The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

All We Really Need to Know We Learned from You, Our Kindergarten Students

Every year we write a letter to our Kindergarten children, reflecting on the past year and the connections we formed. We were inspired by Robert Fulghum’s poem “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” So with thanks to him, here is our letter for 2017. Please note: This post has been slightly modified from the original our students received.

 

To our Dear Kindergarten Children,

There’s a wonderful poem called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. It’s a beautiful poem, and talks about important things such as sharing with others, cleaning up after yourself and washing your hands before you eat. These are important life lessons and when people think back about what they learned in Kindergarten, these are the kinds of things they remember learning and doing. They are lessons that stay with us always.

But we’ve been teachers for quite a long time now, and many of those years has been as Kindergarten teachers. So what we might say is that All We Really Need to Know We Learned from You, Our Kindergarten Students.

We learned about patience, one block at a time. This was a year for Master Builders. You’re one of the most amazing groups of children we’ve taught who not only love to build, but do it very well. You understand about creating a sound foundation to build a strong structure. Whether you were using Keva planks, Lego, sticky bricks or soft blocks you were meticulous in taking your time to create and re-create the ideas in your head.

We learned about sharing and the many forms that it took in our class. You took turns to share the Smelly Markers and the most popular treasure boxes. You waited calmly for your chance to use a sand tray. You also liked to share your ideas during class discussions. And you loved bringing a Sharing to show the class on your Special Helper Day. We thought you really grew in your ability to share with others, we know it’s not easy. But one of your greatest strengths is your willingness to please, so we know that between your self-regulation and your tenacity, you were always able to do the right thing.

We learned about acceptance and empathy as you were getting to know all the children in Kindergarten, your brother and sister’s friends and your Grade 7 Buddies regardless of gender or language. We loved how you used the language of social play as your common language whether you were making books at the Imagination Station, walking the forest creek or running races down the grassy hill.

We learned about love and affection as we watched you and your Big Buddies this year. The attachment you and your Buddy have for each other is strong. Your eyes are always searching for one another in the big group. There is devotion in the way you look at each other. We see how hard you work together to accomplish a task. You’re learning valuable lessons in getting along with others and building a relationship. We’ve never had a class who always remembers Wednesday is Buddy Day and you looked so forward to seeing them.

We learned about courage and risk-taking when you discovered all that the playground had to offer you. From the fireman’s pole to the tire swing to the monkey bars…you never failed to show your courage and resolve to conquer these activities. We know this for sure because you’ve got the callouses to prove it! When the swings were flying high or you were reaching for that next ring, you were confident in your abilities and willing to take the risks to achieve your goal.

We learned about friendship by the way you supported each other. Whenever a classmate was feeling poorly, or had been hurt, you were always there ready to hold your friend’s hand and walk him or her to the office or to the classroom. You seemed to know when another student was feeling sad or lonely; and you tried to engage your friend by inviting him to play or making her laugh. You show a level of empathy that is very grown-up for your age.

We learned about perseverance and grit as you practised over and over again, the careful printing of your name. This was a significant year for printing your names. Some of you had not printed your name in full before but you were so determined to master this important skill. For those of you who were already printing your names, you’ve been working on using upper and lowercase letters perfectly. We’ve watched you develop precision in your printing, and we can say with confidence that many of you print as well as us and sometimes, even better.

We learned about finding joy in the little things. Glitter, sparkle mod podge, playdough, printmaking with an acorn squash, a Hello Kitty colouring sheet and eating cupcakes were just a few of those little things that made you say, “Oooohhh.” We loved how excited you were to work on a new alphabet craft, or the wonder on your faces when you saw our decorated Christmas tree. Who knew there was so much happiness to be found in a small container of turquoise sparkles?

Each September we receive a new class of children; some of us already know each other, while others are new friends. Each year we wonder how we will bond together as teacher and students. And we thought that this year was very special, our heartfelt connection with each of you and between all of you. You started off your Kindergarten year as young children from different places, to become classmates and friends held together by shared learning, experiences and fun.

Your next step is Grade One. There is excitement and uncertainty, looking ahead yet taking one more glance back. We’re going to miss you so much, but we know it is time for you to move on to Grade One.

We’ve had many great teachers in our lives, but none so great as you. Our wish for you is that your love for learning and literacy remain with you always, and that you continue to find joy in all the little things. We know we will. You have taught us well.

