Friday, December 7, 2018

Having snow much fun!

Learning about the menorah
What a beautiful, winter wonderland! The students enjoyed our hike even more with all the snow, squealing with glee over sliding down hills and plopping into drifts.
Making airplanes

This week, we got to enjoy hearing about Hanukkah from Abe and his mom, who came in to read a story for our class to educate us about the history of Hanukkah and the significance of the menorah. The students also learned how to play dreidel, and greatly enjoyed it! It was a favorite, and I'm sure will be making an appearance again in one of our math centers! We also celebrated Archer's birthday by making special dragon paper airplanes. The kinders loved it!

In social studies, we talked about the communities we live in, and next week, we will learn about the people that we need in our communities, such as firefighters, policemen, doctors, etc. The students loved playing community Bingo! On Thursday, we visited Tahoe Truckee High School to watch the Ririe Woodbury Dance group. We learned about how to make poses by pushing, pulling, and supporting. Members of the dance group also led the students in different dance moves, which they loved. It was a wonderful experience!

Playing dreidel
Next week, we welcome a new student to our class! I am excited to see how this group of learners will welcome a new member to our community. Enjoy the weekend!

Ririe Dance
Out on the hike! 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Duck? or Rabbit?

One of the kids' favorite activities this week as we came back from the break was our class-wide vote on whether this famous pictures depicts a duck or a rabbit. They learned about the concept of "majority rules,"  and learned how to express their opinions respectfully, even when they don't agree with others. This activity partially stemmed from an important Social Emotional Learning concept: listening. The students loved being able to vote; be sure to ask them about that activity if you get the chance!

Other news this week: we switched things up in our daily schedule. From Mondays-Wednesdays, math is in the morning right after our morning meeting, and reading was moved to the slot between specialist and lunch. On Thursdays, we will still do reading in the morning to accomodate our book buddies, and math stations will happen before lunch. We worked on making patterns together as a class, creating numbers in different ways on tens frames, and addition. My goal is to make things as hands-on and activity-based as possible, along with a few worksheets sprinkled here and there. The kindergarteners seemed to embrace the change and greatly enjoyed our new math activities!

Finally--we have had our very first SNOW DAY of the season today! Get outside, enjoy learning in nature, and most of all, STAY SAFE! See you all next week :)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Winter is coming!

An easterly wind blew through the valley yesterday, reminding us all that winter is on its way! Regardless of the cold, the kindergarteners bundled up and hit the trail for our Shirley Canyon hike, stopping along the way to find curved sticks and branches with which to fashion bows and arrows. The students fully embraced the activity, galavanting around and chasing imaginary 'bad guys' in worlds of their own creation. One of my favorite parts of working with kindergarteners is seeing how much they love imaginary play. It takes me back to my own childhood, which I spent mostly outdoors, and I'm so grateful for the proximity of Shirley Canyon so that they can experience outdoor play and adventures like this every week.

Things picked up in math this week, with more games and activities surrounding the number 10. For some, this meant counting within 10 and writing the number; for others, this meant creating different addition sentences and showing 10 in as many ways as they could. In reading, we finished unit 2 and moved onto unit 3, where we will spend more concentrated time on letter sounds and sight words to create simple sentences for some, and more complicated sentences for others.

The kids really enjoyed learning about American symbols this week, and loved writing about what they would do if they were president. Where would they live? How would they ride around? In their carriage, helicopter or on a unicorn named Twilight Sparkles? My favorite question and comment the students made about being president of the United States was, "Why haven't we had a woman president? I wanna be president someday and I'm a girl!" We have some strong, independent thinkers in our class, that's for sure! Our future is in good hands!

Breaking the Geode
Finally, we welcomed our Special Me's sister to come read a book to us, and greatly enjoyed watching a geode get cracked open. Each student was able to keep a piece! In addition, we had the privilege of having a student's great-grandma as a volunteer in our classroom this week, experienced Harvest of the Month with various tastings of pomegranates, and had the fifth graders step up to be our reading buddies this week, since fourth grade was on a field trip and eighth grade is in the throes of reading Macbeth. The students were able to be flexible and enjoyed their time immensely. This will be good practice for the flexibility needed with next week's shorter schedule and guest teacher....until then, and have a wonderful long weekend!

Help from Great Grandma

Tasting Pomegranate juice

Friday, November 2, 2018

Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, and more!

What a fun, full week this week! The anticipation for Halloween was palpable with increased energy in the classroom, and we were able to direct that towards fun art and food projects on Halloween. This would NOT have been possible without the help of dedicated parent volunteers who came in for two different hour-long time slots to help out. The kids LOVED it, and it was an awesome opportunity for me to stand back and observe from a different perspective than I normally am able to. A HUGE thank you to everyone who volunteered with ideas, crafts, or coming in to lead the stations. And thank you to all of the parents for supporting all of the amazing costumes the kids wore on Halloween for the parade!

The students were also very excited to get back into the normal routine for Pizza Thursday, and our hike up to Shirley Canyon. They really missed it last week! We were treated with a spectacular day of warm fall weather. The kids greatly enjoyed clambering all over a gnarled, lichen-covered juniper tree, which also offered great photographic opportunities. 

