Happy New Year! We have a lot of exciting things coming up in kindergarten. Mark your calendars for our field trip to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. We will be visiting the rainforest as part of our ongoing thematic unit of study. The trip is set for Wednesday, January 19th. We will be leaving school at approximately 9:30, and returning after lunch. If you would like to drive, please sign up outside of the classroom door. We are also heading to the Avon School of Music on Wednesday, January 26. This trip is in the afternoon from 2:00-2:45. School will be closed for parent/teacher conferences on January 31 and February 1. (Preschool does not have school January 31, February 1, and 2nd.) Kindergarten classes resume February 2. At this conference, you will receive your child’s report card, view assessments, and take a look at their ongoing portfolios. Sign up times are limited, so please mark your time early! The sign up is posted outside of the classroom door.

In mathematics, we have begun our unit on measurement! The children have been very eager to begin using various forms of nonstandard units of measure. We started the week with a simple story about shoes. Then we expanded the lesson by tracing our own shoe outlines. We have used the shoe outlines in various measurement activities, such as connecting unifix cubes together to measure the shoes. We have been learning about where to begin measuring, as well as recording our results. As we continue this in math workshops, we will use various items to practice measuring, such as popsicle sticks and blocks.

**Homework Alert! Have your child trace the shoes of your family members, label them, and bring them to school. We will use them in our measurement study and add them to our classroom collection. Bring these shoes in anytime this week but no later than Friday.

Thematic Unit: The Rainforest!! We began our month long study of the rainforest. Children have been introduced to various features of the rainforest, as well as it’s importance for the rest of the world. We have learned about the layers of the rainforest (forest floor, understory, canopy, and emergent) and will continue to learn about it by adding plants and animals onto a class mural. The kindergarteners have learned that most of the world’s oxygen comes from the rainforest, and how oxygen affects all living things. As we learn about protecting the trees and conserving our resources, the kindergarten students will be in charge of a school wide paper recycling project that will hopefully last long-term. We will be setting up paper recycling bins in each classroom.

We have begun Nonfiction Writing during Writer’s Workshop. Children have learned to write “How To” stories. In these stories, they are approaching their work from a factual standpoint, and teaching someone else how to do something, step by step. Their topics range from “How to ride your bicycle,” “How to climb a ladder,” and “How to plant a seed.” Students are selecting something that they know how to do, and writing the detailed steps to teach another person how to do this. This type of writing is a precursor to our upcoming “All About” books. In their “All About” books, students will be selecting one topic and doing approximately two weeks of research on it.

For our current theme of the rainforest, and in conjunction with our upcoming field trip, each student will be selecting a rainforest animal to research. They will use books, the internet, and observations (at the zoo) for their research. The animals that they will be selecting from are: orangutan, ocelot, fruit bat, python, frog, gharial crocodile, francois langur, porcupine, otter, and golden lion tamarin. These animals have been preselected to ensure that the children will be able to see their animal up close at the zoo field trip. Their research will be about the animals habitat, body structure, diet, life expectancy, etc. I can’t wait to see what the children discover about the animal that they choose!