Week 4: Team Salvador!

Courageous Conversations: Inclusion Talk!

IMG_6400

One of Steele’s strengths is problem solving with – both with puzzles and friends!

We had several anti-bias conversations around differences, this week. We read We Can Do It! by Laura Dwight to help frame children’s perspectives around the capabilities of children who have differences, rather than their limitations. During the fire drill, however, children noticed a member of the community was missing and this sparked the conversation. “He is safe, in the front of the building, with 3 adults. We are safe back here, together, with everyone else. Everyone is safe, but he needed to be there and we needed to be here, instead.” Children were still very worried about where this child was, and his reaction to the whole process, and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t with us in the first place. So, I made the necessary space in our busy day for children to unpack their assumptions and observations in a safe and open dialogue, because we needed to talk about what they were seeing and not saying.

The conversation was respectful and candid.  We talked about noticing differences in abilities and mannerisms in the classroom, and how to support a certain member of our community who seemed different. I reiterated that everyone is getting what they need and our friend was working on different things, just like everyone else. “He is working on being with us more for whole group times, taking risks instead of saying “no,” and communicating with others more.” I tried to show them the fairness in equity versus equality (where everyone gets the same thing.) “For him, playing with the magnatiles at the table nearest to us when we had a whole group meeting was him trying to join us in a way that felt safe to him. You aren’t working on joining us, so that’s why you were on the rug here, already. Equity means you get what you need, and that can look different from someone else.” I knew they understood the concept when someone said, “That’s like how I need a stretchy fidget, but someone else needs a squishy one, but we’re both getting help listening because we both have our things even though they’re different.”

IMG_6329

Goodbye to Jeremiah & Get Well Card for Guido!

They also had AMAZING things to say about that child’s strengths, and ways we are all alike rather than different, and how to make all friends feel included, even if they give us mixed signals. “You could high-five him maybe, or invite him to color with you.” And, “I could ask him to read that Hungry Caterpillar Book, or read HIM a book!” And, “Everyone likes to know they’re invited, even if they don’t always come play with you.” And, “Sometimes giving someone space, but saying you’re there makes them feel better. Like when I’m upset.” Lastly, one child commented later by saying, “He doesn’t like recess time outside, so I think he would have felt even more scared than normal with the whole school walking around on the blacktop. It was good he wasn’t with us there. He wouldn’t have felt safe.”

When our friend left the school for good, children were so sad and confused. We just had

IMG_6325

Tyler shared the reason for his leg brace and how it helps him to walk better, now. His body goal this year is to run fast!

this wonderful INCLUSION TALK and then they didn’t have the chance to implement their ideas. So, they had a hard time understanding why the classroom wasn’t the best space for him to learn and grow. I couldn’t share all the reasons, but I could share the reason behind the actions they observed that told us it wasn’t the best space. We talked about what it feels like when we are sensory overloaded. It was a perfect conversation, since we just introduced the fidget tools and returned the noise cancelling headphones. A big reason our classroom environment wasn’t serving this student was because it was so open, loud in the pod, and the amount of stimulation and people on campus was very overwhelming. I explained all this by grabbing an empty jar and pebbles. I said the jar was the student’s mind, clear and open to receiving information and learning. Then, I began filling the empty jar with pebbles, as we went through the sensory input involved in each part of our daily schedule. We arrived at 11:30 and the jar was almost full to the brim. “Hey, that’s when ___________ packs up his things and leaves early!” Another student said, “I think he feels kinda overwhelmed,

IMG_6394

Genevieve: “All the colors of this loom represent everyone in our class […] and we like all these different colors, and together they make a beautiful pattern.”

