The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

Celebrating the Family:  Kindergarten Social Studies

Bookmarks English.inddIt’s Family Day today and we’re enjoying some time with our families here at home.  Although it’s been mostly centred around homework, we’ve also been in Victoria with my extended family because it’s Chinese New Year’s weekend as well and we usually gather together for at least one big dinner.

Although our kids aren’t little anymore, we’ve remained diligent over the years in planning and organizing time to be with them which can be challenging because of our busy after school and weekend schedules.  We eat dinner together late most week nights, one of our few constants where all of us are sitting down and talking (and reviewing who will be driving which car with whom on the way to school and home again).  Our kids are both musicians and love to sing and play their instruments with their Dad.  And we really enjoy travelling just as family of four to experience new places and foods and activities to create those common bonds and memories.

FullSizeRender-4During this term, our focus in Social Studies has been on the Family.  As always, we try to integrate as many parts of our day into a theme to deepen the learning and view it from as many perspectives as possible.  We started off with a Sharing Special Helper theme of “Our Family’s Favourite Activities.”  This is certainly one of the most fun Sharing activities we do because the children are able to talk about the most important relationships they have–that of the family unit.

FullSizeRender-12We posted the information outside our classrooms, created the Sharing and Special Helper calendar, and continued to use the Remind texts to follow-up with our expectations for Sharing.  It’s been so wonderful to see the love as the Special Helper names the people and pets in his or her family photo.  Then, our parents have assisted with some writing for their child to read, or with prompts from us, about the things their family enjoys doing together.  

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Everybody illustrated one of their favourite family activities, then we sorted and classified those activities into broader groupings.

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In class, we’ve been reading aloud from our collection of books on Family.  We’ve brainstormed the various roles of the family, trying to work through the connections of grandparents, aunts and uncles (Mom’s sister?  Dad’s sister?  Mom’s brother?  Dad’s brother?) and who are the nieces and nephews.  We were really surprised at how well the children could explain which aunts and uncles were their parents’ siblings, and those who were related through marriage. The children drew and labelled these beautiful portraits of their immediate families:

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We’ve collected quite a few books which talk about different aspects of the family, and grouped them below here for you in case you’re looking for more titles to read.

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Family:

  • The Great Big Book of Families (Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith)
  • The Family Book (Todd Parr)

Home:

  • Alison’s House (Maxine Trottier and Michael Martchenko)

Working Parents:

  • Mommy Works, Daddy Works (Marika Pedersen and Mikele Hall; Deirdre Betteridge)

Needs and Wants:

  • A Chair for My Mother (Vera B. Williams)

Brothers and Sisters:

  • Julius, the Baby of the World (Kevin Henkes)
  • Peter’s Chair (Ezra Jack Keats)
  • Revenge of the Small SMALL (Jean Little and Janet Wilson)
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz)`
  • Big Sister and Little Sister (Charlotte Zolotow and Martha Alexander)

Grandparents:

  • Oma’s Quilt (Paulette Bourgeois and Stephane Jorisch)

Happy Family Day, from our families to yours!

Book Update: Celebrating the Family: Kindergarten Social Studies

We’re so enjoying the beautiful photos and mini write-ups of your family and family activities the children are bringing in for their Sharing and Special Helper Day. We love to see you at the beach, on holiday and celebrating birthdays, often with extended family members and family friends. When the children have an opportunity to see your photos, they quickly realise that although each of them are unique in their own way there are so many similarities between them: the family they love to spend time with, and in what they enjoying doing with their loved ones.

Our families love to read together, listen and play music together, go for walks as a family, travel and celebrate the love of family whether it be for birthdays or holidays. These are some of the delightful activities our children have been telling us about you. We have the opportunity to get to know your child better in their family context and deepen our understanding of your child.

This year we added two more Scholastic books to our Family booklist, The Things I Love About Family by Trace Moroney and Families by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly. We used them as a provocation over two lessons to discuss the ways in which families look after each other, the things they enjoy doing together.

We drew these fun pictures when we were finished, and the teachers helped to scribe the writing.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

IMG_2278We love Christmas, it’s our favourite time of year.  But a Kindergarten Christmas is extra special.

The children have been practising their songs for the upcoming Christmas concert these last few weeks.  This will be the children’s first time on stage with their classmates, singing and performing for their parents.

We’re decorating our classrooms already.  Although it might seem early to some, we’re going into the last two weeks before the Christmas break.  We have some children leaving early and we want to enjoy the feelings of excitement and anticipation with everyone before we go our separate ways.

We’re trying to adhere to some of our self-regulation guidelines for keeping the classroom calm and peaceful, while still making it a beautiful and special Christmas space.

We’ve changed the fairy lights from autumn orange to Christmas multicolour.  We’re still keeping the overhead lights off, except on the darkest days when we turn on just one bank of lights so we can read our books.

FullSizeRender-4We’ve set up a small Christmas tree for the children to contemplate when we’re listening to quiet music, part of our after the morning recess routine.

We’ve downsized the Christmas clutter of figurines and signage.  We’re going to create a Christmas word bank instead so our “decoration” will also be a useful writing reference.

