…..another part of the Everyday Math curriculum that I love is the connection to literature with most lessons. The book I read is just perfect for teaching attributes:

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But the best part of the lesson was when I pulled out my own button box that students were to explore in pairs. Their task was to sort their buttons by at least one attribute and then the class would guess what that attribute was. Watch the wheels turning:

Students ended up sorting by color, size, texture, number of holes, and shape.

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So start saving all those extra buttons that arrive with shirts, dresses, and suits….you too can have your own button box at home!

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Friday Fun-Sense of Sight Edition

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We had fun with our sense of sight this morning! Students created a rainbow in a bag. It was a perfect way to demonstrate our sense of sight with a sensory twist. The project started with this homemade fingerpaint-style goop.

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Each student received a Ziploc baggie with a white piece of tag board inside.

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Next we scooped a spoonful of each color into the baggie. I quickly zipped it shut and added a layer of packing tape to make extra sure that this “no mess” activity really was no mess!

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Then the fun began. The squishing and moving of the paint was delightful!

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The students noticed that the end result was the colors mixing, making a brownish/blackish color….something they had discovered in science class just yesterday!

Another activity for Friday Fun- Sense of Sight Edition was making a kaleidoscope. Students enjoyed looking through several different kaleidoscopes before making one of their own.

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After Friday Fun, we moved into the Five Senses Notebook. Today’s activity was a sight game. I showed the students a tray that had an assortment of items. Their instructions were to use their sense of sight and look at the tray for a minute and then write or draw as many items in their notebook as they could remember.

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Focusing on the tray….

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An up close look for you…

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A student remembers an item from the tray.

I called the students back to the carpet to show them the items on the tray. They gave me a thumbs up if they had remembered that item and recorded it in the notebook. Guess which item most students remembered…..guess which item no one saw…..

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Here’s another look at the tray….

So, all of the students remembered to draw the bag of Goldfish and not one of them recorded the paper clip! I asked the students why this might have happened. One student said that the bag of Goldfish was more interesting to look at. Another noted that he was hungry….(as it was almost time for snack.) I asked why no one saw the paper clip. They all agreed it was because of the small size of the clip. What amazing little thinkers!

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Differentiation

I am always looking for new ways to differentiate activities for all learners. Yesterday students participated in a rhyming center as part of the independent reading center activity. This ice cream themed center was perfect for differentiation. Students matched a picture on the come to the picture on the scoop of ice cream that rhymed. To take this activity one step further, a scoop of ice cream with a word typed out on it that rhymes with the others was added.

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Another example occurred this morning when I introduced the letter c. First we watched our Story Bots clip and brainstormed words that begin with the /c/ sound.

Then I wrote the letter combinations ch, ce, ci, and cy and told the students that the letter c also makes these sounds. (Crazy, I know!) I provided them with examples like chimney, cent, circus, etc. Next, they watched this video.  I can’t say enough positive things about the PBS show Between the Lions. (Please excuse the quality of the video….I couldn’t find one with a working link, so I recorded using my phone.)

The end result is that those children who are learning the hard c sound have been exposed to the additional spellings and sounds the letter makes, while those students who are ready for more enjoy the challenge of recognizing and using these spelling patterns in the books they are reading and the writing they are engaged in in class.

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Swooper Citizens: Kindness

Kindness is one of the most important character traits. Because of this, Ms. Atkinson and I decided to spend three class sessions discussing and helping students to learn about kindness. For the first session last week, we showed students a quick video about what other children their age think about kindness. A funny read aloud, called Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler,  followed.

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Students then wrote in their Swooper Citizens journals, writing the definition of kindness and giving an example of this special character trait.

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During our second class on kindness, we focused on using manners as a way to demonstrate kindness. We crafted a fun manners game, where Ms. Atkinson created several different scenarios and posted the answers on posters on the walls of the kindergarten room. Students listened to the scenario and walked to the corner that had the correct answer. The phrases we were practicing using were, “thank you,” “please,” “you’re welcome,” and “excuse me.” Watch one round here:

I then read a REALLY silly book:

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A little girl, Mary Louise, loses her manners….and oh boy, what comes out of her mouth sure got shocked reactions from the kindergartners and first graders. Not only was it a fun book to read, but it was super fun to watch the students’ eyes widen when Mary Louise said the opposite of what she was supposed to!

We wrapped up this session with students writing about a time they showed kindness this past week.

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Next week we will come together for our first service learning project of the school year. I will share more details about this special activity soon.

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Five Senses Here We Go!

What better way to learn about the fives senses then to jump in and put them all to work?! Here’s what we did:

I unveiled the bag of popcorn and told the class that each student would get his/her own bowl. The task was to explore the popcorn using our five senses. I showed the students the order of our exploring – beginning with what we hear, smell, see, feel, and finally, taste. Immediately the room was filled with excited chatter. “Can we eat the popcorn, Mrs. Delwiche?” “Only if you will be using one of your five senses,” I responded.

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What do you smell?

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What do you taste?

Here are some of the entries students made. They were encouraged to either draw their answer or to use their best guess spelling.

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I am so excited to finally be beginning this new unit! I worked over the summer to update and add to it, giving it more of a language arts focus and leaving some of the conventional hearing, smelling, and tasting experiments to Ms. Svedlund. But, not to worry, we will still be doing experiments with our five senses….just in unusual ways.  Just wait and see!

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Amazing Mini Chalkboards

I love these mini chalkboards. They have so many uses in our kindergarten classroom. We first decorated the chalkboards during Friday Fun.

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Students used smelly markers to decorate their chalkboards. Of course, when using smelly markers, this is bound to happen:

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We only had a few polka dotted noses that day!

So fast forward to reading centers today….I pulled out the chalkboards and some chalk, and we practiced writing letters and hearing sounds. Students also played with manipulating sounds. For example, I asked the students to write the letters that say /m/ /a/ /t/. We then blended the sounds: /ma/ /t/…/mat/.

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I asked students, “What if the word mat started with the /s/ sound? What would the new word be?” Sat! We changed beginning sounds, ending sounds, and even the middle sound.

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To keep developing the listening skills, students participated in a rhyming activity at the independent activity today. Here’s a quick clip of that in action:

A super high five to the students for such hard work this morning! We completed all four reading centers on our first long day of kindergarten. Well done!

 

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Journals

Students have had several opportunities now to journal. Last week I introduced the concept of writing with the sweetest picture book, Rocket Writes a Story.

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From Amazon, “Rocket loves books and he wants to make his own, but he can’t think of a story. Encouraged by the little yellow bird to look closely at the world around him for inspiration, Rocket sets out on a journey. Along the way he discovers small details that he has never noticed before, a timid baby owl who becomes his friend, and an idea for a story.”

Writing in kindergarten can be tricky. Like with reading, students arrive in September with different exposure to and confidence in writing. Last year I discovered a journal with writing prompts that proved to be a positive way to build both skills and confidence. This year, the students’ reaction has been just as positive. Students who are learning letter sounds appreciate the pictures and word choices, while those who are ready to use their “best guess spelling” have done just that. Here are a few examples of the work that has been done so far:

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I love this.  “My favorite animal is a kt.” Say it out loud…..kitty!

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Look at the details in the illustration.

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Love the bunny ears!

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A perfect example of “best guess spelling.”

Tomorrow, students will have a chance to write in their Swooper Citizens journals. I will be to share those samples soon.

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