The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

Kindergarten Art and the Loveliness of Spring…This Week in Our Room: April 16-20, 2018

With our usual can-do attitude, Christy and I decided that if Spring was going to be slow in arriving then we would make it ourselves.  And that is how we found ourselves creating a lot of beautiful art this week so our classrooms will be as lovely inside as the beauty (when it gets here) we find outside our doors.  We think it worked…we’ve had some beautiful sunshine in the past couple of days.

In Art this term, we are focusing on line, shape and colour.  We’ve drawn these oversized flowers with curved lines (drawing a “u”) using black pastels, and with tempera paint pucks, painted in each petal.  We know that Kindergarten children can use a paintbrush correctly to paint.  But this year we wanted to give our young artists an opportunity to use different sized brushes for different purposes, and several kinds of paint mediums, from dry tempera paint pucks, to liquid tempera to liquid acrylic paints.  We know that part of our role is to expose the Kindergarten to various art techniques and resources so we are very happily providing as many art experiences to our children as we can!

Our Big Buddies dropped by this week and helped us to make these adorable robins!  The robin is an iconic symbol of spring so looking up at all those red tummies is a very cheerful sight.

In addition, our blue chicks are all finished now and greet us each morning from their friendly perch.

 

Our latest round of Sharing and Special Helper is now on its way with Fairy Tales.  Please assist your children in finding a favourite Fairy Tale from home to bring to school and we will read it aloud during Storytime on their Special Helper Day.  If you still have your Fairy Tale book from your childhood, you might consider allowing your child to select a story for us to read.  We still have all of our books from when we were young and look forward to showing our classes how we still treasure the stories of our past.

This week we wrapped up our explorations up to and including the number 9.  One new Centre we tried in our Activity Rotations was using dot formation cards for subitizing (instant recognition of a number).  These are based on dice patterns and it’s quite interesting watching the children count in sequence (eg., 1, 2, 3, 4), or count on from recognising the formation (eg., 6,7).  We asked the children to choose a dot formation card, make a matching set with counters, then copy it with bingo markers.  

We were quite impressed at how well they independently managed a lot of materials on the table, followed the directions (most of the time), then double-checked their work by counting without being asked.  We liked how they didn’t skip the step of making the set of counters, but instead,listened and rememberedthe teacher instructions.  This is a BIG step for Kindergarten, and a very important part of their self-regulation which is going to be absolutely necessary for them as life-long learners.

Earth Day is on Sunday, April 22 this year, and a school wide activity for Ridgeview students was to participate inDo 1 Give.  This year’s focus was a Book Swap where each student would donate at least one book, and could then choose a new book from the collection.  Thank you to everyone for your generous donations!  Our classes had a wonderful time browsing all of the donated storybooks, and everyone chose something special to take home.  

Our favourite day of the year, Student Led Conferences, is fast approaching next Thursday, April 26.  Please note that school dismisses at 2 pm.  You’ll need to promptly pick up your child on time as we will start our Conferences immediately following the bell.

Here are some things you need to know before your child’s Student Led Conference:

Please bring your child with you.  There seems to be some confusion about whether your child came or not, but yes, your child will be conducting this conference, not myself or Mrs. Campbell.

Please make arrangements for siblings.  This is a time just for Kindergarten children and their parent(s).  We have tried to have the Conferences with siblings in the classroom but truthfully, siblings need attention and detract from the hard work of the Kindergarten child.  Older students may wait quietly in our cloakroom with a book of their own.

Please share positive feedback only with your Kindergarten child.  Your child has worked extremely hard since September and shown tremendous growth in all aspects of school life.  Today is a day to celebrate their achievements!

Please be on time for your Conference. We still start and end conferences promptly so every family can have their maximum amount of time to enjoy their child’s school projects.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Wednesday, April 25is the Kindergarten Vision and Hearing Screening with Vancouver Coastal Health.  They will begin promptly at 9 am so please be on time for school.

Thursday, April 26-Friday, April 27is Student Led Conferences in the Kindergarten.  We dismiss at 2 pm on Thursday.

 

Leave a comment »

Looking Forward to Spring….This Week in Our Room: April 9-13, 2018

It is just a Vancouver thing or are we always waiting for Spring sunshine? Judging from the wet coats, wet heads and changes of clothing we’ve been through in the past couple of weeks, we think we’re pretty much still waiting. Of course, our definition of Spring is sunshine and warmer temperatures, not all this rain. But rain it will, so hopefully drier days and lots of flowers will follow.

