Kindergarten in Bloom:  This Week in Our Room: March 4-8, 2018

We know it’s not much to look at but here is the first harbinger of Spring to come. Those poor crocuses appeared before the snows of last week. Talk about resilience in the face of all kinds of adversity….The children were charmed by the snow showers that fell and insisted on a quick runaround on the blacktop for an end-of-winter-thrill.

It’s been another power packed week full of activity in the Kindergarten, not the least of which was the three birthdays in Division 16, Buddies and a concert put on WVSS Concert Band and Concert Choir!  

We are galloping along the Alphabet trail and made these wonderful little “t is a tree” with paper squares and sparkling sequin berries.  The children’s brainstorming for T has become quite sophisticated.

We’re always changing up our Math Rotations activities for the children.  Currently, we’re focusing on sets 5-9, with an emphasis on number 6 this past week.  Besides creating sets (treasure boxes) and matching numerals to sets (Math Their Way Workjobs red game boxes), the children have been using rolling dice to record number formations with bingo marker towers and double-sided bean counters for more work on hierarchical inclusion.  

Hierarchical inclusion means understanding how do numbers relate to each other (that a number contains all of the previous numbers).  While using their double-sided bean counters, the children are learning about various combinations to 6. They are always so surprised each time they “spill” the beans to find that the two numbers make 6.  So in this fun, play based activity, our children are learning that 6 and 0, 1 and 5, 2 and 4 and 3 and 3 all relate to each in that their “spilled” combination (no matter what the order) always adds up to 6.

We made our monthly Self-Portraits for March on these cutie penguin backgrounds.

Friday morning saw the West Vancouver Secondary Concert Band, conducted by Mr. Justin Ratzburg, and the Concert Choir, under the direction of Mrs. Suzanne Fulton, arrive at our gym for a fantastic concert.  Ridgeview students can join our school band program in Grade 6 and 7; from there, they can register for Concert Band in Grade 8. Starting in Grade 9, WVSS offers programs in Orchestra, Jazz Band, Rock Band or students may continue in Concert Band.  

Currently, Ridgeview students are involved in singing programs at the school.  Upon registering at for Grade 8, WVSS students can join the Concert Choir without any prior experience, audition for the Chamber Choir or audition for the West Vancouver Honour Choirs which represent our entire school district.  

We rounded out our week with a second digital literacy session with our Big Buddies. We have now progressed to using the app Book Creator to record our research. Each Buddy pair is creating a digital book with a title page and dedication, individual pages for different aspects of penguin (habitat, appearance, young, food) and voice-overs. These will be ready for your viewing at Student-Led Conferences on Wednesday, April 26. Please save this date on your calendar. We will have an early dismissal at 2 pm and you and your child will return to school for your appointed conference time.

As you know from the first Report Card, we include a Self-Reflection of the children’s learning for each Term.  They did a wonderful job of really thinking about what was important for them in Kindergarten this Spring….

…and an even better job of representing their learning!  How cute is that?

Reminders and Upcoming Events

Please return all Library Books.  We will not be taking out new books for Spring Break to allow Mrs. Kennedy to do some inventory.

Early dismissal at 2pm on Friday, March 15th. Report cards will also be sent home that day.

 

Spring is Around the Corner (We Hope):  This Week in Our Room: March 25 – March 1, 2019

We’re almost done with the snow.  It’s melting away and we noticed the first of the spring bulbs starting to appear in our home and school gardens.  It’s a welcome relief after this long spell of cold weather, snow boots, mittens and toques.

We were so happy to have a full week of school — really, nobody is more relieved than the teachers as there is always SO MUCH going on in the Kindergarten.

We’re officially over the hump of the alphabet – this week was “S” and our craft was “s is a snake.”  These are totally adorable and will make a welcome addition to your alphabet wall at home.

We’ve made it halfway through our numeracy stations.  We’ve been working on the number 5 (tricky to print, no doubt about it) and playing with 5 and 10 frames.  We’ve been rolling the dice, as it were, to create numbers to 10 using double sided counters for each number.  It’s a great way to teach our children dot pattern recognition and subitizing (the dice), building sets to 10 and part-whole relationships (the number of objects remains the same even they they are arranged spatially).

In Social Studies we’ve continued talking about our Families and the number of people in our families.  We read The Family Book by Todd Parr and the children created this graph:

Thank you to everyone for dressing up in pink on February 27 to promote Anti-Bullying Awareness, or as we like to say, prosocial behaviour so our children understand the importance of empathy and compassion and the ways in which they treat one another. Some of those familiar sayings such as “Treat others as you wish to be treated” and “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” may seem trite but their meaning is just as powerful as it was 50-60 years ago. Right now, phrases we’re using often are “Helpful hands, not hurting hands” and asking “Is that a helpful comment or a hurtful comment” to delineate at a simple level the difference for our children.

