The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

Library Visit – Week of January 26-30, 2015

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Two of the “Big Ideas” in the Kindergarten Social Studies Curriculum are understanding our own personal identity to appreciate how others perceive their identities; and that individuals and families need to make choices about their needs and wants based on their limited resources.

During our Library Time this week, Mrs. Kennedy, our Teacher-Librarian explored the concept of family by brainstorming everything the children knew about families.  In looking through their list, it’s clear that the people in their immediate and extended families are uppermost in the Kindergarten mind.  Others sought clarification about cousins, aunts and uncles.  Some of this language was new for many of our Kindergarten students

Then, Mrs. Kennedy began reading aloud from the outstanding book, Families, by photo-8Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith.  The additions to the children’s understanding of family shows the new vocabulary they learned, and how family members can have more than one role, depending upon one’s perspective.

Our Sharing Theme in class this month has been on Family.  The children have been sharing a family photo with the class and highlighting three activities their families enjoy doing together.  We have created a “Family” photo wall in our classrooms. This ties in nicely with the theme they will now be focussing on during their weekly library visits.

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Time to Cosy Up with a Good Winter Book

photo-5We had such an awesome response to our Christmas book list that we thought we would write up another one for you.

We’ve been learning about the seasons and seasonal changes in Kindergarten, and of course we’re focusing on Winter right now. We’ve made some amazing art projects, we’re starting to use frame sentences and next month we start ice-skating as part of our school’s Winter sports program.

But we think the best part of Winter is the chance to cosy up with a good book! We love bringing our classes together at the meeting area and inviting the children to sit closely together to listen to a great story. Here are the books we’ve read recently to our classes.

Winter Book List

Fiction

  • The Hat (Jan Brett)
  • The Mitten (Jan Brett)
  • Snowmen at Night (Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner)
  • The Mitten Tree (Candace Christiansen, illustrated by Elaine Greenstein)
  • The First Day of Winter (Denise Fleming)
  • Stella Queen of the Snow (Marie-Louise Gay)
  • I See Winter (Charles Ghigna, illustrated by Ag Jatkowska)
  • The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats)
  • The Missing Mitten Mystery (Steven Kellogg)
  • Sadie and the Snowman (Allen Morgan, illustrated by Brenda Clark)
  • Owl Moon (Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr)
  • Jolly Snow (Jane Hissey)
  • A Bed for Winter (Karen Wallace)
  • Over and Under the Snow (Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal)
  • The Biggest, Best Snowman (Margary Cuyler, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand)

Non Fiction

  • Winter Wonderland (Jill Esbaum)
  • Winter (Nuria Roca)
  • Winter (Sian Smith)

Here’s hoping you find time to read some good books yourself!

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Popcorn Day and the Marshmallow Test

photo-4Many of you will be now be aware through the media of the “Marshmallow Test”
where a young child is offered a marshmallow to eat. However, if he or she can wait for a certain amount of time (up to 20 minutes), a second marshmallow will be given. It seems our ability to wait and delay instant gratification may be an indicator of faring better in life.

Well, we’ve not administered the “Marshmallow Test” at school, but how about Popcorn Day?

We’ve had two Popcorn Days now since September to support our Grade Seven Year End Activities.

For the first popcorn sale, we collected the children’s money and purchased the popcorn bags ahead of the school sale. Those bags smelled delicious as they sat in a large tray in the classroom while we ate our lunch. The children’s lunch conversation definitely focused on how good the popcorn smelled!

A few children asked if they could have their popcorn with their lunch, but we said to wait until snack time (about 2 pm) in the afternoon. We explained that we wanted them to eat their lunch now, and we didn’t want popcorn dropped all over the classroom floor. We told the children we would enjoy our popcorn so much more if we waited for just a little while longer, and that for a treat we would eat it outside. On their way out to lunch recess, we had a couple more requests for popcorn but we gave the same answer–we would wait until snack time.

At 2 pm we all went outside, sat in the sunshine and thoroughly enjoyed eating our popcorn. Many of the children patiently ate their entire bag; others ate about half and saved the rest to take home. The Kindergarten children had delayed their gratification, for actually quite a long time, and were very accepting of our reasonable explanation.

