Thursday, December 13, 2012

Detail, Detail, Detail...

Writers Workshop is a daily favorite in Kindergarten. We begin each workshop with a mini lesson, then work independently or with a teacher, and finish with some type of share. Students are encouraged to write about whatever they want, yet incorporate the concepts taught during our mini lessons.

 I have decided to start differentiating the journal structure for some students. Students will still continue to draw a picture and write on the lines- but some journals have a smaller picture box and more lines to encourage kids to "tell me more". Sneaky, I know.

This week we have been focusing on adding details to our writing. Kindergartners often get into a comfortable pattern of repeating the same sentences, which is great. Yet, I believe that some students are ready for more.

We have learned about 3 new ways to add detail to our writing.

1. Add details to your picture- lots of color, nice neat drawings

2. Tell me more- Tell your reader as much as you can about the topic you have chosen to write about

3. Use color words- All the color words have been added to our word wall, and they make our stories much more appealing to readers.

I'm so happy with the enthusiasm these kiddos show for writing. It is exciting and fun for us all! 


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thank you Tari Shattuck Educational Fundation

Something exciting happened this week! 

Each year, grants are offered through the Tari Shattuck Educational Fundation. This fundation offers mini grants with a maximum of 250 dollars to be spent. Last year, I applied for the grant and was able to purchase a new listening center for Kindergarten which has been awesome to have! The kiddos love it and it helps so much with literacy and the development of early reading and comprehension skills. There was even a photo of a couple of our K students using it in their newsletter. We're famous!

This year, the grant money I was awarded went to purchase new puzzles and games to update our puzzle and games center.  This center is devoted to developing social, gross, and fine motor skills. The money purchased the following: 
Set 3 Melissa& Doug Jigsaw Puzzles (4pack)             
UNO                                                                          Jenga                                                                                
Doodle Pro                                                                          
Fish Sticks                                                                       
Lego community worker set                                          
Lego Bricks set                                                                  
Wonderfoam Hopscotch Mat                                           
Bugs Magnetic Game Puzzle     
Our new shipment of fun and learning came in this week, and we have slowly been adding the new things to our daily explore time. The students are so excited and so am I. Thank you Tari Shattuck!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ketchup and Mustard

Hello Readers,

Sometimes in Kindergarten we have "ketchup and mustard" days- basically we are catching up on projects or activities that never had closure or taking some time to revisit activities that we once did in the classroom.

I'm carrying over the "ketchup and mustard" theme to our blog. 

Here are some of the great things that have been going on in Kindergarten lately:

Last week we worked on a whole-class reader's theater of Bill Martin's "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?" We were able to perform for Ms. Davison's and Ms. Way's classes. We were so proud of our work! Check out our video. Coming soon....sorry :(.

We have had some visitors this week from Ms. Way's class. The authors have been in to share some personal narratives that they have been working on. Today, a former student (Piper) was able to share her narrative with the class all about her sister (Hazel). It was really sweet! What a special treat to have the first and second grade authors in to visit!

Let's math we have been continuing our work with teen numbers, place value, and base 10 concepts! We continue to play race to 100, and scramble using teen numbers. We're getting there. :)

This week in writing, we completed our district's writing assessment. This assessment asked students to journal about a "their special place". Kindergartners drew pictures, and wrote words and sentences about a place that is special to them.

We've wrapped up our science unit about the five senses. We had fun carving pumpkins,  playing sound bingo, watching a video about our five senses, using our sense of hearing to match film canisters filled with various materials, and our sense of touch to play a touching game.  As you probably know, the clue in the sharing bag was "something that makes a sound".  As usual, the treasures from home revealed a lot about each kiddo. We even have a guitar player who gave us a mini lesson in here! 


This month we will work on some holiday projects and participate in a few MCS traditions such as a holiday bazaar and winter concert. December seems to fly by at school but of course there will be plenty of room for play!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar- Stories Retold by Kindergartners

Over the past couple of weeks we have been talking about various story elements, particularly differentiating between the beginning, middle, and end of a story. We have used many Eric Carle tales to help us learn about these three important parts of a story. We began our study by reading (multiple times) The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It's always a favorite in Kindergarten. During whole and small group literacy times we has discussions about the beginning, middle, and end of the story. We practiced retelling the story  and sequencing events. This concept came quiet easily for most students and we decided to use this opportunity to create our own beginning, middle, and end projects using the laptops and assistance from Mr. Grace of course. Students began by drawing three pictures based on Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar - a beginning, middle, and end- in KidPix. We then transferred the pictures into Photo Story where children were able to record their voices retelling the story. After the movies were complete we watched them, giggled, and felt proud! I am amazed by the work these kiddos produced! Please check out some of our completed movies!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving a week early at MCS. This morning we made adorable turkey hats to wear to our special Turkey day luncheon! They were so cute, and the kids were very proud to be turkeys! It was nice to see many parents who were able to join for lunch. Also- thank you for an exceptionally smooth transition to Siesta afterwords. No tears, it's a great day! 

Next Monday and Tuesday I plan to spend more time discussing Thanksgiving, and what it means to be thankful. I look forward to hearing about all the things that Kindergartners are thankful for. 

I'm thankful for the great families and children that I get to spend my days at work with! 

Have a nice vacation. 

P.S. - I apologize for my lack of blogging lately, it is conference and report card season :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Day- Our Votes Are In!

Happy Election Day!

