Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

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 the Garage for the first time.  On Wednesday we had our dress rehearsal in front of an adoring audience comprised of our third grade 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 the 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.

This week had a few kindergarten “lasts.”  Today was our last Family Circle activity, where students shared a final theme project with another Family Circle. Then all K-8 students rotated through three fun field activities.  The students said good-bye to their 8th grade Family Group leaders.  Next week we will have our last book buddies, last writing workshop, and last day of school.

To be super clear, the next two events -- Move-Up Day and graduation -- are for students only. This Monday, June 5, 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 next year's classroom 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 students with some of next year’s classmates, spaces, and teachers.  The kindergartners wrote a book for us to read to the preschoolers who will visit our classrooms on Move Up Day about what there is to look forward to in kindergarten.

Friday, June 9, 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., and we will have a table full of fresh vegetables that they harvested for you to take home if you would like.  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 was your Family Circle activity?  What did you enjoy about the field activities?
  • 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 1, at 9:00 a.m. 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 ASAP so we can be sure to connect your child with another family. Siblings are welcome to join us. 

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.  

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.  

We have not talked too much about the end of school, as it can feel upsetting to the students.  Now that we have 9 days left, we will have many activities to close out the year.  We will talk about how endings can create mixed feelings and how that’s normal.  On Monday, June 5, our students have “Move-Up Day,” when the spend about half an hour before lunch and lunchtime 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.

Next Friday, June 2, we are NOT going to The Schuylkill Center.  It is a K-8th grade Family Circle Field Day.  The children will rotate through a number of fun activities with teachers and their Family Circles.  

In Kindergarten-A a high school senior at Friends Select named Kayla is doing her senior internship in our room for a few afternoons this week and next to learn more about being a teacher. We are enjoying getting to know Kayla and are excited to have her with us.

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?
  • How was the Mercado?  What fruits did you eat?  How did you ask for them?

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday at our Learning Celebration. 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! We have been working on choosing characters, casting the play, writing scripts, and playing acting games. It’s been exciting and busy! Please remember, Thursday, June 1, at 9:00 a.m. 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.  

Our “Mercado,” a Spanish cultural festival for Kindergarten and Preschool students, is next Thursday, May 25.  If your child has an allergy, and you’d like to inspect the food, it will be available on Monday.  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 and observing different parts of the plants in that area.  We also visited Urban Girl Farm, a farm on The Schuylkill Center's property, which reinforced what the students have been learning in Seed to Table: different parts of many plants are edible, harvestable, healthy and delicious!

Some administrative details to note:  

  • If your child has a summer birthday, and you’d like to come in to celebrate by reading a book (we do not share edible treats for birthday celebrations), please let us know so we can schedule a time.
  • Thursday, June 1, at 9:00 a.m. will be 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 your child: 

  • Which play is your group performing?
  • What character will you be?
  • How have you cooperated with your group to plan for your play?
  • What did you see at Urban Girl Farm?  

Have a great weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Exciting happenings this week - each group advocated and voted for the fairy tale they will adapt into a play to perform for you on Thursday, June 1, at 9:00 a.m. We began the process of writing scripts, 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.  Over the next few week we will practice our lines and talk about how actors make mistakes, and that’s expected and okay. The more one practices, the better one can get.  

We were able to see another performance.  Third graders wrote their own plays based on the idea of “Making a More Fair America,” focused on 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.

This is the time of year when kindergartners generally become more emotional and have less tolerance for frustration.  They are excited about summer coming, they may be feeling sad about the school year ending, and they may have some feelings about moving up to first grade.  We work to make the transition to first grade easier by spending time with each of the first grade classrooms during Activity Time.  Each of our groups will visit Primary A, B, C and D to help familiarize our students with those classrooms and teachers and get to know some of the first graders who may be their second grade classmates with your child next year.  

In Writing Workshop, we added the word “said” to our sight word list.  We also discussed how authors show dialogue, either with quotation marks or speech bubbles.  Children wrote conversations between two characters using speech bubbles.  

In math this week we played games that reinforce composing numbers from 11-19 by adding the required number of 1s to a 10.  

At The Schuylkill Center we played at Weil House and performed impromptu fairy tale plays in our gorgeous forest setting.  

Some administrative details to note:  

  • Friday, May 19, will be an “Indoor Dismissal” due to EATS set-up in the Garden.  If your child is a 3:00 p.m. 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. 
  • If your child has a summer birthday, and you’d like to come in to celebrate by reading a book (we do not share edible treats for birthday celebrations), please let us know so we can schedule time.
  • Thursday, June 1, at 9:00 a.m. will be 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/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?
  • 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.

