Kindergarten Weekly Note 6/3/16

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Some exciting news - Kindergarten teacher, Katie Miller and TPS 8th grade math teacher, Ethan Tannen got engaged last weekend! Congrats to them, we are so excited for their new adventures together!

Thanks for coming to our Learning Celebration yesterday. The children were proud to perform for you, and to show you their classrooms. Thanks for your support, and thanks to those parents who organized and provided treats for the “cast party.”

This week was filled with preparations for yesterday’s festivities. On Tuesday we performed for one another in our “Garage” for the first time. On Wednesday we had our dress rehearsal in front on an adoring audience comprised of our Book Buddies and the Preschool. Our “putting on a play” project helps children embrace many ideas that we hope will follow them into adulthood. We hope they will learn to persevere through feeling nervous, to recognize that mistakes are part of a process, that practicing a skill can help one improve, and that being flexible, listening and being cooperative are essential when working and creating with a group.

We are continuing to write in our journals, which you will receive next week, along with lots of other work. We ask that you please send your child to school with a bag next week labeled with your child’s name to help carry home the many items that will make their way back to you next Friday - our last full day of school.

This week had a few kindergarten “lasts.” Today was our last “Family Circle” activity. The students said good-bye to their 8th grade family group leaders, and had a photo taken with the graduates. Today was supposed to be our last day at The Schuylkill Center, but the weather didn’t cooperate. We spent time talking about our favorite memories from The Schuylkill Center and doing other fun activities in the classroom.

To be super clear, “Move-Up Day,” is for students only. This Monday, June 6 is “Move-Up Day.” For the period before lunch and lunchtime, the kindergartners spend time in the Primary Unit (first and second grade classrooms). Each of our groups will be in a different Primary classroom. The classroom your child visits may or may not be where s/he is placed for next year. You will get these assignments at the end of the summer. “Move Up Day” is a fun way to ease the transition into a new grade for next year and to help familiarize the students with some of next year’s students, spaces and teachers. The kindergartners wrote a book for us to read to the preschoolers that visit us on “Move Up Day” about what there is to look forward to in kindergarten.

Friday, June 10 is Graduation Day and the last day of school. Dismissal is at 11:30 a.m. There is no ASEP program that day. Your children will meet you in the garden at 11:30 a.m. Every class participates in graduation in some capacity. Kindergarten sings “Make New Friends” with the graduates at the conclusion of the event, but spends most of our day in our classrooms. It is amazing and wonderful to hear how many of the graduates remember singing to the “big eighth graders” when they were in kindergarten. We ask that your child “dress up” a bit for the celebration.

With all the talk about endings and summer approaching, inevitably children are showing a wide variety of emotions. You may notice your child(ren) acting out more, seem more sensitive or complain of ailments more than usual. Transitions are hard for all of us and we do our best to put closure on our year together in a meaningful way. You can help your child process all of this by trying to be a little extra patient and understanding and highlighting all the positive things about the year of growth they have had and all the exciting things they have to look forward to.

Questions to ask your child/Activities to do with your child:

  • How did you feel about performing your play?
  • What was your favorite part about performing?
  • What were you excited to show me in your classroom? Why?
  • What are your three most favorite things about kindergarten? Why are they your favorite?
  • What are you looking forward to this summer?
  • What are three things you learned in kindergarten?
  • Share your favorite memories of when you were in kindergarten.
  • Make up mathematical story problems for one another. For example, there were four kids going swimming, each of them had a floatie on each arm. How many floaties were there?

Five more days!

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Next week, Thursday, June 2 at 1:15pm, is the Kindergarten Learning Celebration, starting with our Kindergarten Plays in the Garage and followed by a classroom tour and cast party in the kindergarten rooms. If you can’t make it, please let us know ASAP so we can be sure to connect your child with another family.

This week was a busy one! We made costumes, created scenery and practiced our lines for our plays. The children are getting excited to perform for you. It has been wonderful for us to have a focus these last weeks of school. It is helping to keep the students engaged and invested. Along with all of our play-related activities, we are doing lots of reading, writing, math and science activities.

We spent some time in the garden thinking about how all that we have learned about plants is connected. We focused on the plant life cycle. We also began learning our very own plant song that you may be hearing snippets of from your child in the coming weeks.

The Mercado was a big hit. Children ordered food and drinks in Spanish and danced to some Latin beats. Thanks to all of the parents who volunteered to help.

We have not talked too much about the end of school, as it can feel upsetting to the students. Now that we have nine days left, we will have many activities to close out the year. We will talk about how endings can create mixed feelings, and that’s normal. To that end, on Monday, June 6 our students have “Move-Up Day,” where they spend about half an hour before lunch and lunch time in the Primary Unit classrooms. The rooms they go to are randomly assigned; each of our kindergarten groups will go to visit a classroom. Where you child visits may or may not be the classroom s/he will be in next year. You will get your child’s Primary Unit classroom assignment at the end of the summer.

In Kindergarten-B, Lizzy Augustine, a high school senior at Friends Select, is doing her senior internship in our room to learning more about being a teacher. We loved getting to know Lizzy so far and are excited to have Lizzy in our room over the next two weeks.

Questions to ask your child:

  • What does your costume look like?
  • How did you make it?
  • Does it look like your original costume design?
  • Did you help with the scenery? What does it look like?
  • How is your play practice going? How do you feel about next week’s performance?
  • Can you sing the plant song?

Enjoy the long weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families:

Believe it or not, there are only 13 days of school left this year! We are keeping busy planning for our play performances! Please remember, Thursday, June 2 at 1:15pm is the Kindergarten Learning Celebration starting with our Kindergarten Plays in the Garage, followed by a classroom tour and cast party in the Kindergarten rooms. If you can’t make it, please let us know soon so we can be sure to connect your child with another family.

We are now steeped in creating our own plays. Each group advocated and voted for which fairy tale they will perform. We spent time casting the play, discussing how to handle disappointment and how to be flexible. Most children were thoughtfully able to consider more than one character they would be willing to play. Each group worked collaboratively to write a script. We have been practicing our lines, talking lots about how actors make lots of mistakes, and how that’s expected and okay. The more one practices, the better one can get.

Our “Mercado,” a Spanish cultural festival for Kindergarten and Preschool students, is next Thursday, May 26. If your child has an allergy and you’d like to inspect the food, it will be available on Monday in the kitchen. Sara, our school nurse, will also be checking the food for allergens as well. There will be gluten-free options available, and all food provided will be nut and tree-nut free.

The Schuylkill Center was beautiful today. We spent time playing at the Pine Plantation, observing different parts of the plants in that area. We also visited Urban Girl Farm, a farm on The Schuylkill Center property. We saw gardening/farmer on a larger scale. This reinforced what the students have been learning about in Seed to Table, that different parts of many plants are edible, harvestable, healthy and delicious!

Questions to ask your child:

  • Which play is your group performing?
  • What character will you be?
  • How did you design your costume?
  • How do you feel about being in a play?
  • How have you cooperated with your group to plan for your play?

