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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Events and Reminders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Events and Reminders

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

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

Christmas is Coming (and We Can’t Wait!):  This Week in Our Room: November 20-23, 2018

As each school year goes on, we can’t believe how quickly the time flies.  We’re rapidly approaching December and nary a decoration has been hung (at school, anyways).  The stores are actually ahead of us! But that will all soon be changing as we get our students and classrooms ready for Christmas.  We will be sending the pictures along soon in our weekly newsletter.

This week we complete our Alphabet Craft “Itchy’s i” which is surely a huge favourite for the children.  We’re patterning the bodies, using sticker eyes, gluing on legs and pinching the legs so Itchy looks like he’s on the move.  Of course, beautiful printing was completed as well.

Kindergarten Singing is coming along nicely and the children are quickly learning words and actions for their Christmas songs.

For Art, our children made these delightful painted bear faces.  They are becoming very adept at using templates to cut out the important features.  

Using a similar technique to our tissue paper apples, we continue to improve our finger motor skills by cutting and gluing tissue squares and making these beautiful leaves.

 

Finally, we’d like to thank our two UBC Teacher Candidates, Miss Ellis and Mr. Pang for their hard work and dedication to providing quality lessons and great instruction to our children.  They learned a great deal from us and each other, received our feedback positively and made noticeable changes to their lessons to improve their teaching performance. Our UBC Students are now returning to school for two weeks of classes and assignments.  They will return one more time next Thursday and that completes the first term.

In January, our TCs will be in teaching on Thursdays for the second term as they did so earlier this fall.  Following Spring Break, Miss Ellis and Mr. Pang will return for a ten-week practicum. We’ve done a lot of planning with them so they are aware of our expectations for the final term, along with those of UBC Teacher Education and their Faculty Advisors.  As always, Christy and I will be closely supervising and monitoring everybody’s progress (TCs and our Littles).

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Christmas Sharing begins on Friday, November 30 for both classes.

Friday, November 30  is our Christmas Crackers Event with our Big Buddies.  Thank you to our parents who brought in wrapping paper, tissue and clean paper rolls.  We so appreciate your donations to help bring some Christmas cheer to those less fortunate than ourselves.

There’s just one more week before the Sock Drive ends.  We’re collecting brand new pairs of socks in ALL sizes for donation.  Again, if you make a donation, your child will write his or her name on a paper sock to hang on the sock clothesline.

November’s Notes:  This Week in Our Room:  November 13-16, 2018

We’ve just had three important holidays and celebrations pass us by, and all of our teaching of vocabulary, concepts and the crafts to go with them.  It is always delightful to be talking about our family traditions, making fun projects and reading lots of stories. We integrate as much of the Kindergarten knowledge, skills, strategies and processes to be taught into these activities where we can.  But we never forget our Language and Literacy foundations of phonological awareness, listening and speaking and beginning printing.

So this week, we found ourselves already up to the letter H in our Alphabet!  Clearly, the weeks are flying by. The children listened to the stunning A is for Autumn, by Robert Maass for alphabet inspiration.  The photography is absolutely beautifully, with simple alphabet rhymes about the fall.  We completed our Itchy’s Alphabet page, made heartfelt h’s and the printing in our Alphabet books…amazing!  Just look at these straight lines perfectly formed.

In this short time between Remembrance Day and our kick-off to Christmas (Christy and I are counting down the days), we are teaching a mini-unit on Bears in Literature.  The focus of our unit is on story structure: beginning, middle and end. This is the vocabulary we are teaching the children, and words you can also use at home when talking with your children following their bedtime story.  

For the first story our UBC student Teacher Candidates (TCs) taught Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.  Bear has started his hibernation and is sleeping when his animal friends come by and have a party.  He is very disappointed at waking up and missing all of the fun! The children had to pay close attention as they participated by choral chanting “and the Bear snored on!” every few pages.  They learned some unfamiliar animals, such as the badger and the wren, and reviewed what happened. In their follow-up lesson next week, the children will colour, cut and sequence pictures of the beginning, middle and end of the story.

Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman have written an entire series of wonderful books about Bear and his friends.  These are stories worth looking for at your local library.

