Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

Friday Fun, Fun, Fun!

Students were thrilled to hear that we would be practicing beginning coding skills using the Bee-Bots. They have been eagerly awaiting a chance to get their hands on these coding robots.  We explored the ways to make the Bee Bots go and practiced programming them. Then I introduced them to a rhyming game. The goal was for students to choose a card, identify the picture, and find a picture on the mat that rhymes. So we practicing rhyming AND coding! (and patience too, of course!)

Students also used their sense of sight to look through different kalideiscopes.

They then made binoculars using patterned duct tape, yarn, and toilet paper rolls.

 

Of course we had to take the binoculars outside and test them out!

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Our Sense of Sight

Students were introduced to our sense of sight yesterday. They learned several fun facts about our eyes and enjoyed a short Bill Nye the Science Guy clip on our sense of sight. Today, I planned two activities that challenged students to use their sense of sight. Here is a description of the first activity:

Go! Students went back to their desks to record as many items as possible. They could use pictures or words to show which items they remembered.

Here is what was on the tray:

We came back together to see which items the students remembered….and as a group, they identified all but the blue rubber band! Go, kindergartners!

Next, I took the students outside for a sight scavenger hunt. They looked for items that were big, small, shiny, and

While outside, students drew pictures of the items they saw.

Once we were back inside, students practiced sounding out the words to match their pictures. I encouraged students to use their best guess spelling. What a great job they did!

To carry on the theme of the sense of sight, students will each make a pair of binoculars tomorrow during Friday Fun!

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Patience

Our Swooper Citizens theme of the week is patience.  Our goal of the lesson was to give students the opportunity to practice patience. First, we gave the students a scenario. “Imagine you are waiting in a LONG line for your favorite ride at Disneyland. What do you do to pass the time?” There were some great answers like, “Eat a snack.” or “Play a game on my mom’s phone.” or “Play I-Spy.” I then said, ” You would have to be really patient to wait in a long line, but it would be worth it!”

Next, we invited students to participate in the Marshmallow Challenge! What is the Marshmallow Challenge? Take a look!

Some marshmallows got eaten right away:

Some students played games to pass the time, and some just stared at the yummy treat.

In the end, those students who were patient enjoyed two fluffy marshmallows.

We got the idea for this activity from this cute You Tube video. The students had fun watching it!

We wrapped up the lesson with a great read aloud, My Mouth Is A Volcano. We thought this book demonstrated the need for patience perfectly!

All of Louis thoughts are very important to him. In fact, his thoughts are so important to him that when he has something to say, his words begin to wiggle, and then they do the jiggle, then his tongue pushes all of his important words up against his teeth and he erupts, or interrupts others. His mouth is a volcano! My Mouth Is A Volcano takes an empathetic approach to the habit of interrupting and teaches children a witty technique to capture their rambunctious thoughts and words for expression at an appropriate time. Told from Louis’ perspective, this story provides parents, teachers, and counselors with an entertaining way to teach children the value of respecting others by listening and waiting for their turn to speak.

The students got a kick out of all the interrupting Louis did! Many agreed that their mouths are like volcanos too 🙂

 

 

 

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Fabulous Five Senses!

Our Five Senses Unit started with a POP! What better way to be introduced to our Five Senses than with popping popcorn! I borrowed a popcorn popper from Ms. Svedlund, and we got right to work. Many of the students had not seen this type of popcorn popper before. What a treat for me! They were absolutely mesmerized by the process of popping popcorn!

We then worked together to record our popcorn observations into our Five Senses Notebook. Students were encouraged to record their observations using pictures or words. They could write their own words, or I gave students the option to use our class observation sheet that was projected onto the Smart Board to help.

This Five Senses kick-off activity sure made a great impression! Students are excited to see which five senses we will focus on first.

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Friday Fun

We had a great time during our Friday Fun centers today! Students helped to prepared apple-banana-oatmeal muffins! They strengthened their fine motor skills by chopping the apples into small pieces.

 

Students measured and added ingredients.

I even had help with preparing the muffin tins….

and with stirring, of course!

Students did a great job practicing team work!

Our second activity was patterning with cereal. Earlier this week we looked at AB and ABC patterns. Students were encouraged to make a pattern of their choice today.

I love seeing the focused looks on the students’ faces.

 

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Morning Exploring

I was so excited to introduce my new Morning Exploring bins this morning. These bins focus on strengthening fine motor skills while building academic skills. There’s cutting with fancy scissors, making pokey pin pictures, linking letters together, sticker names, hole punching names, pop bead patterns, and more!

Students roll a die and add that number of frogs to the lily pads using tweezers.

 

Students use teeny stickers to outline the letters in their names.

 

Students assemble nuts and bolts!

 

ABC order with links! Students put the letters in ABC order, linking them with plastic links.

 

Students use fancy hole punches to demonstrate the number on the page in their number books.

 

Students use push pins to poke holes following an outline of a shape. Today they made a ssssssnake.

