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!!)

 

This Week in Our Room:  September 10-14, 2018

We’ve had a wonderful first full week in Kindergarten, which included our first full days at school.  It’s been a very special time as we get to know the children, listen to their stories and experience the joy of playing and creating together.

We started our Alphabet work with “a is an apple on a branch,” from Itchy’s Alphabet.  Each week we are introducing a new alphabet letter name, sound and printing formation. In Kindergarten the children are printing using an oversized Tri-Grip pencil to work on a correct pencil grip.  We were very pleased to note that many of the children are able to print their own names, mostly in uppercase letters. We will gradually shift to the standard practise for names of an uppercase letter followed by lowercase letters over the year, so that will be something to look for in the weeks ahead.  Click here to read more on our thoughts about Phonological Awareness.

In Math, we begin with Free Exploration of math manipulatives.  This time to explore and discover the math materials we will be using to develop a sense of number cannot be underestimated.  The children need the time to play and appreciate all that they can do with pattern blocks, square blocks, beads, multilink blocks and links so when asked to complete specific tasks, they are able to bring their attention to our requests.  Click here to read one of our most highly read posts Math, the Kindergarten Way.

We had a fun time during our first Library visit to meet Mrs. Kennedy, our Teacher-Librarian.  Mrs. Kennedy showed us how we enter and leave the Library, and where we sit for Storytime. Library visits and Book Exchanges will be on Mondays for both classes.

We were very busy this week with not one, but two, Art projects.  The children made Tissue Paper apples, and their first self-portrait for September.  We save all of this gorgeous work and collect it for the children’s scrapbooks which they will take home in June.

We’ve been on the playground for Recess Playtime both as a Kindergarten group and with the full school.  Although there are a lot of children playing, particularly at lunch, our children are respecting the boundaries and expectations for outdoor play.

 

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Ridgeview’s Terry Fox Run takes place on Thursday, September 20.  The Kindergarten will walk/run laps around the gravel field with their new Grade 7 Big Buddies.  We will do a warm-up on the blacktop and then move down to the field. While the rest of the school runs the school route through our neighbourhood, Kindergarten children will wait on the playground.

Our school tradition is to wear red and white clothing.  We will be giving out the “I’m running for….” stickers for children to wear on the back of their shirts.  Please complete the stickers at home.

We’ve been hoping for more late summer sunshine but we seem destined for rain.  It’s time to send in a change of clothes for the children to keep here at school.  Please place in a small shopping bag, labelled with your child’s name to hang on their hook.  You can also bring in your child’s rainboots to keep in your child’s cubby in the cloakroom.

Music Class with Mrs. Soderling starts on Monday this week.  We have Music on Monday and Wednesday.

Individual student photos will be taken on Tuesday, September 18th.  The Kindergarten students usually have their photos taken right at 9am so please be on time.

It’s a Professional Day on Friday, September 21 so school is not in session for students.

We know September is a busy time with a lot of forms coming home, and requests from the school.  We are still looking to collect Student Verification Forms and Comfort Kits. If you have not yet paid your child’s School Supplies fee, you can do so through schoolcash online. If you are uncertain of how to do so, please see Mrs. Lytle in the office.

 

Our Return to School:  This Week in Our Room: September 5-7, 2018

A warm Ridgeview welcome to our new Kindergarten children!  We’ve had a super fun time during this week’s Gradual Entry meeting all of our delightful Kinder Cuties and helping them to settle in, meet new friends and explore new classrooms.

We will be continuing with Gradual Entry for September 10-14.  Next week’s schedule is as follows:

Monday, September 10:  8:50 am-12 pm for all Kindergarten students.  Please bring a snack and a non-spill water bottle.  Please be on time to pick-up your child. Intake Conferences for Kindergarten parents begin this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 11:  8:50 am-12 pm for all Kindergarten students.  Please bring a snack and a non-spill water bottle. Please be on time to pick-up your child.  Intake Conferences for Kindergarten parents continue this afternoon.

Wednesday, September 12:  8:50-12 pm for all Kindergarten students.  Please bring a snack and a non-spill water bottle.  Please be on time to pick-up your child. The Kindergarten Teachers are attending a Professional Learning Session for the afternoon.

Thursday, September 13 and Friday, September 14:  8:50 am-2:55 pm for all students.  Please bring two snacks, lunch and a non-spill water bottle. Please indicate to your child that one snack is for the afternoon and label them if you can.

