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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas in Kindergarten

We finished the week before our last week together by having a "Cool Beans" party. Students earned a cool beans reward by filling up the bulletin board with 20 cool beans. Students can earn "big beans" by filling their good behavior charts on their desks, filling the little can of "cool beans" for good behavior as a whole class or by having especially outstanding behavior that goes above and beyond what is expected of them. Students voted on having a pajama party or watching a movie and having popcorn. They chose to watch a movie and eat popcorn! This won by ONE vote! So their next "Cool Beans" reward will be to have a pajama day.  Students watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on Friday afternoon before dismissal. Hooray Class! Thanks for earning your reward!

We had a busy week before Christmas with very little "normal" academic activity! We had special centers to prepare gifts for parents, we worked on report card assessments, we finished decorating our room and our hallway bulletin board, we donated our cans to the food bank and did activities with the other classes at Academy C.

Students made reindeer ornaments for parents using their thumbprint to make the reindeer's head. Students decorated and wrote cards for their parents! Some writing ideas were provided but some students chose to spell out their sentiments phonetically which makes this teacher's heart happy.  I try to remind them often that sounding out words and spelling them how they sound is the sign of a good writer and a good reader. So dear parents, if your child brings home writing and cards that are spelled the way they sound, please encourage them, they are trying to learn to test the waters and not ask the teacher every time if they spelled something correctly.  If I ask them to kid-write something, I generally provide encouragement but not feedback or corrections at this stage of our writing.  As the year progresses we will revise and edit our writing to be spelled correctly, but first I want them to venture into those uncharted waters and TRY to make words to write things that they can read because they wrote it how it SOUNDS. Students also decorated brown bags to put their parent gifts in.

We've been working hard throughout the month of December to decorate our classroom! As students come into class in the mornings they have done a lot of coloring with marker, doing their best work, and trying to stay within the lines. This may sound like "busy work" but an important Kindergarten skill is strengthening fine motor skills through activities like coloring and cutting. We cut out ornaments, Christmas trees, Christmas gifts, Christmas bells, and more. Asking students to color inside the lines helps me assess how much fine motor control students have and if they can keep the marker or crayon within the lines. My Kindergarten students are always expected to color inside the lines, but during December I reminded them to do their best work so that everyone would see what a great job they did.

We collected food for the food bank and put it underneath our tree in our classroom. We collected 49 items for donation. I am so pleased that our class participated so enthusiastically! Thank you students and parents!

We finished our Christmas tree sequencing project. Students had to cut out the strips, lay them out in a descending pattern and glue them to the paper. After gluing down the strips for the trees, a star at the top and the tree trunk, students added snow using white paint and a Q-tip for a "paintbrush." We also made "geome-trees" to go with our geometry unit in math. Students cut and colored the 2D shapes, cut them out and used them to make a Christmas tree: green triangle tree, brown rectangle stem, many shapes to color inside of the circle shaped tree decorations. The geome-trees were displayed between the strip trees on the board.

Students decorated "Christmas trees" on Thursday morning with the rest of Academy C classes. Each student received a waffle cone and covered it with green frosting.  Then the students decorated the trees with red and green M&M's, chocolate chips, sprinkles of all kinds, and topped it with a non-candy inedible star.  Trees were set on dixie cups to steady them and keep them straight on their plate, but some trees still toppled and fell to the ground. Students had a wonderful time decorating their Christmas trees.

Thursday we opened gifts from Ms. Horn because there would be no extra time on Friday. Each student received a new book to read with their family. We also had the privilege of watching the 3rd grade Christmas program in the Jr. High auditorium on Thursday afternoon. I am proud to say that Ms. Horn's Kindergarten class did a FANTASTIC job of being polite and respectful and watching the performance quietly and with good manners. What a great class we have!!

Friday we had our Christmas party and were out of our classroom all day!! We went to the Methodist church as we were expected to be off-campus all day because the Academy C classrooms were getting much needed new carpet. As teachers set up the projector to watch the Polar Express, students sang Christmas carols. After the movie, students had a short recess, ate lunch, learned about Christmas Around the World, and enjoyed the marvelous snacks and goodies that each family brought donations for. Thank you so much for participating and making this a wonderful event!

I wanted to express my profound gratitude for the parents and students in my class. I appreciate you. Parents, thank you for the privilege of teaching your child.  Thank you for entrusting them to me each day, I know it is an honor to be trusted with such an important member of your family, and I do my best to help them feel like an important part of our class family.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that your family is healthy, safe, and well.  Many blessings in the new year.

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