Thursday, December 1, 2011

Field trip, Explorations, Family Night, and More!


It has been so long since I have posted a blog, I feel awful!  But I am excited to share with you what we have been working on!

I hope you all had a wonderful break!  Before our week off, we had a chance to talk about our upcoming field trip to the >>>City Farmers Nursery<<<, which is going to be December 8, 2011.  We will be leaving school promptly at 9:30a.m. and getting to the nursery by 10:00a.m.  Please be sure your child is wearing comfortable walking shoes, has an extra layer of clothes that they can take off if they need it, has a comfortable backpack, and hearty lunch with snacks for our trip.  We still need some drivers, and chaperones would be great too!!  Here are some of the things that we have been thinking about...


We even got a chance to get into our schools garden and clear out some weeds!  We worked hard, side by side with the 8th graders and cleared out quite a bit of foliage!



We also had our last Explorations Classes and had an Exhibition of our work!  We practiced being a great audience and got to watch performances from Movement and Rhythm/Percussion Classes, and we saw the videos from the Stop Motion Animation Classes!  Next week we will start our NEW Explorations Classes.  We will have them every Monday morning from 9:30-10:30a.m. until March 12th.  We will be participating in Photography and Movement.

In our short time back at school we have been really busy! Much of our time has been spent reading!  We've moved on from finding words we recognize in our Morning Message, to reading a sentence from our Morning Message.  Friends have been eagerly taking on this challenge!  Since we do already recognize so many words, we are working together to create a "Words Kindergarteners Know" Binder.  It will be like our own hand made dictionary!  Some of us have also been reading in small groups during Rest and Read time.  Friends have been doing lots of teamwork and helping each other sound out words.  It is really exciting to see!

We have also been planning our next celebration!  We brainstormed a list of possible parties that we could have soon, and then we agreed that we would celebrate the holidays with a Winter themed Gift/Decoration Making Party! We have planned so far what types of gifts we could make, what colors we will use to decorate our class, and what our decorations will be!  We still have to work out the kinks, but stay tuned for more news!

And lastly, we will be having Family Night next Wednesday, December 7, 2011 from 4-6p.m.  It will be a potluck style event for the whole school (in an effort to create as little waste as possible, please bring your own dishes and utensils from home!), and we will have on exhibit the work from Explorations, as well as have a school wide Scavenger Hunt!  I hope you and your family can make it to this community building event!  It should be fun! 
Have a great night!
Love, Gaby

Monday, November 7, 2011

Discussion, Rainy Days, and Gardening

Happy Monday!

I want to start off by saying that your children are such wonderful human beings.  We are really sharing lots of ideas, hearing different perspectives, and problem solving!

Some things we have been wondering about includes the rotation of the Earth and how it affects our days and nights.  We created a diagram of our ideas about the placement of Earth in relation to the sun and moon, along with a list of questions we have about these ideas.

Our main question was whether or not the the sun went around the Earth.  This created a lot discussion!  Here are some comments that friends made:

Aaminah:  When it's dark, it turns into a moon.
Hannah: When the sun goes down, the moon comes up.
Maximus:  The Earth turns, and when the Earth turns, slowly, the sun is still shining, slowly, the sun is shining on the Earth.
Aaminah:  If we had no sun and we can't see, and then, when the moon, when it's morning, the moon goes down and then the sun goes up.
Avery:  Once it's midnight [in San Diego], in China. it's their afternoon.
Isa:  You know at the top of the world, the very top, the people, they always have the dark place, but sometimes, it's light and it stays light when it's night time.
Maximus:  And you don't even know that the Earth is spinning.
Davin:  The Earth is spinning so slow.... Why does the Earth spin?
Aaminah:  Only the Earth is spinning, not us.
Maximus:  The Earth is moving, but you just don't know.
Aaminah  And when the trees are shaking, that means it like, the leaves, the wind is blowing.  The Earth is not spinning it, the wind is.

We watched a video after our discussion about the Earth's rotation.  This helped answer some of our questions, like how long it took for the Earth to rotate!  Check it out here!

We also had a Rainy Day on Friday, which felt a little different.  We spent Recess inside, working on puzzles, reading books, and playing "Doggie Doggie, Where's Your Bone?" Our Open Choice Time felt different as well.  We did partner activities, like Staring Game and Mirror.  This brought up lots of discussion about what it is like to work with a friend, how it is important to listen to each others ideas,  what works, and what makes it feel hard. 


We also have been talking a lot about our Gardening Crew.  We generated a list of tools we might need to help us do our job.  We have been bringing in lots of great donations from families and have been practicing using these tools and have talked about how to take care of them.  One tool that we got to practice with were the gardening gloves.  We had a friend model how to put each glove onto the right hand, how to take them off and roll them up, and how to ask a friend for help.

Hope you had a lovely Monday!

Love, Gaby

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reading Buddies, Crews, and Clubs!


There is so much happening in our community right now, it's hard to keep up!  Last week, we introduced 3 new ways to help our community stay connected with IA. 