As part of our wishful thinking, we read aloud I See Spring by Charles Chigna and illustrated by Ag Jatkowska. Everyone drew a picture and completed a sentence frame for our “Spring Is” big book that we can read aloud in class during Book Time.

This week we read the delightful, Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood and Bruce Wood. As an avid mystery book lover myself, I always hope that one day our students will embrace this fascinating genre. There’s nothing quite like being an armchair sleuth and using your “little grey cells,” as Agatha Christie’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot, so eloquently stated to solve a mystery.

We love you so much that the children covered their Alphabet Craft “x” with kisses for you!


We’re finishing up our Math Unit in Numeracy with Explorations for 8 this week. We’ve made pattern block fences, bingo marker pictures with 8 dots, created and copied block pictures for 8, practised printing formation for 8 and counted sets from 6-10.

These activities are part of a weekly math rotation we complete over a couple of days for each number, 0-10, as part of the Numeracy and Problem Solving content for Kindergarten Math. The children are very familiar with the routine of rotations around the tables, where each table has different math materials and manipulatives. We intentionally schedule time every week from September to December for Free Exploration. This time we spend as a class during the Fall, talking about number, counting and what it looks like to work cooperatively with a small group of students, is essential for us before we begin our focused work on Numeracy.

We’re working on a big craft right now, our Spring Blue Chicks. The chicks are halfway to finishing sprouting their paper “feathers” but here’s a tiny sneak preview. They should all be finished for Student Led Conferences on Thursday, April 26. We’ve already been working on them for four days. The children are really learning about patience and perseverance as they complete this fine motor strengthening activity. We’ve been crushing small sheets of tissue paper to glue on and the determination on the children’s faces to finish is very impressive for five- and six-year olds.

The “Do 1 Give Challenge” is coming up on Thursday, April 19. As part of this recycling initiative to reduce paper consumption and take care of our Earth, each child is requested to bring in one book to donate. (Please ensure the book is clean and in good, readable condition). We will keep track of all the names of donors. Then, Mrs. Campbell and I will arrange all the books for the children to peruse, and everyone who brought in a book will be allowed to take home a new one from our collection!

Speaking of recycling, the Grade Two children in Mrs. Bird’s and Mrs. Tsumura’s class have started their Battery Recycling Program. Our Grade Two team of Sophie, Emma and Belen have made these gorgeous boxes to collect the batteries. Please send in your old batteries, and our team will remove them weekly for proper disposal.


Our book recommendation for this week is the delightful, The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino. This story is a wonderful reminder that we have all have special gifts, and should follow our heart.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Save the Date: Thursday, April 26 is Student Led Conferences! This is the Kindergarten Team’s favourite day of the year! We love the opportunity to invite you to visit your child’s classroom and show you all the amazing learning our KinderCuties have completed this year. Please remember this is a special time for you and your Kinder, so please make alternate arrangements for siblings. Older students may wait quietly in our cloakroom for their family. Our sign-up will be posted on Monday, April 16th outside the library.

On Thursday, April 26 students will be dismissed early at 2 pm. Conferences begin promptly at 2 pm.

Wednesday is Library Day so please return your books on time.
We did put in a request for a return of rainboots and extra changes of clothes. This week was definitely a strain on laundry as we got caught twice in heavy rain showers.

Ready, Set, Learn takes place on Saturday, April 28. This is a free community event at the West Vancouver Recreation Centre from 9:30 am-12 for children 3-5 years old and their families.

1 Comment »

Literacy, Language and Story:  What’s Ahead for Kindergarten in Term Three

sweet stories for Spring

The final term is always an exciting one for any grade because our students are quite a bit more mature than the start of school, they have greater independence and more developed skills.  

By the third term in Kindergarten, the children’s development is rapid and vast:

-their bodies are bigger, taller and stronger

-their fine motor skills (printing, drawing, painting) and gross motor skills (running, skipping, throwing) have really increased and improved

-their sense of humour is developing (until lately, only Mrs. Campbell and I were laughing at each other’s jokes)

-they are beginning to understand stories at an inferential level (reading between the lines)

-they can follow a classroom discussion and contribute on-topic comments

-they can demonstrate an understanding of school life and classroom culture through their self-regulation (calm, focused, ready to learn) and social awareness (understanding that everybody, children and adults have feelings; and realizing they are one of many students in the class)

Of course, there’s much more than what we listed but these are some of the constants that we have noticed over the course of our teaching careers.