Love,
Your Kindergarten Teachers

 

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This Week in Our Room: June 19-23, 2017

It’s been a Royal Week in the Kindergarten. It really has just been so much fun watching the growing independence of our amazing children.

We had a wonderful time at the Vancouver Aquarium on Monday! The natural curiosity and wonder of 5- and 6- year old children as they asked hundreds of questions, shared their knowledge and tried to make connections with their understanding of the Ocean World is truly astounding. It was so clear to us how many discussions the children have had with their parents, read books and watched movies together and taken in so much information. We’re proud that our students have such a keen interest and awareness of the natural environment and as are all stewards of the Earth, we’re motivated to help conserve as much as we can for their learning and enjoyment in the future.

We had a serious chat with our children about the importance of representing our school while we were away on our field trip. Attendance on a field trip is a privilege; as the teachers, we need to be able to trust our children while they are being supervised in a non-school setting by us, parent volunteers and interacting with the Aquarium staff. As we moved through the exhibits, we watched our children walking between the crowds, staying within sight of their adult leaders and taking turns with students from other schools at the shared activities. For Christy and myself, observing the transfer of self-regulation strategies to multiple social environments is key for us in confirming our teaching practises.

Our next major event of the week was a day of great excitement: Division 16’s William was Ridgeview’s Principal for a Day. William’s family had the highest bid for this special privilege during the live auction at our school’s Library Modernization Fundraiser Gala back in May. William was able to spend half a day with our principal, Mrs. Valerie Brady, to learn all about the different responsibilities and decision-making the principal of a large school has to take on.

For his first principal decision, William extended the morning recess by five minutes, much to the delight of the student body. A tour of the custodial offices, a visit to the school kitchen to check on the leftover Sports Day Freezies and a ride on the school elevator down to the Primary wing to deliver the Grade One school supplies “suitcases” made for a busy and productive morning.

It just so happened that Principal of the Day coincided with the Kindergarten Prince and Princess dress-up day. We welcomed our handsome princes in their suits, jacket and ties and our lovely ladies who wore their beautiful fairytale gowns. We made beautiful Fairy Tale castle covers for our Fairy Tale activities and decorated them with glitter. After recess, the Kindergarten children walked through all of the Primary classes on a Royal Parade. And at lunch, we ate some of the yummiest cookies we’ve ever tasted (Circus Circus cookies from Fresh Street Market) courtesy of the “Principal’s Office.”

We finished off the school week with the annual Primary Variety Show featuring children from Kindergarten to Grade 3. Students performed on the piano, sang, played guitar and we even had an amazing hoola hoop dance! Division 16’s Maaike played the piano for an appreciative audience and we were very pleased and proud that one of our own was up on stage.

All in all, it was a very satisfying week.

This is the last Kindergarten newsletter! We can’t believe how quickly the time has gone and how our little ones have grown to now be entering Grade One.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

This week we are collecting all Home Reading books. Last Friday was the last day to take home books. Please return all books you might have a home.

Tuesday, June 27: It’s our “Beach Day” for Kindergarten. We’re not actually going to the beach; rather, we’re going to do some beachy activities in our undercover playground. The table we use in the House Corner for a baby change table was just recently discovered by some students to actually be a water table, so we will bring it out and put it to its proper use. We’ll have sand trays, bubble blowing, hoola hoops, and lots of outdoor games such as chalk, skipping ropes and hopscotch going on. Thanks to our parent volunteers for bringing in snacks!

Wednesday, June 28: It’s the Grade 7 Graduation Ceremony and our children are playing a very important role. We will be presenting flowers to our Big Buddies. We would like our children to dress-up for this formal occasion. Children can bring clothes to change into for the afternoon. We will open the staff washroom for them and the children can change one at a time in private if they wish.

Girls: dresses, skirt and top; dress shoes
Boys: dress shirts, pants; dress shoes or cleaned up running shoes

We should be “on” around 11:40 am, if the schedule is the same as last year’s. Parents are welcome to come and watch but please leave room for us to enter the gym and walk up along the East wall.

Thursday, June 29: It’s the last day of Kindergarten and we will just be enjoying some time with our students. Please remember that dismissal is at 12 noon for Kindergarten only.

