Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

What a wonderful way to end our week!  We hope you enjoyed the kindergarten and preschool singing performance as much as we did. A special thanks to Chris for her hard work getting the singers ready!  It's hard to believe, but next week is the last week of school in 2016.  

Our study of friendship this week focused on feelings.  Our goals are for the children to begin to recognize and label their own feelings as they come up during social interactions, as well as to begin to understand that others may have a feeling or perspective that is different.  Each class created a list of many “feelings words,” including typical words like “happy” and “sad,” as well as “enthusiastic,” “frustrated,” and “impulsive.”  

We continued to add to the list all week as we read other books, empathized with their characters, and discussed how those characters were feeling.  We also talked about how we feel different feelings in different places in our body -- sometimes our shoulders feel tight and we knit our eyebrows before we even realize we are angry.  We discussed how it is important to look at someone’s facial expression to help us know how that person is feeling and to be sure to consider someone’s feelings when interacting with him/her.  We will be continuing this social/emotional work throughout the year.

Reading and writing continue to be a part of what we do each day.  Children are continuing to choose books to read during quiet reading time (some children are reading pictures, others are reading words).  Children are adding entries to their journals each week.  Recently we have talked about a strategy called “rubber band writing,” when a writer stretches out a word by saying it very slowly to hear as many sounds as possible, then works to include those letters to represent the word.  Every week or so we add a word(s) to our Word Wall,  an area in the classroom where children can refer to the alphabet to find words that they have been taught to read and write.  These words are those that one needs to learn by sight, as they are generally not spelled phonetically, or words that one comes across often in books.  So far our Word Wall has “I,” “a,” “the,” “is,” and “went.”  

Our seed to table program said “good-bye” to the garden and “hello” to the kitchen this week.  We will spend the winter indoors doing cooking projects. We have crafted our projects to avoid allergens and are screening all of our ingredients before sending them to Nurse Sara for approval.  We will have ingredients for all of our cooking projects available for your perusal a week in advance in the kitchen in labeled brown paper shopping bags on the ledge along the wall facing 25th Street.  Next week we will kick things off by making rice cake faces that capture different emotions, and the week after winter break we will be making black bean burgers.  Please contact Melissa and Brian with any questions or concerns.  

Next Friday, the last day before winter break begins, we plan to meet with our book buddies for our TPS traditional Winter Celebration together (this is an event for students and teachers).  We will rotate through three activities: a winter-related craft, playing together, and reading winter books while drinking apple cider, which has been approved by our nurse.  The cider ingredients will be available to check, if you feel the need.   

Questions to ask/Ideas to discuss/Activities to try with your child:

  • How did you feel performing in the singing concert this morning?
  • Ask your child to teach you the “Cabeza, hombros, rodillas y pies” song (“head, shoulders, knees and toes”)
  • Discuss how many feelings you might feel in any given day.  How did you know you were feeling those feelings?  How did you let others know?  
  • Play “feelings charades,” where one of you creates an expression to represent an emotion, and the other has to guess what the emotion is and how s/he guessed it. What was it about your expression that gave it away?
  • When you are walking around the city, or spending time in a market, or wherever you happen to be where there is print, have your child point out letters or words s/he recognizes in signs, store fronts, cereal boxes, packages, restaurants, etc.   

Happy weekend,

The Kindergarten Team