From last week’s newsletter, you’ll know that we are now in the Final Four…finishing the last four letters of our Alphabet.  We’ve been working really hard on teaching letter names and sounds, correct letter formation when writing, and developing the children’s phonological awareness.  Phonological awareness is important because it is an indicator of the children’s readiness for reading.

When children have strong phonological awareness, that means they have an understanding that language is made up of sounds (phonemic awareness), syllables, rhymes and words.

In class, we directly teach phonemic awareness (the ability to think about and manipulate speech sounds) and its accompanying skills of blending (c-a-t = cat); segmenting (cat = c-a-t); deleting (children repeat a word without the initial or final sound) (cat/ca- or -at) and substituting (children substitute different sounds in a word) (c-an/f-an/r-an/ra-t/s-at).  This forms a large part of our Alphabet instruction.  

Although we will soon be finished this direct Alphabet teaching, we will continue to review the letters (particularly sound production).  Our regular classroom activities such as Sharing, class discussions and Mystery Box Inquiry, all contribute to developing the children’s oral language (speaking and listening), a necessary part of a balanced approach to reading instruction, and are on-going for the rest of the school year.

In addition, we will support the children in refining the children’s printing skills during their daily work, focusing on correct letter formation, shape and space between letters and words, and writing on the line.

It’s also a time for us to explore literary themes.  Our big literary theme in Kindergarten is Fairy Tales.  We choose Fairy Tales as we believe it to be one of the most important genres of childhood literature, along with Nursery Rhymes and Folk Tales.  In our daily lives, through our speech (idioms), books we read and pop culture eg., “If the shoe fits, wear it” (Cinderella), many references are made to Fairy Tales; and a firm understanding of these familiar tales is essential when discussing literary archetypes and characterizations, plot patterns and common themes to fully understand the subtle nuances in current literature.  We’ve written more about Fairy Tales here.

The next big literary event in our classrooms will be our Home Reading Program.  This is a very fun and wonderful opportunity for our children to take home beginning readers three times a week, and read the books with you.  We have home readers at a variety of reading levels. We will have the children read books at a couple of different levels, and report back which is “best” for them.  We have been revamping our Home Reading Library and buying new books for the children with our Scholastic Bonus Money we earn from your purchases. So thank you to everybody who’s made a book buy this year!  Home Reading will start at the beginning of May, following Student-Led Conferences on Thursday, April 26.

As in all childhood development milestones, our children will achieve the reading and writing milestones in their own time, when they are ready and with interest, modeling, experience and exposure from the adults in their lives at home and school.  Although most children will know most of their letter names, sounds and printing formations by the end of Kindergarten, not all children will. As parents and teachers, we want to support our children as best as we can.

Although it is not a direct cause for concern at this time, it’s important to keep providing literary and language opportunities at home.  For now, modeling reading and writing, read-alouds every night, taking the time to answer your child’s questions and reading environmental print are some manageable strategies which you can incorporate into your day.

We will talk about more specific ways you can support your child’s literacy and language at home in the upcoming weeks.

 

Leave a comment »

Our Third Term in Kindergarten Begins…This Week in Our Room: April 2-5, 2018

We’re easing back into the school week…one of the children asked if it was home time at 9:30 am on Tuesday morning so we knew right away our return to class should be gentle, patient and unhurried. We need to adjust our teaching so we can meet as many needs as we can.

The longer we teach, the more we know that listening and observing the little cues and signals from our children is vital to understanding where they are in their self-regulation. We know that if the biological needs of food, thirst and sleep are not met, the children cannot self-regulate. The same can also be said for the emotional need of knowing their teacher will care for, and look after them during their school day. From the moment the children enter the classroom each morning, our attention must inspire confidence and trust so they can continue with their number one job: to play and learn.

We’ve allowed for extended Centre Time every morning this week. Many of our children are quite tired from travel, and being out of their regular home and school routines and schedules from the holiday. They’ve missed their friends and need the time to be able to re-connect, play and chat. We’re observing many positive social interactions around the Lego table and in the House Corner, and this has led to sitting with new friends at snack and playing in bigger groups on the playground.

We have been reviewing the classroom rules and routines this week. Some of the things we’ve been talking about with the children include:

-please wait outside your child’s classroom (for Mrs. Daudlin, please wait outside the school building) until the 8:50 am bell rings.
-this month we are making it our goal to pick up all food from the floor after we eat at recess and lunch. Sometimes children are so busy talking at lunch they are not mindful of their eating habits. We do not wish to create any extra work for our school custodians so we will be vigilant about cleaning up after ourselves.
-our line-up when we go from one place to the other were very chatty before the holidays. Children should stand quietly with their mouths closed, hands to self, as they wait for teacher instructions.

