Saturday, December 10, 2011

An Investigation on Balance

As you know, we are studying balance and motion in our science unit at school. This week we did an investigation on balance using "trick crayfish".  This was an investigation from a Foss Science Kit that I mentioned earlier in the week.

Something I really like about the Foss Kits is that the investigations are designed to let the kids explore and come to conclusions on their own.  Rather than telling them how to balance the crayfish, I simply gave them some background information and then encouraged them to start exploring. It didn't take long before the kids were balancing the crayfish all on their own! It was pretty cool to see their faces lighting up as they realized they had found the balancing point all on their own.

The hardest part was that the kids could only balance the crayfish using one finger and many of them tried to hold it with their hands. But eventually everyone got the hang of it.

Before beginning the experiment, I took the kids through the Scientific Method so they could experience thinking about a problem like a real scientist. Our question was "How can we get the crayfish to balance?" For the hypothesis, we listed the various ways we thought we would be able to balance it (on the top, on its side, etc).

After the kids had learned about finding the balancing point and we had talked about whether something is stable or unstable, I encouraged them to try to find other ways to balance the crayfish. After a few minutes, the kids realized that it wasn't working! This is when I introduced the clothespins. I encouraged the kids to try using the clothespins in various ways to help balance the crayfish.

It was amazing to watch them work, as I did not have to show them where to put the clothespins. Eventually they figured it out through trial and error! After we figured out that clothespins could help the crayfish balance in other ways, I introduced them to the term counterweight. 

After the kids had plenty of time to explore using the counterweights, we came back together as a group to record the results and our findings from the experiment.  We also added our new words to our science word bank: balancing point, stable, unstable, counterweight
This week we will be doing another investigation on balance...I can't wait to see what the kinders discover next!

Long Lost Photos

Sometimes I take pictures at school and forget about them. This is one such post.  These are pictures from Halloween (I know, I's December already!) and the first Family Game Night.
Uncle Larry came to read on Halloween!
 The other classes paraded through our room and then we followed them out to join the parade!
Kindergarteners in costumes-
Doesn't get more adorable than that!

MTA's first family game night!
Family Game Night

Don't forget...the next Family Game Night is Wednesday, December 14th from 4:30-5:30 in the gym! Come enjoy  friends, games, and family! You can also sign out a game to bring home. Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Bed for the Winter

This week, our story is "A Bed for the Winter".  In this book, students learn about different types of animal homes. We read the book for the first time today and the kids were "oohing" and "ahhing" over the photographs of animals. Kindergarteners just love learning about animals!

For each Scott Foresman story, the first day is spent doing a "Concept Talk" to build students' background knowledge and introducing the "Amazing Words" of the week. The second day is the first read of the story, which is reading for enjoyment. The third day we read the story and focus on vocabulary. The fourth day we read the story a third and final time and focus on comprehension. The fifth day is used for extension activities.

Our letters this week are Uu and Vv. Our sight words for the week are she, he, and for.

In math, the mini-lessons this week are on comparing numbers. In centers, students are working on patterns, number writing, computers, and comparing numbers independently.

In science, we are working hard on becoming familiar with the Scientific Method and we are beginning a unit on balance and motion. Our first investigation of the unit will be tomorrow, focusing on balance. We are lucky to have Foss Science Kits this year and I am very excited to use them! Follow this link for more information on the Balance and Motion unit.

Last week, we made snowmen to decorate our hallway and we learned our new December song. Here's a video of it (pardon the poor quality, I took it with my phone).  The kids were still in the habit of singing "November is the new month here at school"...bear with us, the song was still new to them! :)

December is the new month here at school!
December is the new month here at school!
It's the time we like to say,
Have a happy holiday!
Oh, December is the new month here at school!
Have a great week!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bear Snores On

Our story of the week is Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson. Students will be learning what unique thing a bear does in the winter.  Our sight words of the week are play and go.  Our letters of the week are Ss and Tt.  In reading centers, students are practicing independent reading and finding sight words,  building and writing sight words, word sorts, computers, and a letter matching game.  During this time, I am seeing guided reading groups to provide more individualized instruction.