Confession time….we have hung small Christmas stuffed animals from the wires we’ve strung across the classroom which are definitely distracting.  But the little stuffed teddy bears, angels, Santas, reindeer and snowmen are just so cute and the children love them.  Call us old-fashioned Christmas softies, but Christmas comes FullSizeRender-5once a year and you’re only young once.  We clarified our expectations with the children (no jumping up to grab the toys) and so far, things are going pretty well. We’ll talk again in two weeks.

This Week in Our Room:  November 30-December 4, 2015

The big excitement this week was that our Kindergarten classes got to see their Big Buddies not once, but twice!

FullSizeRender-3We made our annual Christmas Crackers with our Buddies for our traditional donation to several local organizations this year, including. The Union Gospel Mission and our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver.  We fill a paper roll with your Hallowe’en candy donations, and wrap it beautifully in Christmas paper and ribbon.  Our children have learned that there are many children and adults in communities close to us who will receive only this candy as a gift this year.  We are firm believers that if we are able to share some of what we have to bring comfort and a little holiday joy to others, then we should.  Thinking globally begins at a very early age; talking about the gratitude for the privileges we receive, whether through hard work or good fortune, is a discussion a Kindergarten child is able to participate in.

Our other Big Buddy project this year is a secret.  We started working onFullSizeRender-1 our Christmas gifts for our families!

We browsed the Scholastic Book Fair and enjoyed looking at possible gift purchases.  We did not take out a library book this week as the book fair bookcases were blocking access to our storybooks.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

The Primary Musical is called “Toys” and our Kindergarten children will be dressing up as Prince and Princess Dolls.

Girls: please wear a princess costume (Disney Princess is fine) and crown.  No wands, please.

Boys:  please wear a long sleeved green top and black pants.  We will supply the gold garland sash and prepare the crowns at school.  If you already have a crown, please let us know by Monday, December 7.

Wednesday, December 9 is our second annual Reindeer Games Activity Party.  We will be having some fun, reindeer themed activities for our class.  If your children would like to dress up with reindeer or Santa hats, Christmas jewelry and headpieces, or Christmas t-shirts, this would be a good day to do so.

Also on December 9, our Me to We Team (Grade 7) is hosting a gingerbread house evening.  You can make a wonderful gingerbread house with your family.  Please note that children must be accompanied by a parent.  You can order your gingerbread house kit, extra icing and candies, with the form we sent home earlier this week.  Please see the office if you need another one.  Mrs. Daudlin and Mrs. Campbell will also be attending this evening to support the Me to We team, make there own gingerbread houses and look forward to seeing the Kindergarten families who may be in attendance!

 

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Elmer the Safety Elephant

FullSizeRenderOn Wednesday we welcomed Elmer, the Safety Elephant, and his special friend, Mrs. Young, to our Kindergarten classrooms.  Elmer comes to us from the North Shore Safety Council.  Although some of the children said they had met Elmer before, we know as parents and teachers there is no such thing as “too much” when it comes to the safety of our children.  Elmer brought along his trusty friend, Ruff, the Dog, as well.  Elmer gives two presentations a year, and today’s was about pedestrian, car and traffic safety.  We will learn about bicycle safety in the spring.

We learned a valuable lesson with Elmer, and that is, it is our choice whether we choose to be safe or not.  We all want to be able to play safely and enjoy ourselves with our family, but we need to make the right choices when doing so.

Elmer talked to us about several different scenarios.  First, when a toy, such as ball, rolls out onto the road, we just leave it.  Elmer reminded us the toy is just a thing.  It might be a special thing, but we should ask an adult for help to get it back.

In addition, what do we do when a toy falls between parked cars?  An adult has to help us.  Children cannot be seen when they step off the sidewalk, and a car may pull forward not knowing a child is in front of it.  So it is important that the children ask an adult to retrieve the toy.

We learned that pedestrians are people who are walking places.  As pedestrians, when we cross the street we know we should look in both directions.  But we also need to look behind us:   over our shoulder and towards the cars coming from another direction.  Did you know we don’t say “Look in both directions” anymore?   Now we say, “We look all ways” or “We look in all directions.”  When there is no sidewalk, the safest place to walk is on the grass or side of the road facing traffic.  As pedestrians, we want to be able to see what is happening with the cars coming towards us.

Here is a fun poem Elmer shared with us about traffic lights.  He brought a big set of traffic lights to show us.

“I am red and I say stop.  See me shining at the top

I am yellow and I say wait.  Please be patient even if you are late.

I am green and I say go.  But be careful and walk.”


Elmer also showed us what the pedestrian controlled lights mean:

The hand lit in red means “stop” and our feet stay on the sidewalk.
The walking figure lit in green means it’s time to walk.  But before you walk, look all ways.

Elmer spoke about safety equipment when riding a skateboard or riding a bicycle.  Cyclists and skateboarders must wear helmets when they are using these pieces of equipment, because it is the law.  For our own protection, we should also wear elbow and knee pads while skateboarding and shoes and socks to protect our feet on a bike or skateboard.

Ruff, the Dog stopped by for a short visit to tell us it’s the law to wear a seatbelt while we are in the car.  We need to listen for the “click” sound of the seatbelt as the latch engages.  If the children do not hear that sound when they put on their seatbelt, they should tell you immediately.  

