Simba’s Story:  This Week in Our Room:  May 21-24, 2019

What a marvelous opportunity our children have had this week with the production of “Simba’s Story,” written specifically for Ridgeview’s Primary classes to accompany our Broadway version of “The Lion King Jr.” for our Intermediate Students.

The musical was our main focus this week with two matinee performances.  We are so very proud of our Kindergarten performers who sang and danced as young Simba lion cubs.  Their costumes were so cute. Thank you to our parent helpers for the preparation of the crowns and t-shirts.  And thank you to so many parents who took the time off work to come and see this special event. Your child’s smiles were all for you!

Our UBC Teacher Candidates have now completed Week 8 of their final practicums, and are teaching at 100%.  Christy and I are feeling a bit adrift, as you can imagine, but we are expected to provide the same opportunities we had as student teachers many years ago – to take full responsibility of the classroom instruction and duties while under the watchful eye of School and Faculty Advisors.  It’s part of our responsibilities as professional educators. It is only through this practical classroom work that student teachers really come to understand what is involved in being a teacher – and a Kindergarten teacher, at that. Our teaching positions are a bit trickier because not only do we have to have the same training in classroom management, lesson planning and preparation, lesson delivery, curricular subject areas, formative and summative assessment as other classroom teachers, but we have the added layer of Learning Through Play, and our specialty area of Self-Regulation.  

We have kept the classroom homefires burning with some very fun work in Fairy Tales.This week the children are learning more about Setting, one of the four elements of a story.  Our TC’s chose “Hansel and Gretel” and a very fun journey activity following glass pebbles from their classrooms, through the forest to a discovery of leaves (the woods), a gingerbread house (witch’s house) and water (crossing the river back to home).  The children are gaining an understanding how the setting of a story can affect the story characters’ actions and what happens (plot).

Our bean plants have begun sprouting and the warm weather has contributed to some super fast growth!  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday: Library Book Exchange and Home Reading Book Exchange

Tuesday: PE for both Kindergarten classes – please wear runners as we will be in the gym

Thursday: Welcome to Kindergarten for the incoming Kindergarten children 2019-2020

Friday, June 7:  Sports Day

Division 15 (Mrs. Campbell)  is wearing red

Division 16 (Mrs. Daudlin)  is wearing blue

Kindergarten “Notes to You”:  This Week in Our Room: May 6-10, 2019

Just a few quick notes from last week and info for this upcoming week…

We hope all of the lovely Special Ladies in our Life enjoyed their gorgeous paintings and thoughtful cards.  We were so pleased with the children’s effort and thoughts of you as they prepared their specific gifts.

In Fairy Tales our children explored “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and explored the sequence of events and retelling the story.

The children started Measurement this week.  They are learning about measuring length with non-standard units and the concept of longer and shorter.  They also discovered the importance of measuring from the same starting point for both objects when making a comparison.

We will be rehearsing “Simba’s Story” in the gym this week in preparation for next week’s Big Show!

We had fun seeing our Big Buddies on Friday to make bean markers for the bean plants we will plant.

The Grade Two students from Mrs. Bird’s class have started a Battery Recycling cycling program.  The box for the battery collection is outside Mrs. Daudlin’s classroom on the shelf to the left of the door.  For Mrs. Campbell’s class it’s in the classroom by the meeting area.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

A reminder from the Ridgeview office: if your child arrives after O Canada, it is likely that we have already taken attendance and your child is marked late.  You must sign-in at the office.

If you take your child out early for an appointment, please go to the office FIRST to sign-up out your child, and then come down to pick him or her up from the classroom.

PE will take place outside for the next two weeks as students are rehearsing for “The Lion King” and “Simba’s Story” in the gym.

Monday and Wednesday are Home Reading Book Exchange days next week.  We’ve been listening to our children read their books in class and making adjustments as necessary.

Please remember to send your children dressed in their dark bottoms for Thursday’s “Simba’s Story” dress rehearsal for the Intermediate students.  We will remind you on Wednesday.

