Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A peek at our big day

Wow! we had an action packed day today in kindergarten!
(This is a copy of the post that I wrote on our classroom blog, it was such a fun day I wanted to share it on here, too!)

Reading/Writing: We learned about the sound /sh/ and reviewed /ng/ as in ring. The class is doing great with these blends! We have been working on "Stretching and counting" words into sounds and today was the first time that we used that skill to write words! We stretched out the words ship, shop, hat and run. The class has been noticing words we write during sound writing, so this was a natural progression to begin purposeful writing of words. It was wonderful! Look for word writing to come home on friday.

Math: We practiced putting together our "number parade" of 1-10 and connected number partners with "5 groups". one example of this is 7 has 5 and 2 as its number partners. We will continue working on this, as it can be a tough concept for some kids. Using fingers, square inch tiles and visuals like dots can help your child visualize what number partners look like.

Book Fair: today we browsed the book fair at the durham library! the parent-staff organization (PSO) graciously donated 50 dollars worth of books to each class, and by having our class look at the books today I was able to get a great idea for what they would like added to our classroom library! If you are interested in getting a book from the fair it is open before and after school for families to come check it out!

*did you child tell you about our special visitor today? My niece and sister came to visit and joined us at the book fair and participated in part of class time. The kids in our class did such an amazing job at welcoming my little 4 year old niece into our classroom. My bucket was overflowing at how sweet they all were :) My sister commented on how awesome our class was! We really are a great group of kinders :) 

Social Studies: We learned about Nepal and shared some fun facts about the country. Nepal is the home of Mt Everest and the "Abominable Snowman". The kids loved this fact :) We also learned that they speak Nepali and say hello/goodbye by saying "namaste". two weeks ago we learned they say this in India as well.

Star of the week: Asti brought the star backpack filled with many things that begin with the sound /n/ today. The kids loved seeing all of her fun ideas including "Nice clothes" and a "Neon necklace"! We then shared our star snack of nutrigrain bars. Thank you, Asti!

Today your child brought home a blank white paper with directions stapled to it. This is our December family project where you will get to help decide what your family traditions are and display them on the paper. When your child has completed their family project, you can send it back with them and they will get to share about their family in the classroom. Some ideas we talked about today were:

Football (my example was the Oregon Ducks! A BIG family tradition for me!)

I can't wait to learn more about your child's family traditions! :)

My favorite part of the day was my niece visiting. It was SO COOL seeing her blend in with the class! I read a counting book and she was chiming in right with my class! We did "n and 1 more is" and she would know the answer every time! I was so proud :) I thought behaviorally it might be harder for her, but she really did blend in with the class so well! I think i've talked about this on here before, but she is a september 14th birthday, which means she won't be 5 until after the next school year starts. this is such a tough one because normally I don't think kids should start at 4, even if their birthday is so close. But with her, I am really torn! She fit in so well! What do you think? Am I biased? lol. probably!! I'd love you input!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving break

Sigh...I love thanksgiving break :) We have the whole week off (well, sort of.) Monday and tuesday were inservices that I LOVED and then today was a furlough day. bummer to have a day without pay, but not so bad when it's connected to a holiday break!

I did waitress last night and have another shift friday...but other than that I am relaxing and enjoying getting caught up on life! Sunday school plans, cleaning, walking the dog. Life is good! :)

Now if only I could kick this darn cold....

Tonight I'm going to see Breaking Dawn for the 2nd time with my DEAR friend Cristen! She was a 1st year teacher with me years ago so we bonded through new teacher trainings and the like. She has been in another district for the past 3 years, but we still love getting together to walk or get coffee, and of course share our love of Jakeward! Sigh....Team Jacob all the way!!!

Tomorrow we'll spend the day with my in-laws and my ADORABLE niece Stella. I am so blessed!!
Isn't she precious???

Hope you all are having a great start to the thanksgiving holiday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Assessment time

I obviously did not plan well when I decided this would be the week to finish up our math and reading units. I have been really pacing my lessons so that the kids were getting the materials, but then I realized that meant either assess yesterday and today or wait until after thanksgiving break. I chose today because I didn't want the kids to "forget" what they learned while on a week vacation, but I didn't think about the fact that their brains were already on vacation!!!

While I found many assessment results exciting, I also found a lot more holes in them than I expected (especially sound recognition!) Next year I will have to make sure I finish the unit a few days earlier so that I can assess before kids get "holiday brain" (haha)

I guess I have the next round of assessments to look forward to. I know they have a better understanding than I saw today!

What do you do when you find yourself in this situation?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Teaching about Giving Thanks

Giving thanks isn't just an idea for Thanksgiving. It's not a one day thing. Being Thankful should be a part of your everyday life, especially if you are a Bucket Filler! I loved talking about this in my class today for thoughtful thursday (theme of the day during ELD pullout).

