Friday, September 28, 2018

Farmer's Market Fun!

A giant "Thank You!" to all of our parent volunteers and helpers with our North Lake Tahoe Farmer's Market excursion on Thursday morning! It was a highlight of the week and a huge success! I really enjoyed seeing the students get excited about the Farmer's Market experience, and dive into the scavenger hunt for the morning. They greatly utilized the giant playground space that's available as well, spending their time playing zombies and tag and pirates and climbing the rock wall with adult help. What a fun and active way for us to grow our community closer together, both amongst our parents and the students.

Special Me project
In addition, this week we began celebrating our first Special Me! Our first Special Me student brought in lots of pictures, and his parents came in to read a book and do a special craft--making popsicle-stick tigers. The kids loved it! We're excited to learn more about another student with a new Special Me next week.

Finally, we welcomed autumn with an art leaf project. Students traced out different kinds and shapes of autumn leaves and learned about warm and cool colors. They used warm colors in oil pastel to decorate their leaves, which are now proudly displayed in our classroom windows. One of the kids' favorite books this week was called Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon. In this story, Molly Lou Melon learns to stand tall and proud in the world with her uniqueness and inspires kids to stand tall by being kind to others, no matter how others treat them. It was a great way to wrap up our Social Studies unit on classroom rules; I encourage you to ask your child about the story!

Thank you for all your hard Independent Study work with your students as well! It's been amazing to see students already increasing independence in their work and relationships. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fun-CENTERed Learning

Enjoying Morning Meeting together
"Look Ms. Maryn! I made a C!"
What a fantastic week of beautiful, fall-ish weather and lots of fun learning! This week, we focused a lot on centers-based learning. This is a fun way for the kids to stay engaged in their learning in small groups, and it helps them practice communication, cooperation, and builds stamina. Students got to stamp the letters of their names, roll out alphabet letters using Playdoh, explore pattern blocks and puzzles, and got to pick out new books for their book boxes. They also reached the 3 minute mark for sustained silent reading time! Our goal as a class is to be able to sit and read for 15 minutes. Once the kids reach this goal, they will get to decorate their book boxes with special markers. They are very excited!

Guest Reader
In addition this week, we enjoyed celebrating one of our students' birthdays, and the kids readily welcomed his mom into our classroom community to have her read a story to us called Here We Are. We read more books that focused our attention on what kinds of classroom rules we want to have in order to keep our community safe, welcoming, and kind. The kids especially like the book No, David!, and I loved hearing them discuss the themes of kindness and celebrating differences while we read the book The Cow that went OINK!.

Our mini books of the poem "White"
Finally, this week we started what will be a morning routine: learning a new poem/song that we sing each day and do activities that build up throughout the week. Ask your student about the poem we learned this week, about the color white! They especially loved the line "Ghosts are white and they say 'Boo!'"

Letter 'A' Crowns with friends
Have a beautiful weekend, get outside, and enjoy independent study! See you all on Monday!

Hard at work!

Playdoh letters

Friday, September 14, 2018

Three for Three

We've done it! Week three, and our first very full week of very full days, is complete! The kids are definitely hitting their stride (and so is their teacher :)) It's been so enjoyable watching them care for each other and get excited about our learning. This week's highlights included extra outside activity time, doing pattern block puzzles, counting activities in math, starting our read-to-self time with the help of Ms. Monkey and Mr. Fox, and experiencing our first Reading Buddies time with the 8th graders! We are hoping to make this a weekly tradition this year. It's so fun to see the kindergarteners come alive with excitement when they see their buddies, and it's so precious to see how the 8th graders embrace their time and leadership role with the younger buddies.

The students also learned how to use playdoh responsibly and constructively this week. We will be using playdoh for lots of different things, including forming letters and numbers and using it as a calming tool if the kids feel upset.

Finally, we delved more deeply into our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) this week, through the reading of Dr. Seuss's My Many Colored Days and doing daily check-ins of how we are feeling. This builds self-awareness in the kids, gives them concrete tools to attach to abstract concepts, and also encourages empathy in our classroom community. I'm excited to keep working with this curriculum this year and see how they embrace it further! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Math Centers

Reading Buddies!

More Reading Buddy time!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Full-day Kinder is here!

Whew! First week of full days: complete! The kids fully embraced this change and are settling into our routine for each day. They were most excited about earning CHOICE time at the end of the day on both Wednesday and Thursday! This is a guided exploration time for the students, where they are given 3-4 choices of different activities to take part in, from working on artistic pursuits, to puzzles, reading books, games and building with blocks.

The kids especially seemed to enjoy their first Spanish lesson with Ms. Monica, our Spanish teacher. She taught them how to say "Me llamo" and "Como se llama" with a clapping and rhythm-oriented song. They loved it.

This week, the students also met our resident puppets, Mr. Fox and Ms. Monkey, the two superhero readers who will teach the kindergarteners about how to read to self, read to someone, and work on sitting in one spot during our quiet reading times every day. Once the whole class can make it up to 15 minutes of reading time, Ms. Monkey told the kids they will get to decorate their individual book boxes with special markers!

At the end of the day on Thursday, students got to meet with their 4th and 8th grade buddies (they LOVED this!) to circle up for Appreciation Thursdays. What a wonderful tradition at Creekside, and a fantastic note on which to end this week. Enjoy the weekend and the beautiful weather, and I look forward to seeing everyone next week!

Exploring at Choice Time
Pizza Thursdays was a hit!

Our very first Creekside Community Appreciation Circle!

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!...