As we mentioned in Remind this week, it was a double-header of the best kind– Big Buddies and a Popcorn Sale!  We saw our Big Buddies this week to conclude our research on the penguin (habitat, appearance, food, young, characteristics) and began using the app Book Creator to record our research and insert photos from the internet. Thank you so much to our BFF and West Vancouver District Innovation Teacher (Technology), Ms. Cari Wilson for assisting us with our annual digital literacy project. You’ll be able to view this amazing digital books at Student-Led Conferences in April.

We’ve been having a lot of fun with Sharing this term.  The collections have been so much fun, from small cars to rocks, Pokemon to Paw Patrol, stuffed animals to LEGO figures.  This will be the last round of Sharing before Spring Break. We will start a new theme when we return.

 

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Book Exchange for both classes on Monday.  We have had many browsers lately so please help to remind your child to put their library book into their backpacks Sunday night.

We will be back to the gym this week to continue our work with small equipment and the physical literacy skills of running, hopping, throwing, and kicking.  Please wear runners for our gym days (Tuesdays and Thursdays)

March Scholastic Orders went home this week.  Order forms are due next Friday, March 8th.

If you are leaving early  or arriving back later from Spring Break please let us know so we can let the office know about the upcoming absences.

 

February Fun Part 2:  This Week in Our Room:  February 19-22, 2019

Well, the past two weeks have been a bit discombobulating since our last newsletter.  A lot has happened so let’s have a quick review of where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to.

Monday, February 11 started off innocently enough, but then the snow came that night, which was immediately followed by a Snow Day!  We know this was a very exciting day for our little ones as we do not often get a lot of snow in the Vancouver area. And we were happy to extend their playtimes back at school the next day so the children could run in the deeper snow on the field, roll snowballs, make snow angels and climb on top of the huge snowballs made by the Intermediate students.  For some of the children, we know this fun time with friends in the snow might be remembered as one of the best days of the year!

No sooner did we get the snow jackets, gloves, mittens and boots sorted out then it was Valentine’s Day!  What a very special day for our children, many of whom had not experienced the giving and receiving of Valentine cards, sweets and mementos.  We were touched by the many hand-made Valentines and hand-written cards from the children. The children loved dropping their Valentines in the card holder bags and it was fun for them to peek inside and see how full their own bags were becoming.

We would also like to thank all of you for our own sweet Valentine’s.  While the chocolates and gifts are so thoughtful and appreciated, we also love to look at the dear little cards and see how the children’s printing has changed over the year.  Card writing is a wonderful, purposeful writing activity that we hope you continue with your family over the years.

In between all of this winter excitement we somehow finished our printing of the letter Q while continuing to work on developing number sense in Math.  We introduced a new activity, “bean spills,” with double sided counters to explore the possible number combinations we could make to 4. We’ll be using this strategy again with other numbers.

We also finished our pastel watercolour resist paintings of Lon Po Po by Ed Young, which are absolutely spectacular.  In these paintings we focused on the setting of the story.  The children did an amazing job drawing with pastels and they very much enjoyed using tempera paint pucks for the watercolour wash.  We’ve cut and mounted the paintings in panel style which is a traditional Chinese art form.

Well, we’ve made it to the Family Day weekend and where were we?  Christy and I were in San Francisco attending a Learning and the Brain Conference — Educating with Empathy:  Cultivating Kindness, Compassion, Cooperation and Good Behaviour. Our heads are swirling with outstanding presentations, research and practise, new books, mindfulness and meditation, self-regulation, strategies and a lot of fresh thinking for us — good thing for our flexible mindset!  

We learned a lot of new ideas at this conference, but we also had a lot of our beliefs about our current teaching practise confirmed.  We know that self-regulation is the foundation of the children’s development and learning. When the children are regulated, they are able calm and ready to learn.  When the children are ready to learn, they can focus on where to look (their teacher, the book, the lesson) and what to listen for (directions, instructions, procedure).  In Kindergarten, our children are learning how to learn. This is absolutely essential, not only in the teaching and learning of academic knowledge, but in the teaching and learning of the social and emotional skills of empathy, kindness and compassion.  We will be sharing the mindfulness and self-regulation strategies we learned with our children so we can support them in being the best learners they can be.

Our return post-holiday found ourselves catching up on work we had set aside.  We can’t compete with snow and chocolate! In our study on Families, we read the delightful I Love You book by Todd Parr.  We brainstormed about the different ways in which our families show how much they love us.  We made these beautiful drawings with our ideas scribed for us by the teachers.

