The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

Autumn’s Harvest:  This Week in Our Room:  October 10-13, 2017

It’s been a golden end of summer as we’ve moved into the most delicious autumn we’ve been able to recall in the past number of years.  We’re enjoying sunny, warm afternoons on the playground, reading some brilliant new books about seasonal changes and watching our Kindergarten children grow, change and mature.  

We knew that post-Thanksgiving is a special time as we watch our classes take significant step forward in their self-regulation.  We’ve really worked hard on our self-regulation strategy of deep breathing.  Most of the children realise how good it feels to breathe deeply and feel their bodies relax and become more peaceful.  

This week, we’re solidifying our routine by including the Zenergy chime as part of developing mindfulness.  After listening to quiet music to calm ourselves (right now we’re listening to a personal favourite, “Deep in an Ancient Hawaiian Forest” from the movie “The Descendants”) we play the chime once and think about the sound.  We’re training our brains to focus.  We lead the children through a deep breathing sequence, and then play the chime a second time.  The children are learning to gently push away small noises they might hear, concentrate on their breathing and have a few moments of meditation when their mind can simply relax.  The most important take-away from this strategy is that the children know their breath is their friend – it’s always with them, it can help them to calm down, relax and be refreshed no matter where they are.  

Next week, we will start to discuss our emotions and feelings and the importance of sharing how we feel with others.

We worked on upper and lowercase D this week.  Lowercase “d” can be tricky because many children confuse it with lowercase “b.”  When practising printing at home with your child, remember that we print all letters left- to right, top to bottom.  

For lowercase “b” the stick is printed first (the left side of the letter) from top to bottom, then the circle is formed (the right side of the letter).  Both parts of the letter must touch without crossing over.

For lowercase “d” the circle is formed first (the left side of the letter), then the stick is printed from top to bottom (the right side of the letter).  Both parts of the letter must touch without crossing over.

Printing is all about precision, and so we strive to teach the children to at least try to form the letters correctly.  Forming the alphabet letters correctly will actually help your children to print neatly and quickly (this will become apparent and necessary as they move through the grades), and surprisingly, requires less energy so printing is not a tiresome task.   It goes without saying that it takes years of practise to have beautifully formed letters that sit on the line, with consistent size and spacing.  Each child arrives at this point when they are developmentally ready and is greatly influenced by their pre-printing experiences such as colouring, drawing and other fine motor play including playdough and Lego.

As classroom teachers, we recognise that each child has a different style to his or her printing and it’s exciting for us when we can identify a child’s piece of work without looking at the name printed at the top of a page!

We made these beautiful tissue paper apples last week.  We finally have everyone’s finished and up on the bulletin boards.  Are these not absolutely amazing?  The children separated small pieces of tissue paper (we’re always looking for activities to strengthen small fingers for strong fine motor skills) and glued them onto their apple cut-out.  Some mod podge and a whole lot of gold, red and green glitter later…well, if you could see how they capture the light in our room, they are breathtaking.

As part of our personal identity unit in Social Studies, we’ve been doing a lot of activities around our names so this week we thought we’d expand our knowledge and start to chat about our last names.  This discussion proved to be a little more challenging for our classes because not all the children have necessarily been required to say their last names very frequently and were a little shy to talk about it.  We think this is an important opportunity for you to talk about your family name so your child feels more confident in stating both their first, and last names.  

For our class activity, we created our initials using fruit loops.  The classroom smelled really good, and the children were very respectful about not sampling the fruit loops.  (Telling them that some of the fruit loops were left over from last year, and had been touched by MANY MANY hands, may have somewhat dampened their enthusiasm for tasting.  But our conscience is clear…we’re telling the truth).

We completed our October self-portraits with these cute pumpkin backgrounds.  It’s only our second self-portrait this school year and we are delighted with the children’s drawing, cutting and glueing skills.

Our Kindergarten children have completed a lot of fantastic work this week.  We’d say that so far, this year’s harvest has certainly been one of plenty.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Friday, October 20 is a Professional Day; students are not in session.

Monday, October 23 is a Curriculum Implementation Day; students are not in session.

Sharing and Special Helper:  we’re starting another round of Special Helper soon and we’re ready to include Sharing.  Sharing is similar to the former “Show and Tell” but we will be giving a specific theme to follow each month.  Our theme this time is going to be “Bring 3 Objects that Begin with the First Letter of Your First Name.”  All three items must fit in a small ziploc bag.  We’re quite strict about that rule so please help your child to locate the appropriately sized items; your child should know the names of what he or she has brought to school.  Please Note:  if your children forget to bring their Sharing on their Special Helper Day, we will not be allowing them to bring it on another day. We’ve done this in the past and it frequently results in a backlog of Sharing and takes away from the child whose Special Helper day it really is.  Please check the posted calendar for your child’s Special Helper Day.

