Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

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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First Days, Hooray!

 

Our first days of Kindergarten have been exciting! After our all school meeting on Wednesday, students returned to the kindergarten classroom to make a personalized name necklace. While they worked on adding twenty or more beads, I snuck other students outside to snap their picture. There’s nothing like an official first day photo!

 

Students work to add twenty or more beads to their necklaces.

Next, students listened to a funny book called, David Goes to School. Poor David runs in the classroom, talks all the time, and pulls children’s hair. The illustrations in this children’s book are bright and colorful. The students were wide-eyed as they learned all about David’s first day of school. It was pretty clear to them that David needed some help making positive learning choices. I had a pocket chart sort all prepared for this! I showed students a picture card and they decided  if the picture depicted a peace-maker ora peace-breaker. The end result was this:

 

To further support their understanding of peace-makers and peace-breakers students engaged in a cut and paste activity. Cutting one of many fine motor skills the children will continue to develop in Kindergarten.

Day two began with the students sharing their summer treasure boxes. Last week, when the kindergarteners came to a meet and greet picnic, I gave each family a treasure box and asked them to decorate the box and to fill it with three special items related to their summer vacation. Not only would we all learn about each student, but the students themselves would be excited to return to school to share their items!

I also read aloud a wonderful book, Elmer, on the second day of school. Elmer is a patchwork elephant, who is loved by his friends because of his sense of humor. Sadly, Elmer thinks his friends laugh at him because he looks different.

Once he covers himself with “elephant colored” berry juice, Elmer discovers that his friends don’t notice him. Ask you child how this sweet story ends….

We discussed how we love to celebrate what makes us special. I then told the students about a craft activity I had planned for them. They were to first create a rainbow background using tissue paper squares and glue (another fine motor strengthening activity!).

 

Then students participated in a self-portrait directed drawing activity using only a white piece of paper and a black Sharpie.

Look at the final result:

We wrapped up our Friday with Choice Time and Art class.

I think we are ready for full days next week!

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Kindergarten 2017-2018!

And like that, a new year has begun! I loved having the children back on campus today for our Orientation Day. I have been looking forward to having these little folks in kindergarten since last February’s Play Groups! A new year means new decorations, new activities, and many new ideas! Let’s start with decorations!

It is the Year of the Polka Dots.

Heart Word Wall Revamp

Polka dot fabric brightens up our shelves.

New Job Chart.

and….drum roll, please…..

A new and beautiful Smart Board!

This new technology enables more than one student to touch the board at a time. There is no projector and the sound is built-in! The quality of the picture is AMAZING. I can’t WAIT to use it more!

 

On to the big day tomorrow! I have a special activity for the students to create when they arrive….they get to make their own name tag necklaces.

 

See you all very soon!

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