Happy Turkey Day 2019

During Thanksgiving week, our children talked about everything they are thankful for:

My family

My mom when she makes food for me

Holidays

My birthday

Church

My friends

Animals

My dog living so long

My cat

My stuffed dog

Nature

My garden

The colourful flowers

The seasons

Being at school

Making crafts at school

Coming to school everyday

Staying at school all day

Reading books 

My teachers

We are so thankful to be blessed with our families, friends and the dear Kindergarten children and their families in our care this school year.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Love from, your Kindergarten Teachers

 

This Week in Our Room:  September 30 – October 4, 2019

It was a quiet week in the Kindergarten, the kind where we notice how well the children are settling into their classrooms, remembering different routines (print your name with a pencil, tidy up after you finish eating, shoes and boots go into the cubbies) and encouraging and supporting one another.  Most children are entering the classroom easily and enjoy selecting their playtime Centres. It is a joy to watch the children ask each other to play and the cooperative fun that ensures. They have become more comfortable joining groups of children in play, and feel confident they can share and take turns with their friends.  It is a very sweet time for us, as teachers and students.

The Alphabet continues to take shape as we finished up with the letter B.  The children are having fun with our Alphabet activities from listening to stories to printing letters to brainstorming words that begin with the letter/sound of the week.  We’re doing a lot of phonological awareness activities to train the ear to listen to words and syllables.  

In Math this week, we explored our new pattern for October, ABC.  The children also made a graph of their birthdays so we could see where everybody was born during the year.  They were able to analyse the data to notice which months had the most, the fewest or no birthdays at all.

ELL classes also started this week for students receiving this service.  

As always, this week’s most anticipated event was seeing our Big Grade 7 Buddies for apple weaving.  Our children are very much enjoying this personal, one-on-one (sometimes two, as some children have two Big Buddies) time with their Buddy to make crafts, talk and listen to stories.  We’re looking forward to seeing our Buddies again on Friday for a special Thanksgiving craft!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, October 7 is Photo Day!  Kindergarten children will be photographed first while they are still neat and tidy.  

Tuesday is Library Book Exchange.  Please return your book so you can take out a new one.

Wednesday and Thursday is early dismissal for all grades for Parent Teacher Conferences.  The children will be dismissed at 2 pm. If your child attends Camp Ridgeview, please let them know of the change in our school day.  

 

September Reflections:  This Week in Our Room: September 23-26, 2019

We can feel the winds a-changing, the temperatures are getting cooler, our summer blue sky has become moody and the Kindergarten children are settling into their classroom routines…sounds like Autumn is here.

We’re enjoying a little burst of sunshine to help illuminate the beautiful greens and reds around us as the trees are turning colour.  But we definitely have a call now for rainboots and coats…we realise many families are taking these home for the weekend but we must have them back for Monday.  The children are not comfortable walking around in wet socks and shoes, and it’s not very hygenic for their feet to be damp all day.

We’re progressing slowly in our Alphabet but will start to pick up the pace next week as the children’s stamina for some classwork activity increases.  We had fun making our “b” is a bird craft and practise printing lowercase “b” (down to the line, lift, around and close). We’re using a program called “Printing Like a Pro,” which all Grades K-3 use in our school.

Look at these pretty patterned squares to represent the AB pattern….we were very impressed with the children’s attention to precision as they created their patterns.

We have many, many special and memorable times during the Kindergarten year.  But we’d say over the last number of years the time spent with our Grade 7 Big Buddies has been quite magical, and regarded by both grades as notable for the wonderful friendship and connection formed between primary and senior students.  

Our children have the benefit of knowing and forming an attachment with older students who can help (our Buddies are also our lunch and recess monitors) on the playground, observing positive role models, and taking delight in having a Buddy with whom to make crafts, colour pictures and read aloud stories.

For our Grade 7s, many of them are former Kindergarten children, they are given a position of leadership which reinforces their roles and responsibilities as the oldest students in the school.

