When January approaches, each Kindergartner is given their very own book bag that follows them to school and home each day. With the amount of tools and things that are in the book bags, here is a quick peek and let you know all of the wonderful things that is in it! When the Kindergartners bring home their book bag each night, it is a chance for them to read to families, practice reading strategies, and continue to master their sight words!
Each Kindergartner gets a different book or two each week in their book bag, This is the book that we are reading at school, in our reading groups. Some of the words, phrases, or books may be slightly challenging for the Kindergartners, but that is good! If they are coming across a word that they are struggling with, the best thing to do is remind them to use their reading strategies. If they continue to struggle, sometime you need to help them with a word or so. It may be a sight word that we haven't learned yet or a name that does not make sense. They'll have one book from school in their book bags each week but please feel free to read books from home as well!
Our reading strategies!
Since I mentioned using our reading strategies, it's important that I also introduce them. In each book bag, there is a bookmark with all of the different reading strategies that we use in Kindergarten. Try asking your Kindergartner about which ones they know and how they help them. It can be helpful to have the bookmark out when they are reading since it is a quick reference and reminder for them. We have not learned all of them yet, but will as the year goes on!
Our Sight Words!
Inside our book bag there is our sight word fluency book. This is organized into 12 lists, with 10 sight words on each list. These are the sight words that we are going to be learning over the course of the year. You'll be amazed at how much practicing sight words can strengthen reading skills. Please practice the current list (or 2 if they would like) that you Kinder is currently on. Once they have mastered a list, I assess them on it and then they get to put a sticker over the list number on the cover and "level up". It is a fun way to motivate them to practice their sight words and fluency. Please do not feel that you have to practice all lists (they are designed to be practiced one at a time) and feel free to practice sight words in other ways. Building them with play-doh, rainbow writing them, making sentences with them, or even finding them in books.
Our Word Work Notebooks!
These are our word work notebooks. In them is the work that we do in reading groups. We work on everything from rhyming, to word families, to learning new blends. If they want to work on different things in their notebook, that is great! Feel free to use it for sight word practice, writing sentences, or anything else they would like to practice.
Over the course of the year, there will be additional things added to the book bags but this is what we are starting with! Kinders will need your help with making sure that the book bags return to school each and every day! As the year goes on, it would be great to make this the student's responsibility but they will need a lot of help at first remembering. I hope that you enjoy the book bags just as much as the Kinders!
A highlight of Kindergarten is our time spent traveling the world on the Polar Express! Every December, we pack our suitcases, make our passports, grab our tickets and adventure around the world, learning about how other countries celebrate Christmas and comparing their traditions to ours!
Throughout this adventure, we learn how to say "Merry Christmas" in the language spoken in each country, discover a few special foods, toys, or traditions that they have, and read several books from each of the countries. It is such a magical time, full of exploring new things and opening our eyes to the world around us! This year, we were able to travel to countries like Mexico, Sweden, Australia, and England to name a few!
Take a look a a few pictures from our adventure around the world!
Welcome to the Kindergarten Pizzeria!
The Kindergartners took one day to celebrate all of our hard work with number sense, number recognition, and counting! When we walked into our classroom, we discovered that it had transformed into a pizzeria!
This was no normal pizzeria! At this pizzeria, it was the Kindergartners' job to add all of the toppings- no more and no less than the order stated.
Using our recipe cards, the Kindergartners spent an afternoon creating pizzas galore. Mama mia! What a fun time we had practicing our numbers and exploring our imaginations!
With Thanksgiving approaching, the Kindergartners have been learning all about how the Pilgrims came to America and the first Thanksgiving. To practice our critical thinking skills and our engineering spirits, the Kindergartners were tasked with creating their very own Mayflower! Given only tin foil, the Kindergartners were given a task: create a boat that would hold as many "pilgrims" as possible.
Using our problem solving, creativity, and a lot of redesigning, several groups were able to successfully create a Mayflower that held all of our pilgrims without sinking!
Towards the end of our pumpkin unit, we read the book Pete the Cat and the 5 Little Pumpkins. There was an opportunity to connect our literacy lesson to a STEM challenge, and we couldn't pass it up!
Kindergartners were each given 5 pumpkins and were then asked to create a gate for them using 3 materials: clothespins, popsicle sticks, Keva planks, and Jenga blocks. The Kindergartners easily created several gates and were then given an even bigger challenge...create a gate/structure that holds a real pumpkin! There was building, redesigning, problem solving, and giggles galore during this great STEM challenge. We ended up with some truly amazing structures and the end and some very proud Kindergartners!
With our last "Mad Scientist Experiment" before Halloween, the Kindergartners got to experience a spooky science experiment! They were given safety glasses, pipettes, beakers full of a potion ingredient, and a glass full of the other potion ingredient. After talking with their group about their predictions about what will happen, they went off to work making their potions!
The Kindergarten room was full of ooohs and ahhhs as their potions grew, fizzled, and even changed color out of nowhere! Our Kindergarten scientists are becoming experts in observation, making hypotheses, and asking questions about why things happen!
The Kinders were mighty surprised when they walked into our classroom after recess on Friday to discover that our classroom was attacked by spiders! The spiders had set up an obstacle course and game for us to play. The spiders were nice enough to lend us their superpowers by giving us each a spider ring, which helped the Kinders navigate the maze in our room.
The Kindergartners were challenged to work in teams to navigate the obstacle course, grab a card from the bags hanging from the spider webs, and then talk with their team to figure out what letter the picture started with. The Kinders were able to have their problem solving and reading skills challenged all at the same time!
This activity brought forth several wonderful conversations about letters, a lot of giggles when Kinders were trying to navigate the web, and teamwork that amazed this teacher!
What a day it was!
Kindergartners walked into school Thursday and discovered that the room had been transformed into the Serengeti! With zebras, giraffes, elephants, and many more African animals around the room, we decided to go on a Shape Safari!
On our safari, we searched high and low for all kinds of animals. When we found an animal, we recorded the number on the picture and then flipped the picture over to reveal a shape!
We then recorded our findings in our field journals and circled all the corners in the shape. It was such a busy and fun way to celebrate our learning and test our 2D shape knowledge. Check out some pictures below to see our safari in action along with some photos with our giraffe visitor, Twiga!
This past week, the Kindergartners have been learning all about a fall favorite fruit...apples! We have been using descriptive words and using our 5 sense to investigate them. One day, we jumped into practicing our reading skills while identifying all of the different parts of an apple!
We then transferred our labeling skills to label Miss Keenan! We labeled all the parts of her face and she was covered in Post-it labels by the end of the lesson! This showed the Kindergartners how man things there are that they can label in their writing during Writer's Workshop (and the importance of adding details to our pictures!)
Kindergartners walked into school this past Wednesday to see a big surprise waiting for them! That morning, everyone's favorite gym teacher installed our brand new Clevertouch board, which is an interactive board. The Kindergartners (and their teacher!) are having so much fun learning about everything that it can do and how it can help us learn even more. We have been using it to practice writing letters, sorting objects, identifying beginning sounds, and and even for GoNoodle!