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.

Autumn Interlude:  This Week in Our Room:  October 15-18, 2018

We always find this week before Hallowe’en preparations really get going a bit of a holding pattern.  We’ve put up a few decorations (so as not to overly take away from our self-regulated classrooms), strung a few lights around the room and have started working on a few crafts in anticipation of the BIG DAY.  In an informal classroom poll, deciding between Hallowe’en and Christmas as the classroom favourite produced some intriguing numbers, until we realized the participants were voting twice….

Last week we traced, cut out and glued together our Hallowe’en Wreaths with our Big Buddies.  This week we added a lot of special details so create a beautiful bulletin board display in our classroom.

We also painted the bat bodies for a cutie-pie bat craft we will finish next week during our Hallowe’en Centres party on Thursday, October 25 in the morning.  In Kindergarten, Christy and I like to have seasonal celebrations for our classes but we also like them to be productive. So now that our children have learned about Centres and rotating between the numbered tables in our classrooms (1-5), we’re applying that routine to something fun and new – crafts and activities on a Hallowe’en theme.  

There’s no need for children to dress up in costume, but if they would like to wear a fun Hallowe’en t-shirt or Hallowe’en headpiece (no masks, please), then that would be lovely.  I’m trying to decide whether to wear my Witch’s Hat or Hallowe’en Princess Crown. Decisions, decisions….

A very important event this week was starting work in our Alphabet Books.  We’ve been working on the loose Alphabet pages from A-D up till now. We’ve sorted and collated everybody’s pages and cerlox bound them into the children’s Alphabet Books and they are gorgeous (both children and the book).  We’re so proud of our classes for learning to follow a routine for printing their names in pencil, printing the alphabet letters and drawing and labelling pictures that begin with the letter of the week. We teach and model each and every step, and will continue to do for the rest of the year for all the letters.  We’re really encouraging the children to use the lowercase letters we’ve taught in their names instead of uppercase and it’s exciting to see this transition.

We’re continuing with Our Personal Identity in the Community and the Natural World portion of our Kindergarten Curriculum.  Earlier, we read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, about a little girl who overcomes teasing about her name, Chrysanthemum, when she starts school.  With the support of her loving parents and Music teacher, she comes to love and and appreciate her beautiful name. We explain to our children that the very first gift they receive from you after being born, is their name, a most precious and special gift, indeed.

We had some fun searching through the magnetic letters the children used at their Welcome to Kindergarten visit to find the letters for their names.  It was thrilling to hear them talking about the letters as being uppercase or lowercase, knowing they have substituted in uppercase letters for lowercase letters (we had a shortage of lowercase “a” and “n”) and everybody helping each other out to complete their names.  A quick counting of letters and an autumn picture completed our activity.

This week ended with an Earthquake Drill and full evacuation.  We had informed the children ahead of time, had a practise so that when we actually had the Drill, there were no surprises.

We’re going to really miss our children for the next few days.  It will be the first long separation since school started – 4 days and 1.5 hours.  They are starting to find their stride now as settled Kindergarten children. We see the children’s listening skills continuing to improve, they are remembering on purpose and waiting for the teacher to  give instructions before independently starting their own work — all important parts of their self-regulation.  So enjoy these beautiful autumn days and time together with your children. We know they will be growing even more mature with all of the sunshine that’s expected for the next little white.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Friday, October 19 is a Professional Development Day.  School is not in session for students.

Monday, October 22 is a Non-Instructional Day.  School is not in session for students.

Please return your Library books for Tuesday.  We are going to try to reschedule our Library time from Monday.

Wednesday, October 24 is the Ridgeview Family Skate.  

Thursday is our Hallowe’en Centres Party as noted above.

 

 

Autumn Medley:  This Week in Our Room:  October 9-12, 2018

After the holiday weekend, it was hard to get our usual rhythm this week at school. Sometimes we find that when we miss our Mondays and not going to Library and Music on our regular days.  But on this gorgeous Sunday as we write up the newsletter for our short week, it seems we were still very productive and have made some very good progress in all areas of our learning.

Boho Birds… Beyond Adorable!