 

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This Week in Our Room: June 12-16, 2017

We’ve had a lot going on this week. Our music for calming the past number of weeks has been “Deep in An Ancient Hawaiian Forest” from the soundtrack The Descendants. We can just feel the sun on our faces, the sand beneath our feet and the ocean breeze ruffling our hair. We continue to be amazed at how easily the children have slipped into the routine of taking their places on the meeting area carpet, cross legged, eyes closed and breathing blissfully.

We finished our last Fairy Tale in class, “Cinderella.” We made “glass slippers,” read three different versions of Cinderella, including the class favourite Cinderella Penguin by Janet Perlman talked about magical objects and the recurring theme of “3” that permeates most fairy tales. Next Tuesday is Prince and Princess Day so please dress-up if you wish!

We learned about what a seed needs to grow (soil, water, air, time, love) and enjoyed “The Garden” from Frog and Toad are Friends by Arthur Lobel. We also made a paper seed. Our bean plants were sent home last week, a crossover activity between “Jack in the Beanstalk” from Fairy Tales and more talk about seeds.

But the big focus for this week was Sports Day. And we can say Sports Day 2017 was a fantastic day for our Kindergarten children.

Mother Nature smiled upon us and gave us a glorious (with a touch of cloud) weather day for our Ridgeview Sports Day. Thank you so much to our Vice-Principal, Mr. Blackburn (@njblackburn) for organising a great day for our school and our Grade 6 Leaders who were outstanding in looking after our little ones so well.

We’re really fortunate at Ridgeview that our Principal, Mrs. Brady, (@vjbrady) who understands early childhood development so well, and in consultation with us, makes thoughtful and wise choices regarding our Kindergarten children.

At Ridgeview we scaffold participating in Sports Day for our students so they complete a reduced number of activity stations, enjoy a Freezie with their team, then return to their classrooms for a big, healthy snack, Centre time and Face Painting (courtesy of our Grade 7 helpers) for even more fun. We’ve been doing this for just three out of the past 11 years we’ve been teaching Kindergarten. The Kindergartens get a glimpse of a super high energy day but can return to the safety and comfort of their classmates and classroom when we’ve deemed that they’ve had enough, something they’re not able to measure quite yet because they are so young.

Over the last 11 years we’ve taught 16 Kindergarten classes (due to the half day program until 2011). Here are some of the things we’ve learned about Kindergarten, Sports Day and Self-Regulation:

The children need to eat a good snack (more than a Freezie) and close to their regular snack time to help with their self-regulation;
The children need a time to centre themselves again in their self-regulated, familiar classroom environment to calm their bodies and relax before continuing on with the rest of their day;
The children want to participate in play with their own age group for part of school their day;
The children can enjoy the fun “Fair” like atmosphere of Sports Day but in graduated amounts of time; we do not need to give every opportunity Ridgeview offers in Kindergarten. Your children will be here for 7 more years to experience the many programs and activities we provide when our school determines it is age-appropriate.

We can say that Sports Day has been “tear free” for these past three years and remembered as a happy day, filled with fun and friendship, just as it should be.

And finally, Happy Father’s Day to all of our Dads!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, June 19:
We did not send home Home Reading Books on Friday. But we will go back to our routine on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week. Next Friday will be the last book exchange and chance to take books home; and we would like all of our home reading books returned to the classroom during the last week of school.

Monday is our Vancouver Aquarium field trip and we are all so looking forward to our special day out together. Please remember to send your child’s lunch, snacks and water bottle in their backpacks, and dress for the weather.

Tuesday, June 20:
Division 16’s William will be Principal for the Morning on Tuesday. William will complete a few Principal duties with Mrs. Brady to learn what being a Principal involves and make some “executive decisions.” We’re really excited to hear what they might be!

It’s also Prince and Princess Day so our boys and girls are welcome to dress-up. They may also dress-up as fairy tale characters if they wish. In previous years we’ve also had some of our boys dress up as heroes (Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker) who save princesses. Dress-up is optional; however, no swords may be brought to school.

Thursday, June 22:
Primary Variety Show — Division 16’s Maaike will be performing.

Friday, June 23:
Forest Friday – please bring your boots.
Parent Volunteer Tea in the Library

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This Week in Our Room: June 5-9, 2017

We can tell the end of the school year is approaching when we take a look back over the course of this week.

We had another relay practise with both classes for PE this week. Sports Day is on Friday so it’s important to us that the children have had lots of opportunity to try a variety of relays in mixed groupings. They are getting really good at listening to some quick instructions, then they’re off either running, skipping, balancing or tossing in some combination as they go down the length of the gym, around the pylon and back to their team to pass the relay item on to the next child.

