Thursday, August 30, 2007

Who's Happier Than Us?


When I see happy faces like this one, I know something is going right!! Today was another very busy day in Kinder-garten. We started the day with our "Good Morning Song," reviewed all our letters and sounds, sang our "Humpty Dumpty" song, and talked about rhyming words. Another feature of our morning is to bring attention to each letter and sound of the alphabet through song. Today I read the book, "Benjamin Bunny" and we listed words that we know starting with "B". Our "Star Names" also reinforce letter names and letter sounds daily. After pictures were drawn of our "star", we went right into Reader's Workshop. Our focus is on book bins. These are plastic magazine holders that each child has his/her favorite books in that were brought from home this week. Practicing how to get the book bin and put it back is worth a few mini-lessons. The children have their favorite books in it and will eventually add "Star Books" which are "Three Billy Goats," "Caps for Sale," and "Where the Wild Things Are," to name a few, after I have read these books a few times. In this way, they will able to tell the story through picture-walking and remembering how the story goes. Level A and B books will soon be included in the book bin. It is in this book bin that children will be picking a book to take home every night for their "Book in Bag" for homework. This will be explained in more detail at Open House (Sept. 20th).
Then we had Writer's Workshop, Lunch, and Math, Resource (Science) and outside and inside play time. The day was packed with lots of fun ... so no wonder we see these smiling faces!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Time for Work and Time for Play


Kindergarten is a time for learning and growing - not only in reading, writing, and math but also learning how to get along with others and in growing friendships. A balance between active and quiet experiences, and between individual work and large and small groups are scheduled in a Kindergartener's day. Some of the best learning is done in Developmental Centers. Each afternoon, the children have about 35 minutes to pick a favorite center. This free-choice time can be blocks, drawing, Play-doh, Legos, cubes, and home-life. Some students love the kitchen and dress-up play. They role-play going out, going to the store and buying things, and just having a good time in active play. With so many PS-2's, DVD's, and computer games, it's so refreshing to see children interact with each other. While at play, they learn to compromise with each other, negotiate scenerios, and use their imaginations. This is a precious time in their lives and Kindergarten should have a balance of work and play - especially play!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Exploding on to the Stage!!



One of my favorite Reader's Workshop activities is to have my students act out a book. It's a great way to have children actively involved in a story and thus remembering not only the beginning, middle, and ending of it but also story elements such as the characters and setting and the problem and solution in a fun way!! A book I love to start out our re-enactments with is called, "Lucy's Boot." It's by Janie Spaht Gill. A fun-loving Kindergarten teacher who presented at a workshop I attended a few years ago. The story goes like this: Lucy had pair of boots on that she wanted to get off. Her father kept saying, "It's stuck," "It won't come off." "I don't know what to do." Then the mother pulled on the father and the father pulled on the boot. It didn't budge. The brother, the baby, and even the dog tried to get the boot off (all tugging at the same time.) Then Lucy shouted, "Wait, what's this?" She found a buckle and the boot slipped off! This story has the students laughing every time. It's already a classroom favorite and will be acted out again tomorrow, I'm sure!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

...and what a great week it was!!!

It was a week of getting used to a new school, new friends, and a new routine. In one week, students experienced their first assembly, fire drill, and flag raising. They also learned the little things that make a day run smoother such as, walking in line, unpacking backpacks, and how to properly put the cap back on a marker. All of these experiences help children learn and grow and become a valuable member of our classroom community.
Our shared reading book today was "The Birthday Cake" by Joy Cowley. It was a simple book that introduced color words. After reading the book several times, the student's attention was brought to the sentence strip chart where each line of the book was written out. Then they completed their own copy of the book by coloring in the various cake colors that matched the words. "A red cake; a yellow cake; a blue cake..." This is a great way for students to see how the words correspond with the picture.
Another book we visited today was "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom." This is always a classroom favorite. A lot of children were familiar with this book and love hearing it over and over. We completed an art activity to go with the book by making a palm tree and using letter stickers that spelled their names going up the tree. This was especially insightful because I had the opportunity to make an informal assessment of noticing if the students knew how to spell their names on an individual basis.
Other activities of the day included two new literacy stations - the stamp center and Play-doh - were students can build fine and gross motor skills creating letters with the clay.
In the afternoon, we revisited Caps for Sale. The students chimed in with,"Fifty cents a cap!" Developmental centers included "dress up", Magna Doodles, and cubes. They also had their first fun Friday treat which was very welcome after coming in from recess.
Our first week is now officially over -- learning, growing, meeting new friends, learning new routines, and having fun ... and what a great week it was!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Day Four and There's So Much More!!