It was our Sweat Workshop on Wednesday with our WV Physical Literacy Teachers and sweat we did!  Wow! What amazing energy from the Kindergarten and Grade 1 children – that’s about 80 children in the gym together working through a locomotor movement warm-up and then a series of stations including squats, planks, incline push-ups and knee to elbow movements.  Although we tried to take photos of our athletes, they were moving too fast. We were able to get a final picture, though, of everyone at rest.

We apologise for not more advance notice about Pyjama Day on Thursday but I read the staff e-mail incorrectly and thought it was postponed (this was all happening at the same time as my school e-mail was in a state of flux but it’s finally been fixed) so thank goodness you are all reading the Ridgeview Bulletin!  The children looked very cute and cozy in their jammies….

So we are finally here at Friday, wrapping up the busiest two weeks ever.  We completed our colourful “r is a rainbow” so we’re back on track for our alphabet work.

And what a better way to end off the week with Buddies!  We saw our Big Buddies today and started the research for our penguin digital literacy projects.  We look forward to showing you this very special activity during our Student Led Conferences in April.

Our newsletter has reach gargantuan lengths so consider yourselves caught up until next week!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Day tomorrow so please return books for book exchange

Wednesday, February 27th is PINK Shirt Day

Each year, on PINK T-Shirt Day, we encourage students to wear something pink to symbolize that we as a school and a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere….at school, in the workplace, at home, and over the Internet. It is important that all of us and especially victims of bullying know that they are not alone and there is help and support available. Wearing a pink shirt on this day sends a strong message to them that others care. Often, the simple act of wearing a shirt can start conversations – conversations can be a big step towards healing and helping!

Friday, March 1 is Popcorn Day.  Popcorn bags will be on sale for $2 per bag.  Send in a toonie any day this week as we will pre-order the bags Friday morning

 

February Fun Part 1:  This Week in Our Room:  February 4-8, 2019

February is off to a cold start with our below zero temperatures.  We’re expecting the children are going to wear warm coats at morning and lunch recess, even if they are driven to school.  Please remember to show your child how to do up their zipper (we’re happy to help during Kindergarten but all children should be independent before Grade One) on their jackets.  And toque and gloves are necessary winter accoutrements right now! To make things a little easier for the children, we’re trying to teach them to put on their coats and do up their jackets BEFORE they put on their gloves.  It’s a tricky process, dressing for the cold weather, but there you have it – we’re in the middle of a Canadian winter!

To keep the frosty temperatures at bay, we decided to keep warm and cuddly with this adorable “q is for quilt” craft!  The children loved all of the pretty scrapbook paper designs and did a very nice job of attractively arranging all the “quilt squares.”  Qq is a difficult letter to print with all of its parts (around and close, down, dig, slide up), but we were so pleased our children’s efforts!

We had a very exciting Thursday at the Multicultural and Diversity Day Celebration in our own Ridgeview Gym.  What an amazing mix of colours, sounds and smells to excite the senses! Our children visited various countries to see the visual displays, participated in cultural activities games and collected their “passport” stamps.  Their Grade 7 Buddies were laden with the lanterns and goodie bags of collectables belonging to their Kindergarten Buddies. Thank you so very much to the RPAC for sponsoring this amazing event for Ridgeview students.

 

For Chinese New Year in our classroom, we read some delightful stories, including a new publication, Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee and Joey Chou, which focuses on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  We invited the children to celebrate with some fun activities, including making Chinese banners, lycee bags and using tangrams. We even did some decorating with these colourful dragons!

 

We’ve had a challenging time of illness at Ridgeview this past week.  We have many children with very bad coughs, fevers, runny noses and fatigue.  If your children are sick, particularly vomiting, coughing and with fever, please keep them at home. We’ve mentioned this before as we are unable to look after sick children at school.  We know your children still want to attend school, but they simply do not have the energy or stamina to complete regular classroom activities (sharing, taking turns and playing cooperatively with others comes quickly to mind) which includes going outside for playtime.  As parents, we make the decision for our children to stay home.  Although it might be inconvenient for you to have to stay home with your sick one, as a school community we must also consider the “greater good,” which in this case means we want the classroom to be a healthy place for everyone.

Our last health note is a reminder for you from our Public Health Nurse.  At Kindergarten Entry there are various boosters your children should be receiving.  If your children’s immunizations are now up to date, please send a copy of their records to school or to NSimmunizations@vch.ca.  If your child still needs their latest immunizations, you are able to make an appointment through your local Community Health Centre.  Questions? Please come in and speak to us. We’re happy to help.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Book Exchange this Monday.  Please return your book.

