Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hooray! Hooray! It is the 100th Day!!

Can you believe that we have been in Kindergarten for 100 days? We have been counting each day we have been in school since day #1. Today we tied the 10 groups of 10 paper clips together and celebrated our 100th day of school!

The children entered the classroom under a banner "It's the 100th day!" As they entered the classroom, there were 100 balloons waiting for them. They were so excited! We read 100 day books, made 100th day hats, counted to 100, and even had a 100th day snack.

In the afternoon, we hid 100 Hershey Kisses that were numbered to 1-100 - then hid them in the classroom. When a child found the "kiss", it was put on the 100's chart matching the number that was found. Children decorated hats with 100 stars and they wore shirts with 100 items on them. They wrote what they would buy with $100. One child wrote that she was buying and electric guitar and a diamond ring with her $100! They also drew a picture of what they look like now and what they'll look like at 100 years old. The pictures looked somewhat the same, only in the 100 year old picture, they had a cane.

At the end of the day, we visited "Zero the Hero" and he shared artifacts that were 100 years old. The children left school with their hats, masks, candy, drawings, and balloons. The number 100 has proved to be a memorable and magical one on this 100th day of school!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Us - Our Tenth Year

Our Kindergarten students will always remember the 10th birthday of our school. This past week has been full of activities, parties, and fun. The kick-off started last week at our flag raising. The time capsule that was buried 10 years ago was unearthed. Pictures, books, and classroom treasures from 1998 were displayed in the lobby together with items from each of the ten years past themes. Students and alumni faculty who were in the inaugural class and throughout the last ten years came back to take part in various celebrations throughout the week. This included reading some of their favorite books to our class.

Each year our school has a theme that students, teachers and community rally around. The themes have included Hollywood, Puzzle Paradise, Construction, Sports, Western, well, we have been To Infinity and Beyond... On Thursday, students were invited to wear a costume that represented one of our past themes. In the afternoon, we had a party complete with dancing, cupcakes, and gift bags.

On Friday, each child was gifted with a CCE Birthday T-Shirt and we all wore them for our flag-raising. Immediately following that, we lined up for an aerial photo taken of all of the children spelling out CCE.

This birthday has sure been one to remember and come 2018, the time capsule will be opened again...these kindergarten students will be in 10th grade... my how time flies.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Let Me Tell You A Story...

This board is a standards-based "reading" board "Getting the Meaning". It states:
We expect kindergarten students to read "emergently" - that is "reread" a favorite story, re-creating the words of the text with fluent intonation and phrasing and showing through verbal statements or occasional pointing that they understand that the print on the the page controls what is said."

After hearing the book Goldilocks and the Three Bears several times, three children at different emergent reading levels were invited to retell the story during a reading conference. The children retold the story into a tape player and it was transcribed. The bulletin board features the same part of the story retold three different ways by these three children.

How does it start? After children have heard a story several times, they are tested on what is called a "Sulzby Level." This Sulzby Level can range from a score from one to eleven. When a child reaches a level of seven to eleven, the reading is governed by print. They are ready for conventional reading and he/she is tested on a Level A via a "running record".

How about the scores from one to six? If a child scores a 1 or 2 the story is not formed and the reading is governed by the pictures. For instance, "Look at her eating the food." A score of 3 or 4 is the story is formed, reading is governed by pictures and reading sounds like oral language. The child will use dialogic story telling (uses dialogue without the"he said" or "she said." For example, "I'm going to sit in this chair." Finally, a score of 5, 6, or 7 is the story is formed, reading is governed by the pictures, and it sounds like story language. For instance, "Goldilocks said, "This chair is much too soft."

What were the bulletin board results? The first piece on the bulletin board scored a 1. During his retelling the story was not formed and pictures were labeled, "She did that one and it just doesn't definitely feel good."

The second piece scored a 3. He used dialogic story telling in his retelling - "Goldilocks saw porridge. She gobbled the little one up."