Mirror, mirror on the wall - who has the best class of them all? The transformation in the students from Monday to Thursday has been amazing. They are really getting into the rhythm of the classroom routine. Today we started with our Morning Message, alphabet sounds, and Apple Annie book and song. Then the BIG announcement was that tomorrow starts "Star Names." "What are Star Names? ," you may be asking. A child's name gets picked out of a hat and that child is our "Star of the Day." His/her name is written on a sentence strip for the children to see. Then each letter is cut from the strip and scrambled. A student who thinks he/she can put the name in the correct order is called on. Then we think of different words that start like the Star Students' name. The child is interviewed: "What is your favorite thing to do?"; "Do you have any pets?"; "What is your favorite book?' I write the student responses on the board. The class then goes back to their seats and draws a picture of the Star Student and a class book is made and given to him/her to take home. The best bonus of all is that the Star of the Day gets to sit in the front of the classroom in a special chair and is the line leader for the day. It gets no better than that for a Kindergarten student. The educational merit of this exercise is that children start to recognize and read classmates names and start to make the connection with these words to other words. I was the Star Student for today!!
Reader's Workshop mini-lesson was "How to Behave During a Read Aloud." First I read the book, "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." After a short discussion of the book (which they loved), I asked what was the classes' behavior during the reading of the book. I charted responses - and they were right on target - listening, not talk to others, ask questions after the book, etc. This chart will be posted for a few days to remind students of the proper behavior during a read aloud.
We had our first official Writer's Workshop today. Students were shown how to stretch a story over a few pages (by drawing and verbally explaining what is going on in the pictures.) They were able to staple their pages, thus creating their first book. Some students shared their work - thus inspiring others that they can do it too!
In Math I read a book about patterns in nature. We looked at patterns on students clothes in class and drew simple patterns.
Tomorrow is Friday and the close of the first week of Kindergarten. They have already grown so much from the first day. Mirror, mirror on the wall - I don't have to ask you anymore - I already know the best class of them all!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Flying High on Day Number 3

Every day the students are getting more accustomed to the rituals and routines of classroom life. After I pick up the children in the dining room, we go to the classroom, unpack folders, and listen to announcements. Today I posted our first "Morning Message" which is our daily news. After I point to each word in message, I have students circle certain letters and letter sounds. Soon they will be noticing letter combinations (ay, ai, ing) and learning many sight words. Afterwards, we talked about the importance of classroom rules and made up a "Class Promise" chart. This is a listing of things they feel are important to help the class run smoothly. The promise sounds like - "We won't make fun of people;" "We won't run or hurt anyone;" and "We will raise our hand to speak." Then the students decorated a face cut out. It will be placed around the promise. In math, I read "Ten Apples Up On Top" by Dr. Seuss. The children drew themselves with various numbers of apples on top of their heads. They then shared their pictures with classmates. This was a beginning Math Workshop activity where the lesson was taught, the students went back to practice the activity, and then came to the floor to share what they have done. This was followed by recess and free choice center time. Another day of learning and growing - reading and drawing - writing and playing in Room 104!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Settling Down to Enjoy the Show

