Jingle All the Way…This Week in Our Room:  December 2-6, 2019

Our train to Christmas Town has left the station and we have been busy as Santa’s Elves getting our classrooms ready, practising for the Christmas Concert and just being all round jolly and happy.

We’re really looking towards working on our self-regulation these days, and no more than the Christmas Concert.  We had reminded the children that there is a lot of standing around and waiting patiently for our turn to perform, and using our eyes and ears to notice our social situation (rehearsing for the Concert) is essential.  On Thursday, our classes made their teachers so proud with their excellent attention to Mrs. Soderling in watching for their cues to step onto the stage, find their spots and sing like angels. You are in for a musical treat!  You’ll notice we are using our self-regulation strategies of deep, focused breathing and calming countdown when we are away from our classrooms, to calm our bodies so we are ready to listen and learn. We tell the children that their breath is their friend, and it can really help them to relax and centre themselves, something we all need during this busy season.

We’ve been getting our classrooms ready for Christmas.  Our Angel Christmas Tree hangers are hanging from the ceiling.  We love the sunlight flashing off the streamers.

Our December self-portraits are on display now.

We met with our Big Buddies to make a fun reindeer craft.

The children are very much enjoying looking at Christmas picture books by the Christmas tree.  

We’re already into the chocolate Santas and Snowmen in the Advent Calendar.

We’re having lots of fun with Christmas music.  We often play “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” (the Michael Buble version) for our clean-up song, listen to trumpet player Chris Botti’s “The First Noel” or “The Christmas Song” for meditation and feel the Christmas vibe of music ranging from The Carpenters (we date ourselves) to Glee.  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

This is going to be a very busy week, so early bedtimes, regular meals and lots of fresh air are some of our suggestions as we look at a fun, but unregulated few days.

Monday, December 9:  Christmas Concert dress rehearsal – our children DO NOT need to wear their Christmas best.  Please save it for Tuesday and Wednesday. We will wear the Christmas crowns we’ve made at school.

Tuesday, December 10:  All children perform in the first of two Concerts this week so even if you are not attending, we need all the Kindergarten voices.

Children should arrive at school in their Christmas best.  If they have a thin shirt to put over top to get them through pass recess and lunch eating that is great.  Then we can help them remove that shirt and they are good to go on stage.

Parents:  you will want to arrive by 12:30 as parking will be crowded and the line-ups will be long to get a seat in the gym.  Please bring your tickets with you as they will be collected at the door. A non-perishable donation to the food bank is appreciated.

Wednesday, December 11:  same as Tuesday.

Thursday, December 12:  Eat, Play, Rest.  The Kindergarten recovers from our two shows.

Friday, December 13:  in the morning, we will have our annual Christmas party for the Kindergarten, the Reindeer Games.  Children can show their Christmas spirit and wear Christmas themed shirts, their Christmas crowns, fun Christmas jewelry (Mrs. Daudlin) or their pyjamas, if they wish.  Please keep in mind that if your child is wearing pyjamas, they should wear something warm underneath, plus their heavy jackets, as it’s cold during playtime.

During the afternoon, we are working with Buddy Classes and creating Christmas Cracker Treat Bags to give to the Covenant House and the Union Gospel Mission to support their Christmas dinners for those in need.  Then, we will gather for a school assembly in the gym to celebrate the accomplishments of the first term at school.

 

November Round-Up… This Week in Our Room:  November 25-29, 2019

We’re back, after an incredibly busy two weeks at school and home.  We’ve had a lot going on with the leaving and welcoming of new students, starting up new units of instruction while continuing our Alphabet work and lots of art and decorating our classrooms for Christmas.  And we’ve really only just begun to get started on Christmas…

The Kindergarten children love to make their alphabet crafts.  It is such a wonderful time for us as well, as we frequently do part of each craft in small groups where we can have a little chat with each student, make some close-up observations of fine motor work and enjoy the social interactions between the children.

G is a gumball…using bingo marker stampers was new for many children so everyone thoroughly had fun making the gumball machines;

H is a heart…we like to use stickers a lot in some activities.  The dexterity the children need to remove the backings of the stickers is impressive.  Have you tried it yourself lately? It is very fussy work, but determination perseveres in the Kindergarten;

I is for Itchy the inchworm…definitely one of the cutest crafts we make for the Alphabet.  We applied our knowledge of AB patterns for the tummy, practised “pinching” the legs to create a bend and added our favourite goggly eyes.

