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.

Boho Birds

As you know, all Ridgeview students participate in the RPAC (Ridgeview Parents Advisory Council) fundraiser, “theCardProject.”  Each student creates a piece of art work, which is then used as cards, journals and other stationery items. You’ll be able to purchase these items with your child’s art in the next few weeks.  Right now, we’re in the process of completing our project.

For the Kindergarten, we are making these delightful boho birds, based on Pattern Birds from DeepSpaceSparkle, an outstanding website and resource of art ideas for educators.  We belong to the “Sparklers Club” (of course we do) which gives us further access to amazing projects we can make with your children. These projects are multi-step, complex and incorporate the fine motor skills not all children have had the opportunity to develop.  We do a lot of tracing, cutting, pasting, drawing and painting in class. The activities also require the children to use the “big” skills of focusing on a task, listening carefully to instructions and following teacher directions. It also requires the children to “peer reference” which means look to others if you’re not certain of what you’re doing, or to confirm that you are on the right track!

These spectacular birds took us two full art classes and two small group sessions to complete.  On Day One each child drew a large “U” or smile shape with pastel on their ½ sheet of construction paper for the bird body.  Then they drew a stitching line on the inside of the smile line and cut the body out independently.

We had painted paper earlier in the week.  One of the many great things about working with Christy is we like to divide and conquer so can get twice the benefit for our children.  We each painted paper for two colours, cut the strips and shared them between our classes. We’ve been working on patterns in Math so the children created an AB pattern with the open space and painted paper (any opportunity to integrate and layer the learning, we will do). The children glued on the painted paper strips, turned the bird over and trimmed off the extras.  The final step was teaching a variety of lines (stitched, wavy, zig zag) and dots to make the pastel pattern lines in the open spaces.

After we had finished our first session, one of the children asked, “Were we in the green zone?”  And our answer? A hearty “YES!” because we know the depth of self-regulation this art project required, and we were so pleased the children were concentrating diligently to follow the steps in sequence.

Day Two saw us working as a class on the bird heads.  After choosing their pre-cut head, we gave each child a small black construction paper dot to glue onto white construction paper to cut and make an eye.  They each chose five diamond shapes we pre-cut from scrapbook paper to form the crown and beak. We asked the children to put gluestick on half the diamond and place it on their bird.  After we glued the head onto the bodies we felt our birds were really taking flight.

We worked in small, teacher-led groups during Activity Time to finish our birds.  We asked the children to select, fold and cut scrapbook paper for the legs, cut out construction paper claws and glue on the paper feathers for the tail.

On our last day we had some fun layering in feathers on top of the paper feathers and let the white liquid glue dry overnight.  

We weren’t sure we were going to make the deadline of October 11 to finish our sweet birdies. But make it we did, although we never like to rush in Kindergarten.  The children are learning that time and patience are necessary requirements to make something they take can pride in, and want to say, “I made it myself!” We’ve said several times we like projects that take several days to complete so our children can learn about pacing themselves, anticipation and enjoyment of the process.  Nothing is worse than rushing and feeling that completion of an assignment is a competition, where everyone must be first.

In thinking back on our boho birds, creating and expressing themselves by making great art is another excellent self-regulation strategy for the children.  While we may choose to walk, run or deep breathe, Christy and I also know (as long time crafters) that the sight, smell and textures of paint, coloured paper, pastels and scissors goes a long way in helping us to down-regulate after a tough situation or long day.  Our hands are busy, our minds focus on the task at hand and the possibility of “what might be” after our efforts hovers over us.

One of the things we love as teachers is being to share our love of fun and creative activities with our children, so they can use them to help lift their mood, or simply relax.  So when we get to work on a fun mixed media project such as this, we think we’re headed in the right direction. We’ll be making another big project soon, so check back with us to see how it’s going.

Thank you again to Patti Palmer of Deep Space Sparkle for her inspiration!

 

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.

 

A Kindergarten Thanksgiving: This Week in Our Room: October 1-5, 2018

At this time of the year, there’s always plenty of reasons to give thanks and we can’t think of a better one than a great start to school!  Our Kindergarten children have worked extremely hard for the past five weeks.  They are settling in well to their classrooms, making new friends and learning the importance of looking at and listening to the teacher.

