Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Wow, what a week! On election day we talked about voting as each class voted for which snack they wanted. We discussed making informed choices, the idea of abstaining, how voting is a private decision, and how one needs to think for oneself. We also discussed how a person can have a different opinion from a friend and remain friends. Post election day, some children came into the classroom excited to share their feelings around our recent election. We had discussions with individual students or children in small groups as they wanted to process. The message we want to be sure all of our students hear regularly is that school is a safe place. It is a place where each child is known, cared for, and loved. If a child has something on his/her mind, we are here to talk with them. We will learn together to be the best people we can -- a community that helps each other and tries to impact the world positively.

We enjoyed the opportunity to share the wonderful work of your children during conferences. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us.

We have been busy beavers (and hedgehogs)! Now that the students are experts on beavers and hedgehogs, we have charged them to be teachers to the other kindergarten class. The children spent time this week thinking about the best way to represent something they learned about their topic, and how to thoughtfully teach. Some children are choosing to work independently, others teamed up with classmates. Some children are working on putting on a play, writing a song or puppet show. Others are making three-dimensional dioramas, some are drawing and labeling posters, some are making models, or writing books. The children collaborated to share their ideas, figured out how to represent their knowledge, sketched out their plans, and then worked in detail with a range of materials. Many are finding authentic reasons to add writing to their work through labeling, telling a story, or recording facts. Next week we will continue to work on our representations and, with some additional practice, the students will be the teachers!

We have continued to practice “Read to Self.” Many children continue to “read the pictures” of books, finding some of the sight words we have taught, while others are starting to decode words. The emphasis of our reading lessons this week was on finding “Good-Fit Books.” We talked about how different people wear different shoes for different purposes, and that different shoes fit different people. Similarly, people read books for different purposes, - for entertainment, or to learn facts, etc. Also, just how no one shoe fits everyone, we are all reading different books that are “good fit books” for each of us. The children practiced “shopping” for good-fit books to read during “Read to Self.”

In math our focus has been on using tally marks, and how putting that “slash” to show a group of five can make counting quantities efficient. Our calendar for November uses tally marks. We played bingo games comparing numerals and tally marks. We also surveyed one another and tracked our results using tally marks. We are also focusing on numbers from 11-20, playing lots of games that reinforce recognizing and writing those numbers, as well as putting them in order.

Today at The Schuylkill Center we went to the Pine Plantation. We played a lot, and some children created more homes for hedgehogs and beavers. Next week is our last week going to The Schuylkill Center until after spring break.

To ask your child:

  • How did your classroom’s loft change for the month of November?
  • How are you representing your learning to share with the other class about hedgehogs or beavers?
  • How are you feeling about being a teacher next week to the other kindergarten class?
  • What book did you pick when you went “book shopping”? Why was it a good fit for you?
  • What did you enjoy about The Schuylkill Center today?
  • What was your favorite thing to do at Activity Time this week?

To do with your child:

  • Write the numbers 1-20 or 1-10 on 3x5 cards. Mix them up and see if your child can put them back in order. Pick one card and have your child say the number that comes before and after the one on the card.
  • Help your child keep track of an item in your house with tally marks (windows, pillows, books, etc). You can both try to keep track and compare your totals, or each track a different item. Then discuss whose was greater or less than the other.

Here’s to a relaxing weekend,

The Kindergarten Team