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Saturday, September 29, 2012

This IS learning!

First of all, welcome to our class blog! It is so hard to believe that September is over already. It went by so quickly. This is an introduction to our class community and I will run through what we do in our class and what is expected of students.
Our five classroom rules are as follows:
·         Listen when the teacher is talking.
·         Follow directions quickly.
·         Raise your hand to speak.
·         Be safe. Be honest.
·         Respect others. Respect yourself. Respect your school.

We’ve been discussing what each of these means. These rules are posted in our classroom and students can remind themselves of the rules by looking at the bulletin board. We do actions when we recite them and there are pictures posted on the bulletin board to remind students of what to do. You can ask your student to show you the five classroom rules. Most students will automatically do the actions when they recite the rules. Adding actions helps root the rules in their memory.
Students are expected to listen to instruction before starting any projects whether those are worksheets or hands-on learning/assessments or center time. Our learning centers include math, ABC, writing (you may have received a letter written recently in the writing center); playdough; sensory table (which has beans in it now); art/painting; reading; blocks; housekeeping; and an additional math center. We will be adding a center for the promethean board with online educational games (math and/or phonics and reading) and at some point we will add audio books or a listening center.
Action is so important in Kindergarten. I can always tell when I expect my students to sit for too long. There are some wonderful learning videos for children and it is a proven fact that adding actions and putting concepts to music will help embed the concept in the brain. So we take breaks from sitting to do songs and to wake up our brains. Sometimes we do songs that are completely silly, like “Who Let the Dogs Out” and the students have to sing and move for the entire song. Physical activity improves memory and so students need to move and wiggle before they do something intellectually draining. If you want to know a few of the songs we do, you can search for them on YouTube. Here are some of our favorites. The Big Pig Song (teaches rhyming and vocabulary and is a lot of fun); The Alphabet Song by Fun with Teaching (anything from fun with teaching is great); Counting by Ones by Fun with Teaching; Counting Down from Twenty by fun with teaching (this is a favorite. Student have to stand still and watch the screen when they count down and then they can dance); Blasting Off (count by fives).  Those are a few of our favorites. The other one we do with no educational value at all is Peanut Butter Jelly Time.  The students love it. What I love is that it helps get them excited about school and reminds them that learning is fun.
Parent teacher conferences and the end of the nine weeks are coming up before you know it. The time flew by SO fast. I cannot believe how quickly it flew by. So now I will start assessing students for the nine weeks report card. I am blown away by how quickly the time has gone.
Activities we have in Kindergarten include: Music on Tuesday and Thursday and every other Friday; P.E. on Monday and Wednesday and every other Friday; computer lab (will be starting in October); library check out is on Tuesday and Friday; Library skills with Mrs. Harris every other Monday; Counselor time (Life skills) every other Wednesday. Some students have other activities and leave the classroom with special teachers for 15 minutes to an hour during the week also. We have two recesses every day. The morning recess is a 30 minute recess and the afternoon one is 20 minutes. As you can see, we are busy! We also try to squeeze in a lot of learning! We have an afternoon snack every day. 
This is a small beginning glance into our class. More to come! 

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