On Friday we took part in an exciting presentation by the New England Aquarium all about tide pools. We learned about what tide pools are as well as about the creatures that can be found living in tide pools. We were lucky enough to be able to see these creatures up close and continue our learning through touching and seeing!
This week in writer’s workshop we kicked off our new writing unit: Teaching Books. We are learning that there are different types of books that authors write. Some books are written to tell a story and others are written to teach. As writers we have begun learning that we can teach others about things that we know a lot about. To help us get started we wrote a class book to teach our readers about tide pools based on what we learned on Friday. Ask your kindergartner to tell you about the page they added to our class book!
Things are continuing to roll along in kindergarten! Students are becoming increasingly more independent and are really starting to show their learning in lots of different ways. This week we started talking about winter holidays as the first night of Hanukkah was on Sunday. Thank you to Shylie and Olive for bringing in a menorah to share with the class! We enjoyed looking at them and learning about how the eight candles stand for the eight nights of Hanukkah.
Fundations: This month in Fundations we will learn the following letters and their sounds: Gg -game-/g/, Dd-dog-/d/, Ss-snake-/s/ and Ee-Ed-/e/.
Writing: We will soon begin our next writing unit: teaching stories. Students will choose a subject they know a lot about and write about it to teach others. For example if a student chooses to write about soccer they might add details like: When you play soccer you need a ball, you kick the ball, there are 2 teams. We will be working on adding sentences and labels to help teach our readers about what we know.
Word Wall Words:
We have started to add words to our word wall this fall. Each word that is added to the wall is a word that we read and write frequently. With practice students are able to use the word wall as a tool to help them when they are writing. Some of those words are a, at, go, I, me, my, see, the. When you are reading or writing with your child at home you can ask him/her to try and find a kindergarten word wall word.
Read Alouds, Shared Reading and Poems: In December and January we will read several folk tales. We focus on retelling. Kindergartners will learn several different strategies for retelling including oral retelling, dramatic retelling, and puppet retelling. Retelling is an important comprehension strategy. One strategy that students will soon be introduced to is called "Stepping Stones". This strategy specifically targets the comprehension skills of retelling. This strategy teaches students to think of each page of a book as a part of one whole story. When they "step" through the book page by page they can use the pictures and their memory to retell the story from beginning to end. Our folktale unit is a perfect unit that gives students many opportunities to use and practice this strategy because we will read several versions of the same folktale. Kindergartners will learn to retell familiar tales like The Three Billy Goats, The Three Little Pigs, The Little Red Hen and The Gingerbread Boy.
Many of the stories we are reading are traditional folktales. If you have a folktale that reflects your culture or heritage we would love for you to share it with kindergarten! Please, let me know.
We have started our study of Living & Non-Living Things. Ask your kindergartner to tell you three things that living things need and three things that a living thing can do. In January, we will investigate the question: Is a bulb a living thing? The students will participate in various experiments in order to answer this question. Each kindergartner will plant and care for his or her own bulb. As scientists, we will observe, record, measure and compare our plants using a variety of tools. You will have a chance to learn more about this investigation at our K Family Drop-In on Thursday, January 24th . Save the date!
Our first K Family Drop-In will be Thursday, January 24th, from 8:20 to 8:45 AM. We will be sharing our learning from our science unit with you! We hope you can make it!
This month in math we will begin to learn about numbers in the “tricky teens” remembering that the digit “1” always comes first. We will also continue to practice counting strategies: lining objects up and moving objects to keep track. You and your kindergartner might like to practice counting objects around the house. We will begin talking about number stories and integrate math into our science unit, as we measure the growth of our bulbs.
Please keep in mind that all kindergartners go out for recess daily! Unless the weather is extremely cold or our playground is very icy, we will go outside. Please send your child with appropriate clothing each day. This includes; jacket, hat, and mittens/gloves. If there is snow on the ground, students also need boots and snow pants. Please be sure to label all of the winter clothing that comes into school. It is also very helpful if you practice zipping and fastening the winter clothes at home so students can have more success getting ready independently at school. Also, our classroom temperature varies a great deal. It is most often hot, but some Monday mornings it is cold…Kindergartners should dress in layers all season long, and all the layers should be labeled with names. And again, any practice with putting on and removing layers independently that you can do at home would be very helpful.