Thursday, May 16:  “Simba’s Story” dress rehearsal – dark bottoms required!

Friday, May 17: Professional Development Day (school is not in session)

Monday, May 20:  Victoria Day holiday (school is not in session)

Wednesday, May 22:  “Simba’s Story” presentation – even Division parents form our audience

Thursday, May 23:  “Simba’s Story” presentation – odd Division parents form our audience

 

May Blooms and the Kindergarten Does, Too!: This Week in Our Room: April 29-May 3, 2019

This week was very significant as we finished our Alphabet Book with the letter Z.  Imagine that our children have been working diligently on a page a week – they are real experts in where to print their name for written work, printing uppercase and lowercase letters on a line, finger spacing, following directed line drawings and labelling their pictures so the reader understands their meaning.  We’ll need a couple of weeks to complete pages that were missed due to absence; we will certainly try our best to finish everything but that may not be possible.  In this event, your child knows exactly the routine we use at school and can finish up at home.

We’re starting Fairy Tales during Literacy Time.  It’s one of our absolutely favourite integrated learning experiences for the children.  Under our watchful eye, our UBC Teacher Candidates will be teaching many different Fairy Tales, the structure of stories (beginning, middle, end) and the elements of a story (plot, character, setting, theme) with the Kindergarten.  The children will hear different versions of the same story to compare and contrast, complete a variety of written response activities, experience lots of oral storytelling and make some fun crafts so they can retell the stories themselves at school, and then at home.  The first story this week was “The Three Little Pigs.”  The literary focus was on beginning, middle and end; the children made Wolf puppets during Art and Piggie stick puppets with our Big Buddies.  

Our UBC Teacher Candidates (TCs) finished up their teaching of Geometry in Math.  The children learned about the basic two dimensional shapes (circle, square, rectangle and triangle) and their corresponding three dimensional figures.  The unit culminated this week with some fun shape pizzas!

We made our beautiful May self-portraits this week with a cute and colourful ruffle.  We’re so pleased to see how the children have improved in using line, shape and colour in their artwork.

Could Friday have been any busier?  It certainly stretched mine and Christy’s self-regulation but as always, the children go with the flow and were very flexible throughout the day as we needed to be.  

The day had no sooner begun with Centres then we were called outside for our class photos, and very cute and charming we were.

After recess on Friday is always busy with our Big Buddies, but the Grade Sevens got called to their classes photos in the middle of our Buddy Time!

Just when we thought we would settle in for a relaxing Friday afternoon, we were called to the playground one more time for the Ridgeview panorama photo.  We won’t try to explain what it’s like to organise approximately 390 students for a photo (with the Grade 7s at the top of the climbing net) but let’s just say…we can do it once a year.

The second part of the afternoon was great fun with a Forest Friday lesson.  Our TCs are observed weekly by their UBC Faculty Advisor (FA) and they proposed to show her a team teaching lesson where all the Kindergarten children were divided into three groups.  Each group completed a trio of forest activities – bark rubbings, nature colour matching and a drawing of a natural object.  The lesson was a huge success, the children were so happy to be moving and learning outdoors and it was all capped off with a Freezie (we took the gigantic Freezies from the Freezie sale and cut them in half and we will eat the other half this coming Friday–if nothing else, Christy and I are very thrifty).

The staging for the The Lion King” and “Simba’s Story” comes to the gym this week so PE classes will be moved outside for the time being.  We will be rehearsing in the gym during our Music classes, and for any additional rehearsals where are presence is requested.

We’ve had a re-think about our costumes for “Simba’s Story” and rather than our “best,” we’re thinking about dark bottoms and coloured t-shirts.  We’re going to leave it to you to locate the dark bottoms (no jeans, but navy or black) and girls may wear leggings instead of pants.

We are considering a lion cub headdress but we will get back to you on this later in the week.   Please check your Remind texts.  For the moment, you do not have to purchase anything.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

You have another week or so to get your Grade One School Supply order completed.

We’re still accepting April Homework Calendars for a sticker!

