Saturday, October 31, 2009

Glogging - Is That Really a Word?


Our goal this year is to introduce more technology into our school day. We are preparing children for a world that is now run on technology and we can not afford to have our students lagging behind in the global marketplace. What better place to start but in Kindergarten? Most students have already been introduced to the computer and computer related games: PSP, DS,I-Pod, Wii and X-Box. They have used lap tops, cell phones, understand texting, and of course, the Book Log Wiki. They are surrounded by technology. So, why should it stop when they enter the classroom? With the guidance of our expert technology coach, Melanie Holtsman, the students have created our first official word family glog. A glog (refers to a graphics blog or in other words an online rich media poster. Our first class-made glog was incorporated into the Skills Block work session of our day. After brainstorming "at" family words for a few days, students were invited to come up to the laptop, download a picture from Google Images (for example, a cat) and upload it onto the glogster. Check out our first "Made by Mall-ard's Students Glog" and see what the students have designed. Our goal is to make a new glog for the rest of the word family words we encounter this year (ap, ip, ot, etc.) You can now officially add "glog" to your technology vocabulary!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fun Friday Treats - Halloween Style



Every Friday in our class we celebrate a week of learning with something we call a "Fun Friday Treat." Parents sign up at Orientation and Open House to bring a treat for the whole class on Friday. It can be anything from ice pops to cupcakes. Students love when it's their Friday to bring in the treats for the class. Today's treat had a Halloween twist that the children just loved and I'm sure Mrs. Smith just loved making! Aren't they just spooktakular?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Literary Characters - Dressed Up for the Parade


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
One of our favorite traditions at Chets Creek is the Literacy Character Parade. Students dress up as their favorite literary character and parade around the halls of the school for all of the older students to enjoy. We had pirates, fairies, angels, GI Joes, Star Wars, cowboys, cowgirls, and Scooby Doo represented. Enjoy the pictures that our official class photographer, Melanie H., has taken for us!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fun at Fall Centers


After the Fall Literacy Parade, students and parents were ready to join in the fun and create some holiday crafts. Making spider bags, decorating picture frames and cookies, designing ghoul bags, monster head bands and candy corn people were all some of the delightful projects that entertained the children. This was a great ending to the traditional parade and one that the students will remember! Special thanks to our parent volunteers who expertly ran each center!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fire Safety with Fireman Chris


Everyone was excited today because they knew that Fireman Chris was making a special visit to the Mall-ard's today! Fireman Chris talked about not playing with lighters and/or matches; having family fire drills, and the importance of stop/drop/and roll. He showed a slide show and video clips. Students loved the clip of the fire truck speeding down the highway to put out a fire. They also watched another clip of firemen putting out a fire and hearing the heavy breathing in a smoke filled room. Fireman Chris wanted children to see him dressed up in fireman gear so they would not be afraid and hide if they ever were in a fire. We had the lights turned off in the classroom and he came in, crawling on the floor asking, "Is there anyone in here?" His gear was "glow in the dark" and he was easy to spot. Afterward, the students asked him questions and told him some of their related stories. Then, Chris read the book, "Fireman A to Z". It was a wonderful experience for the students to see a fireman, ask him questions, and learn so much about the importance of fire safety -- thanks Fireman Chris!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Diamond D Ranch - Our First Field Trip


Our first field trip was to the Diamond D Ranch. The children enjoyed a nature walk where they saw a tree hit by lightening, maple trees, and pine trees. At the end of the walk, they were given fish food to throw in a lake. When they did that, all at once catfish sprang through the water! It was quite a surprise! Then we went on a tractor ride through the cow fields and fed some cattle (almost got stuck in the mud). After, we stopped to feed the goats, deer, and baa baa black sheep who was there with her 2 day old lambs. The children rode ponies, played in the bounce house, and got turned upside down in a spinning barrel. We had great parent chaperones who helped make the trip a huge success! We had a lot of tired kids on the bus ride back to school, so we're sure they had an early night's sleep! Thank you to Melanie H. for the wonderful pictures for all of you to enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin: Fruit or Vegetable? - Ask the Kindergarteners!