A reminder for all parents that Mrs. Campbell’s class should wear RED and Mrs. Daudlin’s class is wearing BLUE. Parents, show your school spirit and dress up in the colour of your child’s team and come and cheer us on.

Kindergarten students will be dismissed at 12 pm on Sports Day from their classrooms.

We had lots of Library action this week as Tuesday was the last library book exchange for Kindergarten! The next time your child borrows a book from the school library will be when he or she is in Grade One. We also had a wonderful visit from the West Vancouver Memorial Library to talk about the Summer Reading Program.

We really encourage all of our children to register for this great summer reading event. They have all been working so hard on their home reading and this is a great way to maintain those literacy skills over the next two months. Please keep in mind there is a summer reading program at ALL public libraries so you can register at your neighbourhood library. As avid readers ourselves, a weekly visit to the public library for more books to read are something we very much anticipate on the holidays. You can read here and here about our summer reading adventures.

You need to go to the library in person to register for program; this year’s theme is called “Walk on the Wild Side.” Each child is given a form to fill in after 15 minutes of reading per day. If your child is not reading yet, then he or she would sign up for the “Read to Me” program and parents would read aloud stories. There are weekly prizes for all participants as they would check in at the library every week to borrow new books.

Some really fun books were read aloud to the children, and you may wish to borrow them again for lots of giggles at home:
Explorers of the Wild (Cale Atkinson)
Bob, Not Bob (Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick)
One Day (Rebecca Kai Dotlich)
They All Saw a Cat (Brendan Wenzel)

We had a super day on Wednesday with High Touch High Tech’s science workshop, “Newton in a Nutshell.” Our children were excellent listeners and participated very well in the group discussions. We were particularly impressed with how well they remembered to raise their hands to ask a question or make a comment, and then wait to be called upon…good self-regulation!

There was a lot of movement between the tables and the carpet and our children managed their bodies, enthusiasm and curiosity well as they just focused on the task. We flung pompoms with catapults, used spinner pens, raced mini cars and watched marbles spin down a vortex! It was an amazing experience for everyone.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Home Reading Books: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays

ALL Library Books must be returned on Tuesday so Mrs. Kennedy can begin inventory.

Sports Day is on Friday, June 16. Please remember to wear your team colour. We will begin promptly after the singing of O Canada and the morning announcements; please try to arrive on time for school. Traditionally, Sports Day is a very well attended event so parking is going to be at a premium and you’ll want to give yourselves some extra time.

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This Week in Our Room: May 29-June 2, 2017

This week, Thursday was our most anticipated day of the week as we were looking forward to a walk in our playground forest with our Vice-Principal, Mr. Blackburn, to review safe, appropriate play.

On our beautiful school grounds, our children are particularly fortunate to have many choices: a large soft surface playground with a climbing structure, a black top area for games such as hopscotch, skipping and outdoor chalk, and as they get older, a huge grass field and gravel field for baseball, football and soccer.

 

But more so than any other area, the small forest on the edge of our playground has always held the greatest attraction.

What is it about the woods? On Thursday the air smelled spicy and delicious after the rain fell. There’s a very pretty creek that runs along two sides with a bridge, large boulders and a huge tree stump for climbing. It’s a magical place, perfect for imaginary play, daydreaming, digging and dam building. We really couldn’t ask for more for healthy, outdoor play for our Kindergarten children.

You can read more about our thoughts on outdoor play here

But today’s post is for parent information about the expectations for our students during their forest play time.

We’ve decided to call it Forest Fridays: during the school day, our children will be able to use the forest area on Fridays during their morning recess and during our afternoon playtime. Our Playground supervisors, or Christy and myself, will supervise the children.

At the start of our walk, at the entrance to the forest, Mr. Blackburn asked the children what they noticed: a creek, birds in the trees and berries. The children learned the forest is a living, breathing thing; it’s alive, it grows just like we do, there are living creatures in the trees and on the ground. They also found out they are not to eat anything from the forest, including the berries. Leaves, branches and flowers stay on the trees and shrubs; it’s ok to pick up things from the forest floor.

The children will always enter the forest via the bridge. They are expected to walk in the centre of the bridge, not the sides as the wood trim is very slippery when wet.