Our UBC TCs are also teaching the final lessons in the “Personal Identity” portion of Kindergarten Studies.  Poor Wemberly, from Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, is worried about starting school.  Her parents and teacher encourage her along but she is still worried.  Until she meets a friend…and then the whole world (and school day) is a lot brighter.  The children talked about their own worries, and reviewed the four main feeling groups of happy, sad, angry and scared.  Next week, they will create a graph about their feelings for the day and discuss their findings.

In Math we’ve been reviewing our Math rotations routine using new Math Centres such as treasure boxes, sorting bears, geometric flats and connectors.  We’ve doing a lot of sorting and classifying of objects, and going over the patterns we’ve learned this term, AB, AAB and ABC. It’s really exciting to watch the children create, copy and extend patterns – especially when they catch an error they made and self-correct.  Now that is learning! And we are so privileged (and just a bit thrilled) to be able to observe their thought processes.

We had our second practise of Kindergarten Singing on Thursday…what beautiful voices your children have!  They are currently learning their songs for the Christmas Concert – “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman.”  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Wednesday, November 21 has been scheduled by Mrs. Kennedy for our Library Book Exchange for both classes, just before lunch.  Please return your books on time.

The Grade 4 students are holding a Sock Drive for those in need.  We are looking to collect brand new pairs of socks in children’s sizes.  Your child will write his or her name on a paper sock to hang in our front hall to note the donation.

We’re our annual Christmas Cracker Event on Friday, November 30.  We will be making Christmas Crackers with our Big Buddies using the candies you all donated from Hallowe’en.

A few supplies we could use are rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, curling ribbon and clean, tissue-free, paper rolls.  If you have anything you might be able to donate to us, we’d really appreciate it!

What is Peace?  This Week in Our Room:  November 5-9, 2018

We can never quite get over the shift from the witches, ghosts and goblins of Hallowe’en to the sombre thoughts that come to mind as Remembrance Day approaches.  Here in the Kindergarten, the orange paint barely finished drying on our jack-o-lanterns when the black and red acrylics were hauled out to make our Poppy prints.  Ah…such is school life.

Despite holidays and special days, Christy and I still manage to keep the alphabet train moving along.  We’re always looking for new ideas for our cute Alphabet crafts and this year we have the most adorable idea for “g” – a gumball machine (courtesy of Pinterest, of course).  We were very excited to make these with our children and they very much enjoyed using the Bingo markers to make the gumballs.

We have an exciting new event to add to our timetables and that is Kindergarten Singing!  The Kindergarten children will have a six week module of an additional singing class with Mrs. Soderling, our Music Teacher.  We had our first session this week and our children sang very beautifully. They’ll be showing you everything they learned at the Christmas Concert in mid-December.

Our Boho Birds were returned to us from The Card Project.  You will have received your complimentary card with your child’s artwork.  The children’s original work is now hanging in our classroom. Please feel free to come by anytime to see it.

We had quite a lot of preparation for Remembrance Day this week.  We made the aforementioned Poppies using an acorn squash and potato as our block for printing making.  The children were fascinated with the insides of the acorn squash (“Hey, that’s just like a pumpkin!”) and the mass of a relatively small object.

We practised out cutting and pasting skills cutting out these small maple leaves to each make a Canada flag.

We contributed half of our Art collection to the Remembrance Day Assembly and made these lovely displays.  Following the ceremony we will add the children’s artwork to the classroom bulletin boards.

In class, we read several good books, including O Canada:  Our National Anthem, published by Scholastic, The Peace Book by Todd Parr and A Poppy is to Remember by Heather Patterson and Ron Lightburn.  This gave us quite a bit of common content as we talked about what peace meant to each of us personally.  The children came up with an impressive list:

-reading a book

-riding my bike

-my family

-sharing my toys

-my cousin

-my mom

-hugging and loving my brother

-playing with my friends

-sharing pumpkin pie with my family

-sitting and breathing quietly

-going on trips with my family

-jumping in the leaves

-playing outside with my dad

-taking care of our world

-splashing in puddles

-reading a book with my mom

-listening to quiet music

-sitting calmly

-thinking about my family

-babies

We used these ideas to each make a page to contribute to a class big book.  It’s at times like this we are reminded that peace begins at home, in the hearts and minds of our little students.  

