Happy New Year! This Week in Our Room: January 7-11, 2019

A warm welcome back to school and Happy New Year!  We are very happy to be back with our children at school!  They’ve grown so much in maturity,  they’re more settled, more regulated and very ready to learn.  

Following any lengthy time away from school, we start the week with a gentle review of the classroom routines and rules.  Little reminders you can talk about with your children include:

-select your storybook and walk to sit down quietly on the carpet after you enter the classroom in the morning

-raise your hand to speak without calling out the teacher’s name at the same time

-make eye contact with your teacher and your friends when speaking

-snack and lunch time are for eating; talking with friends can wait until afterwards

-listen to your body and ask to go to the bathroom when you need to

We love nothing more than “oohs” and “aahs” which came to us in spades as we showed the children the adorable “m is a mouse” craft for this week. How cute is that?

We thought the printed letter “m’s” were pretty awesome as well!

We’ve started our next unit in Social Studies:  Family.  We’re off to a great start with our Family Sharing.  Thank you to the children who’ve already brought in their Family photo.  Our first lesson focused on the people in our family.  The children did a great job with their brainstorming.

We’ve taken down all the Christmas decorations so we needed to get some Art up on the walls.

We made our January self-portraits on little mitten backgrounds.  Notice the use of detail, wide variety of colours and good sense of space and proportion the children are incorporating in their line drawings.

Our classrooms are not complete without something hanging from the ceiling:  Mitten snowman hangers!

 

 

Musical notes:  After some creative timetabling, we are able to offer our delightful Kindergarten-Grade One Singing with Mrs. Soderling for another term!  This means our children receive music instruction three times a week!  You probably noticed how wonderful the singing was at the Christmas Concert and this is due to the additional class.  We’re so pleased for our children to participate in this musical opportunity.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Book exchange is on Monday. Please remember to return your book.

We are continuing to collect LEGO for our LEGO Drive. If you have a cup to spare please bring it in and get your name displayed on the donation display.

Please make a note that the next Professional Development Day is Friday, January 25th.  No classes for students.

Parent Volunteerong Opportunity: A reminder to all interested parents of the Multi-Cultural Event Orientation meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 15th at 2 p.m. This meeting will be a time to review further details about this event and to work together as a parent community toward this school-wide celebration.  All parent volunteers and interested parents are welcome.

A Book is a Gift that can be Opened Again and Again

A Christmas tradition from our homes has been to give a book bag every year to our children (thank you to Dianne W. for this wonderful idea).

When they were young, we bought mostly picture books, activity books and comics; and although it’s changed to reference books, novels and magazines as they’ve grown older, it’s a gift our kids still look forward to every year. It’s the one present they can open while they’re waiting for the parents to get up. We have to admit it’s pretty funny to walk down the stairs on Christmas morning and see your kids sitting quietly reading around the tree! But it’s extremely gratifying as well.

We thought we’d share with you some of the Christmas books we’ve selected over the years. All of these books are beautifully written, rich with language and charming illustrations. We hope that you might find one (or more) that you would like to read with your child.

Books We’ve Given….

  • The Jolly Christmas Postman (Janet and Allan Ahlberg)
  • Christmas Tree Memories (Aliki)
  • Franklin’s Christmas Gift (Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
  • Gingerbread Baby (Jan Brett)
  • The Wild Christmas Reindeer (Jan Brett)
  • The Night Before Christmas (Clement Moore and illustrated by Jan Bret)
  • Dream Snow (Eric Carle)
  • Merry Christmas Maisy (Lucy Cousins)
  • Country Angel Christmas (Tomie dePaola)
  • Tony’s Bread (Tomie dePaola)
  • Winter’s Gift (Jane Monroe Donovan)
  • Snowballs (Lois Ehlert)
  • Little Robin Red Vest (now called Little Robin’s Christmas) (Jan Fearnley)
  • Attic Christmas (B.G. Hennessy)
  • Angelina’s Christmas (Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig)
  • Lucy and Tom’s Christmas (Shirley Hughes)
  • Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas (Julia Rawlinson and Tiphanie Beeke)
  • The Night Before Christmas (Clement Moore and illustrated by Tasha Tudor)
  • The Polar Express (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • McDuff’s Christmas (Rosemary Well and Susan Jeffers)
  • I Spy Christmas : A Book of Picture Riddles (Walter Wick and Jean Marzollo)
  • Max’s Christmas (Rosemary Wells)
  • A Christmas Story (Brian Wildsmith)