because when I feel like that and my marbles are full, I scream, too.” Another said, “He must feel so scared and stressed out! When my marbles get full, I can’t be my best self.” It was a perfectly concrete way to explain what adults mean when we say “our classroom and school environment wasn’t right for ________.” I said, “Now, this could be anyone at any time, but imagine feeling this way all the time, every day. That’s why ______ found a new environment that would allow him to feel safe and able to learn. (I dumped out all the marbles except for 10). This is what he’ll feel like in his new school, hopefully. And this is how everyone should feel in the right environment. So, do you understand what I mean, now?” Kids were happy for their friend’s new classroom environment and they actually understood and empathized with what it might feel like to be overwhelmed/overstimulated. It was a series of beautiful moments. Please talk more with your child about how we are all working on something different and our needs are being met, even if the process looks different 🙂

New Meeting Tools To Help Whole Body Listening…

This week, we introduced fidget tools (concentration tools) and their agreements, which we talked about last week. The fidget tools we have help children focus their hands during sedentary activities with an object that is 1 of 3 sensory options: stretchy (caterpillar), squishy (football), or tactile (thinking putty). We also reintroduced the noise cancelling headphones with our agreements and put them in the library instead of the meeting area. This way, children are less likely to misuse them during clean up or whole group times. Children are responding very well to these tools, and I’m checking in with them about which tools worked best for them and which didn’t help them focus. They’re very honest about it, for the most part!

We’re On Team Salvador!

IMG_6330

Building Community: Understanding who the helpers are in our community and how we can become helpers, too!

This week, I wanted to kickstart our sense of stewardship. We had to close the sensory table as a choice, mid-week, because children mistreated it by throwing sand, everywhere, and not cleaning it up. After children volunteered to clean it up, we talked about what happens when we don’t follow our classroom agreement to treat tools respectfully. The natural consequence that the tool is closed to the class
until we can earn it back, again, by showing we’re responsible with other materials and tools (i.e. the noise cancelling headphones). This incident led to a series of conversations about who cleans up our classroom (Salvador) and how important it is that we do our part to help Salvador, the custodian, with that job.

I asked Salvador to come to our classroom, so children could meet him! We asked him

IMG_6357

We’re on Team Salvador!

questions about himself, his likes, his dislikes, his job, etc. He works from about 6am to 4:30pm or 5:00pm, everyday, cleaning the whole campus. I wanted children to put a face to the name of the person who cleans our classroom, so that they might think twice about creating and leaving messes behind. We agreed afterwards that he has a big job to do on campus and we would be on Team Salvador to help him by cleaning up after our classroom. I showed them where brooms and the floor sweeper were, as well as the dust pan and rags. Now, children use those tools voluntarily to help during clean up! And if ever we see friends forget to clean-up or making a big mess with materials in a way that’s mistreating them, we gently say “Please don’t hurt my friend Salvador.”

A Message From Our Art Coordinator

12079480_10153384230725976_6875853413749930865_n

Christina with her husband Christian and their three children.

My name is Christina Wayne and I will be the Art coordinator for Kate’s Kinder class for the 2016/2017 school year.  I am new to the role, but very excited to see what the children can introduce to me with their art explorations.  While doing some research on how to best support the children and the classroom, I came across this excerpt that I wanted to share:

“Reggio Emilia is an approach to creativity and learning that was founded by Loris Mallaguzzi in the Northern Italian city, Reggio Emilia.  Lorris Magaluzzi has created a forum where children can express what he calls the 100 languages of children, which refers to their unlimited creative potential. He believes that when we perceive children as strong, capable and creative we inspire children to the highest of their creative potential. Instead of seeing children as empty vessels that need filling up with information and knowledge, he sees them as already full of creative potential and artists in their own right. This philosophy can be applied to adults as well as children.”

I intend to support this philosophy by providing many different materials that allow for maximum learning and creativity through individual exploration and group collaboration.  My goal is to provide inspiration and to support them emotionally, physically and creatively in order for each student to identify their true strengths, interests and artistic desire.  I will encourage students to develop, discuss, problem solve, find joy, allow for mistakes and define their own timeline for completion with their art.  We will have a “saving shelf” near the art space in the classroom that will be clearly identified in the coming weeks.  I appreciate your support, patience and ideas.  Periodically I will send out updates/wish lists/highlights on the school blog via Kate.  All support is appreciated but never required.
Feel free to reach out to me anytime at ChristinaWayne@ymail.com for more details or explanation.  I look forward to a great year!

