Week 9: Back From Break!

Mark Those Calendars!

  • Field Trip #2:  THIS Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 9:30am (Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch
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    Pumpkin Patch field trip this week!

    in South San J0se, CA). Look out for an email from Arielle Kurtze, Field Trip Coordinator.

  • Community Snack Schedule: This week is the Hunter Family. Please, use the 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 Guiang family who volunteered last week!
  • NO SCHOOL: Professional Development Day for D2 staff October 21st
  • October Parent Meeting: Wednesday October 26th 6:30-7:30pm
  • Parent Teacher Conference Week: We have EARLY dismissal at 1:10pm 10/24-10/28. Please click here to sign up for Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, or Friday conference times, (Yes, I said Sunday!). I have commitments Tuesday and Thursday that I cannot change.
  • Harvest Festival: Friday October 28th, join our school in welcoming the fall season! Children may wear costumes and the school will provide activities and food for celebration!
  • Halloween Celebration: On Monday, October 31st, children may wear Halloween costumes to school for a whole-kinder pod celebration day. We know they will be excited about trick-or-treating and we want to lean into that culminating energy explosion with joy and anticipation, in an effort to channel their energies! Please click HERE to sign up to help with fun activities or bring in supplies needed. Thanks!
  • FUTURE Parent Meeting Dates: Wednesday Nov 9th (Thanksgiving Dinner), Wednesday Dec 14th, Wednesday Jan 25th, Skipping February (short month, too many conflicts), Wednesday March 22nd, Wednesday April 26th, Wednesday May 24th, and Wednesday June 14th.

UPDATE: Protocol for pick-up on Wednesday HALF-DAYS:

•   We will have lunch/recess outside and PICK-UP will be at the black top near the silver benches.
•  You can find your child at the playground, if he/she has not yet come back to the benches. Please, return to check out with me so I can mark him/her off my attendance list, and he/she can grab his/her lunch.
•   The shift parent will help shepherd kids back to me at the benches.
•  We will NOT return to the classroom.
•   Either I or the shift parent will escort the children in after care to the atrium.

Emergency Parent Sub Protocol:

You are responsible for finding your OWN sub. Do not expect Deepa, our classroom coordinator, to handle that. First, send an SOS email out to the class on the yahoo group, CCing me. Then, as soon as you do that please call through the emergency sub list, below. Follow up with me regarding who I can expect in your place. I plan activities based on the parent support available for each shift. Your absence can completely throw off curriculum plans. Please be responsible and respectful with your shift. Thank you!

  1. Jennifer Coscarart (Tuesdays 2nd shift & some Thursdays)
  2. Doreen Stitt (Tuesdays 2nd shift & some Thursdays)
  3. Akiko Fukuhara (3rd shifts) 408-614-9793
  4. Angela Henshall (Thursday 2nd shift)
  5. Christine Ging (always around Thursday morning, though I may be in Rm 12)
  6. Lonnell Graham (408)-836-0385
  7. David Ramos (408) 393-4456 (Thursdays after 1pm)

Pumpkin Exploration Slideshow

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Weekly Highlights:

  • Second Week of FULL DAYS: Children transitioned WONDERFULLY this week! They adjusted so smoothly to the full day schedule and quickly acquired the stamina needed to pace themselves through the day. The children, arguably, did better than most of us adults! 🙂
  • Art Enrichment: Nature art painting using spray bottles with a food coloring
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    Art Exploration!

    mixture, sponges and tempura, coffee filters, and nature items such as leaves, wood, and more.

  • Science Enrichment: Continuing to work with water and primary colors to explore color mixing. We added a new element -ice!
  • Pumpkin Exploration: We read several books about pumpkins this week to get them excited about our upcoming field trip! We observed and dissected several varieties of pumpkins and gourds. Their goal as scientists was to find out what was the same/different about the pumpkins. Children hypothesized what they might find upon dissection: goo, orange, slimy strings, seeds, and butterflies (!). They enjoyed comparing their findings and exploring the gooey situation! All were thoroughly engaged and fully invested in the findings! It was messy fun!
  • Pumpkin Math: Kids counted the seeds they gathered in small groups and pairs. In the beginning of the week, we explored the number 1 together to get them ready for 1-1 correspondence, and to find real life examples that connected for them for “1.” Next week, we will do it for 2 and 3. For kids who can count up to 100+ and needed a challenge, they counted more seeds and/or added larger sums together. For children who are still learning to count past 35, it was a good exercise in 1-1 correspondence and having a partner helped them stay on track.
  • Story Workshop: This week we focused on building a story and solidifying the vocabulary for reading comprehension for characters, setting, and plot.
  • Buddies: The children were FINALLY paired up with their official 4th grade buddy/buddies for the year. They played during exploration together on Friday!
  • QUIET TIME: This is the period after lunch recess when children come in and have “me time.” They can Read, Rest, or Reflect silently or whispering. It’s not a social time, but rather a chance to recharge and be with ourselves for 20 minutes before gearing up for the afternoon!
  • Literacy Games: Children asked to bring out various literacy games during exploration times, and I’ve let them. It’s great practice!
  • Clean-up Routine Tool: Kids and adults agreed that clean up time was hard with children not knowing when to stop cleaning and getting distracted. So, they came up with having areas to be responsible for perhaps and that’s how the zones of cleanup began.
  • Birthday Books: To celebrate your child’s birthday, they may bring in a book for us to read to the class! Please, refrain from bringing food.
  • Share Chair: If children would like to share anything, the 3rd item on our meeting agendas are usually sharing. They can bring in a book or special item from home to show. If they bring a toy, it will have to go right back into their back packs.
  • Family Photo: Where is yours? I know who you are and your family name label is waiting for you! lol I’m missing 2!  Please bring in your photos ASAP. We’re a community. Our bulletin board not the same without you!