Enjoy the weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families:

Please put the following items on your calendar:

Next Friday, May 20 will be an “Indoor Dismissal” due to EATS set-up in the garden. If your child is a 3pm pick-up, please come to the Kindergarten porch and we will bring your child to you (like we do in inclement weather). The garden will be filled with volunteers preparing for that evening’s EATS festivities.

Thursday, June 2, 1:15pm - Join us for the Kindergarten Learning Celebration starting with our Kindergarten Plays in the Garage, followed by a classroom tour and cast party in the Kindergarten rooms.

Kindergarten B welcomed another acting expert. Esther Flaster, Max’s grandmother, talked about being a director and played an acting game with the children. The kindergarten has moved from the research phase of our “putting on a play” project to thinking about the plays we will perform for you. Since we saw The Stinky Cheese Man at the Arden, a silly fairy tale book adopted for the stage, this week we read six different fairy tales and compared elements of those stories: character, setting, problem and resolution. Groups will advocate and vote for which story they will perform. Next week we will work on casting, writing scripts and costume designs.

On Wednesday we were able to see another performance. Third graders wrote their own plays based on “Making a More Fair America,” about American history and issues of equality. Our children were a wonderful audience and noticed many of the elements we have been studying about how to put on a play.

Our calendar pattern for May focuses on addition and subtraction problems to and from ten. We also played games this week that reinforced adding quantities to five.

The Schuylkill Center was fun, albeit a bit rainy. We spent time at Weil House, playing in the woods, and observing the different parts of plants (this week we looked carefully at flowers). Many children chose to go on an optional hike to the apple orchard.

Questions to ask/activities to do with your child this week:

  • What did you think about the third grade play?
  • How do you feel about putting on your own play?
  • What are the parts of a plant? How does each part help the plant?
  • Play a math game - using 3x5 cards, write two of every number from 0-5, one on each card. Turn all of the cards face down. Each player turns two over to try to make a combination to five.
  • When reading a fiction book together, discuss the characters, setting, problem and resolution.

Enjoy Spring!

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Please note: Friday, May 20 will be an “Indoor Dismissal” due to EATS set-up in the garden. If your child is a 3pm pick-up, please come to the kindergarten porch and we will bring your child to you (like we do in inclement weather). The garden will be filled with volunteers preparing for that evening’s EATS festivities.

Another week full of play-related events and activities! We welcomed actor and director Liz Fredette, who runs TPS’s drama club and directed the performance we all saw of Really Rosie. She led us through some acting exercising and talked about what it’s like to direct. We learned how important it can be for a director to listen to her actors, and vice versa. Rick Jacobsen, TPS Art teacher who helps design and create sets with Middle Schoolers for their Shakespeare Festival, showed us some props and sets. We learned that a set helps to create the mood and background of a play. Rick also stressed that sets must be planned and discussed carefully before jumping in to make one. In Kindergarten-B, Sotiria Koui, Nephele’s mom, taught us about the origins of theater in ancient Greece. The kids enjoyed seeing various pictures and videos, as well as a model. All of kindergarten spent time this week answering our initial questions about how to put on a play. Please join us on Thursday, June 2 at 1:15pm for the Kindergarten Learning Celebration starting with our Kindergarten Plays in the Garage and followed by a classroom tour and cast party in the kindergarten rooms.

Writing Workshop was also part of our project work this week as we wrote bios for ourselves for Kindergarten Plays’ program. We looked carefully at the programs we have from The Stinky Cheese Man, had our photos taken, and then wrote a few facts about ourselves. During a journal-writing time, We added the word “day” to our sight-word lists.

In mathematics this week we focused on the idea that shapes can fit together to create larger shapes - that six triangles, two trapezoids, three rhombuses, and other combinations of those shapes can all equal one hexagon!

During Seed to Table we continued our study of plant lifecycles and anatomy by learning about stems and leaves. We discussed how one always need check with a teacher or grownup before eating a plant, even if it has leaves that look like “lemon clover” (wood sorrel) or one of your other favorite garden snacks. And no study of leaves and stems would be complete without a chance to walk around eating many of the edible stems and leaves that the children planted from seed!

Due to the rainy weather, we didn’t go to the Schuylkill Center today. We stayed at school, had Family Circle, and engaged in lots of fun, meaningful activities.

Questions to ask/activities to do with your child this week:

  • What did you learn from Rick about sets?
  • What did you learn from Liz, the director?
  • What are some different shapes you can put together to make a hexagon?
  • What information did you write to go along with your “headshot?”
  • How does a plant make food for itself?
  • Play a math game - count up to 100 together, taking turns to count each number.
  • While you are eating a meal together, discuss if any of the vegetables on your plate are stems or leaves. Look carefully at other parts of plants you may be eating.

Enjoy the weekend, 

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

This was a week of experts and performances. We chatted with a costume designer in Chicago via Skype, Meghann Patten, who happens to be Jonah’s sister! She taught us that costume designers first create drawings of characters’ costumes, then use lots of special tools to bring them to life. She taught us that costume designers make lots of mistakes and change and fix costumes they are working on, and that people putting on plays have to cooperate to make the play work. Next, Marisa’s friend, Foster, an actor and make-up artist, joined us to show us how make-up can help to change a person from who they actually are to someone completely different. He talked about how male actors can perform as female characters and vice versa. We were able to watch how Foster transforms himself into the character Lili by using make-up. In Kindergarten-B, Tatyana Rashkovsky, Sophie’s mom, shared her experiences performing in children’s opera. She focused on costumes and make-up and shared wonderful photographs.

On Tuesday we visited the Arden Theatre for a performance of  The Stinky Cheese Man.  The show itself is based on a book of silly versions of fairy tales that we read earlier in the week. The plays our students write and perform for you will also be adaptations of books – stay tuned for details. We also got to meet with a production manager to learn more about the technical elements of putting on a play. We were able to see a set being built for an upcoming show.

The Jasper String Quartet also performed for us on Tuesday afternoon.

Please put on your calendars: Thursday, June 2, 1:15pm - Please join us for the Kindergarten Learning Celebration starting with our Kindergarten Plays in the Garage, followed by a classroom tour and cast party in the Kindergarten rooms.

In Writing Workshop we added the words “he” and “she” to our sight-word lists. We also introduced the idea of using writing to make lists. We have been making lists for a variety of purposes, including ways to help our classroom theater. Students made lists of different ideas or materials needed for areas of our theater, who will perform which play in our “loft theaters,” and of characters they might like to be in a play.

In mathematics this week we focused on adding different combinations of quantities to get to ten, as well as playing games that reinforce figuring out numbers that come before and after other numbers.

We had fun at The Schuylkill Center this week despite the cool, wet weather. We played in the woods and reinforced what the children have been learning in Seed to Table – about the importance and function of the roots of a plant. We read books about roots, sketched roots and talked about which roots are edible. We learned that roots hold a plant in place and help it to get the water and nutrients the plant needs to grow.

Questions to ask/activities to do with your child this week:

  • What did you learn from Meghann, the costumer designer?
  • What did you learn from Foster, the make-up artist?
  • What did you think of  The Stinky Cheese Man
  • What do roots do for a plant?
  • Play a math game - ask your child to tell you what number comes before or after another number. Then let him/her ask you the same thing (perhaps you can sometimes answer incorrectly to see if your child can correct you!).
  • While you are eating a meal together, discuss if any of the vegetables on your plate are roots. Look carefully at other parts of plants you may be eating.

