Lest We Forget:  This Week in Our Room:  November 4-8, 2019

It was a thoughtful and reflective week in the Kindergarten.  Much of our thoughts, discussions, stories and activities revolved around our preparation for the Remembrance Day assembly.  

In the Kindergarten classroom, we focus on “what is peace?” and how the events of the past have shaped our present and future where we can have the freedom to choose to live our lives as we wish.  We talk about the significance of the poppy and represent that in our creative efforts. Our children made Canada flags, printed poppies (with an acorn squash and potato, no less) and sharing, drawing and writing our thoughts about what peace means to us.  We contributed much of our art to decorate the gym.

For many of our children, attending a serious assembly, such as Ridgeview’s Remembrance Day ceremony, is their first opportunity to see what it feels like to be part of a large school united in thought and intention.  

Our student population assembled silently in the gym, many children dressed in black, white and red.  The Kindergarten children sang “O Canada,” 400 voices strong. The Grade 7 Assembly Committed hosted our ceremony and wove the history of the world wars and the story of John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields” throughout student presentations.  We listened to our two singing groups, the Grade Two/Three Primary Singers and Ridgeview Voices (Grades 4-7) under the direction of our Music teacher, Mrs. Soderling. Grade 3 students spoke about the Highway of Heroes, the stretch of highway from Trenton to Toronto, Ontario, which honours Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.  Finally, we listened to the emotional trumpet call “The Last Post,” followed by a moment of silence and then “Reveille,” performed by a Grade 7 band student.

Our children were exemplary and we were (and are) very, very proud to be their teachers.  The children listened carefully, focused on the speakers and presentations and were mindful of their social situation and what we (as their teachers and as parents ourselves) would deem to be important, appropriate and expected behaviour.  We wish to thank you for working together with us to help prepare your children.

We also know, as part of their foundational learning, that the Kindergarten’s understanding of self-regulation, including learning and practising strategies to self-regulate their bodies, developing their social awareness and knowing about and understanding feelings, is an essential part of getting along together and being part of the greater community.  It is at moments like this, we are reminded again of the importance of teaching self-regulation and other pro-social skills so that our children are able to make friends, maintain social relationships and relate well to others.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We’re still collecting Hallowe’en candy donations.  We will fill small with the candy treats and donate these to our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver, the Union Gospel Mission and Covenant House.  Thank you for your generosity.

Save the Date:  Our Winter Concert will be on Tuesday, December 10 and Wednesday, December 11 at 1:30 pm.  We will let you know more details as they are released to us. For certain, we will have a run-through of the show on Friday, December 6 and a dress rehearsal on Monday, December 9.  Our songs will be taught during Music class.  

If your child is going to be away anytime between now and the last day of term, December 20, please let us know as this helps us in choosing dates for our special days in Kindergarten.

Monday, November 18 is a Professional Day and students are not in session.

That’s a Wrap:  Hallowe’en in the Kindergarten…This Week in Our Room:  October 28-November 1, 2019

Our classrooms were filled with fairy tale characters, superheroes, community helpers and tiny animals on Hallowe’en Day, and what a wonderful day it was!

We’ve been getting ready for the past two weeks to mark what has become one of the most popular celebrations ever:  Hallowe’en. Our home and school neighbourhood displays ranged from the adorable to the macabre. But in our classrooms, all is sweet and fun (we were gently reminded by our students, “not too spooky.”

We really kicked off our decorating with our Hallowe’en wreaths.  Our Big Buddies helped us with the tracing and cutting of the characters, but the funny faces and sticker placement is all Kindergarten.  This is a really fun activity to complete with our Buddies. Many Kindergarten children have become quite proficient with their fine motor skills, so our Buddies are allowing independence to reign and learning to provide support only for “the tricky bits.”

Drawing and painting our huge pumpkins is an art activity we very much enjoy teaching.  It’s important for the children to work on a variety of scales, and this terrific Deep Space Sparkle art project allows for the children to make as large a pumpkin as they wish.  We drew the pumpkin ribs with white pastel, colour mixed yellow, orange and red paint to create a textured effect and individually made stems and leaves. Aren’t these pretty? 

We considered leaving the pumpkins as they were, but the children wanted to turn them into jack-o-lanterns, and who are we to refuse?  Black and white construction paper and some new drawing and cutting directions (“fold your paper in half, draw a circle, and cut them both at the same time”) gives the children another practical strategy for making faces, and answers the question, How did you get the eyes to both be the same size?

This past Tuesday we had our annual Hallowe’en Centres Party.  Thank you again to the many parents who volunteered their time either through baking, running a Centre or both!!  The children coloured their Hallowe’en books, played with Hallowe’en playdough, made spider cupcakes and ghost ornaments and we finally finished our bats.  It was so much fun, and the chocolate cupcakes were as sweet and gooey as all cupcakes should be.

