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!

Friday, October 5, 2018


This week began with exploring water in one avenue--through artistic expression with watercolors--and ended with another--hiking through nature in the sprinkling rain. These kindergarteners are QUITE the artists! We read one of my favorite books by Philip Reynolds, The Dot, which talks about how children can take pride in doing their best on work and how that ownership and pride affects the beauty of what they create. Then we discovered how to use watercolors and painted our own dots on official watercolor paper. Watercolor paints are also a new option for students to use during Choice Time at the end of the day; many students chose to paint this week in the afternoons.

I love seeing how each piece turned out differently, and it was also encouraging to see how each child enjoyed exploring watercolors. One student discovered how to create new colors: "Look Ms. Maryn! If I mix blue and yellow, I got green!" Another child turned to me and said excitedly, "Look! The water turned brown!" When I asked why they thought the water turned brown, they replied, "Because! When you mix ALL the colors together, it just kinda turns to brown." I loved seeing how their questioning and curious natures emerged through a simple watercolor activity.

Another highlight from this week was the rain! On Thursday, the kids spent most of snack recess and all of lunch and lunch recess inside, so it was a relief when the precipitation tapered off enough for us to do a short, quick hike by Shirley Canyon. Hopefully the weather next week will allow for lengthened time outside, but the time we spent out in nature was beautiful. Kids were each given a paint swatch and were tasked with finding colors in nature that could match their samples.

They eagerly scampered along the trail, exclaiming, "LOOK! This pink matches the rock!" or "I found a leaf that matches the yellow! Now I need to find one to match THIS color!" A giant thank-you to all the parents who helped out with this. An idea to further extend this activity at home would be to have the kids create a picture or nature collage that places the grass, leaves, sticks, etc., next to the paint color swatches. I can't wait to see what next week brings! :)

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!...