We have been super busy in our kindergarten classroom! This week, we made a classroom book called We Can Play, we began reading a chapter book together, had gym class, started our math unit on attributes, had computer class with Mr. Jeff, and worked very hard at Literacy Work Stations.

***Please remember to bring in your photos for the time line project in the classroom!!! (More details were in last week’s newsletter, which is available on-line.)

We Can Play: Last week, I took a photo of each child doing an activity. After gluing the pictures into a book, the children helped me to finish writing the words in the book. Each picture had a line that read “We can play with _____.” As we sat together as a whole class, each student used a small chalkboard. When we completed each sentence, we practiced sounding out the words together. We “stretch out” our words like bubble gum. As we stretch out the words, we say them very slowly and listen for as many sounds as we can hear. We said the word over and over again until we recorded several sounds. The children wrote the words on their own chalkboard as I wrote them in our book. This is one of the many strategies we use to learn to listen to sounds within words and write what we hear. Some children are at the stage of writing initial sounds, some may write beginning and end sounds, while others are even including vowel sounds.

Charlotte’s Web: This week we began reading a chapter book together in the afternoon. As a start to our thematic unit on farms, we started the classic book: Charlotte’s Web. Every day after lunch, we relax on carpet as I read one chapter out loud. We stop periodically to talk about plot elements, new characters, and vocabulary words. Throughout the school year, we will read many chapter books together!

Describing Buttons! In math workshops, we started one of many games on attributes. We began this unit talking about all the various attributes of one button. Children used words like: shiny, sparkly, gold, 1 hole, reflective, and bumpy. Now students are playing a game called: Button Match-Up. In this game, children work with a partner and a small bowl of various buttons. The children take turns selecting a button. That child then names one feature about that button, such as “This button is square.” Their partner finds a button that shares that attribute. Once that person finds a match, they switch turns. It is amazing to hear the wonderful attribute words the students are using during this game, such as “wavy buttons, buttons with lines, bumpy buttons, and buttons shaped like circles.”

Writing Center: One of our centers in the classroom is the writing center. This center has a large table that is very low to the ground. Students can sit on the floor and use a variety of paper, envelopes, and writing utensils. This week, many students were busy making cards and pictures for their family members. Every few weeks, new materials are added to this center, such as old cards, magazines, stencils, etc. This center is located right next to our interactive word wall to encourage students to use the alphabet sounds, and familiar words in their work.

Literacy Work Stations: In the classroom, I have divided up the room into 15 work stations. These work stations include: Dry Erase, Pocket Chart, Big Books, Book on Tape, ABC/Word work, Writing, Creation, Construction, Drama, Games/Puzzles, Science/ Social Studies, Poetry, Overhead, Buddy Reading, Read/write the room.
Twice a day, students are placed into a work station with a partner. The partners change frequency, and they rotate through work stations. At the work station, they can use the materials in that center to play with words, retell stories, or write. Each center has a different type of literacy material to explore. The children have really enjoyed these work stations. While they still have some time each day to freely explore the classroom in Learning Centers, the activities at Literacy Work Stations has provided more of a hands on learning environment. It also gives the students a variety of meaningful ways to learn to read and write.
This week, students were retelling the story of Mrs. Wishy Washy at the Big Book work station. Then at the ABC/ Word work station, students were doing lower case letter sorts. They had to sort letters of various fonts into columns of matching letters. At the Pocket Chart station, students were matching animal names to pictures, completing sentences from our book Mrs Wishy Washy, and matching student names to pictures. These stations are successful because the students feel that they can be independent in making choices of what to do at the station, and the activities available have been previously introduced to the whole class. They all have really excelled in this area. The best is when we gather on carpet after work stations to tell our friends what we were doing. They are so eager to share their accomplishments!

Field Trip: Our first field trip is coming up! We are heading to Stern’s Farm on Friday, September 24. We will be looking for parent volunteers to drive to this trip.

OPEN HOUSE! (Parent’s only) Wednesday, September 29, 5:00pm – 7:30pm. Please bring any questions, and come to see your students work on display!!