Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

Generosity

As we approach the month of December, Ms. Atkinson and I wanted to teach students about the power of generosity, and the different ways one can show generosity. We started the Swooper Citizens lesson today by playing a game I called “Generosity Scoot.” I hung thirty cards with different scenarios around the room. Students were paired with a partner, given a recording sheet, and assigned a starting point. They read the scenario aloud and decided whether or not it showed generosity. Watch and see what happened:

Here are some of the scenarios we discussed:

Sam donated his old books to the library. Was this generous?

Bella saw a dollar on the ground and kept it, without telling an adult. Was this generous?

Brayden took all of the paper towels in the bathroom. Was this generous?

Layla shared a brownie with her friend and gave her friend the smallest part. Was this generous?

Luis woke up early to help his dad make breakfast. Was this generous?

Next I read a very special book aloud, Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed.

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Can one child’s good deed change the world?

It can when she’s Ordinary Mary―an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house―who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world. Mrs. Bishop makes blueberry muffins and gives them to her paperboy and four others―one of whom is Mr. Stevens, who then helps five different people with their luggage―one of whom is Maria, who then helps five people―including a man named Joseph who didn’t have enough money for his groceries―and so on, until the deed comes back to Mary.

It’s a feel-good story that inspires and celebrates a world full of ordinary deeds!

It all started with the simple act of picking blueberries! We then discussed how showing generosity doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. People can show generosity by sharing a smile, giving up a seat, helping to carry a bag, giving away toys that are no longer used….

Our service learning project this month is to collect new, adult-sized socks for the local nonprofit group, Angels Bearing Gifts, an organization that provides gifts for adults with developmental disabilities who have no one to remember them.

We will be tallying the number of pairs we collect, and I will deliver them to the organization Monday, December 5, so that our sock donations can be included in the holiday gift baskets. This is only one small example of the generosity our class will display during the month of December. We hope that you will be able to participate.

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Bat Vocabulary

Today students learned the meanings of two very important vocabulary words…echolocation and nocturnal. They were introduced to each of these words through two fun musical videos:

Echolocation…MY FAVORITE!!

This video on nocturnal is catchy….but can really get stuck in your head!

We followed up the videos with a writing activity:

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There are just a few more days remaining of our Spider and Bat Unit!

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Happy 50th Day!!

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It’s that special day already! Time to celebrate 50 days of kindergarten! We started the day dressed up as Greasers and Pink Ladies and headed to the backyard for a photo shoot with a 1955 Chevy Bel Air.

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Then it was time for Friday Fun! In the kitchen, students made ice cream to be used in our banana splits after the Sock Hop this afternoon.

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It took a lot of shaking and dancing to make this special treat! (Notice the oven mitts…..those bags of ice and salt were COLD!)

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Students played the classic 1950’s games of Jacks and Pick Up Sticks. They also wrote about an item of which they wish they had 50…

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Throughout the day I had 50’s music playing in the background.  Look what happened as we were transitioning from Friday Fun centers to Bat Notebooks:

What I love most about this video is that this little dance party was completely spontaneous! So sweet!

We ended the day with a Sock Hop under the Pavilion where students hula hooped, played with Frisbees, bowled, and created their own Paddle Ball game.

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Our fabulous 50th day of school ended with delicious banana splits! Thanks for celebrating with us!

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Spider Talk

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Did I pick a good day to be absent…..a few weeks ago, Ms. Svedlund invited Spidey Jen to come to Science class for a spider show and tell. Here is some information Ms. Svedlund provided me about this special class speaker:

Entomology expert and SBCC Professor Dr. Jen Maupin brought in many different live and preserved spider specimens to share with us. Dr. Maupin is on sabbatical from teaching this year and is (among other things) diligently working with the Entomology Department at the Museum of Natural History to catalog and organize the museum’s arachnid collection.
Kindergarten students impressed us with their knowledge about spiders, as well as their bravery in holding different species of spiders. One of the most popular visitors was Rosy the Rose Hair Tarantula (not our native species) and the majority of kindergarten students held her!
Dr. Maupin helped to dispel some myths and fears about spiders. Her calm nature and comfortable manner when handling the different spider visitors helped us to see that we do not need to be afraid of them. She also made sure that we all learned that we should not be poking our fingers at spiders that we see, that the spider is likely more afraid of us than we may be of them, and that there is a proper way to handle spiders.

The pictures paint a very clear picture of students overcoming their fear of spiders and participating in the hands on presentation that Spidey Jen shared.

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Dr. Jen reviews the anatomy of a spider.

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“Do you want to hold a tarantula?”

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“I do! I do!”

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Go Ms. Stark!

Oh how brave these students were! You would have found me outside the science lab hiding!

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Symmetry

Students were introduced to the concept of symmetry. I explained that symmetry describes something that has the same size and shape on both sides of a dividing line.  To illustrate this concept, I divided a student in half.