May Scholastic Orders are due this week on Friday, May 10.

Library Books should be returned tomorrow for our weekly Library Book Exchange.

 

Family Fun Week:  This Week in Our Room:  April 23-26, 2019

We will start off by saying thank you to all of our parents for coming out to your child’s Student-Led Conference. The feeling in our classrooms was very lovely indeed, filled with the delight, wonder and joy in learning that is Kindergarten.  It’s always such a special day when our children can show their school accomplishments to their beloved parents. This will be the first of many Student-Led Conferences for you and your child and we hope that you will embrace this wonderful time when we can all be learners.

We had several parents ask about the children’s schoolwork…yes, it is all yours to keep and we will be sending home these precious artifacts between now and the end of the year.  The Alphabet Books we will finish this week with “Z” and then we will take another day to catch up on pages and alphabet stickers which were missed due to holidays and illness.

The scrapbooks, our pride and joy after the children, of course, we will not send home until the last week of school.  We will have a tiny flurry at the end of June to gather up all the last of the children’s bits and pieces to staple and glue in.  As you saw, we’ve organised everything for you by month, and we will make a beautiful laminated cover as well so you will receive a beautifully made scrapbook as a memorable souvenir of your child’s Kindergarten year.  Writing and Math notebooks we’ll send home at the end of the school year.

Well, most of our week was spent recovering from the sugary haze of one too many marshmallow chicks and an obligation to eat up the last of the jelly beans.  There’s nothing better for idle hands than getting for Student-Led Conferences, so we got to work colouring in book covers and finishing art projects (children) and completing the scrapbooks at far as we could go (teachers).  

Thank you to Mrs. Kennedy for squeezing us in for a Library Book Exchange on Thursday.

We were able to make our “y” yo-yo craft and practise our printing.

And we started work on a beautiful project for the special ladies in our lives….

This week our UBC Teacher Candidates (student teachers) concluded teaching their Social Studies “Family” unit of instruction with a lesson on financial literacy.  The children have been learning about needs and wants, their parents’ work outside and inside the home and saving for what they want. Now they will shift gears and our student teachers will start teaching about Plants in Science.  Our student teachers will also wind up their Geometry lessons in the next few days and then start Measurement in Math. Christy and I continue to mentor our Teacher Candidates through teaching and guiding them in their lesson preparations so we know they are meeting BC Ministry of Education guidelines, observing their daily lessons, involving them in the assessment of student work, all the while encouraging them in their personal and professional growth.

Friday was a really terrific day.  We were finally able to write another big book on why we love the Earth to celebrate Earth Day!  We also saw our Big Buddies to make robins, and in the afternoon we had a great time splashing through the creek and playing in the forest.

 

We enjoyed seeing so many of you at the Family Fun Night!  Thank you for coming out to support our PAC. We loved seeing our children in the bouncy castle, watching movies and eating popcorn and grilled cheese sandwiches.  It was a nice way to end a week which was filled with family and community.

Upcoming Events and Reminders:We have a lot coming up for the next month.  Please do not hesitate to ask Christy or myself for clarification.  You can email us or talk to us at school.

The costume for Kindergarten children for “Simba’s Story,” the Primary retelling of “The Lion King” on May 22 and May 23, will be “party best.”  More information will follow but we wanted to give you a heads-up. If you have a crown(s) at home, please ask your child to tell us how many this week.  This will help us to decide if we should wear crowns/borrow crowns from home, make them at school, or do a Dollar Store run.