This week we’re most proud of the beautiful boho birds we made for “theCardProject,” which is an RPAC fundraiser for our school.  Each classroom teacher selects an art project to make with his or her class, and these often incredible pieces of art are turned into cards, journals and other stationery items.  We’ve written a charming blog post detailing all of our children’s efforts which we will post and you can read later this week (and also the reason why this newsletter is late).

For now, let us say how very, very proud we are of our KinderArtists who each made a sweet birdie using mixed media.  It was so fun to work with our children, who were the best of listeners and followed many directions incredibly well. We are always uncertain about how well our art project will be received by the children.  As to be expected in Kindergarten, the range of their fine motor skills is vast; we’re trying to find a project that they can all do mostly independently, feel pride and accomplishment, yet is lovely enough beyond the eyes of the artist (it is a fundraiser, after all).

But this year we think have something very special.  We know you are going to love the children’s little birds and purchase some thoughtful gifts for yourself and your extended family members (you’ll also get the original art as well which is definitely frame worthy– priceless!)

We worked on the letter “d” this week, pasting beautiful paper diamonds to a lowercase d.  In a moment of thrift, we used up the leftover pieces of scrapbook paper from the boho birds to make some very pretty diamonds.

We’re taking our PE classes outside right now with the good weather because this might not happen again.  We have been working on fitness, using the playground circuit and we introduced the agility ladder as well following the Physical Literacy (PL) Assessment last week.  The Foundation Skills of running, hopping, jumping, throwing and kicking are ones we will be focusing on (we also review skipping and galloping). We’re using the agility ladder to add excitement and challenge for our children whose PL skills are already well developed.  Part of the assessment was also the vocabulary, comprehension, and ability to follow the instructions given by the PL teachers, which we will follow-up with in class.

More fun…and art…on Friday with our Big Buddies.  Now, we know we just had Thanksgiving but we realized we wouldn’t see our Buddies again until October 26 (Professional Day on October 19) so we had to make start our Hallowe’en Wreaths.  (We personally realise it’s all about perspective when we saw the Christmas decorations and decor in Michaels and HomeSense this weekend, and the Hallowe’en bits and pieces were on clearance, but we digress….).  So to keep our excitement in check, we decided to just trace our templates (ghost, moon, pumpkin, bat) and glue them on and save the decorating (once we’ve located our Hallowe’en stickers) for the week ahead. Although we had some sad faces (Grade 7s, not the Kinders), we know we’ll be happier working on Hallowe’en crafts the closer we get to Hallowe’en!  Christy and I are not one for rushing through each celebration and holiday. We like to savour and enjoy it for what it is…part of our self-regulation.

Thank you again to Mrs. Kennedy, our Teacher-Librarian, for squeezing us all in our Tuesday so we could have our new Library books.

We also wish to formally welcome our UBC Teacher Candidates (Student Teachers) Miss Ellis and Mr. Pang to Ridgeview Kindergarten.  They will be visiting on Thursdays to observe your Kindergarten Teachers, and have a two-week practicum in November. In the new year, they will continue their weekly visit and have an extended practicum in the Spring.  Christy and I are known as School Advisors and we will be observing and evaluating their practise teaching, along with a UBC Faculty Advisor.

Christy and I both had amazing practise teaching experiences (Christy right here at Ridgeview; and mine was in the Saanich School District) with very knowledgeable, experience School Advisors.  Although we’ve had quite a few Teacher Candidates come through our classrooms over the years, it is always our Professional responsibility to mentor today’s promising young people in the most worthwhile and satisfying helping profession, that of TEACHER.  

Finally, our heartfelt thanks to our BFF and webmaster extraordinaire, Ms. Cari Wilson (Innovation Teacher for Technology) @kayakcari for creating our new header for theselfregulatedteacher.com.  It is gorgeous and we love it! Thanks, Cari!!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

There’s lots for the next few days…

Monday is Library Book Exchange.  Please return your Library Book to get a new one.

Thursday, October 18 is Early Dismissal for all students at 1:30 pm.

Friday, October 19 is a Professional Development Day.  School is not in session for students.

Monday, October 22 is a Non-Instructional Day.  School is not in session for students.