For the second popcorn sale we did the same thing. We made an advanced purchase and again, the popcorn sat in the classroom during the lunch hour. We reminded the children that we would eat it in the afternoon. We tried to build a little anticipation around the idea of sitting outside on the playground, enjoying the company of our friends and eating our popcorn, and of how much fun that would be. The children left for lunch recess and not one child made a mention of popcorn until we announced it was time to eat!

We would certainly say that waiting, waiting for their turn to talk, waiting to go to a favourite centre, waiting for an activity later in the day, is a skill well practiced by the children.

In Kindergarten, we describe being patient as, “waiting without complaining.” Teaching and practising self-regulation strategies as we do, so the children are a) aware of their emotional state and b) know how to calm themselves or down-regulate, is why they are so calm and patient in class and in this case, able to delay eating their popcorn.

So if Popcorn Day is an indicator of future success, we’d say the Kindergarten group is well on their way.

Now, isn’t it about time for some popcorn? The next Popcorn Sale is Friday, January 30. $1 a bag.

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Library Visit – January 19th to 23rd, 2015

We are continuing our study of Hibernation during Library Time.photo-2

Today the children listened to Hibernation by Tori Kosara.  A new understanding for them is that there are actually two kinds of hibernation.


photo-3Torpor is a type of hibernation where the animals do not sleep all through the winter.  Raccoons and bears are familiar examples as the children knew that these larger animals often wake up and are looking for something to eat.

Hibernation, in its truest sense, is what animals such as chipmunks, hedgehogs and woodchucks do:  they sleep all through the winter.


A wonderful fiction book that incorporates the elements of non-fiction is photo-6Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows and illustrated by Kurt Cyrus.  We have this set as a listening centre with a CD in our classrooms and it is fabulous.  The background music and sounds are really fun.  This book would make an interesting comparison with the non-fiction books the children have been reading.

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Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health

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We have worked hard at reminding your children to wash their hands after blowing their nose, using the bathroom and before eating, but Kindergarten children are five years old and cannot possibly remember every instruction every time. We appreciate your support in reminding your child about these good habits when at home and school.

With our return to school, and the advent of flu season upon us, we thought it would be a good time to talk about when your Kindergarten child is sick.

Every year we are informed by parents at drop-off time that their child has “a little cough,” “a little fever” or “a bit of a runny nose” but is still well enough to come to school.

When a child is sick, as parents we have a responsibility to not only to care for our child but we also have a responsibility to the classroom and school communities.

A sick child should stay at home, for the mutual benefit of the child, the classroom students and teaching staff. It is good parenting to decide that your child should rest and recover quietly in bed. A child who is given one, two or even three days, to stay at home will get better faster, and be stronger and more able to fight the next cold or illness in the classroom.

We realize as working parents ourselves that it is not always convenient to have your sick child stay at home, as it means taking a day off, or more, from work. However, there are many implications of having a sick child at school.

A sick Kindergarten child often feels fragile, prone to tears and wanting his or her parents. Sending your children to school sick and feeling poorly sets them up for failure, not success.

When the children are sick, they do not have the energy to focus on the lessons of the day. It is very difficult for them to self-regulate their emotions in the classroom context. They lack the patience, because they do not feel well, to cope with challenging schoolwork, possible conflicts with their friends and making good choices.

Sometimes a sick child may still wish to come to school. But in the classroom we are very close to each other in proximity. The children are playing at Centre Time quite close together. They sit close together while eating at the tables. They still hold each others’ hands. Because our supplies are shared, including crayons, scissors, gluesticks and pencils, a sick child at school increases the risk of spreading infection to the rest of the children in the class.

Your child will enjoy their school experiences much more when they return to school rested and healthy!

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Library Visit – January 5th to 9th, 2015

andrea 1This week the children listened to Waiting for Winter by Sebastian Meschenmoser.

As part of their post-discussion, the children brainstormed various animals and the ways in which those animals hibernated.

From their brainstormed ideas, you can see that the children have sorted their facts and identified several animals they still wonder about (those statements are marked with a question mark) that bear further investigation.

 

 

Hibernationandrea 2

-bear(s) have a very long sleep

-squirrels go up to their nest and sleep

-iguanas sleep ?

-turtles go to sleep underwater ?

-ladybugs sleep under a log ?

-bees hibernate in their hive

-crocodiles go under the sand to sleep ?

-squirrels store food for the winter

-skunks crawl in to their den ?

-bears eat lots of fish before they go to their tunnel to sleep

 

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