Monday:  Library Book Exchange for both classes

Tuesday and Thursday – PE for Division 15 (Mrs. Campbell)

Tuesday and Friday – PE for Division 16 (Mrs. Daudlin)

May

Tuesday, May 7, 1 pm:  Kindergarten Vision, Hearing and Dental Screening

Save the Date!  Wednesday, May 22 1:30 pm:  “Simba’s Story” with ALL Kindergarten students performing; Division 16 parents attend (even division parents invited to attend)

Save the Date!  Thursday, May 23 1:30 pm:  “Simba’s Story” with ALL Kindergarten students performing:  Division 15 parents attend (odd division parents invited to attend)

June

Friday, June 7:  Sports Day – Theme and Team Names to be Announced Soon

Division 15 is on the Red Team (you need a red t-shirt; red shorts and socks are optional)

Division 16 is on the Blue Team (you need a blue t-shirt; blue shorts and socks are optional)

 

Our Top 10 Tips for a Successful Student-Led Conference


The weeks fly by so quickly and here it is time again for our absolutely-best-ever-most-favourite day of the school year, Student-Led Conferences!  We’re reblogging this post from April 2017 with our best suggestions for having a successful Student-Led Conference with your Kindergarten child. You can read the original post here.

Christy and I have been holding Student-Led Conferences (SLC) for many years; in fact, my first Student-Led Conference as a teacher was here in West Vancouver at Chartwell Elementary School in 1990 when I was teaching Grade 3.  We’ve gradually refined our practises to make it perfect for Kindergarten but the core tenets of the Conferences has always stayed the same:  to provide an opportunity for students to communicate learning to their parents in a meaningful format; self-reflection for students to identify their personal accomplishments, strengths and areas for improvement; give parents an insight into how their children learn; and an inside look at student work, their classroom and school.

We’ve written extensively about Student-Led Conferences at theselfregulatedteacher.com.  You can use the search tool on our website to find our posts.  You can also read about Student Led Conferences in my Grade 3 classroom during my Chartwell days in Evaluating Literacy:  A Perspective for Change(1991) by Robert J. Anthony, Terry D. Johnson, Norma I. Mickelson and Alison Preece.

Our Kindergarten Student-Led Conferences are a twist on the traditional Student-Led Conference.  In the years we were teaching Grades 1-4, each student would welcome their parents to his or desk, where a curated selection of work would be waiting in a file.  A letter of welcome for parents, plus a class created agenda, provide structure for the Conference time.

In Kindergarten, however, we use a Centre approach, in much the same way we use Centres during the morning Activity Time, Math Centres, or our focus afternoon Centre Time.  Parents can expect to see an Alphabet Centre, Math Centre with tasks and participate in the daily Calendar activities as part of our Student-Led Conferences.

Kindergarten is a special grade, the first formal schooling for most children, the first Student-Led Conference for most parents, and it’s important for us to set the tone and expectations for how the Conferences are conducted because you’ll be enjoying them for the next eight years while at Ridgeview.  As one of two informal Communicating Learning opportunities, we want this to be a positive and successful experience for you and your child.  The format will be different as you move through the grades, but its value is always the same:  priceless.  

Here’s our Top 10 tips for a successful Student-Led Conference:

  1. Sign-up for your child’s Student-Led Conference.  In Kindergarten, we havea limited number of families we will host in our classroom for each time slot.  Kindergarten sign-up sheets are posted outside the classrooms; all other Grades are posted in the main hallway near the Library.
  2. Arrange for care for your other children, particularly toddlers and preschoolers, so you can focus on your Kindergarten child.  Older children can wait outside on the playground.
  3. Arrive on time for your Student-Led Conference and remember to bring your child with you.  This Conference is for you and your child.  We’ve had several instances where our students were left at home with a babysitter, on the playground or at the childcare centre.
  4. Give praise and specific, positive comments to your child eg., “I like how you used a variety of colours in your drawing;” recognise that your child might find some tasks difficult so encourage them to keep trying their best.
  5. Be mindful of your Conference duration and gently remind your child when it is time to go; other families are waiting for their turn.
  6. Keep socialising with other parents to a bare minimum.  Your focus is on your child.
  7. Be respectful of the SLC of other students and their parents by keeping your own child close to you at all times.
  8. Refrain from engaging your child’s teacher in a discussion about your child’s progress; the teacher is supporting all students during the SLC process and has many jobs to do.  If you would like an interview, make an appointment on another day for a mutually agreeable day and time.
  9. This goes without saying, but our cell phones are a distraction. Please support us by turning off and putting all electronic devices away.  Please do not take phone calls during your child’s conference:  it’s disrespectful of the preparation we’ve done with your children; the other families; and most importantly, your children who are very, very excited to be the centre of your attention to share their learning with you.
  10. Please do not bring any hot drinks into the classroom. It’s not safe to be carrying a hot drink around with so many small children present, and for the precious schoolwork which we have out on the tables in case of spills.