We will be exchanging Valentine’s Day cards next week.  We made these pretty card holder bags with our Big Buddies on Friday.  In Kindergarten, we write a card for each child in our class and put the cards into the individual bags.  We will tie up the bags for you to open at home with your child on Thursday.

Friday, February 15:  Reading Break – school is not in session

Monday, February 18:  Family Day – school is not in session

 

Good-Bye January, Hello February: This Week in Our Room: January 28-February 1, 2019

We can’t believe it ourselves, but did you realise we are halfway through Kindergarten?  We were kind of caught off guard with how quickly this year has gone by.  So were the children as we all paused to consider what that meant.  There are not a lot of things we can say we know for sure, but this is one of them:  while the days may be long, the years are short and every single day is a precious day.  

My daughter Christina turned 21 years old this weekend.  As we celebrated her birthday and reflected back on her birth and childhood, and the teenage years into young adulthood, we recognise the time we spent together when our children were younger, sharing our personal interests and developing common interests, have been essential to building and strengthening our relationships with them.  As parents of young adults we’re happy that our children are still wanting to travel, ski, sing, cook, watch movies and talk about books with us.  So let’s take the time to be present with our children each day, share their interests and teach them about ours, and delight in these wondrous, innocent days of their Kindergarten year.  

Our huge focus this week has been on DancePlay.  What an amazing program this has been for our children.  Our children learned about many different kinds of dance including disco, country, hip-hop, funk and rock and roll.  They listened to many different songs and worked on specific dance moves.  But the most important part of DancePlay is their messaging for the children:  Be Positive, Be Fun and Be Yourself.  We loved how positively every class ended (a 3-peat of “I am Awesome”).  Dance which encourages free expression and values the individual effort, without criticism or constraint, has been wonderful for the children’s mental and physical health.  We want to say thank you so very much to our PAC for providing this wonderful opportunity for Ridgeview’s Primary students.

Back to classroom activities….In keeping with our cute animals for alphabet letters, what do you think about “p is for pig”? The children are continuing to develop their cutting skills when using templates and did such a cute job drawing in the facial details.  The most fun was watching the children twist the pink pipecleaner into a curly tail.  They were really amazed at what they could do!

Our UBC Teacher Candidates have bravely taken on mine and Christy’s legendary Penguins Science unit.  We have loved teaching about Penguins as part of our Kindergarten curriculum but feel we are all so fortunate this year to have such talented and innovative student teachers working with us and our children.  We love their enthusiasm for teaching and new ideas for fun and learning activities.  

Our beautiful art project for this week was “Snowmen at Night” based on the same book by Mark and Caralyn Beuhner and created by DeepSpaceSparkle.  We are loving using pastels and started this project by drawing a snowman and adding colourful details.  The trickiest cutting task so far this year has been cutting around the snowman’s stick hands but true to form, Kindergarten determination and perseverance took over and most children independently cut out theirs out.  The second part was painting the snowy background which we all did with the enthusiasm of those who have not yet had a chance to play in the snow (although at the time of writing, this could be changing).

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday is Library Book Exchange.  Please return your books.

January Homework Calendars can still be returned this week.

Our big Multicultural Celebration is on February 7.  Our classes will be attending with the Grade 7 Buddies.  

 

Winter Fun: This Week in Our Room: January 21-24. 2019

Just a big reminder to everyone that we are in full Lego Drive mode!  We are looking to build a Ridgeview Lego Collection and we’re asking all students to consider bringing a cup or Lego from their own collections.  We have a fabulous table for building that will be housed in the Library.  We’re graphing all the donations from each Grade so please consider making a donation!

We took a little swim this week with our “o is an octopus” craft.  We  had lots of “ooohs” and “aahhhhs” for this cutie-pie craft.  The children did a lovely job of their printing as well.  The “o” formation (around and close) is the basis for many letters.  A reminder for all parents as you’re watching your children print, the children should be starting at the top of the “o” and going around counter-clockwise; the join should be barely noticeable at the top of the “o.”  Printing is all about precision so letters should be sitting on the line (except for the tails of letters such as g, j, p, q, y).  

**Please remember we DO NOT colour in the centre of the “o.”  Ever.

We’re carrying on with our Math Rotations for 1 this week.  In addition to creating number sets and exploring with manipulatives, we’ve added a written component for the children to practise tracing their numbers and printing the number words.

Christy and I are attending a series of Math Workshops on Balanced Numeracy this term.  We are examining the development of Number Sense for our Kindergarten children, and learning some new instructional practises for extending numerical understanding.  

