Sunday, December 23, 2018

Gingerbread week

We had a fun and full week before winter break, full of gingerbread books, crafts and stories! We also made gifts for our families, went to an all-school assembly, and had pajama day. It was a whirlwind week but the kids seemed to really enjoy it. Below are some photos of the projects, as well as other activities we've done in the past few weeks. I hope you have a wonderful winter break and we will see you next year!

Gingerbread Stories & Crafts

Cookie Decorating

Gift Making

Other December Activities

Sunday, December 16, 2018

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's 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 many grades after that as well). 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.)

Here are some pictures of kindergarteners playing Garbage with their math partners! Ask your child if they can show you how to play!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Learning to read - explaining our strategies

One of the biggest accomplishments in kindergarten is learning to read! Some students come in learning to read, some learn during the year, and some learn shorty thereafter. But all of our kindergarteners make giant leaps in understanding how to read pictures and words, retell a story, figure out unknown words, ask questions about stories, and learn from non-fiction texts. Each day of the week we have Shared Reading time, where we learn one reading strategy related to these literacy skills. For example, we might learn that looking at the picture will help you figure out a word you don't know. Or that stories have beginnings, middles and ends.

Then on Fridays, we do a little meta-cognition where we think about the strategies we're using. Below is an example of one strategy called "Pointy Pig," which encourages emerging readers to point to each word as they read, so they can track the print and help their brain know which words to focus on. The kids drew a representation of the strategy that turned out great!

Also, I just thought these were some fun pictures:

Reading a new favorite book with a parent visitor - The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak!

And writing letters in the snow with sticks!