Enjoy Spring!

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

This week we invited “acting experts” into our classroom.  Stella’s dad, Seth, visited Kindergarten A and Charlie’s dad, Tony, visited Kindergarten B.  We learned some new acting games, learned about scripts and headshots, and talked about how to use our body, face and voice to act.  Both experts shared how the greatest skill in acting is actually not the talking, but the importance of LISTENING to each other both on and off stage, and how you get better and better with practice.  

We spent time this week brainstorming how to change our loft spaces into classroom theaters.  After making a list of all of the parts of a theater we noticed on our trip last week, Children sketched their ideas and collaborated to create kindergarten theaters.  There are stages, curtains, dressing rooms, costume areas, ticket booths, light and sound boards.  We are still working on concession stands and some other elements.  These spaces are available to play in during Activity Time!

We added the words “me” and “my” to our sight-word lists and used them during Writing Workshop.  We have now also spent time reviewing and focusing on all of the short vowel sounds.  As they are ready, children are being encouraged to represent words in their writing with at least a beginning, middle and ending letter.

In mathematics this week we reinforcing the idea that “teens” are “ten and some more,” and twenties are “twenty and some more” and how that pattern applies to any decade (30s, 40s, 50s). We did this through playing an addition game that also reinforced numeral recognition of teens and twenties. 

A few calendar notes:

  • Tuesday, April 26 - Kindergarten Trip to the Arden Theater to see “The Stinky Cheese Man.”  
  • Thursday, April 28 - 5-6pm - Move Up Night for Parents of Next Year’s First Graders (believe it or not, that’s you!) - come meet the Primary Unit (first and second grade teachers) and learn about what to expect for your child as they enter first grade.
  • Friday, April 29  - Back to The Schuylkill Center
  • Thursday, June 2, 1:15pm - Please join us for the Kindergarten Learning Celebration starting with our Kindergarten Plays in the Garage, followed by a classroom tour and cast party in the Kindergarten rooms.

Questions to ask you child this week:

  • How did you help to turn your loft into a theater?  
  • How was the loft changed?  What does the kindergarten theater look like?
  • What did you learn from the “acting expert” who visited your classroom?

Here's a math game you can play.  On 3x5 cards write the numbers 10 and 20.  Put them in one pile.  In another pile write the numbers 1-9.  Take turns choosing two cards and add them up.  You can play this with playing cards as well, make all the face-cards value 10.   Talk about your strategies for solving these addition problems.

Enjoy spring!

The Kindergarten Team

 

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families:

It’s been a busy week!  Grandparents and Grand Friends Day was lovely today.  The children hosted their guests well as they proudly showed them our classrooms, and performed many of the songs they learned this year in Music.

The “research” phase of our “Putting on a Play” study began in earnest this week.  We first wrote and illustrated what we think we know about plays, then asked questions we hope to answer as we begin our research.  Thursday we visited Old Academy Theater in East Falls, where our own Marisa Block has acted in a number of plays.  It was a wonderful trip where we saw banners to advertise plays and headshots of actors.  We got to walk onto the stage, saw sets, and learned about how they are made. We also saw props and costumes.  Each child sketched the stage, the curtains, and the lights.  The children had the opportunity to work the light board.  We spoke with actors and directors and asked questions.  It was a fabulous trip to reinforce what we have already learned, and it also introduced us to some new play-related concepts.

It is with mixed feelings we say good-bye to Marisa.  She is moving over to the “big building” on Lombard Street to cover a paternity leave in Primary D.   We will miss her dearly, but we are excited for her new adventures with the first and second graders.  We are also thrilled to welcome talented musician, gardener, and teacher Brian Jordan into Kindergarten A.  Many of the students have worked with Brain in the garden earlier in the year and are familiar with his kind demeanor.  

A few calendar notes:

  • Friday, April 22 - No School - In-service for teachers, special ASEP program available
  • Tuesday, April 26 - Kindergarten Trip to the Arden Theater to see The Stinky Cheese Man.
  • Thursday, April 28 - 5-6pm - Move Up Night for Parents of Next Year’s First Graders (believe it or not, that’s you!) - come meet the Primary Unit (first and second grade teachers) and learn about what to expect for your child as he/she enters first grade.
  • Friday, April 29  - Back to The Schuylkill Center

Questions to ask you child this week:

  • What did you learn at the Old Academy Players Theater?
  • What questions are you hoping to research about putting on a play?
  • How was Grandparents & Grand Friends Day?  What did you do?

Have a lovely weekend,

The Kindergarten Teachers

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

This is the time of year of we have lots of calendar reminders:

  • Thursday, April 14  - Field Trip to Old Academy Players Community Theater 
  • Friday, April 15 - Grandparents’ and Grandfriends' Day.   We will NOT be going to The Schuylkill Center. We look forward to welcoming your children’s grandparents and friends to join us for a morning to share life in kindergarten.  Often children leave with their guests at the end of Grandparents’ Day, around noon.  If your child is leaving early, please let us know.  
  • Friday, April 22 - No School - In-service for teachers, special ASEP program available
  • Thursday, April 28 - 5-6pm - Move Up Night for Parents of Next Year’s First Graders (believe it or not, that’s you!) - come meet the Primary Unit (first and second-grade teachers) and learn about what to expect for your child as they enter first grade.
  • Friday, April 29  - Back to The Schuylkill Center
  • Thursday, May 26:  1-3 pm Spanish Mercado (for students only) - students get to celebrate in a Spanish Market, ordering fruit and treats in Spanish while listening to Spanish music and dancing some traditional Spanish dances.  

The children and teachers were happy to get back together this week after Spring Break.  One of the first things students were asking upon their return was, “What are we studying now?!”  Early this week we introduced our new project to much excitement -  how to put on a play!  We chose this study for a number of reasons:  putting on a play requires a lot of cooperation, and learning how to function well together is an important kindergarten (and life) skill that requires thoughtful negotiation and flexibility. 

The children were also excited to see the 8th grade perform The Taming of the Shrew last month, and the drama club’s performance of Really Rosie before Spring Break.  So far, we have discussed our previous experiences and understandings about plays.  Over the next months, we will delve deeply into researching and learning about all of the many jobs required to put on a successful show. 

One more calendar item:  Thursday, June 2 will be our Kindergarten Plays and Learning Celebration at 1:15pm.  Please join us in “The Garage” for a star-studded affair, as both kindergarten classes entertain you.  Following the plays, we will go into the kindergarten classrooms for a cast party/Learning Celebration as your child shows you all that we have been learning about theaters, acting and how to put on a play.  The Celebration will end at the end of the school day at 3pm.

If you are an “expert” about anything related to putting on a play (acting, costume design, directing,  lighting, make-up, etc) and are willing to come chat with our class about your expertise, please email your child’s teachers to set up a time for you to visit.  Next Thursday we will be doing some research about putting on a play as we visit the Old Academy Players Community Theater in East Falls. 

