Christmas All the Way: This Week in Our Room: December 3-7, 2018

You can hear the jingle, jangle, jingle of Santa’s Elves working hard at the North Pole, but could they be any more productive than the Kindergarten at Christmas?  We’re pretty sure our own little elves are just as busy in their own way.

We’ve started our December celebrations by adding an advent calendar to the morning Calendar routine.  Every Special Helper is selecting a mini candy cane to take home.

Our big excitement this week was welcoming lots of parent helpers to the classroom to start work on our pasta wreaths.  We enjoyed working with a lot of different pasta shapes (Christmas trees, candles and snowflakes), glued on to a paper plate ring, sometimes in a pattern and sometimes not.  We’ll be spray painting our creations with gold paint in the coming week and finishing it with a beautiful bow to take home as a Christmas gift to our families.

We’ve been doing lots of reading this week, brainstorming Christmas words; words that begin with the “k” sound; and a fun little poem about a Christmas tree.  That led to a lot of writing:  printing Christmas words; printing upper and lowercase “K” and labelling pictures that began with “k.”  

We’ve been generally very pleased with the children’s printing as of late, although we are still reminding many about the correct formation of their letters.  Printed letters are formed “left to right, top to bottom.”  Some children are very insistent on printing from bottom to top and starting round letters from the bottom, backwards.   Although it might not seem like a problem right now because the letters look acceptable, this poor habit means the children will have difficulty achieving the speed they need to print quickly and neatly as they move through the Primary grades.  

We rehearsed twice this week with the Grade One students in the gym for the Christmas Concert.  Everybody has their assigned places which we’ll let you know more about next week so you know where to sit to see your child.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Please return our child’s report card envelope to your child’s teacher.  The insert is for you to keep.

Our big event for next week is the Christmas Concert.  If you are having any difficulty getting your child’s “Christmas Best” clothing together, please let us know.

Also, we hope you have purchased your tickets already.  The tickets must be purchased through SchoolCash online by December 11 in order to process the tickets for distribution before the Concert on December 13.  The link can be found in our Ridgeview bulletin.

Our last reminder for the Concert is that we need all of our children to perform in both concerts.  Even if you are attending the matinee performance, we still need your child for the evening show.  Please drop off your child at your child’s classroom for 6 pm.  For the evening show only, all Kindergarten children will be picked up from Mrs. Daudlin’s classroom.  

Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health: December 2018 Update

We have to say it.  

We have too many sick children coming to Kindergarten this year.

We’ve been teaching long enough to know when sick children are coming to school.  It’s more than just having an “off day.”  We know because the first thing some of the children say to us when they walk in the classroom is, “I feel sick.”  If we’re quick enough to find out that your child had a fever the night before, or threw up, we’re going to ask you to come back to the classroom to take your little one home.  

We’re here to gently remind you that we have to take sickness very seriously at school.  We have to because there are so many students, their siblings, parents and grandparents who can be affected.  Not to mention the teaching staff and all of their families.  We simply are unable to look after sick children here at school.  We all have our teaching or office responsibilities so we really do not have extra adults to sit with a sick child.  Besides, your children would really prefer to be at home, in their own bed, with you to look after them.  

We know it’s inconvenient taking a day or more off from work to be at home, but the health of our children has to come first.  A number of years ago when we were still job-sharing, Christy and I both developed a bad stomach flu which spread immediately to our families.  Between the two of us, we were away for about three weeks caring for sick children and sick husbands at home with a variety of substitute teachers covering for us.   But not one student in our class got sick from us because we were determined to stay home until we were healthy and strong enough to be back in the classroom.

It goes without saying that a classroom is a hotbed for germs; nobody wants to talk about it but it’s true.  In Kindergarten, we share all of our school supplies.  Germs move around from pencils to crayons to felt pens to gluesticks to scissors– just like that.  We all share math manipulatives, building blocks, dollhouse figures and puzzle pieces.  That’s why we have such a huge emphasis on self-care, particularly handwashing before students eat and after using the bathroom; and noseblowing with a kleenex, not picking noses or wiping noses on sleeves which is NOT an acceptable alternative.  We are still reminding the children daily not to put their fingers into their noses or mouths.  Children are sneezing without covering their noses and coughing directly on their peers and teachers.  Good hygiene and social habits start at a very young age and must be reinforced by you, their parents.  

If your children have had a fever the night before, and seem a little better in the morning, please keep them at home.  They probably did not have a good sleep and should take it easy.  There is no such thing as a “little fever.”  Even a “little fever” is still cause for being cautious.  

If your children have vomited, or been vomiting, they should stay at home.  Ideally, your child would have cleared at least 24 hours of no vomiting before they come back to school.  No child wants to vomit at school, it is horribly embarrassing for your child and very difficult to deal with for the rest of the class.  We all need to leave the classroom; the custodian must be summoned to sprinkle absorbent powder on the vomit and then we have to wait for that process.  

