Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Who Are We?

Hello Kindergarten families!

Since coming back from our Winter Break, we have been working on our characters who attended the party in our Spooky Story that we wrote on Halloween.  After identifying them all, we were noticing that we still didn't know WHO was at the party... so the class decided to give more information about their character.  We are bringing our characters to life!  

This is an interesting concept for many of the friends; we have established some key points that each child will share about their character:
  • Give your character a name
  • Describe their appearance (what they look like, what their costume is)
  • Describe their favorite things
  • Explain who their friends are
  • Explain where they live
Each student will be working on giving their character their own identity, which got us thinking about who we are... WHO ARE WE?  We started making lists of words that describe who we are, what we do in class, and any thing else that would help give people more information about us. 

But our list was so long, we started eliminating words that not everyone agreed with, and started voting for the words that we wished for the most.

After every vote, we had fewer and fewer words to chose from...

Until we finally came down to the final words--- still eliminating those that students felt were not necessary to have because people already knew we were kindergartners  humans, school people, loving, and playful.  We wanted to give people information about us that they did not already know.

After looking at the results, we combined the two most wished for words and did one last vote to see what our official class name would be!  From now on, you'll be hearing me call out to the kids by their name:  Artistic Scientists!  Very appropriate, if you ask me.

In other news, we have been practicing our number sense by coming up with ideas about what there is only ONE of in our life.  Here are a few examples of student work:



"Planned Possibilities Binder"





Friends have also been asked to think about letters and what words start with a specific letter.  We are starting off with the letter A and it is neat to see what some friends have come up with by looking through different dictionaries and other sources in our class!




Also, last week, our friend Lyla brought in a beautiful Origami crane to our Morning Meeting.  We got a chance to examine the fine folding techniques used and it inspired us to do some more research.  I happen to have a couple of books on Origami in our Art Book section, and we investigated the different creations that one could make out of paper. 

In our afternoon, we watched a "How To..." video, demonstrating how to make and Origami Boat.  We worked in small groups and tried to follow the steps on the video.  Check it out if you'd like to do one together at home!

I'm bummed that I did not take pictures of this moment that we were sharing together, because I was really impressed at how some friends were stepping up to the plate and taking risks, as well as sharing their expertise with friends who felt like they were struggling.  I heard a lot of, "That's ok, we're just practicing right now..."  It was a very proud moment... 

So thank you again for sharing these wonderful children with me.  It is really a lovely experience we are having together...

Love, Gaby

Thursday, January 24, 2013

All School Assembly "Sing Along"

Good evening!

Steve has provided me with the video from our All School Assembly "Sing Along"!  If you'd like to check out our performance, please note the START and END time.

(Start: 2:49 - End: 10:50)

Love, Gaby

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mariachi Mania!


What a way to start our week! Mariachi Mania was a big success!

The friends followed through with their agreements and wore their "fancy" clothes.  Some friends were really impressed with each other and were using words like, handsome and beautiful to describe each other and were commenting on how they looked liked ladies and gentlemen.

Everyone was really excited about going on the bus, many for the very first time.  They did a great time at sticking to their partners and practiced sitting in their seats the whole time.  Friends were noticing the different Emergency Exits on the bus and all the different letters by each seat.  It was neat to be able to sit with them and just listen to them and hear what they were most excited about along the trip.

Walking through Downtown was a nice experience.  Both our class and Jennifer's class practiced waiting at the cross lights and being aware of our surroundings before crossing any streets.  Downtown is such a busy place, it's so easy to get distracted while looking at all the business and tall buildings around you!

I had a great time seeing the expressions on the students' faces as they entered the Balboa Theatre and ooh-ed and ahh-ed at beautiful architecture and lighting inside.

We were so lucky to get seats right up by the stage!  Classics4Kids presented their orchestra as well as Southwestern College Mariachi Garibaldi. They walked us through the different instruments, their unique sounds, and songs and dances from different parts of the world, including Cuba, Guatemala, Jalisco, Venezuela, and Michoacan.

