It was a big week at Kreft! In the midst of the cold temperatures and the end of the trimester testing, we received a new slide on the playground. The old slide had been broken all year, so getting a new slide was a HUGE deal to my kindergartners. In addition, we hadn't had recess all week, so when Friday came, they were extremely ready to play and have fun. The new slide was like the new shiny red toy at Christmas...the students couldn't get enough of it. The line to get on the slide consisted of roughly 100 students that went from the slide all the way to the building. It was one of the craziest things I have ever witnessed in my teaching career! I hope the pictures captured the joy and excitement my students felt.
With the end of the third trimester coming to a close, we have been working very hard these last three weeks trying to wrap up our units. Here is what we have been working on in the following subjects:
In reading, students have begun to learn more about the different components of reading: comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary. The two components we have focused on have been comprehension and accuracy. Students understand that comprehension is the most important component of reading. If someone is just reading the words on the page and is not thinking about the text, he/she is missing the purpose of reading. Readers MUST think about the text as they read. Students have learned to stop and check for understanding. If they can't retell what they just read (who, where, and what happened), they should go back and reread.
Students are continuing to learn accuracy strategies as well. To help students read words correctly, they are learning to check the pictures and find the first sound of the unknown word to help them decode. Students are also continuing to learn how important it is to accurately point to words when first learning how to read. Pointing to words helps us focus on each word as we read, which ultimately helps us learn words. As students become better readers, they do not need their finger there to anchor their eyes. At a certain point, students are able to read and track just with their eyes.
Students have learned our last two Daily 5 choices: Listen to Reading and Word Work. For Listen to Reading, students are simply listening to books on CD. We just received 4 I-Pad Minis, so we will also add these to the mix. The hardest part about this choice is really learning how to handle the tools independently. Students had to learn how to put the CD into the CD player, how to push play, how to put the materials away, etc. The same will be true for the I-Pad Minis. I will have to teach students exactly how to listen to reading on that device.
For Word Work, students have learned how to put words in ABC order. In each of the word work stations, students are placing 10 names in ABC order and then recording their work. Students picked up this concept fairly quickly, and have even learned what to do when there are two words/names that start with the same letter (they look at the 2nd letter). They have learned why this is an important skill, as many real world items are categorized in this way. Here are some pictures from Listen to Reading and Word Work.
The words that students place in ABC order will change throughout the year as will the books that students listen to. Also, Word Work will soon include making words with magnetic letters. Students will learn more about word families (words that end with -at: mat, pat, fat, rat, sat, etc.). The tasks will change in Word Work, but what will remain the same is that students are working with words during this time.
Students have been learning more about numbers and equality. Equality is a concept that is very easily overlooked in math. When asked even as adults, many people wouldn't be able to tell you that the "equal sign" means "the same as". In kindergarten, students are already learning what the equals sign means. The way we first attempt to understand this concept is through True/False statements. I show my students various number sentences, and they decide if the statement is true or false. Here are some of the examples:
6=5+1 (True) Many students think this one is false because they just see 6=5 and they think it's false.
5+1=6 (True) Ironically enough, students usually figure out that this one is true because of the way the numbers are laid out.
These equality sentences will get more difficult as the year goes on. It's been pretty amazing to see how quickly my students have caught on to the concept of equality! Feel free to try some of these statements at home. Students are also learning terms such as MORE or LESS. Students are asked to determine which number is more and which number is less when comparing numbers. When the equality sentence is not equal, or false, we figure out which side is more and which side is less.
Students have continued to focus on counting. What we expect students to be able to do this trimester is: count by ones to 50 (1-50) and count by tens to 50 (10, 20, 30, 40, 50). We are also working on counting by twos to 20 and fives to 50. By the end of the year, students will be expected to count by ones, fives, and tens to 100. Please reinforce these counting skills at home. This can be done as you're driving, cooking, etc.
Students are also expected to write their numbers to 10 by the end of the first trimester, however, many of my students are working on writing numbers to 20 and numbers past 100.
To help with these various skills, students are currently rotating through three math stations each day: Math by Myself (counting or writing numbers), Math with Someone (some sort of math game that reinforces number sense), and Math with the Teacher (problem solving).
I have never been more impressed with my students' writing than I have been this year! It has been so wonderful to read my students' amazing writing and to see their progress in this area. It's very obvious my students truly see themselves as authors and illustrators.
We have continued to learn about adding details to our pictures and words (who, what, and where). We have also continued to work on leaving spaces, saying individual sounds in words slowly, matching our pictures to our words, and rereading our writing to see if it makes sense.
The main thing my students have focused on these past few weeks has been using tools to help us write. Students have learned how important it is to use the word wall words to help them write unknown words, their spacemen to help them leave spaces, and their letter charts to help them write letters and hear letter sounds.
All of these skills have been applied when writing personal narratives, or true stories from our lives. We have been writing 'ooh-ooh' stories these past few weeks, which are exciting things that happen to us. My students have learned that these are the perfect stories to write about.
We have somewhat combines our science and social studies concepts these past few weeks. In science, we have continued sorting different materials (this is also one of our math concepts). One of the main items we have sorted over the past few weeks has been people. Each student has received their own set of students' names and pictures to sort. Initially, students focused their sorts on the names (the number of letters, the beginning sounds, the number of syllables). Now, students are sorting based on appearances.
In social studies, we have learned about how people are alike and different. Students are sorting the name cards based on how we are the same or different. I have been so impressed with the sorting rules they have come up with:
students who are wearing bows/students who are not wearing bows
students who have long hair/students who have short hair
students who have earrings/students who do not have earrings
students who are wearing stripes/students who are not wearing stripes
students who are boys/students who are girls
students who have curly hair/students who have straight hair
students who have buttons on their shirts/students who don't
The list could go on and on. We are realizing that there are endless ways to sort people. It's been a really fun way to get to know one another even more than we did before.
We all had so much fun at the Fall Party! With six stations, we were extremely busy throughout the entire party. Here are the pictures from each of the stations:
Pumpkin Bowling/Eyeball Race
In case your child didn't tell you, we did not have time to draw the "eyes" on the candles. There has just been so much to do at school, I decided that this could be something easy students could do at home. If you have time, have your child make dots inside each of the holes with a black permanent marker. These holes will now look like "eyeballs".
On Friday, I sent home a picture of your child from the Fall Party. This picture can be used to go into the picture frame your child decorated at the Fall Party. Sorry I didn't get done with this sooner. If you do not like the picture I sent home or it doesn't fit, feel free to print a different picture off of the blog.
Picture Frame Decorating
Our study trip to The Children's Museum was so much fun. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to chaperone students at the museum. With so many helpers, I was able to divide students into small, manageable groups. It was so much easier and much more enjoyable to explore the exhibits in the museum as a small group. My students seemed to like the farm, career, and Halloween exhibits the best.