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Monday, October 29, 2012

50 days of school!

This week we will practice the saxon phonics reading list instead of having a paper book.  Students are expected to read the list every night with a parent and have their paper signed. I will check them daily and if they read and have their paper signed five times in a row, they will get a sticker.

Tomorrow is our big 50th day of school party. In the afternoon we will have rootbeer floats, practice hula-hoops and try to limbo. Students are encouraged to dress up in 50's attire. We are still needing ice cream cups (12 in a package) and plastic cups.  Thank you for your support!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tigers Rock!

So much has happened in our classroom since the last time I posted. We had review week right before fall break, we had parent/teacher conferences and then fall break! The week before parent/teacher conferences we wrapped up our apple unit and about half of our class tasted the homemade applesauce.  About half of those students liked it! I was so pleased that they tried something new! During the review week before the break we read with Ms. Butt’s third grade class.  First we read to the third graders and then the third graders read to us. This was great practice for our class.
The first nine weeks is over and students have already learned so much. There is always more to learn. We have reading homework nightly now. Your student is bringing home a paper book that they should read every evening and a parent should sign it.  Every day I will check for a signature to see if students read at home. When students read five nights in a row (M-TH and once on the weekend) I will give them a sticker.
We will continue to sound out words and unblend them and put them back together. We raise our fingers high (I tell them to get out their tapping fingers) and they “tap” each sound in the word. Then we blend the sounds to read the word. We also have sight words we are learning. If you need flashcards to help your student, please let me know.  If your student struggles identifying the letters or the letter sounds, I made some flashcards and I would be happy to send a set home if you let me know. Some nights students will bring home an extra paper book to read. Please watch for the books and help your student succeed. I appreciate all your work! 
Every day we spend time learning together on the carpet and I expect students to have their eyes on what we are learning and to participate. If we do a wiggle song, students face the Promethean board and watch the screen, do the actions and sing the song. I firmly believe that students learn more when they engage their whole body.

This week we added in a center about pumpkins. Students can use the balance scale to compare different pumpkins and gourds, to “weigh” them using marbles in one cup and the pumpkin in the other, to measure their girth with a string and to observe and draw them. The students have been fairly excited about it.  I have some of my favorite pumpkin activities planned for next week. One day in centers a couple girls used up all their blocks and started using another container to build up their castle! I love the way they work hard at having fun!  

At the beginning of the school year I sent home notes about water bottles. I am posting a picture of one student's bottle. This is a nice sport top water bottle. Of course, not every students has to bring one and they don't have to look like this.  The top is what I want you to take note of. Water bottles need to have a sport top lid. They should not open up with a pour spout.  Water bottles need to go home on Fridays and get washed thoroughly. During the week we rinse them and refill them so they need a good, thorough wash on the weekend. Students need to be able to drink plenty of water. There are not enough opportunities for students to get drinks throughout the day, and they learn better when they are hydrated.

Friday, the 26th of October, we had a fire prevention demonstration with our students. They went through a little Farm Bureau house and escaped safely thanks to the Guymon Fire Department’s great teaching on fire safety. Students have been excited about this all week long. This was a fun learning activity on a flexible Friday.
We took advantage of flexible Friday and did some different learning activities. We played “around the world” with letter names. This is when students sit in a circle on the floor and one student is chosen to stand behind the other students.  I flash a letter card and the first of the two students to say the letter name moves to stand behind the next student. It keeps going around the circle.  Occasionally a student makes it all the way around the world! Today I could tell which students have been working on letter identification at home. Some of them are getting really fast at naming the letters!
In the afternoon the cross country team came past Academy and classes were encouraged to make signs or banners to cheer on the cross country team. We worked really hard to make a banner for our class. It says: Hands Down, Tigers Rock! The students’ hands are pointing down and each student signed their name by their handprint. I am really proud of the work the students put into this and their enthusiasm for our school.  They also chanted “Tigers rock! Tigers rock!” until I made them stop because it was too loud and student’s could not hear the directions given to them.

What a great bunch of Guymon Tigers we have in Kindergarten! Enthusiasm is contagious. I see this every day.  When I am excited about what we are learning, so are my students! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Cool Beans!"

This week in our classroom we have been learning about apples. Students brought apples and we graphed them by color. One day we tasted them and then we graphed our favorite kind of apple (Golden delicious were the favorite). We have more apple activities planned for this next week, culminating with homemade applesauce at the end of the week.

This week we earned a “Cool Beans” party! Each person in our classroom has a chart on their desk to fill with stickers for good behavior. If I “catch” a student being good, or following directions, or being a good citizen, I tell them to get a sticker for their chart. When the students have 20 stickers, their charts are full. Then they leave the charts in a basket and we do a celebration for them as a class at the beginning of the next day. Every time this happens, we get to put a bean up on our “Cool Beans” bulletin board. We also have a “Cool Beans” can in our room for whole class rewards.  If the class gets caught being good, or another teacher compliments us in the hallway, we put a bean in the can. When we have 20 beans in the can, we put another bean up on our bulletin board. When we reach 20 beans on the bulletin board, we get a “Cool Beans” party! Our class chose to have a popcorn and movie party. Friday after lunch, instead of putting their heads down, the students sat on the carpet and watched Looney Tunes videos on the board. In a nutshell, some classes collect marbles for good behavior, but we collect "Cool Beans!" and each student has a sticker chart to earn rewards for good behavior.

I wanted to remind families that we are still saving Trash-4-cash. This includes chip bags, capri sun pouches, best choice labels, and campbell’s soup labels, as well as coke lids and box tops for education.

Scholastic book orders are due this coming Friday, October 12.  Book orders will go home on Monday after school. You can send the order with cash (in an envelope), or send the order with a check written to Scholastic Book Clubs. Parents can order books online and our class gets $3 off another book purchase! Book orders are wonderful! You are not obligated to buy Scholastic books, but they ARE an inexpensive way to get books for your child to read, and a way to increase their desire to learn to read. Remember that anytime you send money to school with your child it should be in an envelope marked with your students name and what the money is for.

I continue to be amazed by these students. They are truly becoming a community that cares about and for each other. They help each other, they want success for all students in our room, they seek each other out on the playground and play together. They show compassion when another student is hurt. I am amazed at their response to me as their teacher as well. If I ask them to do something difficult for them (like sitting still on the rug) or if I ask them to do an academic process that is difficult for them (one example from this week was to write their numbers 1-5), they never fail to rise to my expectation.

Parents, you should be proud.  You have amazing learners living with you!