We’ve had two Assemblies now, but the Remembrance Day Assembly is a very serious and solemn one.  Students are asked to enter the gym in silence, there is no talking nor clapping following any of the performances and presentations.  We all listened quietly to the “Last Post” and stood still for the one minute of silence. Then we listened again to the “Reveille”.

You can imagine our thoughts as Kindergarten teachers as we go over the expected behaviour with our children before leaving the classroom.  This Assembly is a marker for us in how well we’ve been teaching and practising the self-regulation strategies. Does the deep breathing really help?  Will the children remember to do a calming countdown if necessary? Will the children read correctly their social situation and respond appropriately?

And they do.  Our children were exceptionally well-behaved and remembered on purpose everything they had been taught.  They listened well, used their eyes to reference their peers and paid attention to the cues from their social context.  We’re always so proud of our classes. We set our expectations high and they consistently rise to the challenge.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

EMERGENCY RELEASE DRILL – NOVEMBER 15TH

Please mark your calendars that on the afternoon of Thursday, November 15th we will be conducting a student release drill.  There will be staggered pick up times starting at 1:45pm for Grades K-2, 2:10pm for Grades 3-4, and 2:30pm for Grades 5-7.  More information will be sent out closer to this date.  Please note that it is important that you bring photo ID with you when you pick up your child and/or a child you are listed as a designated alternate.

Save the Date:  Our Christmas Concert will be on Thursday, December 13.  We have a matinee and an evening performance. Information on what to wear will follow soon.

Scholastic Book Fair is coming to Ridgeview Library!  This is a really exciting event where we have a pop-up book store in our Library.  Kindergarten children may shop and purchase books with their parents only. The Book Fair is open from 8:30-8:50 am,

 

Hallowe’en:  Part 2 This Week in Our Room:  October 29-November 2, 2018

We packed a lot in this week, beginning with our painted pumpkins.  Look! Aren’t these fun? We painted these last week, colour mixing a palette of yellow, orange and red.  After cutting out the pumpkins, the children worked in small groups to add the facial features. Each jack-o-lantern is as special and unique as each of our children.

On Wednesday, we were off to the Ridgeview Halloween Parade and Assembly.  After Mrs. Brady collected Grades 1-3, Kindergarten took over the lead of the Parade and led everyone through the Intermediate classrooms.  We were greeted with waves and smiles as we all walked down the hallway. Thank you to all of our parents who were there to support us!

Somehow in between the Hallowe’en festivities, we were able to squeeze in some beautiful work on the letter F and made these sweet “f is for flower” crafts for your alphabet wall.

We do a lot of fine motor work in Kindergarten.  We’re printing, cutting, pasting, drawing and colouring almost every day.  We’re manipulating small pieces in Math Treasure Boxes, building with Lego and Playmobil and gluing on googly eyes and beads.  The children are getting stronger and more capable as the weeks go on. So we thought it might be a fun challenge to make these little owls.  

Using pattern templates, the children cut out every single piece and glued it on to create these little birds.  Haven’t they done a marvelous job? Shapes of every size and kind, from ovals, circles to triangles were cut out and carefully pieced together.  We were so proud of the children’s excellent listening and ability to focus on, and follow, teacher directions.

We had the perfect cap off to our week and saw our Grade 7 Big Buddies to make peace doves. We will be using these to decorate our classrooms and the gym for next week’s Remembrance Day Assembly for Ridgeview students.  We are collecting money for the poppies which will be given out next Friday.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Save the Date:  Our Christmas Concert will take place on Thursday, December 13.  We will have a matinee and an evening performance. There will be much more information to follow on our children’s costumes.

We’re starting our new theme for Sharing and Special Helper, “All About Me.”  Please help your child to find three objects that tell something about him- or herself.  It would also be so helpful if you make a few notes for your child about the significance of the objects and include that in the bag.  We’re looking to see the children develop more confidence in speaking aloud, so you may want to practise a little bit at home.