 

We read many Hallowe’en storybooks, listened to lots of Hallowe’en music and completed some writing activities, too.  Here’s our past Hallowe’en big book, “On Hallowe’en Night” that was the final literary task before we pack up our decorations.

Now, about all that candy you collected on Hallowe’en.  Every year Ridgeview creates candy gifts for our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver, the Union Gospel Mission and Covenant House.  This is a Christmas Buddy activity, and we use any Hallowe’en candy donations from the children. We would gratefully accept any candy (except for those marked with Hallowe’en symbols).  Your children can bring the treats they are not going to eat to the classroom and we will have a spot to collect it.  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

October Homework Calendars are due any time now, and into next week.  You can return it even if it’s not fully complete. 

Friday, November 8 is the Ridgeview Remembrance Day Assembly.  We have a very high standard of behavioural expectations for this Assembly.  The children are to enter the gym in silence, be self-regulated and very calm.  There is NO APPLAUSE during this ceremony. We will be reviewing these expectations (and others) and ask that you do so as well. We do not expect to have to remind our students about behaviour during the ceremony. Please refer to our previous post on Assemblies here

Monday, November 11 is Remembrance Day and school is not in session.

 

It’s Pumpkin Time!  This Week in Our Room:  October 15-18, 2019

The weather has been wet and wild, but inside the Kindergarten all is cosy and warm.  We’re so proud of our classes and the way in which they’ve settled very comfortably into the classroom routines.  The children are becoming more confident in selecting their own morning centres, joining groups of friends and asking if a closed centre can be opened just for them (we almost always say “yes”). 

This week we read the perennial favourite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as our Alphabet kick-off story to the letter D.  We take our time when printing lowercase “d” as we want to differentiate from printing lowercase “b.”  As we teach each new letter, we are supporting the children in using the lowercase letters they know when printing their names.  At this time, we are reminding them to print lowercase a, b, c and d as these are the letters we have taught in class.  We’re teaching e this week.

Do we ever love math patterns!  We’ve been exploring, copying and creating patterns with math manipulatives since the first week of school.  We always begin with manipulatives as it’s concrete and the children can physically show us their thinking and learning.  Now, we’re moving onto the connecting level as the children are connecting the concrete with the abstract. 

Here, you can see the children have made their multilink trains in an AB pattern.  This is a concrete representation of the pattern.  And now we’ve asked them to connect their understanding and represent their learning by colouring in the squares to match their trains.  Amazing!

We started one of several Hallowe’en art projects this week with drawing a beautiful pumpkin and colour mixing orange, red and yellow paint to fill in the spaces between the ribs.  This was a great opportunity to reinforce the BIG in our criteria of BIG, BRIGHT and BEAUTIFUL when creating art.

BIG means to fill you space

BRIGHT means to use five colours or more

BEAUTIFUL means to do your personal best

We will finish our pumpkins with stems, leaves and faces in the days ahead.

On Thursday, we were confidently informed by our classes that they knew exactly what to do for Shakeout BC and they did exceedingly well during our earthquake drill.  As a matter-of-fact, as soon as we mentioned “earthquake” several children chimed in with “oh, under the tables.” When queried about how they knew what to do, their unison answer was “preschool.”  We practised our Duck, Cover and Hold so when the “earthquake” came on via the PA system, we quickly (and safely) moved into action.  

For this practise, our building was deemed “safe” and we did not need to exit the school.

We saw our Big Buddies on Friday to work on our Hallowe’en wreaths.  Our Buddies are learning to encourage the Little Buddies to take more responsibility for the drawing, cutting and gluing parts in our crafts.  The Little Buddies are enjoying this time in our week as they are very much adored and certainly the centre of their Big Buddies’ attention.

Last year we had a big LEGO drive at Ridgeview to create a mobile LEGO cart in the Library.  Many children donated a cup of LEGO from their personal collection. Now, teachers are able to book a special time for their classes and that’s just what we did for a rainy Friday afternoon.  We were absolutely impressed with the dexterity and creativity of our children to build their models.  

The rainy weather has meant that the Kindergarten children have been taking recess outdoors.  They are real troopers, changing into boots and raincoats, sometimes up to three times a day. Their independence in taking their shoes and boots on and off, and doing up snaps and zippers has increased tremendously.  

There’s been a lot of puddle play (including falling into some rather large ones), flying down wet slides and lots of wet clothes.  The children have an opportunity to change their clothes, but we also ask you to send along an extra pair of socks (or two) so their feet are comfortable all day.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, October 21:  Please remember to have the children’s inside running shoes at school for PE.

Tuesday, October 22:  Library Book Exchange

Friday, October 25:  Provincial Professional Development Day – school is not in session for students

Save the Date:  Thursday, October 31 is our Hallowe’en Parade.  Parents will be able to watch us walk through Ridgeview’s spooky hallways!  The parade will start shortly after the morning bell. Please come by our classrooms to help take off your child’s costume, or send a bag that we can safety pack it into if you are unable to make it to school.

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.