It's hard to believe that it's already November and the holidays are just around the corner. We are now 45 days into the school year and we are moving right along. Most routines are in place and we are working well together!
Thank you to everyone for signing up for a conference and taking the time to come in and meet with me. I enjoyed meeting with each of you about the progress your child has made in kindergarten, so far. I am looking forward to working with each child during the rest of the year as we continue to develop as learners in kindergarten.
Phonics: This month in Fundations we will focus on the following letters:
Ii (Ii-itch-/i/), Uu (Uu-up-/u/), Cc (Cc-cat-/c/), Oo (Oo-octopus-/o/). During our Fundations time throughout the week we review all the letters and sounds in order to help students solidify the letter/sound knowledge.
Word Wall Words
We have started to add words to our word wall! Each word that is added to the wall is a word that we read and write frequently. With practice students are able to use the word wall as a tool to help them when they are writing as well as reading. So far, the words we have learned are: A, I , me, the, at. When you are reading or writing with your child at home you can ask him/her to try and find a kindergarten word wall word.
Writing: During writer's workshop we are continuing to write true stories. Topics for these stories come from students' personal experiences, so pretty much anything is fair game! Students are learning how to "turtle talk" (sounding words out slowly) and record as many sounds as they can hear for each word they are trying to write. Students are also working on building their independence as they move through the stages of the writing process. Making a plan for their story, drawing the picture with appropriate details, and labeling are steps that take time and practice. We are working really hard!
It may be helpful to chat with your kindergartener about some things that they could write a story about. We will soon start writing “teaching stories” (writing about what we know).
Reading: We will be focusing on several important concepts of print including: uppercase & lowercase letters, letters vs words, beginning vs end of word. During shared reading we have been reading many big books (books with large print so the responsibility of the reading is shared between me and the students). We have been learning an important reading strategy: “What Repeats?”. Students are learning that sometimes books say the same thing over and over again! The repeated pattern and the pictures can help us read many books. Keep a look out for the letter books (My Tt Book, My Ii Book, etc.) as well as the word wall books coming home in your child's Friday folder. These books are perfect practice for students to notice the repeating pattern. With each of these book we learn how to read them by thinking about what repeats on every page and using the pictures to help us with the remaining words. Please have your child read their books to your each week!
SOCIAL STUDIES & SCIENCE:
We have begun new learning in science all about thinking about the question- "What is a scientist?" We will continue to come back to this question throughout the entire school year and continue to build on our understanding of what scientists do and how scientists learn. We have already learned two things that scientists do: "Scientists notice details" and "Scientists draw what he or she sees". This week we had the opportunity to observe and draw fall trees outside in order to practice these two things that scientists do. We spent time carefully noticing details of the fall trees before doing our best work to draw exactly what we saw. We worked hard to choose appropriate colors and add appropriate details.
During the early part of November, we will continue our study of the Sensational Season of Fall. We are having two exciting science afternoons coming up soon! We will get together with the other two K classes and observe and explore signs of fall in a variety of ways. Toward the end of the month we will begin our study of Living & Non-Living Things. When we return from Thanksgiving Recess, we will study the life cycle of living things when we plant and care for Narcissus bulbs.
This month we will continue with games and activities to develop consistency and accuracy with counting skills. We have been working with 5 frames to help students visualize numbers and see the relationships between numbers. We will soon start using 10 frames. We have also been learning how to form numbers properly when writing them. Students have learned catchy little rhymes to help with this. Ask them to recite them for you!
5 Little Pumpkins
We completed our final project with the poem "The 5 Little Pumpkins". Check our mini movies below! Watch and listen carefully with your kindergartner to find his/her pumpkin!
During shared reading throughout the past several weeks we have been focusing on the poem "The 5 Little Pumpkins". We have interacted with this poem in a variety of different ways. First, we spent time reading different versions of the poem. Next, we practiced reading the poem by pointing to each word and drawing a picture to match to add to our poetry folders. Then, we acted out the poem. Each student had a chance to take on the roll of one of the five little pumpkins. Most recently, students were involved in a "teamwork challenge". Working in groups of 2 or 3, students were responsible for creating a gate out of different building materials. Together, they had to decide how it was going to look and how long and wide it had to be to fit all 5 pumpkins. In the end if the pumpkins didn't stay or their gate wasn't big enough they had to decide together what changes needed to happen to make it work. The trick was that they could only build 1 gate as a team so they had to come together to share ideas and use teamwork. We’re learning that being flexible in the moment when a peer might have an idea that’s different than yours is important, even though it might be hard.
