Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Writing Samples Month-by-Month

Our kindergarten students are getting accustomed to the daily rituals and routines of the day. There is always morning work at their seats. This varies from day to day. It could be letter, number or name practice, an art project, or other hands-on activities (such as making the "Three Billy Goats" stick puppets) that we completed on Monday. There are always books in the middle of every table. When the children are finished their task, they may "read" until the papers are collected.
Another activity that the students complete is a monthly writing sample. At the end of each month, students are invited to draw and write about anything. For this first writing sample, it is very interesting to see how comfortable each child is in his/her writing experience. Some will draw a picture, some will start to label beginning sounds, and some will be able to write a few words. Below is a sampling of the August writing. At the end of each month, another sample will be taken. It is amazing to see the amount of growth that can take place in one month.

Here we have a drawing.

This is the start of labeling.

Here we have color words and words that she is confident in knowing how to spell (yellow sun, me, black, grass).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ten Black Dots Marks the End of Week One


It is hard to believe but the first week of Kindergarten is over. Looking back, we have been very busy - the way Kindergarten should be. We learned new songs, played new games, danced, read books, painted with watercolors, played outside, worked on puzzles, drew pictures, experienced an assembly with Omega-man, had a fire drill, made a class promise, and so much more. No wonder everyone slept so well this week!!
Today in Math, we read "Ten Black Dots" by Donald Crews. This is a counting book where children notice the circle shape in the world around them. Students were invited to use their imaginations and use dot stickers to create their own dot picture. Afterward, they each shared their creation with the class.

Oh, one of the best things about today was that it was fun Friday! Below is an incredible treat that was shared with the class today.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ten Apples Up On Top


One of our favorite books to read during the first week of school is Dr. Seuss' "Ten Apples Up On Top." In addition to hearing rhyming words, counting is integrated into this wonderful book about an apple-balancing competition between a dog, a tiger, and a lion. Today, the children were invited to draw themselves and put any number from one to ten apples on top of their heads. We had some unbelievable balancing acts going on with the apples! In addition, we had a lot of laughs when we modeled the activity by balancing apples on top of our heads :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Day


Today we celebrated the third day of kindergarten with Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault's rhythmic chant Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. This read-aloud is always a class favorite. The alphabet comes to life as the letters travel up the coconut tree and back down again. Students were read the big book and then created their own coconut trees with the letters from their name traveling up the tree.

Students also had time to explore pattern blocks. These blocks come in various shapes including hexagons, trapezoids, and triangles. They eventually discover how the shapes fit into each other and what shapes can make other shapes. Discovery and exploration is a big part of kindergarten and giving the children this time to talk about their findings with each other is very important.
Other activities today included singing, dancing, drawing, and more read-alouds. Today was a wonderful Chicka Chicka Day :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Settling in on day two - The Class Promise


It is amazing to see the transformation in children even after one day in school. They went directly to their cubbies to drop off their lunches and backpacks and then to their seats. Each child was given a dotted sheet with his/her name on it for practice. When finished, they were encouraged to "read" a book in the book bin placed at each table.
Our focus today was determining what our "class promise" should be. We read books on friendship, following rules, and having respect for one another. Then we asked, "What do you think are some good ideas to help the class run smoothly?" We had responses such as being nice to each other, not to hit or be mean, listen to the teacher and waiting your turn. These wonderful responses were turned into 1) being a first-time listener; 2) being kind to others; 3) being ready to learn: and 4) having self-control (which was a direct student response). We all agreed that these were great rules to abide by. Then each child was invited to draw his/her face and it was attached to the newly created "Class Promise". We will recite this promise every morning to help us remember to be good school citizens.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Incredible First Day of Kindergarten


It was an "Incredible" first day of kindergarten. We started the day with two of our favorite books. "LLama, Llama Misses Mama" by Anna Dewdney and the classic "Corduroy" by Don Freeman. After "Llama, Llama" each child had the opportunity to hold the stuffed animal llama and we played "Hickity, Pickity." This is where we chant, "Hickity, Pickity bumble bee, won't you say your name for me?" Then the child says his/her name and we clap out the syllables and then whisper his/her name. Then the llama was passed to the next person and that person was introduced. We stretched with "The Freeze Dance" and then we noticed that Corduroy had lost his button. We read the book and then went searching the school looking for his lost button. We went to the Art room, Media Center, and playground which is where we finally found it!! In this way, the students received a mini tour of the school and we were so glad to find that button!!

After lunch, we decorated our very own super hero capes and couldn't wait to put them on. There was so much more in store for our first day kindergarteners. A special assembly was prepared to "WOW" the students.

"Omega Man" put on a show for the children where he bent iron, ripped a telephone book in half, and lifted two children on a bar. He told them they can be whatever they wanted and not to let anyone keep them from their dreams. He spoke of bullies and how we have the super power to be dream-makers and stay away from those dream-breakers.

All of our dream-makers will be back tomorrow with their incredible super powers to enjoy the second day of kindergarten. "Oh the places we will go..."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New School Theme: Empowering the Future

We are so excited with our new theme "Empowering the Future"! Our Kindergarten students will be "The Incredible Kindergarten Class" and we will be discovering lots of superhero strengths among each individual student. We can not wait to get started!

Chets Creek Elementary – Empowering the Future! from Melanie Holtsman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Goodbye Hog Heaven - Returning to Kindergarten


It was the last day of school and you would think a happy day but not for our Hog Heaven students. The realization of moving on to a new grade...being big second graders was a bit much. As the students were in the hall saying goodbye to the fifth graders, they were overcome with emotion as they too are moving on. We are confident that they will love the rest of their years at Chets Creek and visit us often. The "Hog Heaven" banner is coming down and we are getting ready for a new group of Kindergarten students in a few weeks. We will be known as "The Mall-ard's Incredible Kindergarten" utilizing our new "Superheros" theme. Thank you so much parents and friends of Hog Heaven. The joy we shared with your children is priceless. And now, we can't wait to greet our new batch of incredible students!!