This Week in Our Room:  April 8-12, 2019

As the March Hare said, “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.  For a very important date!” Sorry we’re late with the newsletter.  It was a very busy week and weekend so we will just look at some of the highlights!

W is a watermelon…the children loved making the adorable watermelons.  Everybody had a story to tell about the seeds (spitting, spitting, and more spitting) and we all agreed it was the best and juiciest part of summer living.  Our Ws looked pretty amazing as well!

During the final term in Kindergarten Social Studies, we spend some good discussion time talking about the differences between Need and Wants.  The children really seem to understand the subtle differences (“I don’t need a puppy but I really, really WANT a puppy!”) and they have a realistic concept of the kinds of things they need to live (a sense of belonging, food, water, shelter, education) and the kinds of things they wish for, or want.  We’re so proud of them for openly sharing their feelings and the strong sense of family we have in our classrooms makes that possible.

We’re learning about geometric shapes during Math and have introduced the concept of two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes.  The children are learning that circles are round and flat but spheres are round with a ball or globe like shape. They are having an opportunity to complete fun “shape hunts” around the classroom and using shapes in their student response activities.

We saw our Buddies on Friday to make our Easter Bunny Baskets in the hopes that the Easter Bunny might make an early appearance in Divisions 15 and 16.

We made these beautiful patterned Easter eggs in anticipation of the Easter Bunny’s arrival  

By far the most exciting activity we did this week was begin our scheduled time for Forest Play on Friday.  Mr. Schofield’s Grade 4 students took the time to go over with us all the safety rules for playing in the forest during Kindergarten when we together.

-rain boots for creek play

-boundaries include the far ends of the creek

-no tree climbing or creek splashing

-leaves, flowers and berries stay on the plants

What a marvellous time the children had exploring up and down the creek, crawling over rocks, tree roots and stumps using sticks to help them.  It’s the best kind of play–free play with time to explore and investigate to one’s heart’s content.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Friday, April 19-Good Friday (school is not in session)

Monday, April 22-Easter Monday (school is not in session)

Wednesday, April 24–Student Led Conferences (2 pm dismissal)

Our Return to School and the Third Term Begins…This Week in Our Room: April 1-5, 2019

Well, we blinked and then it was suddenly April.  And in the same way we see the cherry trees, spring bulbs and flowers blooming and growing, so are the Kindergarten children.  We took a good look at our children sitting on the alphabet carpet and noticed they were taking up a lot of space in each square!  There are long legs, big eyes and huge smiles everywhere!  But we’re not letting ourselves get too far ahead to start talking about next year.  We have been working very hard to settle back into class and we have many special activities ahead.

The beginning of a new term is always a good time to review our classroom rules, routines and expectations.  Our children have come to understand that rules and routines keep the classroom predictable so they can feel safe, and so they know what is expected not only of themselves, but their classmates.  As the children this year are only five years old, turning six, there are going to be many instances where they forget the rule, cannot remember the routine or perhaps didn’t realize that touching others without asking is unexpected behaviour.  

As Kindergarten teachers we always take the time to review expected vs. unexpected behaviour and the classroom rules and routines (what is your job?).  Sometimes, we have to ask students to take a break (time to breathe, time to get a drink of water, time to sit away from others) so we can go over with them what happened in the course of their decision-making process.  We’re pleased to note that an overwhelming desire to please their teachers means that most of the time everyone listens carefully, shares and cooperate and tries to be mindful of the feelings of others.  Growing up is a work in progress (Christy and I have young adults entering their 20s, and we keep reminding ourselves daily that brain development continues until their early 30s, so it looks like we’re all in this for the long-haul).  We couldn’t be happier with the beautiful development and maturity of our Kinder cuties!

We are in the countdown now as we completed V is a vine this week!  This is such a simple, but pretty craft, and the children will bring theirs home in the next few days.  Our alphabet wall is almost complete!