Fall is in the air...especially at the Mall-ards with our room resembling a pumpkin patch. The Pumpkin Science Unit started last week and students were invited to bring in their own pumpkin. We have all sizes and weights represented which made for some great lessons on sorting and classifying. The 5 E's model is being used to plan the unit: engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate. We engaged the students by having them share their background knowledge and charted what they know about pumpkins and then asked them what they want to know about them. We had lessons on what "Same" and "Different" means so that students can build on a common knowledge base. In this way, they can explain what they see when they examine their pumpkins. They explained by sharing their data and extended their knowledge by making connections and then evaluated by reviewing what they had learned. In this specific lesson, students were given an apple slice and pumpkin slice. They explored then using their five senses and magnifying glasses. They noticed what was the same and different about them. They noticed that both had seeds which raised the question, "If an apple has seeds and a pumpkin has seeds, is a pumpkin a fruit like an apple?" Then we researched our question on the computer (Glogster) and found out that, "Anything that has seeds on the inside or outside is classified as a fruit." We then cut up a few items and had the children decide if it should go in the fruit or vegetable tray remembering what they have learned. So, believe it or not...a pumpkin is a fruit...just ask a kindergartener!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hopscotch Paths - Enhancing Patterns


A fun and exciting way to enhance the learning of patterns is one of our favorite lessons in Math Investigations - Hopscotch Paths. At first the students are very curious when they see us drawing on the carpet with chalk! Not only is this is an excellent way to get their attention, but it also extends patterns to a physical activity. Surprisingly, some children have never played hopscotch or have ever seen it, so this was a great game to enhance schema and have them learn a new game. After a demonstration, students were invited to give it a try - one square for one foot and two squares for both feet. The one-two-one pattern was quickly learned and the children had a lot of fun with it. Then they went back to their seats to find squares of paper for them to construct their own Hopscotch Path. They could get as creative as they wished, however, it had to show a pattern. They loved using their fingers to hop down their path. Next week, we'll be bringing out the chalk during recess. I wonder how many different hopscotch paths we'll find...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Celebrate the Joy of Reading With VHC


Today we celebrated reading with children and teachers from around the world by reading Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". A program named Jumpstart Reading for the Record started in 2006. It is an international campaign whose goal is to bring preschool children together to read the same book, on the same day in communities all over the world. Today, Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar was read aloud in classrooms, libraries and homes from Japan, Germany and Brazil to cities and rural communities across America. While it was being read, props from the book (apples, plums, and oranges) were being munched by a sock puppet caterpillar (thanks Lee)! We know that reading aloud with children lays the groundwork for strong literacy skills and future success in school. We love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, enjoyed being part of this worldwide event, and can't wait for our Eric Carle Author study to read more books by this beloved author!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Baa Baa Black Sheep... Wool and So Much More!


During our morning Skills Block (a time dedicated to learning letters, sounds, (phonics), phonemic awareness, and shared reading), a nursery rhyme a week is introduced. Nursery rhymes are a wonderful way to teach these skills because they are short and easy for children to remember. The bonus is they give numerous opportunities to develop many levels of phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is defined as the awareness of sounds (phonemes) that make up spoken sounds. This includes rhyming, alliteration, ending, beginning sounds, and blending sounds to make words. There is overwhelming evidence that early learning of nursery rhymes and rhythmic poems, songs, and chants enhances early reading skills and phonemic awareness. On Fridays, we like to have a culminating, hands on activity to go with the rhyme. Today, the room was buzzing with the children making the next page in their nursery rhyme book, Baa, Baa Black Sheep. Using paper bags, construction paper and cotton, they made a wonderful keepsake to remember and share all they learned...wool and so much more!