Saturday, December 10, 2016

December 10, 2016

We are theatrical!  This class LOVES to perform, so we have introduced "Reader's Theater".  We practice with our partner on reading with a strong, clear voice.  We are learning to read aloud with fluency and expression.  Enjoy one of our performances:

We are creative!  We love our Bio-buddies, but this month was extra-fun:  we had two STEM challenges!  One was to create a dreidel that would spin.  The second one was to create a 3-D Christmas tree that would stand up on its own.  It was a sight to behold, watching these kindergartners and middle schoolers working together (and it was just as much a challenge for the 7-8th graders as it was for the kinders!)

We are problem solvers!  We worked together as a team to solve another challenge:  how could we make another 3-D Christmas tree using cups?  We were really practicing Growth Mindset during this activity.  We had lots of great ideas, and we needed to modify and adjust our thinking and our plans as we went along.  Even though it fell over right before we took the picture, we all agreed it was a lot of fun, and can't wait to try again this week during choice time!

We are deep thinkers!  We are learning about wants and needs.  We read the book "Those Shoes" by Noah Z. Jones.  

Jeremy wants a pair of black high top sneakers.  He needs winter boots.  After the story, we had a great discussion about wants vs. needs.  We sorted some pictures into wants or needs.  There was a lively debate when we came to a picture of a dog.  Some children thought a dog was a want, because you don't need it to live (the definition we gave the children at the beginning of the lesson).  But others mentioned pets as being part of your family, and you NEED your family.  And still other children reminded us about service animals, and people that have service animals NEED them!  All of this from five and six year olds!  

This week reminded me why I love my job so much.  I am blessed to teach this children!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Special Chapel Service

Hello families,

Today at our chapel, we met two teachers from Jefferson Community School in South Minneapolis. They spoke to us about their school, which is Preschool-8th grade.  They told us about their students, many of whom (1 in 6) are homeless.

We learned that many of their students don't have warm clothes to wear outside in the winter.  Since we LOVE playing outside, especially in the snow, this made us sad, and we wondered what we could do to help.

The Lower School is sponsoring a Winter Wear Drive to try and help out the students of Jefferson School.  Here is a note from Mrs. Z with the details:

Winter Wear Wanted!

The Lower School is collecting new and gently used Winter Wear 
for families experiencing homelessness.

Coats  Jackets  Boots Snowpants

Students may bring donations to their classroom or 
deliver to the "Service Shelf" located near Gym C.
Nov. 29 - Th. Dec. 14 - Thanks!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Grandparent's Day!

We enjoyed a wonderful morning with our special guests.  We introduced ourselves and our guests, performed a silly Thanksgiving song, and enjoyed a snack together.  

After snack, we got to take our guests on a tour of the school and we were able to visit some of our favorite specialists:  Library, Music, Spanish and Art.   We then returned to the classroom to complete some fun activities together:  making an orange/clove pomander, a handprint project, dice games, build-a-turkey, and math coloring sheets.  It was great!

The last thing we did together was gather in the chapel with the rest of the Lower School.  The kindergartners were invited up to sing and do sign language for the first song of the service.  There were plenty of proud guests in the audience!

We hope everyone enjoyed having a tiny peek into our day in kindergarten, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

November 18, 2016

We had tons of fun this week!  Today, say the kids in Room L51, was the BEST.DAY.EVER!!!!  We had:

  •  Pajama day!  The entire school participated in pajama day as a celebration for collecting over 14,000 pounds of food during the "Breck Scares Hunger" food drive.

  • The Hour of Code!  The whole Lower School participated in The Hour of Code, which is a global movement to highlight computer science curriculum.  The kindergartners all gathered together in the LS dining room with our iPads to work on a cool coding app called "Daisy the Dinosaur".

  • Pizza and chocolate milk for lunch!  Need I say more?

  • STEM buddies!  We met with our fourth grade STEM buddies for the first time.   We will get together about once a month to participate in a challenge that combines STEM and Growth Mindset.  Today we had a challenge with our old friend The Gingerbread Man.  Some of the 4th graders put on a little play about the GB Man, who had a growth mindset, and the fox, who had a fixed mindset.  Our challenge was to work with our buddy to create a raft or boat that would carry the gingerbread man safely across the river without getting wet.  Some of us had to go "back to the drawing board" after we tested our device, but in the end, each of us was successful.  It was so much fun!

  • IT WAS SNOWING OUTSIDE OF OUR WINDOW ALL AFTERNOON!  This was perhaps the most exciting event of a day filled with excitement.  There was much talk about winter activities.  Please make sure your child is prepared for recess on Monday with all of their winter gear!  Thanks for your support!

Friday, November 11, 2016

November 11, 2016

·       We are writers!  You would be so impressed and amazed with the progress these students have made in 12 short weeks!  Every young author in Room L51 has created a pattern book about something in nature.  We worked hard at making our writing easy to read.  We love using a new writing tool called "Space Man" that helps us remember to put a space between each word.  The illustrations in these books are gorgeous!  We are in the process of recording each child reading their book on Seesaw.  They will be completed just in time to show off on Grandparents/Special Friends Day!

      We are citizens of the USA!  On Election Day, we read the book Duck for President.  Duck wants things to be different on the farm, so he runs against Farmer in an election.  By the end of the book, he's been elected president of the USA!  After the story, we held our own election.  Each child cast a ballot for either the duck or the farmer.  We talked a lot about some of the rules around voting:  how one person casts one vote (to keep things fair), how votes can be private (so we don't put our names on our ballots) and how we usually vote for one person when voting for our leaders (which is sometimes a tough choice, as with the duck and the farmer).  In our election, Duck won in a landslide 10-3 over Farmer.

·       We are readers!  The best part of reading workshop is when we get to share with our reading buddy.  It is truly awe-inspiring to listen to these children engage in meaningful, thoughtful conversations with a partner.  They are sharing their favorite parts, wonderings and what they believe the story is mostly about.  I can’t describe the pride I feel for each student when I overhear comments such as, “In this picture, I am wondering why her brother has a mean look on his face.  What do you think?”  

·       We are mathematicians!  We are deeply immersed in learning about "part-part whole". This unit is strengthening our knowledge of numbers and how to decompose them.  Numbers greater than five can be represented by holding up 5 fingers on one hand and extras.  Our subitizing cards (we LOVE to subitize!) are arranged with dots that remind of our fingers—in groups of five and extras.  We can quickly identify numbers using this system.  

·       No is a great word to practice reading in November!   We learned about another reading strategy friend named "Chunky Monkey".  Chunky Monkey tells us to look for little words we know inside of bigger word. This can help us figure out those trickier words.  Already, we've discovered the little word to in today and tomorrow, and the little word yes in yesterday.

·       We have been learning about what life was like in earlier times.  We have been enjoying a wonderful series of picture books based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder books Little House in the Big Woods  and Little House on the Prairie.  The one we have enjoyed the most so far is still Going to Town.  The children were very impressed with pioneer life, and we had a lively discussion about how things are different now.  In Going West, Laura and her family move out of the little house in the big woods, and travel in a covered wagon to their new home on the prairie. 

·       We have transformed our dramatic play center into an old-fashioned log cabin.  The children are loving dressing up and pretending to be Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, baby Carrie and their good old bulldog Jack!  

Just a reminder:  Grandparents/Special Friends Day is on Wednesday, November 25th, from 8-12.  School ends at noon, and there is no Extended Day.  There is no school on Thursday or Friday, November 26-27, for the Thanksgiving holiday.