We heard that Easter is just around the corner, so that means creating Easter egg themed April Self-Portraits and making sparkle eggs to decorate the classroom.  Our little bunnies did a really amazing job – there was a lot of colouring, cutting and arranging in those self-portraits!

Friday was our last day to complete our Penguin Digital Literacy projects with our Big Buddies.  You are going to have a wonderful treat when you see these amazing digital books we made on the app “Book Creator.”  The children have completed some very fine research, gathered pictures from the internet and completed their voiceovers.  We have a couple of technical things to do next and then you will see them at our Science Centre during Student-Led Conferences (SLC) on Wednesday, April 24.  We will send out more information about what to expect for your child’s SLC in a couple of weeks.

This week’s big project was painting the beautiful platters for the Ridgeview RPAC Family FUNdraiser Auction on Friday, April 26.  You will have a chance to bid and win one if you come to the FUNdraiser!!  You must buy tickets to attend this event.  Please see Thursday’s Ridgeview e-bulletin which provides you with more information.

During Spring Break at Bella Ceramica in West Vancouver, Christy and I prepared these platters by first marking out with an “x” in pencil where the centre of each flower would go; these are each covered with 3 coats of paint which we made with the eraser end of a pencil.

Back at school, the children fingerpainted five petals for their flower, twice, for each platter.  We wrote their names in pencil.  We are so fortunate that Ms. Wilson, our Big Buddy Grade 7 teacher, is also an amazing artist.  She did the calligraphy for each of the children’s names, the vines “to connect all of you together” and the leaves.

These photos show the platters just before firing.  

Special thanks to Abigail and Finlay’s moms in their role as Room Parents for their financial organisation of this project.  We just got to have fun and paint!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Our classes have been invited to see “Clean-Up Your Act” by DreamRider Productions on Monday morning.  We will be learning how litter, graffiti and vandalism affect our communities and what we can do to help protect our public spaces.

Please return your Library Books on Monday as we have Library in the afternoon.

Division 15 (Mrs. Campbell) has PE on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Division 16 (Mrs. Daudlin) has PE on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Please remember to have runners at school on those days.

Please note these dates for your April/May Calendar:

Monday, April 15 – Earth Rangers presentation for children

Friday, April 19 – Good Friday – school is not in session

Monday, April 22 – Easter Monday – school is not in session

Wednesday, April 24 – Student Led Conferences (2 pm dismissal)

Friday, April 26 – Ridgeview RPAC Family FUNdraiser (6-8:30 pm)

Friday, May 3 – Class Photos/Panorama Photo

 

We Say Good-Bye to Winter and Get Ready for Spring: This Week in Our Room: March 11-15, 2019

It was amazing to us how quickly the past ten weeks flew by.  We’ve already finished the second term of Kindergarten!  The  children were certainly feeling the progression of time and thinking about how much some of them were going to miss coming to school while we were all on Spring Break.  Although we might talk about the school break “a change of pace” or “time for a break” it is not lost on us how much the classroom and friendships mean to many children.

We had a quiet, although very productive, week at school.  We have suddenly arrived at the letter U in our alphabet work.  Over the term, we’ve become quite particular about the printing of the children’s names, encouraging the class to always start their name with an uppercase letter, then follow through with lowercase.  It’s been a hard transition for some, especially if they have been printing in all uppercase letters since their preschool days.  We will continue working on this at school, as you can in reminding your child when they are printing their names on papers and cards at home.

We finished our work on the number 7 for math.  In addition to all that we see in what  they are learning about number sense, counting and flexibility in their thinking about number, we’re also really delighted to see the children’s social and emotional growth in their small groupings.  

We typically create the math groups and designate seating for written work all through the year so our class is continually getting to work with everyone, strengthening new friendships while maintaining the ones they have from previous years.  We believe the children should form as many friendships as possible; having just a “best friend” does not always work out, as we know from experience.  Children get an opportunity to be a leader (putting away the math materials in their special places in the classroom), practise sharing and taking turns, help each other out and get to learn about their classmates in ways other than free and outside play.  