Our children were enthusiastic participants in Thursday’s Terry Fox Run.  They ran, walked and skipped their way around the gravel field with their Big Buddies.  In fact, we had to ask the Kindergarten to stop after three or four laps because the Grade 7s needed to start their 2k run!  Thank you to everyone for your generous donations. We exceeded our goal of $1000 and will make a significant contribution to cancer research on behalf of Ridgeview.  Go Dragons!

We have finished a very busy first month in Kindergarten and we noticed our children were starting to slow down a little bit as the week progressed.  They have worked hard, putting all of their energy and focus into listening to the teacher, referencing their peers, remembering the class routines, following the class routines and completing a myriad of teacher-directed activities.  We often hear how Kindergarten children were able to manage very long days at preschool and daycare and now they are tired, a bit short-tempered and not as self-regulated in the evenings.  

Although Kindergarten is all about learning through play, with an emphasis on emotional and social development, formal schooling also means there are clearly defined classroom and school behavioural expectations, a daily schedule of activities and limited choices (usually closed choices, A or B).  It takes time and practise to develop the grit, rigor and resilience needed to be a full-time student. But by Thanksgiving, we will notice a significant change in our Kinders as they will take a huge step forward in their maturity and growth.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, September 30:  please return your September Homework Calendar for a sticker this week.  October Homework Calendars will be sent home on Monday.

It’s also Kindergarten PE so students will need their running shoes.

Tuesday, October 1:  it’s Library Book Exchange so please bring your Library book back to school so you can get a new one.

ELL parents, please join us for an Information Session with Maria Yioldassis, our District ELL Coordinator for WV schools, from 9-10 am.  Translations in Farsi and Mandarin will be provided. Location: Ridgeview Gym

Friday, October 4:  we will see our Buddies for an apple craft.

Hello Fall: This Week in Our Room: 16-19, 2019

We certainly filled our four day week!

Last week we started our Alphabet work with the letter A, in uppercase and lowercase formation with our Itchy’s Alphabet page and craft.  The second part of our Alphabet work includes brainstorming words that begin with the letter sound, drawing and colouring pictures that begin with our letter, and completing a set of printed letters for the children’s Alphabet Book.  In Kindergarten, the children will work weekly on their Alphabet Book and you will be amazed with their printing and drawing over the 26 letters!

As part of our Social Studies Personal Identity Unit, we are talking about ourselves and what makes us special and unique.  Of course, one of those things is our name, and on Wednesday we represented our names in beans! These are such a cute craft, and a great exercise in strengthening tiny fingers for fine motor work.

On Mondays all the Kindergarten has Physical Education together in the gym.  This week we learned about our “home spot,” responding to whistle commands (one whistle is FREEZE, and two whistles are return to your home spot.”  The children are practising their locomotor movement skills (walking, running, galloping, skipping, hopping (1 foot), jumping (2 feet)), stopping on command and personal space.  They did an exceptional job in listening and being mindful of others in a small gym.

We have now had our second visit to the Library and everybody has had the opportunity to take out a Library book.  During Library time, all children are expected to listen attentively, treat all books respectfully and independently join the line to sign-out their weekly books; students can peer reference (look to others) the other children for what to do.  We do give verbal reminders as well to draw the children’s attention to the checkout desk.

Here are the Library Rules from Mrs. Kennedy, our Teacher-Librarian:

-Listen to the teacher and story

-Quiet voices

-Hands and feet to self

-Be gentle with the books

-Return your book on time and not damaged

-Tidy up after yourself

-Read your book silently after you sign it out

We had our kick-off assembly for the Terry Fox Run on Wednesday.  Thank you to our Grade 6 students for their excellent presentation why we run in memory of Terry Fox.

All students will participate in the Terry Fox Run on Thursday, September 26 at 1:15.  Kindergarten students will NOT run the street route that Grades 1-7 run; rather, we will walk/run laps around the gravel field with our Grade 7 Buddies.  We encourage our children to wear Canada’s flag colours of red and white to show their support for Terry Fox’s attempt to run across Canada, and their running shoes.

