The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

Christmas Fun…This Week in Our Room:  December 11-15, 2017

We’re well on the journey to Christmas Town where there is a lot of activity happening in the Kindergarten and at home for our children.  We’re hearing a lot about Christmas trees, decorating, shopping and baking at home and it’s so wonderful and exciting.  We’re carefully pacing ourselves here at school as we still have one more week of school plus our two concerts on Tuesday.  Many children are really enjoying making Christmas crafts and colouring during Centre Time which is very calming and keeps their little hands busy, while others are very content to be looking at Christmas books or playing Lego.  

One activity everyone looks forward to is listening to Christmas stories.  We’re reading the children’s books some have brought in for Sharing, as well as old favourites of ours from our family Christmas book collection.  For some great recommendations of Christmas books, click here.

We finished the letter M this week and made “m is a mouse.”  The children love the time spent crafting and talking about what they are creating for each letter.  We will take a break from the alphabet next week and start up again in January with “n.”

We are working hard on vocabulary development with Christmas words and concepts.  We talked about how two words can describe the same thing (ornaments/decorations; gift/present), where stockings can be hung (on the fireplace, on your bed), the differences between holly (red berries) and mistletoe (white berries) and what we’re putting on top of the Christmas tree.

The children are printing a Christmas word book to go with our discussion.

Rehearsals started this week for the Concert and we’re all looking forward to showing off our wonderful singers to you.

What do you get with 35 Kinders, ten parents helpers and two teachers who are crazy about Christmas?  The Reindeer Games, of course!

Our big event was held this past Tuesday.  Thank you to all the parents who so kindly volunteered for an afternoon at this extremely busy time of year.  We’ve written quite a bit about how much fun we have at the Games over the years and this one was no exception.

Besides the Christmas fun, the opportunity for our children to come together as a Kindergarten community to play and learn together is an important part of their social development.  Many of the children have friends in “the other class” so we want to keep on creating occasions, big and small, to maintain these special connections.  For our parent helpers, it’s a great way to connect names and faces for themselves and the children.

The children will be bringing most of their crafts home for Christmas; we will keep just a couple of things for their scrapbooks.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Tuesday is our matinee and evening performances for the Christmas Concert.  We ask that you send your child to school in costume for the day; toques and extra costuming such as the vests we can put on later.

Please feel free to drop by the classroom after the matinee performance and see our beautiful decorations before we start taking everything down to send home with your child.

We hope you have purchased your tickets for the Christmas Concert.  If you need an additional ticket for either show, please speak to us and we will see what we can do!

We will have our last library visit before the holidays on Wednesday.  Please return your library book.

A reminder that classes are dismissed on Friday, December 22 at 12 pm.  We will re-open for school on Monday, January 8, 2018.

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Getting Ready for Christmas…This Week in Our Room:  December 4-8, 2017

It’s been a very busy time and the children are very much in the blue zone.  We know they are feeling tired and a little sleepy by the end of the week.  We’ve had a lot going on, Christmas is in the air, hanging from the ceiling…it’s everywhere.

We’re working extra hard on practising our Winter Concert songs, completing Christmas and Bear projects and dutifully practising our self-regulation strategies.  We’ve been meditating on our beautifully decorated Christmas tree, listening to gentle music and breathing deeply.

This week is “L is a letter.”  We had a lot of fun searching for the letters in our name, the differences between uppercase and lowercase and which way the letters go.

We’ve been focusing on subitizing (recognition of a number set without counting) with familiar (dice patterns) and unfamiliar number arrangements to develop the children’s concept of number.  We had some candy cane fun when we counted a box of 100 mini candy canes (it turned out to be 104) to share with our Big Buddies by using the 10 frame as another way to organise a set and count by 10s.

 

We read a beautiful Christmas counting poem and created our own versions.