 

Communicating Student Learning: Student-Led Conferences

This article was originally posted on February 23, 2015. We’re reblogging today with updates to reflect this current school year.

We communicate student learning in a variety of ways: through this website, our Remind texts, our Kindergarten curriculum overview, and the three formal and two informal reporting periods each school year. Our Kindergarten students receive their formal written report cards at the end of each term. Students received their first report card last December, the second report card was given out in March, and the third report will be distributed at the end of June.

The two informal reporting periods are a parent-teacher interview, held last fall, and this Spring’s Student-Led Conference.

There’s a lot of excitement and wonder surrounding Student-Led Conferences, and for good reason. Having your child lead the conference, not the teacher, is a shift in mind-set, particularly if this was not part of your school experience growing up. But we know this will be one of the most delightful learning experiences you will share with your children, as it will be for them to demonstrate their independence and leadership with you.

A Student-Led Conference is exactly that–a conference or interview for you and your child, led by your child. During the Conference, students assume the ownership for reporting and explaining to their parents what they are learning about and how they are doing in school. The teacher, who has supported the students in the selection of student work and practiced the conference with them, stays in the background during the actual Conferences.

During the years we taught from Grades One to Four, our students participated in a teacher-led discussion about the student work they would like to present at the Student-Led Conference. A brainstorming session of possibilities would ensue. There would be suggestions such as a polished piece of writing, the latest math test or a Science notebook; the class would vote on the ideas they liked best and those selections were included in their Student-Led Conference folder.

Depending upon the grade, sometimes we had a combination of “must-have” work and some student choices. A “gallery walk” around the school hallways, the latest digital learning project and a mini music performance were other fun choices to round out a Student-Led Conference.

A week or two before the Conference we had our older students write a letter inviting their parents to attend. The letter would highlight the learning and personal achievements students wanted their parents to particularly notice. This was a wonderful opportunity for student self-reflection of his or her successes.

For our Kindergarten students we organize our Student-Led Conferences by Centres. It’s a system the children are familiar with, and one in which we’ve used successfully with this age group.

In the weeks prior to the Student-Led Conference we review with your children the activities they enjoy most in our day and want to share with you. We also initiate some discussion on the learning we think you would enjoy seeing as their parents.

We typically include a Language Arts Centre which focuses on the children’s Alphabet and Writing Books; a Math Centre to create math patterns and showcase their Math Books; and a Scrapbook Centre to see some of the best work we’ve completed in Kindergarten this year, in the children’s individual scrapbooks. With the children’s help, we form an “Agenda” of the Centres the children will lead you through.

When you arrive with your child at our classrooms, your child will be given a personal copy of the Agenda and he or she will mark each activity with a sticker as it is finished. The Centres do not need to be completed in any particular order, but each one must be visited. We explain to the children that if they see there are many families at one Centre, then they should choose another until it’s less crowded.

During your child’s Conference, parents are able to enjoy looking at their child’s schoolwork and participate in the activities he or she has selected for you. As parents, giving specific praise and support recognises your child’s efforts at school. It is through your comments that you model what you value about your child’s learning.

This is a time for positive comments only to your child.

At the end of the Student-Led Conference we ask our parents to sign the Guest Book. It’s important for us to have a record of parent attendance and receive feedback every year. Over the years parents have always enjoyed the Conferences so it’s very rewarding to have the appreciation of your children’s, and our, efforts.

This year the Kindergarten Student-Led Conferences will be held on Wednesday, April 24.