We are trying to collect $2 (a toonie for Terry) from each Ridgeview student for cancer research.  If you decide to donate $5, then your name will be entered in the draw for a Terry Fox t-shirt.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Hot Lunch:  Please let your child know if he or she receives hot lunch on a particular school day.  It’s very upsetting for the children to receive food they were not expecting, or unfamiliar with, at school.  Please also note that the classroom is not the place to introduce new foods to your child; this needs to be done at home.  We want your children to eat so they have enough fuel in their body to manage a full day of school, and to keep in mind that eating is calming and a significant part of their self-regulation (we are trying to prevent feeling “hangry,” or hungry and angry at the same time).

If your children receives hot lunch, please send cutlery, a lunchkit or large ziploc bag each time.  All Ridgeview students who eat hot lunch are expected to pack out their dirty utensils, and the food packaging which needs to be disposed of at home.  For everyone, teaching your child to wipe his or her mouth with a napkin or paper towel after eating is a social gesture appreciated by everyone who works with your child in the afternoon.

We cannot place the previously opened hot lunch containers in your child’s backpack – past experience has shown us the food containers will spill open.  You’ll need to take some time to show your Kindergarten child how to deal with the empty containers. We will help them as much as possible but any independence they can show helps greatly with the large number of children eating hot lunch in the classroom.

We’re expecting the weather to be wet and rainy this week.  Please ensure your children have their raincoats and rainboots at school for outdoor recess.  Children are not permitted to take umbrellas onto the playground during playtime for everyone’s safety.

Monday, September 23:  please ensure your child has their runners to change into for PE in the gym.

Wednesday, September 25: Kindergarten children will meet their Grade 7 Buddies!  We are excited to finally see our Big Buddies!

Thursday, September 26:  At 1:15, Ridgeview students will gather together on the school grounds for a warm-up before our run.  The Kindergarten children and their Buddies will then complete their run on the gravel field; the Grade 7s will then leave to finish the road run while our classes wait on the playground for the rest of the school will finish.  When everyone returns, we will have a few closing remarks and the draw for the Terry Fox t-shirt.

 

Kindergarten Routines and Self-Regulation:  This Week in Our Room: September 9-13, 2019

Thank you to everyone for attending our Open House and coming to “Meet My Teacher.”  Mrs. Campbell and I were delighted to have met so many parents and grandparents, and for you all to get a glimpse into Kindergarten Life.

For your enjoyment, here’s one of our most popular posts, A Day in the Life of Kindergarten.  It will give you further insight into what your child will be learning and thinking about during this very special year.

We’ve come to the end of our Gradual Entry this week.  The children have learned about classroom Routines, (Self) Regulation and we’ve started some Language and Literacy activities, beginning with Alphabet work.  

Routines

One of the first routines we’ve taught is Listen with My Whole Body.  We have practised this routines several times a day as a whole class since school started, and are now using a self-regulated learning chart with picture cues for reference during meeting time and instruction.  

Eye contact with your child is extremely important.  We’re teaching the children that what they are looking at tells us what they are thinking about…if your children are making eye contact with us when we are speaking, we know they are thinking about us and what we are saying.  If your children are looking at the pictures in the book we are reading, we know they are thinking about the story. Using their eyes to observe their teachers, or checking to see what the other children are doing (peer referencing) is a necessary and vital part of learning.

Self-Regulation

From the name of our website, you’ve probably surmised that self-regulation is a large part of our teaching practise; indeed, it’s the lens by which we view all student behaviour and it is the foundation of everything we do in Kindergarten.  We introduced the “breathing ball” this week (it’s actually called Hoberman’s Sphere) and we use it as a tool to teach the children to use deep, slow breathing as a strategy to help them down-regulate from our fun and exciting recess time (yellow zone) so they are feeling calm, peaceful, focused and ready to learn (green zone).

Literacy

This week we started with reviewing the alphabet letters and introducing “a is an apple,” from Itchy’s Alphabet.  We’re teaching letter names, letter sounds and the correct formation of each letter. We add a little alphabet craft for each letter we teach; each week we will send the letters home. and these can be collected and hung up at home for your own alphabet wall.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Kindergarten is now in session full-time.

