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.

 

Lest We Forget:  This Week in Our Room:  November 4-8, 2019

It was a thoughtful and reflective week in the Kindergarten.  Much of our thoughts, discussions, stories and activities revolved around our preparation for the Remembrance Day assembly.  

In the Kindergarten classroom, we focus on “what is peace?” and how the events of the past have shaped our present and future where we can have the freedom to choose to live our lives as we wish.  We talk about the significance of the poppy and represent that in our creative efforts. Our children made Canada flags, printed poppies (with an acorn squash and potato, no less) and sharing, drawing and writing our thoughts about what peace means to us.  We contributed much of our art to decorate the gym.

For many of our children, attending a serious assembly, such as Ridgeview’s Remembrance Day ceremony, is their first opportunity to see what it feels like to be part of a large school united in thought and intention.  

Our student population assembled silently in the gym, many children dressed in black, white and red.  The Kindergarten children sang “O Canada,” 400 voices strong. The Grade 7 Assembly Committed hosted our ceremony and wove the history of the world wars and the story of John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields” throughout student presentations.  We listened to our two singing groups, the Grade Two/Three Primary Singers and Ridgeview Voices (Grades 4-7) under the direction of our Music teacher, Mrs. Soderling. Grade 3 students spoke about the Highway of Heroes, the stretch of highway from Trenton to Toronto, Ontario, which honours Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.  Finally, we listened to the emotional trumpet call “The Last Post,” followed by a moment of silence and then “Reveille,” performed by a Grade 7 band student.

Our children were exemplary and we were (and are) very, very proud to be their teachers.  The children listened carefully, focused on the speakers and presentations and were mindful of their social situation and what we (as their teachers and as parents ourselves) would deem to be important, appropriate and expected behaviour.  We wish to thank you for working together with us to help prepare your children.

We also know, as part of their foundational learning, that the Kindergarten’s understanding of self-regulation, including learning and practising strategies to self-regulate their bodies, developing their social awareness and knowing about and understanding feelings, is an essential part of getting along together and being part of the greater community.  It is at moments like this, we are reminded again of the importance of teaching self-regulation and other pro-social skills so that our children are able to make friends, maintain social relationships and relate well to others.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We’re still collecting Hallowe’en candy donations.  We will fill small with the candy treats and donate these to our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver, the Union Gospel Mission and Covenant House.  Thank you for your generosity.

Save the Date:  Our Winter Concert will be on Tuesday, December 10 and Wednesday, December 11 at 1:30 pm.  We will let you know more details as they are released to us. For certain, we will have a run-through of the show on Friday, December 6 and a dress rehearsal on Monday, December 9.  Our songs will be taught during Music class.  

If your child is going to be away anytime between now and the last day of term, December 20, please let us know as this helps us in choosing dates for our special days in Kindergarten.

Monday, November 18 is a Professional Day and students are not in session.

That’s a Wrap:  Hallowe’en in the Kindergarten…This Week in Our Room:  October 28-November 1, 2019

Our classrooms were filled with fairy tale characters, superheroes, community helpers and tiny animals on Hallowe’en Day, and what a wonderful day it was!

We’ve been getting ready for the past two weeks to mark what has become one of the most popular celebrations ever:  Hallowe’en. Our home and school neighbourhood displays ranged from the adorable to the macabre. But in our classrooms, all is sweet and fun (we were gently reminded by our students, “not too spooky.”

We really kicked off our decorating with our Hallowe’en wreaths.  Our Big Buddies helped us with the tracing and cutting of the characters, but the funny faces and sticker placement is all Kindergarten.  This is a really fun activity to complete with our Buddies. Many Kindergarten children have become quite proficient with their fine motor skills, so our Buddies are allowing independence to reign and learning to provide support only for “the tricky bits.”

Drawing and painting our huge pumpkins is an art activity we very much enjoy teaching.  It’s important for the children to work on a variety of scales, and this terrific Deep Space Sparkle art project allows for the children to make as large a pumpkin as they wish.  We drew the pumpkin ribs with white pastel, colour mixed yellow, orange and red paint to create a textured effect and individually made stems and leaves. Aren’t these pretty? 