We returned to our regular routines of Writing Workshop where we added the word “and” to our word wall.  We also focused on the short o sound, as in “octopus.”  

April began a new calendar pattern that has to do with different ways of measuring - ways to measure time, weight, temperature and length.  This week our focus has been on how to measure length.  We read How Big Is A Foot? by Rolff Myllen, which introduces the idea of why standard measures are important - that if you measure something with your actual foot, it may not be the same measurement compared to someone else’s foot.   We also began to talk more about the idea of estimation and when estimates mights be used.

Seed to Table classes are making full use of the garden as the focus becomes the science of plants.  Many sprouts and flowers are coming up from seeds and bulbs planted by our kindergartners.   Each child drew observations s/he made about changes s/he noticed in the garden after going on a silent garden tour to see, smell and taste all that’s new.  

Today we went back to The Schuylkill Center.  It was fun, albeit a little cold.  We acquainted ourselves with a new area called Weil House, where children built forts out of branches, walked on log balance beams, dug for worms and other creatures, and had a wonderful time exploring nature.  

Questions to ask/Activities to do with your child:

  • How do you feel about your “putting on a play” study?
  • Who were you kind to this week?
  • Who was kind to you?
  • Why do we need a standard measure?  Why can’t we all just measure things with out own feet?
  • Look around your house for things that measure length, weight, temperature or volume.  Point those things out as you are using them.
  • Discuss any plays or performances you may have seen together.  What do you think the jobs might have been to make that play happen?  How did people have to cooperate to make the play work?

Have a great weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It’s been a busy, busy week in Kindergarten! Our bicycle/electricity studies are culminating next week. Students are preparing to present what they’ve learned. Children spent time this week answering all of the questions they asked at the beginning of our study, and realized how much they now know thanks to our research. Students sketched, dictated and wrote what they have learned about bikes/electricity.

We discussed how one can represent what s/he has learned, just as we did in the fall with our squirrel/mice studies. Students then chose how they wanted to present their newly acquired information about bikes/electricity. Children are currently working on plays, books, songs, models, videos, and dioramas. Some children are choosing to work alone, others with a partner, and others in groups.

Next week the students will present what they’ve learned to the other kindergarten class, as well as to the preschoolers. We are looking forward to sharing your child’s bike/electricity project work with you at your parent/teacher conference next week.

We are looking forward to seeing you to discuss your child’s life in kindergarten during our conference. If you have any specific questions or topics you’d like to discuss, feel free to email your child’s teachers in advance of the conference. If you need child care (for a TPS-enrolled student) during your conference time on March 24 or 25, it will be available in the Lombard Street building from 7:30am to 5:30pm. A receptionist will direct you to the room where supervision will be available. Children may not wait in the office. Thanks.

Along with the reading and writing and science connected to our studies, we have also been focusing on strategies to read and write words with a consonant/ short a/ consonant like “cat” and “sat” as well as consonant/short i/consonant words like “pig,” and “fit.” During one Writing Workshop, students chose a journal entry they feel proud of for us to share with you during conferences.

In mathematics we have been focusing on subtraction problems from ten, using counters to solve subtraction problems, while becoming familiar with the symbol for subtraction as well as what a subtraction equation looks like.

In Seed to Table, we started to compile our Seed to Table cookbooks, which contain all the recipes we’ve made during the winter. The children each illustrated two pictures of recipes that they enjoyed and also designed a cover. They will get to bring them home next week.

Some items for your calendar:

  • Friday, April 8 we return to The Schuylkill Center! We are excited to head back to our country classroom 
  • Friday, April 15 Grandparents and Great Friends Day (for students and grandparents/great friends only). Please make sure your invited guests have rsvp'd; you may rsvp for them.  Stay tuned for more information from TPSA.
  • Friday, April 22 No School - In-service for teachers, Special ASEP program available
  • Friday, April 29 Back to The Schuylkill Center
  • Thursday, May 26: 1-3 pm Spanish Mercado. Students will celebrate in a Spanish Market, ordering fruit and treats in Spanish while listening to Spanish music and performing some traditional Spanish dances. We are looking for some parent-volunteers, with knowledge of some Spanish, to join us for the afternoon. If you are interested, please email Melissa at mroldan-stills@tpschool.org.
  • Thursday, June 2: 1:15 pm Kindergarten Learning Celebration. Please plan to join us this afternoon for a final, final project presentation.

Questions to ask your child this week:

  • How are you representing what you’ve learned about bikes/electricity? What information do you plan to share?
  • How do you feel about presenting your bike/electricity research to preschoolers?
  • What do you want me to ask your teachers about you during conferences?
  • What do you feel most proud of this week?
  • What do you wish were different this week?

Activity to do with your child: Make up subtraction story problems together. Your child can make one up for you and then you make one up for your child. We encourage students to use their fingers or other counters to help them solve math problems. For example, if you had ten bikes at Philly Bike Share and two people rented bikes, how many bikes would you have left? If you had three empty electrical outlets, and one was filled with a plug, how many would still be empty?

Have a lovely weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Once again, we are steeped in project work about bicycles and electricity!  Our students seem so proud of all they have learned.    We are excited to invite you to a tour of our classroom by your child.  The rooms will be open for touring next Monday-Friday, March 14-18, from 8-8:20am, and on Wednesday, March 16 from 3:10-3:30pm.  Please choose one morning or afternoon to enjoy a tour of our classroom by your child.  

This week Kindergarten A welcomed a number of bicycle experts.  On Monday TPS Primary Unit parent and midwife, Christy, rode her Madsen Cargo bike into the garden and talked to the children about how her bike is essential for parts of her job and is good for the environment.  The children noted what was different about her bike than the others we have studied.  On Wednesday, Leigh and Steve, from Wash Cycle Laundry, shared their special electric tricycle that is used to carry dirty laundry from their clients to their laundry facilities and back.  It was fascinating to learn that the front wheel is powered by a battery, while the rest of the tricycle is powered by the rider, who moves the crank, to move the chain, to move the wheels.  This morning we were visited by bike racer, Lisa, aunt of two TPS students.  She shared how she set a goal for herself to learn how to race and explained that even though it was difficult to learn, she has had fun and came in second in a race last year.  She showed us her racing bike, her helmet, and shoes. Thank you so much to families who shared their pedal-less bikes with us.  Children had an opportunity to try to balance on the bike to see what is involved in riding.

In Kindergarten B we thought about how lucky we are that we have electricity and wrote what we are most thankful for.  We also talked about how we need to use it thoughtfully.  We learned that even in 2016, ⅓ of the world doesn’t have access to electricity in their homes, schools and hospitals. We learned about alternate sources of clean energy and the impact of our usage on the environment.  For experts this week. Victor’s dad, Lou, an elevator engineer, came in to talk about the various electrical components to elevators and what happens if the electricity goes out! Our next expert, Miles’s mom, Stacey, who is a doctor, came in to show us all about how and where electricity can be found in our bodies. We acted like sodium ions and potassium ions and travelled through channels to send messages to and from the brain. 