The last story for our Bear Literary Theme was a familiar favourite, Goldilocks and The Three Bears.  It’s always fun to read different versions of the same story and to compare the similarities and differences; this is a great literary activity you can do at home which promotes discussion about the story elements (plot, character, theme, setting) and encourages engagement with books.  

We’ve been working on recalling the main events and sequencing them in the correct order.  A fun culminating activity for us was to read the The Three Bears Christmas and make our three bears stick puppets.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Please return report card envelopes next week.  The report and inserts are for you to keep.

The rehearsal schedule for our upcoming Winter Christmas Concert has been announced for teachers and it will mean our regular school days will not be quite as predictable as in the past number of months. We will all have to be more flexible (Christy and I keep saying this over and over again to each other).  However, this is another opportunity for us to see how well the self-regulation strategies we’ve been teaching in class are working for the children.  

At home, the children should be getting a proper night’s rest (10 hours), eating healthy and getting as much fresh air and exercise as possible.  They will need a lot of stamina and resilience to cope with the next two weeks, combined with the excitement we all call Christmas.

Library Book Exchange will be on Wednesday and it will be the last one before the holidays so please return our library books.

 

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Autumn Potpourri…This Week in Our Room:  November 27-December 1, 2017

Like all good elves at this time of the year, we’ve been working very hard in our classroom finishing a myriad of projects.  Christmas activities are woven throughout our day but we’re managing our self-regulation pretty well.  The Advent Calendar we started on Friday, December 1, nudged us from the green zone to the yellow zone; however, a few calming breaths with the smell of chocolate Santas in the air seemed to bring down the energy…sort of.

This week “K is for Kite” and we made some colourful kites to go along with our beautifully printed Ks – no easy task with all those lines sliding back and forward.  We’ve noticed steady improvement and independence in our class’ printing and cutting skills.  We can also see all that monkey bar swinging and hanging paying off for a strong upper body, shoulders, arms and hands necessary for good fine motor control.

We read one of our favourite books, Time to Sleep, by Denise Fleming, and completed some fun activities with a focus on how seasonal environmental changes affect animals, such as migration and hibernation.  Recalling the main ideas and sequencing story events are two of the comprehension skills we are currently teaching in class.  With our buddies, we completed a torn paper hibernating bear art project.

In Math this month, we’re reviewing counting sets, including one to one correspondence, subitizing (recognition of a number set without counting), recognising number patterns on a dice and printing numerals with the correct formation.

During PE we’ve spent a lot of time working on basic locomotor movements and following signals and commands.  Signals and commands include following whistle signals (one whistle means freeze, two whistles means sit down on the spot) and verbal commands such as “find your personal space,” “listening line” and “listening circle.”  We practise these every time we go to PE to ensure everyone is moving safely in the gym.

The children are learning the difference between walking, jogging and running (we will focus on sprinting in the spring when we can go outside for PE).  While jogging and running, the children are working on remembering to use their arms (“hip to lip”) as well.

The children have been practising their skipping (step, hop on alternate feet), hopping (one foot) and jumping (two feet) and building endurance.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Library Scholastic Book Fair and bought books.  We receive a portion of the funds to buy new books and resources for our own library.

Our big event this week was making our Christmas Marshmallow Balls with our Buddies.  The sweet and delicious aroma of marshmallows wafted throughout the classroom, and this was another opportunity to strengthen fine motor skills as the children were threading sequins onto pins, through a mini marshmallow and into a styrofoam ball.  We won’t say anymore as these ornaments will be a special Christmas gift for your Christmas tree.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We did not take out Library Books last week due to the Book Fair.  We will be back on the regular schedule this week.

Wednesday is our Christmas Cracker project with our Big Buddies.  We’re all looking forward to making some sweet treats to give to those less fortunate in our community.

All children should have runners to wear indoors and for PE, and rainboots for outdoor playtime during the rainy days. We’re expecting dry weather this week, but please be mindful of the cool temperatures; a toque and gloves help keep your child warm and cozy for these end of Autumn days.

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