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 

Kindergarten B - Katie, Rachel, & Melissa 

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