In math, the kindergarten team is focusing on comparing numbers.  We are practicing referencing the number line to help us tell which number is bigger. Students also count out the number of objects and to compare which group is bigger.  In math centers, students will get practice with comparing numbers, writing numbers to 30, patterns, and will play a dice counting game. Students will also go on Compass Learning math for one rotation of centers.

In writing, students are learning to tell a story through their pictures, rather than drawing one thing and saying "I'm done". They are learning to include a setting and characters in their story pictures. We have also begun a sharing schedule to share our writing each day. The kids get to sit in the "special sharing chair" when it's their turn!

Students also engage in Positive Action lessons several times during the week. Positive Action is a character education program new to the district this year.  Follow this link for more information: Positive Action- Kindergarten

The kids have been learning about self-concept (how we feel about ourselves) and things that affect our self-concept; our family, friends, our own choices, etc.  Throughout the lessons, the class gains keys to get through the gates to reach Castle Self-Concept.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Compass Learning

MTA has a wonderful computer program called Compass Learning.  The program features reading and math activities for students to practice on the computer.

The kids can also use this program at home.  Follow this link:  Compass Learning Odyssey

The username will be your child's first and last name with no spaces.
The password is mta123.

Example:  Student name John King

Username: johnking
Password: mta123

Be sure to check the website out. It's very kindergarten friendly. Once you help your child log in, they will be off and running on their own!

Please let me know if you have any trouble logging in.  Have fun exploring!

A Plump and Perky Turkey

A Plump and Perky TurkeyA Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fun, rhyming Thanksgiving story!

View all my reviews

Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat: I Love My White ShoesPete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We love this book! Be sure to check it out of the library to read with your child!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Math is Fun!

Writing Numbers 1-30

Find the missing number!

Missing Numbers with Magnetic Numbers
& Number Lines

Sequencing Numbers Puzzles 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nature Spy & Animal Babies in Grasslands

This week we are focusing on two Scott Foresman books, Nature Spy and Animal Babies in Grasslands.  Both books are nonfiction,  so students will be learning some of the features of nonfiction text.
Our sight words this week are have (review), like, and and.  The kids have been making great progress with learning their sight words.  I'm so proud of them!  Our letters of the week are Oo and Pp.

During reading centers this week,  the kids will be working on sight word practice,  independent reading with books containing known sight words,  letter matching, computers, and word family practice. 

In math,  we are working on mastering the teen numbers.  Here are the number poems we have been practicing to help the kids remember their numbers:

A 1 and a 1 makes 11 fun.

A 1 and a 2 tell 12 what to do.

A 1 and a 3 send 13 up a tree.

A 1 and a 4 make 14 shut the door.

A 1 and a 5 keep 15 alive.

A 1 and a 6 make 16 pick up sticks.

A 1 and a 7 send 17 to heaven.

A 1 and an 8 make 18 great.

A 1 and a 9 make 19 shine.

A 2 and a 0 make 20 a hero!

Don't forget, conferences are on Thursday.  Thursday is an early dismissal day.  Students will be dismissed at 1:30. Have a great week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

November is the New Month Here at School!

Sorry for being MIA the past couple of weeks!  I started a new grad class and it has been keeping me busy in the evenings with homework and papers.  My class is about differentiating instruction for diverse learners and I am getting lots of ideas for ways to meet the differing needs of my students!

I will update later this weekend to let you  know what we will be focusing on next week, but here is a little video to entertain you in the meantime...

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our Trip to the Apple Orchard

On Friday,  our class headed to the Apple Orchard for our first field trip.  Thank you to all the chaperones who made this day a success!  We had great weather,  although it was a bit muddy.  All the kids had a wonderful time...

 When we first got there,  we took a hayride out into the orchard to pick apples.  Each child got to pick 5 apples off the tree.  After that,  we headed for the pumpkin patch.  Each child got to pick out their own pumpkin.

After picking the apples and pumpkins,  we had lunch.  Then the kids had time to play in the Funland, which included a hay maze,  farm animals,  bikes,  a playset,  and some other fun things to look at.

After playing,  we had cider and donuts and then the kids headed out for some more playtime until we had to leave.

Here are the pictures I took (a little out of order)...Enjoy!