• November 7 - November 10

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 11/10/2016
    This week's calendar helper was Khloe.  She did a great job as a junior teacher!  
    Our attendance keeper was Westley.
    Report cards will go home next Tuesday.
    We have new literacy boxes for the students to work with during second quarter.  Most of them involove sounding out simple consonant, vowel, consonant words such as fox, pig, cat, etc.  Please practice segmenting words at home and sriting down the sounds that you hear.  This will help with future journal writing, as well as, sounding out unknown words in text.
    Our new concept in math for second quarter will be mastering numbers 11 - 20.  This range of numbers can sometimes be very difficult for students to remember and will probably need lots of practice at home.  One of the things that make these numbers confusing are the names of the numbers.  Some are called teens and some are not.  Students who can count to 100 by 10s often confuse the words of the teen numbers with the 10s such as 14 and 40, 15 and 50 and so on.  Listen carefully when your child is counting the teens or by 10s to make sure the correct number is being pronounced and that they realize these are two different sets of numbers.  I try to draw attention to the pattern of the teen numbers when writing these numbers so that it is meaningful to the student.  I start with 10 and then have them notice the next number is a 1 and 1  and then a 1 and a 2 and then a 1 and a 3 and so on.  We are representing the numbers on ten frames so that the students will see that all of these numbers begin with a base 10 with leftovers.  
    Next week, some of the students will begin having small easy reader take home readers.  These small books are an excellent way for your child to practice lessons we have worked on in class.  They should be pointing to words, sounding out unknown words, looking for clues in the pictures, looking for chunks or little words inside of bigger words, and reading smoothly.  Choppy reading often means the child is just word calling and may have difficulty comprehending the story. I have told the class to read the book many times and to as many different people as they can to become and sound like a more fluent reader.  They can even read it to a stuffed animal or to themselves in the mirror.  Let and encourage your child to try all of the strategies listed above before you just tell them an unknown word.   Please return your blue take home reader folder each day so that your child may have a new reader each night.  As we know, the best way to become a better reader is to practice.  
    During social studies this week we began learning about maps.  This concept will be visited many more times throughout the quarter.  We learned that maps have titles, keys, labels, and a compass rose.  Find out if your child can correctly place the cardinal directions on a compass rose.  We looked at globes and flat maps.  We leaned about land and water on a map of the world.  Find out if your child remembers which continent they live on. 
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  • October 24 - October 28

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 10/28/2016
    Sophia was the attendance keeper for the week.
    During science this week we worked with Halloween objects and decorations to take away some of the scare factor.  We all have a skeleton in our body.  We built the human skeleton and arranged the bones to show different types of movement.  We also compared the human skeleton to animal skeletons.  We carved a pumpkin and read a nonfiction book to discuss the life cycle of the pumpkin.  We saved some of the pumpkin seeds for planing in the spring.  We made some notes about our pumpkin so that we can observe how it decays over time.   The students took 2 animal comparison assessments that will be reflected on their report card.
    Our math lessons included a review of numbers 0 - 10, review of shapes and their attributes, reading color words, and ordering numbers from least to greatest.  At math stations the students played a missing number game, number SWAT, reviewed calendar skills, played number Jenga, and had a 10 frame math assessment.
     The focus of language arts has been connecting letters and sounds.  The children are told to listen for various letter sounds and then must pinpoint if the sound is at the beginning, middle or end of a given word.  We continue to work on sounding out words to match word cards to picture cards.  All of the students wrote about themselves this week in their new writing journal.  Each person wrote a complete sentence starting with a capital letter, leaving spaces, spelling high frequency words correctly, and ending with appropriate punctuation.   Our high frequency words of focus this week were is, it, and in.
    We are looking forward to the class party next Monday at 12:30. The principal is allowing students to wear a costume to school but no mask or accessories are allowed that will inhibit learning. All parents are invited to the party; please feel free to come and offer a helping hand.
    I am not setting up a snack calendar in November because we have so many leftovers.  We will start up again in December.  Thank you everyone for being so generous with providing snack.
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  • October 17 - October 21