Elliot’s uncle Peter, who is a mechanical engineer at PPL, which is the electric delivery company in southeast and central PA (like Peco does in Philadelphia).  He  taught us about how electricity is made, how it is delivered to homes, and the importance of using it safely and wisely. As a culmination to our research and to answer any last questions, we tapped into our biggest city resource for electricity: THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE. We explored the electricity exhibit, and Franklin Institute educator and TPS alumna Shanna Pokras Caster gave us a lesson with lots of hands-on opportunities! 

Academics have been woven throughout our project work.  Children have been writing books about their topics,  labeling pictures, and reading nonfiction books.

Our math work this week has focused on combinations to ten, with a missing addend, as well as combining numbers to ten.  If you have six bicycle wheels, how many more do you need to get to ten?  If you have five electrons and five protons, how many all together?  We have also been focused on numbers from 11-30.

Thank you for signing up for conferences.  Conference child care: If you need child care (for a TPS-enrolled student) during your conference time on March 24 or 25, it will be available in the Lombard Street building from 7:30am to 5:30pm. A receptionist will direct you to the room where supervision will be available. Children may not wait in the office. Thanks.

Questions to ask your child this week:

K-A:

  • What was different about the Madsen Cargo bike and the Wash Cycle Laundry tricycle and most other bicycles?
  • What did you learn from our experts this week?
  • What have you enjoyed about our bicycle study?

KB:

  • What was your favorite part of the field trip to the Franklin Institute?
  • How is electricity in our bodies?
  • What’s another way we can get energy for electricity besides burning fuel?

Activities to engage in with your child:

  • Play math word games where you give your child a problem to solve based on adding combinations to ten.  If you eat three meat balls, how many more until you get to ten?  
  • Write the numbers 11-30 on 3x5 cards.  Lay them out in a line mixed up.  Work with your child on putting them in order.  
  • Hide a photo under one of the cards.  Have your child guess which number it’s under with hints - is it under a number greater than 13?  Is it less than 21?  etc.

K-A: Ride bikes together and discuss how your bikes work.

K-B: Think of ways you can use less energy and electricity in your home.

Warmly,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Tuesday was the 100th Day of School. Kindergarten celebrated by starting our day drawing what we think we will look like when we are 100. We then rotated through six optional activities related to 100 - making crowns with 100 stars, doing a "100" olympics, creating a design with 100 stamps, making a necklace with 100 beads, and making a structure with 100 legos. For snack children could choose to eat ten of ten items, counting out each group of ten to reach 100! We counted by tens, fives and ones to 100. Fun was had by all!

Kindergarten is deep into research about bicycles and electricity.

Kindergarten A welcomed many experts. Art teacher and bike mechanic Rick Jacobsen took apart a bike for us and showed us how each piece is connected to the others. Ben Warrington, Primary Unit Teacher and avid cyclist, taught us about Philly Bike Share as we took a walk to the Indego Hub on 23rd and South. Kaitlyn Cino, Primary Unit teacher and avid cyclist, taught us about why people use bikes and different bike parts. We learned about some simple machines and how they work together to make bicycles move. We learned about cranks, gears and cogs as we experimented with creating gear systems and looking closely at crank/gear systems made out of legos. We read some bicycle magazines and watched a few videos about how bikes are made. We also re-created a bike in our classroom using some real bike pieces and some that we made ourselves. Students have also created a timeline of the history of the design changes of bicycles. This morning we went on a walking trip to former TPS parent Lee Roger’s bike shop, Bicycle Therapy. The children sketched what we saw in order to keep track of what to include in our classroom bike shop that is taking shape under our loft, which now houses bikes, bike parts, and tools. Lee taught us about how and why it is important to keep bike wheels aligned, about bike safety and bike safety equipment.

Kindergarten B continued our research by inviting in several experts. David Hudson, Judah’s dad and member of the TPS facilities team, gave a general overview of how electricity works and built a model of a circuit to explain how electricity gets into TPS and our homes. He lent our class a snap circuit set to continue exploring how electricity moves. Tom Panzerella, Lena’s dad, is a robotics engineer. He shared examples of the various types of robots that exist, and he talked about the process of making robots and emphasized the importance of trial and error in scientific research. He also brought in a robot called Double and let the students try to operate it to move from one side of the classroom to the other. Matt Murray, our school’s technology integrator, talked about the need to make a circuit for electricity to work. He built one for the children and then had them go off and try to make their own working circuits. The students had to learn from their mistakes and try new approaches. After learning about how electricity gets into our homes, we walked to the Grey’s Ferry generating station. We did field observations there and sketched the various parts of a power plant and its surroundings. Today we went back in time and tried to experience what life was like before electricity was so accessible. We learned about important historical events and figures. We learned about Benjamin Franklin and lightning, Alessandro Volta and the battery, and Thomas Edison and the light bulb.

In Seed to Table we continued our talk about recipes by following a simple recipe for vegetable fried rice. As we cut veggies, cooked on a griddle and used our senses. We discussed many of the different ways that rice can be prepared, connecting to our discussion about different kinds of bread from last week.

As mentioned last week, If you would like to set up a conference with a specialist please see the following links:

Kindergarten A Art Teacher, Catherine Bogart-Rome:
http://doodle.com/poll/7r42s3ppzyv7a77i

Kindergaretn B Art Teacher, Kait Renna:
http://doodle.com/poll/7vua2c5ub3ihmzrf

Movement Teacher, Meg Waldron sent her link out to you in a separate email.

Music Teacher, Chris Gignac:
http://doodle.com/poll/by944vma4sk7d34i

Questions to ask your child this week:

  • Which 100 Day activities did you do on Tuesday?

Kindergarten A:

  • How do gears work?
  • When/how were bicycles invented? How did they change over time?
  • How are bicycles made?
  • How does a gear system work?
  • What did you learn at Bicycle Therapy?
  • What is Philly Bike Share?
  • How are bicycles good for us?

Kindergarten B:

  • What was the experience like seeing Double the robot move? Was it difficult to make it move?
  • Did the circuit that you made work the first time?
  • What are some toys that you played with that didn’t require electricity?
  • Go on a walk in your neighborhood and have your child point out transformers, power lines, power poles and transmission towers.

An activity to do:

  • Count out 100 objects (paper clips, cheerios, chocolate chips, etc.), separate them by tens and count up by tens.

Have a great weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Kindergarten A is “rolling along” with our bicycle study and Kindergarten B has been “shocked” by all they are learning about electricity.  We have been incorporating reading, writing, math and science into our projects. 

Kindergarten A started our week categorizing the questions we have about bicycles so we could better focus our research.  We made and labeled observational sketches of a bicycle we brought into the classroom looking carefully at the many different parts.  We watched how moving just the pedals moved many other parts of the bike.  We read nonfiction books about bicycles and shared what we thought we learned.  Children wrote songs about bicycles; some made pictures of bikes made out of pasta.  We had two bike experts visit this week.  Deegan, kindergartner from KB, brought in his bicycle and taught us about bike safety and answered questions about how bikes work. On Thursday bike mechanic Dan Eisler joined us and taught us about the history of the invention and design of bicycles.  He showed us how to separate a tire from its inner tube and wheel, and how to pump up the inner tube.  Each child wrote Dan a thank you note for sharing his expertise with us.  