The children sang one of their showpiece numbers, “Ev’rybody Wants to be a Cat” from Disney’s “The Aristocats” at our term end school assembly on Thursday.  They are so musical and the cat hairbands helped everyone to “meow” their very best.  Also performing at the assembly were the Grades Two/Three and Grades Six/Seven singing groups, and the Grade Six and Grade Seven Concert bands.  It was a musical morning for sure!

On Friday morning we were privileged to have a small group of parents talk to the Kindergarten classes about the Persian holiday, Norouz, and the “Haft Seen” Table.  The children were very interested, and it was a valuable learning opportunity for everyone to learn and appreciate the diverse cultural backgrounds of our Ridgeview families.  The children enjoyed some delicious treats afterwards and quickly ate over five dozen cookies between them.  Thank you to our parent volunteers for organizing this special event!

We wish you all a safe and relaxing Spring Break!  We will see everyone in two weeks time!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

April’s Calendar:

Monday, April 1 – School re-opens for the Third Term

Wednesday, April 17 – Do 1 Give (more information to follow)

Friday, April 19 – Good Friday (school is not in session)

Monday, April 22 – Easter Monday (school is not in session)

Wednesday,  April 24 – Student Led Conferences (early dismissal at 2 pm)

Friday, April 26 – Ridgeview’s Family FundRaiser (more information to follow)

 

Kindergarten in Bloom:  This Week in Our Room: March 4-8, 2018

We know it’s not much to look at but here is the first harbinger of Spring to come. Those poor crocuses appeared before the snows of last week. Talk about resilience in the face of all kinds of adversity….The children were charmed by the snow showers that fell and insisted on a quick runaround on the blacktop for an end-of-winter-thrill.

It’s been another power packed week full of activity in the Kindergarten, not the least of which was the three birthdays in Division 16, Buddies and a concert put on WVSS Concert Band and Concert Choir!  

We are galloping along the Alphabet trail and made these wonderful little “t is a tree” with paper squares and sparkling sequin berries.  The children’s brainstorming for T has become quite sophisticated.

We’re always changing up our Math Rotations activities for the children.  Currently, we’re focusing on sets 5-9, with an emphasis on number 6 this past week.  Besides creating sets (treasure boxes) and matching numerals to sets (Math Their Way Workjobs red game boxes), the children have been using rolling dice to record number formations with bingo marker towers and double-sided bean counters for more work on hierarchical inclusion.  

Hierarchical inclusion means understanding how do numbers relate to each other (that a number contains all of the previous numbers).  While using their double-sided bean counters, the children are learning about various combinations to 6. They are always so surprised each time they “spill” the beans to find that the two numbers make 6.  So in this fun, play based activity, our children are learning that 6 and 0, 1 and 5, 2 and 4 and 3 and 3 all relate to each in that their “spilled” combination (no matter what the order) always adds up to 6.

We made our monthly Self-Portraits for March on these cutie penguin backgrounds.

Friday morning saw the West Vancouver Secondary Concert Band, conducted by Mr. Justin Ratzburg, and the Concert Choir, under the direction of Mrs. Suzanne Fulton, arrive at our gym for a fantastic concert.  Ridgeview students can join our school band program in Grade 6 and 7; from there, they can register for Concert Band in Grade 8. Starting in Grade 9, WVSS offers programs in Orchestra, Jazz Band, Rock Band or students may continue in Concert Band.  

Currently, Ridgeview students are involved in singing programs at the school.  Upon registering at for Grade 8, WVSS students can join the Concert Choir without any prior experience, audition for the Chamber Choir or audition for the West Vancouver Honour Choirs which represent our entire school district.  

We rounded out our week with a second digital literacy session with our Big Buddies. We have now progressed to using the app Book Creator to record our research. Each Buddy pair is creating a digital book with a title page and dedication, individual pages for different aspects of penguin (habitat, appearance, young, food) and voice-overs. These will be ready for your viewing at Student-Led Conferences on Wednesday, April 26. Please save this date on your calendar. We will have an early dismissal at 2 pm and you and your child will return to school for your appointed conference time.

