Friday, November 30, 2012

Character Wall

Hello everyone,

Today, students reflected on the MANY stories that we have been reading in Kindergarten and the characters we have so far met. The students and I did a "Book Walk" where we revisited our past book votes and titles we have really enjoyed. After some discussion students were asked to reflect on what makes a good character. Students were given think time and we then pair-shared our reasoning. As a class we discussed the many characteristics we find important in a character. Some students identified humor, being a good friend, and kindness as characteristics.

After discussing thier ideas I posed to students the question of whether they felt characters who did bad things could be "good" characters. For example in our current read-aloud book Bunnicula I asked students to think about whether Chester is a "bad" character because he does hurtful things. Students gave this some thought and began to change thier thinking. One student said "Sometimes bad characters are interesting, like Templeton in Charlottes Web."

Students were then asked to write and illustrate their favorite character for a display in our classroom. Students were able to fully invest in this activity because they had so much ownership in the ideas, discussions, and final product. We will contiue to examine characters in our stories here at school. Help keep the conversation going by sharing some of your favorite literary characters at home!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Story Sequencing


We continue to work on the elements of a story in Kindergarten as well as practicing the skill of sequencing a story. Students have done an excellent job this week by sequencing with Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar and will continue to practice with titles such as The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall and Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate Dicamillo. This practice is meant to enhance students skill sets in understanding, discussing, and deriving meaning from a text. These are skills they will continue to build throughout their educational careers.

Students also continue to work hard on mastering their sight words, please continue all of the great practice you are doing at home! Students practice their words in many mediums at school, including shaving cream. I am sure students shared about this activity we did before the break, if not ask them! I have included some pictures of this lesson as well as our sequencing work.

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012



Here are some snaps taken at our Halloween celebration! Students enjoyed many delectable treats including pumpkin and ghost rice krispy treats, watermelon, brownies and juice. Students created funky spider and insect creations that are now hanging from our classroom ceiling. Students modeled their wonderful costumes during our festivities as well as during a school wide dance party and parade.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Word Work


This week we are focusing on our fluency in sight words. A lot of the literacy station work this week will be focusing on strengthening and improving our skills in this area. Students were given their first set of word ring cards today. Students have three words on them this week. I will be adding three to four new words at the beginning of each week. I will be sending home a new sight word list today, please take some time this week to review it with your child.

Students are also hard at work incorporating sight words into their journal writing. Students utilize tools in their literacy folders as well as our word wall to include more words in their sentences. Students are also being encouraged to write their sentences based on the sounds they hear in a word as opposed to copying a word. This helps give students practice identifying phoneme sounds within a word. If you are looking to provide more opportunity for written expression at home it would be great for students to start their own journal where they can express their thoughts, ideas and feelings from the day.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Class Pets

Hello everyone,

Since almost the beginning of the school year students have been campaigning for a class pet. For the present time being this is not an accommodation I can make. However, I have implemented an alternative that has helped to satisfy their request. In a previous school I worked in a colleague opened my eyes to the benefits of a virtual class pet. Ms. C. would upload a webcam of Decorah Eagles during snack and students could observe these creatures in their natural habitat.

Inspired by Ms. C. I have continued this idea in our classroom. We are experimenting with a couple of different webcams right now, which enables us to observe penguins in the San Diego Zoo as well as Great White Sharks in the Pacific! It isn't quite the same as having a pet rabbit or turtle in the room, but not many students can say they have penguins as their class pet either!

In your spare time it might be neat to research some webcams of your own. These are a great opportunity for studnets to utilize technology to observe animals and parts of the world they may not otherwise see. In our own classroom these webcams have sparked a curiosity amongst students about these animals. Many have been taking explore time to learn more about them through National Geographic, books and computer research.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Beginning, Middle & End


This week we began our focus on the beginning, middle and end of a story. Students have been working on identifying elements of a story including plot, setting and characters. This week we are building upon that knowledge and using our understanding of those elements to help us clarify the beginning, middle and end.

This identification also builds upon our skill of successfully retelling a story. Today, students did this with Eric Carle's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Students created beginning, middle and end bracelets to use when retelling a story. These bracelets serve as a visual guide in recalling a story. Students built the bracelets using pipe cleaners and beads, students were directed to use one color bead for each section. We decided as a class that we would use one bead to represent the beginning and end, but that we would use three beads to represent the middle. Students discovered through class discussion that the middle is where the bulk of the story takes place.

For now these bracelets will stay at school, however they are easy to recreate at home if you are interested. In your own story times at home this week ask your child to retell or read a familiar story to you. Take some time to discuss and identify story elements for extra practice!

*Photos to come, my camera is again experiencing some import problems, I will have them up ASAP!