We made it back just in time for the Dia de los Muertos celebration, led by the wonderful, dedicated and creative Spanish teacher, Ms. Monica. It truly was an authentic, immersive experience, and one of the students told me "Ms. Maryn, this reminds me of my Nana who died!" This is exactly why Dia de los Muertos is celebrated, so it was neat to see the kids have such strong connections to the presentation put on at Creekside. 
Thank you again for another awesome week; enjoy the pictures!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Emi Sunshine and other fun!

Even though this week was minimum week, we still packed in a lot of learning. I appreciated and enjoyed seeing everyone at conferences--thank you for carving out the time and space to meet with me and chat about your wonderful kindergarteners! I love working with your kids, and being able to see their growth and hear your perspectives from growth you've seen at home has been a great encouragement to me, and a motivation to continue to provide challenging and relevant learning opportunities for your children.

So excited for Emi Sunshine!
A definite highlight of this week was being able to enjoy the music of the talented 14-year-old musician, Emi Sunshine. The students were enthralled by her energy, charisma, foot-tapping music and most of all (according to them), her purple hair and southern accent. One kindergartener's words to me were, "Ms. Maryn, I liked how she talked real slow and it sounded cool!"

What a talent and what a treat for us!
The kindergarteners were greatly saddened that we missed our Thursday Pizza Day and hike up Shirley Canyon. We are definitely looking forward to getting back to a more regular schedule next week, although Halloween and Dia de los Muertos will bring extra excitement to our week. Until then!

Name Tracing

Rhyming words

Stamp books with new sight words!

Friday, October 19, 2018

FALL in love with Learning!

Number writing relay
Number writing relay
What a beautiful week of glorious fall weather and fantastic learning! Highlights from this week included learning about syllables by playing a syllable version of "duck, duck, goose", exploring new things about bats through reading Stellaluna, participating in our very first math number-writing relay, and starting to segment and blend words and identify the beginning sounds in words.

Shirley Canyon Hike
Happy Hiker
We also learned about what natural resources animals need to survive, and attempted to identify various forms of food, water, and shelter along our Shirley Canyon hike. The weather was sublime, and the kids especially seemed to enjoy balancing on and climbing along a felled tree along the path. It also provided an excellent place to grab a photo of the class!

Busy writing
Finally, this was a week to stretch our writing muscles! The kinders learned about what good writers do: how they stay in one spot, write the whole time, and think of new ideas and new details to add to their pictures and writing when they think they are done. Ask them about our resident writing genius, Granny Writesalot, who visited our classroom for the first time this week. They really enjoyed her visit, although they kept saying that she looked a lot like Ms. Maryn.... ;) Also, these kindergarteners rocked our lockout drill last week, and our Great Shakeout earthquake drill this week. They learned to Drop, Cover, and Hold on, the three steps for earthquake safety. Way to go! Here's to another beautiful weekend, and I'll see you all next week for conferences! I'm looking forward to it!

Lego Creations from our "Special Me" of the week!
"We are kindergarteners!!"

Friday, October 12, 2018

Spirit Week!

Twin Day
What an exciting and energetic week we had! Things kicked off on a SUPER note on Monday, with many of the kindergarteners sporting capes and funky socks. Tuesday was twin day, Wednesday was crazy hair day, and on Thursday, the kids rocked life with Stuffies and Onesies/Pajamas! It was so fun to see all the different outfits and costumes and crazy hair; what a fun way to show Creekside pride!

Tomato Soup Sampling
In the midst of Spirit Week enthusiasm, we still had plenty of other things going on. Kindergarteners had the opportunity to sample tomatoes in various forms through our Harvest of the Month program. One of our parents made delicious tomato soup, we tasted tomato wedges, and delicious caprese toothpicks with homegrown basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Thank you to our parents who stepped in to help with this for October!

We also experienced our first full Shirley Canyon hike with no rain (yay!). Our project this week was to create nature bracelets by collecting different leaves, rocks, moss, sticks, etc. and attaching those items to the sticky side of duct tape "bracelets". Our hike was perfect--cool weather, partly sunny skies, and fresh air, while the students' excited voices floated along the path. Our focus this week in Social Emotional Learning was to create an "Imagination Frame", which students definitely applied to our hike this week. I overheard students creating their own languages, zapping things with sticks attached to their bracelets (DNA detectors) to discover the DNA of the animals in our region ("We're looking for tigers in the area, Ms. Maryn!"), and creating nature bouquets and magic wands with sticks, leaves, flowers, and moss. The kinders' creativity blossoms on the trail, and I can easily foresee our Shirley Canyon expeditions as the highlight of the week for all of us. Thank you to all the parent volunteers who came along, helped with students along the trail, and took pictures! It was a fun and crazy week, and we look forward to more fun next week. Until then!

Having snow much fun!

Learning about the menorah What a beautiful, winter wonderland! The students enjoyed our hike even more with all the snow, squealing wit...