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.