A fun game we learned is called “Splat,” which looks at part-whole relationships of number.  We showed the children a whole number but only part of the number.  The other part of the number was hidden by the splat.  We ask them to think about not only what part is missing (the number), but how did they figure how much was missing?

-we can count on – we see 3 counters and count on to 5 (4, 5)

-we can take away – we know there is 5, we see 3 counters (5-3=2)

We had no sooner hung up our stunning Winter Perspective paintings than we decided to have some close-up winter fun by making these adorable snow globes!

It’s just a fun craft, incorporating many craft skills for Kindergarten such as cutting, pasting, drawing and most importantly the feeling of independence when completing something “all by myself!”

 

In Primary Singing, we are learning how to sing “Rounds.”  Mrs. Soderling starts singing and then the children begin singing after.  The song goes “round and round.”  They tried it both ways, teacher first, then students; then students starting and teacher going second.  It was challenging of course, but the children gradually improved and they can almost hold their part.  We were really proud of them!

Next week is a very busy week with DancePlay.  We realize all children do not enjoy dancing.  There will be a lot of instruction, remembering dance steps and sequences, and listening skills, focus and self-regulation will be in high demand.  Please ensure your child is getting lots of sleep and we will try to encourage them to be eating well at lunch and snack so our week of dance is successful!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Book Exchange is on Monday.

We will NOT be participating in this week’s popcorn sale.  Our children will be in the Dance Celebration for the afternoon and they will not have an opportunity to eat it.  Our children are not able to manage the bag of popcorn on the playground with the other 400 students swarming around them.

Parents are welcome to attend the Dance Celebration but please note that space will be very limited.

Winter Light:  This Week in Our Room:  January 14-18, 2019

How fortunate we were to enjoy some beautiful days of winter sunshine and light this week before the rains came down again.  Of course, here in the Kindergarten, there is light and sparkle as we settle in for our winter work.

One of our most favourite alphabet crafts is “n is the night sky,” a pretty collection of moon and stars on a dark blue sky.  We’re officially halfway through the alphabet now and observing the mature changes we see in the children’s printing. Their upper body strength has improved with time spent on the swings and monkey bars, which has enabled them to have better control of their arm, hand and finger movements.  As a result, we see much improved letter formation and fine motor development.

We’re still waiting for snow, but at least enjoying it through some beautiful picture books.  We took some time this week to write our own Winter big book about what we see during this chilly season.

During Math this term, we’re developing number sense through a variety of math centres.  We’ve organised the children into cooperative groups and they are making their way through exploring, creating, comparing and counting number sets from 1-10.  We’re adding a written component as well, and teaching the children the correct formation for numerals and practising the printing of number words.

Math Centres are a similar routine and structure the children are well familiar with, from math pattern centres in the fall, to our Hallowe’en and Christmas Centres Parties. We’re continually mixing up the groups so the children are able to socialise and work with everyone in the class (and often both Kindergarten classes together) as it’s important that we continue to foster new friendships while maintaining connections from their preschool days.

This week we painted and created winter trees for our “Here, Near and Far Trees” from our favourite website, deepspacesparkle.com.  The focus for our lesson was multi-fold, but we’d say the greatest emphasis was in developing perspective.

First we painted these stunning backgrounds, colour mixing blue and white paint to create tints.  Then, the children cut out three different sized trees on green paper from small to big, light to dark.  Pastel patterns and details were added.

Careful placement and gluing of the trees (light coloured trees are far away) from far to near was a very mindful activity.  We talked about the horizon, where the sky meets the earth, and how that affects where the trees could be placed.

Finally, our favourite part, painting in the details and adding glitter completed these very special studies in distance and perspective.  

The children started learning the melody and words for “I Can’t Wait to be King” from “The Lion King” musical our school will be putting on this spring.  Although this is a Grades 4-7 production, we’ve asked to have the primary children learn a few songs as well.

It’s never easy to talk about Lockdown practise in schools.  We have always regarded schools as one of the safest places you could be, and continue to believe that is so.  However, it’s also essential that we practise so as a class, and school, to be prepared for life’s uncertainties.  Your children were brave, calm and the very best of listeners throughout the entire procedure on Thursday. The trust we have in each other, as teacher and students, is strong and for that we are very blessed.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Scholastic Book Orders for January should be placed soon.

Library Book Exchange on Mondays, as usual.

Lego Drive:  we are hoping to collect one cup of Lego from each child in our school to build our Ridgeview Lego collection which will be housed in the Library.  

There is a Professional Development Day on Friday, January 25th so school will not be in session.