You might be following the NCAA College Basketball March Madness tournament, but we are in a Final Four of our own…Alphabet letters, that is! It’s a very exciting time for everyone as we anticipate completing our instruction of the Alphabet sounds and letter formation by the end of April. We will continue to focus on phonological awareness (the sound structure of language, including sounds (phonemic awareness), rhyme, syllables and words) as we build the solid foundation of oral language skills the children need to have before reading and writing. Click here to read our extensive post on phonological awareness as part of a balanced approach to reading instruction.

This week we worked on the letter “w” and made these adorable watermelon w’s.

Our West Vancouver Physical Literacy team came by this week to see how the children are developing in their physical literacy skills. Walking, running, skipping, hopping; backwards toe-to-heel walking; kicking and throwing were observed. We were really pleased with how the children listened and performed the required tasks.

Please note we have adjusted our Peanut/Nut Aware classroom posters for further clarity:

We ask you to please check the food you send to school, particularly shared food such as birthday treats. Read the label every time. If in doubt, please speak with your classroom teachers.

Upcoming Events and Reminders
Sharing and Special Helper theme is “Collections.” We still have another week to go before we start our next theme.

Kindergarten Vision and Hearing Screening by Vancouver Coastal Health Public (VCH) School Nurses takes place on Wednesday, April 25. Please try to be present at school. Parents will receive the screening results shortly afterwards (usually within a week).

Save the Date: Student Led Conferences for Kindergarten will be held on Thursday, April 26 from 2-4 pm or Friday, April 27 from 8:15-8:40 am. There will be a sign-up sheet posted for you to enjoy a Conference led by your child about the work we’ve completed in class. In Kindergarten, our Conferences last for 25 minutes so please be aware of this if you sign-up for multiple conferences as our schedule will differ from the rest of the school. Conferences are a very special time for just the Kindergarten student and parent(s) so please make arrangements for siblings if possible.

We are collecting a few things right now:
-Scholastic Book Orders for April are due on Monday, April 9. We sent home the Student Flyers before Spring Break, or you can go to http://www.scholastic.com to view them. If you decide to order online, please let your teacher know.
-Report Card envelopes for Second Term. We will re-use these for the Third Term Report Cards.
-March Homework Calendars are due. Return your calendar for a sticker!

1 Comment »

Spring Medley: This Week in Our Room: March 12-16, 2018

On this beautiful sunny afternoon do we dare say…spring is coming? (Note: we whispered those words).

Well, if not spring, then certainly Easter showed itself as our little KinderBunnies participated in all things pink, yellow and purple.

Although it’s a little early to start talking Easter, we had several requests that the Easter Bunny make a short appearance in the classroom. And who are we to turn down a sweet opportunity? Especially when it involves jelly beans and chocolate.

It was a bit of a potpourri as we were winding down some of our projects.

Here is our gorgeous “v is a vine.” We’re getting close now to the end of the alphabet!

We completed a myriad of Easter crafts like our bunny baskets with our Grade 7 Buddies. We had a mini-Easter egg hunt (one egg with goodies inside) and a task to complete as well! We matched the letters that were hiding in the eggs to a cute Easter colouring page with a special message.

We also made torn paper eggs decorated with sparkle mod podge and layered with pink and purple sparkles. The children really love to make crafts and this makes a huge difference in developing their fine motor strength and control (very important for printing, drawing, colouring, cutting and pasting).

Wednesday was our opportunity to visit the Nowruz display to celebrate the Persian New Year. We were able to view beautiful Persian artifacts in our glass cabinet and the haft seen table. Thank you to our hard-working parents for explaining the significance of all these objects, and for making the pretty treat bags for all the students in the school! Our children were extremely good listeners and were able to remember many facts from the short video they watched in the Library.

Mrs. Kennedy also read us The New Year’s Goldfish, by Solmaz Parveen and Tata Bobokhidze.

With a few students away in each class, Christy and I decided to put both classes together for Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. We had so much fun! You might remember that Christy and I use to job-share (50% each of the teaching week) so we have a great teaching synergy with both of us in the classroom.

First, we started off with the hottest ticket in town…Kindergarten lunch with all the children in my room! We actually had enough chairs! Joined by four Grade 7 monitors, our lunch time supervisor and the classroom teachers, the children thoroughly enjoyed the social time of eating and chatting with their friends. It was actually not too loud…..

