Friday, March 7, 2014

Thinking, Discussing, Collaborating, And So Much More!

Hello Kindergarten Families,

With our new friends joining us and Brianna returning from Maine, we hadn't had an updated class photo. Everyone was here on Wednesday, so we took a few shots!  Isn't it a lovely group of people?

This week Christine set the tone on her Monday morning intercom announcement by sharing about a sign she had read.  It had four questions for us all to think about before we make a decision:
Is it safe?
Is it responsible?
Is it respectful?
Would it be alright if everyone did it?

This was a beautiful way for us to start off, as each of us are trying to make decisions confidently and to be more in charge of ourselves. We referred to these questions throughout the week.  I imagine it will help us as we all continue to grow.

 In the last few weeks our work has been in small groups for think tanks or discussions, and this has brought up some special circumstances that relates to the questions above.  The students were thinking about how we contribute to a group, whether everyone in the group is contributing and not taking over the group, speaking too much or not contributing at all.  This is hard work, which each of us adults even question at times.  So these Kindergartners are to be commended when they stand up to a friend who is doing most of the talking, share feedback or help a friend to join in the group and contribute more.

I plan to send you some pages about their work in the think tanks, so stay tuned and check the reflection page section of our class digital portfolio.  Here are a few shots...

The group has continued to test and discover how to get structures to balance and protrude without falling.  This week's challenge: build a structure that matches the shapes of a balanced body...  We are identifying new strategies and learning so much about balance!  I can't wait to share it all with you at Exhibition Night at the end of the month!

(I personally love this last photo because I didn't get quite close enough, so it turned into a "behind the scenes" shot of the kids holding up our background sheet... :)

As it is the beginning of March, we have new songs and poems.  If you get a chance, please ask you child to show which one they have found most exciting and why!

This week we took some time practicing some frequently misspelled words.  Many of these are used often by the students in their writing, and some are also irregular spellings.  We had fun looking at the spelling and chanting them together.  At the end of our investigation, I turned around the board and many of the students realized they were able to spell them!

With English being such an irregular language, without many broad spelling patterns, it is important to find our personal way to learn new spelling words.(our memorization style is so personal!)  I encourage you to begin discussing and writing words your child wants to learn and finding a way to include this in your week and month, and making a space for this to be honored at home.  It is important to keep this fun and full of laughter, even with the feeling of a detective or collector of valuable items.  If your family has special ways you collect and highlight words (spellings and definitions) please share them with me so that I can pass on the ways that work for you!

In the last five minutes of Friday we played the dictionary game.  This is where I choose a word, read the definition and the students have to ask questions so that the class gets me to share more info about the word.  The goal is for everyone in the class to feel like they know the word before we count down and shout it out.  I chose a challenging word, so I decided not to have us shout it out, so that more kids might know it first.  Here is the definition:
An object that has triangular sides that meet at a point at the top.  It's base is usually a square.

I also shared that people built these long ago and they are especially known in the Yucatan and Egypt...

Please don't help your child with the answer, but if you want to keep playing, you can read the above info and they can ask questions to help them get to the place where they think they know it!

Have a great weekend, Jennifer

(Playing Fruit Tag in the park...)

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