Kindergarten Weekly Note

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Now that the students are experts on mice/squirrels, we have charged them to be teachers to the other half of kindergarten. We revisited the questions the students originally asked, and had done enough research to answer almost all of them. Once we realized how much we knew, we wanted to share our new-found knowledge. The children spent time this week thinking about the best way to represent something they learned about their topic, and how to thoughtfully share it with the other kindergarten class. Some children are choosing to work independently; others have teamed up with classmates. Some children are working on putting on a play or writing a song or puppet show. Others are making three-dimensional dioramas, some are drawing and labeling diagrams, some are making models, and some are writing books. The children collaborated to share their ideas, figure out how to represent their knowledge, sketch out their plans, and then work 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!

Thank you to Rebecca Selvin, Elliot’s mom, who read two different versions of City Mouse, Country Mouse to Kindergarten B. She had the children use clues to figure out that it was a fiction story about mice and compared the two versions.

We were very excited to get back to the woods this week! The John Heinz Wildlife Reserve was a wonderful spot for us to play and learn surrounded by the beauty of nature on a gorgeous fall day. The children were adept at observing and finding evidence of life. We saw some pretty amazing things: a snake, turtles, minnows, seagulls, dragonflies, geese, ducks, and squirrels.

As usual, this week we worked on reading and writing skills. This week in Writing Workshop, we introduced the idea of “writing the lines,” representing a story by writing a line for each word in the story. This helps the children remember the very important skill of leaving spaces between words in their writing and recognize when one word ends and another starts in their reading. Teachers then write each child’s story under the lines that child has written, helping the child to recognize and read some words. Many children are still working on what is a word versus a syllable. We have been playing a number of games, clapping out syllables, hoping to slowly solidify the idea that one word can have multiple syllables. We are continuing to work on letter/sound correspondence and handwriting of lowercase letters. This week our focus was on n - “nut” - /n/, m - “man” - /m/.

For mathematics this week, we reviewed what makes a pattern a pattern and created patterns together with rhythms, colors and other things. We played games where children were practicing verbalizing simple addition sentences to represent two colors of the same item (if there are three red beans and two white beans, the addition sentence would be 3+2=5). We have also been playing with some related two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. Did you ever think about the idea that if you smash a sphere, it is a circle?

Questions/Activities for this week:

  • How are you representing your learning to share with the other class about squirrels/mice?
  • How are you feeling about being a teacher next week to the other kindergarten class?
  • What did you write about in Writing Workshop this week?
  • What did you enjoy about the trip to the woods today?
  • What happens if you smash a sphere? What two-dimensional shape does it become?
  • What was your favorite thing to do at Activity Time this week?
  • What did you think of the Nutcracker performance we saw at Encuentro this morning?
  • What was the African folk tale a sixth grader read to you today about?
  • You and your child can create clapping patterns together. S/he can start a pattern and begin to repeat it; see if you can predict what would come next.
  • Enjoy the weekend,

The Kindergarten Team