First bell:  8:50 – children should enter their classroom/school building calmly and walking.  

10:20-10:40 – Kindergarten children eat their snack

10:40-11:05 – Kindergarten children morning recess time (on their own with playground supervisors)

12:00-12:20 – Lunch (although we allow the children to eat until 12:30 with our Grade 7 monitors)

12:30-1:00 – Kindergarten children lunch recess time (from 12:45-1 pm on their own with playground supervisors)

2:55 Dismissal

As we move forward with our full days, the children need 1-2 snacks, lunch and a water bottle everyday.  You can help your child by labelling and showing them what they should eat for morning snack and lunch; many children wanted to eat their lunch at recess time.  The children have about 15 minutes to eat their snack, and 20-25 minutes for lunch so please plan appropriately.

We are not using the hallway water fountains currently; it’s more hygenic for the Kindergarten children to use their own water bottles (not all students know how to use a water fountain correctly), and the teachers or monitors will refill their water from the water bottle filler which has filtered water.

Thursday, September 19 Terry Fox Kick-Off Assembly for students

Friday, September 20 is a Professional Day.  Students are not in session.

Thursday, September 26 Terry Fox Run (all students wear Canada’s flag colours, red and white, please).  More details to follow.

A New Kindergarten Year:  This Week in Our Room: September 4-6, 2019

During a week of glorious sunshine, we began a new school year with our Kindergarten children.  We’ve really enjoyed meeting our Kinder Cuties, and considering it’s the first time they’ve been to school, they have settled in beautifully to their new classrooms and become familiar with their new teachers and classmates.  Gradual Entry is a gift of time so no one needs to feel rushed. We’re on an exciting, magical journey of learning and laughter, surrounded by the love and support of each other, and taking as much time as we need.

Right now we’re in the middle of Gradual Entry, where our children have been attending Kindergarten for two hours a day this first week of school.  We have about half of the class in the morning and the other half in the afternoon; we’re a mix of genders, language and abilities learning together.  The past three days have been focused on creating a calm and peaceful classroom environment, classroom routines and expectations. We’re already introducing the language of self-regulation with our children, going outside to play and met the many teachers who will become an important part of our school life.

Starting on Monday, the children will be able to meet everyone in their class and we know this will be a very joyful experience as there are lots of preschool friends who want to see each other.

Here’s what you need to know for next week:

Monday, September 9:  Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-12 pm.  Please send a non-spill water bottle (no screw top lids) and a healthy snack.  Kindergarten dismisses promptly at 12 pm so we can commence with the first interview for 12:10 pm.

Tuesday, September 10:  Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-12 pm.  Please send a non-spill water bottle (no screw top lids) and a healthy snack.  Kindergarten dismisses promptly at 12 pm so we can commence with the first interview for 12:10 pm.

Wednesday, September 11:  Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-12 pm.  Please send a non-spill water bottle (no screw top lids) and a healthy snack.  Kindergarten dismisses promptly at 12 pm so we can attend the Kindergarten Teachers’ Professional Afternoon which starts at 12:15 pm.

Thursday, September 12:  Here we go!  Our first full day…Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-2:55 pm.  Please send a non-spill water bottle (no screw top lids), lunch and two healthy snacks.  It’s going to be a long day for our Littles so let’s try to remember they are just in Kindergarten.

Friday, September 13:  Children attend Kindergarten from 8:50 am-2 pm to “Meet My Teacher.”  You will be able to come into the classroom and your children can show you around  The children probably need just their water, lunch and one morning snack as they can attend the ice-Cream Social immediately following your classroom visit.   Please note:  you can “Meet My Principal,” Mr. Warren Zerbe, in the gym at 1:45 pm.

Notes to You:

We have incorporated many forms of parent communication into our Kindergarten program so that you are always in “the know.”  

