Autumn Interlude:  This Week in Our Room:  October 15-18, 2018

We always find this week before Hallowe’en preparations really get going a bit of a holding pattern.  We’ve put up a few decorations (so as not to overly take away from our self-regulated classrooms), strung a few lights around the room and have started working on a few crafts in anticipation of the BIG DAY.  In an informal classroom poll, deciding between Hallowe’en and Christmas as the classroom favourite produced some intriguing numbers, until we realized the participants were voting twice….

Last week we traced, cut out and glued together our Hallowe’en Wreaths with our Big Buddies.  This week we added a lot of special details so create a beautiful bulletin board display in our classroom.

We also painted the bat bodies for a cutie-pie bat craft we will finish next week during our Hallowe’en Centres party on Thursday, October 25 in the morning.  In Kindergarten, Christy and I like to have seasonal celebrations for our classes but we also like them to be productive. So now that our children have learned about Centres and rotating between the numbered tables in our classrooms (1-5), we’re applying that routine to something fun and new – crafts and activities on a Hallowe’en theme.  

There’s no need for children to dress up in costume, but if they would like to wear a fun Hallowe’en t-shirt or Hallowe’en headpiece (no masks, please), then that would be lovely.  I’m trying to decide whether to wear my Witch’s Hat or Hallowe’en Princess Crown. Decisions, decisions….

A very important event this week was starting work in our Alphabet Books.  We’ve been working on the loose Alphabet pages from A-D up till now. We’ve sorted and collated everybody’s pages and cerlox bound them into the children’s Alphabet Books and they are gorgeous (both children and the book).  We’re so proud of our classes for learning to follow a routine for printing their names in pencil, printing the alphabet letters and drawing and labelling pictures that begin with the letter of the week. We teach and model each and every step, and will continue to do for the rest of the year for all the letters.  We’re really encouraging the children to use the lowercase letters we’ve taught in their names instead of uppercase and it’s exciting to see this transition.

We’re continuing with Our Personal Identity in the Community and the Natural World portion of our Kindergarten Curriculum.  Earlier, we read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, about a little girl who overcomes teasing about her name, Chrysanthemum, when she starts school.  With the support of her loving parents and Music teacher, she comes to love and and appreciate her beautiful name. We explain to our children that the very first gift they receive from you after being born, is their name, a most precious and special gift, indeed.

We had some fun searching through the magnetic letters the children used at their Welcome to Kindergarten visit to find the letters for their names.  It was thrilling to hear them talking about the letters as being uppercase or lowercase, knowing they have substituted in uppercase letters for lowercase letters (we had a shortage of lowercase “a” and “n”) and everybody helping each other out to complete their names.  A quick counting of letters and an autumn picture completed our activity.

This week ended with an Earthquake Drill and full evacuation.  We had informed the children ahead of time, had a practise so that when we actually had the Drill, there were no surprises.

We’re going to really miss our children for the next few days.  It will be the first long separation since school started – 4 days and 1.5 hours.  They are starting to find their stride now as settled Kindergarten children. We see the children’s listening skills continuing to improve, they are remembering on purpose and waiting for the teacher to  give instructions before independently starting their own work — all important parts of their self-regulation.  So enjoy these beautiful autumn days and time together with your children. We know they will be growing even more mature with all of the sunshine that’s expected for the next little white.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Friday, October 19 is a Professional Development Day.  School is not in session for students.

Monday, October 22 is a Non-Instructional Day.  School is not in session for students.

Please return your Library books for Tuesday.  We are going to try to reschedule our Library time from Monday.

Wednesday, October 24 is the Ridgeview Family Skate.  

Thursday is our Hallowe’en Centres Party as noted above.

 

 

Autumn Medley:  This Week in Our Room:  October 9-12, 2018

After the holiday weekend, it was hard to get our usual rhythm this week at school. Sometimes we find that when we miss our Mondays and not going to Library and Music on our regular days.  But on this gorgeous Sunday as we write up the newsletter for our short week, it seems we were still very productive and have made some very good progress in all areas of our learning.

Boho Birds… Beyond Adorable!

This week we’re most proud of the beautiful boho birds we made for “theCardProject,” which is an RPAC fundraiser for our school.  Each classroom teacher selects an art project to make with his or her class, and these often incredible pieces of art are turned into cards, journals and other stationery items.  We’ve written a charming blog post detailing all of our children’s efforts which we will post and you can read later this week (and also the reason why this newsletter is late).

For now, let us say how very, very proud we are of our KinderArtists who each made a sweet birdie using mixed media.  It was so fun to work with our children, who were the best of listeners and followed many directions incredibly well. We are always uncertain about how well our art project will be received by the children.  As to be expected in Kindergarten, the range of their fine motor skills is vast; we’re trying to find a project that they can all do mostly independently, feel pride and accomplishment, yet is lovely enough beyond the eyes of the artist (it is a fundraiser, after all).

But this year we think have something very special.  We know you are going to love the children’s little birds and purchase some thoughtful gifts for yourself and your extended family members (you’ll also get the original art as well which is definitely frame worthy– priceless!)

We worked on the letter “d” this week, pasting beautiful paper diamonds to a lowercase d.  In a moment of thrift, we used up the leftover pieces of scrapbook paper from the boho birds to make some very pretty diamonds.

We’re taking our PE classes outside right now with the good weather because this might not happen again.  We have been working on fitness, using the playground circuit and we introduced the agility ladder as well following the Physical Literacy (PL) Assessment last week.  The Foundation Skills of running, hopping, jumping, throwing and kicking are ones we will be focusing on (we also review skipping and galloping). We’re using the agility ladder to add excitement and challenge for our children whose PL skills are already well developed.  Part of the assessment was also the vocabulary, comprehension, and ability to follow the instructions given by the PL teachers, which we will follow-up with in class.