In Kindergarten, we spend a large part of each day reviewing and reinforcing classroom routines.  Establishing and following classroom routines is an essential part of understanding what it’s like to be a student at school.  In Kindergarten, the foundation for learning Christy and I build is preparation for the many years of schooling ahead.  In the past few weeks the children have learned:

-how to quietly enter the classroom and settle down with books

-stand to sing “O Canada” with the rest of the school respectfully, and with pride

-find their snack bags and water bottle, choose a seat at the tables and wash their hands

-ask to use the washrooms and use them independently

-set the tables with school supplies and tidy up after themselves

-borrow and return a school Library Book, and put them in the Library Book Bag

-line-up, hands to self, when we transition between activities

-locate where to print their name on a page

No wonder everybody is tired at the end of the day!  But this is a tiny fraction of all the children have learned to do.  You can read more about what your children know in a previous post, Our Kindergarten Classroom Routines.

We were really busy during Turkey week (but then again, when are we not?)  We applied our knowledge of simple math patterns (AB, ABC) to our turkey feathers.  

We read several Thanksgiving books as our inspiration for our “Leaves of Thanks.”  The children did a great job with their brainstorming about what they were thankful for.  We know that children are thankful for what is close to their hearts — their family and friends.  It’s all very special.

I am thankful for:

-my family

-kisses from my parents

-love and flowers and hearts

-dancing and listening to music

-walking across the street with my mom

-lights everywhere

-my sister

-my friends and cousins

-the clean air we breathe

-rainbows

-the world

-feeding

-winter and snowmen

-our Kindergarten classroom and teachers

-apples

-the kittens I’m am getting after my renovation is done

-my auntie

-being outside in nature

-my dog

-hugging my brother

-the white puppy my mom is going to buy me

-feeding the ducks

The District Physical Literacy teachers also completed their assessments this week.  The children ran “there and back,” hopped, threw overhand, kicked a ball and walked backwards so we could look at their balance.  This information is to create a baseline so we know the areas to focus on during PE instruction for our classes, not only for skills but for comprehension of the concepts and instructions.  We were thankful for a gorgeous sunny day that the children could be outside and participating in the physical tasks that were set out for them.

It’s the holiday weekend so we want to wish everyone a Happy Turkey Day.  We’re looking forward to catching up with our own children who are returning home from University for the next few days.  We can honestly say that time goes by very quickly when you have children; it feels like our kids were just in Kindergarten themselves and now they are young people starting their lives and creating individual paths for themselves.  The time when your children are young is very, very precious.  Take the opportunity to be present with them to enjoy the magical adventure of their childhood.  There’s so much that we all have to be thankful for.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Please keep track of the calendar for Sharing and Special Helper so you know when it’s your child’s turn.  We do not allow children to bring in their Sharing on another day if they forget on their own Special Helper Day.

Monday, October 8 is Thanksgiving Monday and school is closed.  School re-opens on Tuesday, October 9.  Please return your Library Books for Tuesday.

Sunny Days:  This Week in Our Room:  September 24-28, 2018

We’ve started off Autumn with a week of fabulous weather.  How lucky is that? The Kindergarten are still wearing shorts and enjoying recess time without jackets.  It’s a wonderful time, and we are noticing how much bigger, stronger and faster the children are out on the playground. They are developing a lot of confidence in their physical abilities.

We’ve had a very productive week, beginning with these beautiful blue birds for our alphabet “b” craft.  We sent home the apples for “a”. For the next 25 weeks, you will receive a new alphabet craft! Please keep the letters, and put them up on the wall at home, so you and your Kinder can be practising alphabet names and sounds.  

We’re always looking for activities to develop fine motor control, and these Bean Names pretty much fit the bill. The children were exceeding patient, selecting their beans and holding them in liquid glue to make a pleasant design.  It’s always great fun to see them reading the names once our artwork has gone up on the wall for viewing.

In Math we’ve starting tubbing rotations for Patterns.  The children are working in small groups, and using a variety of math manipulatives for free exploration; and now we are requiring them to make AB patterns using the different materials.  We’re enjoying the “gallery walk” we take around the tables to admire each other’s patterns.

We also started our Social Studies Unit on Family.  In Kindergarten we begin by talking about our personal identity.  This week we read It’s OK to Be Different by Todd Parr.  The children love the bright colours and simple shapes Todd uses in his artwork, and the positive message that each of us is unique and special.  We brainstormed about some of the personal talents each of us have and activities we enjoy doing. Next week we begin talking more about our names.  If your child has a story around his or her name selection (eg., your child was named after someone in your family or a family friend), please share this information with your child so he or she can tell us about it at school.