Art Material Wishlist:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Random flowers if you have a garden
  • Nature items – twigs, stones, leaves, shells, feathers, branches, tree bark, flowers, acorns, etc.
  • Marbles
  • String
  • Plastic caps – from orange juice, milk, etc. – please wash before donating – All colors, shapes and sizes are welcome.
  • Wine corks
  • Misc. Fabric – various sizes, prints, colors, etc.
  • Rubber Bands
  • Lace
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Tree Branch Stumps – Anyone cutting down a tree soon or maybe just some branches?

Mark Those Calendars!

  • PICTURE DAY: Tuesday August 30th, 9:10-9:40am
  • Art Materials: Please bring in anything you can of the requested list above 🙂
  • Lunch Assessments Ending: Remember to SIGN UP  your child for either 12:45-1:30IMG_6429
    or 1:35-2:20pm! The lunches will begin and END as promptly as possible. Here’s a link to the signup genius for those who haven’t signed up, yet: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f4fadac2ba7f94-getting 
  • Community Snack Schedule: This week is the Kizaraly Family. Please, use thesnack signup genius here to sign up for a week to ring snack. Let the Snack Coordinator Kudsana (kkizaraly@yahoo.com) know if you need special accommodations. And a BIG thank you to the Sizelove family who volunteered last week!
  • Early Classroom Help Request: If you’re a former D2 TK parent, have an older child in the school, and finished your Positive Discipline Requirements to volunteer in the classroom, please sign up to help in the classroom throughout the week, if you can: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c49aea72daa8-kinder.Thanks!
  • Labor Day Weekend: No School Monday September 5th
  • September Parent Meeting: The next parent meeting will be Wednesday September 14th 6:30-7:30pm

“Get-to-know-you” Assessment Lunches Going Well!

IMG_6436I began meeting with your little ones for lunch, last week, and it’s been simply wonderful! Your children are creative, sweet, funny, and articulate critical thinkers. We had a great time sharing stories, fruit, and assessing where they are mathematically and literacy wise. I will go over results with you during our first parent-teacher meeting and appreciate your patience. Thank you, also, for understanding when certain lunches ran over our allotted time. Just a reminder, parents are encouraged not to stay, and if your child is the 12:45pm-1:30pm slot, he/she can remain in the classroom with me, u
ntil I dismiss everyone and set up for our assessment luncheon. I try to make it fun by starting with lunch, asking some questions to get to know them, showing them what we’ll do with our time, etc. We talk about brain goals and body goals they have for themselves, as they think about what they would like to be able to know and do by the end of kindergarten. Those answers will go up on our Olympic Hopes & Dreams Board in September. That goal conversation then feeds into the math and literacy assessments, which I introduce by saying, “I just want to know what you know, and from what I can tell you know A LOT. So, these questions will give us an idea of what you know and what other skills we will learn in kindergarten!” So far, we’ve managed to make it fun! Sometimes, we even have time to play with a favorite toy in the classroom! Next week, for 8/29-9/2 I’ll meet with the following students:

  • Monday: Quentin
  • Tuesday: Dominic and Ellie Luz

Weekly Highlights:

  • Hearing Test: On Thursday children participating in the hear test, and we read books
    IMG_6343

    Guided Discovery: Pot Holder Looms!

    and ate snack outside while they went into the testing in groups of 4.

  • Family Photo: Where is yours? I’m short 6 family photos…I know who you are! lol I would like to label family photos with names, but I don’t have everyone yet. Please bring in your photos ASAP. We’re a community!
  • Visitor: Salvador the custodian!
  • Fire Drill: We had a fire drill, Tuesday, August 23rd. We talked about the safety issues  and how everyone needs to stay in line, with the group, quietly walking, and whole-body listening no matter what. It went well and practicing beforehand helped reduce their anxiety, a bit, too.
  • Guided Discovery: Children learn about new materials and tools in our room through guided discovery and then exploration with those tools afterward. Tools they discovered this week were watercolors, popsicle sticks, pot holder looms, and tinker toys. (The Sensory Table had kinetic sand and animal accessories.)

