# Letter Formation

This year KB is focusing on handwriting. Although most students came into KB writing letters or at least their names, the way students were forming letters was incorrect. Proper formation not only prompts legible handwriting, but it also engages the brain and prepares it for recognizing letters when reading.

In this post please take note of the language we use to help kids remember the parts of letters and always take note that letter formation ALWAYS starts from the “up” position and heads down. In the picture shown the arrow indicates where the pencil should start and which way the pencil stroke should go. If there is no number indicated it means that the pencil never comes off the paper for the whole formation of the letter. If there are numbers 1 and 2 it means that there are 2 different strokes during which the pencil is lifted after stroke 1.

When doing writing workshop the paper students are using is lined paper that replicates the lines on the image below as well. Although not necessary for some of our learners at this point, the lines help students become more spacially aware of how and where their marks are being made on the paper and the proportions of one part of the letter to another.

Language used when talking about handwriting:

-BIG STICK- letters that start above the line  (used in letters like b, d, f, h,k,l,t)

-SMALL STICK (used in letters i,k,m,n,r,t,v,w,x,z)

-MAGIC C LETTERS- letters that form a c with the initial movement then change from there (a,b,c,d,g,o,q)

-HANGING STICK- letters that have a tall stick, but the stick hangs underground. Hanging sticks are also BIG STICKS, but the placement is different  (used in letters g,j,p,q,y)

-SLEEPING STICK- (used in the letter t)

-CURVE – refers to the atch in magic C and the tops of letters m,n and the bottom of letter u

If you have any questions about proper letter formation please don’t hesitate to contact me!

# Measurement

Last week KB started exploring the idea of measurement.

In kindergarten the focus of measuremnet is to build mathematical language related to weight, length, and volume. Words such as: balance, heavy, light, tall, short, big, small, empty, full, more, and less are words that we are learning together and using in different areas as we explore comparisons in our play.

Last week students played the game “I am bigger!”. Using number cards each player flipped a card over, then students compared the two cards they have.

As a class we came up with examples of things that might be “heavy” or “light”. For this exercise we pretended that we were going to have to pick up the object and that would help us determine which category the object went in. We drew our ideas:

Students determined things such as: trees, the earth, a body, and giraffes would be considered heavy

Oppositely, students determined that things such as: leaves, strawberries, balloons, and caterpillars would be considered light objects.

Today, we explored the idea that mathematicians measure not only the weight of things, but also the length. Using non-standard tools like links, blocks, and pencils students set out to measure things around the classroom. Not only did they measure the lenth or height of things, but they also recorded their findings in their math notebooks and later shared their findings with a friend.

J. and I. sharing what they measured, how long it was, and what tool they used to measure.

I. demonstrates his ability to count to 20 after measuring the book shelf.

K. explores using a more standard tool of measurement by reading the number and the markings on the meter stick. He demonstrates that he can read the number 93.

S. shows her big knowledge of numbers by measuring the long edge of the table and counting the links to see how many there are.

E. measured different books and found out that not all books are the same size!

K. was extremely proud of his discovery that the diameter and the perimeter of the our circular chair were the same measurement- 48! He also recorded the number with proper formation and a drew a picture that matched what he measured.

In my next post I will write about how were using the idea of balance and big and small to make good decisions about what goes into our class compost and how our language around capacity helps us in the juice shop!

# Pattern Power

Today KB students practiced finding patterns in their books.

We defined patterns as peices that repeat themselves. All students took their book bag books and tried to find the pattern.

Patterns in books can range from one word to whole sentences! Students used the patterns to help them predict what was coming next in their book and to practice one to one correspondence with words.

See below a patterned book (that some students will have in their book bags today). The pattern in this book is, “You can eat _______”.

As you read your child’s books with them tonight, see if they can discover patterns in their books. Patterns can be found not only in our levelled books, but also in some of our favorites like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”.

# What Does Soil Give Us?

Now that our Juice Shop is up and running KB students have been inquiring into their questions around planting seeds and the use of soil.

Today we read the book “Rocks & Soil”. At the end there is an important question: Did you know that rocks and soil give us so many gifts? We thought about this question and I rephrased it- What does soil give us?