In Kindergarten B, we began our research by going on a hunt in our classrooms and garage spaces to observe the many different ways we use electricity. This is an ongoing list so feel free to go on a hunt at home!  We then looked in non-fiction books and reported back to the class about what we learned by reading the pictures and words.  To understand the basics of electricity, the children built a model of an atom.  They all proudly know the words “proton, neutron and electron.”  We learned that electricity is created when one electron moves off of its own orbit and orbits a different atom.  We also talked about how electricity moves through materials called conductors but cannot move through materials that are insulators.  We watched a video, read some books and conducted experiments creating both static and moving electricity right in our classroom! Ask your child to tell you about it. We had our first expert visit this week.  Brian Jordan – a substitute teacher, the school gardner, and a musician – brought some of his musical amplification equipment and talked about how electricity can help enhance performing.   We also started an electronics take-apart station.  If you have any old electronics to donate, please bring them to our classroom, as the children are excited to discover what is inside. 

Mathematics games this week focused on reinforcing the following skills:  recognizing quantities to ten without counting each item, recognizing the teen numbers and understand each one is ten and more ones.

In Seed to Table we returned to the idea that “people are the same and different” by thinking about how all cultures eat bread, but each its own kind.  We baked two types of cornbread: a sweet cornbread and a southwest-style savory cornbread.  We shared our favorite types of breads including pancakes, sourdough, challah and cornbread! Students had the opportunity to taste both types of cornbread at snack. 

Our week ended with a performance of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” performed by the 8th graders.  Prior to seeing the play, we read a kindergarten-friendly synopsis so the children would know the story.

Thanks to those of you who have already signed up for a parent/teacher conference.  Here are the links to sign up.

Kindergarten A http://doodle.com/poll/kq78dh6gi45vzgi2

Kindergarten B http://doodle.com/poll/7k3c5nxp5qpds375

If you would like to set up a conference with a specialists, please see the following links:

Kindergarten A Art Teacher, Catherine Bogart-Rome:  http://doodle.com/poll/7r42s3ppzyv7a77i

Kindergarten B Art Teacher, Kait Renna:
http://doodle.com/poll/7vua2c5ub3ihmzrf

Music Teacher, Chris Gignac:
http://doodle.com/poll/by944vma4sk7d34i

Questions to ask your child this week:

  • What did you think of the play Taming of the Shrew?
  • What did you write about in Writing Workshop?
  • Did you taste any cornbread?  Which did you like best?

Kindergarten A:  

  • What are some parts of a bicycle?  What do they do?
  • How does moving just the pedals make the bike move?
  • Why do people use bicycles?  

Kindergarten B:

  • Why are electrons so important to electricity?
  • What does it look like inside an electrical cord? Why are they made that way?
  • Why is it important to get out of a pool when it starts lightning?

Activities to do:

Kindergarten A:

  • Take a walk in your neighborhood and keep a tally of all of the bikes you see.
  • Look carefully at a bicycle.  Can your child explain to you how the bike works?  
  • Discuss how the bikes are being used - are they being ridden for a job, for fun or for another reason?

Kindergarten B:

  • Try a static electricity experiment! Rub a balloon on your hair or wool and see if the negative charge you just created attracts positively charged material (small pieces of paper, pepper, your own hair)
  • Go on an electricity hunt in your home or neighborhood. Keep track of what you find so we can add it our growing list! 

Enjoy the weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

February 19, 2016

Dear Kindergarten Families,

The students have chosen their next studies! Kindergarten B will focus their project work on electricity. Kindergarten A will focus their project work on bicycles.

The process of deciding started with children advocating for what to study from a list they generated last week about how things work. This was an option, not a requirement. We discussed a number of things before advocating:

1. Advocating isn’t just saying which topic you’d like to study, but why.
2. Think for yourself. Do not just simply advocate for the same topic as your friends.
3. When listening to others’ ideas during the “advocating” phase of our project be sure to keep an open mind.
4. It is okay to feel disappointed if what you voted for wasn’t ultimately chosen, but it’s important to be flexible and recognize that any project will be rich and exciting. We all kept our “optimism glasses” on and embraced these new topics.

Both kindergartens will focus on their topics through the lens of “growth mindset,” thinking about perseverance and how making mistakes can lead to learning and growth. Each classroom made a list of questions they have about electricity or bicycles to help focus our upcoming research. If you have any expertise in either topic we would love to have you join us to share what you know. If you have any resources you think we would be of help, please email the classroom teachers to let us know. If you have any old electronics and/or bicycles that you are willing to donate to kindergarten, please bring them into school. We will make great use of them. Thanks!

Writing Workshop was connected to our project work as the children wrote about their previous experiences with their topics. We also focused on the sounds and spelling of the suffix “ing” and the digraph “th.”

We played games in math that focused on the skills of recognizing “teens” as ten and some more, which connects to learning those numbers in Spanish. Most teens in Spanish are translated to “ten and more.” For example, sixteen is translated to “ten and six.”

One of the goals of Seed to Table is to infuse and weave Spanish culture and language into our activities. This week the children made salsa. They talked about how a recipe is a list of directions that needs to be followed in order to make a specific item. The salsa recipe had a number of required ingredients, but the children could choose to add mango or corn. They also made their own tortilla chips. A few weeks ago students planted seeds that have now sprouted; they are doing regular observational sketches of these plants to document the changes over time.

Questions to ask your child:

  • Did you choose to advocate for a topic of study? If yes, for which topic did you advocate and why?
  • How do you feel about the topic that was chosen?
  • What are you wondering about that topic?

Activities to do with your child:

  • Walk around your neighborhood - do you notice electricity or bicycles? Talk about any observations.
  • Make a meal together. Get recipes, get ingredients, and go through the steps together. Even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as expected, you can talk about what you would do differently next time, and how mistakes can help us learn.

Have a good weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It has been an exciting week in kindergarten! We are starting to think about what we want to study based on the idea of “unraveling the mysteries of how things work.” We spent time this week thinking a lot about what we would like to better understand. Children brainstormed ideas, which range from how magnets work, to why people exist now but dinosaurs don’t, to how hair grows, to how chairs are made. Our plan is to focus not only on how this item or concept works, but also to consider how people discovered how it works. We will think about notions of failures and success, perseverance, flexibility, and learning from mistakes. The excitement in both classrooms is palpable! Next week the children will advocate and vote for what they would like to study. We will keep you posted!

In Writing Workshop this week we began writing letters. We have added the words “to” and “from” to our word walls. Students have been very excited to write to one another and to receive letters in their “mailboxes” in each classroom’s “post office.” We have discussed how a person needs to write a letter in order to receive one. It is a joy to see how excited the children are to write and receive letters. Some children are writing a number of sentences, other children are drawing each other pictures.

In mathematics this week our focus has been on counting by 2s, looking at bicycle wheels and thinking about how many wheels one would have depending on the number of bikes (some children were wondering how bicycles work!). This is the beginning of thinking about the concepts of multiplication. We also worked on some addition story problems to ten. For example, if you have four pigs and three more come over, how many do you have all together?

We celebrated Valentine’s Day today by decorating bags to hold all of the Valentine cards the children distributed to one another. We read a number of books about friendship and love. We were also part of the audience for the traditional annual TPS Valentine’s Day Talent Show. Grades 1-8 participate, if they choose, and many of our children are starting to think about acts they want to do next year!

A reminder that there is a special ASEP program tomorrow, Friday, February 12 while the teachers have an in-service day. There is no school on Monday, February 15 in celebration of President’s Day. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

One more quick thing, just a reminder that our kindergarten classroom rule is that toys from home should only come into the classroom as comfort objects, that can come out for a snuggle. Other toys from home need to stay home or in cubbies. Thanks.

Questions to ask your child:

  • What did you think of the talent show? What act might you want to do next year?
  • To whom did you write letters? Who wrote to you?
  • What ideas do you have for the new study? About what are you wondering how it works?

Activities to do with your child:

  • Help your child write and mail a letter to a friend or relative. Perhaps s/he can begin a pen-pal relationship. Or you and your child can write notes to one another in a journal.
  • Make up some addition story problems for one another based on something you are doing. For example, if you eat three chicken tenders, and then two more, how many did you eat all together? If I gave you six kisses on Valentine’s Day, how many more do I need to give you to get to ten?

Have a lovely weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We hope you received your child’s report on Monday evening.  We apologize for the typo on some of Jonah and Elizabeth’s reports.  You may have noticed it listed Emily Light as a teacher, who was a maternity sub in kindergarten last year.  We have been assured the mistake has been fixed.   If you have questions or are looking for clarification about any information on the report, please contact us.  We really want to be sure to keep our lines of communication open.

This week we completed our Friendship Toolboxes.  We added the “Get Help Tool” and the “Moving On Tool.”  At the beginning of kindergarten, many children are most comfortable resolving conflict by getting help from an adult. We teach our students that getting help is an important strategy, but that before getting help they should try to use their other friendship tools independently. If these tools aren’t working they can get help not just from an adult, but from a peer! Our students practice mediating conflict between their peers and learning how to accept help or advice from a friend.   At the end of conflict resolution, the children learn to either shake hands or give each other a high-five and say, “We are moving on!” We explain this tool to the students as making a promise that you will try to “move your heart to a new feeling” rather than remaining angry or frustrated or continuing to talk about the conflict.

We shared our Friendship Tools with our Book Buddies this morning, and they are looking forward to using them at home with you as well. (We did make it clear that the Win-WIn Solution card is not always an option with a grown-up.  Sometimes you just have to do what your grown-up tells you).

At Seed to Table, we are combining Spanish, friendship and food as the children create Trail Mix for a friend, asking in Spanish, “Te gusta ____?”  And then responding “Si, me gusta___” or “No me gusta.” 

During Writing Workshop this week, we added the words “you” and “love” to our sight word list on our Word Wall, and focused on the sounds of the letters “z” and “qu.”   We are reading lots of books about Valentines and Friendship, and talking about strategies to help read words of books.

Our February calendar heavily features counting.  Students count and compare sets of dots to 30.  They collect pennies and nickels as a way to practice counting on from five with greater fluency, as well as count by fives.  Students practice counting by 10s to 100.  We also practiced counting by 2s. We are also counting and reading numbers to 20 on our number line as students deepen their understanding of teen numbers. 

Please note:

Valentine’s Day: Thursday, February 11th we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in Kindergarten!  If your child would like to make/buy valentines for the class we ask that your child PLEASE BRING 25 VALENTINES signed by your child, BUT NOT LABELED WITH INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS’ NAMES.  It gets very complicated to pass them out, if they have names on them. Also, a reminder that we are a “candy-free” school.

Just a reminder, our policy around birthday treats is that those foods will not be shared with anyone with a food allergy for safety reasons, even if the foods are deemed “allergen free.”  If your child has any allergies, please be sure to send in safe birthday treats for your child.  We check any foods that are provided by school with our nurse to be sure they are safe for everyone.  If you would like to check ingredients, they are available early in the week for that week’s Seed to Table.  

Questions to ask your child this week:

  • What did you write about at Writing Workshop this week?
  • What did you put in your friend’s Trail Mix at Seed to Table?  What went into your own Trail Mix?
  • What did you read during “Read to Self?”  How did you read it?
  • Did you use any Friendship Tools this week?  How did they help you?

Activities to do with your child:

  • Have your child explain how to use each Friendship Tool and use them as needed.
  • While eating dinner, ask one another “Te gusta ____?” 

Have a great weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It was a treat to be together after an unexpected long weekend. This week we learned about and practiced using our next Friendship Tool, The Win-Win-Solution Card. This tool teaches children how to engage in perspective taking as well as how to be flexible with their friends. Through practicing negotiating win-win solutions, children learn how to brainstorm multiple solutions to problems and how to reach a compromise which is satisfactory to everyone. Before beginning to use this tool with a friend, the children perform our Flexibility Chant, “it’s not exactly what I want, but it’s still okay!”

During Writing Workshop this week, we added the word “was” to our sight word list on our Word Wall. We read together and independently, wrote in our journals, and focused on the letters “v” and “w.”

Two Upcoming Items:

Valentine’s Day: Thursday, February 11 (there is no school on February 12 for an in-service day) we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in kindergarten. If your child would like to make/buy valentine’s for the class we ask that your child PLEASE BRING 26 VALENTINES signed by your child, BUT NOT LABELED WITH INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS’ NAMES. It gets very complicated to pass them out, if they have names on them. Also, a reminder that we are a “candy-free” school.

Progress Reports: We are currently working on our reports for your children. You should be receiving your child’s report next week. This is a time for us to communicate with you how your child is growing and developing in kindergarten, both academically and socially. We are using a new format this year for the first time where we have a list of each of our expectations, as well as a narrative component where we elaborate on the list. Your child can receive one of four results for each expectation. This is the way the kindergarten teachers have interpreted the scale:

Identified Area of Concern: Your child needs small-group or individual time with learning resources to help reinforce this skill. Because we have not yet had children work one-on-one with learning specialists, no child in kindergarten will receive this result in this first report.

Progressing with Support: Your child needs support reaching the expectation. Your child may benefit from small-group or individual time with learning resources to help reinforce this skill.

Working Towards Independence: Your child has reached the expectation and is being challenged to apply that skill independently.

Independently/Consistently: Your child consistently exceeds the expectation and is being challenged to extend his/her thinking, understanding and application of this skill.

We recognize that children aren’t easy to put onto a scale. We want to make clear to you that this scale is meant to provide clarity regarding your child’s growth. This report should not worry you. If you feel worried at all or if you have any questions about your child’s report, please email his/her teacher, and we can set up a time to talk.

Enjoy the weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We started the week learning how to use our third “friendship tool”- the break it, fix it tool. After a child uses his “I Statement Microphone” to share his/her feelings with a friend during a conflict, and that child repeats, “I hear ….,” the children hold up their “break it, fix it hammer” and say, “Let’s fix it!” It is a way to discuss solutions to the conflict. This tool also teaches children how to engage in an apology of action rather than merely saying “sorry.” Sometimes apologizing may be all that is required; at other times, further action may be needed fix a problem. Children learn to take responsibility for independently repairing problems, such as getting a friend an icepack or band-aid if they have knocked them down, fixing someone’s Lego structure if they have broken it, or making a friend a “sorry card” or a picture if they have hurt their feelings. Next week we will learn how to use the “Win-Win Solution Card,” which teaches children how to compromise. We role played conflicts as a way to practice using the tool.

Our growing button calendar pattern this month has lead us to some interesting activities. Children have been figuring out different ways to compose and decompose quantities up to five and predict how the pattern will grow by color and button quantity.

Our “word wall” is growing as we added “like.” As every week, we are reading together and reading to ourselves, and writing during Writing Workshop, as well as throughout other times in the day.

As always, Spanish is incorporated into your child’s day. We are using phrases like, “Me gusta” and “No me gusta” (“I like it” and “I don’t like it”) connected to our Seed to Table activities. Children are also focused on feelings words in Spanish like “triste” (sad) and “feliz” (happy). This week in Seed to Table the students made “cooperation quesadillas,” where they worked with a partner to create a delicious, healthy snack. This cooperation activity connects well to our Friendship Study as the children have another opportunity to learn how to thoughtfully negotiate with one another.

A message from our classroom parent representatives: The Preschool/Kindergarten parents are getting together on Wednesday, February 17, from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Garage for a potluck, and we would love to have you all join us!

Questions to ask and activities in engage with your child:

  • How do you use the “break it, fix it” tool?
  • How did you use your friendship tools this week?
  • If I called your teacher tonight what would s/he tell me about you?
  • How did you help somebody today?
  • How did somebody help you today?
  • Create a meal/snack with your child. Discuss how to you can cooperate to make it. For example, “You spread the peanut butter on the bread, and I’ll spread the jelly,” etc.

Happy Weekend,

The K Team

 

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We have been steeped in our Friendship Study.  We made our first friendship tool:  “optimism glasses.”   One puts on optimism glasses to begin a discussion with a friend with whom you are having a conflict.  You put on the glasses as a reminder to go into your conversation thinking about two things:   keeping an optimistic attitude that you will be able to work out a solution, and remembering that both parties have a perspective worth listening to with that positive attitude.

We also created and started to use our second tool: The "I Statement Microphone."  The children are practicing using "I Statements" with friends to share their feelings.  For example, "I feel disappointed that you took the toy I wanted to play with."  The other child repeats to show s/he heard the first child, "I hear that you feel disappointed that I took the toy you wanted to play with." We have been reading books about friendship and role playing from different character’s perspectives to practice using “I Statements.”  

We have also been role playing with situations that have actually come up in our classrooms.  Our hope is that our students learn to independently talk through conflict together to find solutions where both parties feel comfortable with the result.  This “friendship tool” curriculum will continue for the next few weeks as the children learn more tools to resolve conflict independently.  

Our math activities this week reinforced comparing numerals, tally marks and ten-frame cards as greater than, less than, or equal to one another.   Every week our calendar/number corner work reviews place value as we keep track of how many days we’ve been in school using numerals, ten frames, and links.  In another few weeks, this school year will be half way over - hard to believe.

In Writing Workshop, we focused on some of the more difficult sounds in English - the short vowel e, as in “Ed,” and the short vowel u, as in “up.”  We also added “of” to our list of sight words.

In Seed to Table, we talked about how we use our five senses in the kitchen, echoing work we did around the five senses in the garden this fall.  We sniffed vinegar, onions, and cocoa powder, listened to snap peas and carrots crunching, felt and tasted mango and pineapple, and  saw popcorn popping.  We then seasoned and enjoyed a taste of popcorn.

There is no school today or Monday.  Please check the recent TPS Tuesday email for information about the Martin Luther King Day volunteer opportunities at TPS.  

Next Friday, January 22, is TPS’s long-standing tradition of Crazy Hat, Hair and Pajama Day.  It is a school-wide event where children may (but do not have to) wear pajamas, silly hats and/or crazy hair-dos.  We do ask that children do not wear slippers (for safety reasons).  Please note that we will still play outside and your child should be dressed appropriately for the weather. 

Questions to ask your child/Activities to do with your child:

  • What are “Optimism Glasses?”  Why do you use them?
  • How do you use an “I Statement Microphone?”
  • How can that “Friendship Tool” help resolve a conflict?
  • What did you write about in Writing Workshop?
  • What are you reading during Read to Self/Quiet Reading?
  • Role play a conflict two friends or siblings might have and use a spoon to be the “I Statement Microphone.”  Your child will probably enjoy explaining how the process works.
  • Discuss a time when you wish you put on “optimism glasses.”  

Have a wonderful weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Happy New Year! It’s been great being back together in kindergarten. The children shared lots from their winter break adventures and also seemed genuinely happy to be back at school.

We spent a lot of time this week reviewing our rules and expectations in Kindergarten. We continued to read lots, write lots and do lots of mathematics. We played letter games to reinforce letter recognition and letter/sound correspondence. Our focus this week was on “l, lamp, /l/“, “h, hat /h/,” and “k, kite /k/.” We add “the” to our “word wall.” We also wrote in our journals.

We have incorporated a lot of math activities into our week. We added a new calendar pattern for January that gives opportunities for students to investigate and record different ways to decompose 3, 4, and 5. We have introduced tally marks as a way to count items. We also used unifix cubes to compose and decompose quantities to ten, while practicing numeral writing.

Our friendship study continues as we talked more about our feelings this week. We focused on how to look at others’ expressions to recognize how someone else might be feeling. We then moved in a different, yet related, direction. We looked at a number of seemingly random items: hammer, paint brushes, cutting board, scissors, goggles, magnifying glasses, along with other things. Everyone concluded all the items are tools and that tools can help make a job easier. We then had children pick out tools that an artist could use, then a builder, and a chef. Our last question was to find a tool that could help if you’re having a conflict with a friend. Discovering there are no tools for that, we discussed making our own tools to help make us all be better friends and help us with conflict. This week each child decorated a tool box to hold his/her "friendship tools." For the month of January we will create many tools and practice using them with the goal of learning how to negotiate thoughtfully with one another. At the end of the month, your child will bring home his/her Friendship Tool Box filled with tools to use and share with you at home.

In Seed to Table, students revisited the tools in the kitchen and talked about how important a tool our hands are. To that end, the children made mini-black-bean burgers. Some folks asked for the recipe:

1 can black beans (rinsed, drained, and smashed)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup crushed Rice Chex
1 egg
pepper, basil, oregano, salt to taste

Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Form small patties and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Questions to ask your child:

  • How did it feel to be back at school?
  • What did you write about in your journal this week?
  • What book did you read at Quiet Reading or Read to Self? How did you read your book?

Activities to do with your child:

  • Go on a tool hunt. Find things in your house that make jobs easier.
  • Play a game matching numbers with tally marks. Use a deck of cards (all face-cards can be valued at 10). Take turns turning a card over and creating that quantity in toothpicks or popsicle stick tally marks.

Have a lovely weekend,

The Kindergarten Team