    IMG_6391

    Goodbye Card for Landon!

  • Goals for the Year: Children began thinking about our hopes and dreams for the
    year, by starting with what they’re good at and what they’re working on. We will hone those goals during lunch assessments and post them on our Olympic Skills Board to remind us of what we are working toward as we learn🙂 Each one of us will carry the skills torch at one point or another as we play and grow. “Play” can look very different as children grow older and their interests and skills advance. So, let’s see what’s in store this year!
  • Final Goodbyes:  Jeremiah and Landon will no longer be continuing with us at D2. We said goodbye by writing/drawing them cards. We will be getting two new students in the next few weeks, probably…

Whole-Group Read-Aloud Books & Songs:

  • We Can Do It! by Laura Dwight
  • I like Me by Nancy Carlson
  • Mix It Up by Herve Tullet
  • If You Give A Mouse An iPhone by Ann Droyd
  • Kinder Sing Songs: Good Morning Song, Aikendrum, Pop-See-Ko, The Potato Song, and Together on Monday Again
  • Go Noodle Songs: Pop See Ko, Pop See Ko 2.0, Wiggle It, This or That, I Get Loose, and Wobbly Man

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Week 3: 10th Day Celebration!

“Get-to-know-you” Assessment Lunches Began!

IMG_6168I began meeting with your little ones for lunch, this week. I really appreciated getting to know them and seeing what their skills can do, right now. It’s giving me a great baseline and helping me to understand them on a much more personal level, too!

Parents are not required to stay, and if your child is the 12:45pm-1:30pm slot, he/she can remain in the classroom with me, until I dismiss everyone and set up for our assessment luncheon. I try to make it fun by starting with lunch, asking some questions to get to know them, showing them what we’ll do with our time, etc. We also talk about brain goals and body goals they have for themselves, as they think about what they would like to be able to know and do by the end of kindergarten. Those answers will go up on our Olympic Hopes & Dreams Board. That conversation then feeds into the math and literacy assessments, which I introduce by saying, “I just want to know what you know, and from what I can tell you know A LOT. So, these questions will give us an idea of what you know and what other skills we will learn in kindergarten!” Sometimes, we even have time to play with a favorite toy in the classroom! Next week, for 8/22-8/27 I’ll meet with the following students:

  • Monday: George and Nicholas
  • Tuesday: Oscar and Jada
  • Wednesday: Nakiya and Tyler
  • Thursday: Maddie S. and Pranav
  • Friday: Steele and Guido

Whole Body Listening…

IMG_6146This week, we worked on listening with our whole body. This helped during whole group times, on the rug, but aided us in recognizing and participating in transitions. The 3 steps to responding: 1. STOP (your body), 2. LOOK (at teacher), and 3. LISTEN (for directions). Children worked to understand how best to listen and respond during this process, often saying the last word “listen” together. They continued to try two kinds of meeting seats (bubble seat and rocking chair), velcro “hug” vests and weighted vests. All these tools help children in various ways to focus their bodies and minds a little more during whole-group rug time or even other times of day when their energy gets too high or too low. I put away the noise cancelling head phones, until they showed they could handle them. Children were misusing headphones during times when listening was required, such as read-alouds, meetings, or during transitions. For instance, some kids would put them on and not clean up or would want to wear them at meeting and then say, “I can’t hear you.” Next week, we will write agreements about appropriate headphone use and I will reintroduce them to the class Tuesday or Wednesday.

Last week, we introduced the Zones of Regulation. This week, we introduced Whole Body Listening Larry. It’s a great book that depicts what should happen during certain activities at school and how it looks to listen with our whole body…and how it can look the OPPOSITE when we aren’t 🙂 Children really loved seeing the different examples and pointing out what they thought should be happening. Next week, we will work on listening with our whole body:

  • Eyes
  • Mouth
  • Ears
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Body
  • Heart
  • Brain

This is a concept that will take time to implement, but the kids are super responsive to Whole-Body Listening Larry and so we will to do our best! If you’d like to support us at home, feel free to check out Whole Body Listening Larry At Home by Kristen Wilson and Elizabeth Sautter.