We brainstormed with friends and came up with 3 categories: Vegetables, Fruit, and Plants. Students then went of and recorded some thing they know comes from the soil.

As the year goes on this idea of things “coming from soil” can be extended at home by having conversations on how things grow and where they come from. If your child finds something at home that grew from the soil, encourage them to draw and label it!

Students used their phonics knowledge to stretch out the sounds they hear in words and write them as labels.

# Juice, Seeds, and Soil

This week our juice shop workers started their schedule. Everyday there are 2 designated juice makers and 2 designated dish washers.

Other students are welcome to help and they usually do. Students who are working in the shop are taking surveys to see Who Wants Juice? They’re recording the  information on white boards using tally marks and writing names. Once they know how many friends want juice they set off to make it.

Each day there are new challenges that students are facing fearlessly and worked together to find answers to. How do we cut the apple? How much juice do we need for everyone? How do we organize ourselves so that we arent confused? How do we communicate effectively? How do we include everyone, even those who don’t always talk to express their feelings?

Students organizing and recording who wants juice

Students organizing by using name cards and cups. Students brought re-usable cups from home to use.

Even though there are 2 “official” juice makers everyday, everyone likes to pitch in to do surveys and collect data about juice

While working with fruit students noticed that there are seeds in the apples! Some students were very excited at the idea of planting the seeds! As a whole class we got together and thought about “What Do We Need to Plant Our Apple Seeds?” With a great list that shows the knowledge KB students already have around growing plants we have started to inquire into one of the necessary things required for growth of plants- soil.

Students took to the back space to find “soil”. New vocabulary was introduced once students were finding different variations such as: dirt, gravel, mud, and sand. One student asked the question: How can we Make soil?

Together we used the interet to find an answer to that question. Although complicated, we found one answer that excited us all- WORMS. If you’re wondering why your hild may be asking to bring egg shells into class, composting is why. We watched a couple videos that taught us what we need to get started making rich soil for planting. Along with worms, paper, and cardboard, egg shells help get a compost started. Beginning a compost is just the very beginning of students understanding living vs. non living and how our actions impact the environment- a concept we will continue to explore all year.

Searching for soil

If we mix water and dirt will we get soil?

Students answers to “What do we need to plant our apple seeds?

Observing our future compost bin. Students began putting the peelings from the juice shop into the bin once they heard that worms will eat rotting things.

Here is a short conversation that took place between students surrounding the idea of worms helping us to make soil:

Evora: worms eat dirt, worms are our friend

Itamar: we need 100 worms!

Eddie: He’s alive!

Silje: Take water plants, worms like water then they come out

Sarah: Maybe they eat the bad thing, they poop out the soil

Elizabeth: why can worms only poop soil?

Itamar: Oh I get it, you put it inside and they eat it and poop it out.

Students Showed their concept of numbers in increasing fashion when asked the question “How Many Worms Do we Need” in order to make soil:

Sarina: 15   Evora: 20   Ramya: 10  Silje: 100   Eddie: 1 Million   Tomson: 100 million   Margaret: 100 + 100 million   Elizabeth: 7

Mia: 100,000   Kane: 100   Itamar: 1 Million   Sarah: 1,000

We hope to see you November 16th @ 12:00-12:30 not only for our publishing party, but so we can share the progression of our learning.

# A Juice Shop Is Born

Last week students expressed interest in the song “A Million Dreams”. Together we learned some of the “snap” words in the song and practiced reading the lyrics. As posted in the class SeeSaw, M. performed the song and Y. performed a dance interpretation on our newly constructed stage. The rest of the gather came together to set up seats for the audience, act as the stage crew to make sure blocks stayed together during the performance, and turning on and off the lights. Students also sang along if they wanted.

Y. and M. on stage for their performance

After our intial performance we had a class reflection about our new stage area and what should be our next step. Student suggestions included: getting instruments, making rules for the stage, telling stories on the stage, and getting something to drink for the performers after their finished. This last idea quickly turned into the idea to create a juice shop that would supply juice for the performance. And so, A juice shop was born!

Stage Rules created and written by KB students

The interest of a peformance stage and instruments didn’t die out though. Here are some photos showcasing ways students used their interest in a class performance area to write and do their own math explorations.