The best kind of footwear for forest play is rainboots. This way, the children are always prepared to play in the creek if they wish. Shoes and socks are not suitable attire for creek play because shoes can absorb water, wet socks are uncomfortable and wet feet…well, wet feet do not feel good. Children are to be respectful of others in the creek – no splashing or kicking water.

Sticks and rocks are acceptable tools for forest play when they are used for building and digging. It’s unexpected for students to use sticks for hitting and rocks for throwing; it’s expected students will use sticks and rocks respectfully in their imaginary play. Sticks should be pointed down while walking.

We want the children to be respectful of life in the forest. That means the many roots they see on the ground are to be treated carefully. There is to be no kicking or digging up of tree roots. Bugs are to be observed and allowed to carry on in their daily work.

The forest boundary for the children includes not going further than the group of large rocks at the entrance of the creek and not on the upper bridge. Glass found in the forest is not beach glass and should be left alone.

 

Here are some fun photos of our first Forest Friday!

Navigating the rocks…

 

Exploring the hole in that tree!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Home Reading Book Exchange: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays

Library Book Exchange: Tuesdays

Wednesday, June 7: High Touch High Tech Science Workshop, “Newton in a Nutshell.” Please remember to visit SchoolCash Online to make your donation of $11 at your earliest convenience.

Thursday, June 8: West Vancouver Memorial Library Summer Reading Club Presentation

Friday, June 16: Sports Day. Sports Day is just around the corner. Please note that Kindergarten students only will be dismissed at 12 pm. We do not eat our lunch at school that day. If your child attends Camp Ridgeview on Fridays, please inform them about the early pick-up.

Mrs. Campbell’s Class is on the Red Team.
Mrs. Daudlin’s Class is on the Blue Team.
Our children should be dressed in their team colours – at least a t-shirt, please.

You’ll see that our school really dresses up, so matching hats and socks, hair paint (optional) all help to show our team spirit. Parents are welcome to watch.

Kindergarten Sports Day Schedule:
Kindergarten students should eat a good breakfast so they can sustain their energy and be self-regulated for the morning.

8:50 AM School Begins; Team Cheer on blacktop area outside our classrooms; Sports Day begins
10:30 AM (approx.) Freezie Break
10:45 AM (approx.) Kindergarten students return to their classrooms for their regular snack (they will be very hungry so please pack a big snack).
11:00 AM Centre Time and Face Painting (optional) by Grade 7 Students
12:00 PM Dismissal from our classrooms

Wednesday, June 28: Grade 7 Graduation Ceremony. Our children will be presenting flowers individually to their Grade 7 Big Buddies. This is a formal event and we ask the Kindergarten to wear their best. You are all welcome to attend. We expect to be onstage around 11:30 am but we will update you with more details to come. This is a very important moment for the Grade 7s and quite an emotional one for us, so come and shed some happy tears with the teachers as we see our Senior students off to high school and what the future looks like for our little ones.

Thursday, June 29: This is the last day of school for students. Please note that Kindergarten students only will be dismissed at 12 pm.

 

 

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This Week in Our Room: May 23-26, 2017

We’ve had a lot going on around here, so please forgive us if we seem a bit distracted. Time to practice more mindfulness!

We’re having a lot of fun teaching Fairy Tales the past couple of weeks. For Sharing and Special Helper this month, the children are bringing in a favourite Fairy Tale, so we are getting a high rate of exposure to many stories and it’s broadening our understanding and perspective of this important genre.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf are back in town, and we’ve had an interesting time of it, reading three different versions of a familiar and much loved tale.

We started with a fun provocation: a basket filled with treats. We showed our basket to the children and slowly went through the contents, asking the children to think of a Fairy Tale where a basket has a part in the story. Inside the basket: fruit, juice…pizza. (Seems we had no croissant in the house corner). Admittedly, the pizza threw everybody off for a moment, but with a few good clues for our guided inquiry (“I’m going to Grandma’s house;” “I wear a red hood and cloak”) our well-read children were able to narrow down their guess to Little Red.

Our focus has been on story structure, and we’re talking about the beginning, middle and end in a Fairy Tale. We’re looking for common elements such as a story beginning with “Once upon a time…” and ending with “…and they all lived happily ever after.”

We then moved onto to house-building with “The Three Little Pigs.” We have had so much fun reading aloud familiar portions of the story; the children have really enjoyed being the little pigs (“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin”) to our Wolf (“I’ll HUFF, and I’ll PUFF and I’ll BLLOOWW your house down.”) Here, we are teaching about recalling and sequencing the main events within the beginning, middle and end of a story.