All of the marvelous Mallon-teers were "all in their places with sun-shiney faces" this morning. We are in our second day of Kindergarten and ready to start to learn the rituals and routines of being in the Primary School of Chets Creek. The children are learning the basics of every day life in Kindergarten from placing the folder in the bin before putting their backpacks away to expected behavior during a fire drill... all of which were properly conducted today. They were wonderful! All of these little mini-lessons make the class run smoother and learning easier. The book of the day was, "Caps for Sale." I will be rereading that book several times this month so that the students will be able to "picture walk" through it and be able to "read" it to you before long. Other books being read this week will be: Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom, Ten Apples Up On Top, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and Mrs. Wishy Washy. All of these books are in my "All Time Favorites" book bin and my hope is that they will soon be some of your child's favorites.
Literacy Stations started today with three choices: puzzles, white boards, and drawing. Every day the choices will increase as the students learn what they are about and how to manage each one. The choices will include magnetic letters, read-the room, write-the-room, alphabet sorting, and listening station, to name a few.
Even though it was only Day 2 of Kindergarten, the children are learning rituals and routines, hearing excellent children's literature, and working together with their new friends in class. Yes, we are settling down and we are ready to enjoy the show!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The First Day of School Was a Blast!!!

It was wonderful seeing all the new little faces ready for Kindergarten. After meeting everyone in the cafeteria, we lined up and went into class. Mrs. Ellis and I unpacked backpacks as children watched the closed-circuit morning announcements welcoming everyone back to school. Afterwards, the children drew pictures and got acquainted with each other. I read a book called, "Look Who's Going to Kindergarten." They sat and intently listened to every word. I looked up at the clock and it was 9:45 am. - time to get to the "Bounce House" so that we can be at the assembly on time. The "Bounce House" was a lot of fun - and so was getting 25 pairs of shoes (and some socks) back on! We then proceeded to the dining room where a magician performed his magic acts for all the children to enjoy. Then it was back in the classroom for snack time and boy, did they enjoy that! I started to read, "No David," and "David Goes to School." Now it was time for me to get them involved in an adventure. I tiptoed to my "No David Backpack" and opened it. I was astonished. "Where is David?, I asked. "Did you see him running around here." "Oh no," they chanted. "Well," I said, "We have to go find him!" They were so excited - we checked the Media Center and Miss KK said she didn't see him. Then we checked the cafeteria and he was nowhere to be found. Finally, we looked in the office and Mrs. Middleton said she found him running around the school. We brought him (a stuffed David doll) back to the classroom and asked him lots of questions. This "David" doll will be allowed to spend the weekend with each child throughout the year. A journal will be placed in the backpack for you to document what your child did with David and any new adventures he went on. There will be more about this in the newsletter when the "Weekends with David" start.
The children then went to lunch. We did some Math, read some books, made some crowns, and had some free time. Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and go home.
Thank you for sharing your child with me. We had a fantastic day and I'm looking forward to a blast of a Kindergarten year!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Magical Moments During Kindergarten Orientation

It was such a pleasure to meet and greet my new Kindergarten students, parents, and grandparents this morning. It was wonderful to see such a supportive group of family members. I have a few reminders I want to share. Please remember to read the ABC's of Kindergarten packet. It will answer a lot of your questions. On Monday, you are encouraged to walk your child to the dining room. I will be there at 8:50 a.m. to escort your child to our classroom. You will be invited to join the other Kindergarten parents at the Media Center to enjoy a "Boo-Hoo Breakfast" sponsored by our PTA. In class, I will be getting acquainted with your child. We will be reading books, drawing pictures, and having some free time to explore developmental centers. We will tour the school - the library, art room, music room, front office, and cafeteria while we look for our class friend "David" from the book "No David." He is lost and we have to find him!!! At 10:15 to 10:45 we will have a presentation in the dining room called, "The Magic Dream Assembly." Afterwards, we will have fire drill practice and then it will be lunchtime. So much is planned for this exciting first day of school...our first day of fireworks where lots of "ooos" and "ahhhs" will surely be the order of the day!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bursting with Excitement for School to Begin

Room 104 is bursting with excitement waiting for the 2007-2008 class of Kindergarten students to enter its doors. The fireworks tell the story as the theme for Kindergarten is Fantasy Land and our class theme is "Celebrate the Magic in Mrs. Mallon's Kindergarten!" Our Kindergarten magical year will be a time for children to expand their love of learning and encourage the growth of their self-esteem. The primary focus will be on their individual identities, strengths, and independence. At this stage, children are already eager to learn and possess an innate curiosity. It is my passion to provide your child what he/she needs to grow physically, emotionally, and intellectually this year. We will celebrate the magic everyday in Room 104 at this very special time of their lives. I can't wait to get started -- let the fireworks begin!!!