Monday, December 16, 2013

Gingerbread Houses - Hands On Learning and Writing


Today was another "best day ever" in our class according to some students. It was Gingerbread House day.  The first thing we did was go over in "How to" format how to make the gingerbread house. The children were more than ready after it was explained and then decorated their houses in their own personal style. After this hands on activity, they were invited to write how they made their houses so that others may also learn how to do it. It was a great way to incorporate an activity with writer's workshop and have lots of fun doing it. 
This piece includes the title "How to Make a Gingerbread House" and an Introduction "Can you see how to make a gingerbread house?"  First you spread the icing around."  "Then you put the candy." "Next you put the decorations." Finally you decorate the Christmas tree."  Then Kayla lists what you need. "You need a knife." "You need decorations."  She also lists a helpful hint "Don't forget the tree."
"How to Make a Gingerbread House"  "First you get a cafeteria milk jug." "Then you spread the icing." Next you put the (get the) graham crackers."  "Finally you decorate with candy." Ezekiel did a fine job sounding out some very large words and explaining how to make it.  
We hope you this helps you learn how to make a Gingerbread House this season!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Elves and Reindeer Decor

The time is flying bye and the holidays are upon us. We have been squeezing time in our busy academic day to do some fun art projects. Every month we do some sort of a hand project and this month it was the reindeer's antlers. These festive works of art are hanging on our wall in the classroom.
 These elves are hanging on our ceilings and making everyone laugh upon entering the room. Our little elves had fun decorating their costumes and seeing their faces adorn this project. 
 These pictures add a little pizzazz to our holiday festivities.
Thanks to Pinterest for sharing these great ideas!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Powwow - 2013

All of the hard work paid off to produce a memorable day for all of our kindergarten students and parents to remember. We learned a lot about our Lenape tribe and will never forget them.
Powwow Kindergarten 2013 on PhotoPeach

Powwow Preparation - Getting Dressed

A lot of work went into preparing for the actual Powwow day. Our Room Moms Mary Garrard and Christa Hancock saw to every detail from crowns to shoe covers. We appreciate all of their hard work and preparation. These are pictures from the morning of the Powwow before we went outside.
Powwow  Preparation on PhotoPeach

Friday, November 15, 2013

How to Make Chocolate Pudding



 How to get children's attention?  Make chocolate pudding. In Writer's Workshop, we have been learning about "How To" writing.  Students have been writing on such topics as "How to ride your bike,"  "How to brush your teeth," "How to get ready for school," and "How to play soccer."  All of these are written in "steps" -- Step 1, 2, 3 and 4. They are also learning transitional words: first, then, next, finally."  Today, we used a shared experience, "How to make chocolate pudding" as our "How to".  First we wrote what they thought the steps would be, wrote it down and then went over it as it was written. For instance, Step One - Put the milk in the pudding. Well the packet of pudding was opened and the milk was getting ready to be poured in.  "Oh no," they shouted.  "But that's what it says."  So we learned that directions have to be specific if you are going to teach someone how to correctly do things. Afterwards, all eyes were on the pudding and of course shared with the class. Also, they couldn't wait to write about it so they can teach their moms how to make it.!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pow Wow Preparation - Learning About Our Tribe -- Lenni Lenape



 For the past week, we have been learning about our Native American tribe - the Lenape.  They are from the northeastern region of the United States - primarily Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware. The Lenape men were hunters and did what they could to protect their families. The Lenape women were farmers. Both the men and women were story tellers, artists, and musicians.
 
 This week we read a traditional Lenape story called, "Rainbow Crow."  This is the story of how a crow saved a forest full of animals during a terrible snow storm. The crow was once a beautiful bird. During a relentless snowstorm, the animals of the forest asked him to fly to the Great Sky Spirit to ask for the snow to stop. It got burned by the fire he received to melt the snow. However, if you look closely at its black feathers you can still see traces of its rainbow color.

Homework this past week was to research our tribe and dress the cut out accordingly. The students shared how they made their Lenape person and also wrote about it in a "How To" piece in Writer's Workshop. The following are their creations...

 




Sunday, November 3, 2013

Literacy Characters - Our Fall Centers

Here are a few pictures of our book characters dressed up for our Fall Literacy Parade Day and Centers.  It was a wonderful experience for the children to walk through the halls of the school cheered on by older students who remembered how much fun it was when they did the same thing not so long ago.
 
 
 
 
 
 




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Literacy Pumpkin(s) for 2013 - A to Z Animals

 Our literacy pumpkins are on display in the main lobby. This year we chose the book "Animal ABC's" authored by the World Wildlife Fund. We chose the Jacksonville Zoo as the setting for this awesome entry. The children picked an animal from the book. Their homework for the week was to decorate a pumpkin to make it look like their animal. We have a panda, toucan, seal, newt, penguin, quail, zebra and miscellaneous other creatures. The students had a great time showing their animals to the class and seeing them altogether in the zoo. Thank you to our Room Moms - Mary for the zoo-tacular platform with all the extras and to Christa and Claire for all you have done to help with this creation. It is a show-stopper!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Partner Reading

About twice a week the children enjoy sharing their books with a partner. During this partner reading time, they sit side by side with the book in the middle so that each child can see the book. The books in their book bins may include leveled books (A,B,C etc.), Dr. Seuss, an ABC book, star books (Caps for Sale, Harry the Dirty Dog, or a fairy tale), math trade books, and/or books we make in class. This is about 15 minutes out of our Reading block where children get to practice with a friend the strategies learned in the mini lessons. Each partner has a role of listener, reader and/or helper in decoding words. Partner reading is a great time to introduce a friend to a new book and share their thoughts about the books they read.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Visiting the Chicks

