Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Fun

By Friday the kids are wearing down from the busy week, so I try to do some activities that are lighter and fun.  Today they had "Show and Tell" with the theme - bring two things that rhyme.  We had rock-sock, hat-cat, dog-log, rug-mug, etc.  One child brought a dollar and his mom brought in a baby  We all loved that bunny and it was SO soft!

Then we played Alphabet Bingo for fun and they all won a prize.  They loved that!  Later on we did science and art together creating a plant showing all of the parts that they need to know.  I noticed that they thought they were big deals using the word soil instead of dirt.  Yay!

We had our usual reading and math lesson and in the afternoon we went to the school library for the first time this year and afterwards we went to the computer lab.  That is not so easy on the "Teach", but it went pretty well.  

I did not get photos of all of our activities today and some of them I did get, didn't turn out.  My classroom school camera does not take very good photos and my birding camera isn't always with me.  Bummer.

By the way...if you would like to see my blog about birds, here is the link.  I started it in April where I told about myself and I gave some links to good bird field guides, birding lessons, videos etc.  You might enjoy it.  Some of you have asked me about how my Ohio Bird Camp went and there is a long post about that with lots of photos.  Also I discussed about some of the birds I've seen in the last few months and I try to inform others about birds, so if you'd like to take a look, here is the link.  BirdTeach blog

Here is the link to my Flickr site featuring birds that I've seen in this area of the state:  
My Flickr site

Two cute bunnies!

The kids seemed to really enjoy this project.

This should help them remember the parts of a plant.  They did a nice job!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Outdoor Science Class

In kindergarten science class, we have been discussing living and non-living things.  Then I taught them about the needs of a plant and the parts of a plant.  Today we went outdoors for some "hands-on" work.  Their assignment was to notice different stems, leaves, flowers and find roots.  We also checked out the difference between a regular tree and a Cedar tree.  

We did a lot of comparing and I tried to get them to be more aware of their environment.  They still have a difficult time following directions and listening to instructions and lessons, but that will come in time.  For now our hikes will have to be kept close to the school.  When they obey better, we will head to the lake in town. 

They were surprised to learn that a tree trunk was a stem.  One child yelled, "Let's hug this tree!"

We talked about the creek and how the water got there.  We walked a block over to my house to look through the garden and discuss those plants.  While we were in the yard a House Finch landed 8 feet away on the feeder.  I told them to freeze and they all got a good look at it. There also was a cottontail rabbit in the yard next door.  It doesn't get more exciting than that!

"Look at the roots, Teacher!"
"This one is long!"
If anyone needs help pulling weeds, I know just the kids to help!
Here they are listening to me talk about plants.
"Let's hug the tree!"

They loved looking at the water and rocks in the creek.
I believe we made this rabbit nervous.
A female House Finch.

A Chicken?

The other day during kindergarten reading class, one of the students who was looking out the window calmly said, "Teacher...there's a chicken on the basketball hoop."  I had to laugh and take a look, but I didn't see a chicken.  He said, "Its right there!"  It was on the basketball court, rather than the hoop, but it wasn't a chicken.  It was a Eurasian Collared-Dove and it was walking around bobbing its head back and forth like a chicken does.  I had to smile.  They say the cutest things!  Little do they know, that it won't be long and they will know that bird and many others!

A Eurasian Collared-Dove in my yard

Eurasian Collared-Doves are larger, and lighter gray than a Mourning Dove.  They have a black stripe on their neck - the "collar".  Their broad tail is square at the tip and the Mourning Dove has a pointed tail.  About ten years ago we did not have many of them here in our town, but they were an introduced species to the Bahamas and then they made it to Florida.  After that they spread across America.  We have many of them in our town,  Read more at this site:  All About Birds

This will be the first of many bird lessons that I will be sharing with you.  As a teacher and an avid birder, I feel like informing you about birds is something you might enjoy. willl want to keep up with your kindergartener! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wacky Watermelon Wednesday

Today was Wacky Watermelon Wednesday and most of our lessons were geared around a watermelon.  We discussed the life cycle of a watermelon and they were artists as they painted a picture of it.  We sang a rhyming song about watermelons too.

We felt the watermelon, held it, estimated its weight and weighed it.  We talked about the letter Ww and its sound and how to write it.  We also made up a silly story about a Willie Watermelon and his adventure at the seashore with Winnie the whale.  We made a booklet for you to see.

At the end of the day, we went outside to the picnic table and the children watched me cut the watermelon into pieces for them to eat.  It was a fun day and they learned a lot along the way!
It was pretty heavy for these little guys!

Here are the little artist painting their watermelon.
Their favorite part of the day!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Journal Writing

Kindergarten students write in journals!  It is true!  They write in their journal every day.  At first the pages may have a basic drawing and you will see where they tried to write their thoughts.  Throughout the year the drawings become more advanced and your child will start to draw letters and then words using inventive spelling or by looking at the Word Wall in the classroom. In time they will be able to write on their own.  Some kindergarteners come in knowing how to write, so then they are challenged to write more or use adjectives. 

Each child is at a different level and that is okay.  I try to get them to learn something new each day.  Each day I do a lesson teaching them how to write and how to use a "magic line", if they just can't figure out how to sound out a word.  

