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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The good, the bad, and the ugly....

Ever since Thanksgiving break, things in Ms. Horn's class have not been the best. The students came back from break restless and ready for Christmas break. Ms. Horn came back with a hum-dinger of a cold and not feeling very well at all. We practiced, and practiced and practiced. We have practiced all five rules frequently the last week and a half. Many student have had to fill out tickets. At recess we bring out tickets, hold court and carry out sentences. Sentences of practicing rules, and explaining what needs to change, and giving up a few minutes of play time.

In spite of all of this, the students did a fantastic job performing their Christmas program on Tuesday night, the 4th of December. Congratulations to all Academy C students on a fantastic performance at the program. Ms. Horn made a huge error at the program.  I didn't put my foot down about all students staying with our class until the program was over. Overlooking this courtesy allowed us to interfere with the older grades' performances. I am saddened about this and must humbly apologize to the other teachers, parents and most importantly to the students who were performing. Please forgive my oversight. Your performance was outstanding!

Christmas spirit is invading our room as students color room decorations and Ms. Horn gets a tree up and decorates the room. I decided not to put a Christmas tree in our classroom this year and am making one that covers a bulletin board. I have it up and topped with a star. One of my star's (my red-headed child) added some sparkle to the star this afternoon.  A photo of the finished version will follow soon. We are not putting toys under our tree, but food donations for the food bank.  We will keep track of how much food we gather and will keep it in our classroom until it's time to deliver it to the food bank.

Students are studying geometry this week.  That's right.... shapes.  I took advantage of this and got out those handy-dandy shape bingo cards I completed just before the Thanksgiving break and we played shape bingo one day. Tomorrow students will cut out shapes and assemble them into a robot. There are circles, rectangles, triangles and one trapezoid on their papers. They will color, cut and glue to make their own unique shape creation. We will also we working on position words: over, beside, above, on, below, etc. in the days and weeks to come.

Many students would benefit from handwriting practice. I am printing sheets for them to take home for practice and making copies to laminate to practice in the classroom. I will rotate this activity into their centers.

Center time is without a doubt the best time of the day for students. They have the opportunity to play and be social. Some centers are harder and more serious than others, but students love them all. They use their "level 2" voice. I got this from another school's plan and I am not sure what all the levels are. So I kind of "wing-it" sometimes. Here is my definition: Level 2 is a whisper voice. It doesn't have to be a full whisper, you can use a little bit of voice and I demonstrate is daily. It is that soft voice that only your closest neighbors can here. So here is where I went from there: level 1 is your "silent whisper," the one that only you can hear but that helps you when you are reading to yourself or thinking. Level 0 is no voice at all. No voice at all, is no sound, no hums, no whispers, no singing. Silence. Now... going the other direction from the level 2 voice. Level 3 voice is your speaking voice, you use it in every day speech and to answer questions and in conversation. Level 4 is your recess voice when you need to be a little louder for your friends to hear you. Level 5 is your screaming emergency voice. This voice should only be used for emergencies, if someone fell and is injured, if you are sick and hurt or scared. No other times. This voice shouldn't be used at school because it is fun to pretend to be sick or scared or hurt. So that is our voice scale. I don't know if that is what they all were in the school I got them from, but for desk work with a partner, rug discussions with partners, and center-time, we use our level 2 voice. If students use their level 2 voice during centers, I can hear the students read in the group I am reading with. When I eat lunch with students, I always try to ask them what their favorite part of their school day is and without a doubt, every student says, "Center time!" Currently we have a playdough center and they can do whatever they want after they form the letters of their name, block center, sensory table (filled with beans right now), ABC center that has literacy games on the promethean board, a Math center that currently has "domino math."
domino math

Students turn over a domino, put the number of the first side of the domino in one box on their paper and the number that is equal to the dots on the other half of the domino in the next box, then they have to join the two numbers to see what the total is. We have a housekeeping center, reading center, art/painting where students can paint with watercolor, and for Christmas we are adding an art center for cut and paste projects. The first one we are adding is a Christmas tree made of paper strips and glued to another paper.  Then students can paint white dots to make snow on their paper using Q-tips for a paint tool.
using the "phones" to hear themselves read

We also have a writing center. Usually I have students write a sentence related to the story and illustrate it. Most of the time I save these for handwriting samples. Students are expected to do their personal best on all work, but especially when they are working in the handwriting center.

Well, after reading what I just wrote, I am optimistic about the rest of the week, the rest of the month. Here we go.... Kindergarten in Ms. Horn's class. We are the best of the best and we are a fantastic class. Hats off to center time.

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