Monthly Archives: October 2012

#ThrowbackThursday and 50th Day of School

I’m starting off this post with a #ThrowbackThursday moment to get us in the mood for our 50th Day of School celebration that is coming up quickly! This throwback picture just happens to my mother (in the Mickey Mouse Club shirt), her cousin and her sisters circa 1956 when the girls were growing up in Rockport.

Today was day 40 of Kindergarten! Seems like I just wrote a post about the 20th day. As I mentioned at Open House, my favorite Kindergarten holiday is 100th Day of School. This summer, while perusing my favorite new website, PInterest, I found great ideas for having a 50th Day of School Celebration. Who says we have to till the 100th Day for a party? We are going to have 50s day and do lots of activities like have a sock hop, play a bingo game with 50s trivia and other fun stuff (like maybe someone or someones might be in poodle skirts?) I have a fondness for the 50s and it’s music, so we will be well equipped on this day with lots of festive fun!

I will be sending out information on all of this on Monday. Next week is looking like a fun week as well with Halloween on Wednesday. Our room moms are planning a small celebration with a craft for Wednesday afternoon. Remember, no school for students on Thursday, November 1 due to a Teacher Professional Day.

I will devote an entire post to all the ravenous reading going on in our classroom. But just to give you a small nugget, I am extremely pleased with all the real reading that is happening in the classroom. We are building our stamina for “Read to Self” time. (We are between 5-6 minutes without interruption, which is excellent for the developmental level.) This week children began to “shop” for books in the classroom library and we also began “Work on Writing” time. Children are also enjoying sharing their reading with the group when we come back together to the rug.

I could go on and on about the tricky teens and all the math we did this week, and what we learned about Spiders this week in Science, but I’ll end it here for now. Will post more over the weekend. 🙂

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It’s 5 a.m. and I’m Blogging…

Ok, well it’s really 5:30 but my alarm did go off at 5:00 a.m.! And it’s a rainy Friday…. but I did want to make sure I blogged this week because it has been a busy one!

In Literacy:

  • Children continued to build stamina in read to self time. I have been meeting with children individually and each day we have two readers who share their reading to the group after Read to Self time.
  • We started to talk about how to choose a “good fit” book by using the analogy of different types of shoes. I brought in strappy heels, sneakers and winter boots asked children to tell me when and what each kinds of shoe is used for. (Best response: With my strappy fancy heels, one child said, “You use those for date.” I’ll have to remember that! 🙂 )
  • I have started to introduce simple sight words. Last week was the word “the” and this week was “is”. With our shared reading of charts we also talked about “that” and “this.”
  • Continued to do letter work in fundations. Children are working on proper letter formation and hand writing grip. Please be sure to reinforce this at home.

Social Studies:

  • We are getting ready for our trip to the Nahant Fire Station. We brainstormed all the people who help us in our community.


  • We did some work this week on the life cycle of a pumpkin.


  • We looked at patterns all around us and went on a pattern hunt in the classroom. Great job on the homework – thank you!
  • We played oral counting games and explored with pattern blocks.
  • We practiced different strokes in the air, gel bags and sand to get ready for number writing.
  • We continued our morning routines, including Survey Friday.


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The Value of Authentic Work

Tonight in your child’s folder you a few things today. First, you will find you child’s “friday note” to you. This week we began to try to label our pictures. Most children were able to do this with adult help. You will also see leaf rubbings and an illustrated poem about fall. Both things were done this afternoon collaboratively with Kindergartners and their 6th grade buddies.

Both of these things are examples of what I consider authentic work. Children choosing their own writing or learning topics then completing it to the best of their ability. That is the difference between authentic work and a traditional worksheet. Traditional worksheets are great in a pinch, or for a quick assessment but do not allow for choices or children to rise above.

Since I am not a big user of worksheets, some nights your child might bring home an empty folder. That does not mean nothing is going on at school. This week, for example, children began “read to self” time and using reading skills with just right books on their own. We also used the magazines that were sent in to cut out shapes and have posted shape posters in the room. In Fundations, we used the ENO board to practice writing lowercase letters and introduced magnet letters and boards to practice our phonemic awareness skills. We check the weather, read the schedule and count the number of school days everyday. Children draw and write in their weekend news journals on Mondays. Children “read around the room” with their baby echo pointers. In math, we made patterns using several different manipulatives. All of these are examples of authentic work, which I believe is the more powerful tool in keeping children engaged and excited in their own learning potential.

Just a few thoughts on a Friday afternoon. Have a good weekend!

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Just the Way it Should Be

That’s the thought I had this afternoon driving home thinking about our day together. Today started with new Weekend News journals and a challenge to try to “label” the picture after drawing. It was tricky, but the children seemed up for the challenge and I am very pleased! 🙂

After reading The Daily Five, I am excited to be launching this new approach to reading and writing with your students. This is definitely the best teaching book I have read in the last few years and flows well with the Responsive Classroom approach. Today, we learned two ways to read a book – read the words, and read the pictures. The Daily Five has five components – read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, work on writing and word work. I am looking forward to implementing all of these! Stay tuned!

Today was also the day our Marble Jar was filled to the brim! (It had been hovering around the top for about a week now, waiting for those “last two” marbles.) The class earns marbles for showing proper hallway behavior. This afternoon I gave the class three choices for a “marble party.” The choices were: 1. a shaving cream party 2. a movie party (1/2 hour length and my choice) 3. extra computer time in the lab. The children voted on going to the computer lab so we will be going down there one afternoon this week. Exciting!

This afternoon we opened wooden blocks for the first time this year. It was refreshing to see so many friends happily building homes and structures for the animals.

Isn’t Kindergarten fun?



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“Is it Halloween Tomorrow?”

And so it begins…it’s October in Kindergarten! Hopefully today your child brought home their October calendar – with a scary or silly Jack-o-lantern on it. Today, we not only made new calendars, but we took down our September calendar and looked at the temperature chart to predict October’s weather.

Taking down the classroom calendar every month is an important Everyday Math lesson. Children are asked questions and each given a turn to take off a number or numbers in answer to those questions. For example, a child might be asked to “Take off all the Mondays in the Month.” Or “Take off a number with 2 digits,” or “Take off the number for yesterday” or “Take off the number for days we did not go to school,” etc. etc. Questions can be individualized to the abilities of each child.

Thank you for bringing in apples today. We sorted apples by color, size and stem/no stem. We will be making a special treat with them later this week! 🙂

Ask your child to tell you what they painted in Art Class today.

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