All Ridgeview students will be dismissed at 2:00 pm, and the Conferences will begin immediately afterwards. You will have a 25 minute time slot with your child. A maximum of five-six Conferences will be held at once so families need to be prepared to speak softly. At the appointed time, we will ring a bell to signal the end of the Conference so that we may prepare for the next group.

Over the years, a few parents have asked why they cannot have an interview with the teacher instead.

To put it simply, the reason why you’re having a Student-Led Conference is because it’s an incredible opportunity and privilege to share in the learning of your child.

You will hear about your child’s learning from your child’s perspective, and have that deep insight into your child’s thinking, motivations and achievements. You will be engaged in a dialogue rich with the language of a young learner, share the joy of a job well done, and a sense of pride with every printed letter and cut out shape. And you’ll be able to share in the delight of your Kindergarten child as he or she begins the journey as a life-long learner.

Student-Led Conferences are one of our favourite days of the entire school year. From a teacher’s perspective, we couldn’t be any more proud of our students as they beam with pride at leading their mom and dad into their classroom to share the fabulous work they’ve completed at this point in the school year.

Please make arrangements for siblings so that your Kindergarten child can have your full attention during his or her Conference.

You can sign-up for your Student-Led Conference now outside of our child’s classroom.

The Self-Regulated Teacher

photo-5There are three formal and two informal reporting periods each school year.   Our Kindergarten students receive their formal written report cards at the end of each term.  Students received their first report card last December, the second report card will be given out on March 6, and the third report will be distributed at the end of June.

This year, the two informal reporting periods are a parent-teacher interview, held last fall, and the Student-Led Conference.

A Student-Led Conference is exactly that–a conference or interview for you and your child, led by your child.  During the Conference, students assume the ownership for reporting and demonstrating to their parents what they are learning about in school.  The teacher, who has supported the students in the selection of student work and practiced the conference with them, stays in the background during the actual Conferences.

During the years we taught from Grades One…

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This Week in Our Room:  April 8-12, 2019

As the March Hare said, “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.  For a very important date!” Sorry we’re late with the newsletter.  It was a very busy week and weekend so we will just look at some of the highlights!

W is a watermelon…the children loved making the adorable watermelons.  Everybody had a story to tell about the seeds (spitting, spitting, and more spitting) and we all agreed it was the best and juiciest part of summer living.  Our Ws looked pretty amazing as well!

During the final term in Kindergarten Social Studies, we spend some good discussion time talking about the differences between Need and Wants.  The children really seem to understand the subtle differences (“I don’t need a puppy but I really, really WANT a puppy!”) and they have a realistic concept of the kinds of things they need to live (a sense of belonging, food, water, shelter, education) and the kinds of things they wish for, or want.  We’re so proud of them for openly sharing their feelings and the strong sense of family we have in our classrooms makes that possible.

We’re learning about geometric shapes during Math and have introduced the concept of two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes.  The children are learning that circles are round and flat but spheres are round with a ball or globe like shape. They are having an opportunity to complete fun “shape hunts” around the classroom and using shapes in their student response activities.

We saw our Buddies on Friday to make our Easter Bunny Baskets in the hopes that the Easter Bunny might make an early appearance in Divisions 15 and 16.

We made these beautiful patterned Easter eggs in anticipation of the Easter Bunny’s arrival  

By far the most exciting activity we did this week was begin our scheduled time for Forest Play on Friday.  Mr. Schofield’s Grade 4 students took the time to go over with us all the safety rules for playing in the forest during Kindergarten when we together.

-rain boots for creek play

-boundaries include the far ends of the creek

-no tree climbing or creek splashing

-leaves, flowers and berries stay on the plants

What a marvellous time the children had exploring up and down the creek, crawling over rocks, tree roots and stumps using sticks to help them.  It’s the best kind of play–free play with time to explore and investigate to one’s heart’s content.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Friday, April 19-Good Friday (school is not in session)

Monday, April 22-Easter Monday (school is not in session)

Wednesday, April 24–Student Led Conferences (2 pm dismissal)