Have a wonderful week,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Some administrative details to note:  

  • Friday, May 19, will be an “Indoor Dismissal” due to EATS set-up in the Garden.  If your child is a 3:00 p.m. 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.  25th Street will be closed off to traffic between South and Naudain, and parking spots for pick-up will be available on South Street between 25th and 26th Streets.  
  • If your child has a summer birthday and you’d like to come in to celebrate by reading a book (we do not share edible treats for birthday celebrations), please let us know so we can schedule a time.
  • Thursday, June 1, will be the Kindergarten Learning Celebration starting at 9:00 a.m. with our Kindergarten Plays in the Garage, followed by a classroom tour and cast party in the Kindergarten rooms.

It was another week full of play-related events and activities!  We welcomed some more experts. Melissa, who ran a children’s theater group, taught us about directing and blocking, then led us in an activity that helped prepare us to act in our own plays.  Carrie taught us about costuming and how a costume can help an actor feel like a character, as well as help the audience recognize that character.

We are now moving on from the research phase of our “putting on a play” project to thinking about the plays we will perform for you.  This week we read a number of different fairy tales and compared elements of those stories: characters, setting, problem, and resolution.  Groups will advocate and vote for which story, or version of a story, they will perform. Over the next weeks we will work on casting, writing scripts, and designing and costumes and sets.  

Following is a note from Chris, our music teacher:

“This week in music the kindergarten is feeling great after their performance on Monday for Grandparents Day.  They shared with me how much they loved having their families in the garden and their classrooms.   We continued the week by connecting to the theme of 'how to put on a play' by watching a DVD of a children's ballet version of Peter and the Wolf.  We had questions in mind as we watched, such as: How was the story told?  How did the dancers show their various characters? 

The students were able answer the questions in detail. The story was told by the narrator, the music, and the character's movements. The actors showed their character part by their faces, make-up, costumes, and body movements.  They were also able to name a number of props used to make the story more realistic.  They have learned so much about plays already!" 

In mathematics this week we played a game that reinforces addition equations, recognizing quantities, and adding on from one addend to another.  Our calendar pattern for May focuses on addition and subtraction problems to and from ten, using story problems and equations.   

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

  •  What did you learn from Carrie about costumes and from Melissa about directing?
  • How do you feel about becoming an actor and putting on a kindergarten play?
  • What are some of the fairy tales you read this week?
  • Play a math game - count up to 100 together, taking turns to count each number.  
  • Make up some addition story problems for one another to solve. For instance, "If I ate three carrots and then ate six more, how many did I eat all together?"  Discuss how you solved your math story problems.
  • While you are eating a meal together, discuss if any of the vegetables on your plate are roots, stems, or leaves.  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 hosted more experts in the acting/drama fields.  Foster Longo, a performer and makeup artist, joined us to show us how makeup can change a person from themselves to a character who is 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 makeup.

Rick Jacobsen and Neesa Procaccino, TPS art teachers, showed us some props and sets they helped design with Middle Schoolers for the Shakespeare Festival.  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.   Kindergarten A was thrilled to have Jude’s dad, Laurentius, join us to focus on how one wears their hair and how makeup can transform how actors feel and are perceived by an audience.   Kindergarten B welcomed Gweneth’s mom, Mindy, an actor and director of children’s theater. She answered our research questions, showed us her headshot, and helped us hone our acting skills.   

Many of the students' initial questions about putting on a play were about the history of plays. Who wrote the first play? Where was the first play? Both classes watched a presentation about the history of plays that answered many of the children’s wonderings.

Language arts was infused into our project work this week.  During Writing Workshop children wrote short bios about themselves for their “headshots.”  We also made lists of theater-related vocabulary.  

Please put on your calendars:  Thursday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. 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 mathematics we focused on the development of number combinations to 7 and reviewed combinations to 5 and 6.  

We had fun at The Schuylkill Center this week.  We visited the Pine Plantation, played lots in the woods and reinforced what the children have been learning in Seed to Table about the importance and function of the roots, stems, and leaves of a plant.  

We are still looking for Spanish-speaking volunteers for our student-only Spanish learning celebration, our "Mercado," on Thursday, May 25, from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m.  If you are interested in helping or learning more, please email Brian (bjordan@tpschool.org) or Melissa (mroldan-stills@tpschool.org).  Thank you!

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

  • What did you learn from Foster, the makeup artist?  
  • What is something you learned about sets and props from Rick and Neesa?
  • Where in the world were the first plays?  
  • How are plays different and the same now as when they began almost 3,000 years ago?
  • 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!).