Recent Book Purchases we’ve made for the Kindergarten

  • Night Tree (Eve Bunting)
  • Alfie’s Christmas (Shirley Hughes)
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig (Jean Little and Werner Zimmermann)
  • Auntie Claus (Elise Primavera)
  • The Night Before Christmas (Clement Moore and illustrated by Barbara Reid)
  • Richard Scarry’s Best Christmas Book Every! (Richard Scary)
  • Olive, the Other Reindeer (Vivian Walsh and Jotto Seibold)
  • Merry Christmas, Squirrels (Nancy Rose)

 

Christmas All the Way: This Week in Our Room: December 3-7, 2018

You can hear the jingle, jangle, jingle of Santa’s Elves working hard at the North Pole, but could they be any more productive than the Kindergarten at Christmas?  We’re pretty sure our own little elves are just as busy in their own way.

We’ve started our December celebrations by adding an advent calendar to the morning Calendar routine.  Every Special Helper is selecting a mini candy cane to take home.

Our big excitement this week was welcoming lots of parent helpers to the classroom to start work on our pasta wreaths.  We enjoyed working with a lot of different pasta shapes (Christmas trees, candles and snowflakes), glued on to a paper plate ring, sometimes in a pattern and sometimes not.  We’ll be spray painting our creations with gold paint in the coming week and finishing it with a beautiful bow to take home as a Christmas gift to our families.

We’ve been doing lots of reading this week, brainstorming Christmas words; words that begin with the “k” sound; and a fun little poem about a Christmas tree.  That led to a lot of writing:  printing Christmas words; printing upper and lowercase “K” and labelling pictures that began with “k.”  

We’ve been generally very pleased with the children’s printing as of late, although we are still reminding many about the correct formation of their letters.  Printed letters are formed “left to right, top to bottom.”  Some children are very insistent on printing from bottom to top and starting round letters from the bottom, backwards.   Although it might not seem like a problem right now because the letters look acceptable, this poor habit means the children will have difficulty achieving the speed they need to print quickly and neatly as they move through the Primary grades.  

We rehearsed twice this week with the Grade One students in the gym for the Christmas Concert.  Everybody has their assigned places which we’ll let you know more about next week so you know where to sit to see your child.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Please return our child’s report card envelope to your child’s teacher.  The insert is for you to keep.

Our big event for next week is the Christmas Concert.  If you are having any difficulty getting your child’s “Christmas Best” clothing together, please let us know.

Also, we hope you have purchased your tickets already.  The tickets must be purchased through SchoolCash online by December 11 in order to process the tickets for distribution before the Concert on December 13.  The link can be found in our Ridgeview bulletin.

Our last reminder for the Concert is that we need all of our children to perform in both concerts.  Even if you are attending the matinee performance, we still need your child for the evening show.  Please drop off your child at your child’s classroom for 6 pm.  For the evening show only, all Kindergarten children will be picked up from Mrs. Daudlin’s classroom.  

Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health: December 2018 Update

We have to say it.  

We have too many sick children coming to Kindergarten this year.

We’ve been teaching long enough to know when sick children are coming to school.  It’s more than just having an “off day.”  We know because the first thing some of the children say to us when they walk in the classroom is, “I feel sick.”  If we’re quick enough to find out that your child had a fever the night before, or threw up, we’re going to ask you to come back to the classroom to take your little one home.  

We’re here to gently remind you that we have to take sickness very seriously at school.  We have to because there are so many students, their siblings, parents and grandparents who can be affected.  Not to mention the teaching staff and all of their families.  We simply are unable to look after sick children here at school.  We all have our teaching or office responsibilities so we really do not have extra adults to sit with a sick child.  Besides, your children would really prefer to be at home, in their own bed, with you to look after them.  