 

A full day in Kindergarten is a very fun, but very long day.  We’ve been teaching Kindergarten for 12 years, the past 7 in full day K so we know that a certain amount of self-regulation, rigor and resilience are needed to push through each day.  Although your child may have attended daycare for a full day or preschool, your child is now receiving formal schooling in a BC public school. In addition to the Kindergarten classroom rules and routines, there will be the behaviour and academic expectations that we uphold and will be teaching your child.

A good night’s sleep and healthy snacks and lunch, go a long way to helping your child bring his or her best self to school, participate fully in our amazing Kindergarten program and be on the road to becoming a life-long learner.

Reminders and Upcoming Events

We’ve tried to judiciously send home only a few forms at a time for you.  There are many to complete in September so just do your best and let us know if you need any help or support.

Kindergarten Parent Teacher Conferences are being held on Monday and Tuesday next week. Please sign up for your time if you have not already done so.

Student Verification Forms were sent home on Wednesday this past week.  Those should be reviewed, changes made if necessary, and returned to school on Monday, please.

Kindergarten Homework Calendars are optional for completion, but the children love doing their little task each day.  Check/Star/Sticker each activity as its finished, and at the end of the month, return the homework page for a sticker.  (Then we will send home the next one!)

Comfort Kit bags were sent home this week.  As you prepare a bag for your child, we realize it can be upsetting to do so as you anticipate what you and your family might do in the event of an Emergency.  We believe that preparedness is key for any Emergency and you are helping and supporting your child in the best way.

Remind is a teacher app we encourage you to subscribe to in order to receive the texts from your classroom teacher.  These are meant to be helpful reminders to you about what’s upcoming, or quick mentions of fun things we did at school and we send a few photos through the year as well.

theselfregulatedteacher.com is our Kindergarten website.  There is a wealth of information here for you all about our Kindergarten.  Don’t have time to read through the whole website? Then just follow along by reading our weekly newsletter.  We usually post on Friday (sometimes the weekends if it’s really busy) and send you a link through Remind. It provides a great basis of communication for you and your child as you will know everything about school.  You can extend the learning by looking for some great story books, drawing a picture or just have a cosy time by talking some more about the classroom.

“Meet My Teacher” for Grades 1-7 have an early dismissal at 2 pm on Friday, September 14.  Kindergarten is in session until 2:55 pm. Kindergarten Families are encouraged to visit the Ice-Cream Social at the undercover area across from the portables after dismissal.

 

This Week in Our Room: June 18-22, 2018

There’s always some uncertainty around this time of the year.  We’re trying not to talk too much about Grade One, as not all the children are really ready to think about what’s ahead.  They are having so much fun in Kindergarten, solidifying friendships, maturing steadily and managing the demands and expectations of the full-day program more easily.  For some children, they are not ready to leave the coziness and safe feeling of their classroom.  They’ve expressed their feelings, often with tears, a few times this spring.  We’re trying to be sensitive to their needs right now and focusing on the positives of good weather and a summer break to spend with their family and friends.

Our big event this week was preparing for, and participating in the Grade 7 Promotion Ceremony.  True to form, the Kindergarten children outdid themselves again.  They were perfect.  Thank you to all of our parents for dressing the children so beautifully.  The Kindergarten looked lovely and we were so pleased with their composure as they walked their Big Buddies down the aisle.  They really took everything in stride, from carefully handling the roses (thorns and all), some taking two or three turns all the while maintaining the careful order to ensure each Big Buddy walked with his or her Little Buddy.

We’re not sure who had to practise more self-regulation, the Kindergarten or their five teachers.  Special thanks to Mrs. Brady for the delicious snack of cookies and lemonade we enjoyed in the afternoon.

Sarah Donald from the West Vancouver Public Library came to visit us on Wednesday afternoon.  We heard about many new books at the Library, all available for us to borrow this summer holiday!  Don’t forget to enroll your child in the Summer Reading Program.  

We wrapped up our Fairy Tales study with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and talked about what does a happy ending mean for the storybook characters.  We furthered our discussion on magical characters and objects and made connections across many fairy tales events that occur in three.  We started this theme with Once Upon a Golden Apple and finished with reading The Balloon Tree, both written and illustrated by Phoebe Gilman.  The children were delighted with the number of common elements they recognised in a modern, classic Fairy Tale.

This is our last classroom newsletter of the school year!  We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our Kindergarten community and felt well-informed of your child’s schooling.  We’ll publish our good-bye letter to our Kindergarten children next week.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Monday, June 25 is a Fun Day for Kindergarten.  We’re calling it our Beach Day, but we’re not going to the beach.  Instead, we will have some fun activities at school.  We will bring out our water table, sand trays, and blow bubbles.  This will take place from morning recess until lunch.