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 10/21/2016
    This is the time of year where the "newness"  of kindergarten starts to wear off.  I do not want kids to get discouraged or have a negative attitude towards school and learning.  But for many students this may be their first time coming upon an academic challenge.  We have discussed this concept in class.  We talked about how it is my job to teach them new concepts and that if they already knew everything they would not need to come to school.  We also are learning on how to accept correction.  I have discussed with the students in order for me to be a good teacher I must tell them when they make mistakes and show them how to correct those mistakes.  This in no way means they are in trouble; it just means we must try again to understand the concept.  We talked about staying positive and the power of the word YET.  "I may not know the answer yet but I am working on it." is an appropriate response to a difficult situation.  Crying, pouting, getting angry, or giving up will not help your brain work through the problem and often actually makes it more difficult to solve a problem.  I have been very clear from the beginning with both students and parents that I do have high expectations for everyone but on an individual basis.  We are each different types of learners and can make growth daily with the right attitude.  It is never too soon to prepare your child with the trait of perseverance.  When they can look back and see growth they are so proud and feel an incredible sense of accomplishment.  Thank you for your help with reinforcing this idea at home.  Genuine praise for genuine success is understood even by 5 and 6 year old students as authentic.
    Our math concept this week was sorting by a given attribute.  Math stations included sorting M&Ms by color, sorting "weirdo" cards by more than one attribute such as red weirdos with hair, and sorting bags of junk by attributes such as what the junk is made of or what size it is. The kids got to sort buttons by a given attribute and really enjoyed playing with the button collection.  You can practice this at home by having kids sort socks or silverware.  I did more end of quarter testing on counting, number writing, shapes, and positional words.  Results will be shared in 1st quarter report cards.
    We had a ton of fun learning about the animals we will see at Lazy5.  We looked at their coverings, names of offspring, how they are born, their diet, and how they move.  We compared animals and listed likeness and differences among the animals.  I recorded students individual responses to this activity to serve as a science assessment.  the students wrote their first journal entry about a dog using their knowledge of animal structure and how to read labels in a nonfiction book.  Next week they will write another journal entry that will compare themselves to an animal.
    Our reading and language arts is targeting a complete understanding of letters, their sounds, and being able to generate a word with a given letter.  This too will be tested as an end of quarter assessment.  Results will be shared in 1st quarter report cards.  The class made a book with each student having a page that featured their capital letter and name.  They then had to draw pictures of other words that begin with that letter. We continue to target beginning sounds for certain students.  Other students are working on sounding out unfamiliar words and reading high frequency words.  Other students are beginning to write words and spell them phonetically.  Making the connection from what a child hears, to the sound they make, to what is written on paper is a major accomplishment during the kindergarten year.
     Josh was a great attendance manager this week.
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  • October 10 - October 14

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 10/14/2016
    Thank you Thomas for being in charge of taking attendance this week.
    At the counting jar table this week the students were to count the number of objects in the jar and write the number word.  This students are learning to use the number anchor charts in the room to help them write words they may not know how to spell.  The one to one correspondence of counting the objects continues to be the main focus.  Students who earn a star each day in their counting jar book are invited to the prize box.
    We continue to work on attributes of circles, rectangles, squares, and triangles.  The students must also describe a given shape in a complete sentence.  You can practice this at home by giving your child a shape cut out of a piece of paper.  A few examples of appropriate responses would be:  "I have a big blue triangle.",  "I have a small yellow circle.", " I have a rectangle with 2 long sides and 2 short sides."  The new plane shape that was introduced was a hexagon. Ask your child if they know how many sides a hexagon has.  I do not expect kids to draw this shape but they should be able to correctly identify it and tell how many sides and points that it has.  We also introduced a cone and a sphere.  There will be a formal assessment on all of these shapes at the end of the quarter.  During math stations the children took an informal assessment demonstrating an understanding of more, less, and equal numbers.  I also gave the students a number and they had to tell me the number that comes right before and right after.  You may want to practice this at home or in the car when traveling.
    During science we discussed the season of fall and in particular fall leaves.  The students continued to learn from nonfiction books.  The focus this week was on text features such as captions, diagrams, bold print, italic print, and labels.  We also looked at parts of a nonfiction books including glossary, table of contents, and index.
    This week we worked on clapping or pounding out syllables in a word.  This will take practice at home.  Some children confuse this with trying to make all of the sounds in a word.  They will need that skill later when we begin daily journal writing.  At this point just pick any object you see and count how many syllables are in the word as you say it.  Kids often get tricked by 1 syllable words so be sure to include those in your practice. 
    Next week the PTA will have a spirit week.  You are welcome to participate in any of the days included but your child does not have to participate if they are uncomfortable with it.
    Monday- Pajama Day *NO SLIPPERS*
    Tuesday - Wacky Tacky day
    Wednesday - Wear Orange
    Thursday - Twin Day * I will be wearing jeans and a white T-shirt if your kid wants to "twin" with me.
    Friday - School Spirit Day  *wear your SW or OWL gear*
    Our Golden Egg celebration was voted on by the class.  The majority voted to watch a movie on the big board.  We watched a CD that included some short stories we had read in class.
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  • October 3 - October 7

