Sunday, March 8, 2015

Force & Motion and Wind Up Toys

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It has been an exciting couple of weeks in kindergarten, and the children have been working on many important milestones throughout this past trimester.  This week I will be assessing your children for our upcoming grading period.  I am looking to see if they can recognize, write, and make the sound for all upper case letters and the following lower case letters: c, o, s, v, w, t, a, d, g, u, and i. Can they make the Famous ‘H’ Brother sounds of sh,  ch,  th,  and wh? Do they know what three letters make up the “King of ing”? Can they recognize a rhyming word sequence and add to it?  Are they working at using Stretchy the Snake to sound out unfamiliar word? Are they using their Eagle Eyes to look at the pictures to get ideas about the words they are reading?  Do they use Chunky Monkey to look for chunks in the words they are reading to help decode? In Math we are looking for the ability to recognize the numbers from 1-30 out of sequence.  Can they count to 100 by 5s, 10s, and 1s?  Do they look for ways to problem solve an answer?  Is there more than one way to find the answer? Can they use a number line? These are just a few of the many skills we are looking at this week, and I am looking forward to seeing measured growth in our youngsters!

On Monday, Kindergarten will be leading the student body for Morning Prayer service again. Our first group of children did an excellent job of standing before our student body and sharing their prayers!  Three cheers to all of them!!!  It is a small step towards standing in front of the congregation and the important skill of public speaking.  Heart in hand we will be upstairs to share at 8:40.  If your child has an active part this week, please practice reading these loud, proud, and clear.  It is important that they practice reading/reciting slowly.  The tendency is to go fast...and get it over with. :)  I am proud of my courageous students for volunteering to help us with this important service.
We had a big Science week as we looked into Force and Motion with Pushes and Pulls.  The children were very excited about this concept and how when we pull something, it comes towards us and when we push, it goes away from us. That all things move because of energy, force and motion. These may seem like tiny concepts but they brought out big ideas, questions, awareness, and insight.  These concepts help pave the way for future physics lessons.  The children also delighted in sharing about their Egg Drop experiences at Science Night!  A great time was had by all. We worked on several labs this week using wind up toys to observe and document what we discovered.  Your little scientist looked closely and record what they observed. Next week we will be taking this experiment into the engineering and design faze as we create a way for the wind up toys to do something different...stay tuned!

In Social Studies we have been learning about our country and some of the important symbols of our nation.  We learned about our flag and sang the patriotic song: You’re a Grand Ole Flag.  We looked at the Lincoln Memorial and talked about its relationship to the penny.  We took a peek at the White House and learned what important figure lives there.  We were happy to learn that we could actually tour a part of it.  We were amazed to see the Statue of Liberty and learn that it was a gift from France and that we could climb up in it.  We also heard about the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  After learning about these American Symbols we wrote an opinion piece about which symbol was our favorite and why. We have been reading stories about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and learning about covered wagons.

In Math we began a unit on measurement.  Our vocabulary for this week’s exploration was “longer,” “shorter,” and “the same.” 

In Religion we continue to grow in our faith through the Lenten season.  We have read a great many stories about Jesus, miracles,  and his disciples. Perhaps you have heard your little one sing: Fishing for People about Peter, James, and John.  Lent is a time in our Catholic church that we reflect for forty days on ways to say 'yes' to God and to say 'no' to the things that prevent us from growing closer to God.  During the Lenten season we focus on how our actions can help others and we renew our commitment to sharing God's love with others.  It is a time for growth and renewal.  This is often seen for young children as an analogy of coming out of winter into spring. 

In Literacy, the children were introduced to a group of “Baby Words” this week:  me, be, he, we, do and to. Please work at being able to read, write, spell, and remember these new words.  Baby words are the building block of learning to read and write. We are also working our way through our printing practice and phonics books.  The children worked on writing lower case “i” this week and are still working at mastering the short sound of “i.” We are also working at inferring before we read a new chapter.  Before reading we share the following sentence prompts:  "I wonder...?"  And "I think..."  This has helped us with our story focus and understanding.  We also follow the story with our Read to Understand chart:

This week we heard the story of Opal Whitely: The Journal of an Understanding Heart.  Opal’s story is a nonfiction story of a little girl who grew up in Cottage Grove, Oregon nearly 110 years ago.  As a child, she kept a journal of her adventures and today, Opal’s story is a catalyst to begin writing in our own personal journals.  During each journal writing exercise this week we had an opening topic.  Day 1:  What do you like to do after school?  Day 2:  If you had a super power and could fly anywhere, where would you go?  After presenting our writing topic, the children then drew pictures to get their thoughts warmed up.  After drawing they met with their table groups for a conference and discussed their ideas.  We then gather one more time to talk about our writing goals.  Our goal for the week was to include “Meatball Spaces” between our words.  After setting goals, the children spread out around the room and wrote down their ideas.  After this, the children met with me for a writing conference.  I had the children touch and read what they wrote and I added the “Grown-up Words” underneath for posterity sake.  We want to make sure that days later, families can decipher what the children wrote.  The children also benefit from talking about the proper spelling, word endings, and punctuation.  The results this week were amazing.  The children did such a wonderful job of getting their ideas down on paper.

Leigh Ann

Up Coming Events:
Monday - At 8:40 Kindergarten leads Morning Prayer service in the gym. Friday Folders Due.
Thursday - Homework Folders Due.  Literacy Parent Night for Kindergarten at 7:00 in the Kindergarten Classroom.  We will discuss Literacy in Kindergarten and many upcoming events.  Please, please, join us!
Friday – Early Dismissal: 11:30

Homework Note:  I sent the information for the Leprechaun Traps two weekend’s early to allow ample time to prepare. These are not due until the week of March 16th.  Thank you.  I look forward to seeing lots of creative projects.

Photo Highlights: Force & Motion - Wind Up Toys