The children loved making these delightful little books which they read to themselves or to a friend when they’ve finished sequencing and stapling together the pages.

As for next week, well, we’ve got some magic beans we can trade you for your cow….

We’ve also been investigating shapes in Math, and looked for squares and rectangles in our classroom. Who would have thought we could have found so many? In continuing with our tradition of inspiring children’s literature, we read  Perfect Square by Michael Hall, and Brown Rabbit’s Shape Book and Grey Rabbit’s Odd One Out by Alan Baker.

We’re teaching PE to both classes simultaneously right now, as we start practising relays. Sports Day is fast approaching, and all of the races our teams participate in are relays. Not all the children have had an opportunity to see a Ridgeview Sports Day or run a relay, so we’ve formed small teams and started running relays down the length of the gym, turning around a pylon and passing a small piece of equipment among the team members. There is a high safety factor when teams are running simultaneously and turning, so the children’s ability to listen to the teacher to complete the task correctly is very much evident.

The children brought home their class photos earlier in the week. We were delighted to be able to use the “Seussical” background for our photo from our Intermediate Musical. We’ll send home a list of names in order of the photograph for your reference.

Upcoming Events and Reminders
Tonight is our Ridgeview Parent Gala in support of the Library Modernization Project at the Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver. Our beautiful platters will be available for auction. Best of luck to all the bidders!

Next week we’re talking about the jobs our families do inside and outside the home. Please have a wee chat with your children about the kind of work you do outside the home so they can share that information at school. The children are all quite familiar with the work you do at home — they know about the grocery shopping, cooking and baking, washing up of dishes, gardening, laundry and ironing, just to name a few tasks. We were delighted to hear about how many children help with dinner preparations and fold the laundry (“that’s my job”)!

We’re sending home a form from our Music Teacher, Mrs. Soderling, for children who are interested in auditioning for the Primary Variety Show. Please read carefully the expectations for the audition process. If you have any questions, please email Mrs. Soderling directly at hsoderling@wvschools.ca

Tuesday, May 30 is Library Book Exchange for both classes.

Home Reading Book Exchange is Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.

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The Week in Our Room: May 8-12, 2017

We can’t believe it’s already Friday, and almost the middle of May!

For a regular five day school week it was actually pretty busy, with many changes, delightful interruptions and special visitors.

Our Library Book Exchange moved to Monday this week, instead of our regular Tuesday. By Monday at 2:55 pm the majority of children had two library books out (who knew last week’s book had to be returned for Monday?), rather than one, and that created great confusion about which book (one? both?) needed to be returned this week. We’re not really sure ourselves so we’re looking forward to next Tuesday when things return to normal. Please bring ALL school library books for Tuesday so we can start again.

On Monday we also had a wonderful visit from Elmer the Safety Elephant and Ruff the Dog of the North Shore Safety Council to talk about pedestrian safety. We always enjoy seeing our favourite elephant and dog and we were so pleased with our classes who know a great deal about keeping themselves safe while out walking in their community.

West Vancouver Secondary School’s Concert Band and Concert Choir came to Ridgeview on Wednesday to perform as part of their Feeder School Tour. These were amazing performances with so many Ridgeview alumni and our children were fortunate to see what the future looks like in the performing arts of their local high school. The children’s listening behaviour was outstanding. We are so proud to be their teachers.

We worked on a special art project for our contribution to the Ridgeview Parent Gala and Auction in aid of the Library Modernization Project happening at our school. We’re so grateful to our parent helpers who helped our children with their fingerprint flowers on what will be a gorgeous platter when it’s all finished. We will be sharing more information about the auction and how you can place a bid as soon as the details are finalised.

 

We had more performing arts fun when Mrs. Segers invited us to watch her Grade 3 students perform “Jane and the Dragon” and “Hearts and Tarts.” You might well imagine how tickled Christy and I are when we get to see our beloved Kindergarten children now in Grade 3 acting and speaking with such incredible confidence. These children might not be in Kindergarten anymore but they always, and forever will be, our students.

 

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Home Reading Book Exchange: Monday, Wednesday next week
Library Book Exchange is on Tuesday for both classes. Please return ALL library books.

Thursday, May 18 is Welcome to Kindergarten for the 2017-2018 Kindergarten students.

Friday, May 19, is a Professional Day. School is in session for teachers only.