Enjoy your weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families:

This week we invited “acting experts” into our classroom.  Primary Unit parent and actor, Seth Reichgott, visited Kindergarten A and Brian Shapiro (Asa’s dad) and Erica Zimmer (Maya’s mom) visited Kindergarten B.  Between the two rooms, we learned some new acting games, about scripts and head shots, about the elements of story that create a good play, and about how to use our body, face and voice to act.  We also learned about how important it is to work as a group and listen to each other.  A gender-identity expert from CHOP visited and talked with us about stereotypes of male and female characters, and how anyone can take on a role in a play of any character regardless of the gender of the actor or role.  We read Amazing Grace, a story about a girl whose classmates say she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black and a girl. Grace discovers she can do anything she sets her mind to.  

We spent time this week brainstorming how to change our loft spaces into classroom theaters.  After making a list of all the parts of a theater that we noticed on our trip last week, children discussed their ideas and collaborated to create kindergarten theaters.  There are stages with curtains, as well as dressing rooms with costumes. Some children began to write scripts for plays they plan to perform in the “loft theater.”  These spaces are available to play in during Activity Time.

We added the word “because” to our sight-word lists.  We also focused on the short ‘u’ sound as in “up.”  As they are ready, children are being encouraged to represent words in their writing with at least a beginning, middle, and ending letter.  During Activity Time some children chose to write all of their classmates' names and figure out how many vowels there are in everyone’s names.  

In mathematics we focused on the development of number combinations to 5, and we have continued to hone our skills at identifying coins and their values. 

A few calendar notes:

We are looking for Spanish-speaking volunteers for our student-only Spanish learning celebration, our "Mercado," on Thursday, May 25th from 12:30-3:00 p.m.  If you are interested in helping or learning more, please email Brian (bjordan@tpschool.org) or Melissa (mroldan-stills@tpschool.org).  Thank you!

Thursday, April 27, 5:00-6:00 p.m. - 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 children as they enter first grade.

Friday, June 1, 9:00-10:30 a.m. - Kindergarten Plays and Learning Celebration

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

  • How did you help to turn your loft into a theater?  
  • What did you learn from the “acting expert” who visited your classroom?
  • Look at a beloved book together.  Choose one page to focus on.  Look at each word and notice how many vowels are in each word.  How many syllables?  Note that there is at least one vowel per syllable.  You can also keep track of how many of each vowel there are.  Which vowel is used the most?  The least?  Count or add up the vowels. 
  • Play a math game with pennies.  Take 5-10 pennies.  Shake them up and release them onto the table. How many are tails?  How many are heads?  Create addition equations with those combinations.

Enjoy a spring weekend!

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families:

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 Primary Unit Teacher Marisa Block has acted in a number of plays.  It was a wonderful trip where we got to walk onto the stage, see sets and learn about how they are made, and go backstage and help work the light board. We saw props and costumes in the dressing room.  Some children sketched the stage, the curtains, and the lights.  We spoke with actors and directors and asked questions.  It was a fabulous opportunity to reinforce what we have already learned, and also to introduce some new play-related concepts.  Children in each kindergarten classroom were excited to share their ideas of changing our loft space in the classroom into a theater -- which we are eager to do!

While reading and writing are part of our “Putting on a Play” study, we are also continuing to write in our journals every week.  This week we added the word “will” to our word wall and have been focusing on the short vowel sound /i/, as in “itch.”  We talked about how every syllable in a word has at least one vowel and have been encouraging students to listen for and include vowels in their writing.   

At The Schuylkill Center today we spent time at Weil House noting how different it felt from last week.  We used our senses to notice differences from when we were there last week and in the fall.   

In mathematics we are focusing on addition facts to ten, adding up more than two addends, and comparing quantities.  

A few calendar notes:

We are looking for Spanish-speaking volunteers for our student-only Spanish learning celebration, our "Mercado," which will be held on Thursday, May 25, 12:30-3:00 p.m.  If you are interested in helping or learning more, please email Brian (bjordan@tpschool.org) or Melissa (mroldan-stills@tpschool.org). Thank you!

Friday, April 21 - No School - In-service for teachers; special ASEP program available

Thursday, April 27, 5:00-6:00 p.m. - 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 next year.

Thursday, June 1, 9:00-10:30 a.m.  - Kindergarten Plays and Learning Celebration

Questions to ask/Activities to do with 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?
  • What was fun about being at The Schuylkill Center today?
  • What book did you read at “Read to Self” or “Quiet Reading"?
  • What did you write about in your journal?
  • Play a math game where you take two turns rolling a die.  Each person writes down the numerals from his/her turns and then makes an addition equation with them, and solves the equation.  Compare each person’s sum and decide which is greater, less than or if the sums are equal.
  • Write down the names of people in your family.  See if you can figure out how many vowels are in each name.  Add the quantities.    

Have a lovely weekend,

The Kindergarten Teachers

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

First, some administrative business: If your child is “pick up” in the Garden at the end of the school day, please be sure to check out with the kindergarten teacher on duty and dismiss from the South Street exit, not the 25th Street exit. This will help us be sure we know every child is safe and with the correct adult.  Thank you!