As you know from the first Report Card, we include a Self-Reflection of the children’s learning for each Term.  They did a wonderful job of really thinking about what was important for them in Kindergarten this Spring….

…and an even better job of representing their learning!  How cute is that?

Reminders and Upcoming Events

Please return all Library Books.  We will not be taking out new books for Spring Break to allow Mrs. Kennedy to do some inventory.

Early dismissal at 2pm on Friday, March 15th. Report cards will also be sent home that day.

 

Spring is Around the Corner (We Hope):  This Week in Our Room: February 25 – March 1, 2019

We’re almost done with the snow.  It’s melting away and we noticed the first of the spring bulbs starting to appear in our home and school gardens.  It’s a welcome relief after this long spell of cold weather, snow boots, mittens and toques.

We were so happy to have a full week of school — really, nobody is more relieved than the teachers as there is always SO MUCH going on in the Kindergarten.

We’re officially over the hump of the alphabet – this week was “S” and our craft was “s is a snake.”  These are totally adorable and will make a welcome addition to your alphabet wall at home.

We’ve made it halfway through our numeracy stations.  We’ve been working on the number 5 (tricky to print, no doubt about it) and playing with 5 and 10 frames.  We’ve been rolling the dice, as it were, to create numbers to 10 using double sided counters for each number.  It’s a great way to teach our children dot pattern recognition and subitizing (the dice), building sets to 10 and part-whole relationships (the number of objects remains the same even they they are arranged spatially).

In Social Studies we’ve continued talking about our Families and the number of people in our families.  We read The Family Book by Todd Parr and the children created this graph:

Thank you to everyone for dressing up in pink on February 27 to promote Anti-Bullying Awareness, or as we like to say, prosocial behaviour so our children understand the importance of empathy and compassion and the ways in which they treat one another. Some of those familiar sayings such as “Treat others as you wish to be treated” and “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” may seem trite but their meaning is just as powerful as it was 50-60 years ago. Right now, phrases we’re using often are “Helpful hands, not hurting hands” and asking “Is that a helpful comment or a hurtful comment” to delineate at a simple level the difference for our children.

As we mentioned in Remind this week, it was a double-header of the best kind– Big Buddies and a Popcorn Sale!  We saw our Big Buddies this week to conclude our research on the penguin (habitat, appearance, food, young, characteristics) and began using the app Book Creator to record our research and insert photos from the internet. Thank you so much to our BFF and West Vancouver District Innovation Teacher (Technology), Ms. Cari Wilson for assisting us with our annual digital literacy project. You’ll be able to view this amazing digital books at Student-Led Conferences in April.

We’ve been having a lot of fun with Sharing this term.  The collections have been so much fun, from small cars to rocks, Pokemon to Paw Patrol, stuffed animals to LEGO figures.  This will be the last round of Sharing before Spring Break. We will start a new theme when we return.

 

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Book Exchange for both classes on Monday.  We have had many browsers lately so please help to remind your child to put their library book into their backpacks Sunday night.

We will be back to the gym this week to continue our work with small equipment and the physical literacy skills of running, hopping, throwing, and kicking.  Please wear runners for our gym days (Tuesdays and Thursdays)

March Scholastic Orders went home this week.  Order forms are due next Friday, March 8th.

If you are leaving early  or arriving back later from Spring Break please let us know so we can let the office know about the upcoming absences.

 

February Fun Part 2:  This Week in Our Room:  February 19-22, 2019

Well, the past two weeks have been a bit discombobulating since our last newsletter.  A lot has happened so let’s have a quick review of where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to.

