Thursday, October 6, 2016

Steve the Stickbug

Meet Steve!

Steve is our new Australian stick bug who joined our classroom today.  

We have already learned that Steve likes to eat blackberry and raspberry leaves.  We don't know much more about stick bugs, so this will become a good inquiry project for us.

We've decided that Steve looks a bit like a dried up leaf.  He didn't do much today, but he did dance a little.

As you can see, Mrs. Ross is not at artist, but I did model my story during Writer's Workshop today.

A few kids in the class chose to write about Steve as well.

We will be sharing Steve with Miss Mulder's classroom, so all of our kindergartners get to meet Steve.  We have so much to learn about Australian stick bugs!  If you'd like to help your child look up information at home about Australian stick bugs, we'd love to interview our experts when they return to the classroom.  A trip to Bridges Pets to visit the stick bugs and ask questions of the sales people might be a fun little field trip, if you're over that way!

Happy learning!

Name Tickets and Alphabet Cards

We are working our way through learning 26 letters in 20 days.  We've almost made it!!

A few times a week, kids come into the classroom and grab their name ticket and alphabet card to do a little practicing.

Right now, with our name tags, we are working on making sure we write the first letter capital and the rest lower case.  For some kids, this is easy-peasy.  For others, it's a challenge to remember to use lowercase letters.  Most of the letters we use in our daily writing will be lowercase, so we like to focus on these during our practice time.  After the kids practice writing their names, they can practice writing some of the letters from the alphabet card or practice our alphabet song in sign language.

Kids are REALLY getting the hang of our alphabet song and have started to internalize their sign language letters.  The other day, as we were writing, one of our girls asked me how to spell a word.  I was able to sign the first few letters to her, while simultaneously helping another student on his work.  Talk about multi-tasking!

Our next challenges in our morning practice will be learning to write the names of friends in our class and learning to sign our own names.  This would be something really fun to practice at home! When kids have learned to sign their own names, we'll have them show us in front of the class.

Happy writing and signing!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fine Motor Skills

We've started some Fine Motor Stations in the morning, when kids first arrive at school.  These are activities designed to build muscle strength in our little hands and fingers, which in turn helps us in our ability to write.

I really LOVE Play-Doh and clay!  I will be sharing homemade Play-Doh recipes in an upcoming post.  

Pinching with tongs is a great way to build strength in our hands!  I put some squishy plastic balls in our bean table and gave the kids the challenge to remove them all with different types of tongs.  Challenge accepted!!

Legos are one of my favorite toys for building muscles in our fingers.  In addition, Legos are just awesome for developing creativity.

Once kids have the proper pencil grips, I encourage them to do some tracing and use our stencils.

This is one of my favorite stations.  We have a sand tray, rocks, and shells that kids use to create art pieces.  I take pictures of their pieces of work to display in the classroom.  Any activity that invites the kids to pinch like you see in the picture below, is awesome for developing muscles.  

We are writers in kindergarten and every fine motor activity we try will help us build the muscles and stamina we need for writing. 

You may have noticed your child coming home and showing you a bit of sign language.  We are on a mission to learn the signs for 26 letters in the first 20 days of school and we've almost reached our goal!  Not only does sign language help us connect our actions to letters and sounds, but we are also (secretly) sneaking in a bit of fine motor work!

I would encourage you to think about adding some fine motor activities into your daily routines.  Counting Cheerios, by moving them one by one, watering plants with a spray bottle, painting with small brushes, drawing with markers, and even cutting coupons from the Sunday paper are all great ways to build muscles in our hands!

Have fun!