K & T measuring and record the length of she stage

Students writing to show their knowledge of musical instruments

A group of students working together and using critical thinking skills to move furniture for the juice shop

The first steps students took to getting our juice shop running included:

-voting on the type of juice to make

-brainstorming what is needed to run a juice shop

-moving furniture around to create a “shop” space which includes a table and chairs as they suggested in their brainstorm

Brainstorming about the shop. A mix between teacher and student handwriting

The group making the intitial plans for the shop

The group interested in the song “A Million Dreams’ working together to find “snap” words in the lyrics

Writing the menu for the shop

Today was our most exciting day yet as we got a JUICER in KB!

A group of students worked together to explore the peices and figure out how to put this (8 peice) juicer together. It took them a total of 9 minutes, with countless minutes and using their prior language knowledge, asking questions about how things fit together, and communicating with their group mates.

After the juicer was together we took it a part and as a class talked about each part and with that same language knowledge we created names for each part. It was concluded that if you want to work in our juice shop you need to know the names of the parts. Students agreed on created names or parts like the: smasher, sharp pin, garbage box, and spinner.

Next, students practiced drawing detailed pictures and labelling each part of the juicer. This gave students time to really get to know the machine they will be using and using the shapes they saw within the machine to help them draw it. The labelled drawings are now in the background of the juice shop for referenecs for our workers. During our initial plannig stages students decided that only 2 people can work in the juice shop at one time. I am excited to see once we get started if students make any changes to their 2 person rule and if after using the juicer with electricity if they will change the name of any of the parts!

Additionally, another group used their estimation skills to decide how many apples to order. Some initial thoughts were 3, 20, or 1 big one and 10 smalls ones. We ended up getting 10 total apples delivered plus some oranges, which students were excited about.

Working together to put the juicer together

Many questions have come out of this project, including questions about mixing different types of juices, how to measure the amount of juice, and weather we need to cut or smash the apples before putting them into the “sharp pin”!

Drawing and labelling the “smasher”

Our juice shop area with cups, apples, a juicer, a cash register, a table with chairs, and our labelled parts drawings set up and organized by a small group on Thursday afternoon.

# RAZ Kids

Your child’s RAZ Kids log-in information is taped to the back of your child’s blue folder.

RAZ Kids is a fun resource that kids love. This is not mandatory and should be used at the parent discretion.

This should not replace reading your child’s book bag books with them, but can be used to enhance their reading.

All kids have logged in in the classroom and should be able to log in with almost no help.

# Publishing Party

We’ve been working hard on becoming authors – drawing pictures with details, learning phonics and handwriting so we can write sounds to match our pictures, and adding feelings into our writing. Join us to celebrate our hard work. Your child will share a published writing peice with you as well as share their entire writing folder. This is a great chance to spend time with your child, review the progression of writing for emerging writers, and see how hard your child has been working!

# Math & SeeSaw

This week KB began learning two important schools: decomposing numbers & sharing our learning on SeeSaw.

Using math manipulatives students practiced taking a number (1-10) and breaking it into two parts. They then recorded the decomposition using either a number bond (we like to say number bubble) or any other way that demonstrated that the number was broken into parts. As you check your child’s seesaw you may see their recording demonstrating this skill. You may ask them to grab something around the house to help them explain it to you.

Some students focused mainly on handwriting and worked in a small group to make sure they are forming their numbers correctly and are able to recognize their numbers to 10.

On Friday we had an open math exploration day. As students have inquired into what math is and how to record our thinking they have come up with unique ways to approach counting, decomposing numbers, and shapes. Using their math notebooks they recorded their ideas and acted as reflective collaborators as they shared their thinking with friends.

Students traced shapes, counted how many of each shape, and then recorded the number. This task was created by them on math exploration day.

T. grabbed a handful of base 10 blocks and said, “I’m going to count how many”. WIth help from teachers and a number chart he began to count by 10s.

S. used cubes to create a big number and made a number bond to show how she can decompose the number into 2 parts. She chose to extend our previous days lessons on exploration day.

Ss working with Ms. Xiaoman on finding the peices needed to make numbers, then writing those peices with correct formation.

S & M using cubes to break apart big numbers into two smaller numbers