Thursday, May 23, 2019

QUite the week!

This week we had lots of fun, even with the less-than-ideal weather. We were definitely grateful for no indoor recess this week though--yay! It was fun getting to see y'all at the Open House; I hope you enjoyed it!! I hope you were able to see, even in just small snapshots, how much these students have grown and changed this year. It's amazing to see the difference between September and now! These kids have worked hard, and it was so fun to be able to share that with you all.

We did lots of art, writing, and science this week, and we enjoyed green beans for Harvest of the Month. Another big highlight was experiencing the wedding of Princess Q and Prince U. Whenever they are together, they create a kOverall, I believe the pictures will speak for themselves. :) Happy Memorial Day!

Open House!

QU dress-up

Friday, May 17, 2019

Attracted to Learning

Although the students were disappointed that we weren't able to make our Shirley Canyon hike this week due to snowy (!!) weather, we had a blast participating in the awesome magnet exploration stations that Ms. Allyson prepared for us. Students learned about magnetic fields, and how magnets can either attract or repel each other, depending on which ends of the magnets are facing each other. Students also experienced the power of magnets even through a barrier, such as water or plastic. They loved it!

Instead of getting to read with our reading buddies this week, students learned how to participate in reader's theater. I put them in partners, and each student chose a part. They did readings with each other and greatly enjoyed changing characters and reading the plays with each other. Some partners got to read two plays with each other. I am hoping to do more reader's theater in the final month of school. They did so well with it!

Beautiful Cards
Finally, we spent quite a bit of time this week focusing on writing different kinds of letters. Students wrote traditional letters, cards, and postcards. Next week, they will have the chance to "publish" one of their works on a postcard that they can then send from home. I told them that they will also get the chance to write me letters and postcards this summer, should they choose to do so. I will make sure everyone has a copy of my mailing address by the end of the year :) Hopefully, this will keep them engaged and excited about the writing process! Feel free to make this a part of their summer "school", as I strongly encourage continued reading and writing throughout the summer. Have a wonderful weekend everyone, and enjoy the snow! It may be "off-season", but it's still beautiful and I'm amazed at the beautiful nature we are surrounded by! See you all next week!

More Reader's Theater!

Magnet Fun

More Magnets

Quite the Magnet Collection!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hit the Trail!

The kindergarteners have become more and more curious about the pioneers coming west, as we've read a fictional tale of what it was like to be on the Oregon Trail many years ago. We're now continuing the theme by reading a historical account of a family who traveled west. They love making connections between this and our own trail adventures on Thursday afternoons. This week, we focused on finding landforms, as this relates to what we've been learning in science this week. It's amazing how many landforms are right here around us in Squaw Valley. What a beautiful place we inhabit!

Our group work this year has come SO far! They are finally able (mostly) to navigate center work on their own with a short introduction. It's been fun to see them engage in games, puzzles, and the like. They are getting more and more ready for first grade!

Some other highlights of the week were: Doing finger painting on Thursday, creating a fun, paper-layering art project of different landforms, doing our landform scavenger hunt on Thursday, cup stacking in math, and learning how to use number lines and pictures and tens frames to solve problems in math. Something else I've noticed with this class is that they are choosing to drift towards letter writing and bookmaking during our quiet/downtime after lunch recess. They want to write notes to each other or to their parents, and are sounding out words and stretching them into sentences. It's amazing to see how far they've come! Thank you for your work at home, and let's all keep working hard to create the most successful five weeks yet of this year!
Fingerpainting Fun!

Word Sorts for Reading Centers

Beautiful hike!



Friday, May 3, 2019

Bean there, Done that

Observing our bean seeds
What a week! While it was full of ups and downs and lots of sickness, we made the best of it. We learned more about history, and how we use timelines to keep track of history. Students made their own timelines of what they looked like as a baby, how they look now in kindergarten, and how they think they will look as adults. It was a great connection activity! We also welcomed Ms. Chris, Ms. Sandy's mom, as our teacher's helper for the rest of the year. We are beyond excited and thrilled to welcome her, along with her wisdom and experience in teaching, to our kindergarten community.

Scientific observations
We also spent time observing our sprouted (or not sprouted) bean seeds this week, and we learned that sometimes scientists' experiments don't work out correctly the first time, and they have to try again. We discovered that too much water on the bean seeds will cause them to mold, and as consequence, they won't sprout. This was disappointing for many students, so they got to take home their repurposed containers and new bean seeds with the hopes that they would sprout a second time at home.

Artistic concentration
Other highlights this week were: learning how to solve subtraction problems using tens frames, counters and number lines, being introduced to fact families, continuing our read aloud about the Oregon trail (kids are FASCinated with how people lived back then!), and collaborating with TK to do a mini field day outside on Thursday afternoon. We unfortunately didn't have enough adults to do a full hike that day, so we made the most of it, teaming up with TK and taking parts in events like the Ball Toss, Standing Long Jump, and a Water Relay. The kids loved it!