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We discussed that this student has the same body parts on each side…one eye on one side, one on the other, and so forth. I asked students to close their eyes and then modified Miss. G.

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Is she still symmetrical?

Nope!

We got really technical here…..Miss G. now has a bow on one side of her head. Then students began looking at other parts of Miss G. that are not symmetrical, like the school logo is only on one side of the uniform, and so forth.

I called the students’ attention back to the Smart Board and played a short video on symmetry in nature.

Then we delved a little deeper into the line of symmetry with this video clip.

Time to put their knowledge to the test. I had students sort objects according to whether or not they were symmetrical either vertically or horizontally.

This is a close up of the objects sorted during the activity.

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Then we worked to find the line of symmetry of paper shapes. Students were encouraged to fold each shape in a way that made the shape symmetrical, clearly defining the line of symmetry.

Bring this concept home and have your child find symmetrical items in your house or in nature. They are everywhere!

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Gratitude Project- Part 2

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We are in the middle of our Gratitude Project. Students have been writing down notes of gratitude and placing them in our classroom Gratitude Jar. On Friday, students made their own Gratitude Jars that they will be taking home today.

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During Swooper Citizens today, students listened to a wonderful book called Those Shoes:

All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for “want,” just “need,” when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things he wants.

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We reviewed the Gratitude Project video as a quick reminder of the different was in which we can show gratitude or thankfulness:

Next we helped the students complete one of the gratitude tasks by students writing letters of gratitude for people working at Lower School. The students were very engaged in this activity and really worked hard to write their notes.

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Here are some of the notes:

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You have a few weeks left to participate in our class Gratitude Challenge! Have fun!

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STEM Projects

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The STEM Family Project for October/November was to create a spider or bat from recycled materials. Students recently brought in their creations and recording sheets. I was impressed with how they used their imaginations and created unique inventions. I really wanted the kindergartners to share their projects with our third grade buddies.  This was the perfect activity to showcase their creations, practice public speaking, and give appreciations.

The third graders were impressed with the assortment of materials that were used and found the kindergartners ideas innovative and fun.

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Here are two of the presentations:

It was a nice way to wrap up the week. Next week we delve into our study of bats!

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The Gratitude Project

The Swooper Citizens theme of the month is Thankfulness. This topic is so important, we decided to spend three weeks on it!

I had so much fun planning the lesson for this week.  We started by asking the students to tell us about a time someone did something nice for them and then asked, “How did you show that you were thankful?” Students mentioned that they hugged the person, said “Thank you,” or even made a card.

The definition of thankfulness is to appreciate what you have or what someone else does for you. We asked the students for some examples of things for which they are thankful. Then, to illustrate of how different our life would be if we didn’t have certain items, we played the “How Would You Feel Without It” Game. I had dozens of picture cards in a jar…pictures of iPhone, blankets, books, shoes, televisions, toys, fruit etc. Students chose a card and said how they would feel without these items. They came to realize that while some items are not necessary, there are other items with which we could not live without.

Next I read aloud The Most Thankful Thing, by Lisa McCourt.

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When a little girl asks her mom what her “most thankful thing ever” is, Mom turns the question into a fun trip down memory lane. Turning the pages of Mom’s photo album, they discover many wonderful moments in Mom’s life, from summer camp to winning a trophy in a soccer tournament, from singing onstage to her wedding day. But one event in Mom’s whole life is the very best ever — the birth of her precious little girl.

We discussed things for which we are thankful a bit more and then shifted the conversation to showing thankfulness. How can we show gratitude? How can we show that we appreciate someone or something? Join us in the Gratitude Project Challenge! Click on the link below to learn more.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we are encouraging students to perform three acts of gratitude, either from our list or using an idea of their own. We brainstormed who we could appreciate. Ideas included family members, pets, teachers, and friends. Keep me posted on how the Gratitude Project is progressing in your house by commenting on this blog post. I can’t wait to hear your creative ideas on showing thankfulness.

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Magnawall Update

We video conferenced with our high school engineering partners today. The kindergartners were each shown a 3D prototype of their inventions created by the 3D printer. (The prototypes are not to scale and do not have the requested colors or decorations.)

Overheard…

“It’s perfect!”

“I like where my name is.”

“Can that be purple?”

 

After school, Mr. Moore dropped off several of the prototypes. Won’t the students be surprised when they arrive at school tomorrow?!

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The next step includes building the actual piece to scale with the requested decor and color. We are very excited to see how the final projects turn out!

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Happy Halloween!

What a fun, fun day! Our Halloween celebration began with a festive read aloud by a parent. Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman is a classic Halloween story that encourages team work. It also has great characters that lend themselves to spooky voices. After the read aloud, students created a mummy, using freshly baked pumpkin bread, fruit leathers and more.

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The students enjoyed dressing up in their costumes.

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After a class picture, we headed to the front lawn for a parade and Skeleton Square Dance.

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The day came to a close with a carnival in the backyard. The booths and decorations were amazing! Thank you, parents, for all your hard work!

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