The third piece scored a 7. He started with story language, "Once upon a time..." and his retelling sounded like he was reading the story. He was given a running record and is now reading on a Level B... now that feels juuuust right!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Celebrar Y Español El Idioma

Hola! amigos -- The title of this post is "Celebrate the Spanish Language." We are very excited to announce that we are having Spanish lessons once a week in Room 104. One of our classroom parents has volunteered to come in and teach Spanish to our Kindergarten students. Today was the first lesson. Students were shown a map all of the countries that speak Spanish in the world. Then the children were asked (in Spanish), "What is your name?" Next, the children enjoyed learning the words for red, green, yellow, orange, pink, black, white, purple and gray. Ms. Ana brought in a CD with a Spanish/English color word song on it and taught it to the class. After introducing the color words, students who were wearing the various color clothes, were invited to the front of the room to hold that color word card. The students repeated the color in Spanish and English for each word a few times. Then Ms. Ana read a big book in Spanish and the children followed along noticing the pictures as she was reading.

Kindergarten is a wonderful time to introduce children to other languages and cultures. We are very fortunate to have parents from China, Vietnam, Turkey, Mexico, and Costa Rica represented in our classroom. In February, these parents are planning a week-long celebration sharing the culture, crafts, and foods of their respective countries with the class, including Chinese New Year festivities!! But for now... adiós camaradas.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wake Up to a Good Morning Skills Block!

The Skills Block is my favorite time of the day. It is the time when students learn the majority of the "nuts and bolts" of reading and writing skills. We start at 8:55 a.m. with what I call "morning work." It can range from writing the next letter in the alphabet in a composition book including labeling pictures, to color word songs, to circling letters/blends in a poem book. I use this time as a warm up. Children are called to the floor via the "Good Morning Song" by Greg and Steve. Then we start our charts: 1st is the blend chart, then the letter combination chart. The follow up is the "Morning Message." This is where the children get to apply what they have chanted in the charts. They start to notice blends which they can circle and/or fill in the blank. This is a great place to introduce and practice new skills such as writing the days of the week, punctuation, capitalization, vocabulary words, synonyms, and word family words. The heart of the Skills Block is the morning message. This is where phonics and phonemic awareness is practiced.

After that, I may introduce skills such as beginning, middle and ending sounds on mini charts, blend ladders, word families, and/or short and long vowels. We usually end with a hands-on activity which is linked back to a specific part of the skills block. In between these activities we sing songs with movement which may include color word songs, nursery rhymes, and/or just classroom favorites. The children love getting up and moving to the songs they learn during this time.

What I love about Skills Block is that you can make it your own and each day there are plenty of opportunities to review old skills and learn new ones. After Skills Block is Reader's Workshop...this also starts with a song...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Is There Room in "The Mitten" For All of Us?

How wonderful it was to see the children come back to school on Wednesday morning all bundled up and full of excitement. They couldn't wait to share their stories and treasures with the class after a few weeks of being away.
I couldn't wait to get started with one of my favorite January read alouds, "The Mitten", a Ukrainian folktale retold by Jan Brett. A boy named Nicki doesn't realize that he dropped his white mitten in the snow. One by one, woodland animals find the mitten and crawl inside. First a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger, an owl, fox and others. Finally, a big brown bear snuggles in and is followed by a tiny brown mouse - no bigger than an acorn. The bear's nose gets tickled, he sneezes and all of the animals come shooting out of the mitten. Eventually, Nicki finds the mitten but its huge size is most puzzling.
Yesterday, our activity was for the students to construct a glyph. A glyph is
a non standard way of graphing a variety of information to tell a story. It uses symbols to represent different data. The creation of glyphs requires problem solving and data organization. The glyph was based on personal information about each student. The first area was age - if the child was five years old he/she cut out a red mitten - if six years old then a blue mitten. If the student likes winter then he/she put polka dots on the mitten. If the student likes summer, then stars went on the mitten. Finally, if he/she has a pair of mittens, then cotton went on the ribbing of the mitten. If he/she has a pair of gloves, then a bow went on the mitten. After the mittens were completed, each class member had a chance to share his/her mitten and class then "read" each mitten. For instance, when Blane was holding up his mitten another student said, "You are five years old, you like summer, and you have a pair of gloves. " Then Blane said, "Hey, how did you know that?" and the class said, "He read your mitten!" "Oh that's right," he laughed!
Today for Reader's Workshop, as I reread the book, the students acted out the characters. This included a badger with his diggers, a rabbit with his kickers, and an owl with his glinty talons. All of the animal cut outs can be found on Jan click on activities -- then masks.
Meanwhile, if the weather stays as cold as it has been for the last few days, we will all be looking in Nicki's mitten for a place to keep warm!!

Kindergarten Pow Wow 2019

Our tribe this year was the Inuit. Our students learned about the Inuit culture which included their food, housing and shelter. They sang ...