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 and collaborate are important kindergarten (and life) skills that require thoughtful negotiation and flexibility.  The children were also excited to see the 8th grade perform Midsummer Night’s Dream last month and go to the Arden Theater in the winter to see the Frog and Toad play.  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 elements required to put on a successful show.  One more calendar item:  Thursday, June 1, will be our Kindergarten Plays and Learning Celebration at 9:00 a.m.   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 around 10:30 a.m.

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 visiting the Old Academy Players Community Theater in East Falls to help our research. 

We returned to our regular routines of Writing Workshop where we added the word “of” to our word wall.  We are also beginning to focus on the short vowel sounds, starting with the “a” sound as in “cat.”  

April began a new calendar pattern that has to do with coins.  We are looking carefully at pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, and are talking about their corresponding values.  

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, seedlings, 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 wet and cool.  We reacquainted ourselves with our “homebase” 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.  

We are looking for Spanish-speaking volunteers for our student-only Spanish learning celebration, our Mercado, on Thursday, May 25, from 12:30-3:00 p.m.  If you are interested in helping or learning more, please email Brian (bjordan@tpschool.org) or Melissa (mroldan-stills@tpschool.org).  Thank you!

Some items for your calendar:

Friday, April 21 - No School for students due to a teacher professional development day.  Special ASEP programming is available.  

Thursday, April 27 - 5:00-6:00 p.m. - 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, June 1, 9:00-10:30 a.m.  - Kindergarten Plays and Learning Celebration

Questions to ask/Activities to do with your child:

  • How do you feel about studying how to put on a play?  
  • Who were you kind to this week?
  • Who was kind to you?
  • What are coins for?  
  • 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?
  • Write notes or letters to your child for him to read with you.  Suggest s/he write back.  S/he might want to write notes to other friends or relatives. 

Have a great weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Hello, Kindergarten Families,

A short note for a short week …we look forward to seeing many of you for conferences tomorrow and Friday.  Please note the following calendar items:

Friday, April 7 we either return to The Schuylkill Center or visit the community garden(If we go to the garden, our first day back at The Schuylkill Center will be Friday, April 14, and we plan to go every Friday after that until the end of the school year). 

Friday, April 21 No School - In-service for teachers, special ASEP program available

Thursday, June 1 at 9am will be our final Kindergarten Learning Celebration.  Please plan to join us for a final, final project presentation.

Have a wonderful week,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It’s been a busy, busy week in Kindergarten!  Our toy and gymnastics 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 toys/gymnastics.  

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

Next week the students will present what they’ve learned to the other kindergarten class, as well as with the preschoolers.  We are looking forward to sharing your child’s 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 23 or 24, it will be available in the Lombard Street building from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 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, writing, and science connected to our studies, we are continuing to focus on strategies to read and write.  During one Writing Workshop, students chose a journal entry they feel proud of for us to share with you during conferences.  

Some items for your calendar:

  • We are still collecting gently used toys for Instant RePlay, and will be until Spring Break.  Please bring them in and place them in the bin in our vestibule!  Thanks!
  • Friday, April 7, we either return to The Schuylkill Center! or visit the community garden we wrote about last week.  (If we go to the garden, our first day back at The Schuylkill Center will be Friday, April 14, and we plan to go every Friday after that until the end of the school year.) 
  • Friday, April 21 -- No School: In-service for teachers, special ASEP program available
  • Thursday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. will be our final Kindergarten Learning Celebration.  Please plan to join us for our final project presentation.

Questions to ask your child this week:

  • How are you representing what you’ve learned about toys/gymnastics?  What information do you plan to share?
  • How do you feel about presenting your 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 was different this week?

Have a lovely weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It has been a busy week immersed in toys and gymnastics!  

In Kindergarten A, Shelters and Sunbeams categorized photos of themselves holding toys they brought in to share, as a way to think about different types of toys.  Students made their own cup and ball toys, cars, and toy instruments.  Many of these toys are tricky to use and take perseverance.  We have been talking with students about not saying, “I can’t do it,” but thinking instead, “I might need help, but if I keep practicing, I’ll get better.”  Most children were struggling to succeed with the cup and ball toy, but finally did. 

We had two experts visit us:  Kieran, a Primary B student, shared stuffed toys he sewed himself.  We also had teacher Carrie Fafarman visit us and teach us about how to make toys out of recycled materials.  On Friday we went to The Franklin Institute to learn more about how some toys with moving parts work.  We learned about the physics of balls and ramps.  We also toured a few different areas of The Franklin Institute.

Chris has been incorporating toys into music class.  She used a yarn ball, a bouncing ball, a parachute, and a toy penguin to make up some new musical games.  Next week the children will explore what it would be like to move like a race car, locomotive train, toy soldier, transformer, and a yo-yo!