Quiet Time Slideshow

Science: Hypothesis, Assumptions, and Variables -Oh My!

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We continued to work with water and primary colors to explore color mixing and general properties of water. Kids commented on how the same amount of water poured into different containers would look like more or less, but it was the same (volume). They also noticed if they filled a container to the brim it “wobbled at the top” and “didn’t explode out.” I explained that was called surface tension, and it does help to keep the water inside the container.

We added a new element, this week to our experimentation -ice – “the solid version of water,” as one child said. Children conducted experiments with salt on ice to see how salt affects ice melting and they made a HYPOTHESIS (“a careful guess” -which we prove true or false, not right or wrong) as to what would happen if we left a blue colored ice cube in a container of yellow water for 30 minutes (it would melt and turn the water green). What color would it turn? We tallied up their name rock votes and discussed their reasoning behind their hypothesis. We talked a lot about ASSUMPTIONS, which they learned are “things you think based on what you know to be true.” So, 1 assumption they had was the water will turn green, because they knew blue and yellow make green! Another assumption was that it would turn green, because the blue ice cube would melt over time, because they know ice melts in room temperature water.

In the end, children had amazing ideas for ways to change the experiment next time. This is when they learned the word VARIABLE, “a change” you make to the experiment in the hopes of finding a different result. Our variables this week with color mixing were adding ice and salt. After experimenting, some suggestions for next time that children had were to add salt to the blue ice cube, add salt to the yellow water, make the temperature of the water warmer, and to add multiple ice cubes. Children did experiments of their own outside and inside, as well as story workshop with ice, water, and little plastic animals to give them inspiration. Very cool story process!

Story Workshop: 3 W’s

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This week we focused on literally and figuratively building a story and solidifying the vocabulary for reading comprehension with a focus on 3 keywords: setting, characters, and plot. I chose name rocks and those children then chose partners to create with this week. We talked about what it would look like to focus on ONE part of a story at a time and build the 3W’s over the course of the week. I used the analogy of a 3 tiered cake with 3 W’s to explain:

  1. WHERE: The base, the largest part, is the setting, or the “WHERE”. It’s the foundation that supports and holds everything else.
  2. WHO: The next layer is the characters, the “WHO”, because they live in the setting and drive the story. They can’t come first, because they need a place to exist!
  3. WHAT: Finally, the plot or the story is the last piece, the “WHAT”. The story only exists if the setting and characters are in place. The story can change many times before they finalize it on paper.

img_7836The goal was for them to collaborate to create a story one building block at a time and act it out -to literally play with a well thought out idea!  The first day, they were given large sheets of white butcher paper and told to ONLY focus on drawing, in LARGE scale, their setting. I just wanted to know WHERE their story would eventually take place. They had to talk to their partner about their ideas, agree on one concept, draw it together, and wrestle with the struggles of how to turn drawing mistakes into something that worked in the setting. Many kids drew their characters into the scene or had ideas of who would be in their story. This was fine, but I told them that the next day was for making the characters. The second day, children  drew, in large scale, their 2-3 characters and were encouraged to add 5-10 thoughtful details (clothing, different colors, definition, hair, etc). Then, adults helped them tape the characters to popsicle sticks to make them mobile, easier to handle. Afterwards, I hung up their settings all around the room and children (mostly on their own) started immediately acting our different versions of their ideas for stories. It was amazing to see them come alive. Some even asked for a paper to write their stories down, but we were ending school for the day! They were so excited we went over our allotted time by 15 minutes. So, I told them that Friday would be their opportunity to work on the 3rd W: Plot. They would be able to create their stories, play with them, and start writing them down! Children thoroughly enjoyed this week’s story workshop and fully took on the challenge of building a story together. I was very pleased with how engaged they were and loved that even with the extra time I gave them each day, it still left them “wanting more!”

REMINDER OF WHAT TO EXPECT: Starting Our Second Week of Full-Days!

