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Popcorn Words

Please read these weekly Popcorn Words with your K-Kid each night!

*I *it *run *help *away
*a *in *jump *down
*is *we *one
*am *big *two
*to *for *make
*the *this *get
*go *red *play
*me *like *find
*see *my *funny
*and *come *look
*can *up *blue
*you *not *yellow
Sunday, October 30, 2016

Can I be President?

We have begun a new unit that I only teach every four years, the election! This year has provided quite the political lesson for our K-Kids and we have had many interesting conversations this past week. We will continue our election unit into next week, discussing the branches of government and how someone can become president. We will even create our own political pitches! 

We also had so much fun on our first field trip and at Carnival!

Language Arts:
Our new literacy stations have allowed students to continue phonic exploration at his/her own reading level. It has been truly fascinating how much growth we have already seen in the first two full months of school! We have an entire class of readers, writers, and most importantly, hard workers! The K-Kids are working on their rhyming, phonemic awareness skills, and overall comprehension of reading. Way to go K-Kids!

We started new math stations this week, many of which focus on continuing to build our number sense, graphing, addition, and subtraction. The K-Kids are continuing to blow me away with their ability to take in new math information and think critically as they apply this new knowledge to other stations. We have also been utilizing Ms. Wahl during math to help better enrich the math needs for all students.  

We met Pumpkin Jack this week, who will be spending the next 3 weeks in our classroom. Pumpkin Jack is a Jack-o-lantern who we have carved and placed in a big plastic bag. We will watch him change and make observations in our science journals. This is always an exciting science project for the K-Kids. 

Social Studies:
This past week we had lots of class discussions about what the president does. The K-Kids have discussed what they think the president does all day, which includes (but is not limited to): "Goes on TV." "Has lots of meetings with important people." "Gets dressed fancy to give work speeches." We discussed where the president lives and how the president surrounds him/herself with a group of important people called the 'cabinet.' This week we will hold our own classroom elections!

We are about to finish our second writing unit of the year. We have worked hard on our smartie spelling skills, making our stories come alive, and adding detail into both our writing and our illustrations. Next week we will begin our How-To Writing Unit. 
Sunday, October 23, 2016

So Long Arachnids!

We had a fantastic week finishing up our spider unit. The K-Kids helped share all of the 'new information' and we added this to our schema chart. You will find all of our learning outside in the hallway underneath our giant spider web!

Language Arts:
As we finished up our language arts stations, the K-Kids are beginning to show a great deal of interest in reading all of the things around them. I have overheard many of them reading from bulletin boards and posters from around the school. I have also noticed a great deal of teamwork, specifically as we have continued talking about The Leader in Me. The K-Kids are problem solving when issues should arise, and they are extremely proud to share with us how they came to "think win-win" (more on this later!). 

We also completed our math stations this week, which allowed us to do a lot of work demonstrating our number sense. We discussed greater and fewer, and realized that we have to look at the whole 2-digit number before we can figure out which number is bigger or smaller. We have also begun discussing how to compose and decompose various numbers. The K-Kids have started to realize that there are many different ways to make our numbers. For example, 4 is 0+4, 4+0, 1+3, 3+1, and 2+2! We like to act like number detectives to figure out all of the various solutions. 

As we finished up our spider unit, we charted the facts we had learned about spiders. We focused on two main catergories: 'Spiders have' and 'Spiders are.' The K-Kids helped me distinguish which facts went under a certain category and which facts were not even about spiders! Next, we selected the two facts that most interested us and each kiddo wrote down his/her facts. These are on display under our self made spiders on the big spiderweb in the hallway. We also took a 'Roycemore Field Trip' and visited the HUGE spiders and their webs hanging out in the corner of our playground. 

Writer's Workshop:
As we continue through our second unit of Writer's Workshop, we have focused on how to make our stories come alive for the reader. We are working on putting emotions into our illustrations, adding in speech bubbles, and other various ways to help our reader jump into our writing. I have loved watching our smartie spelling develop. Remember, spelling is a process. The most important thing you can do at home to help your K-Kid is encourage them to write and spell independently! Praise them when you see any writing, even if the letters don't match up with what they are saying! This is part of the writing process in K. 

Social Studies: 
This week we focused on our fourth habit for happy kids. Think Win-Win allows us to comprehend how to compromise and work with our friends to make sure that everyone leaves the disagreement happy. I hope you are using our Leader in Me language at home to promote positive "leader" behavior! Also, we learned how to say sorry the K-Way this week. Here are the steps: 1. I'm sorry for ________. 2. It was wrong because _______. 3. Next time I will ________. 4. Is there anything else I can do for you? Feel free to use this 'way to apologize' at home! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cephalothorax, Abdomen, Exoskeleton OH MY!

What an excellent week we had continuing our spider unit. The K-Kids have loved talking about spiders so much that I have decided to continue this unit for one more week. We still have so many questions about trap-door spiders, balloonists, and spiders' predators. 

Language Arts: This week we started to wrap up our spider literacy work stations. One of our favorites remains the writing station, where we are challenged to write stories, lists, or label pictures each week. As time goes on, I will continue pushing students to watch those tall vs. short letters, letter-word spacing, and proper punctuation. We continue working on initial, middle, and final sounds in one of our literacy work stations, challenging ourselves to make a guess at the sounds we hear before checking our work. Each week the K-Kids' skills get stronger and stronger. Also, we continue working in our listening station, where students listen to a story (while following along in the book) and complete various activities to show comprehension.