We saw our favourite Grade 7 Buddies on Friday!  Any guesses about what we made? These Thanksgiving cuties will be sent home next week.  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday is Library Book Exchange.  Please return your Library book so you can borrow a new one!

Thursday, October 4, our Physical Literacy teachers for the school district will be coming to Ridgeview to complete the baseline physical literacy assessments for all Kindergarten children.  Our children should all wear runners to school.

The October Scholastic Order went home today.  If you would like to place an order please do so by Wednesday, October 10th.

If your child has completed their September Homework calendar please bring it back to school for a special sticker from the teacher.  October calendars went home today.

We’d like to remind everyone that dogs (and we are dog lovers ourselves) are NOT PERMITTED on sports fields, school facilities or playgrounds in West Vancouver.  Please do not bring your dog onto the Ridgeview property.  This includes carrying your dog onto the school grounds.  Many children and adults are afraid of dogs, and they should feel safe at school which, according to westvancouver.ca, are dog free areas.  Thank you for complying with your municipal by-laws.

This year we’ve noticed quite a few children putting their fingers in their mouths and noses.  As you can imagine, with the number of children overall in the Kindergarten that is a lot of opportunity for germs to spread.  We are asking your children everytime we see them do this to wash their hands with soap and water. Another skill would be to teach your children how to use a tissue correctly when they blow their nose.  We’d greatly appreciate your support in these hygiene concerns.

Remembering Terry Fox:  This Week in Our Room: September 17-20, 2018

Well, for a four day week it was a pretty busy one in the Kindergarten.  

This week was all about Terry Fox, one of our Canadian heroes.  We’ve been collecting toonies, reading stories, discussing the Canadian flag and reflecting on Terry Fox.  Despite being very young, the children bring wisdom and deep understanding to Terry’s accomplishments. They knew Terry was going to run a long way, this goal would require a lot of perseverance and that it takes just one person to make a difference.  The children brought their enthusiasm, donations and #RidgeviewPride to a great day!

We kicked off Terry Fox week with an Assembly on Monday about why we were having our annual Ridgeview Terry Fox Run.  Although many students are familiar with the name Terry Fox, not all children knew about Terry’s dream to run across Canada to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.  Grade 6 students spoke aloud of Terry’s run and our participation in it. Two of the ideas we took away from the Assembly were:

-Terry Fox has made it acceptable to talk about cancer

-Terry Fox realized that the money raised contributes to cancer research, and that cancer research contributes to hope

Thank you to our Grade Six students, under the direction of Ms. Rice and Mr. Parslow, for arranging this informative session for our school.  Each day this week the Grade Six students have visited our classrooms to tell us a few more facts about Terry and to collect our donations. Thank you to everyone for sending your children in with toonies.  The children are developing pride in participating in social causes. They knew they were part of something bigger as they each placed their money in the collection envelope.

There’s nothing quite like a sea of red and white to get your Canadian-ism on.  For the run, our children warmed-up with Mr. Meldrum and Mr. Paterson leading the way.  We met our Grade 7 Buddies for the first time and enjoyed a brisk walk/run with them around the gravel field, then waited for the rest of the school to return from their neighbourhood run.  We all felt a sense of unity as we worked together towards a common dream, Terry’s Dream.

“I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try” – Terry Fox

Upcoming Events and Reminders

We’ve had our first week of Hot Lunch at school.  The lunches have been generally well-received by the children.  We’d appreciate it if you’d check in with your child to ensure they like their food.  It’s very difficult if your child doesn’t like the hot lunch and then has nothing else to eat.  

-please send a ziplock bag to school so we can send home the uneaten food, empty drink boxes and other packaging

-if you order milk in the 250 ml cartons, please ensure your child brings a recyclable cup for the milk, or knows how to drink from the carton (please do not send plastic straws to school

-even if you order hot lunch your child still needs a morning and afternoon snack to give them enough stamina for the full Kindergarten day

Monday is Library Book Exchange.  Please remember to return your library book to take out a new one.  

Friday is Big Buddy Day.  We will see our Buddies to make a Thanksgiving craft (yes, it’s almost Thanksgiving!!)