Well it has been a long journey fellow readers but the Bowen’s have moved from Kenai, Alaska back to their home state of Michigan. Of course I am still teaching kindergarten so the All-Stars legacy continues to live on!
I have moved to a school that has reopened after 3 years of being closed. It is an international baccalaureate elementary school. It is super exciting as we are learning how to be global citizens, inquirers, and all classes will have 30 minutes of Spanish instructions everyday. I only had a week and a half but I able to set up the new room on time!
The first day of school parents got to come at the end of the half day and join the students in a scavenger hunt looking for important places in the classroom.
For the second day of school students got to have their first experience at exploration centers. In exploration centers students get to move freely throughout the room and choose activities that they investigate different learning skills. In extension centers students can choose from the classroom library, art center, math manipulative tubs, block center, writing center, science center, community center, and computers.
For art center students work on first day of kindergarten headbands. Writing center had students tracing lines and drawing pictures on whiteboards with dry erase markers. In the science center students did a sorting science tools folder game. In the community center students sorted pictures into their correct beginning sound on a pocket chart. Finally at the blocks center, students put together puzzles foam letter puzzles and got to build with wooden blocks.
For a read aloud today we read the story, The Night Before Kindergarten and made It’s the First Day of School, I feel… art activity. This activity can be found here.
Today was our second half day of school where we focused on kindness and learning how to get along together in the Kindergarten All-Stars classroom. We started by reading The Recess Queen and we talked about how Mean Jean wasn’t showing kindness, and Katie Sue showed kindness by asking Jean to play even though Jean was being a bully. Then we made a simple thinking map illustrating ideas on what we think kindness means. Finally we took what we learned about kindness and did our first time at free choice centers. Students practiced sharing, taking turns, and positively resolving conflict.
We also learned each others names by sitting in a circle and singing the song “Who Stole the Cookies From the Cookie Jar” while students passed around behind their back a toy cookie. We tried to guess who had the cookie by saying each classmates name by singing the song. Then we created self portraits while I showed students how to add more details in our self portraits. For example I encouraged students to draw hair, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose.
As we learn to become more comfortable in our classroom community, we read a book called I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self Esteem. We talked about how to be happy and proud of who we are. We also shared about ourselves whole group and learned how we are special. This activity helped students feel confident in who they are so they feel safe to share with others in class. During centers you could see how happy and comfortable the class felt with working together.
We have moved into our new theme of “Friends and Family” and the first story we read tied into our previous unit of back to school. The story we read was “The Recess Queen” and as a class we retold the story by illustrating the most important parts of story using beginning middle and end.
Then we discussed who was in the story and described the characters in our illustrations. Students described Jean as “Mean, a bully, and angry” while Katie Sue was described as “funny, happy, and likes to jump rope”.
As we continue with our “Who Am I, Where Do I Go From Here” theme in K-1 class (aka our All About Me Theme); we have begun to talk about our feelings and how we describe them. We talked about how we can write out our feelings and describe them in different ways. We read “Sometimes I Feel Like a Storm Cloud” by Lezlie Evans. In this story the main character describes different way she feels. She describes herself as feeling like a tornado, or feeling like a newborn kitten.
Then students described their own feelings by writing what they sometimes feel like. Following the picture and writing; they created a paper plate face that shows their feeling on their face.
In first picture the student writes “panda”; the second picture the student writes “sleepy elephant”.
On the paper plates they used various arts & crafts supplies to create the accompanying paper plate faces.
The first picture the student writes “a mad bear”; second picture the student writes, “a happy cat”, and a “happy giraffe” was written on the third picture.
Students were invited to think of things or animals that made them think of the specific feelings that they sometimes feel.