# Coding with Bee Bots

The kindergarteners were introduced to Bee-Bots today.

Bee-Bots are easy-to-operate and friendly little robots that are a perfect tool for teaching sequencing, estimation, and problem-solving. (https://www.bee-bot.us/)

Here are the commands the Bee-Bots can follow.

Today, students chose a letter card and then had to create a code for the Bee-Bot to follow to get to a picture on the mat that began with that particular letter.

Here is a video that shows the activity in action.

Now that the students have been introduced to Bee-Bots, they will use these fun coding robots to practice identifying rhyming pairs, reading CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, solving math equations and more! In a few weeks, the kindergarteners will begin to develop their own Bee-Bot mat with their Third Grade Buddy during out STEM Buddy Program. Stay tuned!

# What’s That Smell?

The kindergarteners are still exploring their five senses. Today, we explored our sense of smell with a fun game. I had prepared three groups of cotton balls where each group had a different smell. I asked the students to close their eyes as I handed out the cotton balls. Next, they were to smell their cotton ball and find two or three other students who had a cotton ball that smelled the same. Once they found their group, the students had to decide what smell was on their cotton ball. Watch what happened:

After the class discussion, students recorded the members of their group and their smell in their Five Senses Notebook.

The kindergarteners are now officially smelling pros!

Our Swooper Citizens theme of the month is Kindness. How about this act of kindness? Rhami Zeini, a Laguna Blanca Lower School alum and member of the Laguna Blanca Class of 2020, was on his way home from school last week when he saw a purse lying on the side of the road. He pulled over to pick it up and looked inside to see if he could find any information detailing to whom the purse belonged. Would you believe that inside he found \$10,000?!! Rhami came to our Tecolote Tuesday meeting to share his story:

Way to go, Rhami! We appreciate your act of kindness!

# Kindness

The kindergarten and first-grade classes have met the past two Tuesdays as part of our Swooper Citizens program. This month we are discussing the very important character trait of kindness. Last week, we shared this short video clip with the students to get them thinking about kindness.

Students listened to the book The Invisible Boy, by Tracey Ludwig.

“Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.

When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.”

-Amazon

This book gave us many wonderful opportunities to discuss kindness and how kindness relates to the students. We touched on how it feels to be excluded, or how it feels to be asked to join a game. (There is always room for one more!) We talked about the students’ feelings when someone has a play date or party and they aren’t included. We talked about having a party and not being able to include everyone but making sure to talk about the event when those who weren’t included aren’t around. We then asked the children to think of examples of times when someone has been kind to them.

We followed up the first lesson on kindness with a second, where we talked about how manners play an important role in showing kindness. In wanting to get the children up and moving, I prepared four sentence strips with a phrase on each: “Thank you.You’re welcome. Please. and Excuse me.” I taped these into the corners of the classroom. The goal of the game was for students to walk to the corner that had the most appropriate response to the scenario we posed. For example, “By accident, you knock over a younger child. What do you say to that person?” or “You want to go to your friend’s house. What polite word would you use to ask your mom?” Take a peek at the game in action:

I then read aloud a funny book called Mary Louise Loses Her Manners, by Diane Cuneo.

“One morning, after some particularly shocking–but awfully funny–breakfast behavior, Mary Louise realizes that she has lost her manners. I’ve paid so little attention to them, she thinks, that they’ve up and run away! She has no choice but to begin a search mission.

From a neighborhood restaurant to a doctor’s office, past a hot dog vendor then a street musician, and even into the library, Mary Louise tries to find her manners. Instead, she ends up making more trouble everyplace she goes. Have her manners deserted her forever?”

-Amazon

I am happy to report that Mary Louise finds her manners! This week, the kindergarteners will be practicing using good manners as a way to show kindness. Be on the lookout at home for some extra pleases and thank yous!

# The Little Things

It is Monday morning of our second full week of school, and I was greeted by a very excited student who had made something very special for me.

“Yes to Owl!

Dear Laguna Blanca,

I love Laguna Blanca.

It is so fun.

Owl.”

(because the owl is our school mascot!)