Reading Buddies is a time where we will be working with the 5th graders and reading some  good books in pairs!  Our first meeting was really special.  We met in the Multipurpose Room and did a Meet and Greet Circle.  Our Kindergarten friends sat in the inner circle, the 5th graders sat in the outer circle, and they faced each other to chat.  The inner circle rotated so that students were able to get to know everyone!  Before meeting our new friends, we practiced what it would look like to introduce yourself to someone, how to shake hands, and made the connection that this time might feel like our morning interview time!

We will be meeting with our Reading Buddies every Wednesday afternoon.  Today, we talked about what impression we wanted to give the 5th graders when they came to visit our class.  We agreed that we were going to impress them and show them that Kindergarteners really know how to be school people!  We were also going to help the 5th graders find a cozy spot to sit, show them where our books are, and make them feel welcomed in our class.  It was really lovely to see how genuinely excited our friends were to be together!

Crews is an opportunity for us to give back to our school and help do a very special job.  We will be helping create and tend the school's Garden, along with the 7th and 8th grade class!  Last week, we met in the Multipurpose Room, shared what our initial ideas were about gardening, and then got into groups of 3 (K,7th, 8th graders), and took a walk through of the area we would be working on.  There is lots to do to prepare!

Today, we made a list to help us plan what tools we might need while gardening. Our list included seeds, shovels, rakes, trash cans, gloves, hats, shoes, and much more.  Please come check it out, it's currently on our Information Table near the door.  Any donations you could make to help us do this wonderful job would be highly appreciated!  I just stocked up on gloves for gardening, so we can check that off of our list =]

Clubs is another opportunity to meet new friends, work with new teachers, and learn new skills!  Our friends were able to choose from four different clubs:  Art Studio with 1st grade teacher, Jennifer; Games with 2nd grade teacher, DeeDee; Storytelling with 4th grade teacher, Patrick;  and Teamwork with myself.  These Clubs are available to K-2 graders, so we are making even more Cross-Class Connections!

In our first Teamwork Club meeting, we brainstormed what types of things teams do, what types of teamwork do friends do in their classes already, and then we tried some out!  One thing friends liked to do in teams was reading!  When you read in teams, you can ask your partner for help sounding out words.  That's teamwork!

There is so much community building going on, I'm so proud to be a part of this team!  And thank you again or sharing these very special people with us. 

Love, Gaby

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Today was a different kind of day."

First of all, thank you for coming to our Student Led Conferences last week.  Friends were really excited about getting to show families samples of their hard work.  It was great hearing all the goals friends and families were making.  It will be exciting to see how much they grow from here on out!  

There is so much excitement going on in our community that sometimes days feel a little bit different.  It's a good thing we are getting good at being flexible with our schedule (especially with all of the half days we had)!  Last Friday was an especially different Open Choice Time.  Instead of going to our usual work areas, we had new Games all around our class.  These games helped us practice our math, language, and social skills. 

We introduced Math Scrabble, which was a big hit for many friends!  After selecting two number tiles, friends would match the amount of manipulatives and add them up to find the total.  This gave us practice using addition and equation symbols, along with number writing practice! 


High Ho Cherry-O! was another favorite game for friends.  This gave us practice in counting, subtracting, and adding cherries  to and from our tree.  Also, it gave us a chance to remember how to take turns and problem solve if there was some confusion in how to play the game.

Other games that helped us get practice in taking turns and problem solving, as well as communicating with our friends, were Memory and doing puzzles.  Working in small groups can be tricky for some friends, but it is a great opportunity for us to learn important social skills such as using your words, listening to other friends' ideas, and contributing to a group effort.

We also got some practice in reading, sounding out, identifying letters, and writing their shape with our Boggle game!  Friends were really excited to find that they are becoming readers and writers!  Friends took turns pushing sounds together and creating their own words using the Boggle cubes.

We rotated three times during our Game Day, so every friend got a chance to play different games.  These different kinds of days can be filled with fun and lots of work!

Love, Gaby

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is my work clear?

Many of our friends have been taking the time to explore the Observational Drawing Area of our classroom.  After going through the Observational Drawing Album, friends select an image that speaks to them and they study the shapes of the lines before they ever put pen to paper.  Here, you see Emerica as she works on adding careful lines to her Observational Drawing of a dolphin, and Justice who practices shading in his Observational Drawing of a rhino.  

Gaby:  Is there anything you see in the picture that you haven't drawn yet?
Emerica:  His body.
Gaby:  Can you see his body in the picture?
Emeroca:  No.
Gaby:  You can stick to just drawing the parts that you see in the picture.
Emerica:  Ok.

Justice:  What do I do now?
Gaby:  You can ask a friend for feedback to make sure your work is clear.
Justice: Ok.

As their work develops, friends are noticing that an Observational Drawing is more than just a quick sketch of their own interpretation of the shapes and lines that make up an animal.  We are really slowing down and noticing that there are many details that help make an illustration clear to others. After taking a closer look and identifying what else they see in the image, along with asking their peers what they could add to make their work more clear, friends are able to recognize which lines to add next.

How can asking friends for feedback help our work change? Can you guess what feedback these friends received to help deepen their work?


Love, Gaby