Friday, September 18, 2015

Week 2- So Much Fun!

Hello Families!

Happy Friday!  I hope you enjoyed this week of actually having "weather" in SD.  We survived our first rainy day- and it was wet!  It was so nice to see our area get rain.  The kids did really well for having to be inside for both recess and lunch and we just doubled up on some music and movement inside until we were able to get a recess in the afternoon when it cleared.

Here are some of the moments I wanted to share with you from this week.  I hope it helps you sit down with your child and have them share more from their own perspective!

The Class Calendar Ritual:
At the end of each day (sometimes not Fridays as we are in other classes!) the class counts that day on our calendar and we represent it with sticks.  We have begun to learn about how tally marks work as we cross the fifth stick when we count them.  The other part of this ritual is where we write down what was special about that day in the daily class journal.  The students have been working on thinking about what parts of our day are things we do every day, and what parts are special to report about that day specifically.  As we do this consistently, this will come, as well as their counting confidence and tally mark usage!

This week I planned two team-building activities.  One of the big reasons behind this was to have the flexibility not to be frustrated when something changes from what you expected or wanted the outcome to be.  With each student taking a turn, the mosaics changed a lot!  The second day I added a new challenge.  I laid down a piece of string and asked the students to choose two of the same item to help us look at symmetry.  This is a math concept that we will be exploring and goes nicely with patterning, too!
(The group was so interested and focused on their peer's choice- it is fun to see that, too!)

Day 1 Mosaic

Day 2 Symmetry practice

Letters and words we are finding in our songs and poems-  
You will notice that the songs and poems are getting marked up!  This is because the students take turns coming up as the expert to show a letter or word they know- looking at spelling and sounding out skills.  This is peers learning from peers (one of the best learning moments!)  It is helping the students to see that they are so capable, even when some of them say they don't know their letters or they don't know how to read.  YET!  We keep a positive excited spirit and each student shares at their own level which really keeps the kids learning. We discuss more or practice sounding out strategies after each person showed us something.

Syllables and Letters:
This week we also made a class table to include information about syllables in our names.  This is an important step to understand and the kids thought it was interesting that names could have such a different amount of letters vs syllables.

How will this look if the topic is letters in our name?

Open Choice Time Topics The Students Explored This Week:
Watercolour and brush skills
Message writing to friends and family members
Bugs- how many body parts?  Where are they connected?
Cutting Skills
Construction Stories- planning and list making to agree and follow through
Puppet Theater- friendship and magic themes
Estimation Jar- counting and connecting with various quantities
Dramatic Play- Adventures off to new lands

Home extension: the stories that can come from the dramatic play boards...

Each group that works in Dramatic play decides upon their setting and the character roles that they will play. We have been documenting this on a board and here are some...  I image this might give you an idea of a home extension if you want to use one as a fun springboard for writing your own family story together.  I also know that families like to share the dictation and illustration jobs, and if you do this at home, please bring it in to share when you find a good stopping point!

Another element I love including in our week is Research about different places in the world.  Today we buckled up and "flew to New Zealand" (with the help of Google maps!) to get a glimpse of what that country looks like.  We found some cool websites that had many types of animals- a page about each kine and also a website that showed some of the major landmarks.  The students were excited to see the rain forest there called the Tane Mahuta where a 2,000 tree is living!

Here is the quick list the class brainstormed after I turned off the projector:
 I hope these websites lead you to more research and learning moments together at home!  I know that the animal one has many pages of animals!

Please feel free to email me and or write below in the comments section!

Enjoy your weekend!  Love, Jennifer

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