October Homework calendars are due now.

We are continuing to collect non-perishable food for our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver.  

We are also collecting Hallowe’en candy for our Christmas Cracker project.  These candy gifts will be donated to a variety of charitable organisations.

Monday, November 5 is Library Book Exchange.  Please bring your book back to school.

Friday, November 9 Scholastic Book orders are due.

 

Hallowe’en Part 1: This Week in Our Room: October 23-26, 2018

It’s been a bit of a catch-up week for us so you will notice we did not complete an Alphabet Letter.  Rather, we’re going to finish everything we’ve started so we can start fresh in a few days.

Speaking of fresh, we had an experiment go wrong this week.  We’ve been looking after this sugar pumpkin for the past couple of weeks and thought we’d carve it for a baby jack-o-lantern. Whoops!  It completely caved in and all of the innards came swooshing out all over the table when we tried to lift it up.  The children were very keen to look at it and give it a poke.  The pumpkin smell was a little troubling for the first part of the day.

We’re a little behind in making our October self-portraits as duty called for us to make our Boho Birds, but we’re all caught up now and what a difference from September!  We had fun drawing in the backgrounds.  We reviewed our Big, Bright and Beautiful criteria for the children. Big means to fill your space,  Bright means to use five colours or more and Beautiful is to do your personal best.  Don’t you think the children did a great job?  We were delighted for sure.

Talk about filling your space…look at the size of these painted pumpkins!  We read Too Many Pumpkin by Linda White and Megan Lloyd, then proceeded to draw pumpkin outlines with ribs using white pastel.  This is a favourite project of ours, from deepspaceparkle  It was very interesting to watch the children work on a large scale – the biggest piece of paper (12” x 18”) we’ve asked them to fill this year.  It can be hard to go big.  Not all children realize they really have to move their hands and arms to stretch to fill the corners of a big sheet of paper.  They need their helping hand (their non-writing hand) to hold the paper down or the whole thing will slide.  It’s a lot of think about.

It seemed we just got the outlines done when it was time to paint the pumpkins.  Colour mixing is fun and an important skill, so using palettes of orange, red and yellow paint and a single paintbrush, the children mixed the colours for various shades of orange in each section of their pumpkin.  We will cut them out next week and decorate appropriately.

Of course, this week’s big event was our Hallowe’en Centres Party.  We’ve learned through sad experience we cannot host our party and participate in the annual Ridgeview Parade and Assembly (next Wednesday, October 31) all in a day.  The children (and teachers) get overtired, self-regulation is almost out the window and nobody wants to go Trick or Treating (“Can’t someone go out and bring the candy to me?”  True story).  It’s too much.  So by dividing the two events, we get twice as much fun and it’s all round SO much more enjoyable for everyone.

With the help of our UBC Teacher Candidates and parent volunteers, the children created math patterns, finished their bats, made necklaces and spooky trees, coloured Hallowe’en pictures and rolled out the playdough.  We had a lot of giggles and admired everybody’s creativity.

On a more solemn note, one of the Me to We initiatives that we carry out every year at Ridgeview is the “We Scare Hunger” campaign.  We’re asking every student at school to please bring a couple of kid-friendly, non-perishable food items and either place them in the boxes upstairs in the main hall, or bring them to the classroom and we take them upstairs from here.  We’re encouraging the children to think about what they like to eat, and that’s what they should bring to school.  Our donations will be given to our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver, to restock the school’s food bank.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, October 29 is Photo Retakes.  Please let myself or Mrs. Campbell know directly or via email if your child is having their photo taken so we do not miss anyone.

Please return your Library Books for a new one.

Wednesday, October 31 is Ridgeview’s Annual Hallowe’en Parade and Assembly.  Parents are welcome to line the hallways and watch up parade through the school.  Please do not ask your child to stop in the hallway for a photo – we don’t want to be separated from the rest of the parade.  We sent home an orange notice on Thursday with all the details.  We also sent it home via your Remind text.

Thursday, November 1 is our delayed start at 10:40 am.

You can now visit the cardproject.ca to see our class’s art work.  Make your order by this Sunday and your delivery will be here at the end of November.