Sigh and smile. What a perfect way to start the week.

# Friday Fun!

We enjoyed our first Friday Fun of the school year. Since we have been learning about our sense of sight, students made suncatchers. This was one of the neatest crafts I have seen in a long time. I purchased mini aluminum pie tins from Amazon. Students used their fine motor skills to place a row of mostly transluscent pony beads around the bottom of the tin.

After the designs were created (and the students went off to Spanish class) I took our small toaster oven and moved it outside, where I preheated it to 450 degrees. I popped two tins in at a time and let them cook for about eight minutes, or until the beads had melted. (The key is baking the plastic beads outside in fresh air to keep from smelling the fumes.)

Once they cooled, I turned over the tins to remove the suncatchers.

How beautiful! This weekend I plan to drill small holes into the tops and add a translucent thread so that these sun catchers can be hung in our classroom windows.

The next project had students decorating a mini chalkboard.

These chalkboards will be used during Reading Centers as a way for students to practice writing letters, spelling words, and recording answers for different phonemic awareness activities. We love Fridays!

Update:

Here’s what the suncatchers look like after the holes were drilled and the fishing line was strung:

Beautiful!

# Sensory Table

I introduced the sensory table to the kindergarteners today.

They couldn’t WAIT to get started! So why is it important for children to use a sensory table? Here are the top five reasons!

5. Sensory tables help children relax.  Objects in the table capture children’s attention and engage their minds. Students are presented with items like rice, beans, paper strips, or pompoms, that have a calming effect when they are manipulated.

4. Sensory tables help students develop socially and emotionally. They are playing together and engaging with each other in a positive way.

3. Sensory tables are another tool we can use to help young children strengthen their fine motor skills. Did you notice the tongs they were using to pick up the pompoms? The use of tongs turns the sorting activity into a fine motor building activity as well!

2. The sensory table builds cognative skills. Students interact with items by counting, sorting, organizing, matching, or labeling.

1. Sensory tables make learning FUN!!!

(Exploring the pompoms using their five senses!!)

# Morning Exploring

We are in our third day of kindergarten, our second day of Morning Exploring, and the students are LOVING it! Each month, there are nine different activities through which the students rotate in pairs. The Morning Exploring bins focus on math and literacy skills while strengthening and developing the students’ fine motor skills in unique and engaging ways.

Here’s how:

(Disclaimer: I speak much more slowly when teaching!)

As I mentioned in the video, there are new activities monthly that continue to build fine motor skills and reinforce math and language arts concepts. A huge thank you to Marsha McGuire for developing these great activities!

# First Day Fun

Oh, the first day of school! Newness, smiles, nervousness, laughter, sometimes a few tears, the first day of school always produces so many emotions for students, parents, and teachers. We welcomed the kindergartners to school with open arms and, of course, a few craft projects, because what takes ones mind off things better than beading and painting?

Students were each given a bead kit so that they could create their own “First Day of School Necklace.”

While they were working on these necklaces, we invited students over to create a handprint puzzle. These puzzles were sent home at the end of the day with the hopes that students and families would work together to complete it while chatting about the first day of kindergarten.

After recess, students shared their treasure chests. This was an activity I gave to the students to complete last week at our Meet and Greet.

My thought was to give the students a project about which they were excited so that coming to the first day of school was a little easier. Students had a choice to share the items themselves or work with me to share them. I love how much time and thought the students put into these precious treasure chests.

Once the treasure chest sharing was complete, the kindergarteners headed over to Art Class, where they delighted in meeting our new art instructor, Mrs. Guay. (How much do you LOVE her outfit?!)

Here is to a very successful first day!

# Meet Mrs. Riley!

We are very fortunate to have Mrs. Jennifer Riley join us in kindergarten as our Instructional Assistant. Mrs. Riley comes from a local preschool where she was the Director and Pre-K teacher. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Child, Family, and Society. Jennifer also has a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Leadership in Early Childhood Education. Wow! She has two children, and her husband is a firefighter for the Forest Service. A random fact about Mrs. Riley is that her oldest daughter and my middle daughter were in dance class together way back in 2007! Small world!