As a further reminder, Ruff said we can hear that click sound again if we are on our bicycle.  We need to listen to the “click” of our bicycle helmet as we engage the latch and adjust it to fit under our chin.  Please remember that you need to wear a helmet that is the right size.

Thank you again to Elmer the Elephant and Ruff the Dog!  We can never be too safe when it comes to our children.

This Week in Our Room:  November 23-26, 2015

Please check the new Special Helper and Sharing calendar.  Our new theme is Holiday Traditions.  More information can be found on the Parent Board outside the classroom, and we sent out a Remind about it earlier this week.

We finished the letter “I” this week in the Alphabet.  We will complete letters “J” and “K” before the holidays.

We’re getting ready for the Christmas Concert and starting to think about costumes for our grade.  The musical is called “Toys” and our Kindergarten children will be dressing up as Prince and Princess Dolls.

Girls: please wear a princess costume (Disney Princess is fine) and crown.  No wands, please.

Boys:  please wear a long sleeved green top and black pants.  We will supply the gold garland sash and prepare the crowns at school.  If you have a crown, please let us know.

Wednesday, December 2 is our Christmas Cracker Craft project with our Buddy classes.  Our crackers will be donated to various organizations around the city.  We are in need of ribbon to tie off the ends of the crackers.  If you have any bolts of curling ribbon, or Christmas ribbon you are no longer using, we would gladly receive your donations.  Thank you.

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An Introduction to the Bear in First Nations Art and Stories:  Kindergarten Social Studies

One of things you quickly learn as a classroom teacher is that there is never enough time to teach everything you want, and have to, cover every year.  In addition to the mandated curriculum, there’s also the holidays (for us, an essential part of Kindergarten, and it also ties in with Social Studies) and just the curious and interesting things that you want to do with your class because of your personal interests, ideas you learn about from other teachers or activities you think your class will just enjoy and have fun doing.  Therefore, the process of integration, combining two or more subject areas, comes into play.

We integrate a lot, because it’s the only way we can fit in everything we have to do, and want to do, with our Kinders.

So here’s what’s going on with us this year.

In the new Kindergarten Social Studies curriculum, Aboriginal Education and learning about the First Peoples’ culture, will be an integral part of our teaching and learning.

We wanted to focus on the symbolic meaning of specific animals according to the First Nations.  We were thinking about the salmon, bear and eagle as our starting point as they are familiar animals here on the Westcoast.  The animals are a topic the Kindergarten children will be interested in, understand and make a connection with in their own lives.

At the same time, we are beginning our study of local animals in the Natural World (Science), and we have taught within the theme of Bears because not only are bears local and relevant to our area, but we can tie in a literature focus on well-known Bears in stories, such as “The Three Bears” and Corduroy by Don Freeman.  This also allows us to have a discussion on the differences between fiction and non-fiction stories.

In order to fit everything in, we’re going to have to integrate Reading, Language and Literacy (stories and literary activities on the bear theme), Community (Social Studies) (the bear, and we will extend to include other animals and their symbolic meaning in First Nations teaching), The Natural World (Science) (bear behaviour) and Art activities.

Children’s literature is of primary importance to us and so we always like to begin with a good book.  As Kindergarten teachers, we need to revisit the classic children’s stories with our students through the Primary years to build a broad knowledge base of literature.  We make constant references and cross-references to Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, and other well known books, in our everyday discussions.  We discussed schema theory in a recent post, and the importance of building a common understanding when developing a new topic or idea.

We asked our teacher-librarian, Mrs. Kennedy, to help us with the Aboriginal Education resources, and other Bear books, and she had some wonderful treasures waiting for our classes during Library this week!

FullSizeRender-10We Greet the Four Animals (Terry Mack and Bill Helin) This book describe the four animals, Eagle, Wolf, Bear and Buffalo, and the gifts or teachings that are offered to us.  The children look to the East to thank the Eagle for the teachings of truth or honesty; when they face the South, they greet the Wolf and are thankful for the gifts of being brave and having courage.  The children look to the West to thank the bear who Bear teaches about love; and they face the North to thank for the Buffalo for the gift of being able to listen to others.  

Explore the Animals:  Northwest Coast First Nations and Native Art. FullSizeRender-9 This book has beautiful black and white drawings for the children to colour and a brief explanation of the animals.

FullSizeRender-8Black Bears (Tammy Gagne)  In keeping with learning about many types of bears, our children began with this book.

As the children are learning about the First Nation’s people, they are learning about the similarities and differences between our cultures.  In this way, they can develop an appreciation of themselves and others as individuals, but also how we all work and live together in the broader community.

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Remembrance Day Reflections-Art, Writing and Literature

IMG_2145We read two very special books this Remembrance Day, A Poppy is to Remember by Heather Patterson and Ron Lightburn and The Peace Book by Todd Parr.

We read A Poppy is to Remember on Tuesday, before we headed off to our Remembrance Day Assembly.  It’s a gorgeous book, beautifully illustrated and an excellent jumping off point for our young students.

IMG_2094One of the art projects we worked on for Remembrance Day was to make a poppy using a block print made from an acorn squash.  The acorn squash had been hanging out in the classroom for a few days, along with a few other gourds.  Each time we passed them as we were lining up, two or three children were always touching them, feeling the deep grooves and ribs and bumps of these fascinating vegetables.

