Problem solving has been a big focus of ours in math. We have read our problems in a different way. Instead of reading problems with numbers, the word "some" is thrown into the problem. This strategy is called "Notice and Wonder". Without the numbers, students are really able to focus on what is going on in the problem. After students discuss what they notice and wonder about the problem, I fill in numbers. It's been amazing to see how many students now understand when they add or subtract. Instead of just automatically adding the numbers together, students have THOUGHT about the problem and understand which operation makes sense. I know this is pretty difficult to envision, so I have included a video so you can get an idea of how this works. I honestly had to see it for myself before implementing on my own, so I had my friend Mrs. Smith (another kindergarten teacher) show us. This was their first time working with a problem without numbers, and their discomfort shows. Since this video was recorded, they have grown more and more comfortable with this approach. I have seen so much growth since applying this strategy! Below are some pictures and a video of this approach.
In writing, my students are currently publishing their final opinion writing pieces. They have learned how to share their opinion in three ways: through posters, letters, and books. They are currently working on books and will share a published opinion book with you at conferences.
We have worked a lot on revising and editing. Students have learned that revising means to add, take out, or change words so they SOUND better. My students have gotten pretty good at rereading their writing to see if it makes sense. Now, they have been adding words to make it sound even better or to be even more convincing. They have used checklists to help them do this. They have also been able to share every day with their writing partner. Their partner helps to go through the checklist to see if the writer needs to add or change anything. I've included a video of my students sharing with their partners. I was so impressed with the things they encouraged their partner to revise.
Blue Dot=Sight Words
Yellow Dot=Spaces Between Words
Below is a picture of our editing sticks. You can easily make one at home to help your child with the editing process. Even though they are just sticks, they really hep my students edit their writing to make their writing easier to read.
My students have taken off with their reading! They have come so far with their fluency, accuracy, comprehension, and vocabulary. I would say fluency and accuracy have come the furthest. My students have been practicing sight word phrases in guided reading, which has helped them put words together quickly. They have also learned that punctuation changes and enhances our voice when we're reading. My students understand that when they see quotation marks, they are supposed to make their reading sound like the character talking. I look forward to applying our fluency skills when we begin to practice the class play for graduation. It should be a lot of fun!
A student from Mrs. Hahn's room, Darrian's sister Daileah, has chosen to come read to our class as a reward. It's been so fun to have her come in and model some fluent reading. Below is a video of DaiLeah reading The Foot Book. My students have been inspired by her fluency skills, as she is very animated as she reads. Many have incorporated this into their own reading. It's been fun to see and hear!
As far as accuracy goes, my students have gotten so much better at cross-checking. My students have learned to ask these three questions when they come to a word they're not sure is accurate: Does it look right? Does it sound right? Does it make sense? This cross-checking strategy has definitely improved my students' accuracy. If you get a chance, have your child show you the actions we have put to this strategy. It's pretty cute!!
Although this was several weeks ago now, I can't help but share. For one of our PBIS rewards, my students chose to have a flashlight party. The party included doing our readers' and writers' workshop in the dark with only our flashlights. Being realistic, I didn't think it would be a very productive day of learning. The funny thing is, they were even MORE ENGAGED than usual. I've included a few videos from that day. To end our flashlight day, we had a dance party as well. It was truly a fun experience!
We have been learning so much about weather. Students have learned about different types of weather (sunny, rainy, cloudy, partly sunny/cloudy, snowy, and windy). They have also learned that weather is constantly changing and that it affects what we do and how we dress. We have had to learn the hard way this winter and some days this spring that when the temperature is below 10 degrees, it's too cold to go outside. We have become "weather watchers' and have begun recording in a weather journal what the weather is like on random days. I look forward to doing some experiments related to weather.
We have also learned about "Claims and Evidence". Once again, Mrs. Smith came in to model how to use this language during science. From this lesson, students learned that scientists make claims about the things and the world around them. In order to make a claim more substantial, people should provide evidence to support their thinking. I've included this lesson in the two videos below. We have continued to use this language during our lessons related to weather.