After playtime, we all gathered together again for an Easter story, The Chocolate Rabbit by Maria Claret. It’s the story of little Bertie Rabbit and how through a chocolate mishap, his father (a famous Easter egg painter) comes up with the idea of making chocolate rabbits for Easter.

Next, we made wax crayon resist Easter eggs, with a focus on line, shape, patterns and following teacher directions. We gave our eggs a paint wash with tempera paint pucks and then filled our Easter basket!

This morning we all gathered in Christy’s room for a fun time with Centres! It’s important we continue to foster the friendships and connections between all the Kindergarten children. We want the children to get to know everyone in Kindergarten, maintain their friendships with friends from preschool while making new friends as they move along through school.

Happy Easter to all of our little bunnies and we will see everyone back at school on Tuesday, April 3!

Leave a comment »

This Week in Our Room: March 5-9, 2018

“U” might be for umbrella, but so far, at the time of writing, the rain has held off. We’ve enjoyed some pleasant, bright days here at school. Such a relief for the children when they hear they do not have to wear their boots on the playground.

The children were charmed with these cute umbrellas “u’s” and they loved putting the stickers on and drawing the handles (“Hey, it’s a J!”) underneath. It’s fun when they can independently complete a project without the teacher hovering with the glue bottle for finishing touches.

With U being complete, this means we are into the tail end of the Alphabet! What an accomplishment for our Kindergarten learners as they have worked so hard learning their sounds, printing their letters (hopefully with the correct formation), making alphabet crafts and drawing pictures of words beginning with the letter of the week. Phew! Five letters to go and we are so excited. We’re looking forward to focusing on our literary theme of “Fairy Tales” when we are all finished.

For Inquiry learning, we see our role as helping our children to develop their sense of wonder, curiosity and questioning skills. We’ve been working diligently on the 5Ws (Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?) with our Mystery Box Inquiry. We’re using our theme of polar animals, with a focus on Penguins and their needs, and how they live and adapt to daily and seasonal changes. You can read more about this process here.

 

We’ve been working on this strategy for a few years now and continue to have great success with it. We place an object in the Mystery Box and introduce the 5Ws. We teach the children how to ask questions using the question words…it’s difficult at the beginning. Everybody wants to guess! But we keep persevering as do the children and they have become quite the experts in their questioning. We’re teaching the children to ask questions to gather information; when they guess, “Is it a whale?” they gain no useful knowledge from us to help them to make a logical guess. Here’s a sample from this week for the Lego fish we had hiding in the box (fish are one of the foods penguins eat). We answer as though there is a real object in the box, otherwise it’s too confusing.

What does it feel like?
What colour is it?
What does it eat?
How big is it?
Where does it live?
Who uses it?
What does it like to do?

These are all great questions and we’re having to give a lot of useful information so the children are really thinking about our answers and listening to the questions of their classmates. Some of our Inquirers are asking checking questions to confirm their thinking before they get to make a guess!

Penguin self-portraits for the month of March were completed with tremendous colour, detail and some pretty awesome fine motor work! We’re super impressed with these backgrounds. Wow!

Here’s some fun we’re having in Math this week. We’re working on our Math rotations for the number 6. We’ve been counting out treasures to make sets, printing the numerals and the letters for “six.” So we thought we’d add another fun activity, “Roll the Dice.”

 

We created a recording page for the children. In their groups of three or four, each student took turns rolling their dice and everyone watched. Each student recorded with bingo markers the number of dots that matched the number that was rolled. Then the second student took a turn and so it went around the table.

We had some private hysterical laughter watching the children encourage their dice by giving it a good or shake rub before they rolled (they are too young for Las Vegas but they’ve certainly seen some professional dice rolling). Each of them wanted to roll the high number and there was a little disappointment when one, two or three came up. But like all good team members, they followed the teacher’s instructions and played the activity as expected.

We finished painting our Lon Po Po drawings. They are so beautiful and vibrant. We cut the paintings, panel style, and mounted them on construction paper.

We also wanted to say “thank you” to our Principal, Mrs. Brady, for buying us new paint brushes, water buckets and paint pots. It was pretty much like Christmas opening our new supplies to be ready for our next big project!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We would like to have all Library Books returned for our last Library day before the holiday. Please have all books back to school for Wednesday, March 14.

Please let us know if you’ll be leaving early for the break.

We will be having a big classroom clean up and will be sending home our spare clothes for a wash and an inventory before the break.