Monday, February 11 started off innocently enough, but then the snow came that night, which was immediately followed by a Snow Day!  We know this was a very exciting day for our little ones as we do not often get a lot of snow in the Vancouver area. And we were happy to extend their playtimes back at school the next day so the children could run in the deeper snow on the field, roll snowballs, make snow angels and climb on top of the huge snowballs made by the Intermediate students.  For some of the children, we know this fun time with friends in the snow might be remembered as one of the best days of the year!

No sooner did we get the snow jackets, gloves, mittens and boots sorted out then it was Valentine’s Day!  What a very special day for our children, many of whom had not experienced the giving and receiving of Valentine cards, sweets and mementos.  We were touched by the many hand-made Valentines and hand-written cards from the children. The children loved dropping their Valentines in the card holder bags and it was fun for them to peek inside and see how full their own bags were becoming.

We would also like to thank all of you for our own sweet Valentine’s.  While the chocolates and gifts are so thoughtful and appreciated, we also love to look at the dear little cards and see how the children’s printing has changed over the year.  Card writing is a wonderful, purposeful writing activity that we hope you continue with your family over the years.

In between all of this winter excitement we somehow finished our printing of the letter Q while continuing to work on developing number sense in Math.  We introduced a new activity, “bean spills,” with double sided counters to explore the possible number combinations we could make to 4. We’ll be using this strategy again with other numbers.

We also finished our pastel watercolour resist paintings of Lon Po Po by Ed Young, which are absolutely spectacular.  In these paintings we focused on the setting of the story.  The children did an amazing job drawing with pastels and they very much enjoyed using tempera paint pucks for the watercolour wash.  We’ve cut and mounted the paintings in panel style which is a traditional Chinese art form.

Well, we’ve made it to the Family Day weekend and where were we?  Christy and I were in San Francisco attending a Learning and the Brain Conference — Educating with Empathy:  Cultivating Kindness, Compassion, Cooperation and Good Behaviour. Our heads are swirling with outstanding presentations, research and practise, new books, mindfulness and meditation, self-regulation, strategies and a lot of fresh thinking for us — good thing for our flexible mindset!  

We learned a lot of new ideas at this conference, but we also had a lot of our beliefs about our current teaching practise confirmed.  We know that self-regulation is the foundation of the children’s development and learning. When the children are regulated, they are able calm and ready to learn.  When the children are ready to learn, they can focus on where to look (their teacher, the book, the lesson) and what to listen for (directions, instructions, procedure).  In Kindergarten, our children are learning how to learn. This is absolutely essential, not only in the teaching and learning of academic knowledge, but in the teaching and learning of the social and emotional skills of empathy, kindness and compassion.  We will be sharing the mindfulness and self-regulation strategies we learned with our children so we can support them in being the best learners they can be.

Our return post-holiday found ourselves catching up on work we had set aside.  We can’t compete with snow and chocolate! In our study on Families, we read the delightful I Love You book by Todd Parr.  We brainstormed about the different ways in which our families show how much they love us.  We made these beautiful drawings with our ideas scribed for us by the teachers.

It was our Sweat Workshop on Wednesday with our WV Physical Literacy Teachers and sweat we did!  Wow! What amazing energy from the Kindergarten and Grade 1 children – that’s about 80 children in the gym together working through a locomotor movement warm-up and then a series of stations including squats, planks, incline push-ups and knee to elbow movements.  Although we tried to take photos of our athletes, they were moving too fast. We were able to get a final picture, though, of everyone at rest.

We apologise for not more advance notice about Pyjama Day on Thursday but I read the staff e-mail incorrectly and thought it was postponed (this was all happening at the same time as my school e-mail was in a state of flux but it’s finally been fixed) so thank goodness you are all reading the Ridgeview Bulletin!  The children looked very cute and cozy in their jammies….

So we are finally here at Friday, wrapping up the busiest two weeks ever.  We completed our colourful “r is a rainbow” so we’re back on track for our alphabet work.

And what a better way to end off the week with Buddies!  We saw our Big Buddies today and started the research for our penguin digital literacy projects.  We look forward to showing you this very special activity during our Student Led Conferences in April.

