Friday, January 27, 2017

Playful Learning Book Group


Ok, now THIS is going to be fun!  I absolutely LOVE the Playful Learning book.  I told many of you about this book during our conference time and several of you have said that you purchased the book. I'd like to propose that we do an online book group, using this book as our text.  The book is about $15 and can be found on Amazon.


I think you'll find that this book is really fun and engaging.  It's written for parents and teachers who really want to encourage playful learning in the home and classroom.  Learning doesn't always mean sitting down with a workbook!  I wrote a bit more about the book on my early childhood literacy blog.  Here is the link if you'd like to read more.


The easiest forum I've used for online bookgroups is a Facebook group.  It's a private group and we don't actually have to be "friends" on Facebook in order for it to work. If you'd like to join the book group, please email me and ask to be added to the group. I will need your email address and the name you go by on Facebook, so I can find you. I will gather up all of the names and then send out an invitation to the private group.  If you are a Cascade View family, you can email me at becca.ross@sno.wednet.edu.  If you happen to be reading this, and you're not a Cascade View family but you'd still like to join, please email me at homeiswheremystorybegins@gmail.com.  I hope we have a big group!  We'll aim to start during the second week of February.  That gives you a week to buy the book.

Happy reading!

Yoga Time

We were so lucky to have a parent come to class and teach us a bit of yoga last week!  One of our parents is a yoga instructor and offered to come in and do some exercises with the class.  We specifically focused on belly breathing to help us calm down. 


She used a link to a You Tube video which the kids really enjoyed.  It talks about belly breathing when you are upset or angry.  We've used this strategy many times since her visit!  I think it's helping us calm our bodies down!

Happy breathing!

Partner Reading

Over the past few weeks, kids have been introduced to Book Bags.  These bags contain self selected books which kids read during Independent and Partner reading times.  Three of the books can be from anywhere in the classroom, choosing from our classroom library.  Right now, the boys are loving the Lego books and everybody loves the books from the Pets bin. In addition, I ask that kids choose two "easy readers" to add to their bags.  These books contain lots of the sight words we already know and have a repetitive pattern.  Each day, kids get out their Book Bags and spend some time reading their books. 


We have had many lessons on how to read books throughout the school year.  Kids know they can read a book by actually reading the words, use the pictures to tell the story, or retell the book from memory.  Now that we've had the chance to explore these types of reading on our own, kids have been introduced to partner reading.  They sit shoulder to shoulder and knee to knee and take turns reading their books to each other. Kids are encouraged to help each other out and also be attentive listeners.  


I'm sure many of you have nightly story times at home.  This week, ask your child to try to read the book to you.  They may not be able to read all of the words, but they can certainly tell you the story in the book!

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Peanut's Favorite Foods


We LOVE having Peanut in our classroom!  She is so curious and the kids just love watching her!  

One of our students recently discovered a group of Pill Bugs or "Roly Poly's" in his wood pile.  He collected a bunch of them and put them in a container to bring to school.   (Big thank you to his mom for encouraging this!)  We did a little taste test with Peanut to find out which bugs were her favorites.  We keep Meal Worms and Wax Worms in the fridge for her, so we gave her a few of each.  Her favorite thing to do is chase after those Roly Poly bugs and eat them as quickly as possible!


She's so fast, I can't even get a picture of her snatching them up.  Peanut is also very particular about her fruits and veggies.  She loves fruit, but usually turns her nose up at the veggies.  (She fits right in with the Kindergarten crowd! Ha!) 

The kids are welcome to bring in small amounts of fruits and veggies for her to try and we'd love it if kids would collect worms and Pill Bugs to feed to her.  She's a pretty fun little class pet to take care of!  We sure love our Peanut!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Kelso's Choice

Miss Lilly, our fabulous school counselor, introduced the kindergarten classes to Kelso today!  We were so excited to meet Kelso and learn what he's going to teach us over the next few weeks.  


Kelso teaches us about the choices we make and how to solve problems.  Today we learned about the difference between little problems and BIG PROBLEMS.  A big problem is something that happens where someone could get hurt, makes us scared, or isn't safe. A big problem is something that ALWAYS needs to be reported to an adult.  A small problem is something that kids may be able to handle themselves.  Miss Lilly walked us through examples.  Just so you know, Miss Lilly also talked to the kids about telling an adult if someone other than a doctor or parent touches any part of the body that is covered by a swim suit.  She explained that this is a BIG problem and always needs to be reported right away.  


We look forward to having Kelso and Miss Lilly visit us each week to help us make good choices.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Reading Comprehension

We are back in the swing of things now that the Holidays are over! We are continuing our work in our comprehension strategies during our Reading Block.  You may hear your child using words like schema, connections, mental images, or retelling.  We've learned that these are strategies that good readers use as they are reading.

This week we have been focusing on books that have to do with snow.


The kids LOVE sharing their schema for snowy day activities.  Schema is ALL of the "stuff" we already know about a topic.  We can build our schema through experiences, books, talking to friends, or even watching a movie about a topic.  Kids have lots of schema for snowy days!


We've been using posters to remind us what these terms are and how they help us.

It's good to be getting back into the swing of things!  Please keep reading to your child each night at home and feel free to use some of these terms:

Connections
Mental Images
Visualize
Schema
Characters
Setting
Events

Happy reading!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gingerbread Day

With lots of help from our kindergarten families, Gingerbread Day was a success!  Thank you so much for sending in supplies, making frosting and house bases at home, and helping out in the classroom!

We had 7 kids absent on our Gingerbread Day, with the never-ending crud that's going around, but we have saved materials for those kids to make their houses when they return.  Gingerbread Day in the culmination of our Gingerbread Literacy unit.  We have read many different gingerbread stories, by many different authors.  We have compared and contrasted these stories, analyzed characters, used the books for retellings, and spent time getting to know the authors and illustrators of these great books. 


I was very impressed with construction this year!  Kids were very thoughtful and creative.  Some years, the houses just look like candy explosions.  This year, kids were very careful and most had a plan in mind for what they wanted their houses to look like in the end.  I think a good time was had by all and hopefully most of the houses made it home in one piece.


Happy Gingerbread Day!