In Kindergarten B we started the week by looking at rhythmic gymnastics and the different apparatus used in this sport -- ribbons, balls, hoops, clubs, and ropes.  We watched some amazing videos and practiced some of these skills in the room.  Speaking of practicing skills, the skill groups have been working hard, a few minutes every day, and some students have already met their goal or are noticing improvement! They are feeling so proud of their hard work and perseverance!   

We had several experts visit our room this week, as well.  Marissa and Toni, two teachers from Relentless Gymnastics, came with one of their competitive students, Sammi Jokelson, a TPS 7th grader.  They talked all about having a growth mindset, working with mistakes, not getting discouraged, and the importance of teamwork.  They also showed the kids how to work on a simple handstand.  Carley Harrity, a TPS alumna and daughter of current staff member Brian Harrity, came and talked to us more about competitions.  She impressed us with her back handsprings and walking handstand! Our last group of “experts” were some students from 1st and 2nd grade who were excited to come show where their hard work in gymnastics has gotten them and answered some more of our research questions around practice and different skills.

We ended the week on Friday living a “day in the life” of a gymnast.  Putting together all we have learned, we practiced our skills, did some conditioning, ate healthily, wore our athletic gear, practiced team building, and even put together team routines to music! 

In music the Raindrops and Berries read a story called Alphabet Movers and explored how to make letter shapes with their bodies.  Next they made letter shapes with partners, coming up with many creative ways of showing shapes with teamwork.  In the next few weeks we will examine different shapes that we can make with our bodies, create “mini-dances” to music, and then perform them for each other.  

 Next week both groups will begin to think about how each child wants to represent what s/he learned during this project and how to share that information.  We will present our findings to the Preschool the week before spring break.  

On Thursday, March 16, Kindergarten will visit the Hope Bridge Community Garden and help to plant seeds there for the community.  Our school gardener Bri Barton and ASEP teacher Paula Kwasniewska will join us to help do small-group demonstrations.  The bus will be leaving by 8:45 a.m., so please be sure to have your child come to school on time on Thursday. 

Questions to ask:

Kindergarten A:

  • What were some of the categories of toys that you discovered?
  • What is a Galimoto?  What does your Galimoto look like?  Where are Galimotos from?
  • What toys did you make this week?
  • How does your car work?
  • What is Oliie’s Odyssey about?
  • How was the trip to The Franklin Institute?  What did you learn?  How is it connected to toys?

Kindergarten B:

  • How is rhythmic gymnastics different from the kind of gymnastics you had already been learning about?
  • How is your skill coming along? What have you done to work hard/practice at getting better?
  • What was it like to spend a day in the life of a gymnast? Did you enjoy it? Would you want to be a gymnast someday?

Have a great weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

First some administrative business: if you haven’t yet signed up for a parent/teacher conference, please click on one of the following links:

Kindergarten A - Elizabeth, Jonah, & Brian http://doodle.com/poll/neg5bcqm7gzbew27 

Kindergarten B - Katie, Rachel, & Melissa http://doodle.com/poll/2s87w6gyzgeu4fzp 

Kindergarten A plans to make toys out of recycled materials and toy pieces.  Please send in any recycled materials or broken toys or toy pieces that you you think could be used to create a new toy.  We will be collecting these items through spring break.  Things like toilet paper and paper towel rolls, berry containers, cereal boxes, milk cartons, jugs, egg cartons, and plastic take-out containers are ideal.

In mathematics this week we played games that reinforce adding numbers to 20.  We also started a new calendar pattern that grows by one triangle each day, reinforcing the idea that smaller shapes can be put together to create larger shapes (two triangles makes a rhombus, three rhombi make a hexagon, as do two trapezoids, etc.).

During our reading and writing activities, we focused on the word “saw” and started conversations around punctuation -- what it looks like and why it’s used.  

We have been steeped in our toy and gymnastics study. In Kindergarten A each child started the week by putting together and decorating his/her own toy box to hold all of the different types of toys we have made and will make over the next few weeks.  This week we discussed how the Teddy bear was created and named, discussed that people all over the world have been playing with toys since the beginning of time, that toys often help children learn things, and that toys throughout history have changed, although some toys have been played with for many years.  Children designed and created their own stuffed animals, bouncy balls, and toy instruments, as well as a few others (you will get to take home your child’s full toy box at his/her parent/teacher conference).   Some of these toys have been difficult for some children to make.  They have been persevering and trying hard before asking for help, and most have succeeded!