This week will be exciting and tiring for everyone, as we are now FULL DAY kindergarteners. Here’s what to expect:

FIRST HALF OF THE DAY:
•  Our routines for the beginning of the day will remain the same until 9:30, we will move snack to 10:30am, post-recess. Then, the day will remain the same until 12:20pm.
•   Before recess/snack, students will be working on math and/or literacy stations in small groups: Students will listen to a short whole group lesson, do a teacher-chosen activity and then choose from a menu of other academic activities.
•  We’ll have a check-in meeting before moving on to an enrichment activity.

LUNCH:
•  If you have ordered hot lunch for your child for the day, please have email me.
•  Order lunches in advance online (see D2 school newsletters/emails).
•  Students bringing their own lunch should put their lunch containers on our black metal lunch cart, as they come to class in the morning.
•  Lunch cart will stay outside the classroom except at lunch time, it will be brought around to the black top. Students should only be accessing lunches at lunch time.
•  LABEL all lunch containers with your child’s name.
•   Please practice opening all containers with your child, and use only those they are able to open. There will be almost 75 kindergarteners potentially needing help at lunchtime, so please make it easier for us adults.
•   There is a lunch area lost and found near the yard duty closet. Lost lunch boxes can often be tracked down there after school.

WEDNESDAY HALF-DAYS:

•   We will have lunch recess outside and PICK-UP will be at the black top.
•  You can find your child at the playground, if he/she has not come back to the benches. Please, come back to check out with me so I can mark them off my attendance list, and he/she can grab his/her lunch.
•   The shift parent will help shepherd kids back to me at the benches.
•  We will NOT return to the classroom.
•   Either I or the shift parent will take the after care children to after care.

RECESS:
•  Kindergarteners will be on the playground and other recess areas with older grades, who come out at staggered times.
•  The area right outside Room 8 will be available for kids to play with sidewalk chalk and I will encourage kinder parents to lead games like “Duck Duck Goose,” with teacher Joan’s parents. Every child stays within the gates. No wandering!
•   Students may NOT come into the classroom during lunch or recess unless they have adult permission.
•  Balls will be available for checkout from Coach David, but MUST be returned at the end of recess.
•  Scooters MUST be ridden only in the back half of the blacktop during lunchtime.
•  ALL YARD DUTIES are available to help any child needing help. Please encourage your child to seek help from anyone wearing a yellow vest right away if they are having trouble with other kids, especially bigger kids who are hard to track down once recess is over.
•   Students are expected to line up where they do for snack, just like when they hear the “first recess bell.” Kinder teachers and classroom parents will be rounding up kinders using our “Time to line up” song, but some kids may be spread out on the field or near the classroom, so we will head for the classroom shortly after the bell rings.
•   I’ll send an adult to look for any child not reporting back to the classroom. The older kids stay out longer, so it can be confusing for some kindergarteners who don’t hear the bell.

AFTER RECESS:
•   We’ll have QUIET TIME after recess which includes reading (a read aloud to bring our energy level down or looking at books silently), resting (laying down), or reflecting (drawing or writing)
•   We’ll do STORY WORKSHOP. Students may choose from several ways to be working on their story: playing with materials to make a story; getting inspiration from existing books; creating a setting or character; recording their story by writing, illustrating, or dictating to an adult.
•   We’ll have EXPLORATION, and then CLEANUP, CLOSING CIRCLE, and DISMISSAL AT 2:50pm.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT HOME:
•  Many kindergarteners strive to be at their best all day at school, and are exhausted at the end of the day. Don’t be surprised if your child has more meltdowns as soon as school is out. Even though the routines and people are all familiar, they are processing a LOT in the time they’re in class. Often the kids who are the best behaved at school have the hardest time after school!
•  Lunch time recess can be a bit overwhelming for kindergarteners, as they’ll now be sharing the playground with the rest of the student body! Yard duty adults will be looking out for them as much as possible, but it will take some time for our little ones to adjust to having lots more bodies to maneuver around. Please do let your child know that ANY adult with a yellow vest on is there to help them solve problems.
•  If your child comes to you with concerns about other children, please remind them that the best way for us to help them is to TELL AN ADULT at the scene, so that they can address it while all parties are still present, if possible.

DURING YOUR SHIFTS THIS WEEK
•  Expect the kids to be full of energy! Usually after a break, we do a lot of reviewing of Agreements, routines, etc. Keep redirecting them back to the agreements posted in our meeting area, on the headphones basket, and near the trampoline.
•  Please continue to support whole group time by parking yourself behind kids who might need reminders/redirection.
•  I’ll post parent directions in the parent corner on the whiteboard, whenever possible. PLEASE check there as soon as you come in!
•  Some of the kids will have difficulty following parent directions until they get to know you better. Try to connect with the kids, as much as possible, before redirecting them.
•  We will have some more Enrichments starting this week, including Music & Movement and Gardening!

HANDWRITING TRAINING WITH CAMILLE
Camille Leach, our wonderful OT at D2, will be leading a “Handwriting Without Tears” (our handwriting curriculum) training this Wednesday, 10/12 at 1:30pm in her room, near the office. Please strongly consider attending if you would be willing to work with small groups for Handwriting during your shift, and let me know! Thank you!

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