Dismissal for Spring Break is at 12 noon on Friday, March 16.

1 Comment »

This Week in Our Room: February 26-March 2, 2018

The past two weeks were exactly what we needed…lots of time in our classroom to play with our friends, have fun making crafts, sunshine and cold weather and slowing down the pace after a busy week of February Celebrations.

We’ve made our “s is a snake” and “t is a tree” alphabet crafts.

There was much discussion around whether or not snakes had stripes, polka dots or both but in the end everybody chose to draw what made them happy. Sometimes that is best.

The following week we had a talk about apples in the tree and what colour choices we might make to represent them in sequins. This is definitely one of the best things about Kindergarten…you never quite know what we’re going to be talking about.

We’ve been practising making sets of numbers and counting them. We’re learning that numbers can have a variety of combinations but the number itself is always constant. We’re using two sided bean counters to prove this.

We’ve had fun with lots of counting from 1-20 using 1-1 correspondence. For some of the children, their finger doesn’t move as fast as they are counting aloud. Suddenly, they’ve counted to 25 but we only had 20 objects! We’ve found a counting wand or pencil really helps them to slow down the pace so pointing and counting are the same.

In all the flurry of February we forgot to make our February banners for our scrapbooks. We love these colour choices of red and purple! Then the next day, time for March banners!

We’re just wrapping up a few more activities for Chinese New Year. We made our beautiful dragons on Monday, complete with rainbow beards. During Centre Time the children have been playing with tangrams and making animals and objects.

We were fascinated with Grandfather Tang’s Story by Ann Tompert and Robert Andrew Parker, and the adventure of fox friends, Chou and Wu Ling. We had fun using the tangrams and patterns to create pictures.

We read our favourite all time story for Chinese New Year, Lon Po Po by Ed Young. It’s the story of “Little Red Riding Hood,” but it takes place in China. We enjoy the discussion of similarities and differences between different versions of familiar stories and this one is a great place to start. For our Art project, the children drew with pastel and then gave their drawings a wash with paint using the tempera paint pucks. The children loved this technique and were fascinated with how the oil based pastel resisted the paint. Some of them realised they could have printed their name in a more contrasting colour to their paint choice, but is this not what learning is all about?

We been really enjoying the children’s family sharing. It is so wonderful to see your family photos and to hear your child talk about their favourite activities as a family. It’s especially heart-warming to hear the children make connections between how families can enjoy the same kinds of outings and activities, and then learn about new things they didn’t know about.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Please let us and the school office know if you are going to be leaving early for the Spring Holiday which begins on March 16 at 12 pm. School will be dismissed early so please advise Camp Ridgeview if your child needs to be picked up by our after school care.

We’re still wearing our boots for rainy days, so please ensure you have them at school. The children have developed a good habit of wearing gloves now, even if it’s not snowy, just so they can stay a little warmer.

Library Book Exchange will be on Wednesday.

Leave a comment »

February Fun and Festivities…February 13-16, 2018

You won’t find any February blues around the Kindergarten because everything is all pink and purple, red and gold! We often find February to be a month of double celebrations, even double happiness when you consider that we celebrated Valentine’s Day and the start of Chinese New Year in three days. Yes, that might seem like a lot of activity but the Kindergarten loves a good party and we can keep up with the best of them.

For many children in our class, this was their first Valentine’s Day at school so it was a very exciting time of writing Valentine’s, selecting sweets and then placing them in our sweet cardholders.

We heard some very sweet stories about the Valentine’s cards from our families. The children were fascinated with the individual small cards, each one printed by hand, sometimes with help from a grown-up. They couldn’t believe everyone in the class would write a card for them. We think these heartfelt messages and acts of kindness are a gentle reminder to us as teachers and parents about actively teaching pro-social skills, helping the children to develop their social connections and relationships and modelling positive problem-solving strategies so everybody feels calm, comfortable and good about each other.

Thank you to our parent helpers who brought in the most delectable cupcakes and yummy fruit platters for a perfect Valentine’s snack.

We had a fun morning of food and Centres, and then we painted Valentine hearts using a mix of pink and purples with white to practise making and painting tints.

We had a lot of courage in painting the hearts because we had just come off a very successful completion of our owl paintings.

We all have our favourites, and we cannot stop painting these owlets every year! We have finally finished them and they are gorgeous! This is an amazing process for five year old children, an entire class, to all be painting at once. In a carpeted classroom, no less (my room).