If your children have a runny nose that they cannot independently manage (the teachers do not help children with runny noses) or a persistent cough, then a day or two at home to get better is for their benefit.  We’re far too busy in our school day for children to recuperate at school.  

We know your child wants to come back to school and may appear ready.  But the expectations of following classroom rules; the pro-social demands of self-regulation and cooperating and sharing with peers; and the academic requirements are more than they can handle when they are not feeling healthy.  Allow your child the time get back to feeling they are ready to face a busy day of school with patience, resilience, stamina and energy for learning, getting along with friends and playing outdoors.  Not one of us is able enjoy being at school or work when we are not feeling at our best.  You wouldn’t go to work sick, so why would you insist that your child go to school sick?  You know when your child is not well and it is our responsibility as parents to intervene and insist they take the extra day to rest.

Christy and I always get our flu shots for prevention but we will be away if we get sick.  As of today, Christy is away with a very dreadful cold that she has been fighting; we wish her a speedy recovery.  For the sake of our classroom community and everybody’s good health, please keep your children at home if they are sick.  

Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health, continues to be one of the most read posts ever at theselfregulatedteacher.com.  You can read our original post here.

 

25 Sleeps till Christmas: This Week in Our Room:  November 26-30, 2018

Well, we’re on the countdown and there’s certainly no one more excited than us as we start to get ready for Christmas.  Not one to stand on ceremony and wait for December, we’ve decided to get into the swing of everything Christmas this week.

First…time to start decorating.  We hung up the Christmas lights and brought out the Christmas storybooks.  And the children got busy making their angel tree hangers to hang from the ceiling.  We love this project, and so do the children as they arrange their Christmas foamie and shiny stickers on their paper tree as carefully as they might decorate a real tree.  Next, angels beautifully coloured with sweet faces and golden halos. Then we tie it all together with glitter pipe cleaners and shiny tinsel. The sun shines beautifully through our windows so we see lots of little diamond flashes of colour and sparkle as the light bounces around our classrooms.  Pure magic.

It was the sparkling kind of week that we all look forward to after the pelting rain of Monday.  We must have summoned the sun after gluing on our jewels for our Alphabet J.

In the midst of our candy cane glow, we are winding down a few units of instruction. Our last Bear story was the classic Corduroy by Don Freeman.  Besides discussing the story structure, we had quite a few digressions talking about first experiences on the escalator, furniture shopping with our families and what it means to save money for something special that you want.  The children made the cutest little bears – everyone loved using a paper crimper to make Corduroy’s overalls and selecting buttons so the straps “stayed on.”

We decided to integrate our Math this week with Corduroy and brought out our button collections and read The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid and Sarah Chamberlain. Oh my, the children had so much fun sorting through the buttons, finding their favourite, those that look alike and those that look different.  We discovered buttons with shanks cannot be glued on to Corduroy’s overalls and that flat buttons work best.

In the midst of all this activity we had two exciting events happen.  The first was the Scholastic Book Fair, a pop-up book shop right in our own school!  We saw many children from our class shopping with their parents and hope everybody found books they love. We know we did and look forward to reading our new treasure aloud to our classes.

The second exciting event was we sang together with the Grade 1 classes for the first time!  We’re into full rehearsals right now for the Christmas Concert and the children sound awesome.  Our staging arrives next week so rehearsals will continue in the gym. We sent home a Christmas information letter along with the December Homework calendar today about costumes for the concert.

To the children’s delight, they saw their beloved Buddies TWICE on Friday.  The first Buddy time was to make these cute hibernating bears, an integrated Art project for our story Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming.  This cleverly written pattern story talks about autumn changes in nature and for the animals.  The children were quick to pick up the pattern and everyone made their own cute version of the story.

In the afternoon, we held our annual Christmas Cracker Event, and made the crackers with all of your generously donated Hallowe’en candy.  We’ll be donating these sweet treats to the Harvest Project, Covenant House and our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver. For many, these little candy crackers will be the only sweet they will have during the holiday.  Our children are learning the importance of giving and sharing with others. As they grow older we hope they remember these charitable acts fondly and be inspired to continue giving, always.

Don’t forget, it’s Christmas Sharing now, so we ask if your child can bring in just one Christmas item from home to talk about.  We’re happy to read aloud favourite Christmas stories, look at Christmas family photos or hear about a special Christmas tree ornament.  We apologise to all the families whose children are at the beginning of the alphabet, and had to unpack their Christmas boxes early.

Thank you again for your generous donations to the Sock Drive!  Our school collected 713 pairs of new socks to donate locally to those in our community.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Yes, we will have a true Book Exchange on Monday.  We believe most of the Library Books are back right now but one more quick check around your house is appreciated.

November Homework Calendars can be returned anytime this week for a sticker.