 

We just completed a mini unit on Bears for the last two weeks of November.  Our focus was the difference between “real and pretend” and non-fiction vs fiction.  We’ve been working a lot on sorting by rules so this gave us another opportunity to sort pictures of real and pretend bears and explain our justifications.  We read the classic bear story Corduroy by Don Freeman and (in our minds) a new classic, Time to Sleep by the amazing Denise Fleming.  For Corduroy, we emphasised the three parts of a story (beginning, middle, end), orally retelling the story in our own words and sequencing the events.  In Time to Sleep, many children were familiar with the concept of hibernation so we we introduced “migration” as well.  We talked about the signs of winter in our environment, or clues for the animals to begin preparing for hibernation.  Again, we focused on orally retelling the story in our own words and sequencing.  

For those of you familiar with Corduroy, you’ll remember that buttons were important in the story.  Corduroy has lost a button from his green suspenders and is searching for one in the department store.  Thankfully, after he is purchased by Lisa, she sews a new button on so his suspenders stay up.  

We read aloud The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid to extend the children’s learning about buttons.  It is an excellent primary history storybook about buttons and their various purposes over the years.  For several Math classes, we explored the class button collection, sorting by many different rules: four buttonholes; two buttonholes; style; shape; shank or no shank.  We counted buttons, played with groups of more and less and patterned like crazy. Everyday the children showed us the kinds of buttons they had on their clothes and to discover shank buttons on one pretty sweater was fantastic!

Christy and I have talked many times about how this year’s Kindergarten classes love to listen to read aloud stories.  We probably read two to three stories a day, and we can tell by the quiet in the room (punctuated with lots of laughter at the right times and the occasional comment of surprise) that the children love their stories.  

Image from Google

A charming set of books we discovered when our children were young are the Old Bear Stories, written and illustrated by Jane Hissey.  The books about Old Bear and his friends are about a group of stuffed animals and their adventures at home. Jane Hissey is a British writer and her vocabulary is reflected in her books.  Words such as “rucksack,” “torch” and “trousers” make for interesting discussion and what we call those items in Canadian English. The stories leave us feeling warm and cosy, and the children can absolutely relate to listen how these furry friends solve their problems in their nursery, kitchen and garden.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We are about to enter the busiest time of the school year….Christmas.

Division 16 (Mrs. Daudlin) will be taking a short break from our regular Special Helper Calendar while we wait for Division 15 (Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Zambon) to finish their current rotation.  We both will have two Special Helpers a day for the last ten school days before Christmas.

We understand Christmas Concert tickets will be distributed to families very soon.  As a reminder, both Kindergarten classes will perform on both days of the concert (we need all those voices).

Mrs. Daudlin’s class parents attend on Tuesday, December 10 at 1:30 pm (we are Division 16 and even Divisions attend on the 10th).

Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Zambon’s class parents attend on Wednesday, December 11 at 1:30 pm (we are Division 15 and odd Divisions attend on the 11th).

Please note:  the audience will be very crowded for this Kindergarten-Grade 5 performance so get in line early for your seats.  You will want to be arriving at school not later than 12:30/12:45 to get in line at the gym.

Monday, December 2:  Kindergarten Dental Screening.  The Screening begins promptly at 9 am so please arrive on time for school.  

We’re going to start a little Advent Christmas Calendar at school.  We have purchased chocolate Santas and Snowmen from Purdy’s Chocolates so we will keep track and one child a day will take one home until we get to the last day of school.  We will ask the children to take the chocolate home to eat at your discretion (they are getting our teeth checked on Monday, after all). We will remind them Santa is watching!

Tuesday, December 3:  We’re back to our regular schedule of Library Book Exchange on Tuesday afternoon.

Thursday, December 5:  We will have our first run-through of the Christmas Concert.  The children can come to school in their regular school clothes.  They do not need to dress up until Tuesday of next week. We are going to do the dress rehearsal in our everyday clothes (we have cleared this with Mrs. Soderling, our Music Teacher).

Friday, December 6:  We will see our Buddies to make a Christmas craft.