More fun…and art…on Friday with our Big Buddies.  Now, we know we just had Thanksgiving but we realized we wouldn’t see our Buddies again until October 26 (Professional Day on October 19) so we had to make start our Hallowe’en Wreaths.  (We personally realise it’s all about perspective when we saw the Christmas decorations and decor in Michaels and HomeSense this weekend, and the Hallowe’en bits and pieces were on clearance, but we digress….).  So to keep our excitement in check, we decided to just trace our templates (ghost, moon, pumpkin, bat) and glue them on and save the decorating (once we’ve located our Hallowe’en stickers) for the week ahead. Although we had some sad faces (Grade 7s, not the Kinders), we know we’ll be happier working on Hallowe’en crafts the closer we get to Hallowe’en!  Christy and I are not one for rushing through each celebration and holiday. We like to savour and enjoy it for what it is…part of our self-regulation.

Thank you again to Mrs. Kennedy, our Teacher-Librarian, for squeezing us all in our Tuesday so we could have our new Library books.

We also wish to formally welcome our UBC Teacher Candidates (Student Teachers) Miss Ellis and Mr. Pang to Ridgeview Kindergarten.  They will be visiting on Thursdays to observe your Kindergarten Teachers, and have a two-week practicum in November. In the new year, they will continue their weekly visit and have an extended practicum in the Spring.  Christy and I are known as School Advisors and we will be observing and evaluating their practise teaching, along with a UBC Faculty Advisor.

Christy and I both had amazing practise teaching experiences (Christy right here at Ridgeview; and mine was in the Saanich School District) with very knowledgeable, experience School Advisors.  Although we’ve had quite a few Teacher Candidates come through our classrooms over the years, it is always our Professional responsibility to mentor today’s promising young people in the most worthwhile and satisfying helping profession, that of TEACHER.  

Finally, our heartfelt thanks to our BFF and webmaster extraordinaire, Ms. Cari Wilson (Innovation Teacher for Technology) @kayakcari for creating our new header for theselfregulatedteacher.com.  It is gorgeous and we love it! Thanks, Cari!!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

There’s lots for the next few days…

Monday is Library Book Exchange.  Please return your Library Book to get a new one.

Thursday, October 18 is Early Dismissal for all students at 1:30 pm.

Friday, October 19 is a Professional Development Day.  School is not in session for students.

Monday, October 22 is a Non-Instructional Day.  School is not in session for students.

 

A Kindergarten Thanksgiving: This Week in Our Room: October 1-5, 2018

At this time of the year, there’s always plenty of reasons to give thanks and we can’t think of a better one than a great start to school!  Our Kindergarten children have worked extremely hard for the past five weeks.  They are settling in well to their classrooms, making new friends and learning the importance of looking at and listening to the teacher.

In Kindergarten, we spend a large part of each day reviewing and reinforcing classroom routines.  Establishing and following classroom routines is an essential part of understanding what it’s like to be a student at school.  In Kindergarten, the foundation for learning Christy and I build is preparation for the many years of schooling ahead.  In the past few weeks the children have learned:

-how to quietly enter the classroom and settle down with books

-stand to sing “O Canada” with the rest of the school respectfully, and with pride

-find their snack bags and water bottle, choose a seat at the tables and wash their hands

-ask to use the washrooms and use them independently

-set the tables with school supplies and tidy up after themselves

-borrow and return a school Library Book, and put them in the Library Book Bag

-line-up, hands to self, when we transition between activities

-locate where to print their name on a page

No wonder everybody is tired at the end of the day!  But this is a tiny fraction of all the children have learned to do.  You can read more about what your children know in a previous post, Our Kindergarten Classroom Routines.

We were really busy during Turkey week (but then again, when are we not?)  We applied our knowledge of simple math patterns (AB, ABC) to our turkey feathers.  

We read several Thanksgiving books as our inspiration for our “Leaves of Thanks.”  The children did a great job with their brainstorming about what they were thankful for.  We know that children are thankful for what is close to their hearts — their family and friends.  It’s all very special.

I am thankful for:

-my family

-kisses from my parents

-love and flowers and hearts

-dancing and listening to music

-walking across the street with my mom

-lights everywhere

-my sister

-my friends and cousins

-the clean air we breathe

-rainbows

-the world

-feeding

-winter and snowmen

-our Kindergarten classroom and teachers

-apples

-the kittens I’m am getting after my renovation is done

-my auntie

-being outside in nature

-my dog

-hugging my brother

-the white puppy my mom is going to buy me

-feeding the ducks

The District Physical Literacy teachers also completed their assessments this week.  The children ran “there and back,” hopped, threw overhand, kicked a ball and walked backwards so we could look at their balance.  This information is to create a baseline so we know the areas to focus on during PE instruction for our classes, not only for skills but for comprehension of the concepts and instructions.  We were thankful for a gorgeous sunny day that the children could be outside and participating in the physical tasks that were set out for them.

It’s the holiday weekend so we want to wish everyone a Happy Turkey Day.  We’re looking forward to catching up with our own children who are returning home from University for the next few days.  We can honestly say that time goes by very quickly when you have children; it feels like our kids were just in Kindergarten themselves and now they are young people starting their lives and creating individual paths for themselves.  The time when your children are young is very, very precious.  Take the opportunity to be present with them to enjoy the magical adventure of their childhood.  There’s so much that we all have to be thankful for.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Please keep track of the calendar for Sharing and Special Helper so you know when it’s your child’s turn.  We do not allow children to bring in their Sharing on another day if they forget on their own Special Helper Day.

Monday, October 8 is Thanksgiving Monday and school is closed.  School re-opens on Tuesday, October 9.  Please return your Library Books for Tuesday.