Sunday, February 28, 2010
The day was a little chilly, but that didn't bother a bus load of Mall-ards on their way to the Jacksonville Zoo! The children were waiting weeks to visit the zoo, one of their favorite places, with their classmates. The zoo adventure started with the educational presentation which focused on up-close and hands-on animal encounters in a traditional classroom setting. The program targeted Kindergarten curriculum and has been developed in conjunction with the Sunshine State Standards, NCEE New Standards, and the Duval County Schools District Performance Standards. Students saw an owl, chinchilla, and lizard to name a few. Then it was off to the zoo to gaze and admire the other animals including elephants, zebras, giraffes, and snakes. It was amazing to hear the vocabulary words students used to describe the animals. We heard "Don't they look cozy?" and "That giraffe looks curious." Also, we have just started our Eric Carle author study and have read the books, "Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too," and "From Head to Toe." These books talk about animal's movements and what their parents and babies are called. For instance, a kangaroo male is a boomer, the mother is a flyer, and the baby is a Joey. Science and Language Arts was explored during this wonderful trip to the zoo. While traveling the zoo sights, students were given a "Search for this Animal" booklet and received a sticker when they spotted one on the list. Thanks to Mrs. Holtsman for the great pictures and Mrs. Farrulla for the Search and Find zoo booklets. And thanks to our twenty plus chaperones who accompanied us on this trip!!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
If you remember, we collected over 100 cans (140 to be exact) of food for the 100th day of school. We recently received this letter of thanks from BEAM (Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry). We thought it was nice of them to send out a note of thanks so promptly. The students enjoyed seeing and hearing the letter and they know that what their families contributed went to a very good cause. Each student received a copy of the letter attached to the weekly newsletter. They were very proud of their community project and so are we! (Click on the letter to read it.)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Valentine's Day was another day to celebrate! Students came in very excited to deliver their cards, candy, and flowers to their classmates and teachers. Homework for the week was to decorate their mailbox and address their cards. The boxes that came in were so creative. They were made out of cereal, tissue, and gift boxes. We think the parents had more fun making them than the kids!! During the morning, children delivered their cards and in the afternoon we made hats, cards, and read books. For math, students sorted and graphed candy Valentine conversation hearts. It was a great day to be in Kindergarten!
In Science, we have been learning about how the earth rotates around the sun, how the moon rotates around the earth, and how the earth rotates like a slowly spinning top. And because the Earth moves this way, day and night create a pattern every 24 hours. You might think that learning these concepts would be too much for kindergarten students but they are very interested in learning about it. One activity was having a student holding a globe while another walked around him representing path of the moon. Another activity was holding a flashlight and slowly moving the globe to show how day and night happen. The standard states that students recognize that day and night are a pattern. After the activities, students created their own day and night pictures and we taped them together representing the continuous pattern of day and night.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
This month our bulletin board is called, "Math Can Be Divided Into Many Parts." We focused on Math and all the different ways we integrate it into the student's kindergarten experience. We start the day with "Calendar Math." This is a structured math activity whereby students use the monthly calendar as the central focus. Besides knowing the answers to today is..., yesterday was..., and tomorrow will be..., students are asked, "On what day was February 5th?" or "How many days until our field trip?" Each day we are in school, it is noted on a sentence strip and counted. Students may write/draw a story problem using dominoes or work as a small group to find an answer to a problem. In the afternoon, we start math with students writing the problem of the day in their math journal. This warm up serves as a review of previously learned math concepts. Students are called to the floor with a number song and/or math literature. Next, math vocabulary is reviewed by asking students to explain three words from the chart. For example, data, arrange, and representation are words on the chart. Then it is focus time where the actual lesson is presented followed by active practice and ending with share time. Choice time is incorporated every few lessons for students to have time to practice previous investigations. So as you can see, math is divided into many parts...any way you slice it!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Today was the 100th day of school. The 100th day has become a milestone in the life of a kindergartener. We have been talking about reaching 100 since the first day of school. In Calendar Math, we represent each day with a straw and bundle groups of ten. The homework for the week was to come dressed in 100 of something. There were 100 stickers, 100 dinosaurs, 100 stars, and of course, 100 straws attached onto shirts. Students were delighted upon entering the classroom and found 100 balloons decorating the ceiling. It was a day to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of 100 days of school. Children shared their 100 shirts with the class and explained how they came up with their ideas. Activities included students drawing a picture of themselves now and what they will look like at 100 years old. There was a 100 day snack (10 different snacks on 100 place mat) and we hid 100 Hershey Kisses (numbered 1-100) and they had to find them and put them on 100's chart. We read books such as 100 Day Worries by Margery Cuyler and Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day by Joseph Slate.
The day was capped off 100 day cupcakes and a visit from Zero the Hero who talked about how things were 100 years ago. He showed antiques such as a washboard, milk jugs, and carpet beaters. This was surely a day of a hundred memories for our kindergarten students! (Special thanks to Melanie H. our class photographer, Elizabeth H. for the cupcakes, and Publix for donating the 100 balloons for our special day!) A slide show of the day will coming soon!!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
We are very fortunate to be able to provide a safety net program for our students called Reading Mastery. This program is focused on phonics and blending sounds. Each morning some students in our class go out with Miss Karen and are provided small group instruction in phonics. We have found that this direct instruction approach bridges the reading gap for some children. When they make the letter-sound connection and they are reading using strategies, they are "graduated" out of the program. Our first graduate, "L." has been given her walking papers. Congratulation "L." we celebrate you and Miss Karen for your hard work and dedication to the students in the program!
One of our 100th Day of school projects was to collect 100 cans of food for the local food bank. Well, we did more than that - we collected over 140 cans of food and the children were delighted in doing it! Each day, students would bring in cans of food and cross off the number of cans on the 100s chart. We worked backwards from 100 so we could see how many cans we needed to fulfill our goal. After all 100 numbers were crossed off, we started to make X's on the back of the chart and then count on to 100. The children were amazed to see how many cans the class donated. Thanks our wonderful Mall-ard parents for making this community service project a success.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
On Monday, the students learned the folklore of Groundhog Day. The celebration of Groundhog Day began with Pennsylvania's earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states, "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May..." Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800s. The first official trek to Gobbler's Knob was made on February 2, 1887. The children now know that if the groundhog sees his shadow, as the legend goes, we will have six more weeks of winter. Before the students left on Monday, we made a prediction chart as to who thought the groundhog would see his shadow and who thought he wouldn't. Well there were ten more children who thought that the shadow would be seen, and they were right! Many students came to school knowing that the groundhog saw his shadow and were very excited to tell their friends. They had a great time making groundhog headbands to celebrate!
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