We hosted our first toy expert on Thursday.  Virginia Friedman, former TPS teacher and founder of Instant RePlay joined us. Instant RePlay collects, cleans, and donates gently used toy to communities in need in Philadelphia.  We discussed how lucky we are to have more than enough toys, even if we don’t get every toy we wish we had, and how it is kind to give some of our extra toys away to those who may not have many.  Virginia brought some toys for us to sort, and we began our own collection to donate to Instant RePlay.  Thanks to those who already sent in some gently used toys.   We will continue to collect gently used toys for Instant RePlay until Friday, March 24. Click here to learn more about Instant RePlay, as well as the specific kinds of toys that are collected.

Kindergarten A will be going on a trip to The Franklin Institute next Friday, March 10.  We will learn about the physics of how some toys work and attend a presentation about balls and ramps.

Kindergarten B has turned its classroom into a gymnastics gym! The students selected one gymnastic skill that they either don’t know how to do or are just okay at with the hopes of getting better with daily practice. They chose between cartwheels, backbends, bars, splits, and balancing. The students are working daily as a team in their different groups to encourage and support each other. During our research we referenced some of our initial questions, such as “How do you extend your bones?” and had an anatomy discussion about the difference between our bones and muscles.  We learned about the importance of flexibility and worked with partners and individually to do different stretches. Kindergarten B continued to learn about different apparatus: the bars (parallel, horizontal, uneven), pommel horse, and vaulting table. We watched videos of gymnasts, both kids and professionals, who had to persevere to improve at a skill. The students talked about how gymnasts learn from their mistakes and have to keep trying. They embodied this mindset when working on their own gymnastic skill.

Kindergarten B also had their first expert, Nurse Sara, who taught about importance of healthy choices when taking care of your body and how important this is, especially for athletes. She also discussed the importance of mental health and positive self-talk. Sam Nemeth’s family also came and told the story of Sam’s great, great grandfather, a famous gymnast from Hungary who was forced to flee the country. Our week ended on a creative note as the students researched more about what gymnasts wear and worked in partnerships to design and make leotards and athletic gear to add to our gymnastics gym! We also learned about how gymnasts select music for their routines.  

Questions to ask your child:

  • What did you write about in Writing Workshop?  
  • What is punctuation for?  

Kindergarten A:  

  • When did people start playing with toys?  Why do people play with toys?
  • What are the two ways stuffing is made that is in stuffed toys?
  • What did you learn from Instant RePlay?
  • What kinds of toys did children play with thousands of years ago?

Kindergarten B:

  • What gymnastics skill did you pick to work on for the next two weeks? 
  • What does it mean to persevere? When have you persevered? 
  • What is one way that you can take care of your body?

Activities to do with your child:

Look through a book together.  See if you child can find periods, question marks, and exclamation points.  Ask your child what each of those mean when you are reading or writing.  

Kindergarten A:  As your child plays with toys, ask your child if s/he thinks that the toy is a newer toy or has been played with by many children for a long time?  Predict where you both think the idea for the toy come from.  Is the toy meant to teach a child something?  Is the toy a pretend representation of something real?  How does that toy work?  Does it have moving parts?  Batteries?  

Kindergarten B: Talk to your child about something you are working hard at. Make some goals together. 

See you next week,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

This was a short week with lots of special events. Yesterday was the 100th Day of School, and it was full of math activities.   We rotated through optional activities related to 100 -- making crowns with 100 stars, doing a "100" olympics, making a necklace with 100 Cheerios,  making a structure with 100 Legos, and drawing yourself at 100 years of age!  We counted by tens, fives, and ones to 100.  Fun was had by all!  We also played math games this week that reinforce addition facts to ten, writing addition equations, and looking at the number line from 11 to 30.  

On Wednesday morning we watched the 8th graders perform Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Prior to seeing the play, we read a kindergarten-friendly synopsis so the children would know the story.

Kindergarten A is jumping into its toy study and Kindergarten B is focusing on gymnastics.  We are working to incorporate reading, writing, math, and science into our projects. 

Kindergarten A started our week categorizing the questions the students have about toys so we could better focus our research.  We read nonfiction books about toys with partners and shared out facts we think we learned. We read books about how children have been playing with toys for hundreds of years, how toys have changed over time, and how people all over the world play with toys.  Keep your eyes peeled for a separate email with some requests about our toy study.

In Kindergarten B, we began our research by reading nonfiction books and sharing what we learned from the pictures and words. One of our research questions is “How did gymnastics become a sport?” We looked at images from 3,000 years ago up to current day to learn the history of the sport and to see how it has evolved. Our dramatic play area has become a gymnasium complete with apparatus and accessories that we learned about in our research. Today we investigated the importance of balance. We read, watched a video, and practiced using a real balance beam. 

A few parents have recently asked if it is developmentally appropriate for children to be whiny or emotional in kindergarten.  We find that this time of year is often one full of emotion.  Some children seem more fragile than usual and are quick to tears; others are showing a sassier side than is typical.  Reminders of our expectations, reminders about showing respect and empathy, and reminders to take deep breaths to calm one’s self down can be helpful.