Monday, May 22, is Victoria Day. Schools are not in session.

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This Week In Our Room: May 1-5, 2017

It’s been a super busy week with the Intermediate Musical, our Mother’s Day project, Alphabet Book finish-up, class photos and a discombobulated schedule. We are so proud of our classes for coming through it all with maturity, flexibility and a let’s do this attitude. We know ourselves how difficult it can be when our class’ timetables and schedules get switched around as we try to accommodate everything going on in our school. But we see the benefits of teaching self-regulation strategies to our children, talking aloud about our feelings and valuing the character traits of perseverance and resilience as we’ve pushed through. Everyone should take some well deserved rest over the weekend.

This week we coloured our Alphabet Book covers and glued them to the front of our books. We’re progressing slowly to finish up as much of the missed pages as we can, but we will only continue this for another week or so. At that point, we will send the books home and children can complete missed work at home.

It’s the beginning of May so we completed our beautiful self-portraits. It`s been amazing to watch the children’s skills develop as we revisit this project every month.

We started our study of Shapes and Geometry this week. We read Brown Rabbit’s Shape Book and did a very through brainstorming of know two-dimensional shapes. We will continue to explore the shapes through a variety of geometric math manipulatives, the common shapes we see in our environment and introduce some simple vocabulary.

We’re into Week 2 of Let’s Talk About Touching, focusing on ways to keep ourselves safe and healthy such as visiting the dentist and doctor when necessary. Tools such as toothbrushes, bandaids, soap and tissues are all useful items for looking after our bodies. Our next lessons will focus on fun and helpful touches.

We are successfully exchanging our Home Reading Books in class. We’re so happy to see the children remembering to return their books on the appointed book exchange days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Please remember this book is in addition to your daily read alouds at bedtime. Our children still need to hear you reading higher level books so they can learn more sophisticated vocabulary, complex sentence structures and questions and see you model reading aloud with expression and humour. We guarantee that these times of reading with your children will be among those most treasured by them as they grow up.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We’re back in the gym again for PE next week so please make sure your child has runners on your class’ PE days. We will be working together with both classes to teach the children how to run various relay styles in preparation for Sports Day on Friday, June, 16.

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This Week in Our Room: April 24-28, 2017

Now, look at this adorable little craft. It’s enough to make us go through the alphabet all over again just to get to this cutie-pie Zebra! Thanks again to Pinterest for their awesome alphabet craft inspiration this year. This is the last letter we will make in Kindergarten. Your child should have an (almost) complete set now hanging up at home, so that they can review the letter names and sounds.

It was another BIG week in the Kindergarten. We finished our last Itchy’s Alphabet sheet and this page, along with the zebra, will be sent home next week. It also meant that we completed our Alphabet Book!! Let’s have some thunderous applause (we certainly did in class!). We’ve been talking a lot about perseverance this week, and our children certainly demonstrated that as we made our way through 26 gorgeous pages of printing, drawings and labels over the past eight months. We’re going to add a bit of decoration to the cover and these precious books will be your children’s to keep. It’s time to buy a Rubbermaid container to store all of the wonderful Kindergarten keepsakes we will slowly be sending home.

In Social Studies, we continued with our discussions on Needs and Wants. The children are learning that Needs include food, shelter and clothing, and Wants are things like toys and video games. But to extend the concept, they are also discovering that some Needs, like clothing, can be also be divided into necessary clothing (warm, long sleeved shirt) and clothes we just want to have (branded shirts, fancy runners). We’re very proud of the children who seem to have quite a good understanding that Needs are things that keep us safe and healthy and beginning to articulate this more clearly.

As you know, April is Earth Month. We’ve seen the Earth Rangers, and back in March we watched Dreamrider Productions “Zero Heroes.” At school we have a food waste management program. And we even wrote our own big book!

But we couldn’t let it go by without asking our own Jacqueline and Nic Way (Tyler’s mom and older brother) of http://www.365give.ca to come in for both classes to talk about celebrating our Earth and how we can help to give back to our planet. Our children have an amazing knowledge base of the importance of recycling and they are all familiar with sorting papers, plastic, glass and organic food waste. Many have even been to the dump and know about donating clothes, footwear, toys and books as a means of reusing items. For a special give back to the earth and the honey bees, we planted sunflower seeds which the children will bring home after the plants have sprouted. We’ll be blogging our entire class discussion and activity in the next week.