Our newsletter has reach gargantuan lengths so consider yourselves caught up until next week!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Day tomorrow so please return books for book exchange

Wednesday, February 27th is PINK Shirt Day

Each year, on PINK T-Shirt Day, we encourage students to wear something pink to symbolize that we as a school and a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere….at school, in the workplace, at home, and over the Internet. It is important that all of us and especially victims of bullying know that they are not alone and there is help and support available. Wearing a pink shirt on this day sends a strong message to them that others care. Often, the simple act of wearing a shirt can start conversations – conversations can be a big step towards healing and helping!

Friday, March 1 is Popcorn Day.  Popcorn bags will be on sale for $2 per bag.  Send in a toonie any day this week as we will pre-order the bags Friday morning

 

February Fun Part 1:  This Week in Our Room:  February 4-8, 2019

February is off to a cold start with our below zero temperatures.  We’re expecting the children are going to wear warm coats at morning and lunch recess, even if they are driven to school.  Please remember to show your child how to do up their zipper (we’re happy to help during Kindergarten but all children should be independent before Grade One) on their jackets.  And toque and gloves are necessary winter accoutrements right now! To make things a little easier for the children, we’re trying to teach them to put on their coats and do up their jackets BEFORE they put on their gloves.  It’s a tricky process, dressing for the cold weather, but there you have it – we’re in the middle of a Canadian winter!

To keep the frosty temperatures at bay, we decided to keep warm and cuddly with this adorable “q is for quilt” craft!  The children loved all of the pretty scrapbook paper designs and did a very nice job of attractively arranging all the “quilt squares.”  Qq is a difficult letter to print with all of its parts (around and close, down, dig, slide up), but we were so pleased our children’s efforts!

We had a very exciting Thursday at the Multicultural and Diversity Day Celebration in our own Ridgeview Gym.  What an amazing mix of colours, sounds and smells to excite the senses! Our children visited various countries to see the visual displays, participated in cultural activities games and collected their “passport” stamps.  Their Grade 7 Buddies were laden with the lanterns and goodie bags of collectables belonging to their Kindergarten Buddies. Thank you so very much to the RPAC for sponsoring this amazing event for Ridgeview students.

 

For Chinese New Year in our classroom, we read some delightful stories, including a new publication, Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee and Joey Chou, which focuses on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  We invited the children to celebrate with some fun activities, including making Chinese banners, lycee bags and using tangrams. We even did some decorating with these colourful dragons!

 

We’ve had a challenging time of illness at Ridgeview this past week.  We have many children with very bad coughs, fevers, runny noses and fatigue.  If your children are sick, particularly vomiting, coughing and with fever, please keep them at home. We’ve mentioned this before as we are unable to look after sick children at school.  We know your children still want to attend school, but they simply do not have the energy or stamina to complete regular classroom activities (sharing, taking turns and playing cooperatively with others comes quickly to mind) which includes going outside for playtime.  As parents, we make the decision for our children to stay home.  Although it might be inconvenient for you to have to stay home with your sick one, as a school community we must also consider the “greater good,” which in this case means we want the classroom to be a healthy place for everyone.

Our last health note is a reminder for you from our Public Health Nurse.  At Kindergarten Entry there are various boosters your children should be receiving.  If your children’s immunizations are now up to date, please send a copy of their records to school or to NSimmunizations@vch.ca.  If your child still needs their latest immunizations, you are able to make an appointment through your local Community Health Centre.  Questions? Please come in and speak to us. We’re happy to help.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Library Book Exchange this Monday.  Please return your book.

We will be exchanging Valentine’s Day cards next week.  We made these pretty card holder bags with our Big Buddies on Friday.  In Kindergarten, we write a card for each child in our class and put the cards into the individual bags.  We will tie up the bags for you to open at home with your child on Thursday.

Friday, February 15:  Reading Break – school is not in session

Monday, February 18:  Family Day – school is not in session