Questions to ask your child this week:

  • What did you think of the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • What did you write about in Writing Workshop?
  • What did you enjoy about the 100th day of school?
  • Which activities did you do on the 100th day?

Kindergarten A:  

  • Who plays with toys?
  • Why do people play with toys? 

Kindergarten B:

  • How has gymnastics changed over time?
  • How do gymnasts use balance in their practice? 

Activities to do:

Kindergarten A:

As you are playing together, focus on what kinds of toys you are playing with.  How are you playing with them?  Think about who designed them.  How were they made?  Who else might play with that kind of toy?  

Kindergarten B:

Practice standing on one foot. See if you can hold it for longer periods of time and raise your foot higher. 

Enjoy the weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

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

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

  • Advocating isn’t just saying which topic you’d like to study, but why.   
  • Think for yourself.  Do not just simply advocate for the same topic as your friends.  
  • When listening to others’ ideas during the “advocating” phase of our project, be sure to keep an open mind.
  • 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 worked to embrace these new topics.    

Both kindergarten classrooms will focus on their topics with 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 gymnastics and toys 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.  If you have any old toys 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 played games in math that focused on shapes and how smaller shapes can be combined to make larger shapes.  For example, a rhombus can be created with two triangles, a trapezoid with three triangles, and a hexagon with six.  

One of the goals of Seed to Table is to infuse and weave Spanish culture and language into the program.  This week the children made salsa.  They talked more 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, and then 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.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day on Tuesday 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!

There is no school tomorrow.  It is a professional development day for teachers.  There is a special ASEP program.  We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, February 21, as there is no school on Monday, February 20, in celebration of Presidents’ Day.

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:

  • Go on a shape hunt in your house.  Can you find trapezoids?  hexagons?  circles?  squares? triangles?  You can keep track with tally marks and figure out how many of each you found.
  • 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 the focus of our next project study to be.  We spent time this week thinking a lot about what we are curious about and would like to better understand.  Children brainstormed ideas, which range from dinosaurs to the human body to fiber optics to shoes.  While your children are bound to learn so much information from this next project, our overarching goal will be thinking 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 to one another.  We have added the words “to” and “from” to our word walls.  Students have been 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, while other children are drawing each other pictures.  

In mathematics this week our focus has been on numbers from 11-30, putting them in order and thinking about how teens are ten and some more. 

Next Tuesday, February 14, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day.  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.

A reminder that there is a special ASEP program next, Friday, February 17, while the teachers have an in-service day.  There is no school on Monday, February 20, in celebration of President’s Day.    

One more quick thing.  Our kindergarten classroom rule is that toys from home should only come into the classroom as comfort objects that can come out for a quick snuggle.  Other toys (stickers, card games, etc) 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?   

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 using ten and more.  For example, if you eat ten peas and then two more, how many did you eat all together?  If I gave you ten kisses on Valentine’s Day, how many more do I need to give you to get to fifteen?

Have a lovely weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We hope you received your child’s report. If you have questions or are looking for clarification about any information on the report, please contact us.  We 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 today, 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.)

During Writing Workshop this week, we added the words “am” and “love” to our sight-word list. We are reading lots of books about valentines and friendship, and talking about strategies to help read words.

Our February calendar heavily features counting.  Students count and compare sets of dots to 30. We are also practicing counting by tens, and putting numbers in order to at least 20.  We are also revisiting tally marks and comparing quantities as greater than, less than, or equal.

Please note:

On Tuesday, February 14, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. 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, please remember that we are a candy-free school.

 Questions to ask your child this week:

  • What did you write about at Writing Workshop this week?
  • 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?

An Activity to do with your child:

  • Have your child explain how to use each Friendship Tool and use them as needed.

From the school's Safety Committee: Please do not park in NO PARKING areas, especially near the intersection of South and 25th Streets. School buses are unable to make the turn if your car is there.

Have a great weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Some quick administrative things:

  • Please try to get your child to school by 8:20 a.m.   Though we often start the day playing, sometimes we have class meetings. We find students are most comfortable when we begin the day together.
  • If your child is picked up in the garden at 3:15 p.m. (3:00 p.m. on Fridays), please remember to check out with the kindergarten teacher with the clipboard standing by the entrance to the Garage.  Also, please exit out of the south side of the garden. 
  • Next week you should be receiving your child’s first report. This is a time for us to communicate with you how your child is growing and developing in kindergarten, both academically and socially. It will be sent out electronically on 1/30. Please note the email that kindergarten teachers sent out this afternoon about reports. 
  • Friday, February 3, is Crazy Hat, Hair, and Pajama Day!  This TPS tradition allows children, faculty, and staff to come to school in pajamas (no slippers, please), with crazy hair styles and/or a silly hat.  Your child need not participate, only if s/he is comfortable.
  • Tuesday, February 14, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in Kindergarten with a small student/teacher celebration!  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 complicated to pass them out if they have names on them. Also, please remember that we are a candy-free school.