The children watched us cut it open (you don’t often get to see your teacher doing food prep) and a few children excitedly scooped out the seeds.  Then we cut the potato and we were ready to begin.

IMG_2117We painted the acorn squash red and printed it onto grey construction paper.

Then we painted the potato black and printed the centre of our poppy. Gorgeous!

 

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Most of you know that we are huge Todd Parr fans and the The Peace Book is one of our favourites.

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We introduced the book earlier this week, and started with a discussion about the topic of peace.  Here are some of the children’s thoughts:

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And the work they completed for our class big book.

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FullSizeRender-2With our Grade 7 Buddies we made our peace doves.  It’s been really fun with our Buddies over the past number of years because Christy and I taught these very children when they were either in Grade One or Kindergarten as that was the time of our job-share.  We can have a bit of a laugh with the Big Buddies as they remember the crafts from when they were little (and many of them still have their Kindergarten work) and we can all share some stories about their Kindergarten class.

This Week in Our Room:  November 8-13, 2015

Please ensure that everyday your child comes with a full kit of clothing for the wet, cold weather.  A warm jacket, hat, gloves and boots are necessities.  If your child wishes to have an addition fleece layer, we think that’s a great idea.

Some of the children have asked us if they can stay inside for the rainy recess times.  Unfortunately, we do not have enough staff for supervision of individual students.  If your child is not feeling well, and cannot manage all aspects of the full day of school, it’s probably best to stay home for a few days, rest and come back to school ready to play.

We’re still collecting wrapping paper, ribbon and clean, tissue-free paper rolls for our Christmas Cracker project.  Thank you for your donations.

 

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Hallowe’en Fun in the Kindergarten: Part 1

FullSizeRender-13Five years ago was the beginning of a changing lens on Hallowe’en for Christy and I at school.  Our school hallways are traditionally decorated, and a grotesque figure in the main foyer one year upset a Kindergarten child.  She refused to walk past it, and we had to shield her view to usher her into the library which was our destination.  We’ve never forgotten that incident and it continues to shape much of what we do today.

Outside of school, the children have lots to be excited about on Hallowe’en. The idea of dressing up as your favourite character and collecting candy is very appealing.  But Hallowe’en has become noticeably scarier over the years, with more gore and hints of creepiness evident in costumes and commercial decorations.  We struggle every year as we try to focus on the best and most appropriate parts of Hallowe’en for our young students in the classroom.

Reconciling a calm, self-regulated learning environment and Hallowe’en has required some thoughtful planning and reflection on our part.

IMG_2027We’ve added some beautiful orange fairy lights along some of our bulletin boards. With the cloudy days being a little darker, the lights are warm and welcoming. We’ve actually just been enjoying looking at the lights and listening to a little Charlie Brown jazz music.  (True story:  as I was hanging up the lights during lunch, one of my students asked, “Mrs. Daudlin, why are you putting up Christmas lights already?”  While I was pondering my response, another student replied, “Oh, those are for Hallowe’en.  She’s going to put up rainbow lights at Christmas.”  How cute is that?)

IMG_2026We’re putting up far less Hallowe’en “stuff” on our walls.

Instead, we brainstormed some familiar Hallowe’en vocabulary and created a Hallowe’en word bank with pictures and labels to support the children in their drawing and writing.

We’ll be learning about the life cycle of the pumpkin and the names of the various stages.

And we’re providing more opportunities for oral language as we sing FullSizeRender-15Hallowe’en songs and chant poems.

We’ve created some fabulous Hallowe’en themed art to decorate our classrooms.

FullSizeRender-14We drew and coloured our beautiful monthly self-portraits.  We love looking back at the growth in maturity as the children’s drawings of themselves become more sophisticated over the school year.

Deep Space Sparkle Pumpkins. We introduced warm colour mixing with red, yellow and orange on pumpkins we had drawn with white pastel. We mixed the paint right on the paper.  Then we were inspired by a photo of some pumpkin art from our Principal. We found ourselves cutting out our pumpkins to mount on black paper, then added painted paper stems, leaves and grass.  We’ve hung them up quilt style, and next week, we will add the Jack-o-lantern features for some Hallowe’en fun.  These are our favourite kinds of art projects as we love creating the anticipation for completion.  We will have taken three weeks from start to finish, and our children are learning the valuable lessons of patience, perseverance and delayed gratification.

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Hallowe’en Wreaths.  Our wreaths are in progress as we make them with our Grade 7 Buddies.  Each Big and Little Buddy pair use tracers to trace and cut out the four shapes of pumpkin, bat, moon and ghost.  These are decorated simply with crayons, and glued onto a wreath shape.  Bows and stickers are the final details to complete our sweet project.

FullSizeRender-12Of course a holiday post from us would not be complete without a booklist.  Here’s the best of what we’re reading to the Kindergarten for Hallowe’en.

