Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sad News

It was a sad day in kindergarten today.

Steve the stick bug has died.

To most people, Steve is just a bug.  To a group of five-year-olds, he is the best stick bug a kid could ever have!  There were tears today... lots and lots of tears.  I really didn't expect it to be such an emotional time for the kids, because he's just a bug.  When I realized that it was a really big deal to the kids, we made time to write about it and draw some pictures about Steve.

We took Steve out to the courtyard gardens and I told the kids I'd say something nice about Steve before we buried him.  A couple of kids asked if we could all say something, so I told the kids they could share if they wanted.  After we shared our feelings about Steve, we buried him and put a few flowers by him.  It was a very emotional time for the kids.  When we came back inside, we had a group hug and then moved on to some fun activities.

Today was a day full of emotional learning for our kids, but it was also a time to see our recent learning in real life.  We have been talking a lot about the life cycle because of our baby chicks and also because of our most recent addition (ask your kids about our new insects).  When one of our boys was crying about Steve, another student explained that it's all part of the life cycle.  Steve has laid eggs in the dirt and, with any luck, we will have more stick bugs.  We look forward to meeting Steve Jr.

Rest in peace, Steve.
You were the best stick bug this class has ever had.

Monday, May 22, 2017


I have to say, I think hatching chicks has been the highlight of my teaching career.  It has been the most amazing experience!  

When I came in on Sunday evening, I brought my entire family to check on the chicks.  It was Mother's Day, so I was hosting a celebration and the whole family wanted to come.  We noticed a few of the eggs had pips.  Pips are the first holes the chicks make in the eggs.

If you sit really still and the room is quiet, you can year peeps coming from the eggs.

By Monday morning, the chicks were really working hard!  One of the cracks had gotten much bigger.

Just as the kids were entering the room, on Monday morning, the first chick hatched!  The kids squealed, but then hushed to a whisper to watch the excitement.  The chick was wet and could barely stand.  

It took several hours for our first chick to dry off and fluff up.  We named her Primrose and she quickly became the most favorite class pet in the history of class pets!

The next day, we were in for another surprise!  Poppy arrived about 5 minutes before the end of the school day.

She was SO tired.  It's a lot of work hatching out of an egg!

She wasn't quite fluffy enough to come out of the incubator, so she had to stay in there over night.  Since we had one in our brooding box and one in the incubator, I went to Bridges Pets and bought a 3 day old Buff Orpington to snuggle with Primrose.  I took Primrose and Petunia (the two yellow chicks) home and they snuggled all night!

When we came in on Wednesday morning... surprise!

There were TWO chicks in the incubator!  Pansy was all fluffy and dry, so she must have hatched on Tuesday night.  Oh, my... four sweet, fluffy chicks!  Petunia (the one we bought) quickly showed them the ropes.  She would take a drink and then the other chicks would take a drink.  

On Thursday, the chicks went to their new home.  The kids were very sad to see the chicks go, but they have a wonderful chicken coop waiting for them!

What an amazing experience!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hatching Chicks in Kindergarten

I can't even begin to tell you how excited the kids are right now!  We will be hatching chicks in kindergarten and the eggs have arrived!

We order 2 Sussex, 2 Orpington, and 2 Wellsummer eggs.  

The eggs went into the incubator on Monday, April 24th.  They will be in there for 21 days and hopefully they will start hatching!

The little egg halves at the bottom of the picture will show us what the inside of the egg looks like every day.  It's amazing how fast they change!  We'll be checking our eggs many times each day and I'm sure parents will hear all of the updates at home.  Mrs. Perkins, our office manager, will be taking the chicks home once they are hatched. 

 Oh, the fun!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Our Creation Station

Lately, in Kindergarten, we've become creative builders.  We've been collecting items that could be recycled and turning them into the most amazing creations!

The kids tell stories of the pirate ships they are creating and they huge garages for their cars.

This is a ship from Moana.

Unfortunately, the bus drivers have asked us not to make LARGE creations anymore.  We are working to keep our creations backpack sized.  We are still in need of paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, and soup or fruit cans.  Those are the hot items at the moment!  Thanks for sending us your garbage!

Happy creating!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Math Mountains

We are working toward a firm understanding of our teen numbers (numbers 11-19) in kindergarten!

This is an example of a math mountain.  There are 12 Tiny Tumblers on top of the 12 Math Mountain.  If ten roll down one side, we know there will be two on the other.  We practiced this will all of the teen numbers, with 10 ALWAYS rolling down one side.  The kids did a GREAT job on their math mountains and most kids are writing their numbers correctly too!

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:

Mental Images

Happy reading!