We know it’s inconvenient taking a day or more off from work to be at home, but the health of our children has to come first.  A number of years ago when we were still job-sharing, Christy and I both developed a bad stomach flu which spread immediately to our families.  Between the two of us, we were away for about three weeks caring for sick children and sick husbands at home with a variety of substitute teachers covering for us.   But not one student in our class got sick from us because we were determined to stay home until we were healthy and strong enough to be back in the classroom.

It goes without saying that a classroom is a hotbed for germs; nobody wants to talk about it but it’s true.  In Kindergarten, we share all of our school supplies.  Germs move around from pencils to crayons to felt pens to gluesticks to scissors– just like that.  We all share math manipulatives, building blocks, dollhouse figures and puzzle pieces.  That’s why we have such a huge emphasis on self-care, particularly handwashing before students eat and after using the bathroom; and noseblowing with a kleenex, not picking noses or wiping noses on sleeves which is NOT an acceptable alternative.  We are still reminding the children daily not to put their fingers into their noses or mouths.  Children are sneezing without covering their noses and coughing directly on their peers and teachers.  Good hygiene and social habits start at a very young age and must be reinforced by you, their parents.  

If your children have had a fever the night before, and seem a little better in the morning, please keep them at home.  They probably did not have a good sleep and should take it easy.  There is no such thing as a “little fever.”  Even a “little fever” is still cause for being cautious.  

If your children have vomited, or been vomiting, they should stay at home.  Ideally, your child would have cleared at least 24 hours of no vomiting before they come back to school.  No child wants to vomit at school, it is horribly embarrassing for your child and very difficult to deal with for the rest of the class.  We all need to leave the classroom; the custodian must be summoned to sprinkle absorbent powder on the vomit and then we have to wait for that process.  

If your children have a runny nose that they cannot independently manage (the teachers do not help children with runny noses) or a persistent cough, then a day or two at home to get better is for their benefit.  We’re far too busy in our school day for children to recuperate at school.  

We know your child wants to come back to school and may appear ready.  But the expectations of following classroom rules; the pro-social demands of self-regulation and cooperating and sharing with peers; and the academic requirements are more than they can handle when they are not feeling healthy.  Allow your child the time get back to feeling they are ready to face a busy day of school with patience, resilience, stamina and energy for learning, getting along with friends and playing outdoors.  Not one of us is able enjoy being at school or work when we are not feeling at our best.  You wouldn’t go to work sick, so why would you insist that your child go to school sick?  You know when your child is not well and it is our responsibility as parents to intervene and insist they take the extra day to rest.

Christy and I always get our flu shots for prevention but we will be away if we get sick.  As of today, Christy is away with a very dreadful cold that she has been fighting; we wish her a speedy recovery.  For the sake of our classroom community and everybody’s good health, please keep your children at home if they are sick.  

Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health, continues to be one of the most read posts ever at theselfregulatedteacher.com.  You can read our original post here.

 

25 Sleeps till Christmas: This Week in Our Room:  November 26-30, 2018

Well, we’re on the countdown and there’s certainly no one more excited than us as we start to get ready for Christmas.  Not one to stand on ceremony and wait for December, we’ve decided to get into the swing of everything Christmas this week.

First…time to start decorating.  We hung up the Christmas lights and brought out the Christmas storybooks.  And the children got busy making their angel tree hangers to hang from the ceiling.  We love this project, and so do the children as they arrange their Christmas foamie and shiny stickers on their paper tree as carefully as they might decorate a real tree.  Next, angels beautifully coloured with sweet faces and golden halos. Then we tie it all together with glitter pipe cleaners and shiny tinsel. The sun shines beautifully through our windows so we see lots of little diamond flashes of colour and sparkle as the light bounces around our classrooms.  Pure magic.

It was the sparkling kind of week that we all look forward to after the pelting rain of Monday.  We must have summoned the sun after gluing on our jewels for our Alphabet J.

