Friday, September 28, 2012

Thank You for Making Open House Night Special!

Hello Kindergarten Families,

I hope you had a great night here.  I enjoyed watching students share their work with their parents.

This week we had so many great discussions, this is becoming the norm.  It seems that ideas come from any conversation because the students are thinking deeply and asking important questions.  I introduced a game which is not about guessing, but asking questions to give everyone more information.  The students are picking this up!  We call it the dictionary game. Please ask your child if they can share about how to play.  It might become a family favorite.  Next week I am introducing another questioning game called, "Less and More" so stay tuned!

From our last dictionary game, we saw some old and new types of keys in the dictionary.  I showed the students some old fashioned keys I have and the students were very curious.  They were trying to think about what they know about people from long ago and assimilating this info with the antique keys.  One friend asked (with doubt in their voice), "Did the Indians use keys?"  When I asked what they would use a key on, the friends all thought about how they didn't have anything to lock.  

Who had metal back then? 
Who could have used these old keys?  
What did they open? 
So many questions to research.

And with our songs and poems...

As we are ending our first month together,  the students are showing their confidence with the five songs and poems that we learned.  At this time of month, we know them so well that we can think further about their meanings and what they make us think about, when we hear them.  Here are some of the students words, from our discussion:


Rachel: Hedgehogs eat bugs in your garden so your plants can grow big.

Malaya: They eat bugs because they want to grow.

Kayla: It's because, did you notice, “it ruffles and snuffles” because it really wants to say thank you in a polite way. To the person who is letting the hedgehog come into their garden.

Mason: The hedgehog comes in and he “snuffles” and he smells for the bugs and eat them. The bugs just want to eat and eat so they can get big and the plants die because the bugs eat them.

Haden: They roll up in a ball, so they could sleep in it and stay warm.


Preston: The person is laughing somewhere close. Because they think it's funny.

Jennifer: What is making the person laugh?

Mumina: 'Cuz the sparkles are falling on them.

Evelyn: The sunshine. So, the sun is making the sparkles, and someone might just be laughing, because of the colorful sparkling rays.

All Together Now

Natalie: All together now, makes me feel happy, because the one, two, three, four, when we say the number, when we count the numbers.

Jennifer: Why does counting make you feel good?

Natalie: Because it has ten in it, and ten is my favorite number.

Haden: I like counting because it makes my mouth feel good.

Rachel Lee: I like counting because we could count how many sparkles fall on us.

Thank you for sharing your amazing children with me.  Each week I have felt so lucky to know these interesting and caring people.  I wish you a safe and fun weekend!

Love, Jennifer

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ideas are Flowing!

Hello Kindergarten Families,

How are you?  I am great.  Each day brings more ideas shared and unique ways the kids explain things.

Last week Lukas shared images of his uncle Jim's discovery of a mammoth tooth and jaw piece.  The students were interested and had some further questions.  This week, Lia was inspired to share a book on mammoths.  She was particularly interested in showing the group the skeleton structure.  The friends thought of some of the similarities and differences between these extinct animals and elephants.  They also began questioning why mammoths became extinct.  The students were able to bring many important elements into their theories.  We began a list of questions to send to Lukas' uncle, the expert!  It has been so neat to see how student's information and interests infect others with an excitement and curiosity.

Last week we had our first parent reader.  Malaya introduced us to her mum, Raquel, who read three books that the students love.  Thank you for taking the time out of your week to share them with us!

On Friday we took some time to listen to the vowel sounds.  I made some simple reference pages for our wall.  We found the soft and hard sounds of each vowel, in names of our class members.  Many friends are just on the cusp of remembering the subtle differences in the soft vowel sounds.  Knowing these by heart can help the students when they are sounding out words to write.  

Last week we were also able to have a friend from first grade, Maximus, come and show us an inspirational example of symmetry, using the pattern blocks.  This reminded the students in our class of the many materials we have to show pattern, symmetry, balance and planning through our mosaic work.  Here are some examples:

by Haden

Sun by Rachel  

Send The Balloon, by Amelie

Fish Bubble, by Natalie

Mountain, by Rachel Lee

Owl, by Natalie

There are a thousand other amazing things we are up to.  I hope you can take the time to come into the class at least once a week to see your child's work, either before or after school.  And remember:

I can't wait to see you there!

Love, Jennifer

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Can you help us investigate?

Hello Kindergarten Families!

Tonight I have a little post for you, to share some things the students wanted you to help them with and know about.  Our exploration about color has lead us to know many shades and variations of a color.  We found so many blues, reds, pinks and purples last week and this week we are looking into what comes from yellow, blue, black and white.  How do we explain where one color leaves off and the next begins? For instance when does blue become grey?  We noticed each person who was wearing jeans today had on different shades of blue...

The class began trying to name some of the colors which made us think about this question: What things do you think about when coming up with a name?  Today the students mentioned one answer: things in our life that are similar to that color.  As we discussed, two things came up that we need to think on further.  One, was that there was a debate as to whether strawberries are red or pink.  The kids also mentioned that strawberries are different colors on the inside than the outside.  They want to check at home so that we can make decisions about which colors would be truly similar to these fruit. (Today, a friend realized she had strawberries for lunch, but more friends would like to see it for themselves!)

A second question came when a friend suggested that one of the colors be called "water blue". We soon began to realize that water can be so many colors and this may not be specific enough.  One friend remember a Coronado trip where the water, at sunset, was almost a gold color.  But none of the colors we were looking at were at all like gold.  The group wanted to research more to have more ideas on what kinds of colors could be considered "water blue" and how we could add more adjectives to make this clear.  (Or not clear, blue, green, grey, gold...)  Here's a recent beach photo I took, what colors do you notice?  What names come to mind?

And finally, today we looked at a few short slow-motion video clips of butterflies flying.  We were investigating how butterflies' wings fly.  The students noticed a few interesting elements that they may want to share with you.  They journaled about this afterwards, so come on in to check out their work anytime!

This video is embedded in this page, click here to find it...

Thank you for reading this with your child and for helping us do our research!  Please email me if you have any home discussions that go with these topics!  Have a beautiful night!  Love, Jennifer

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lucky to Get to Know Each Other

Hello kindergarten families!

How are you?  I feel so lucky to have you all with me this year.  This week I have gotten home to a couple of packages from Amazon- supplies off our wish list.  Thank you so much to the generous families who sent these to us.  I appreciate all the supplies that you have all sent in.  This helps keep the room running all year.

I know a few of you asked if there was anything that we still need.  We could use lots of sheet protectors,  a weaving loom and more Kleenex.  I have tons of fun stuff on our amazon wish list because I love to dream big for the kids and I also know that sometimes grandparents like to be able to get something for their grandchild's room.  Thank you for all your contributions!  Also thank you for signing up for our class jobs, already!

I wanted to also thank you for making the time to come into our class each week.  It is always beautiful to watch children share their work and show you who they were working or playing in the yard with.  These connections are growing each day.  I try to be available for this before and after school for at least 15 minutes on each end.  I may be rushing a bit more on Fridays because our staff meeting takes place at 12:30 and I need to have a bite of lunch.  If the room is unlocked, and you are with your child to make sure they are taking care of the environment and all the work in progress, please feel free to spend time in our class listening to all our theories!

I hope each of you have been getting the weekly emails, including the reflection pages I have been sending.  If you haven't it is because I have your email wrong.  Some have been bouncing back to me and I am in progress of catching you in person to help me fix this. If you or your spouse is not getting the emails, check with me.

So much has happened in the first two weeks.  I will include some images to showcase a few of the things we are investigating.  First, our color exploration continues.  This week we found so many colors using red, blue, white and black.  When I asked, the children decided that Monday we will begin to check out what we can make with blue and yellow.  The children are beginning to see patterns in color mixing as well as the types of ratios that make a certain color palate.

The students are getting used to the different types of activities we do together.  Many of these support the students to gain academic skills, while helping us to become a connected community of learners.  Often another skill the students are sharpening involves getting in front of a group to present, speaking your ideas and sharing the talking space in a respectful way so that more than your own ideas are heard.  Please ask your child to explain what is happening in each photo!  (If you click on any photo, that will change your view as a slide show)


Sharing work and receiving feedback and ideas, and brainstorming in Revisiting Meeting

Personal Interview

 The name puzzle

Journaling about ourselves

Acting out the book Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Thank you for sharing your inquisitive and creative children with me!
Enjoy your week!  Love, Jennifer

Our First Week Together

(Copied from old blog, written September 4th)

Hello Kindergarten families,

Thank you for sharing Amelie, Mathis, Evelyn, Hayden, Mumina, Malaya, Josh, Kayla, Jake, Lukas, Mason, Rachel, Rowan, Kai, Natalie, Lia and Preston with me!

I am so lucky!  Your children are such neat people, I can already see that.  Today was so beautiful.  I am filled with such a great feeling for our year together.  Another thing that has added to this lovely feeling is reading your responses to the parent surveys.  Each of you have been so thorough in sharing about your child, I feel like I know so much more about who they are.  Thank you for taking the time to tell me about your amazing children.  If you haven't written your responses yet, you can find it up above, right below the title.  I can't wait to read more!

Today was very mellow.  We spent much of the day getting to know each other, our class and out school.  Tomorrow we will get to do even more.  Today many friends already shared so many ideas.  I can tell we have an inquisitive group of people who are excited about how the world works.

I wanted to include a few images to share a glimpse into our first day together.  It felt like so many of the students were pretty confident and comfortable on their first day.  It was nice to see some new connections  being made in class and on the yard.  I can't wait for tomorrow.

Tonight you and your child may be processing their first day at school.  If anything comes up that I can help you with, please feel free to email me.    I love questions because they help us all be clear and makes for a strong year together.  I look forward to get to know you and your children this year.

Have a lovely night!  Love, Jennifer