Trumpet, Violin, and Guitar
Brass instruments
String instruments: Gitarron, Vihuela, and Guitar

Bailet Folklorico

When we came back to school, the friends got a chance to discuss some of the reactions to the performance  Here is some of what they said:

Gaby- We are going to debrief about our field trip to Mariachi Mania.  What are some of your reactions to the orchestra and/or mariachi.
Nyala- My reaction was to move my shoulders.
Lyla-  My body, at the start, I like, waved my arms in a swishy way.
Fiona- My reaction was doing-- I was bumping up and down and going side to side at the same time.
Lauren- I liked just watching it.  
Gaby- What did you enjoy about it?
Lauren- I enjoyed the girls in dresses and the boys in cowboy clothes.
Jake- I liked the colors of the dresses.
Nyala- I liked how they were dancing with their dresses.  They were dancing, like moving their dresses.
Andrew- For the cowboys, I liked the part where the cowboys had the black [outfits] on and their hats, cuz they looked like cowboys.
Ivanna- I liked the cowboy clothes and the dresses.
Vikas- I liked the cowboys and the way they put their hands behind their back when they were dancing.
Mikayla- I liked it when they danced.
Gaby- Yeah, they were dancing Bailet Folkorico.

At this point, I took a moment to share with the class a little bit about myself and how I danced Baliet Folklorico in my younger days.  I offered to bring in some pictures of me and my husband decked out in our outfits from when we participated in a high school performance!

Thank you for sharing your amazing children with me!
Love, Gaby

Sunday, January 20, 2013

In the Winter Time...

This week has gone by so fast!  (Don't they all?)

The friends worked on being reflective and thoughtful for this this week, it being the Great Kindness Challenge.  We often appreciate friends who help us throughout the week, so it made great sense to write thank you notes to someone special in our lives who have touched us and lent a helping hand.  Our 8th Grade Buddies came in to help us get the task done!

We have also been evaluating some of our songs and poems this month, particularly, Steve Miller Bands' Winter Time.

In the winter time, when all the leaves are brown,
and the wind blows, so chill,
and the birds have all flown for the summer.
I'm callin', hear me callin', hear me callin',
In the winter time.

This made many friends wonder about migration. Not everyone knew what this meant, so we looked up the term in the dictionary and found that migration means to move from one country or region to another and to pass from one region to another on a regular schedule (birds migrating south for the winter).  After finding this, here were some of the students burning questions about migration?

Where do birds fly for the summer? 
How do they know where to go?  
What happens to their homes?  
What about their babies?  
What do birds do during the winter time?

Check out the video we watched to further peak our curiosity: 

Pretty neat, right?  Come in and check out our Discussion Notes Binder and their journals to see what their preliminary theories about what birds do in the winter time!

In other news, we have also been getting really excited about our Equation Stories.  What's that you ask?  Well, first let's break it down to what the students understand to be an equation:

Gaby- What is an equation?
Ashley- An equation is when you put one number first and then a plus and then another number and then an equal and you see what it equals.

I asked the class to help me create an equation using the model Ashley provided us with and we came up with 1+2= 3

Gaby- Alright, how do we know that?
Jack- Because we're smart.
Kai- I know!  Because (uses fingers) one and two, makes 1,2,3!

That prompted us to create a list of tips on how to check your work!

 Some examples:
 If you have one block...

 and you add two more... you have a total of three blocks.

To check on a ruler...

Start at one and jump two more... you land on three. 

Now that friends have the tools that they need to help write equations and check their work, they have started their Equation Stories:  Students will be making up their own equation and illustrate their justification by telling a story.  Here is the example I gave the students:

I had a garden with one beautiful flower that I watered everyday.  It was so beautiful, I decided to plant another flower, which I also watered everyday.  Now, I have two beautiful flowers in my garden.

At the end of the week, we met up with our 8th Grade Buddies and watched their History Reenactment performance.  The kindergartners were practicing being active listeners, respectful, as well as noticing how brave their Buddies were being to be up in front of so many friends!

We then gave them a Sneak Peek of what we were going to perform for the All School Assembly "Sing Along."  Both Jennifer's class and our class stood up in front of Tony and Lisa's class to recite our poem, January, by Maurice Sendak.  We heard Jennifer's class do Rap on Garbage and they listened to us do Months of the Year.  

We checked in afterwards to see how it felt to be up in front of a large group and here are some of their comments:

Jack- I felt really nice cuz everyone got to see us.
Vikas- I feeled very nice because my partner was waving at me.
Ivanna- I didn't like it because I missed my mommy and daddy.
Michael- I liked it because William, my 8th Grade Buddy got to see me.
Kai- I liked it because I was really shy but I wanted to be brave.
Ashley- I didn't like it because I was too shy.
Avani- I felt good cuz I got to see my 8th Grade Buddies
Gaby- Well, I want to appreciate you guys for being so brave and giving in a practice try, even if your were feeling shy and nervous!

And if you weren't able to come to the All School Assembly, don't worry, I am trying to get the footage from Steve, our Media Arts teacher, who recorded it all! (He's the man setting up the camera right behind us!)

Have a lovely weekend!
Love, Gaby