We considered leaving the pumpkins as they were, but the children wanted to turn them into jack-o-lanterns, and who are we to refuse?  Black and white construction paper and some new drawing and cutting directions (“fold your paper in half, draw a circle, and cut them both at the same time”) gives the children another practical strategy for making faces, and answers the question, How did you get the eyes to both be the same size?

This past Tuesday we had our annual Hallowe’en Centres Party.  Thank you again to the many parents who volunteered their time either through baking, running a Centre or both!!  The children coloured their Hallowe’en books, played with Hallowe’en playdough, made spider cupcakes and ghost ornaments and we finally finished our bats.  It was so much fun, and the chocolate cupcakes were as sweet and gooey as all cupcakes should be.

 

We read many Hallowe’en storybooks, listened to lots of Hallowe’en music and completed some writing activities, too.  Here’s our past Hallowe’en big book, “On Hallowe’en Night” that was the final literary task before we pack up our decorations.

Now, about all that candy you collected on Hallowe’en.  Every year Ridgeview creates candy gifts for our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver, the Union Gospel Mission and Covenant House.  This is a Christmas Buddy activity, and we use any Hallowe’en candy donations from the children. We would gratefully accept any candy (except for those marked with Hallowe’en symbols).  Your children can bring the treats they are not going to eat to the classroom and we will have a spot to collect it.  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

October Homework Calendars are due any time now, and into next week.  You can return it even if it’s not fully complete. 

Friday, November 8 is the Ridgeview Remembrance Day Assembly.  We have a very high standard of behavioural expectations for this Assembly.  The children are to enter the gym in silence, be self-regulated and very calm.  There is NO APPLAUSE during this ceremony. We will be reviewing these expectations (and others) and ask that you do so as well. We do not expect to have to remind our students about behaviour during the ceremony. Please refer to our previous post on Assemblies here

Monday, November 11 is Remembrance Day and school is not in session.

 

It’s Pumpkin Time!  This Week in Our Room:  October 15-18, 2019

The weather has been wet and wild, but inside the Kindergarten all is cosy and warm.  We’re so proud of our classes and the way in which they’ve settled very comfortably into the classroom routines.  The children are becoming more confident in selecting their own morning centres, joining groups of friends and asking if a closed centre can be opened just for them (we almost always say “yes”). 

This week we read the perennial favourite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as our Alphabet kick-off story to the letter D.  We take our time when printing lowercase “d” as we want to differentiate from printing lowercase “b.”  As we teach each new letter, we are supporting the children in using the lowercase letters they know when printing their names.  At this time, we are reminding them to print lowercase a, b, c and d as these are the letters we have taught in class.  We’re teaching e this week.

Do we ever love math patterns!  We’ve been exploring, copying and creating patterns with math manipulatives since the first week of school.  We always begin with manipulatives as it’s concrete and the children can physically show us their thinking and learning.  Now, we’re moving onto the connecting level as the children are connecting the concrete with the abstract. 

Here, you can see the children have made their multilink trains in an AB pattern.  This is a concrete representation of the pattern.  And now we’ve asked them to connect their understanding and represent their learning by colouring in the squares to match their trains.  Amazing!

We started one of several Hallowe’en art projects this week with drawing a beautiful pumpkin and colour mixing orange, red and yellow paint to fill in the spaces between the ribs.  This was a great opportunity to reinforce the BIG in our criteria of BIG, BRIGHT and BEAUTIFUL when creating art.

BIG means to fill you space

BRIGHT means to use five colours or more

BEAUTIFUL means to do your personal best

We will finish our pumpkins with stems, leaves and faces in the days ahead.

On Thursday, we were confidently informed by our classes that they knew exactly what to do for Shakeout BC and they did exceedingly well during our earthquake drill.  As a matter-of-fact, as soon as we mentioned “earthquake” several children chimed in with “oh, under the tables.” When queried about how they knew what to do, their unison answer was “preschool.”  We practised our Duck, Cover and Hold so when the “earthquake” came on via the PA system, we quickly (and safely) moved into action.  

