Thursday, September 29, 2011

Research and Wonder Conversations

Hello again!

This week, we have incorporated a new part of our day:  Research and Wonder Conversations.

We have been doing a lot of work in our class dealing with seeds.  There are many steps and ideas that friends have been documenting and this is BEFORE we do any discussion or research on the subject.  Their theories have come from what they already know because of their daily experiences!  So we have incorporated watching videos to add to what we have already been talking about in class.  Check out the video we watched on how seeds grow.  Friends were able to identify various parts of plant as it was forming...


Also, friends who worked in Construction this week were asked to create a blueprint of their idea before they started building.  It was exciting to see how eager the friends were to jot their ideas down own paper.  Some friends were adding natural elements in their blue prints such as water, skies, and lightning.  During one of our Revisiting Meetings, we got to talking about thunder and lightning.  We discussed their shape, their color, the time of day this might happen, and also how to represent sound in a drawing.  Lots of neat ideas.  We later watched a video about a thunderstorm and we saw that a lot of our ideas matched what we saw in the video.  Check it out!


Friends are always welcome to continue their research when they go home!  If they find any interesting material that helps support their theories and further our discussion, feel free to share them with our group!

Have a great evening!
Love, Gaby

Monday, September 26, 2011

What a Turn Out!

Good evening!

First of all, I'd like to say thank you to all the friends and families that wished me a speedy recovery last Thursday.  I got a lot of rest over the weekend and am very happy to be back in the classroom!

Speaking of last Thursday, it was great getting a chance to connect with you all at Back to School Night!  We were all very excited to have you come visit our class and see what we have been working so hard on.  Also, the friends were very serious about decorating our classroom in preparation for Back to School Night.  We brainstormed ideas about how we could do this with so little time and no money, and they were very willing to take on the job of drawing, coloring, cutting, and hanging up their own decorations.  Then we came up with a theme which was "Back to Haunted School Night!" and we made agreements about which decorations we would help make (pumpkins, bats, spider webs, skeletons, and ghosts).  Friends even worked hard on making a Welcome banner, but I was not able to keep it from falling down, which made me very sad...

 In all the excitement of having friends show their families their work and give a tour of the class, I did not take as many snap shots as I would have liked, but here are a few of our friends taking on this important role of being an expert at Kindergarten, and talking to families about our Construction Area, Observational Drawing, and puzzles!

As I mentioned before, it was great connecting with you and seeing how excited your are about your child's learning experience.  There is so much more to talk about, so please be sure to sign up for the Student Led Conferences at the Information Table by the door!
Stay tuned for another blog coming soon!

Love, Gaby

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Come to Back to School Night!

Good morning families!

I just wanted to invite you to come to Innovations Academy's Back to School Night this Thursday!  Come by any time between 3:30-6:00pm!  This is a great opportunity to come in and see what our friends are hard at work on!

Thank you for being here and I'll see you soon!

Love, Gaby

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Getting Good at Kindergarten

Happy Friday!

I hope you have been able to take a moment and visit our classroom and check out the work our friends are doing.  We have had many friends try out new areas of our class and create beautiful and exciting work.

This week, we have been trying out new activities to help us get good at being a School Person, learn more about our friends, and making new connections!

During our Morning Meetings, we make time to interview a new friend everyday.  This helps us learn each others name, what our favorite things are, and what we have in common!  We also have friends help with their Name Puzzle.  Friends hold up scrambled letters of the interviewees name, and that person unscrambles them as they check their work so that their name is spelled correctly.  We are getting really good at this!

After lunch,  friends have Rest and Read time.  One person invites a friend to rest with them, and they pick a spot in our classroom with some good books and have a chance to make connections with new friends, read to each other, and have a quiet chat.  It's sweet to see how friends are really happy to accept invitations from each other.

We have also been having times in our day where we work in groups of two or three and try to solve problems, be listeners, and practice taking turns.  Activities like Story Telling and Math Pairs help builds communication between friends, learning to compromise, and working together to make one product that all team members are happy with.