First we do the backgrounds…

Followed by “snow” and outlining and painting in the owl…

Then the fun comes by adding to the paint palette and we paint in the eyes, beak and branch.

The final details in black paint and precious! As always, thank you to our inspiration, Deep Space Sparkle!

Chinese New Year

According to the Chinese zodiac this is the Year of the Dog. For people born in the Year of the Dog you have the traits of loyalty, honesty, leadership and hard-working. Well, our Mrs. Campbell is born in the Year of the Dog so this will be a very special year for her!

Christy and I would like to thank so very much our extraordinary parent volunteers who created an amazing Chinese New Year of the Dog celebration for staff and students. Many of the volunteers were Kindergarten parents and we thank you for coming out to support your children.

Our school entrance and hallways were beautifully adorned with decorations our parents brought back from China. Special wall hangings were created and shipped here to Canada for our school.

Inside the gym, the children were dazzled with the sights and sounds of an amazing festival. Red streamers and lanterns hung from the ceiling, colourful wall decorations were everywhere and seven stations provided lots of opportunities for the children to learn about the Chinese culture. There were Chinese painting and calligraphy, the Dragon Dance, games such as hoop rolling and jianzi and making Chinese knots. As each activity was completed, the children asked for a stamp on their stamp collection card.

The children received many trinkets, a bag and balloon, and a special red packet (which symbolises good luck) on the way back to their classroom.

As a final note on Chinese New Year we should have known there was something special going on. I’m born in the Year of the Dragon…and so are this year’s Kinder Cuties! People born in the Year of the Dragon are leaders, passionate about what we do, honest and proud. That’s a lot of personality for one classroom but we’re loving it!

We have a little book addition to our: Celebrating the Family: Kindergarten Social Studies post from a couple of years ago. We’re always searching for great new books to read to our children and that we can recommend for you as well.

Upcoming Events and Reminders
Library Book Exchange is Wednesday. Please remember to return your book to the class basket

Another exciting Grade 7 Popcorn Sale is in its way. This Friday popcorn will be on sale for $2 a bag. The Kindergarten always pre orders so send in $2 anytime this week and we will collect in and order the popcorn.

Leave a comment »

Sweet Things….This Week in Our Room: February 5-8, 2018

We might have only been at school for four days this week, but we had lots of sweet activities going on. It’s a really wonderful time to be teaching Kindergarten. Our children are changing and maturing. They are so much more at ease in the classroom, initiate many interesting conversations with us (“that might be something best to share just at home”) and are fully participating members of the Ridgeview student population.

We are now up to “r is a rainbow”! The rainbow is one of our favourite alphabet crafts. The children love to use felt pens and we get a chance to review the order of the rainbow colours, introduce “indigo” and “violet” and just enjoy their company as they are happily colouring.

It’s the beginning of the month so of course we had to make our self-portraits for February. We’re still using our same criteria (big, bright and beautiful) when creating beautiful art. The children are familiar with it and they know what they are working towards. Haven’t the children’s drawing and colouring skills improved this year? Looking back at their September work in our scrapbooks is an authentic and exciting way to see the true growth of our Kindergarten children this year. We can’t wait to show these to you your children’s scrapbooks during our Student Led Conferences in April.

We had a special Big Buddies class on Tuesday to make these gorgeous Valentine cardholders! We love the connection between the Big and Little Buddies. There is definitely a fondness between each pairing (or threesome as we have many more Big Buddies than Littles), and the excitement of our Grade 7s as “teachers” for their Kindergarten Buddy is evident. Of course our Kinders love the undivided attention they receive from their Buddy! It’s a really special and happy time for everybody.

We’ve been learning about the different kinds of families in our classrooms and we’ve been developing a lot of “family vocabulary” and what it all means. We had read the children some excerpts from Little House in the Big Woods (Laura Ingalls Wilder) earlier this year, and it was gratifying to see the children remember and make connections between what we might call our Mom and Dad to include “Ma” and “Pa,” besides Mother and Father. We have Grandparents, and in our class we call them Grandma, Nana, Grammy; and Grandpa and Poppa. We talked about “sons” and “daughters,” “nephews” and “nieces” and “aunts” and “uncles.” All in all, it’s wonderful for the children to be able to talk about their families and extended families, who is living in their home, the birth order of brothers and sisters and who has “just brothers” or “just sisters” or both or neither. Although this work is in progress (labeling still to be completed), look at these delightful family portraits from our young artists!

