Week 5: Story Workshop, NEW Student, & More!

New Student Coming!

We will welcome Mia Fox to our classroom this coming week, along with her mom and dad Dawun and Frank. This brings our class total to 23 children. She is very excited and probably nervous! So, please, remind your children of what a kind and warm welcome looks, sounds, and feels like! Also, remind them that they are the EXPERTS of our classroom routines and expectations. So, she will need their help in knowing how to navigate our space and materials, respectfully. Lastly, we will wear our name tags this week, in order to make it easier for her to learn our names and to us to remember hers. Thank you 🙂

Marbles: Courageous Conversations About Gender and Play

IMG_6487Two weeks ago, it came to my attention that although the marbles were a hot commodity for all children to play with, only boys for the most part played with them. At first, I took the marbles away to see where children might play and how the dynamics would shift. Big surprise: Nobody even asked for them! However, this past Monday, they were missing in action, again, and many boys and girls asked where they were. I said they were put away for now, because I we needed to talk as a group about reopening the sensory table and bringing back the marbles. “But why did you take them away?” I posed the same question back to them and the response was, “We fighted too much over them, maybe.” I said, “That’s something to consider, but that’s not the only  reason why I put them away.” At our meeting, I asked 3 questions after announcing the missing marble runs:

  1. Did people like playing with the marble runs?
  2. Who has had a chance to play with them a lot?
  3. Did anyone want to try the marbles who hadn’t had a chance to play with them?

We noted that only boys raised their hands for question #2, and mostly girls raised their hands for question #3. I asked if anyone had feelings about the marble play being boy heavy, and of course many children felt it was unfair and voiced instances in which they were forced out or unwelcome. One girl noted, “It feels like a boy toy and that’s not even a thing! Toys are for everyone!” I then said, “I agree, but it doesn’t feel like it with the marbles does it? I put them away, because I noticed how many people felt. I even have pictures that show the boy-heavy play. Then, I heard girls who tried to play were either forced out or not given any marbles or pieces to build with. That felt unfair and I don’t keep toys in the classroom that create an unfair feeling.” Wanting to have the marble runs back, they immediately brainstormed ways to reintroduce the marble runs, fairly.  We ended up using a 5 minute timer for children to play in small groups of 4 at a time, and choosing attendance rocks, randomly. It worked “sort of” well (a little short for play time and some kids had a hard time transitioning out), but we’ll see if they ask to augment the fair play agreements!

Update On Meeting Tools For Whole Body Listening 

This week, we continued incorporating 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).  Children are responding very well to these tools, for the most part, but if the tools cease to help them focus classroom parents and teachers give one gentle warning (“That doesn’t look like is helping you focus, very well, warning 1.”) and then we ask for that tool to be returned. I’m checking in with them about which tools worked best for them and which didn’t help them focus. Many of them are very honest about it!

A Message From Our Art Coordinator

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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.”IMG_2857

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!

  • Whole Kinder Water Exploration: This Thursday September 8th bring a change of IMG_6643clothes for your little one, as we’ll be taking advantage of the weather and doing outdoor water play with our kinder pod!
  • New Student Coming: Mia Fox joins us this week!
  • Art Materials: Please bring in anything you can of Christina’s requested list above 🙂
  • Student Council Assembly: This Thursday September 8th the whole school will meet to hear students’  speeches  Kindergarten will not be voting, but we will go to listen and probably talk about this concept afterward. 
  • Community Snack Schedule: This week is the Wayne 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 Kizaraly 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
  • NO SCHOOL Friday September 16th:  Faculty Professional Development Day
  • NO SCHOOL Fall Break: September 24-October 9th

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

I will go over results with you during our first parent-teacher meeting in October, and I  appreciate your patience. Thank you, also, for understanding when certain lunches ran over our allotted time.Our brain goals and body goals were laminated this weekend, and will be posted this week on the Olympic Hopes & Dreams Board. Children have a LOT they’re looking forward to learning in kindergarten!

Weekly Highlights:

  • Team Salvador Continues: We cleaned up the classroom and had many “emergency IMG_6586meetings” about what participating in clean up meant…some children are more inclined to stewardship than others, but we’ll all get there!
  • Family Photo: Where is yours? I’m short 2 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!
  • Picture Day: We took some great pictures on Tuesday!
  • Story Workshop: We used play to inspire writing stories which children either dictated to an adult, or wrote down themselves. Play tables they rotated through included foam blocks, legos, natural materials, kinetic sand, and magnatiles. They could work independently, in small groups, or in pairs. It was AMAZING the things they came up with. We’ll talk more this week about what makes a good story (a plot line with a problem to solve!). However, for their first time, they made a wonderful effort and felt proud to see their IMG_6632work displayed!
  • Mosaic Pattern Making: I introduced gluing colorful square shapes onto black and white mosaic prints to make various patterns. Children enjoyed this activity
    immensely!
  • Car Painting: We used different cars to paint and make different patterns. Children had a blast!
  • Meditation Reminder: Children took turns stirring the “Mind Jar” (glitter, sand, and water that represent our thoughts and feelings) on a light table.
  • Measuring Tape: Children used measuring tape to see how long their rainbow loom bracelets were. Some stretched across the whole room! We even measured in non-standard units (how many kids long a string was)
  • Buddy Reading: Our buddies came and read stories with us!

Story Workshop: Play Inspired Writing!

Whole-Group Read-Aloud Books & Songs:

  • What Does It Mean To Be Kind? by Rana DiOrioIMG_6638
  • Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee Maclean
  • Stick & Stone by Beth Ferry
  • Kinder Sing Songs: Good Morning Song, Country Roads, The Green Grass Grows All Around, Cups, and Together on Monday Again
  • Go Noodle Songs: Pop See Ko, Pop See Ko 2.0, Wiggle It, This or That, I Get Loose, Class Dismissed, Koo Koo Crazy Recess, and Wobbly Man

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