In the midst of our candy cane glow, we are winding down a few units of instruction. Our last Bear story was the classic Corduroy by Don Freeman.  Besides discussing the story structure, we had quite a few digressions talking about first experiences on the escalator, furniture shopping with our families and what it means to save money for something special that you want.  The children made the cutest little bears – everyone loved using a paper crimper to make Corduroy’s overalls and selecting buttons so the straps “stayed on.”

We decided to integrate our Math this week with Corduroy and brought out our button collections and read The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid and Sarah Chamberlain. Oh my, the children had so much fun sorting through the buttons, finding their favourite, those that look alike and those that look different.  We discovered buttons with shanks cannot be glued on to Corduroy’s overalls and that flat buttons work best.

In the midst of all this activity we had two exciting events happen.  The first was the Scholastic Book Fair, a pop-up book shop right in our own school!  We saw many children from our class shopping with their parents and hope everybody found books they love. We know we did and look forward to reading our new treasure aloud to our classes.

The second exciting event was we sang together with the Grade 1 classes for the first time!  We’re into full rehearsals right now for the Christmas Concert and the children sound awesome.  Our staging arrives next week so rehearsals will continue in the gym. We sent home a Christmas information letter along with the December Homework calendar today about costumes for the concert.

To the children’s delight, they saw their beloved Buddies TWICE on Friday.  The first Buddy time was to make these cute hibernating bears, an integrated Art project for our story Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming.  This cleverly written pattern story talks about autumn changes in nature and for the animals.  The children were quick to pick up the pattern and everyone made their own cute version of the story.

In the afternoon, we held our annual Christmas Cracker Event, and made the crackers with all of your generously donated Hallowe’en candy.  We’ll be donating these sweet treats to the Harvest Project, Covenant House and our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver. For many, these little candy crackers will be the only sweet they will have during the holiday.  Our children are learning the importance of giving and sharing with others. As they grow older we hope they remember these charitable acts fondly and be inspired to continue giving, always.

Don’t forget, it’s Christmas Sharing now, so we ask if your child can bring in just one Christmas item from home to talk about.  We’re happy to read aloud favourite Christmas stories, look at Christmas family photos or hear about a special Christmas tree ornament.  We apologise to all the families whose children are at the beginning of the alphabet, and had to unpack their Christmas boxes early.

Thank you again for your generous donations to the Sock Drive!  Our school collected 713 pairs of new socks to donate locally to those in our community.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Yes, we will have a true Book Exchange on Monday.  We believe most of the Library Books are back right now but one more quick check around your house is appreciated.

November Homework Calendars can be returned anytime this week for a sticker.

Christmas is Coming (and We Can’t Wait!):  This Week in Our Room: November 20-23, 2018

As each school year goes on, we can’t believe how quickly the time flies.  We’re rapidly approaching December and nary a decoration has been hung (at school, anyways).  The stores are actually ahead of us! But that will all soon be changing as we get our students and classrooms ready for Christmas.  We will be sending the pictures along soon in our weekly newsletter.

This week we complete our Alphabet Craft “Itchy’s i” which is surely a huge favourite for the children.  We’re patterning the bodies, using sticker eyes, gluing on legs and pinching the legs so Itchy looks like he’s on the move.  Of course, beautiful printing was completed as well.

Kindergarten Singing is coming along nicely and the children are quickly learning words and actions for their Christmas songs.

For Art, our children made these delightful painted bear faces.  They are becoming very adept at using templates to cut out the important features.  

Using a similar technique to our tissue paper apples, we continue to improve our finger motor skills by cutting and gluing tissue squares and making these beautiful leaves.

 

Finally, we’d like to thank our two UBC Teacher Candidates, Miss Ellis and Mr. Pang for their hard work and dedication to providing quality lessons and great instruction to our children.  They learned a great deal from us and each other, received our feedback positively and made noticeable changes to their lessons to improve their teaching performance. Our UBC Students are now returning to school for two weeks of classes and assignments.  They will return one more time next Thursday and that completes the first term.

In January, our TCs will be in teaching on Thursdays for the second term as they did so earlier this fall.  Following Spring Break, Miss Ellis and Mr. Pang will return for a ten-week practicum. We’ve done a lot of planning with them so they are aware of our expectations for the final term, along with those of UBC Teacher Education and their Faculty Advisors.  As always, Christy and I will be closely supervising and monitoring everybody’s progress (TCs and our Littles).