 

  • Franklin’s Hallowe’en (Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark)
  • The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin (Margaret Wise Brown and Richard Egielski)
  • Harriet’s Hallowe’en Candy (Nancy Carlson)
  • Ten Little Beasties (Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley)
  • Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie (Jill Esbaum)
  • A Day at the Pumpkin Patch (Megan Faulkner and Adam Krawesky)
  • The Pumpkin Book (Gail Gibbons)
  • It’s Pumpkin Time (Zoe Hall and Sheri Halpern)
  • The Littlest Pumpkin (R.A. Herman and Betina Ogden)
  • Little Goblins Ten (Pamela Jane and Jane Manning)
  • The Biggest Pumpkin Ever (Steven Kroll)
  • From Seed to Pumpkin (Wendy Pfeffer and James Graham Hale)
  • 10 Trick-or-Treaters (Janet Schulman and Linda Davick)
  • Big Pumpkin (Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler)
  • One Spooky Night (Kate Stone)
  • Too Many Pumpkins (Linda White and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd)
  • The Pumpkin Blanket (Deborah Turney Zagwyn)

One of the benefits of a simpler Hallowe’en has been to downsize our decorations.  We’ll be making the drive to the Salvation Army this weekend.

This Week in Our Room:  October 19-22, 2015

This week we learned the correct formation for the letter “E.”  As we are brainstorming ideas, segmenting words and labelling our pictures, the children are solidifying the sound/symbol relationship of each of the alphabet letters.

In Math, we’ve been creating AB, AAB, and ABC patterns using manipulatives during our Math rotations.  This week we represented our learning by choosing a pattern and creating a patterned frame around our name.

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Our school watched our first Cultural Event, “Marimba Muzuva” on Wednesday.  We were delighted with the children’s audience behaviour; they sat politely and listened for almost an hour in a very hot gym.  The children were able to enjoy some of the songs, stories and dances of Zimbabwe and participated with clapping, chanting and dancing with the rest of the student population. Thank you very much to our RPAC for sponsoring this event.

Reminders

It’s a Professional Day tomorrow and students are not in session.  We are attending the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative Leadership Roundtable tomorrow, “Building School Capacity to Support Student Success:  Creating Quality Learning Environments Through a Self-Regulation Lens.”  We look forward to learning more about creating the best self-regulated learning environment we can for our students.

Library Day is Monday for Division 15, and Tuesday for Division 16. Please return your Library Book so you may borrow a new one.

Our classes are starting to catch colds and coughs and some children have had fevers.  It’s probably a good time to review the use of Kleenex, hand washing and coughing into your elbow at home again with your child.  If your children are sick, please keep them at home.  We know the children want to come to school but they simply do not have the stamina and energy required for the full day.  As their parents, you can and should make that decision for them.  The children need to stay at home, and come back to school rested and in good health.

Next Wednesday we are holding our annual Hallowe’en Centres party for our children, from 9-10:30. The children do not need to dress up in their costumes, but they may certainly wear their Hallowe’en t-shirts, black and orange, headpieces and jewelry.  They will be very busy participating in Hallowe’en themed activities!

All next week Ridgeview will also be collecting non-perishable food items for the “We Scare Hunger” Campaign, sponsored by our Grade 7 Me to We team.  Please send the donations to our classroom and your children will deliver them to the collection area in the main hallway.

Friday, October 30, is another great Ridgeview tradition:  Our annual Hallowe’en Parade and Assembly.  All students are invited to dress up in their Hallowe’en costumes.  Please remember not to send in any items that resemble weapons.  Our Principal will lead our costumed students through our hallowed hallways as we make our way to the gym for a fun assembly of Safety Information, songs and stories.  This will take place from 9:15-10:00.

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The Card Project

We’ve been hard at work for the past two weeks on a very special assignment.  For the past few years, our Ridgeview Parent Advisory Council has had as one of its fundraisers, The Card Project.  Our classes participate by creating unique art work which is then turned into cards, journals and sketchbooks.  Each child creates a piece; in a few weeks you will receive a sample card with your child’s artwork and from there, you can make purchases where the proceeds benefit our school.

Christy and I spend a lot of time pondering what we should choose as an art project for our classes.  The Kindergarten students have only attended school for a few weeks when we are called upon to create something that is not only wonderful and something you will want to purchase, but that is also manageable and appropriate skill-wise for their age:  four and five years old.

We were given theme of “Nature” so we looked at websites such as Deep Space Sparkle and Pinterest, and our own collection of art books and vast files from over the years for inspiration.  In the end, we choose an adorable owl, one of Christy’s favourite motifs, created with torn paper, from Pinterest.

We drew a pencil oval on the dark blue background paper and tore the construction paper strips of grey and two tones of brown ahead of time.  We demonstrated how to tear the paper, which still proved to be challenging for many children, as it does require a certain degree of fine motor strength in their fingers.

Starting to create our owl's body

Starting to create our owl’s body

Although we suggested to the children that they start by creating a circle, all true artists, as our students certainly are, are motivated by their own desires, creativity and experiences.

 

To create the eyes, we taught the children how to fold

Now our owl has its wings.

Now our owl has its wings.

the rectangular shaped yellow and black papers in half.  Some children chose to draw a circle and cut both eyes at once; while others decided to free-hand cut out their eyes.

 

Our owl now has eyes!

Our owl now has eyes!

We decided, as the due date was rapidly approaching, to cut out the legs ourselves.

And legs!

And legs!

And the final presentation?

Division 15's owls

Division 15’s owls

 

And Division 16's

And Division 16’s

What could be sweeter than this?  Only our Kindergarten children!!