Beautiful Butterflies
Finally, we had a guest parent volunteer come in and teach us how to create watercolored coffee filter butterflies as a spring art project on Thursday. The kids loved it, and I'm sure many will ask to recreate this popular art piece at home :)

Next week looks pretty rainy, so I hope everyone is able to enjoy a beautiful time outside this weekend! Finger's crossed to less rain than the forecast is predicting!! Happy weekend!!

Picking team names and creating team cheers!

Water Relay

More Water Relay

Standing Long Jump

Ball Toss

Friday, April 26, 2019

SPRINGing into Action!

Decorating recyclable containers for Earth Day
Earth Day is every day--that was a focus for kindergarten this week. From taking old yogurt containers and decorating them to replant our bean sprouts in, to cleaning up trash around our campus and on our Shirley Canyon hike this Thursday, I am so proud of this group of young activists. On Monday, more than one students shared that their favorite part of the day was cleaning up around our campus and classroom to help the earth. One of our students spied trash on the ground during our hike, and another student said to them, "Yay! You're helping save the earth!" Well done!

Other highlights of the week included starting a new read aloud picture story book about pioneers on the Oregon Trail. As this was how settlers ended up in the Tahoe area, it fits in well with our history unit. Students compared and contrasted how kids used to grow up long ago in colonial America, as well as during the westward expansion time. They were surprised to learn that, long ago in the 1700's, children weren't able to attend school unless their parents were very wealthy, and if parents didn't have an education, their children were likely to also not receive an education. What an amazing gift we have with free education for ALL students today, regardless of socioeconomic status!

Old Fashioned Vegas dress-up day
As spring unfurls into full bloom, students' energy and excitement for being outside increases. They greatly enjoyed being outside for Old Style Vegas Day pictures on Wednesday, as well as playing outside for our CHOICE time on Monday. They quickly and eagerly grouped up to play a tag game. A parent this week commented on what an adventurous and overall cooperative group this is, and I must agree! Overall, it's been amazing to see them start to blossom into caring and cooperative little humans. That's what kindergarten is all about!

Harvest of the Month!

Time to hit the California Trail!



Friday, April 19, 2019

Seeds of Knowledge

Welcome back after a wonderful Spring Break! This week was all about plants, plants, plants. We reviewed and added to our knowledge that we gathered before Spring Break about the plant life cycle and how to plant seeds. The kids were highly motivated and loved talking about what they already know about plants and how to take care of them. It's awesome to see how many of them have had planting experience before, and I hope that this serves as a really good I.S. project for the rest of the year!
Subtraction Stories

We also introduced subtraction this week, and the students really seemed to enjoy it. We told subtraction stories, talked about what subtraction means (to "take away"), and did lots of practice problems with books, manipulatives, and pictures. It was a great introduction! I love seeing the kids' growth in math this year. 

Our Giving Tree
This week, we also focused on kindness to each other and to the earth. We read The Giving Tree, and discussed ways we can be kinder to each other and give to one another. They also read this book in Spanish with Ms. Monica! What a cool cross-language experience. 

Finally, we ended the week with a bang--repurposing old t-shirts into reusable bags. Almost the whole school was there to cut the t-shirts and tie them into bags. Students paired up with their book buddies, which they enjoyed! It was fun to be out in the sun, and doing something to help our planet! SO excited to see this spring weather! Enjoy the weekend everyone!


Friday, April 5, 2019

Annnnd Break!

It's such a joy to be writing this from sunny Los Angeles this morning, and I hope everyone is enjoying their day wherever they are! Although this week was filled with heightened emotions and excitement for Spring Break, we still conquered our learning this week! Students learned about the life cycle of plants, as well as what plants need in order to grow, through fun music, songs, activities, and a version of rock, paper, scissors where the winner becomes the next part of the plant growth process, and the loser goes back down a step in the plant life cycle. Ask your kindergartener about it--they had a blast!

We tried new math games with addition this week, and I introduced a game called "tap it" with letter blends. I would say a word, and students would tap the letter blend they heard at the beginning of the word. Soon we will move on to digraphs, but we will continue to play "tap it" with both blends and digraphs. Students love it and are very engaged.

A final highlight this week was inviting in one of our students' younger brothers, who has Cerebral Palsey. She showed the class how his "gait trainer" works, and the kindergarteners were full of all kinds of questions about what Cerebral Palsey is, how he uses the gait trainer, and what all the different levers and knobs did. They were fascinated, and a very captive audience. What an awesome way to introduce them to kids with special needs so that they feel comfortable asking questions, and so that they can begin to understand how to be compassionate and understanding of kids with special needs.

I hope that everyone has a safe and restful Spring Break, wherever you are! I will be off the grid from Saturday to Saturday, and will be trying my best to not be connected to technology. Whether you're staying in the Tahoe area, or going elsewhere, enjoy the time and the break and don't forget to spend time together as a family! See you all in mid-April!

Plant Life Cycle "Rock Paper Scissors" Game

Tissue Paper "Stained Glass" artwork

Learning about Cerebral Palsey

QUite the week!

This week we had lots of fun, even with the less-than-ideal weather. We were definitely grateful for no indoor recess this week though--yay!...