The Worry Hat

IMG_6180As we moved into discovering more about who we are inside, we read Wilma Jean The Worry Machine by Julia Cook. This book helped put in perspective how big worries can feel, but how little it helps to focus on them because we waste time where we could be present and enjoy life in the moment. Just like the book, I told children I would bring in a Worry Hat and they could write them down (with help) and place their worries inside. This way, if they were feeling something, they could have the hat hold it for a while and then we could talk about it later. It’s a great system that really seems to help children navigate their feelings, worries, and anxieties in school and with friends. I’ve had a few requests so far!

Mark Those Calendars!

  • Parent Work Schedules Due MONDAY: Deepa NEEDS your work shift schedule sheets! They were due last Wednesday. Please, bring them THIS Monday August 22, 2016.
  • Lunch Assessments Starting: Remember to SIGN UP  your child for either 12:45-1:30 or 1:35-2:20pm! The lunches will begin and END as promptly as possible. Here’s a link to the signup genius for those who haven’t signed up, yet: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f4fadac2ba7f94-getting 
  • Community Snack Schedule: This week is the Sizelove Family. Please, use the
    IMG_6188

    Introducing dry erase boards and making math sentences!

    snack signup genius here to sign up for a week to bring snack. Let the Snack Coordinator Kudsana (kkizaraly@yahoo.com) know if you need special accommodations. And a BIG thank you to the Graham family who volunteered last week!

  • Early Classroom Help Request: If you’re a former D2 TK parent, have an older child in the school, and finished your Positive Discipline Requirements to volunteer in the classroom, please sign up to help in the classroom throughout the week, if you can: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c49aea72daa8-kinder.Thanks!
  • September Parent Meeting: The next parent meeting will be Wednesday September 14th 6:30-7:30pm
  • D2 Community Meeting: Tuesday August 23rd, 7 PM – 9 PM (D2 Atrium)
  • Thank You Parents! It’s been amazing the support and resources we’ve pooled together, as a community, to set up the classroom. Thank you for contributing to our success and fulfilling our needs! We have enough school supplies, a snack cart coming, a lunch cart already, and families have signed up for weekly community snack for a while.

Guided Discovery: Snap Cubes, Creativity, and Measuring!

Weekly Highlights:

  • Books: See list at the bottom of post!
  • 10th Day Celebration: Our pod celebrated the 10th day of school by providing
    IMG_6183

    How many snap cubes long is each object you find?

    activities in each classroom for all the children that celebrated the number 10 theme. 10 snacks, 10 object scavenger hat, 10 stip hats, building with 10 blocks, painting 10 nails, etc. Ask your child what activity was his/her favorite!

  • Visitor: Danielle the School Psychologist
  • Kinder Community Sing: See the list at the bottom of the post!
  • Music Breaks: See Go Noodle songs at bottom of the list!
  • Community Building/Movement Breaks: Red Light-Green Light and yoga
  • Guided Discovery: Children learn about new materials and tools in our room through guided discovery and then exploration with those tools afterward. Tools they discovered this week were snap cubes. Children learned all the different ways they can use snap cubes and how we can use them in math to help us count and to help us measure. Key words from this week: Estimate (careful guess), measure (to see how long an object is using a unit of measurement), equation (math sentence: 5 +3 = 8)
  • Goals for the Year: Children began thinking about our hopes and dreams for the year, by starting with what they’re good at and what they’re working on. We will hone those goals during lunch assessments and post them on our Olympic Skills Board to remind us of what we are working toward as we learn 🙂 Each one of us will carry the skills torch at one point or another as we play and grow. “Play” can look very different as children grow older and their interests and skills advance. So, let’s see what’s in store this year!
  • Buddies/Exploration: We did indoor/outdoor exploration with 4th grade buddies, on Friday! We will pick buddy pairings in later August/early September.

