Saturday, December 13, 2014

Advent Week 2 - Newsletter

This week we have been very busy…

Creating our Advent ABC books, working towards completing the capital letter portion of our printing practice books, reviewing punctuation marks, reading and laughing like crazy at the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems, concentrating on what dialogue is, reviewing nouns and verbs, working on comprehension skills, skip counting, creating the most incredible surprises for our families for Christmas, hearing the story of Christmas and learning about the Holy Land, focusing on our classroom community as a loving and supporting group that cares about the needs of others, practicing for our Advent program, playing Math games to reinforce the concepts of more, less and equal, working on proper formation for the numbers 6, 7, and 8, and introducing the symbols for addition: the plus sign and the equal sign, and being an absolutely amazing group of children during a very busy and exciting time of the year!  Phew…Kindergarten Rocks!!!

                Next Wednesday my husband, Martin, and I will be taking off on a great adventure to meet up with our daughter Olivia in Florence, Italy.  She has been studying abroad this semester and we are looking forward to having her share with us about her second home.  We will also have the awesome opportunity to visit the Vatican, and celebrate Christmas Vigil Mass with our Holy Father, Pope Francis.  I will be thinking about all of my sweet children and their families during this Mass and will be saying special prayers of love, thanksgiving, good health, and joy for all of you.  In anticipation of this trip our class has had many terrific learning opportunities to pour over pictures of Italy, hear personal stories, read books, and construct replicas.  Since Semtember we have learned about the Vatican, Our Pope, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Duomo in Florence.  I have had strict instructions from the children to take lots of pictures, which made me smile.  Because I will be missing three days of school and I do not want our children to miss out on a second of learning time, I have carefully and creatively constructed lesson plans for our substitute teacher Ms. Jennifer Bestell.  I am also grateful that Diane Salvitelli will be there to insure a seamless transition.  I have sat down with Diane and have gone over our plans.  I feel very confident that Diane and Jennifer will have a wonderful time with our kiddos!

Reminders
·         This will be our last newsletter and homework folder for 2014.

·         Join us for Mass this Sunday for the Third Week of Advent- Also known as Gaudete Sunday.  Gaudete means to rejoice in Latin.

·         Monday is Friendship Family Third Week of Advent Prayer Service and gift exchange.  If you have not already brought in a small gift, please do so on Monday—Thank you! Return Friday Folders & report cards.

·         Tuesday is our Polar Express, Pajama’s and Party Day.  Remember that even though it is Pajama Day please remember coats and shoes.  No slippers and robes please.  We hope that you can join our class at 2:00 for our traditional candy house decorating party.  This long time kindergarten tradition is a favorite for both children and their parents.  Thank you to our Room Reps- Molly and Susan for organizing our festivity.

·         Our Advent program is on Thursday night.  Please drop your child(ren) off at the classroom at 6:45.  Children wear their Sunday best.  You will be able to collect your child from the classroom after the performance.  Ms. Salvitelli and her daughter Christina will be there to watch your children. 

·         Friday is our last day of 2014—Where did the time go?

If I don’t have the opportunity to see you on Tuesday, I wish you a very blessed Christmas and I look forward to seeing you in 2015!

Sincerely,
Leigh Ann



Photo Highlights - Advent Adventures































Sunday, December 7, 2014

Our First Week of Advent

Dear Kindergarten Parents,

Our week went quickly as we were out of our chilly classroom on Monday and Tuesday.  The heater was on the fritz. We tried our best to get things accomplished in the warm and cozy Fireside Room.  The children enjoyed their time in the room despite not having all of our learning materials along with appropriately sized tables and chairs.  I think that napping by the fire place was the highlight of our adventure.  I would say it was some of the most restful naps we have taken this year.

This week the children were introduced to the meaning of Advent.  The season of Advent lasts for four weeks. The word Advent comes from the Latin word advenio, "to come to.” In the Catholic church Advent refers to three different experiences of Jesus Christ.  First is preparing for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, secondly the experience of Jesus into our lives though the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and lastly it refers to the second coming of Christ.  For little children we concentrate on anticipating Jesus’ birthday, but as your child grows and goes through first Eucharist their understanding will increase and as they progress through school they will learn about the second coming of Christ to the world.  As a class we created an Advent paper chain so that the children could tear off a link each night as we approach Christmas day.  The links of the chain have the various names in the bible that Jesus has been referred to.  Some of the names sounded familiar to us and some were very new to our ears.  Are you familiar with all of these names?  We have also set up a Nativity Set to see the stable, shepherds, Wise Men, animals, Angel, and Holy Family.  The children enjoyed setting these up on our prayer table.  Mia brought her Nativity set in to the classroom for us to see.  The children had lots of lovely stories to tell about their personal Nativity sets.  We discussed how some families like to wait until Christmas day before putting Jesus in the manger. Friday was the feast day of St. Nicholas. We learned about his life and we put our shoes outside of the classroom in hopes of receiving a special Advent treat.  Low and behold we found a candy cane and a Christmas pencil tucked inside of each shoe!  We also have a class Advent Calendar that has little books inside of it telling the Journey of Christmas.

It was also a week of assessments as we prepare for our first grading period and report cards.  The children worked hard this week displaying their understanding of our goals for this grading period.  I am proud of our class and how dedicated they have been to learning new things as well as familiarizing themselves to our school.  The Fall has been a lovely experience with your children.  I am looking forward to our adventures together after the New Year!

I will post photographs next weekend.  It has been a busy weekend preparing our report cards.

Have a wonderful week.

Sincerely,

Leigh Ann