This week the children reflected on their year of learning and kindergarten experiences. Each child wrote a letter to incoming students that began with, Dear Future Kindergartener, Kindergarten is cool because…" The letters tell next year's class what is cool about being in Kindergarten at Brookside. The comments range from "recess and choice time", "You get to be in your first play", to "you will learn about reading superpowers." As children worked on these letters, memories were shared and stories told about the past year together. It was a productive and fun-filled year! Happy and safe summer to you all!
It was with great excitement and joy that the students shared their non-fiction writing piece today at the final celebration of the kindergarten year! We were so happy that many of you were able to make this special event. The children worked very hard on their first Brookside research project and were very proud to share their accomplishments. Of course, a Brookside end-of-year Writing Celebration is not complete without a picnic and Bob's ice cream truck!
"I think I can-I think I can-I think I can-I think I can," these words filled the kindergarten classrooms this week as the book, The Little Engine That Could, was read aloud by the teachers. This book is one of the core works for kindergarten, and gives a strong message about perseverance. After a discussion about the meaning of perseverance, the children were invited to write about something they have worked hard on this year and are proud of accomplishing.
Our little scientists journeyed to the Tenafly Nature Center to explore the pond habitat up close. The class had a short walk that led to the edge of the pond. The guide scooped up mud from the bottom of the pond and put it in tubs. In small groups, the children were invited to dig through the muck to look for the smallest creatures that live in the mud. Some of the discoveries were tadpoles, fly larvae, a leach, bullfrog eggs, and snails.
Kindergarten children are always eager to respond to a survey question asked on the morning message. Sometimes responses are as simple as writing your name in a yes or no column, and other times may require to choose one of three things, such as your favorite ice cream flavor. The teachers have introduced tally marks as a new way of organizing and collecting data. Tally marks are a way for the children to keep a record of a count, and also serves as a practical way to practice skip counting by 5's and adding on from the highest number. This week one way that children practiced using tally marks as an organizational tool for data collection, was by generating their own question to ask other class members and recording responses with a tally mark.
The kindergarten children have been doing research in Library class with Mrs. D'Urso. Each child has chosen an indigenous animal that lives in or near a water source. With Mrs. D'Urso's guidance, each child is finding facts about their animal, such as habitat, diet, and body characteristics. In the classroom, the teachers have been talking with the children about resources that an author of a non-fiction book might use before writing. The research that has been done with Mrs. D'Urso will be transferred into a non-fiction book during Writing Workshop. This book will be shared at our last Writing Celebration on Friday, May 30 from 11:45-1:00.
The Meadowlands Environmental Center trip was filled with indoor and outdoor investigations! A walk looking for indigenous creatures was taken and the habitat observed up close. The habitats of fresh, salt, and brackish were explained, and each child was given an opportunity to taste each type of water to see if they could distinguish between them. Tubs of brackish water with non-living and living creatures from the marsh habitat were presented to the students. In small groups at tables, each child tried to catch something from the tub and then place it in a FISH or NOT FISH tub, adhering to the classification rules for fish. The food chain of the marsh was discussed and food chain crowns were made for the students to wear. It was a great day for our budding scientists!
The kindergarten class is preparing for a trip to the Meadowlands Environmental Center. As an introduction, the children went on a picture walk of the book Meadowlands, A Wetlands Survival Story by Thomas F. Yezerski. The kindergarten children will be participating in a class called Marsh Muckers on April 24. They will visit the salt marsh and learn about the specifics of this habitat. After live specimens are collected in the marsh, students will observe them in the facility's classroom.
Kindergarten students are coming down from all the excitement of last week's play! Again, a huge kudos to all the parents for their support throughout the play process. The entire kindergarten had fun watching the DVD of the show!
Non-fiction is the name of the Reading Workshop game this week as we kicked off our new unit. The kindergarten will work in collaboration with the library as the students begin to choose and research animals that they will become experts on. The research process begins right here in kindergarten.
Our kindergarten children are feeling proud as peacocks after today's performance, as they should! The crayons and the garden creatures worked very hard to speak loudly and clearly, move with precision, and work as a team. The last two weeks of rehearsals, schedule changes, and play related activities was challenging, but very gratifying. The teachers and children thank all parents for the costume help, and extra support that was given.