For more information, visit the http://www.TheCardProject.ca

This Week in Our Room:  October 12-16, 2015

We both a fire drill and earthquake drill this week.  The children are listening well and following teacher directions calmly as we practise these emergency procedures.

We finished the letter D and will send home the children “Diamond d” and some alphabet work next week.

We graphed our birthdays in our class during Math this week.

Upcoming Next Week:

Sharing and Special Helper.  The children have been taking turns being the Special Helper the past few weeks. The Special Helper gets to be first in line every time we line-up (which is frequent), take the attendance to the office with a friend and lead the class during the Math Their Way Calendar every morning.  It’s a tremendous privilege to be the Special Helper as the role carries many responsibilities throughout the day, and an opportunity for every child to take a leadership role and set a positive example for others.

It’s time now to add “Sharing” to the role of Special Helper.  Every 4-5 weeks we will post a theme for Sharing and a calendar so you and your child know which day is his or her Special Helper Day.  On your child’s Special Helper Day he or she will bring the “sharing” to school and tell the class about it.  You can support your child by helping them to organize their “sharing” by sending a note with a few key words or picture clues to remind them of what to say.  Of course we will be there encouraging your child, as well.

Our first Sharing and Special Helper begins on Monday in Division 16 and the following week in Division 15.  Our theme will be “I Like Me.”  Please assist your child to find three small objects that tells something about him or her.  These objects should fit into a small ziploc bag.

Some possibilities your child might bring include:

  • a family photo, labelled with family member names
  • a small toy representative of a favourite hobby or activity (eg., Lego, goggles for swimming)
  • a small stuffed cat or dog to represent a pet
  • a souvenir from a family holiday

For this first round of Sharing and Special Helper, we will be in alphabetical order by first name.  We have promised the children we will switch up the order every time (by last alphabetical name, birthday order) after this so children who are at the end of the alphabet by their first name might have an opportunity to be at the beginning or middle of the list for the next time.

Dates and Reminders:

Library.  With the Thanksgiving holiday and other changes to our schedule, some of our children have missed taking out a new library book because they did not return their previous book.  Please assist your child in planning to pack their library book to return to school a day or two ahead of Library Day.

Division 15’s (Mrs. Campbell and Mrs, Cantlie) Library Day is Monday.

Division 16’s (Mrs. Daudlin) Library Day is Tuesday.

Friday, October 23, is the Provincial Professional Day.  School is not in session.

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Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Turkey Day!

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With love from the Kindergarten

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This Week in Our Room:  September 28-October 2, 2015

IMG_1902Terry Fox Walk/Run.  We had an exciting day on Wednesday when we ran in the memory of Terry Fox!  Our children looked wonderful in their red and white clothes.  We gathered on the field for a warm-up and ran laps on our own school field with our Grade 7 Big Buddies.

It was a gorgeous day as our students walked, ran, skipped and galloped around the field.  We were thrilled with everyone’s participation in one of Ridgeview’s great traditions.

Our school raised $2005.55 for the Terry Fox Foundation.  Thank you for your generous donations and support.

We are looking forward to seeing our Big Buddies often to build a special connection with the senior students.  Our Buddies will help us with crafts, playing outside on the playground and digital literacy projects throughout the year.

iPals.  IPALS is a free family early literacy/language program designed to support the development of important foundational early literacy skills for children between the ages of 3-5 years.  This is a parent-child education program lead by qualified Early Childhood Educators and trained Cultural/Language facilitators which follows a research based early literacy curriculum.  Families receive free resources at each session for families to continue learning at home between weekly sessions. Permanent resident cards are requested as this is a federally funded immigration program supported and hosted by the West Vancouver School District.  For more information, please see the attached poster or visit http://westvancouverschools.ca/ipals

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If your first language is Farsi or Mandarin, this is an amazing opportunity for you and your Kindergarten child to participate in this program.

Reminders

We sent home the proofs of your child’s photos this week.  Please return your order form by October 9.

We finished our work on the letter B.  We will be sending home our B craft project and some student work on Monday.  Remember to keep your alphabet crafts to build an alphabet wall with your child.

We’re still collecting the Homework Calendars for September.  It’s not too late to return yours for a sticker!

Next week the Hot Lunch Program begins. If you ordered a hot lunch for your child, please assist us with the following:

  1.  Send along an extra snack or two (maybe another granola bar and piece of fruit) in case your child does not like the hot lunch that has been ordered
  1. Send along a large ziploc bag or plastic bag in which your child can place the packaging from the hot lunch.  We are unable to dispose of the organic and packaging waste at school so the children will have to pack everything out in their lunch kits and backpacks.  
  1.  If you child receives a hot lunch, this does not preclude them from eating snacks at recess time.  Please continue to send a snack along, particularly for the morning recess.
  1.  Please send your child’s non-spill water bottle daily.  They are very thirsty by mid-afternoon and we are teaching them that water is the healthiest thirst quencher for their bodies.  It’s cleaner and faster for the children to drink from their own water bottles, rather than waiting in line for the water fountain.
  2. If you have not yet provided a backpack for your child, this would be a good time.  In addition to their lunch, water bottle and notices, the children are now have their weekly library book to take home as well.
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Kindergarten Curriculum Night

Our school’s Curriculum Night was held this past Wednesday.  We usually begin with the Principal’s Talk and then classroom teachers have two 15 minute sessions, to accommodate parents with more than one child in the school, to learn more about their child’s classroom routines and curriculum.

However, we have found since teaching Kindergarten, that 15 minutes is not enough time to say everything that needs to be said!  Particularly for families new to our school, and for first time Kindergarten parents, there is an plethora of information about the classroom and the school.

For the past few years we have held one Kindergarten parent session and it runs for about 30 minutes.  We invite all K parents, from both classes, to one of our rooms and talk to everyone.  That way we can ensure parents are hearing exactly the same information and questions and concerns can be discussed by all the teachers.  We run our session before the Principal’s Talk so all Kindergarten parents are able to attend.  At this time we also give out our jointly prepared curriculum overview.

For the first time ever we used Haiku Deck, a presentation app, for our talk; it was recommended to us by our School District Innovation Support Teacher, Cari Wilson @kayakcari.  After a few false starts, we found it to be very easy, and enjoyable, to use.  We loved the variety of options we had for images, layout and text.

Here is an abbreviated version of our Kindergarten Curriculum Night presentation, September 23, 2015. This year we also welcome our friend and colleague, Charity Cantlie, to our Kindergarten teaching team!

IMG_1857Kindergarten Curriculum Night.  We are really enjoying teaching our classes this year.  The children are settling in well and adjusting to their new teachers and the classroom routines and expectations.  You may find your child is tired at the end of the day and that is for good reason, because they are all working extremely hard.  By the time Thanksgiving arrives, we will all begin to notice remarkable changes in their maturity, and their ability to self-regulate and manage their day.  We remind ourselves every day to be very patient as they make this important transition to being a full-day student.

IMG_8257Pick-up and Drop-off Routines.  The Kindergarten day begins at 8:50.  Please encourage your child to line up and wait quietly by the classroom door. The teachers will open the door at 8:50 am. The children can independently hang up their coats and backpacks. A quick kiss and a goodbye at the door and a prompt exit really helps reduce any separation issues and allows us to start our day on time.

“O Canada” is sung by our entire school population promptly at 8:55 am.  If you are dropping off at that time, please assist your children by encouraging them to come in silently and limit conversation in the cloakroom or hallway.

If you arrive after 9:00 am and the attendance has been sent up to the office, your child is considered late. You will need to walk up to the office with your child, sign in, and then bring him or her back to class. You must also sign your child out at the office if you need to pick up early.

Your children should know each day how they are getting home.  Sometimes they tell us they don’t know who is picking them up, or wonder if they are going to the after school care centre.  We always reassure the children that we will look after them, but they will feel more secure and confident throughout the day knowing who will be there to greet them at 3:00 pm.

At dismissal, we make sure we see a parent or caregiver before we dismiss your child. If there is a change in pick up, such as with another child’s family, please let us know.  If your plans change at the last minute please call the school office, not another parent in the class.  Our school office will communicate your message directly to us.  We are able to release your child to another parent only with your permission.

IMG_1859Snack and Lunch Routines.  The children should use a lunch kit to bring their food to school.  It’s very awkward for them to be taking numerous containers and a water bottle out from their backpack and juggle them into the classroom.  Their lunch kit then goes into their backpack, which is also used to hold their weekly library book, notices and artwork for home.

We have snack twice a day.  We eat morning snack at 10:20-10:40 am, when the rest of the school is having outside recess time.  Our Kindergarten classes go out for recess from 10:40-11 am, and the children are supervised by playground supervisors as that is when the teachers take their break.  Our second snack time is around 2:40-2:50 pm, after our afternoon outside recess.

You might consider placing the morning and afternoon snacks in separate ziplocs or label the snacks to make it easier for your child.  Please tell your children what bag or container is for snack, and which one is for lunch, because sometimes they do get confused as they are still very young.

Please send a water bottle that is non-spill and refillable.  We are allowed to use the hallway water bottle refill so the children can drink fresh, filtered water.  We encourage you just to send water, rather than juice, as it’s healthier and part of our healthy eating philosophy

Lunch begins at 12:00 pm and the children have about 25 minutes to eat. Currently they are supervised by a lunchtime teaching assistant and Grade 7 monitors.

We encourage your children to eat but we cannot make them eat and finish their lunches.  We always send home the uneaten food so you are able to see what your child is eating on a daily basis.  Have a discussion with your children about what they like to eat, and have them help you to choose what goes in their snacks and lunches.

We’ve had many parents ask about the Hot Lunch Program.  In the next few days there should be news.  We ask that you do not use the Hot Lunch Program as an opportunity for your child to try new foods here at school.  If you are going to make some selections, please continue to send some snacks and a lunch from home until it’s certain that your child will eat the preordered food.  It creates a difficult situation when your child will not eat their Hot Lunch and there is no other alternative in their lunch bag.  Please send your child’s water bottle everyday, even if he or she orders lunch and drinks.

IMG_1867Pack In/Pack Out.  We call our waste management system at “Pack In/Pack Out.”  Children can bring a ziploc bag to collect their organic garbage and packaging waste to take home.  Many children simply put the garbage in their lunch bag which they seem to be comfortable doing.


