Hello everyone! It has definitely been a long time since I’ve posted. With the pandemic hitting it has been a time of stress and confusion but I feel good about this year.
Our school has reopened with a plan on how to keep myself and other students safe with a strategy called “cohorting”. It is where your class stays within their group the whole day and does not do school-wide activities in person. Staying in our separate “cohorts” is a way to stop the increase of community spread. Students are asked to wear their masks when inside the school except for when they are eating.
In my all-star classroom students have individual desks each with their own individual supplies. All classroom activities and supplies have to be in individual bins and only one student can use the item at a time. When something is used it gets put in the “sanitation station” where the items are cleaned to be put back in the classroom so it’s safe for someone else to use.
Our first days of school went by quite smoothly! Much of the days were spent singing songs and learning the classroom procedures and routines. Students got to enjoy extension centers where they learned problem solving skills and explore what we have to offer in the classroom.
We also learned how to use our individual materials by creating an anchor chart, writing a list of things we can and can’t do with crayons. Students provided the answers for the anchor chart and together we developed a guideline on how to safely and properly use the crayons.
Then students practiced their coloring skills by coloring a soccer ball that had clear lines and spaces for them to color inside. Their goal was to color inside the lines and have as little white-space as possible.
To celebrate the first week of kindergarten we read books that talked about going to school for the first time such as “Miss Bindergarten Get’s Ready for Kindergarten” and the book “Kindergarten Rocks!”. Then students talked about how they felt on the first day of school and created a first day of school pennant. They picked an emoji that they felt matched their emotion for that day. They colored the emoji and glued it onto the pennant. They also practiced writing their name on top instead of writing the feeling. When students finished they were able to take their individual book bags and practice reading leveled reading books.
To help students learn the alphabet we are learning special characters called “Alphafriends” from the Journey’s reading curriculum. Each Alphafriend has a hand motion that goes along with each of the characters. We also learned how to write the letters by writing in our “rainbow write” journal.
As we finish up with our first week of school we spent some time getting to know the members of our All-Star community. We also danced to some songs such as ‘5 Little Monkeys‘. Then we took pictures of ourselves and glued them to pictures of t-shirts that we colored and designed ourselves. The activity can be found here.
As we finish up our first week of school, our kindergarten & 1st grade friends spent some time getting to know each other using math. Kindergarten wrote their names, cut them apart, and glued them back together. Kindergarten counted the letters in their name and shared it with the rest of the class.
In 1st grade we’ve been learning about addition strategies so the 1st graders used what they’ve learned to share about themselves to the rest of the class. The activity can be found over at First Grade Smiles.
Welcome back my All-Stars followers! I realize it’s been a longtime since I’ve done a regular blog-post. I’ve been super busy with workshops, family, and summer projects. However I return with a commitment to bring you more updates and ideas.
Let’s first start out with the biggest update; I have been moved back into a multi-age kindergarten / 1st grade classroom. Still located in the city of Kenai, Alaska. It has definitely been challenging; but I love the change in dynamics and am excited about a few changes to my classroom that I’ve made this year.
This week is our first week in back to school and like usual we are talking about school expectations, rules, and classroom procedures. Our first days we’ve been reading some of my favorite back to school books like No David by David Shannon. Then students made No David puppets to retell the story during free choice centers time.
We’ve been also singing some of our favorite songs that we’ve remembered from preschool and dancing to them using the website http://www.gonoodle.com. Today we sang and danced to 5 Little Monkeys.
We read the story Curious George: Goes to School, created a craft using t-shirt template ideas from this website and taking individual pictures. They turned out very cute!
We finished up our back to school unit last week with a lesson on cause and effect. We read the story If You Take a Mouse to School and labeled a cause and effect thinking map of the story. Then we did a cut and paste activity from Christine’s Stratzel’s TpT that illustrates the book as well.
As the first week of school wrapped up, we continued to learn about following rules / expectations and participated in getting to know each other activities. We read the story No David! by David Shannon. The students paired up and practiced looking for the rules that David was breaking as we read the story. After the story, students made David Popsicle stick puppets and retold the story using the puppets. You can find the No David! puppets here.
The next day we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Marin Jr. and talked about how letters make up words, and the most important word we know is our name! Students wrote their name in boxes, cut them up and put them back in the correct order. They counted the number of letters in their name and wrote the number.
Then we continued to get to know each other by sharing how many letters are in our name, and saying our favorite color. Then we graphed how many letters are in our name to as a little math extension!
Finally, one thing I’ve been really trying to teach my students this year is proper use of shared materials and not wasting. Students have been learning how to making good use of glue sticks and not wasting bottled glue. They have been taught the phrase “just a dot, not a lot”. I gave them a worksheet copied on card-stock where they glued on the dots of the worksheet, trying not to overuse the glue. To find out more about this idea go 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.
Today we began a new school year and we began the same way we did last year. We split the class into two groups and one group comes in the morning for a half day, and the second half comes in the afternoon with both groups together during lunch and for an hour before the first group goes home at 1. The first few weeks of school for kindergarten should focus on routines, procedures, getting to know each other, and getting over those first day of school jitters! For our first half day of school we started with exploring a few of our math tubs and making patterns.
We also sang songs on http://www.gonoodle.com using the YouTube channel; such as The Colors song by Patty Shukla and If You’re a Kid by Harry Kindergarten. These songs help them practice following directions and remembering their colors.
We also read stories Kindergarten Rocks and the story Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten and made connections to the story. Then students mad first day of kindergarten hats and “How I feel about the first day” hanging banner.
Today we continued to work on learning about our names. First we read a sing along book called “The Wheels on the Bus” by Raffi and then sang along to the book after we learned that version of the song. Then we came up with our own silly verse of the wheels on the bus by using the first letter in our name to complete the verse. Instead of making the line, “The wheels on the bus go round and round”, we changed the line to “The wheels on Mr. Bowen’s bus go Bumpity Bumpity Bump.”