I explain to the kids that their writing is called "kid writing" and mine is "grown-up writing".  We don't want them to think that their writing is wrong, but just different.  The goal is to get a child to feel free to write and express themselves without the pressure of it being perfect.  I think that you will enjoy seeing what your child was thinking about at this young age.  It is also interesting to see the progress that they make throughout their kindergarten year.  We also keep a class nature journal where we write about what is happening around us in nature.

Journal writing teaches: 
  • how to read from left to right 
  • how to write a sentence and how to read 
  • how to spell and sound out words 
  • how to use correct punctuation 
  • how the spoken word can be put into written words

This is our anchor chart that we read through each day as I demonstrate how to do it.

"The boat is floating the taxi cab."

"I like to look at flowers."

"We are scared of the big shark!"

"I like my family."

"This is a school bus."

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    The Wheels On The Bus

    This week's reading lessons will be focused around the big book titled, "The Wheels on the Bus".  It the same as the favorite children's song.  This morning I taught the lesson and we sang the song.  Then we headed out to the real school bus and climbed aboard to see what it was like.  Of course we had to sing the song on the bus.  Those that don't ride the school bus, thought that being in the bus was pretty cool!  Now we will have to see, if someone will give them a ride on the bus someday.

    This week the students will learn to match rhyming words, name these nine letters {Gg, Tt, Aa, Yy, Dd, Jj, Mm, Bb and Rr}, match the upper and lowercase letters,as well as recall and retell a story.  Working on these skills at home will also reinforce learning and help your child to succeed!

    Happy Kindergarteners!

    Uh-oh!  Looks who is driving the bus!  Are there seat belts on this bus?

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    A Great Day!

    Today went much smoother as they were more familiar with the rules, schedule and such. 

    The k-kids had their first music class and they enjoyed that!  We also were busy today discussing letter names and identifying shapes.  Later, I set up centers where they went to to do learning activities.

    At story time I read them a book about me that showed photos and told about me during my years in elementary school.  They were surprised at the kindergarten page when it said that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up!  I think it is good for them to see that their teacher was also a child at one time.

    They had quiet time today too.  During quiet time, they lie down and relax a bit while listening to music.  They don't have to sleep, but just wind down a bit.

    The girls relaxed while looking at books.

    Later I did a little magic show.  I mixed colored water together to make new colors.  They were impressed.  Then one child asked me if I could disappear.  Ha-ha!   

    The young students are working on identifying the colors and color words.  For those that already know them, I challenge them to learn which color is created when mixing two together.  They seemed interested in that.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Day 2 of Kindergarten

    It was another good, but busy day in school!   Today they got to eat lunch in school and they really enjoyed that!  It was difficult getting everybody to go through the lunch line and punch in their 4-digit code.  When I was showing and telling several of them how to scrape off of their plates, another student came over and I said, "Dump it in there."  He dropped his whole tray in the trash and walked away.  I guess that is what I said!  Pretty funny!

    This week they are learning:  following the rules, writing their name, colors and color words, alike and different, identifying shapes, living and non-living things.

    They also did their first worksheet, journal page and booklet drawings today.  Following directions is a difficult skill for young students who have been in "summer mode", but they will get it in time.  They do a great job at listening to me read books, so I've really enjoyed reading to them.  They really get into the story!  Here are some photos from the day:

    Here they are drawing a picture in their journal.

    This was a cutting exercise from the first day of school.

    We have been talking about the difference between letters and words.  This also teaches them how to read a graph.

    This crazy-looking character is from a book titled, David Goes to School.  We then made a chart to help us remember what rules David had trouble with.  Getting the rules established early helps classroom behavior for the school year.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    The First Day of Kindergarten

    The Kindergarten Class

    We had a great first day of school!  They were engaged in the activities, well-behaved, polite and kind to one another.  What more could I ask for?

    We only went for half a day of school today, so that we could get set up, go over the rules, get more comfortable and get to know each other.

     Some of the questions from today were:  

    "When is it recess time?"  I heard that one a lot.
    "Will we eat lunch here today?"
    "When can we play with the toys?"
    "Do you like birds? ..."Why?"

    I sent home a booklet with "Franklin", the turtle, on it.  Inside it tells what we did in school today.  Unfortunately I got so busy with the kids, that I forgot to take more photos, but here are a few to share from the day!

    Here they are building a tall tower with the Kleenex boxes.

    These boys are focusing hard on carefully cutting out their apples.

    Here is the fun snack that I came up with!

    They had a half hour to check out the toys.  That is very important to a k-kid!

    The boys loved the trucks!

    The girls were busy building with various blocks.
    Tonight is the Open House at school from 5:00-7:00, so please stop in for a free supper, door prizes and come check out your child's classroom.  It should be a fun evening!  Then tomorrow we are off and running!

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    Kindergarten is about to begin!

    School begins in eleven days and I am almost ready for that first day of school!  I am really looking forward to meeting the students and getting to know them.

    This blog will be a journal of your child's kindergarten school year.  It will help you to feel more involved and to know what he/she has been up to.  It will also help to spark discussion between you and your child about what they do in school.  Hopefully this will be fun for you to share with your child and grandparents as well!  Enjoy!