For this practise, our building was deemed “safe” and we did not need to exit the school.

We saw our Big Buddies on Friday to work on our Hallowe’en wreaths.  Our Buddies are learning to encourage the Little Buddies to take more responsibility for the drawing, cutting and gluing parts in our crafts.  The Little Buddies are enjoying this time in our week as they are very much adored and certainly the centre of their Big Buddies’ attention.

Last year we had a big LEGO drive at Ridgeview to create a mobile LEGO cart in the Library.  Many children donated a cup of LEGO from their personal collection. Now, teachers are able to book a special time for their classes and that’s just what we did for a rainy Friday afternoon.  We were absolutely impressed with the dexterity and creativity of our children to build their models.  

The rainy weather has meant that the Kindergarten children have been taking recess outdoors.  They are real troopers, changing into boots and raincoats, sometimes up to three times a day. Their independence in taking their shoes and boots on and off, and doing up snaps and zippers has increased tremendously.  

There’s been a lot of puddle play (including falling into some rather large ones), flying down wet slides and lots of wet clothes.  The children have an opportunity to change their clothes, but we also ask you to send along an extra pair of socks (or two) so their feet are comfortable all day.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, October 21:  Please remember to have the children’s inside running shoes at school for PE.

Tuesday, October 22:  Library Book Exchange

Friday, October 25:  Provincial Professional Development Day – school is not in session for students

Save the Date:  Thursday, October 31 is our Hallowe’en Parade.  Parents will be able to watch us walk through Ridgeview’s spooky hallways!  The parade will start shortly after the morning bell. Please come by our classrooms to help take off your child’s costume, or send a bag that we can safety pack it into if you are unable to make it to school.

Happy Turkey Day 2019

During Thanksgiving week, our children talked about everything they are thankful for:

My family

My mom when she makes food for me

Holidays

My birthday

Church

My friends

Animals

My dog living so long

My cat

My stuffed dog

Nature

My garden

The colourful flowers

The seasons

Being at school

Making crafts at school

Coming to school everyday

Staying at school all day

Reading books 

My teachers

We are so thankful to be blessed with our families, friends and the dear Kindergarten children and their families in our care this school year.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Love from, your Kindergarten Teachers

 

This Week in Our Room:  September 30 – October 4, 2019

It was a quiet week in the Kindergarten, the kind where we notice how well the children are settling into their classrooms, remembering different routines (print your name with a pencil, tidy up after you finish eating, shoes and boots go into the cubbies) and encouraging and supporting one another.  Most children are entering the classroom easily and enjoy selecting their playtime Centres. It is a joy to watch the children ask each other to play and the cooperative fun that ensures. They have become more comfortable joining groups of children in play, and feel confident they can share and take turns with their friends.  It is a very sweet time for us, as teachers and students.

The Alphabet continues to take shape as we finished up with the letter B.  The children are having fun with our Alphabet activities from listening to stories to printing letters to brainstorming words that begin with the letter/sound of the week.  We’re doing a lot of phonological awareness activities to train the ear to listen to words and syllables.  

In Math this week, we explored our new pattern for October, ABC.  The children also made a graph of their birthdays so we could see where everybody was born during the year.  They were able to analyse the data to notice which months had the most, the fewest or no birthdays at all.

ELL classes also started this week for students receiving this service.  

As always, this week’s most anticipated event was seeing our Big Grade 7 Buddies for apple weaving.  Our children are very much enjoying this personal, one-on-one (sometimes two, as some children have two Big Buddies) time with their Buddy to make crafts, talk and listen to stories.  We’re looking forward to seeing our Buddies again on Friday for a special Thanksgiving craft!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, October 7 is Photo Day!  Kindergarten children will be photographed first while they are still neat and tidy.  

Tuesday is Library Book Exchange.  Please return your book so you can take out a new one.

Wednesday and Thursday is early dismissal for all grades for Parent Teacher Conferences.  The children will be dismissed at 2 pm. If your child attends Camp Ridgeview, please let them know of the change in our school day.