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:

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