Very quietly at the back of the classroom, we’ve been working on a special Mother’s Day project….we’re loving listening to your children talk about you It’s very sweet.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Book Exchange – on Tuesday as usual for Division 15 (Mrs. Campbell’s class). Please note that Division 16 (Mrs. Daudlin’s class) will have their book exchange on Thursday due to a conflict with the Ultimate Jamboree for Grade 7s.

Seussical – we’ll be watching a special dress rehearsal for students only on Tuesday morning. Thank you to Ms. Wilson for inviting us to watch our older brothers and sisters and Big Buddies!

The May homework calendar went home this week. Please return April’s calendar to school for a sticker.

We will start our Home Reading Program on Monday so look for a book coming home. We sent a letter regarding this program earlier this week.

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This Week in Our Room: April 18-21, 2017

There’s a sense of change in the air and it’s more than just the late arrival of Spring. We’re at the end of our huge focus on the Alphabet as we completed the letter Y this week. As we were looking through the children’s Alphabet Books in anticipation of last Thursday’s Student Led Conferences, it made us realise the ever increasing pace of the passage of time as we head into our final two months of Kindergarten. We’ve seen remarkable progress over the year and certainly a big jump again since Easter, in self-regulation, refined fine motor skills, emotional maturity and resilience when confronted with conflicts. We still have many fun and exciting activities planned for our classes and look forward to seeing their increasing independence as they approach this unique time of Grade 1’s in training.

Christy and I are feeling particularly nostalgic, and it’s going to get worse, as Christy’s oldest daughter, and my youngest child, my son, are beginning to think about their upcoming high school graduations and all that that entails. They’ve been been accepted by their universities of choice, so now it’s on to scholarship applications. Then, there’s the course finals, the Grade 12 Provincial English exam, graduation banquets and Convocation, not necessarily in that order, but all part of what we’ve got going on this Spring. Kindergarten children moving on to Grade 1, and our own kids moving on to…life.

This week we will complete Alphabet Z. Then, we’re going to have a few catch-up days to finish up the odd Alphabet page your children might have missed from sickness or travel. We will do what we can in class; however, if your children missed a great deal of school or was late to start in Ridgeview Kindergarten, you can certainly finish up the pages at home when we send home the books.

We will be starting our Fairy Tale unit next. We’ve told all the children the next theme for Sharing will be Fairy Tales, so please start talking about what Fairy Tale your child would like to bring to school for us to read aloud. It shouldn’t be more than about 15 minutes long so we can read it during Storytime.

We finished our big unit Numeracy unit this week, culminating with 10 and the delightful book, 10 Black Dots by Donald Crews. Using the frame, “___ dots can be a ___” our children each made a page to contribute to a big book of the same name, which we showcased as part of our Big Books Centre at Student Led Conferences. In the same way we revisit Patterns, Sorting and Classifying all year, we will continue to integrate Numeracy in our upcoming Math units on Geometry and Measurement.

On Wednesday we saw our Big Buddies, and started decorating our classrooms for Spring with our cute little robins. Our Buddies also brought books about Spring with them for a cosy Big Buddy Little Buddy reading time.

Of course, our big focus this past week was Student Led Conferences. The children were very excited to have you visit our classrooms so they could present their work. We just love watching our children with you, your deep love for one another and your interest and pleasure in looking at their printed letters, iMovies and colourful art work. One of the most fun things we did to prepare for you was walk through all the Centres and pretend we were “Mum.” Many of the children call us “Mum” by accident at school when they are super excited to show us something (“Hey Mum, I mean…”), an emergency bathroom visit (“Mum, I need to go…I mean…”) or they’ve had a spill on the table “MUM!” So imagine the smiles and giggles as we questioned and praised our “daughters” and “sons” for practise at each Centre! We would like to thank everyone for your kind and thoughtful words in our Guest Book. We both feel very privileged to be your child’s first schoolteacher and to participate in their learning, development and understanding of what it means to be a Ridgeview Dragon.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Book Exchange is on Tuesday. Please bring your book back to school and into the classroom so it can be placed in the Library Book Bag.

Our class photo and school panorama photo will be taken on Friday, May 5! Please mark this important date on your calendar because we will want every student to be at school that day. Kindergarten classes usually have their photos taken first (while we are still neat and tidy, before we eat at recess) so it’s important to be on time for school as we mobilize very quickly following the morning bell.

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