10th Day Celebration!

Whole-Group Read-Aloud Books & Songs:

IMG_6132

Art for the senses: Exploring herbs!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Week 2: Getting To Know Each Other!

Expectations In the Classroom

IMG_6076

This board will display our academic goals for the year!

My number one expectation is that children take risks to be true to themselves and try new things. Number two is that they respect the space and its inhabitants. By now, children are getting comfortable (yay!) and some are also starting to show a little pushback with boundaries and expectations [totally normal…but less yay 🙂 ] This just means that being consistent with where the “lines” are will help everyone to internalize expectations, so we can move on to using our time and energy for the fun stuff. Children are learning through trial and error where the boundaries are in the classroom, with materials, tools, bodies, and most importantly with adults and peers. We made meeting agreements last week to help our time together on the rug be more productive, respectful, and efficient. They are displayed in the meeting area. This week we made Community Classroom Agreements which are displayed on the door. Many children need reminders to help them to listen and navigate the space successfully, which is typical of this age and this point in the year!

 

Exploration Activities

Natural Consequences in Real Time: Transition Time

IMG_6036This week, we worked on coming together on the rug in a timely fashion, and being ready for the next activity. It takes between 8-10 minutes, right now…which is long lol and cuts into time for other activities. Our goal is 2-4 minutes. They learned the natural consequence of not following directions promptly is essentially losing play time, later. We talked about how one activity runs into the next, and that means that by the end of the morning if we spend 30 minutes total cleaning up and making it to the rug – that’s 30 minutes from some fun activity planned. I’m also very honest with them about how it makes me feel as a teacher when this happens.

The 3 steps to transitioning include: 1. Clean-up, 2. coming to the rug (not wandering), and 3. finding a good space for your whole body to be able to listen. Once at the rug, I introduced two kinds of meeting seats (bubble seat and rocking chair), noise cancelling headphones, and velcro “hug” vests and weighted vests. All these tools help children in various ways to focus their bodies and minds a little more during whole-group rug time or even other times of day when their energy gets too high or too low. Children tried almost every tool, and as the year moves forward, not every child will request them or use them. Usually, by the mid-year point, only the children who really need them use them most and eventually they grow out of the need for that item as a strategy/tool for self-regulation.

In order for students to be able to self-regulate and check-in with their body, they need to understand how they are feeling and how that affects what their behavior. Camille, the resident Occupational Therapist at our school, came to speak with us about Whole Body Listening and the Zones of Regulation, on Monday. This is something we’ll be talking about more and more, as the year moves along. It was a rather long presentation, but I’ve included, below, a direct excerpt of the 4 Zones from the website, and how they were explained to the children:

Our Feelings & States Determine Our Zones

  1. IMG_5854

    Camille talking about the Zones of Regulation!

    The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions.  A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, explosive behavior, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone. 

  2. The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions; however, one has some control when they are in the Yellow Zone.  A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.  
  3. The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone.  This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.  
  4. The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings, such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.  

“The Zones can be compared to traffic signs.  When given a green light or in the Green Zone, one is “good to go”.  A yellow sign means be aware or take caution, which applies to the Yellow Zone.  A red light or stop sign means stop, and when one is the Red Zone, this often is the case.  The Blue Zone can be compared to the rest area signs where one goes to rest or re-energize.  All of the zones are expected at one time or another, but the curriculum focuses on teaching students how to manage their Zone based on the environment and people around them. For example, when playing on the playground or in an active/competitive game, no one would think twice about one being in the Yellow Zone but that would not be same in the library.”

Mark Those Calendars!