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Happy Turkey Day 2017

A very Happy Thanksgiving from our homes to yours…

 

And a few Thankful thoughts from the Kindergarten:

I am thankful for…

-a beautiful blue sky

-my family

-the ocean

-my Dad’s hugs

-playing at the beach

-the golden trees

-birds in the sky

-food to eat

-swimming in a swimming pool

-my teacher

-eating with my family

-clean water to drink

-my grandparents

-playing in the park, and a picnic

-the blue jays at my house

-my bird, Banana

-my garden

-nature and snow

-hugs and kisses from my family

We’re thankful for our friends and families, and our dear Kindergarten children.  We look forward to seeing everybody when school re-opens on Tuesday, October 10.

 

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Turkey Talk…This Week in Our Room:  October 2-6, 2017

It’s Thanksgiving week in the Kindergarten and we’ve been cooking up all things turkey. We’ve been making cards, colouring, reading and expressing our gratitude for one another.

The highlight of our week was meeting our Big Grade 7 Buddies and making the turkeys for our annual turkey patch.

 

These turkeys should have made their way home by now and will be a very adorable centrepiece for your Thanksgiving table.  

We’ve had two very fun activities with our Buddies now (Terry Fox Run last Thursday) and each pairing is developing a strong relationship.  Little Buddies gain so much in having positive examples set before them from senior students; it’s like having another big brother or big sister to show the children what to do and how things work.  Big Buddies learn empathy, compassion and patience as they slow their own work rhythm to help tiny hands manage scissors and gluesticks, or gentle reminders to focus on the teacher.  Christy and I have been working with Buddies since our Chartwell days and certainly since we’ve been together at Ridgeview – that would be the past 23 years.  A Buddy Program ranks among the most beneficial and popular activity for both Big and Little Buddies alike.

In Math we’re learning October’s pattern, ABC.  We’re using this pattern on our monthly calendar, the colour calendar and we represented it in turkey feathers as well!

 

We read some fantastic books the past couple of weeks on the Thanksgiving Theme:

  • Franklin’s Thanksgiving (Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
  • Cranberry Thanksgiving (Wende and Harry Devlin)
  • Thanks for Thanksgiving (Julie Markes and Doris Barrette)
  • Thanks for Thanksgiving (Heather Patterson and Mary Jane Gerber)
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving (Dav Pilkey)
  • The Thankful Book (Todd Parr)
  • A Turkey for Thanksgiving (Eve Bunting)
  • Bear Says Thanks (Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman)

Thanks for Thanksgiving (Patterson and Gerber) was our inspiration for discussing what we were thankful for this holiday.  Sometimes it seems natural for children to talk about material objects – toys or digital devices – as what they’re thankful for but we really try to guide their thinking to reflect on their family, friendships and world gifts we might otherwise take for granted:  clean water to drink, fresh air to breathe, birds in the sky.  Everyone illustrated their idea and the teachers scribed the writing for our “Leaves of Thanksgiving.”

 

We finished the letter C this week and made these cutie caterpillars as our Alphabet craft.  We’ll send these home next week.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

All Ridgeview families should wait outside until the first bell has rung to signal that you may enter the building.  We understand that everyone wants to come inside, particularly in the cold mornings; however, this is a working and preparation time for teachers and we are frequently meeting with staff or parents.  Once your children have entered the building, please do not leave them unattended or supervised by another parent.  Children are to wait quietly beside their parents, and enter the classroom calmly and in a self-regulated manner after the teacher opens the door.  Parents, please say your good-byes quickly and quietly so the children can walk directly into the classroom to begin their day.

As we requested earlier this year, students should all have non-spill, refillable water bottles.  Screw top bottles are not a good idea for our age group as it’s very easy to knock over the open bottles.

In addition, a medium sized Ziploc bag is necessary to hold the garbage created from snacks throughout the day.  It also keeps your child’s lunch kit cleaner, rather than having yogurt, small bits of food and wrappers mixed in with their food.

School is closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday on Monday, October 9.

School re-opens on Tuesday, October 10.

Early dismissal days this week are Wednesday October, 11 and Thursday, October 12 next week at 1:30 pm.

October Scholastic orders due Thursday October, 12.

 

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