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Christmas Sharing begins on Friday, November 30 for both classes.

Friday, November 30  is our Christmas Crackers Event with our Big Buddies.  Thank you to our parents who brought in wrapping paper, tissue and clean paper rolls.  We so appreciate your donations to help bring some Christmas cheer to those less fortunate than ourselves.

There’s just one more week before the Sock Drive ends.  We’re collecting brand new pairs of socks in ALL sizes for donation.  Again, if you make a donation, your child will write his or her name on a paper sock to hang on the sock clothesline.

November’s Notes:  This Week in Our Room:  November 13-16, 2018

We’ve just had three important holidays and celebrations pass us by, and all of our teaching of vocabulary, concepts and the crafts to go with them.  It is always delightful to be talking about our family traditions, making fun projects and reading lots of stories. We integrate as much of the Kindergarten knowledge, skills, strategies and processes to be taught into these activities where we can.  But we never forget our Language and Literacy foundations of phonological awareness, listening and speaking and beginning printing.

So this week, we found ourselves already up to the letter H in our Alphabet!  Clearly, the weeks are flying by. The children listened to the stunning A is for Autumn, by Robert Maass for alphabet inspiration.  The photography is absolutely beautifully, with simple alphabet rhymes about the fall.  We completed our Itchy’s Alphabet page, made heartfelt h’s and the printing in our Alphabet books…amazing!  Just look at these straight lines perfectly formed.

In this short time between Remembrance Day and our kick-off to Christmas (Christy and I are counting down the days), we are teaching a mini-unit on Bears in Literature.  The focus of our unit is on story structure: beginning, middle and end. This is the vocabulary we are teaching the children, and words you can also use at home when talking with your children following their bedtime story.  

For the first story our UBC student Teacher Candidates (TCs) taught Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.  Bear has started his hibernation and is sleeping when his animal friends come by and have a party.  He is very disappointed at waking up and missing all of the fun! The children had to pay close attention as they participated by choral chanting “and the Bear snored on!” every few pages.  They learned some unfamiliar animals, such as the badger and the wren, and reviewed what happened. In their follow-up lesson next week, the children will colour, cut and sequence pictures of the beginning, middle and end of the story.

Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman have written an entire series of wonderful books about Bear and his friends.  These are stories worth looking for at your local library.

Our UBC TCs are also teaching the final lessons in the “Personal Identity” portion of Kindergarten Studies.  Poor Wemberly, from Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, is worried about starting school.  Her parents and teacher encourage her along but she is still worried.  Until she meets a friend…and then the whole world (and school day) is a lot brighter.  The children talked about their own worries, and reviewed the four main feeling groups of happy, sad, angry and scared.  Next week, they will create a graph about their feelings for the day and discuss their findings.

In Math we’ve been reviewing our Math rotations routine using new Math Centres such as treasure boxes, sorting bears, geometric flats and connectors.  We’ve doing a lot of sorting and classifying of objects, and going over the patterns we’ve learned this term, AB, AAB and ABC. It’s really exciting to watch the children create, copy and extend patterns – especially when they catch an error they made and self-correct.  Now that is learning! And we are so privileged (and just a bit thrilled) to be able to observe their thought processes.

We had our second practise of Kindergarten Singing on Thursday…what beautiful voices your children have!  They are currently learning their songs for the Christmas Concert – “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman.”  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Wednesday, November 21 has been scheduled by Mrs. Kennedy for our Library Book Exchange for both classes, just before lunch.  Please return your books on time.

The Grade 4 students are holding a Sock Drive for those in need.  We are looking to collect brand new pairs of socks in children’s sizes.  Your child will write his or her name on a paper sock to hang in our front hall to note the donation.

We’re our annual Christmas Cracker Event on Friday, November 30.  We will be making Christmas Crackers with our Big Buddies using the candies you all donated from Hallowe’en.

A few supplies we could use are rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, curling ribbon and clean, tissue-free, paper rolls.  If you have anything you might be able to donate to us, we’d really appreciate it!