KG News April 16, 2017

Happy Spring, KG families and friends! Spring is a time we see the rewards of winters diligent efforts all around us in the earth and sky. A kindergarten classroom is no different! We have spent the long months of winter talking, questioning, exploring, testing, revising and creating. As we enter the last weeks of our school year (Can you believe that?!), our friends are more independent, efficient and confident in their ever-growing hearts and brains. What a joy it is to be part of their experience.

Jill and I hope you will enjoy our updates! There are many blossoms to share!

Reading & Writing

We are exploding with words, ideas and expressions! Children in KG have been enjoying stories set in Medieval times, as we are fully engaged in our Knights & Castles unit of study. Titles we have enjoyed include: The Bravest Knight, The Princess Knight and The Knight and the Dragon. These are just a small selection of titles we have enjoyed. Each story has lent naturally to discussing story elements - characters, setting, problem and solution. These books have also given our friends a wonderful opportunity to practice retelling more complex stories, identifying author's purpose and responding to a variety comprehension questions with a focus on inferencing.

In small guided reading groups, we continue to focus on the strategies each individual reader needs in order to grow. Meeting four times per week, children are introduced to a new book, at their level, to practice word solving skills and sight word recognition. We recently introduced the following reading rules: "Sneaky Ee" - when there is an "e" at the end, the vowel says it's name (i.e. cake). "Vowel Besties" - when two vowels go a-walking, the first one does the talking (i.e. meet). "Bossy Rr" - when an r sits beside a vowel, it shouts it's sound out loud (i.e. star).

In addition to these new reading rules, we are all working to become more fluent readers or "reading the way we talk". We are applying this to our shared and independent reading, as well as reading what we write indecently. KG authors are using what we know about sight words, digraphs (th, ch, sh) and authors purpose to write two descriptive sentences. Journal writing and responses to literature have become a focus of our daily writing practice.

Math

Counting by 2's, 5's and 10's has never been so much fun! In KG we are exploring concepts of multiple groups and place value in Chapter 8, Math in Focus. Children have experienced a variety of hands on activities that promote mental math and problem solving using maniplulatives. In the picture above, two students were solving a problem posed in partner teams - "How many buttons are in the box? What is the fastest way to find out?" Children naturally attempted counting by 1's but quickly realized it would be more time efficient to count by 2's, 5's or grouping by 10.

We have been practicing noticing configurations of 10 using a "Ten Frame" and exploring various games, played with a partner, to strengthen the concept of 10.

Social Studies

Our Knights & Castles unit is underway! Children are fully engaged, with imaginations ignited as we learn about how people lived in Medieval times. We began this unit by participating in a common classroom practice of creating a KWL chart - "What do we KNOW, What do we WANT to know, What have we LEARNED". Children identified curiosities ranging from what work or role a queen played in a medieval kingdom to castle construction.

As part of our investigation of castles, with help from Jill and I, children constructed a castle facade. The picture above shows a wonderful image of friends working on our classroom castle, giving it a coat of paint. We learned about castle parts and added a "battlement". We have been enjoying playing, reading and acting out medieval life using our castle. In the coming weeks, we will add items to the castle that will capture important features of medieval castles such as a moat, stained glass windows and a keep.

We are well on our way to being prepared for our Knighting Ceremony in May. Friends have been diligently working to record good deeds in their Royal Book of Good Deeds. As friends log good deeds, they climb the ranks to knighthood, starting as a Page, moving to Squire and eventually, becoming a Knight. We have been embodying knightliness in our practice of our dramatic roles for our upcoming play. Our dramatic work has helped us express our learning in a completely organic way. We cannot wait to share our learning and expression with all of you!

SEED

Smiles are abundant as we begin to explore what it means to be getting older! Children in KG have been practicing teamwork and determination by engaging in organized games and activities centered around collaboration. We have been working on problem solving using "I statements" and participating in daily closing circles that call on each friend to "shout out" someone who helped us do our BEST WORK and be our BEST SELVES.

News You Can Use

* Trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences, Thursday, 4/20/17

* Earth Day, Saturday, 4/22/17

Kindergarten Play and Knighting Ceremony, Thursday, 5/4/17

Credits:

Created with images by Kapa65 - "flowers spring forsythia"

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