Thursday, September 27, 2012

Math Workshop In Kindergarten

Hello Again!

Throughout the day in Kindergarten, we have three workshops. We call them Readers Workshop, Writers Workshop and Math Workshop. I have explained to the kiddos that a workshop is where you build something-in these workshops we are building specific skills.

I'd like to take you a little deeper into our math workshop. It looks like this.

A. A whole group mini-lesson. Usually this is introducing a new concept, a social behavior, or a new math game.

B. Small group work. Next we break into small groups and each group has a developmentally appropriate activity. Sometimes each group does the same activities, sometimes different groups do different activities. I always explain to students that I do my best to use activities that they are ready for. This time also allows for me to work with small groups to support every student in the best way I can.

C. Closure. We almost always come back as a group for some kind of closure. Sometimes its a quick lightning share about math workshop for the day. Sometimes I have a question for them to reflect on.

Over the past two weeks during math workshop, we have been focusing on shapes and patterns.
Here are the centers students have participated in. 

A. Creating a Pattern Fish- After reading "Pattern Fish" by Trudy Harris(it's on my shelfari), students were asked to color their own pattern fish. Many students wanted to do this over and over again and we even did some with our buddies!
B. What comes Next? - This is a partner game. Students sit back to back and use various objects to create a pattern on a strip of paper. Next they cover the last item with a dixie cup. Finally they invite their partner to guess and uncover what comes next. This game is great because it can be simple or more complex!
C. Building unifex cube patterns and recording their ideas. This activity encourages students to build AB, ABC, and ABB patterns.
D. Fill the hexagons- A partner game where students roll a dice and use various shaped pattern blocks to fill 6 hexagons. This game helps students develop math language skills as well as visualize how shapes fit together to make other shapes.

It's been a fun week in math!  Please enjoy some pictures of our math workshop!

Monday, September 24, 2012

4 Winds Science Time

Hello Families,

Sorry for the delay in postings! What a busy week we had last week- which included our first 4 winds, open house, and a trip to the Doctor for me with my own kiddos! Oy....

I wanted to dedicate this blog post to one of my favorite parts about our school.

Our school participates in a program called 4 Winds. This is a science program run by parent volunteers. Each month they visit the classroom prepared to lead us in many activities to help students learn about science and nature in the world they are living in. Here is a link for more info. 4 Winds Info

This year during our 4 Winds program we will be studying ecosystems!

This week our first 4 winds focus was on leaf eaters. Our fabulous parent volunteers began with a puppet show. A discussion then took place about what we need to survive,  the food cycle, and what would happen if certain things were missing. Such a rich topic! Next we discovered more about how different types of bugs eat leaves differently.We sorted picture cards and then went outside to collect some examples of our own and documented them by tracing and drawing pictures of various leaves in our science journals.

Special thanks to the parents who make this possible! So much fun and learning happening here in Kindergarten. Please enjoy some pictures from our first 4 winds experience!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Friday! 

We made it through our first full week of Kindergarten and it was a busy one!

Each day we have a 45-60 minute block dedicated to Readers Workshop. During this block of time, we begin together for a whole group read aloud and or mini-lesson. Next,  students are asked to work independently at developmentally appropriate centers. These centers vary in levels, but the concepts of learning are often the same. This independent works time allows me to work in small groups or individually to support students in reading at the level they are ready for.  

Our mini lessons were based on these three main ideas:
** Working independently in a small group
** How to read with a buddy
** Letter ID  
** Introducing the word wall

Our centers this week focused mainly on buddy reading and letter ID.

Here are some snapshots from this weeks Readers Workshop.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Morning Meeting

Over the past couple of years our school has been training and working hard to learn and implement the philosophies of the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching. There are many pieces to the RC approach. Here is more info if you're interested!  Responsive Classroom Website

Our daily schedule begins with a whole group circle time called Morning Meeting. We have been learning names through songs, games, and movement activities. Daily routines at meeting include stretching, a greeting, checking the schedule for events of the day, and reading the morning message. Each day one student gets to hold the “lucky duck” and do the Lucky duck jobs.

This morning meeting time is very valuable to both students and teachers. It sets the tone for the day, includes elements important to building a sense of belonging for all, takes away any stresses of the unknown for the day and provides a great opportunity for both academic and social learning skills. 

Some of the greetings may include: a ball greeting, a thumb kiss greeting, a skip count greeting, or even a silent greeting

The message for the day is simple. It usually follows a pattern and has an interactive element to it. For example "Good Morning, Today is Tuesday. We will have art and visit the tech lab. Let's make a list of friendly words you could say in the classroom. From, Mrs. Leggett"

Some of the activities include: dances, movement games, or even a simple drawing activity

The sharing bag goes home daily (and will begin very soon) with 1 or 2 students with a clue inside to guide what they share at school. Some clues include: anything that fits in the bag, something with a pattern, something from nature, something you made, etc.

Morning meeting is a special time for us all.  Enjoy our pic of the day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Classroom Rules

I hope you all had an enjoyable long weekend! I welcomed back some eager to go Kindergartners this morning! Someone recently said to me that the first few weeks of kindergarten for teachers is like trying to keep 20 (in my case 12) ping pong balls underwater at the same time. It made me giggle, but then reflect. I've noticed the routines are beginning to set in, and we're on a roll......

This week I have 2 main goals for my class. 1) We will all know each others names. 2) We will work together to establish Our Classroom Rules and then learn what happens when we forget one of the rules.

Today we worked on both goals.
1. We played a button game where kids guess who has the button- it really helps with names!
2. We read "Officer Buckle and Gloria", had a great discussion about safety in school and then came up with a list of our ideas about classroom rules. I did some rearranging at lunch and came up with 4. The idea is that if we create rules as a class, students understand them, are responsible for creating them, and therefore will have an easier time following them.

Here they are!
Be Safe
Be nice to each other
Take care of our toys and tools
Try your best and have fun

This afternoon I'll reveal the new rules to the class and we'll talk about what happens when you forget a rule....I'll probably write a blog about my philosophies on classroom discipline at some point.

Enjoy your day!

P.S. Here's a picture of the day for you. Cuties!