 Our Kindergarten students were invited to a Fifth Grade Science class to see and learn about the recently hatched chicks. The chicks will be in the incubator for a few weeks and then get moved to the chicken coop.
 The students had the opportunity to see the chicks up close and ask questions about them.
The chicks will be here for a few more weeks...staying warm under the light.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Our Itsy Bitsy Bulletin Board

  This is our first official bulletin board for this year that is located outside our classroom. Our "Itsy Bitsy Steps Thru Standards" showcases some of the work the children has been doing over the past few weeks.  This includes illustrating the story into three major parts, drawing rhyming words, an interactive art project for students to say the rhyme and move the spider up and down the waterspout, and interactive pieces of the rhyme for another type of retelling. This is by far our favorite class nursery rhyme.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Science - Observing

In Science, students have been learning about some of the tools scientist use such as hand lenses, scales and thermometers. In this experiment, our young scientists used an eye dropper and water to determine whether an item was absorbent or not absorbent. They used paper towels, a sponge, wax paper and a baggie. The items were then separated as "absorbent" or "not absorbent".  They were observing what happened after water was placed on the objects. Then these observations were logged in their Science Notebooks.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mrs. Wishy Washy - Shared Reading

 One of our favorite classroom big books is called Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley. In this book, rhythm and repetition help the children easily read along after hearing the book a few times. The cow, pig and duck love to play in the mud, but Mrs. Wishy Washy wants her animals to be nice and clean. After she washes them, they wait until she goes back in the house and then they run back to play in the mud again. Students had the opportunity to retell this story and act it out during Reader's Workshop. "Oh lovely mud," they said.


Having fun with Mrs. Wishy Washy!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Spotting Sight Words and More...

This sentence strip chart borrows a few lines from one of our favorite books "Caps for Sale." Pointing to the words while reading this chart, students learn that each word is separated by a space, sight words (in, the, down, to, me), color words (red, green, blue, etc.) and more importantly rhyme and repetition. These types of interactive activities are all a part of our literacy block each morning and help build a strong foundation in reading.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jump Start - Reading - Counted in the World Record

 Today our 39 students joined millions of other school children across the country and around the world to celebrate literacy by reading "Otis" by Loren Long.  The organization that sponsored this event  is called "Jumpstart's Read for the Record".  Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community Corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods. They help children develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for kindergarten.

Otis is the story about a fun loving tractor that befriends a frightened calf. They become inseparable until the farmer buys a bigger and newer tractor and puts Otis out to pasture. Then one day, the calf got stuck in the mud and the new tractor could not get him out. Otis came along and saved the day.

We helped to make our reading count in this world record breaking event!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hand Art for the Seasons

 
 With the hectic pace of Kindergarten and keeping up with the standards, we don't want to forget about basic skills such as tracing, cutting, and gluing. These cute art projects add so much to our classroom and the children just love seeing their artwork on the walls. This month we chose an owl. Children are labeling their work and of course adding their own special touches to their pieces. Don't they just make you smile?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kindergarten Homework

We have had a few homework projects since the beginning of school. This is one the students love to do. Children were tasked with finding items at home that begin with the first letter of his/her name. Each child was invited to share these items with the class thereby reinforcing the first letter and beginning sound. Here we have "B" sharing her collection of "b" sounds with a book, bubbles, bear, and Buzz Lightyear. Bravo!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reader's Workshop: Book Bins and Star Books

Reader's Workshop is the time when students are given the time to "read" the books in their book bins. Each child has a book bin which includes a "Star Book" (Three Billy Goats, Caps for Sale,  or Where the Wild Things Are, etc.) that they have heard several times. They are now able to retell the story by looking at the pictures. The bin also includes an ABC book, a Dr. Seuss book and several Level A books which are simple sight word/picture books. Next wee, children will be bringing home a book from their book bin each night as part of their homework. They will love sharing these books with their family and reinforcing the reading skills and strategies they learned in school.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We Have "Caps for Sale"!

"Caps for sale...50 cents a cap." This is another one of our "Star Books" that we reread to the children a few times so that they will be able to retell the story using pictures and vocabulary from the book. Here we have our peddler. He has on his own checked cap and then all of the other colored caps for sale. In the story, the monkeys "borrow' the peddler's caps while he takes a nap against a tree. The caps are returned after the monkeys behaving as the peddler throws his own checked cap on the ground in frustration. Children are learning story sequencing, using story language, and vocabulary such as refreshed, disturb, and imitate  when retelling these adventures. Every student is lucky enough to have a copy of a "Star Book" in his/her book bin and it is delightful to hear them "reading" the books daily.
 He feels refreshed after his nap.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Three Billy Goats Gruff- A Retelling

Being able to retell a story is one of the key ingredients in learning how to read. The children have heard us read The Three Billy Goats Gruff several times during the past few weeks. So much so that they are able to retell it themselves by using handmade stick puppets when doing their own retelling. They share with a friend and decide who is going to be what character and then act out the folktale. Soon they will get their own copy of the book and "read" by using the pictures in the book to help them along. These beginning steps in reading help the child by using one of the first strategies in reading, "Look at the picture."