 We've also been doing activities to help us feel more comfortable being in front of a group of new faces.  Silly Meetings are a nice way for friends to break the ice and make being in the front of class not so scary.

Also, we had a round of Statue, where a friend who had the role of the sculptor invited someone to be their statue.  Here, friends were practicing being gentle with each other, letting their statue know what they needed from them (where to move which body part), and also, being listeners.  

Lastly, we ended our week with an Exploratory Walk to the neighboring park.  Before we did, we talked about some very important safety agreements.  We came across a lot of exciting sightings, including wildlife and a construction site.  Friends had many interesting theories about the hole in the concrete we found.

Thank you for another wonderful week!

Love, Gaby

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Kindergarten is fun!"

Hello families!

What an exciting first week of school!  I have really enjoyed getting to know your children and hearing as well as seeing all of their great ideas.  Did you know that you have some of the most helpful, brave, and friendly children I have ever come to know?  These friends are making such quick connections with each other, it is really sweet to see.

Here are some snapshots of our week.  Blogger is being silly and not letting me post up all the pictures I wanted to share.  I'll have to figure it out and add them later....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What an exciting first day!

Hello Kindergarten families!

I am so happy to have had such a positive experience with your children on our first day!  I can tell that this is going to be an exciting year and I can't wait to get to know all of our new friends along the way!

Our first day together was a big learning experience.  Our day consisted mostly getting to know our daily routine.

We started our morning by reading a book or chatting quietly with friends on the couch while we waited for class to start. 

We then moved into our Morning Meeting, where we greeted each other, read our Morning Message, chatted for a bit, and shared ideas. 

Next we practiced our Songs and Poems for this month.  I saw that some friends were reading along and even recognized some of them!  It was nice seeing their faces light up =]

Before we went to recess, we discussed what this part of our day could look like.  Friends made some great agreements about what does and doesn't work for them on the playground!

When we came back, we enjoyed a picnic style snack and discussed what was considered a snack option and what should be saved for lunch time.  We made a list of agreements for this part of our day, too.

After cleaning up, friends had a chance to explore our classroom and generate ideas about what they could do in each area (Construction, Math, Language, Science, Observational Drawing, and Painting Area).  Friends seemed really excited about some of the materials available for them to use!

We then came back to the Meeting Space to discuss more about what we saw and what a normal day in class would look like.  We also made more agreements about Lunch Time to make sure they were ready for the next part of their day.  They did a wonderful job of keeping their area free of trash and keeping our school looking beautiful!

After lunch, we checked in about our Lunch Time Agreements and saw that many friends followed the plan and it worked for them!  We then moved in to Rest and Reading Time, where friends got to invite someone to rest with them and enjoyed a good book! 

We moved into Journal Time and we had a chance to make an illustration about something we did over Summer Vacation, or about something we did at school today!  Friends were encouraged to share their ideas with two friends after they finished their work.

Before the end of our day, we had a chance to vote between two books to see which one we would read first.  "If Rocks Could Sing" outvoted "The Night Before Kindergarten." These friends are getting lots of practice in on how to be a Listener and how to be in Meeting!

We ended our day with crossing off the date on the Calendar and writing down some memories from our first day together in Our Daily Class Journal (which you can find at the Information Table near the door!).

It is so nice to meet all these new friends and see all the connections they are making with each other.  Hearing their ideas and watching their excitement about being a School Person is inspiring!  We are all still practicing being at school, but we will have more practice with each passing day!

***Thank you all for your generous contributions to our class!  And thank you to the families who volunteered their time today.  It being the first day, having a few extra bigger bodies was a great help, but having a small number of us was a nice way to balance out the energy level.  Since friends are still exploring this new part of their lives, it's nice for them to feel like school is their own space away from home and discovering that being in charge of themselves isn't so bad and can be very empowering =].  I hope that we can continue this exploration period for our friends for the first few weeks so that they can feel successful in this transition period.

Have a lovely evening!
Love, Gaby