Today we went to the Arden Theater to see the musical Frog and Toad, based on the books by Arnold Lobel.  We read many of the books in the last few weeks, talking lots about their friendship.  We also talked about Frog’s optimism and Toad’s pessimism.

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!”

In mathematics this week, we worked on more addition equations to ten, this time figuring out the missing addend and asking how many more we need to get to ten.  

Questions to ask your child:

  • What did you enjoy about Frog and Toad?  How was it the same or different than the books?
  • Are you more like Frog or Toad, an optimist or a pessimist?
  • How do you use a Win-Win Solution Card?
  • What did you put in your friendship trail mix during Seed to Table?  

Activities to do with your child:

  • Read a book together.  If your child would like, first you read it to her/him, then go back and see how many of the words your child can recognize.  So far our sight words areI, a, is, the, -ing, are, and, you, yes, no, like, and my.  
  •  Ask each other “How many more to get to ten?” and discuss your strategy for figuring out how to solve the problem.  For example, if Frog ate four cookies, how many more would he have to eat to get to ten?  I counted to ten up from four, and had to count six more.

Have a wonderful weekend,

The Kindergarten Team

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

As a welcome back from a long weekend, we reviewed how to focus your attention.  We talked about how one’s attention is like a flashlight in your brain.  We practiced calmly focusing on different things:  sounds, specific items, and then explained that a person has control over what to focus their “flashlight” on.  Throughout the week we reminded children that when a teacher  or friend is talking, your job is to focus your attention on that person; when you do that, it helps you learn.

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.  

Next Friday, January 27, we will going on a trip to the Arden Theater to see Frog and Toad.  This musical is based on Arnold Lobel’s books about two wonderful friends, Frog and Toad.  We have been reading many of the books in the last few weeks, thinking about how Frog and Toad might use our friendship tools.  

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

In mathematics this week, we focused on making addition story problems and representing them with equations and ten frames.  For example, if three children were in the classroom and four more came, how many would there be all together?

As always, Spanish is incorporated into your child’s day.  Children are focused on feelings words in Spanish like “triste” (sad) and “feliz” (happy) and learning how to introduce themselves with “Me llamo ______”. 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.

Questions to ask 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?
  • Can you sing me the “Yo me llamo” song?

Activities to do with your child:

  • Make up addition story problems together. 
  • Spend time focusing your “flashlight of attention” on different things in your house or on a walk and see what you notice.  
  • Using your “optimism glasses” (pretend to put on a pair), discuss all of things that went right in a day:  you have a home, each other, running water that comes out at the temperature you desire, food to eat, books to read, etc. 
  • Create a meal/snack with your child.  Discuss how you can cooperate to make it.  For example, “You spread the peanut butter on the bread, and I’ll spread the jelly,”  etc.

Have a great weekend,

The Kindergarten Teachers

Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We have been steeped in our Friendship Study.  We learned our first two friendship tools:  “optimism glasses” and “I statements.  For “optimism glasses,” one puts on an actual pair of 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.  The glasses also help us see the good in things when we are feeling negative. For example, maybe your best friend is not at school one day, but it’s a great chance to play with some new friends.

We also made our “I Statement” microphones. 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.  

Thank you to two guest readers this week.  Sam’s mom, Julia, read a book to Kindergarten B about calming yourself down when you are feeling things strongly: 1, 2, 3: A Calmer Me.  And thank you, as well, to Remy’s mom, Marni, who read Be The Change to Kindergarten A. It is a book about Gandhi’s mission to help people realize how important it is to “be the change we wish to see in the world.”

Our math activities this week reinforced writing addition equations.  Also 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.

We have added a number of words to our sight word list, our “word wall.”  Children can now use this resource to remember how to read and write “you,” “yes,” and “no.”  

There is no school this Friday or Monday.  Please check the school website for information about the Martin Luther King Day volunteer opportunities at TPS.  

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 a “Friendship Tool” help resolve a conflict?
  • What did you write about in Writing Workshop?
  • What are you reading during Read to Self/Quiet Reading?
  • Try to emphasize using your senses in the kitchen, like we do in Seed to Table.  Notice the smells, sizzling sounds, etc.
  • Converse a bit in Spanish using phrases like “¿Cómo estás?” (“How are you?”).  In response, kids have been learning “bien” (well), “mas o menos” (so so), “mal” (bad), “feliz” (happy), and “triste” (sad).
  • Role-play a conflict that 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 had put on “optimism glasses.”  

Have a wonderful weekend,

The Kindergarten Team