  • Lunch Assessments Starting: Remember to SIGN UP  your child for either 12:45-1:30 or 1:35-2:20pm! The lunches will begin and END as promptly as possible, especially on Tuesday. Here’s a link to the signup genius for those who haven’t signed up, yet:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f4fadac2ba7f94-getting 
  • Community Snack Schedule: This week is the Graham Family. Please, let the Snack Coordinator Kudsana (kkizaraly@yahoo.com) know if you’re able to provide snack in the next few weeks! And a BIG thank you to the Kurtze family who volunteered last week!
  • Early Classroom Help Request: If you’re a former D2 TK parent, have an older child in the school, and finished your Positive Discipline Requirements to volunteer in the classroom, please sign up to help in the classroom throughout the week, if you can: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c49aea72daa8-kinder Thanks!
  • Parent Meeting: Tuesday August 16, 2016 at 6:30-8:00pm (whole-kinder meeting 6:30-7:00pm, 7:00-8:00pm meeting in individual classrooms). This meeting will end on time. Minutes: Nicole Kerbey (Thank you!)
  • Parent Social Night Out: Post-parent meeting at Aqui!
  • School Counselor Visit: Danielle Torrez will be visiting the classroom to introduce herself, observe, and let children know she’s there for support throughout the year, should they need her.
  • Tuesday’s 10th Day Celebration: To celebrate the 10th day of school, our whole TK/K pod will celebrate the 10th day with some “10” inspired activities in each classroom, during exploration. Children will be able to go from room to room to try the festive activities. I will be painting nails (10 fingers) in our classroom, for our activity. If your child cannot participate in that, please email me.
  • Parent Work Schedules Due: Deepa needs your work shift schedule sheets NO LATER THAN Wednesday August 17, 2016.
  • DSC Board Meeting: Wednesday August 17th, 6:30-9pm
  • D2 Community Meeting: 7 PM – 9 PM (D2 Atrium)

Weekly Highlights:

  • Books: See list at the bottom of post!

    IMG_5960

    Kinder Community Sing!

  • Visitor: Camille the Occupational Therapist
  • Kinder Community Sing: The ASL Good Morning Song, The Pizza Man, Best Day of My Life, and The Green Grass Grows All Around
  • Music Breaks: Ask them about You’ll Sing A Song And I’ll Sing A Song  and “I have a friend her/his name is __________ and this is what she/he likes to do: ________ and ________.” (To the tune of B-I-N-G-O)
  • Community Building/Movement Break: “Who has/Who likes…”Game – Children went from one side of the grass to the other depending on their answers to questions about their physical features (i.e. Who has brown eyes?) or their personal preferences (i.e. who likes bananas?)
  • Guided Discovery: Children learn about new materials and tools in our room through guided discovery and then exploration with those tools afterward. Tools they discovered this week were skin tone markers/crayons/colored pencils/paint and pattern blocks. Our exploration of skin tone is a starting point for delving into our identity unit.
  • Fun Cooking Activity: Making play dough with Doreen, Maddie’s mom!
  • Puppets Shows: Children have requested a “puppet stage” and used our mobile bookshelf as one. I will procure one from another classroom for Monday’s exploration!
  • Goals for the Year: Children began thinking about our hopes and dreams for the year, by starting with what they’re good at and what they’re working on. We will hone those goals during lunch assessments and post them on our Olympic Skills Board to remind us of what we are working toward as we learn 🙂 Each one of us will carry the skills torch at one point or another as we play and grow. “Play” can look very different as children grow older and their interests and skills advance. So, let’s see what’s in store this year!
  • Buddies/Exploration: We played some open-ended math games using MOBI tiles with 4th grade buddies, on Friday! Afterward, we played “What Time Is It Mr. Fox?” We will pick buddy pairings in later August/early September.

Guided Discovery with Pattern Blocks…

Guided Discovery with Skin Tone Art Tools & Identity Unit Questions…

Whole-Group Read-Aloud Books & Songs:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Welcome to Kindergarten!

