Friday, January 24, 2014

So many ideas to share!

Hello Kindergarten Families,

This week was exciting in many ways.  We welcomed two new students, Evelynne and Landon, so in addition to Noah, we have three new students who have joined us!  In order to get to know our new friends, and to celebrate how special each of us are in our learning journey, we had morning share topics for Tuesday and Wednesday that worked together.  The first was to share something you feel you are good at, and the second was to share something you want to get better at or continue practicing so that you can sharpen that skill.  This is an important conversation to have at home too.  It helps these children to know that this is a lifetime process, and even though you may think that everyone around you has "it all together", that truly each of us has things we think we are accomplished at, and things we wish we were able to do.

Another human element in this is the fact that for some reason it can be hard for us to say what we are good at.  Depending on our personality type, one of the two (what you are good at or what you need to work on) are hard to admit!  Making these types of discussions feel like part of life helps the students see that it is important work, and that everyone is learning and growing in different ways, even though they may seem "so together".

It can be neat, too, when your answer for one question is actually your answer for the second question, too!  Are we ever done getting better at something?

This week we discussed and designed an experiment to test different materials to use with inclined planes.  More on this soon!  If you would like, set up a situation where you could shoot something down an inclined plane.  I have used a board, a wipe board, a gutter, a tube,rope,  with balls, cars, rocks, s-hooks, carabiners, anything that will slide down.  
What does your family notice?  
What changes can you make and were there different outcomes?  
What forces are at work?

Has your child shared one of our January Songs and Poems?  We have been noticing patters and sounds and teams of letters in all the words.  What do you notice in this collection?

Thank you to all the families who have sent in photos and artifacts from the homework and for our "Where did you go in 2013?" wall!  It has been so fun to watch the students share about their trips.  Keep it coming!

For each presentation we take time with Google Maps to zoom in and out of our city to the place we are "going to".  This week we "went" to Paris, Costa Rica, Wisconsin and New York City.  The students are working on the concepts of city, state, country and continent as well as the cardinal directions, and being able to use this vocab in their language.

Next week we will "go to" Isreal, Sacramento and Longbeach.  And maybe more places, if you send us in more photos of where you went.  Remember it doesn't matter how far you went, it is fun for the students to share and it gives us a genuine chance to check out the map to look for driving routes, landmarks and other interesting features on a map!  

I hope you can find the time to come in and check out our wall!  There is often more going up!

Our story wall inspired by photos is growing.  I find it so beautiful to see how each student has a different perspective.  Two students may choose the same image, but come up with a totally different possibility for what is happening in the image.  You can do this together as a family, by choosing images off the internet, by googling images from 50-100 years ago, or by turning the sound off on a television program or movie that you have not seen. 
 What could be happening?  
What are the characters saying, feeling and thinking?

Well I will sign off for now.  I hope you enjoy reading this with your child.  Have a lovely weekend, Jennifer

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