We're working on one final activity with this poem. Stay tuned!
On Friday, we met our third grade reading buddies from Ms. Bard's class for the first time. We were so excited! Every Friday we will get together with our buddies and they will read to us. This past Friday, students spent time getting to know each other. Kindergartners shared things they like and things they are interested in. Third graders will work to find books to read to their kindergarten buddy based on things that they talked about. Ask your kindergartner to tell you a little bit about their third grade buddy!
This week our long day schedule began! Students were so excited to stay for lunch and afternoon activities! After recess we always start our afternoon routine with a few minutes of quiet time. Everyone was happy to have a "brain break" to gear up for the rest of the afternoon.
Cutting anD glueing Party!
On our first long day afternoon we had a cutting and glueing party! We practiced 2 skills that we have learned about in kindergarten: using our "go fingers" while cutting and "dot dot, not a lot" when using glue bottles. This activity was left open ended to let the creative juices flow!
It's hard to believe that it is already October! It has been a great start to the year! The children are settling into our kindergarten routine, working hard, and making new friends. Thank you for helping make the transition into kindergarten successful!
Fall conferences will begin on Tuesday, October 2nd. Be sure to sign up for a conference. These conferences will be a time for you to tell me anything about your child that you want me to know. We will also talk about your child’s transition into kindergarten and some of the skills s/he has demonstrated.
Phonics: In phonics, we will work on letter recognition, letter formation, phonological awareness (the understanding that spoken language consists of parts- sentences, words, syllables, sounds), and sound mastery.
This month in Fundations we will learn the following letters and their sounds: T (Tt-top-/t/), B (Bb-bat-/b/), F (Ff-fan-/f/) and N (Nn-nut-/n/). Be on the lookout with your kindergartner for words with these sounds.
Writing: Last week we launched Writer's Workshop. The authors are busy working on telling a story using pictures. We learned that a picture can tell a story. We will begin learning that we, as authors, have an important job of adding details that tell our readers what our story is about. We will work on adding details that tell what we were doing, where we were, and who we were with. This month we will also expand our writing by labeling objects in our pictures. We will learn that labels can also give our readers important information about our stories. Students will work on “turtle talking”- saying words very slooooowly to hear the sounds more clearly. We will also learn how to use the alphabet chart to help us with writing these sounds. The kindergartners write their stories based on their true experiences and happenings from their lives. It would be very helpful for families to talk about which of their many adventures, large and small, might make a good story.
Read Alouds, Shared Reading and Poems: This month we will be reading a variety of books and poems about fall, as well as Halloween. When we are reading we will be talking about the parts of the book, including the cover and title. We will also be talking about the direction we read and what to do at the end of a line, which is called a return sweep. These are all introductory skills that develop each reader’s understanding about print.
Social StudiesDuring the month of October we will be studying fall. We will be discussing what the weather is like, what we wear, the holidays we celebrate, what activities we do and what animals do. Students will also make observations on how our environment changes and record their observations.
We have been establishing routines for math time and becoming familiar with our math materials. We will begin to introduce number writing and counting strategies through interactive games and activities.
Social/emotional development is an important component of kindergarten. Often times these skills are developed through open-ended conversations based on what we see and hear happening in the classroom. Some things that we will continue to talk about this month include sharing, classroom rules, and expectations, as well as respecting each other and materials. .
When your child stays for his/her long days, he/she can order food from food services. For more information, log on our school website https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/799 click on the food services link. It will direct you to the Newton food services page.Once again, please look at the menu at home and help your child know if he/she is ordering school lunch.
Classroom Wish List
I will occasionally post a classroom wish list on our classroom website. This list includes items that will enhance our curriculum or help with the daily routine. Providing these items is totally voluntary – please do not feel any obligation! If you would like to participate, the list is posted on our website. Thank you!
With the first month of school under our belt we are ready to move full steam ahead. The children are building skills and becoming more independent each day. They really do feel proud when they are able to start the morning routine independently. Please allow your child to carry his/her own backpack and lunchbox. Of course I am happy to help if there is a need. Thank you!
Please continue to be in touch about any issue – big or small! The best way to reach me is through email. email@example.com