Math: We have also continued our spider math centers this week. I have been challenging the kids to look at the patterning they will notice in numbers. For example, as we count by 5's during calendar time to note the number of days we have been in school, I point out the way the numbers end in 5 or 0 in an AB pattern. I encourage you to talk about these patterns with your kids as they are counting items, sorting items, or playing at home. Children are always looking to make sense of their world and one way they do this is by making patterns and sorting (often subconsciously!).

Science: This week we continued our study of spiders, which lends itself nice to some natural science lessons. We explored various types of spider hunters. Did you know that some spiders don't even use their webs to make food?! Learning about different kinds of hunting spiders really intrigued the K-Kids. Also, we loved learning about the way spiders molt their skin to reveal a new exoskeleton. 

Writing: We continue to work during Writer's Workshop every day in the classroom. The kids have been working hard to write their extremely creative stories using different ideas we discuss during the mini-lesson each day. This week we discussed many things. First, we looked at what to do when we re-read our pages and notice we have missed a word. We discussed how to use a caret to add in missing words and we also began focusing on 'planning out' our writing before we just get started. Lastly, we talked about drawing our pictures from different perspectives and making our stories come alive for all who read them.

Saturday, October 8, 2016
We have had such a fabulous week beginning all of our spider literacy and math workstations. It was quite encouraging as I watched the kids work together in their partnerships, solving problems, discussing new topics, and making connections to old workstations we have completed. Below is a recap of our week's activities.

Language Arts: We have introduced 9 new literacy workstations to the kiddos this week. This K Class has loved the challenge of various phonemic awareness skills. They are quickly learning how to identify the various parts in words and I am loving my opportunity to teach so many fantastic readers! Another exciting new workstation this week was a game called "Spider Snack" where each child took a turn hiding two flies behind rhyming words while their partner tried to find Little Spider's snack of flies. I loved hearing the giggles coming from the pocket chart area.

Math: We have continued building our number sense in math stations, guided groups, and with math journals. I have loved watching the K-Kids create various pictures and number sentences to show their thinking while solving various story problems. We have also started our new math workstations. This week, many of our stations focus on identifying the number that is greater or fewer. While this is easy with single-digit numbers, it gets a bit more confusing with double-digit numbers. While looking at double-digit numbers, it's easy to make mistakes by simply looking at the one's column. By the end of the week it turned out that while my initial goal was to explore and manipulate greater or fewer amounts, this led to a great discussion of place value. 

Social Studies: We continue to focus on our Leader in Me habits as a way to personalize our ability to become happy leaders in and out of the classroom. I am hoping you are noticing some positive changes at home! Please remember to ask your K-Kids how they show the following habits: 1. Be Proactive 2. Begin with the end in mind 3. Put first things first. This week we also started our 5 week Junior Achievement program. The JA program helps teach us various aspects of our community, such as neighborhoods, families, leadership, etc. 

Writing: Each child continues to work on story writing during Writer's Workshop, and this week we introduced the idea of making our stories come alive. The K-Kids have been working very diligently during Writer's Workshop, stretching out sounds and creating stories about everything from travel to family celebrations to neighborhood exploration. I have loved working with each child independently to grow and his/her own pace throughout the writing process.
Monday, October 3, 2016

Fall Harvest Happenings

This week we finished up our Fall Harvest unit and the kids loved finishing our comparisons between all of the Fall fruits and vegetables. We made observations with sweet potatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, apples, and squash, looking at both the inside and outside of each. The kids really put on their 'scientist' caps as they explored each fruit/veggie and made observations. 

We also finished up another round of literacy work stations based on the Fall Harvest activities. We have worked really hard this week in both the writing station and in a variety of games that tackle our phonemic awareness. As you are reading or playing with your child see if he/she can isolate the initial, middle, and ending sound in simple words. The past few weeks each partnership also worked on different rhyming games and many of them are becoming pros!

As we continue trucking along with our math program, you may hear your kiddos talking about some addition and subtraction we have been doing in the classroom. We have also been working on 'counting with our eyes' and finding new ways to build different numbers. For example, the number 6 can be made with 6+0, 0+6, 1+5, 5+1, 4+2, 2+4, and 3+3. This is a fantastic number sense concept that we will work on all year long! We also learned about the +, - , and =. Our last big math discussion this week focused on the difference between 2D and 3D shapes. Ask your K-Kid to explain what makes them different at home! Also, see if you can find any 3d or 2d items at home. 

This week in Writer's Workshop we began writing our first books as we continued into our second writing unit of the year. We read a book called BigMama's by Donald Crews, which tells the story of a young boy going to visit his grandmother's house. At the end of the story you find out that the young boy is now an adult and he has been retelling this story from his childhood. The K-Kids have made many connections to this book and have used Donald Crews as an inspiration as they start their own stories. The kids have absolutely blown me away with their interest in writing, and it is quickly becoming our favorite part of the day. We have built our stamina up to 20 minutes of silent writing time each day, which allows me to conference (meet) with 2-4 kids each day to discuss various independent writing strategies. As time moves on, the kids will be working at his or her own pace to write each story. 

Next week we will start our spider unit! Can't wait to discuss these creepy crawlies!