Over the past two days, we have spent time discussing the importance of voting. We also read about the voting process, learned new words such as vote, ballot, candidate, and Election Day. We learned about some of the aspects of the Presidents job, and talked about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in some detail. Kindergartners used some of our tech time to watch a video on Time for Kids about the white house, the voting process, and the presidential candidates. This learning experience provided some rich discussion for kids.

Today in Kindergarten there was a polling station- a voting booth for Kindergartners to vote in our MCS mock election. Each student got a chance to cast thier vote for presidency in private and even collected an "I Voted" sticker- just like real life! It was really fun. We were excited to see what the final count was.

Barack Obama 125 votes
Mitt Romney 30 votes

Here are some pictures from our mini-study of Election Day!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween, Happy November

Hello again Friends and Families,

Yesterday was a very fun day celebrating Halloween here at MCS. We dressed in adorable costumes, had a class party which included- Halloween Bingo, A Cute craft, A Ukulele and of course some awesome snacks. Special thanks to all of the parents who were here to help! Next we participated in an all school costume parade and dance party in our school gym. So much fun! I'm guessing I'll have some tired kiddos today, but that's okay. We'll take it easy for November 1. Yes....November! 

Have a great long weekend! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

I can...

Hell Friends and Families!

I just wanted to update you on some of the great work that has been going on in Kindergarten today!

Readers Workshop has lead us into the wonderful world of sight words- that means words that children memorize to build fluency. These new words that we are learning have now been integrated into our Writers Workshop. Today, many children took a huge step by writing their own first sentence beginning with the words "I can..."

I was so proud of the work they did and as they explained their ideas it made me realize all of the wonderful things that they do.

I can count and recognize numbers!

I can read!
I can dance!
I can work together!
I can paint!
I can solve problems!
I can laugh!

Here's our writing....I'll post it on Mrs. Leggett's Kidblog

Or Click on the Log On Screen

Select Kindergarten Adventures A our password is mcs


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Thinking Chair

At MCS we strive to teach respect and responsibility. We've adopted a program called Responsive Classroom, and each teacher has been trained to implement the ideas of RC.

A lot of RC principles focus on the area of discipline- both proactive and reactive.

Proactive discipline includes working together to create classroom rules, and lots of modeling and practice.
The question is what do you do when a student misbehaves?

Soon after our rules were created in Kindergarten, I introduced the thinking chair. The thinking chair is one of the pieces of our "Steps to self control" plan. Steps to self control goes like this- If a student is misbehaving- they first get a "reminder"- really not a big deal, a reminder can be used if a child is calling out during circle time, running to line up, or any other type of rule breaking. I stress to everyone that all people- not just students- sometimes need a reminder and then they can fix the problem.

If a reminder is given, and the behavior continues (in a reasonable time frame of course) then the student is asked to "take a break" this means they quietly walk to the thinking chair which is in our classroom strategically placed where they can still see the lessons and sit quietly. I have a minute timer which they flip so that they know when to come back and rejoin the group. In general this is the end all of the behavior. I always tell the Kindergartners that everyone takes a break sometimes, and it's just a little deal. It really is- I always cringe when parents tell me that they ask their child if they had to take a break as soon as they get off the bus. I really stress that it isn't a big deal- just a tool to help us get our self control and remember rules and expectations in the classroom. I have even gone to the thinking chair myself. This form of a time out has proven very successful for most students and keeps our routines going smoothly.

After visiting the thinking chair if a student still struggles to turn the behavior around- they are asked to take a break in a buddy teachers room. This room is prearranged among teachers here at MCS and the expectations are consistent. This is where it turns from a "little deal" to a "big deal". This is also the time when I would notify parents and document the behavior with administration. This is rare occurrence in Kindergarten, but does happen occasionally.

The expectations in the classroom are clear, and students take responsibility for their actions.

On another note, we had a great week. Four Winds, 10 minute word writes, and playing were some of the highlights! Here are some pictures from a week of fun! Please enjoy! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Walk Around The Pond and Fall Fun

We have been enjoying the fall in Vermont. It's one of the best and most beautiful states to live in during this time of the year! On Friday we had our annual All School Walk Around The Pond. WAP is quite the event at our school. Families and community members are invited to walk along with all of the students and staff of our school. Some of the older kiddos run once or twice and the rest of the kids take a scenic walk through Monkton. At the end, there are treats and a movie for all to enjoy. This event really brings our school and town community together. It's really fun and this year we had a great time! Thanks to the families in our class who were able to walk!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Healthy Snacks and Movement

We do lots of learning in Kindergarten. Students' brains are constantly stimulated and they are learning so much so fast. They are sponges! There is so much research saying that kids need to move around at school, and that the best learning happens when children have had healthy food and movement breaks. Good news-we move all the time! Each morning we have an outdoor recess or Kindergarten movement break.  We also have an afternoon recess with the K-2 students and sometimes we get outside a third time at the end of the day. We also do many mini movement breaks throughout the day in the classroom. In addition to these class movement breaks, we also have PE twice a week for 40 minutes. 

Children are encouraged to bring healthy food and snacks to school. Our hot lunch program has come so far in the past couple of years, the food is really healthy and delicious. The kids usually love it. 

In the afternoon(as a station during choice) we have a special healthy snack for each class in the school.  This snack is provided by a grant written by our food service staff. The grant allows for each classroom to have a daily fresh fruit or veggie. Some of the snacks we've had this year are berries, apples, watermelon, peppers, even roasted squash! Yum~

Here are some photos of us being healthy in Kindergarten at MCS!