Thursday, June 28 is our last day of classes.  We’re going to take some time enjoying being together and talking about our favourite parts of Kindergarten.  Dismissal time is as 12 pm for Kindergarten only.

Big Buddy Promotion Ceremony

Image from Google

It occurred to me this week that this was the first time in three years I have not had a child graduating from high school.  I’ve been pretty busy until this last school year with teaching Kindergarten full time, layered with a busy home life of my own children playing sports and performing in the Fine Arts. I was in a non-stop graduation mindset for 24 months.  My daughter graduated in 2016, then Christy and I had the double whammy of her daughter and my son graduating in 2017. There was a lot of shopping for special occasion clothing, graduation events and University and Scholarship Applications.

I can put it all behind me now until University graduation.  This year no one from my home is graduating.  Christy has a year of reprieve until her youngest graduates two years from now so we’re taking a deep breath of relief for this spring.  But we do have our Kindergarten children’s participation in the Grade 7 Promotion Ceremony to look forward to on Thursday, June 21.  

So you are not rushed next week, here are our expectations for Kindergarten attire for the big event:

Girls– dress or skirt, dress shoes or sandals (no flip flops)

Boys– a button-up shirt with a collar and tie if you have these items (please do not go out and buy them) or a t-shirt/long sleeve shirt withouta large logo on the front, pants or shorts, dress shoes or cleaned up runners.

At this time, we are still trying to fix the exact time our children will be walking the Grade 7s down the aisle.  We know for sure it will be in the morning, around 11:25 am.  You are welcome to come and watch and shed a few years with us as we realize how quickly this magical year has gone by.   We suggest you arrive for 11:15 am and wait for us in the hallway to pass you. Then follow us in.  As soon as more details are shared with us, we will inform you.

 

Cinderella Story…This Week in Our Room: June 11-15, 2018

Well, our dear friend is back in town and her name is Cinderella.  This is our favourite Fairy Tale of all and we’ve enjoyed reading many different versions of the Charles Perrault classic.

We’ve been talking about all things magical, including the magical people and icons that appear in Fairy Tales.  When we think about reading as comprehension, we are activating our prior knowledge to “hang” the new knowledge and ideas we learn.  We need to have the appropriate prior knowledge in order to make sense of what we are reading for understanding (comprehension).  We always recommend reading and talking about stories with your child at home.  If English is your second language, then we encourage you to speak with your children in your home language where they can use their high level vocabulary, language structures and questioning skills more fluently.

Your role in helping develop your child’s oral language and building upon his or her understanding of the stories by making connections with other stories and experiences you’ve shared is developing prior knowledge. Looking for patterns and common elements in stories is really important as our children are building their foundation knowledge about story structure which contributes to their ever-growing knowledge base of literature.

We’ve started to explore measurement in non-standard units this week in Math.  We’re using words such as “longer” and “shorter” when comparing lengths and “taller” when referencing heights.

High Touch High Tech gave an excellent Science Workshop on “Newton in a Nutshell.”  Our children were physicists, scientists who like to study movement or motion, and forces, in the classroom laboratory.  They learned about safely in the lab, talked about gravity, performed several experiments in small groups and then were able to visit five different activity Centres during which they tested Newton’s Three Laws:

  1. Objects in motion stay in motion.  Objects at rest stay at rest.
  2. The bigger the force the faster the motion.
  3. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Thank you to everyone for your contributions to make amazing educational programs such as these possible.

We had another Science program visit Kindergarten to Grade 4 on Thursday, “H2Whoa,” from Dreamrider Productions.  H2Whoa is a play about water conservation, starring Planet Protector Esmeralda and her playful companion Goober.  Together they teach the children about the water cycle, strategies to reduce water consumption and ultimately, to overcome the evil Evaporator from stealing all of the Earth’s water.

We also had a massive growth in our bean seeds last weekend.  We decided to send them home to transplant into the ground, or at least a larger pot.  The pots we’ve used are compostable so you can transplant the entire plant, pot and all.  Next week is supposed to very hot, great for bean growth.  The beans still need a lot of regular watering.

It’s been five years now since my own Dad has passed away (1928-2013).  I’m a tremendous reader today because of the love of books he fostered within me and my sister.  My parents have always supported me in my schooling and career, my Dad in particular, to follow my passion and love of what I’m doing.  31 years later, I’m teaching your child in Kindergarten, still very much enjoying this delightful age group and working with Christy, my amazing teaching partner, because of my Dad’s love and belief in following my heart.  So to all of our Dads, Happy Father’s Day with love.  We’ve made you a little gift in class that we know you’ll want to share with your little one.  And thank so much to our parent helpers who help us to make all things possible in the Kindergarten!