Saturday, December 21, 2013


After 75 days in school, we are finally on winter break! The kindergarteners have been working so hard for the past four months, and it will be a well-deserved break for them. Hope you all have a great break! Here's a glimpse at what we've been doing in science lately: learning all about penguins!

We started off the unit with several questions and formed hypotheses based on what we thought. Then, like scientists, we researched the answer by looking at lots of penguin books. Turns out penguins DON'T fly, but they DO have feathers! The feathers help keep them warm.

We then learned that there are 17 different types of penguins, including the great Emperor penguin, the tallest penguin in the world! Emperor penguins can be up to 48 inches tall, so of course we had to see if we were taller than one. Here are some adorable pictures of the kindergarteners comparing their height to Penguin Pete, who joined our class this month!

Here's a group measuring Penguin Pete with unifix cubes during math centers.

We also learned about how penguins move (by hopping or tobogganing on their bellies), what they eat (fish, krill, and squid), and the life cycle of a penguin. Turns out male Emperor penguins are the ones to take care of the baby chicks! We watched penguins on the livecam at Seaworld (find the link here) and tried to spot the different breeds we were studying. Last, we did the Penguin Dance as many times as possible!

When our third grade reading buddies came to our class, they helped us make a penguin craft that is now hanging in our room. They turned out great!

To conclude, we did a Shared Writing paragraph on what we learned about penguins. Shared Writing is a great way for students to practice forming sentences, spelling difficult words, and sharing what they know about a topic in a piece of writing. This will help us a lot with our nonfiction writing unit in Writers Workshop, where we write All-About books!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Snowman glyphs

Glyphs are a fun tool to help students learn to follow multi-step directions. Our third grade reading buddies visit us every Friday, so this week we decided to make a snowman glyph with our buddies! The snowmen turned out very unique and so creative! Below is a copy of the glyph that we followed. (An example of one of the multi-step directions is: "If you and your buddy have the same color hair, make a snowman with three body parts. If you and your buddy have different colored hair, make a snowman with two body parts.") And check out those cute snowmen!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

More Thanksgiving fun

Sorry this post is a little bit post-Thanksgiving! Somehow that three day break always flies by. Anyway, here are some of the projects we did in the week leading up to Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Surveys
One of the math standards for our kiddos to meet by the end of kindergarten is an understanding of different ways of portraying data, including bar graphs and tally marks. So we conducted a Thanksgiving survey with the question "Do you like to eat turkey at Thanksgiving?" and then talked about our results! The data showed a resounding "yes" in answer to that question.

Handy Turkeys
What's Thanksgiving in kindergarten without making a hand turkey? Here we got to dip our hands in paint to make a turkey handprint, and then decorate the body however we wanted. Then we took the poem and painting home!

Writing what we're thankful for
After watching a video of one of Ms. Woods' favorite authors, Todd Parr, reading his book The Thankful Book (see the video here), we made our own version of the book describing what we're thankful for! The kindergarteners had to use their best sound-spelling. We are working really hard on not asking grown-ups "How do you spell this word?" Instead, we want kindergarten writers to stretch out the word and write down what sounds they hear. For example, the word "family" can be stretched out to "fff-am-uh-l-eee." Then they should write a letter or two for each sound they hear. We practiced the word "family" as a whole class, and it looked like this: fmle!