Buzzing along in KG 9-16-15

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What a superb beginning we have had in Kindergarten! The children could be found on a search all around the school looking for heart shaped clues to find the missing character, Chester the raccoon, from the book The Kissing Hand. As a result of their hunt they succeeded in becoming acquainted with all the areas of the school where they would have Jewish Studies, Library, Hebrew, Music, Art, Technology, Physical Education, recess, and lunch.

Becoming familiar with the schedule and routines is essential for the success of the first few weeks of school as children are “pattern seeking” in order to feel safe and secure, so we spend a good amount of time getting to know each other and establishing predictable activities. Part of the process of creating a “school family” atmosphere involves giving children relevant jobs in the classroom that contribute to the welfare of the entire class, so they have been highly engaged in taking on those responsibilities.

Finding ways to be helpful in our class has also been a major focus these first few weeks. We really only have one rule in our class and that is to be helpful- be helpful to the teacher, be helpful to our classmates, be helpful around the classroom, and be helpful to ourselves by doing our best in our work.

In learning each other’s names, we read an interesting book called Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes which about a little mouse who goes to school and everyone makes fun of her because her name is so long. Along with learning about concepts of print, we discussed how to treat each other, interesting things about our own names, activities using our names, and what our hopes and dreams are for this new school year.

The books I Like Me and The Skin That I’m In were good spring boards for discussions about how we are all different in our looks, our families, how we think, and what we like about ourselves. The children painted wonderful self-portraits as a reader’s response.

In math we have been doing a daily question graph, counting the days of school and keeping track of the tens and ones with that number, creating a growing number line, keeping track of the temperature and weather, doing number collections, a birthday graph, learning math games, looking for math structures such as categories and properties, exploring pattern blocks and learning how to properly form numbers.

On the tenth day of school a mysterious bag appeared in our class and inside was a note from “Zero the Hero” telling us that he would leave a zero shaped surprise every ten days of school until we reached the one hundredth day. This time he left Cheerios and milk which the children enjoyed as a “second breakfast!” There is great anticipation for the twentieth day of school!

Integrating with our Jewish Studies focus of apples and honey will create many opportunities for learning across the curriculum. We will learn about Johnny Appleseed, do apple seed counting, plant seeds, start a fall garden, use emergent readers about apples, add apple songs and poems to our Song and Poem Binders, experiment with dehydration, make applesauce, take a trip to Central Market to find many different kinds of apples with each child purchasing, weighing and measuring their apples, graphing the results of taste testing, and having our technology teacher, who is also a beekeeper, do a presentation about bees and honey for us.

Thank you to all of you for your wonderful support so far this year. We are off to a great start!

Here are the pictures of how the children help out in our classroom: (Door Holder, Materials Manager, Frog Feeder/Star Keeper, Weather Recorder, Calendar, Daily Grapher, “Bee” Helpful Recorder, Bell Ringer, Line Leader, Attendance Keeper and Absent Children Note Writer.)

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