IMG_5763What a short and wonderful 3-day week! Our first week of Kindergarten warmly welcomed every child into our classroom community. I was so happy to see that by the end of day one, the shyness disappeared and the smiles came out to play. Even the shyest of children seemed to feel at ease with our group.  Only one or two children had trouble with morning goodbyes, which is remarkable for a class of this size. I attribute that success to our parent-teacher tag teaming 🙂

The children are already very happy, curious, and inquisitive learners who have come into Kindergarten READY. Children are weaving in and out of the four stages of play together, and started conversations about checking-in with friends for problem-solving. Most children are joining in cooperative play! Some are still finding their social footing, and seeking friends with whom they feel comfortable trying associative play and even parallel play! As we talk about agreements next week, we will discuss how we want our classroom environment to support us in strengthening our community. We will ask, “What is a classroom agreement?” and narrow down some agreements to live by in our classroom.

We talked about classroom expectations for…

  • Lining up from recess: Students MUST WAIT at the fence once they get their snacks. IMG_5614No one goes back to the classroom alone. 5 children wandered off to the classroom without waiting, and it was quite scary. Wandering isn’t an option since our classroom is street side. Remind your children to stay at the fence on the black top near the blue benches.
  • How to transition between activities: Modeled how to respectfully treat materials and tools, and transition from one activity to another…I also modeled how NOT to do it, which children though was hilarious.
  • How to clean up as a community: Clean up your area and then go help others around the room until everything is picked up. Then, we’re ready to move on.
  • Music Break: What does it look like to come to the rug as an audience and participate, respectfully? When can we touch the guitar?
  • Kinder Sing: Sitting and respectfully listening and participating. A couple friends commented “I hate this song,” or “this is boring.” Please remind your child that although they are entitled to their feelings, they do not have the right to ruin experiences for others or be blatantly rude in the middle of an activity by voicing them aloud.

Some fun things we talked about or did this week:

  • IMG_5651Books:  First Day Jitters  by Julie Dannenberg, Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees, and The Seeds of Friendship by Michael Foreman.
  • Kinder Community Sing: Ask them about how it went!
  • Music Breaks: Ask them about the guitar and the song The World Is Big, The World Is Small by Ella Jenkins
  • Community Building/Movement Break: We played What Time Is It Mr. Fox tag and Octopus tag
  • Guided Discovery: Children learn about new materials and tools in our room through guided discovery and then exploration with those tools afterward. Ask them what was in our box, and if they know the song, yet! The link to the responsive classroom planning guide will show you my thinking as I introduce items to your children.
  • Buddies/Exploration: We met our 4th grade buddies, on Friday! It was wonderful to see them interact with each other. We will pick buddy pairings in later August/early September.
Things YOU as the parent should know and please do:
  • We will dismiss closer to 12:30pm.IMG_5757
  • PLEASE Bring your family photos for our bulletin board, questionnaires, and photo release forms.  If you don’t, I can’t post any pictures on the blog update.
  • Community snack starts next week: So, you don’t need to pack a snack, but you may pack a little extra snack in case your child still gets hungry later on!
  • Water bottles will go in the round wicker basket at the door.
  • Remember sunscreen!
  • Is anyone is able to contribute toward purchasing two carts – one for our lunches and one for daily community snacks? Something sturdy is best, as it will be heavy and the children will be pushing it. When we start community snack we will need something with shelving and easy access to the plates, cups, and snacks, like this: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20271892/ (but the wheels have to be welded on, or they’ll break- I know from experience). For lunches, we could use something covered, folds away, and is easily portable, like this: https://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Duty-Folding-Utility-Rolling-Shopping/dp/B00LU7U4AI/ref=sr_1_105?ie=UTF8&qid=1470272598&sr=8-105&keywords=rolling+cart+heavy+duty 

What is Guided Discovery, Anyway?

IMG_5742One of our goals this week was to explore some art materials with Guided Discovery. I put a mystery tool or material inside a yellow lego box, and I sang: “Shake it up! Shake it down! Shake it, shake it all around! Tell me what you think it is. Tell me what you think it is.” Children took turns raising their hands to guess what was inside. When I finally revealed it, we talked about what it was, how it could be used, and respectful ways to take care of that tool. Afterwards, they explored using those materials and tools. In the days following, I put them out as choices as children are familiar with them now. This week we discovered crayons, pencils, and scissors.

Whole-Group Read-Aloud Books & Songs:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.