IMG_1861Self-Regulation
.  Self-regulation is the foundation of our Kindergarten program.  One of our primary roles is to be a model of self-regulation.  Our ability to stay calm and focused, and to regulate and articulate our own emotional state, means we are better able we are to assist your children with regulating their optimal state.  Your child’s optimal state is one that is calm, focused and relaxed — ready to learn.

We are teaching our children to be aware of, and understand, their energy, emotions and feelings.  They are learning that different situations require different responses depending upon the context of the current social situation.  We practise “up-regulating” our energy if we’re feeling tired during a lesson; and “down-regulating” our excitement if we’re returning to our classroom after PE or being outside.

We’ve made many references to the Zones of Regulation and no doubt you have heard them already at home.

When we’re in the green zone we are feeling calm, focused, relaxed and ready to learn.

When we’re in the yellow zone we are scared, excited, frustrated or getting carried away.

When we’re in the red zone we are feeling very frustrated, angry and our body is out of control.

When we’re in the blue zone we are feeling sad, tired or sleepy.

We actively refer to the zones throughout the day, to describe how we are feeling, what we observe about the energy in the classroom or where we should be for a specific activity and what should we do to get there–up-regulate or down-regulate.

We practise a variety of self-regulation strategies in class, including calming countdowns, deep breathing and listening to quiet music.  We use self-regulation tools such as the breathing ball and Zenergy chime to teach and practise those strategies.

You might consider creating an area for self-regulation for your family in your own home.  Taking that time for a “self-regulatory moment” is very healthy, leaving one feeling refreshed for the next part of the day.

IMG_1862Self-Care.  The children are managing their washroom situations, which is washrooms located  in Division 15’s classroom, and the children in Division 16’s class use the hallway washrooms.  We’re very diligent about hand washing and we try to check in with the children as they are returning from the washrooms.

We do remind the children at every break opportunity to use the washroom, but many of them are so excited to go outside or they don’t want to miss anything in class so they try to wait.  This is an important discussion for you to have with your child.

In the case of a bathroom accident, your child should have an extra set of clothes to leave at school in a small shopping bag to hang on his or her hook.  It’s a good idea in the event of rain or puddles or muddy spills to have clothes here.

When Should I Keep My Sick Child at Home from School?  We have found over the years, that even though a child is not feeling well, he or she still wants to come to school.  However, your sick child does not have the patience or energy to deal with the demands of the school day, friendship issues or school work expectations.  For the mutual benefit of the children, the children’s families and our teaching staff, a sick child needs to stay at home.

We spoke with Vancouver Coastal Health as they developed their new poster “When Should I Keep My Sick Child Home for School?” when we were writing our blog post, Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health, this past January.  Please keep your children home from school if they have are vomiting, have a fever or diarrhea.  This includes known communicable diseases such as pink eye, chicken pox, strep throat, measles or an undiagnosed rash.

If your children have a very runny nose they cannot manage independently, or a bad chesty cough, those might also be reasons for them to stay at home.  We understand fully as working parents ourselves that it is not always convenient to take a day off from work to stay home with your sick child; however, we are unable to look after a sick child at school, nor are we able keep sick children inside during the playtime breaks.  A child who has taken a day or two to rest and get well at home is going to be back to health faster and be more able to fight a future illness.

If your child is sick, we ask you to call the school call back line each day your child is away.

IMG_1863Remind.  This year we will be using “Remind,” a communication system to keep you informed through text messages or email.  Please subscribe if you have not yet already done so, and remember that this code is for parents and caregivers only.  Please feel free to come and see us about your child at any time during the year.  We are usually available for a quick chat after school.  If you would like to speak with us and need a longer time, please arrange a meeting time with us. We will often call parents in at 3 pm if we need to share something with your briefly  or talk about your child’s day

theselfregulatedteacher.com. We also author theselfregulatedteacher.com, our Kindergarten website for keeping our class parents informed.  We post twice a week; we will send you a link through “Remind” so you can see what we’re learning and thinking about in Kindergarten.

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Email.  You can also email us should you wish to contact us.  If your child is in Division 15, please copy your emails to both teachers.

On Thursdays our school issues the weekly ebulletin.  Please speak to our Administrative Assistant if you are not receiving these newsletters.  They contain important reminders and updates for our school, and community news as well.  They are a great way to stay connected with

Thank you very much for coming out this evening!  We’re looking forward to great year of fun and learning with your children.

This Week in Our Room:  September 21-24, 2015

Thank you for attending our Curriculum Night.  We have now sent home our curriculum overviews with all students.

We finished our first Alphabet Letter!  We’ll be sending home an alphabet page and craft every week.  Our children are also working in their beautiful Alphabet Books which will be a special keepsake from Kindergarten.

We started Patterning this week in our Math groups.  September’s pattern is AB.  You can ask your child to create some AB patterns for you using simple object at home, or look for them in the natural environment.

Next Wednesday, September 30, is our annual Terry Fox Run/Walk.  Our children will run or walk on the school field with their Grade 7 Buddies. Show your Ridgeview spirit by wearing red and white!  We are collecting donations for the Terry Fox Foundation.  Our school goal this year is $2000.

Remember to return your Homework Calendar this week for a sticker!

A reminder that it is Early Dismissal for all students on Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1 for Parent-Teacher Intake Interviews for Grades 1-7.

 


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