Sunday, September 23, 2018

Looking closely like a scientist

We've been talking about looking closely like a scientist for the past couple weeks. We have "explore tables" that the kids can go to when they finish their work, and I try to rotate what's at each table every few weeks. Below is a picture of one explore table, where students can use magnifying glasses to look at different rocks (or "crystals" as they call them) up close.

We went on a nature hike in the front yard and picked out an item that we could practice drawing up close in our science journals. Kids picked pinecones, leaves, sticks and rocks, and we talked about the importance of drawing details and using accurate colors.

We've also adopted monarch caterpillars! Thanks to one of our parents, we were able to get six monarch caterpillars to raise. We've been documenting what we see on a (semi) regular basis, and even got to watch one caterpillar form a chrysalis!

We've also done a little bit of art, including painting our own butterflies.

We also had our garden parent liaisons take us out into the garden, where we got to make nature bracelets, chop tomatoes, and try salsa.

Friday was International Peace Day, so the art teacher helped us make pinwheels and plant them in the front yard! It was the perfect weather, sunny and windy, for flying pinwheels.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Early literacy through studying our names

Kindergarteners are approaching literacy from all different stages when they first begin the year. One of the best and most meaningful ways to introduce them to early literacy concepts (the difference between letters and words, letter identification, understanding that letters make sounds and have meaning when put together with other letters, etc.) is by using names! A name is often the first word that a child knows how to spell and write. This week, we spent lots of time on our names in various ways.

We started a daily tradition called Special Name of the Day, in which one child is selected to be the "special name." As a group, we count and identify the letters in their name, do a cheer with these letters, learn how to write it, interview the special student, and draw a picture of them. This will continue every day until everyone has a chance to be featured.

We also did lots of projects using our names, including making name caterpillars, using letter cubes to spell our names, using glue sticks to cover our name with squares, and practicing handwriting. Below are some pictures. If you have time, ask your child to spell his/her name, and ask them how many letters they have in it!