Sunday, December 20, 2015

Writing and publishing our first books!

This week was a big week for our kindergarten writers -- they published their first books! We have been working for the last several weeks on writing stories about our lives. For most kids, this is the first time they have been very deliberate about planning, illustrating, and writing a story. Many kids are developmentally ready to begin writing letters and sounds to approximate what they want their pages to say, but up to this point have only been using pictures to convey their thoughts. So it's very exciting to plan and write a whole book!

Here are some pictures of the authors hard at work on their stories:

And here are their finished books!

They read them to their partners with pride:

And then we got to have a little dance party to celebrate all our hard work :)

Great job kindergarten writers!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Garbage: A math game to play at home

One very important math concept for kindergarteners to learn is number order. We hope that they are able to place numbers on a number line, which looks something like this:

We also hope they master what's called "hierarchical inclusion," meaning that they know that numbers build by one at a time. For example, if I said "5," I hope they can see and understand that 5 is one more than 4, and one less than 6, and picture those numbers in order. We do lots of games and activities with number lines and counting to help them develop these understandings.

We also work a lot with what is called a "ten frame." Ten is the most important number in our Base 10 number system, so we spend a lot of time becoming familiar with it in kindergarten (and every grade after that...). One way for kids to be comfortable with ten is to use a ten frame when we work with numbers. Here is a picture of a ten frame, which is essentially two rows of five boxes.

To represent a number, we fill in the boxes with the corresponding number of dots. Here is a ten frame for the number 6.

We do many games using ten frames at school, but I wanted to pass one along that can be done at home using a regular deck of cards! This game is called Garbage, and it's a great exercise for kids to become familiar with both ten frames and number order.

The game is somewhat complicated to explain in this short blog post, so instructions for how to play can be found here. But most likely, if you put a deck of cards in front of your kindergartener and ask them to teach you how to play Garbage, they'll be able to tell you with ease! We have been playing often, and the kids love it. (One thing to note: You may need to teach them that jacks, queens, and kings can be used as "10s." The decks of cards we play with at school are math cards, so they have numbers written on them instead of a regular card face.)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Winter trees

Every week we have a student who is Student of the Week. He/she gets to bring in an "All About Me" poster and five favorite things for Show & Tell, as well as have a family visit. This week's Student of the Week decided to do a craft when his family visited. Check out the awesome winter trees we painted! The best part for the kids was using a paintbrush to put the brown paint on their hands. Some kids loved it, and others were too nervous to do it without help from a grown-up!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I am Thankful Part 2

In our short week before Thanksgiving, we read a book by my favorite children's author, Todd Parr, called The Thankful Book. 

Then we made our own version of The Thankful Book, using oil pastel crayons to make our illustrations look like Todd Parr's. Here are some pictures of us reading the books to our reading partners:

Last but not least, I sent this home in the kids' folders yesterday. I am very thankful for such a wonderful class of kindergarteners!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I am Thankful Part 1

I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving already! We kicked off our Thanksgiving activities by making these sight word turkeys. The kindergarteners are thankful they can read these five sight words! It's always exciting to see them start finding these words in books and on posters. See if your child knows the five sight words they wrote on the turkey feathers!