As you might remember from a recent halloween post, I've been having a hard time figuring out how to talk about the holidays (all of them) when I have a few students in my class who don't celebrate for religious reasons. Whenever I bring up a topic related to a holiday or celebration, my little ones will chime in that they can't do that. I was very proud of how I handled talking about Thanksgiving!

You see,  I've been reading a book for transition between cleaning up and when the kids come back from ELD, and I find myself continuing to gravitate towards my collection of holiday related stories. I try to read them and not have much personal dialogue on the topic, but today I found a great way (and the courage!) to talk about how thanksgiving isn't just meant to be a one day thing. It's about being thankful for everything you have and showing that in your actions (hence, Thoughtful)
I borrowed this lovely book from my teammate and was able to talk to the kids about how being a person who gives thanks is a great way to fill other people's buckets because we are showing them how much we love and care for them. Yes, the story talked about thanksgiving the holiday, but that was not the main topic. I loved the illustrations in this book and how it got the kids talking about all of the things that they are thankful for.

We did "I am thankful for ___" writing too. I loved these :) I'll have to post some pics soon! One cutie said he was "thankful for Jesus and all of the presents he gets from Him." haha. He's sort of getting the picture ;) He then said "Jesus is SO BIG! Bigger than anyone!" which prompted another little guy to say he was "big, too!" The rebuttal from little guy #1 was precious. :) "No way! He's bigger than all of us!"

I love when they talk about Jesus, even if I can't chime in other than to say how much I loved that thought. :)

Today I am thankful for books that give honor to a holiday while showing how it can practically relate to the lives of our children. I am also thankful for my teammates wonderful collection of books :) 

And of course I'm thankful for all of you in blogland and that I have a place to share my silly teaching stories! 

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Progress Reports

This week was a short week with 2 days off for grading/progress reports and Veterans Day! I love short weeks! (On a side note...did any watch Private Practice last night? I wanted to kill the mom who said her son "forgot" to tell her that there was no school that day. Umm hello?? Obviously she didn't read any of the notes or newsletters that get sent home from school with that information! haha. I know it's just tv, and  Mr. Bee laughed at me for reacting negatively to her comment, but really! there are way too many parents who do that! lol)

Anyways, this brings me to my questions about progress reports! Maybe you can help. You see, last year our district added a progress report in the fall to supplement our report cards that don't come out until february. I like that parents can get an update aside from their conferences, but it has brought up some questions for me.

On our report cards there are MANY different areas that each have an individual grade (plus, check or 0) and it seems pretty comprehensive. But, the progress reports only have 3-4 categories. Math, Reading and Writing (and we add behavior). Under the categories are 4 options. Above standards, meets standards, working towards standards and doesn't show any understanding (paraphrased, obviously). These vague areas make grading go pretty quick, but they make me question how parents are going to interpret them. You see, they could be interpreted in (At least) 2 ways
1. Standard=end of the year goals (which would make most students at working towards meeting)
2. Standard= where they should be right now (which would make most students meeting standard)

I have talked to my team about this before, but I can't remember what we decided. I think it was #2, where they should be right now. This makes the most sense to me, because it shows parents if their child is on track or not, but it also brings up the possible confusion in the winter/spring if their child is not meeting the standard but they were in the fall. Hopefully this won't be an issue, and all the kiddos will still be meeting standards, but realistically i'm not so sure. Some kids just "lose their flow" for a bit and fall behind. They all catch back up (usually), but it leads to some questions right around report cards. I know I would be able to explain this to the parents if needed, and we do talk in between report cards, but I still want to make sure parents truly understand what I am telling them through these progress reports.

What do you think? Am I making sense? What do you do?? I'd love your feedback!!

And on another note, Happy Veterans Day!! I am so thankful to be able to live in a place that respects our Veterans and supports all of those people who have or are continuing to fight for our freedom. I pray that we will never take this freedom for granted! Veterans- I truly appreciate all that you have done for us!! Thank You!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ducks Vs. Huskies!

family photo minus Mr. Bee and my nephew!
Tonight is a very big night for the Ducks! We are playing our (arguably) bitterest rivalry of the Pac! This is a very big game in my family, because my sister went to UW and married a husky, while the rest of us have been born and bred Ducks! I'm sad that this is the first year I won't be with the whole family during the game, but I just couldn't make it this year. Cheering for the ducks from home!!
my sis and I :) (date stamp wrong, obviously :) )

Friday, November 4, 2011

Is it just me, or does the week after halloween seem to take FOREVER to end?? Maybe it is because it is 1 of 2 full school weeks in november, but boy it seemed to last forever!! Hope you all had a great week :)