Kindergarten has launched our newest writing unit, persuasive writing. This week, we read the book Red is Best in which the main character tries to convince her mother that she should be able to wear red clothing every day. Students discussed the difference between the terms "fact" and "opinion," and they learned it is acceptable to have different opinions about a topic or an issue. They also learned that it is important to explain your opinion or why you feel a particular way with a supporting statement because it will help others understand your point of view. In addition, we stressed the importance not only of being heard but also of listening to a peer when sharing your opinions. Kindergarten students began by playing “This or That” and explaining their respective preferences to a class peer. In addition, students began writing about things they like and do not like to do during recess and exploration including their reasons why. These persuasive writing lessons have heightened anticipation of our upcoming spring writing celebration.
Under our guiding question of “What Makes Me, Me?” kindergarten students revisit creating self-portraits throughout the year. This week, students revisited Picasso and discussed different mediums he used during his life. This conversation took us back to September, when we first discussed Picasso and kindergarten students painted their eyes after taking “a closer look." After all, our eyes are the tool that we use to see the world around us, and to get to know similarities and differences of others.
Back in September, our students created self-portraits using vibrant watercolors and discussed the concept of abstract paintings. As the year moved forward, we revisited self-portraits in other ways. Recently, we stirred up more conversation about Picasso and his different periods of art while discussing spatial awareness in math - specifically, that we use different shapes to design, make, and represent things. We decided to look at mosaic art and created self-portraits using ripped pieces of paper.
Kindergarten students had a great deal of fun doing this activity, which was directly connected to our guiding question. Come by the kindergarten classrooms and take a look at their work!
Science shows that music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory. What better way to learn digraphs (sh, ch, th) than sing along to "Chim Chim Cheree!" Instead, we changed the words to be about chocolate, cheese and cherries - YUM. We also had fun making up tongue twisters with words that all began with the same digraph. Playing with words is a unique part of our phonics program and brings up the level of engagement and joy, which in turn enhances learning outcomes.
Wow! Kindergarten children have now been in school for 100 days. It feels like the first day of school was just yesterday. We have been eagerly awaiting this day, and we are so excited! All of our math practice during the past few weeks has been building up to our 100th day. Counting by 10's and beginning to learn how to count by 5's have been the primary focus during math workshop and small group math time. We spent a lot of time looking at the hundreds chart every day during morning meeting; we thought about place value, identified teen numbers, filled in blank number grids, and looked for patterns. During our Tuesday morning math sessions small groups of children played our popular game of race to 100. On the 100th day we challenged the students to do various math activities; we asked them what would they do if they had 100 dollars, they performed different exercise routines for 100 seconds, and they participated in building challenges with 100 pieces. Challenge your children at home to point out numbers on a 100's grid, fill in the missing numbers, or count in succession. All of these activities will support their numerical awareness. Cheers to another productive 100 days!
Love is in the air in kindergarten, where students have been eagerly awaiting their Valentine's Day party all week long. The upcoming holiday is a great reason to discuss what we can do to show kindness and love to our friends during our daily Responsive Classroom share. Students have been creating valentines for Encore teachers and their families during Exploration time. Also, students have been immersed in many Valentine Day-themed curricular lessons. In math, students tallied heart candies by color and explored bar graphs. We also decoded a Valentine's Day hundreds board that ended up being a heart. In phonics, we explored the vowel “u” by uncovering hearts with pictures of various long and short "u" words. We concluded the rainy/wet week by reading The Day It Rained Hearts. Kindergartners loved decorating their valentine bags and exchanging special valentines with one another.
This week, Kindergarten students kicked off their next writing unit, How To Books!
How To Books focus on sequencing events and learning how to complete a step-by-step process. We began by asking the children what they are good at and what they know how to do well, and as you may know, we have one very talented and confident group of Kindergarteners. As a group we went through the process of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, a tall glass of chocolate milk, and most fun of all, an ice cream sundae!
Afterwards, the children worked independently creating an introduction page on a “How To Book” topic of choice.
During math workshop, the kindergarten students learned how to count on or up from a given starting number. They were prompted to find the larger number (when adding) and count on (or up) from the larger number. They used a number line and the hundred board as tools to support them in learning this concept. Students also raced against the clock, and each other, to order teen numbers. Those tricky teens are not going to trick any of our kindergarteners anymore!
As we begin 2020, we are taking a look at our second guiding question for the school year: How do I experience the world around me? After many discussions with the children about our world, the state of New Jersey, our towns, and our neighboring towns, we are excited to think and talk about each of our unique daily experiences. Kindergarten students shared their thoughts on what is special about their homes and the towns in which they live. As a follow-up to these discussions, they wrote about the activities they enjoy doing in their neighborhoods. Their work will be on display in the hallways so that they can share all of their experiences with everyone. In addition, our field trips support learning about the world around us. Next week, we will travel to the ShopRite in Clifton to view first-hand what everyday life is like in the supermarket in one of our neighboring towns. We are having a great time exploring the world around us, and we hope to discover a lot about ourselves in the process!
This week, kindergarten students revisited a fun learning activity for reviewing snap words in which we challenge our students to “Say it!” “Write It!”and “Use It!” Part of our phonics work is to develop our knowledge of snap words so students can feel confident as readers and writers. Using these familiar snap words during Writing Workshop make writing easy to read for both the author and reader!
Students took part in a variety of games that help build their snap word recognition. Feel free to reinforce “Say it!” “Write It!” and “Use It!” at home with your child’s “just right” books. This will empower them as emerging readers. The snap words we have dissected thus far are: