Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lots of ambitions for the rest of the year!

Hello Kindergarten Families!

How are you?  I am well.  I was able to have a quick visit with friends from Paris and Colorado, friends have known since junior high and college, so that was special!  It has also been pretty special in class, too!  The friends brainstormed a list of things they still want to learn about.  While we cannot do them all, I was able to group some into overarching categories.  One is 'how things work'.  Here are some of the questions they will hypothesize (through drawing and writing) and then we will investigate through videos and discussions, in the coming weeks.

How do people make shoes?
How are shirts made?
How do experts put books together?
What makes steam come from food?
How do seeds come our of flowers?

How do cruise ships stay floating?

How are waves made?

How do volcanoes work and why do they spew lava?

While we cannot deeply explore all of these, I think we will be able to investigate them and get the students on the way to finding answers.  Some may become great summer family projects, while others may inspire more research, science experiments and new questions!  I hope this is fun for you, too!

Another category that arose from the brainstorm were lots of questions about animals.  Here are the particular animals that they were curious about:  

Coyotes, Cheetahs, Horses, Deer, Bees, Dolphins, Sharks, Chickens

Our first step was to go through our non-fiction books in class to see what we could find, to help the researchers have books in an easy place to get started.  The students worked together to help decide if a book might have relevant information, making two piles, books we could use, and books about other topics. Next, they composed an email to you, asking fore more books.  
Thanks for sending in your books, already-keep them coming!

A third, exciting endeavor is highlighted in one of last week's reflection pages.  The students plan to create an informational video to share our school's social problem-solving processes with other classes.  I am excited to see how they are taking on the organization of the video more, this time, as well as what they decide needs to be shared.  Can't wait to see how it comes out!

In the social arena, I can tell these students are feeling how big they are getting!  Many of them have been trying out new ways to act, to see if this is a part of being big.  Some have been trying out whether changing the truth works, while others are testing rolling their eyes, expressions and voice tones to use attitude to show their feelings and power.  This has come about in many different ways and is very personal to each person. 

We have had many discussions on the topic of "acting in a way you know you will be proud of, even when no one is watching".  We are supporting the students to think about how their words and behaviors effect others and what others are 'reading'about them, by watching.  The class is also thinking about how each friend is learning and are trying to do their best.  Many students have tried a "do-over" concept and are thinking about how they can make changes in their first reactions to learn from their mistaken decisions.

Today we read a great book to continue to think about this.  In Kevin Henke's book, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, the main character  does some things out of her feelings of upset, anger and frustration, and then she has to figure out how this can be fixed...  If you are having these types of conversations at home, let me know if there are any great books, key words or metaphors that have helped your child connect to the power of our words and actions, as well as how to make a mistake and then fix it.

I wanted to leave you with a very special image, brought to us by Kayla and her family.  This is an image from their back yard!  So sweet to see 'spring' really happening in front of us!  Thanks, as always for sharing things from home to spread the excitement.  Have a beautiful night, Jennifer

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