-please sign up for Remind if you have not already done so – we will send you text messages with updates, reminders and the link to our website, theselfregulatedteacher.com where the weekly newsletter will be posted sometime over the weekend (occasionally a Monday depending upon what happened on the weekend)

-our website, theselfregulatedteacher.com, contains our archived newsletters over the past five years, and lots of articles about our current thinking about Kindergarten:  it’s a wealth of information for you and your family. Please take the time to read through some of our blog posts – we’ve tried to make them fun and informative (like a blog should be) and we work hard to stay away from “edu-speak” and jargon so you can just enjoy reading about what your child is learning at school.

-we’re happy to meet with you any time, but it’s best to ask us (send a note or email) for an appointment.  We are unable to have any in-depth conversation with you at drop-off.  Our focus is always on calmly bringing into the classroom, and following the classroom routines at the start of the day.  Please recognise that you ask us for “just a minute,” realistically, it’s going to take much longer and that time takes away from settling the children so let’s meet to talk that’s mutually agreeable.

This week we asked you to:

-sign-up for Remind, the teacher app to receive text messages about our class

-sign-up for a Parent-Teacher Conference on Monday or Tuesday next week

-think about the questions on the Kindergarten Gradual Entry Developmental Questionnaire (yellow sheet) to discuss at our conference

-review your Student Verification Forms to return next week

-post the Kindergarten Homework Calendar (blue sheet) on the fridge and help your child to complete the daily activities (this is optional, but fun)

 

A Place Called Kindergarten

June 2019

To Our Dear Kindergarten Children,

We are nearing the end of our Kindergarten year and we find ourselves thinking about you and everything that made our year together special, unique and really “us.”

As you were drawing and writing your June Self-Reflections, we were reflecting on the first day Kindergarten, and the many days that have followed.  We met you at the door each morning:  sometimes you came in with a story to share, sometimes with tears as you say good-bye to your parent, sometimes just with a smile and a big “good morning.”  But you always come inside the classroom, and you stay.  So that got us to thinking… what is this place we call Kindergarten?

Kindergarten is a place we know is safe.  Adults call it “predictability,” but in Kindergarten it means you could always count on the classroom to be the same each and every day, and just knowing that made you feel safe.  Your teachers, your classmates, your toys, blocks and art materials.  You always knew how things were going to be:  You knew our expectations and love for you would be steadfast and sure, no matter what.  

Kindergarten is a place that echoes with our laughter.  We’ve seen your wonderful sense of humour developing over this past year.  We’ve had some pretty awesome jokes, laughter and lots of winking!  Thank you for laughing with us during Storytime with our many character voices.   We love your giggling as you’re making coffee and breakfast pizza for the teachers in the House Corner.  How fun is it to get carried away with laughter because your teacher is laughing at her own jokes?

Kindergarten is a place inspired by your curiosity and wonder.  Boys and Girls, you are a very curious group of children!  Oh my goodness, we must have dozens of wonderful questions everyday!  Each time we brought out a new exploration you gathered around filled with questions and speculations about what we might do.  Our Mystery Box Inquiry, when you were developing your questioning skills, was a very exciting growing time for your brain as you were learning how to ask questions.

Kindergarten is a place rich in language and literature.  This has been one of the best years ever in the appreciation of a good book.  We have never had such an enthralled audience vie for the front of the carpet whenever we had a story to read aloud. We’re also proud to say, we’ve had more books brought in for “your choice” Sharing than ever before.  We’ve tried to read to you only the very, very best in children’s stories to build a solid foundation in all things literary.

Kindergarten is a place surrounded by love.  We have seen your love and affection for your friends.  We know you hold the hand of your classmates to bring comfort.  We see you walk the long upstairs hallway to get ice and a bandaid for a friend who got a bump.  The love in your eyes for your Big Buddies as you handed them a flower at their Promotion Ceremony speaks to your deep attachment for one another.

We have loved being your Kindergarten teachers this year, teachers who helped you to find out about yourselves as learners, teachers who led you to new discoveries and teachers who inspired you to dream that anything is possible.  You’re going to Grade One now, but we will always be here looking out for you.  You’re our Kindergarten children, and we love you very much.

We wish you a happy, wonderful, safe summer filled with sunshine and fun, your family and friends and lots of good books!  You’re in our hearts, forever and always,

Love, your Kindergarten Teachers