We had our own Olympic story this week as we saw more courage and determination in our children than we ever have at their first skating lesson. Our children were so organised with their skating gear, gloves and snacks…thank you to the Home Team (all of our parents) who were working hard behind the scenes. We watched our skaters, both experienced and new to skating, get on the ice with enthusiasm and a “can do” attitude which belies their young age and small stature. They may have fallen down many times on the ice, but they got right back up onto their skates. The children really pushed themselves hard to overcome any hesitations they might have had, and had fun doing it at the same time. Girls and Boys, you’ve made Team Canada proud.

Finally, we have to say a heartfelt good-bye to our wonderful Kindergarten lunch time and playground supervisor, Mrs. Tanya, as she leaves us at Ridgeview for another professional opportunity. Mrs. Tanya has worked with the Kindergarten for four years now, and come to know many of the children and their families. Her patience, kindness and gentle ways with the children are so treasured and she will be truly missed. We send her off with our love and best wishes!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

If your child had made Valentine’s Day cards for their classmates please bring them to school tomorrow or Wednesday. We will help them put their cards into the card holders during our morning Centre Time. The Kindergarten students are also welcome to wear red, pink, purple to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Wednesday.

Library Book Exchange is in Wednesday so please remember to return your book.

We are quite excited about the upcoming Chinese New Year Celebration on Friday, February 16th. The students will be visiting the gym to participate in a variety of activities. Students are encouraged to wear red and gold.

Last call for February Scholastic book orders.

Leave a comment »

January Rain Means Cosy Times in the Kindergarten…This Week in Our Room: January 29-February 2, 2018

Just when we thought the rain could not get any worse…then we saw this bit of sunshine in our cloakroom!  Wow…this is really impressive.  Your children must be keeping super neat bedrooms at home if they are doing this at school.  (Note:  this photo was not altered in any way.  Really!)

It might be rainy outside but we are doing our best to make sure everyone is warm and dry at school.

We’re keeping very cosy under our “q is for quilt” craft this week.

 

We finished our beautiful “Snowmen at Night” painting project, based on Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and pictures by Mark Buehner.  This was a three day activity that began with painting in the snowy backgrounds, then pastel drawing and sparkle mod podge for the snowman, and finally a tricky cutting out and gluing of the two pieces together.  The children did an amazing job with this multi-skill assignment.  Thanks always to Patti Palmer @Deep Space Sparkle for her amazing ideas!

The bad weather called for more painting to chase away the rain so we read Caldecott Winner The Snowy Owl by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr, turned on the Baroque music and started painting the backgrounds.  Next week we can show you the finished owls!  

More winter stories to warm our hearts in the Library with our Teacher-Librarian, Mrs. Kennedy.

For more cosy times, we saw our Big Buddies this week!  We’re starting our digital literacy project on Polar Animals.  We spent our first session researching penguins with our Buddies to record the facts for penguin appearance, habitat, food and life cycle.  As you can see, we are well on our way to gathering the information we need!  We hope to have our projects finished by Spring Break to show you at Student Led Conferences in April.

If you’ve come into school by the main entrance, you’ll notice the #choosekind bulletin board.  We’re focusing on a school wide Choose Kind Challenge throughout the month of February.  We’re keeping our eyes open for acts of kindness and filling up our kindness jar.  So far in Kindergarten we’ve seen:

-a child picking up coats from the floor and hanging them up in the cloakroom

-helping a friend tie their shoe, open their snack or zip up their coat

-a child gently guiding a classmate back into line

-children being mindful and demonstrating patience with each other

-letting a friend take a turn first

If everyone could be as caring, empathic and thoughtful as a Kindergarten child, then we are very fortunate indeed.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library is Wednesday. Please remember to return your book for book exchange.

February Homework Calendars went home this week. Please return your January Homework Calendar to the classroom for a winter sticker.

February Scholastic Book Orders were sent home this week. Please return order forms by Thursday, February 8.

Our first skating trip will be Wednesday, February 7th. We will leave promptly at 9:15 so please have your child to school on time. Students will need to bring their own skates and helmets if they are not renting. They will also need snow pants, warm gloves and a warm jacket. A fleece hoodie over a long sleeve t shirt is also a good option as it lets them move more freely. We will send out more information Monday. We will also need each child’s shoe size for the rentals.

We start a new round of Special Helper and Sharing next week. Our sharing theme is Family. We are asking each child to bring in a photo of their family that we will display.  The photos will be returned.  We would also like the children to share three things their family likes to do together. You could help your child write them down on a piece of paper the three things and bring it in along with their photo.  More information is posted on the parent board.

 

Leave a comment »