Students make patterns using pop beads.

 

Fancy scissor cutting….students cut paper using a variety of craft scissors.

 

The kindergarteners will rotate through these nine centers, completing all the activities. New activities will be added monthly! Who knew strengthening fine motor skills could be so fun?!

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Play Dough and Friday Fun

Students PLAYED with the play dough today during Friday Fun.  There was building, squishing, cutting, rolling….all great ways for children to strengthen their fine motor. I had a very sweet request from one of my students to post the play dough recipe on the blog….get ready parents….I think this means they want to make a batch at home!!

Recipe

1 cup of water

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup salt

1 tbsp cream of tartar

1 cup flour

Food coloring

Add ingredients to a pan (I use nonstick for easier clean up) and stir on low heat. Add the food coloring before the ingredients become solid. Continue stirring until the ingredients become the consistency of play dough. Remove from pan and allow to cool slightly. Knead the play dough to get out any remaining lumps and bumps. Once cooled, store in an air tight container.

In addition to the play dough center, students made mini chalkboards with me. We will use these chalkboards in the near future to play phonics spelling games.

The best part was that the students used smelly markers. It is always so fun to watch them sniff the different scents….there is usually some cleaning of noses necessary, as the marker tips tend to leave marks on the ends of the childrens’ sweet noses.

Students also listened to the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and made an alphabet coconut tree!

A perfect healthy snack!

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Swooper Citizens

We rolled out Swooper Citizens this week as well, introducing the theme of Cooperation! The children could not get enough of this silly video which so clearly shows cooperation, but is really an ad for public transportation! I promised them I would add it to my blog for you to enjoy:

Students also listened to the story of Little Blue Truck. “Beep! Beep! Beep! Meet Blue. A muddy country road is no match for this little pick up–that is until he gets stuck while pushing a dump truck out of the muck. Luckily, Blue has made a pack of farm animal friends along his route. And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get their pal back on the road. With a text full of truck sounds and animal noises to read aloud, here is a rollicking homage to the power of friendship and the rewards of helping others.” (Amazon)

I also introduced Brag Tags to the students. Students are recognized with a Brag Tag when they demonstrate positive learning choices, like following directions or staying on task. Students are recognized when they help a friend or are working hard. This year, I created specific Brag Tags that target the character education themes we will be studying.

So many Brag Tag choices!

On Fridays, all students wear their Brag Tags to celebrate their hard work during the week.

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STEM Buddies

New program alert!! This summer, Mrs. Green, our third-grade teacher, Mrs. Downing, our Technology teacher, and I worked together to develop a curriculum we call STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Buddies. Traditionally, the kindergarten class and the third-grade class are buddies throughout the year. We typically meet once a week or so to read together, play cooperative games, or engage in a thematic craft. Mrs. Green and I wanted to deepen our buddies curriculum this year, and STEM Buddies was born! We will continue to meet weekly, but most meetings will have a STEM focus. For example, in October, students will explore Bee Bots and ultimately work with their buddy to create their very own Bee Bot mat on a topic of their choice. When kindergarten engages in the Gingerbread Man thematic unit in December, STEM Buddies will work together to engineer a bridge to help their gingerbread character cross the river. STEM Buddies delves into our EveryDay Math curriculum as well, with a unit on probability and gaming. Buddies will eventually make their own games, designing game pieces that will come to life through the use of the 3Doodler 3D pens! And of course there’s more….but I have to keep some surprises!

The kindergarteners officially met the third graders yesterday. They played a “get to know you” game. It was so much fun to see the students wandering around the third-grade classroom looking for friends who matched the descriptions on their worksheets. Take a peek:

Here is a close up of what students needed to find:

Soon, the students will be paired up with an “official” buddy for the year. Fun times ahead!

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Reading Centers

The Kindergarten class did an AMAZING job participating in their first round of Reading Centers! Students were organized into groups according to the skills they are ready to be taught. I began this new adventure for the students by introducing the four activities.

The Independent Work Station included a play dough activity today. Students enjoyed some very new, very fresh play dough that my son and I made last night.

 

The activity was for students to make the number on their workmat out of play dough and then represent that number using a tens frame.

Next, students learned the sequence of strokes necessary to print the capital and lower case m. They practiced printing on white boards, in the air, on neighbors backs, and finally in their handwriting books.

The third center was the listening center, where students listened to an alphabet book on cd. For more information about the value a listening center adds to our classroom, click on this previous blog post:

Today is the Day for Reading Centers!

Students listen to the book, Alphabet Rescue.

The final reading center was the center that meets with me. This center is tailored to teach students the specific skill on which they are working. Some students are learning letter sounds, some students are blending sounds together, and some students are building fluency. The activities today ranged from identifying pictures of objects that begin with the /m/ sound to decoding small books.

I was so thrilled with how well our reading rotations went today. All students were engaged in and enjoyed each activity. Students are already asking what tomorrow’s centers will be! Way to go, Kindergarteners!

 

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