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 10/7/2016
    During math we continued to work on the math terms more, less, and equal.  The kids rolled a die and then spun an spinner that landed on the word more or less and they had to tell another number that was either more or less than the number rolled on the die.  A number line was provided to those having difficulty.  We talked about how there were often more than 1 correct answer to choose from.  For example if a child rolled a 5 and then less, possible correct responses would be 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4.   We reviewed that equal means the same and that no two different numbers could be equal.   We are also beginning to work on shapes.  We will discuss shape names, number of sides,  and number of points (vertcies) just to get started.  This topic will go much deeper in coming weeks as we learn less familiar shapes and compare a variety of shapes.
    Our science this week was discussing pets.  We learned about their body coverings, the name of offspring, and how to care for different types of pets in different ways.  We read a lot of Harry The Dirty Dog books and compared those types of books to the nonfiction books we were reading to learn new information.  Be sure to review with your child that fiction books are to entertain and nonfiction books are to give us information.
    We continued to practice with rhyming words.  Many students were able to create word families by adding a new first letter to known words such as at and all.  Practice this at home with your child on their level.  Some students can say the "rhymers", some can read the rhyming words when written for them, and others can write their own rhyme families.
    An important pre-reading skill that all students in class are working on is isolating the beginning sound in a word. I will give the child a word such as man and then ask them to tell me the first sound.  The correct response should be the m sound.  This needs to be practiced with a word that will represent each letter of the alphabet.  As always remember to practice in random order.  If you feel your child does this easily the next step will be to give them a word and then tell you the first sound and the name of the letter that makes that sound.  This skill can also be practiced in reverse.  You can give your child a letter name or letter sound and ask them to tell you a word that begins with that letter or sound.
    I have gotten a few questions about the high frequency words on the front of the take home reader folder.  These should be practiced every night (in random order) to gain mastery.  You may use whatever approach works best for you and your child.  Examples include:  flashcards, using the word in a complete sentence, finding the word in a book, writing the word, and spelling the word with your eyes closed.  All of these words are used throughout the day in class so the sooner they become familiar with them the better.  They will be assessed on these words at the end of each quarter.  If your child has mastered a word review it quickly each night and move on to more difficult words.  As a student masters kindergarten words, I will send home the first grade list.
    We did earn our first GOLDEN EGG!!
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  • September 26 - September 30

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 9/30/2016
    Our reading and language arts focus for the week has been continued work with the letters of the alphabet and the sounds associated with each letter. As you work on these skills at home remember to show the letters out of order.  If your child has mastered this they are working on high frequency words.  We also have continued with being able to identify words that rhyme.  An activity we do in class that seems to help is to say 3 words; two of the words will rhyme and one will not.  The child will repeat the rhyming pair and tell which word does not belong.  For students that are accomplished with this goal they have been reading books with simple text that include rhyming words that they must decode by looking at the beginning sound.  Our print concept work this week was finding quotation marks in a book.  We learned how this shows us what the character is actually saying.  Find out about the book "Will You Be My Friend?".  We changed our voice to represent each characters personality.
    During Social Studies our focus was on friendship.  We talked about how having a friendly community in our classroom makes it so much easier to work together.  The children created a sentence for the class book.  This sentence said My friend is.. and they had to give a name to complete the sentence.  They then had to draw a picture and tell a quality of a good friend.  The responses I got were thoughtful and deep rather than just obvious surface reasons.  I hope you enjoyed looking at their autograph book and friendship necklace.  We made a few class puzzles that have each friend in our class represented.  We of course tied all of this into SOARing at Southwest.
    The math goal continues to be a complete understanding of numbers 0 - 10.  The students are expected to order the numbers, match items with a given number, identify the numbers (out of order),  represent the numbers on a ten frame and correctly write the numbers.  Part of our morning routine now includes THE COUNTING JAR.  Each day the student will write the date in numerical form in a journal and then count the items in the jar and record the quantity in their journal.  To continue our work with the math vocabulary more and less the class practiced comparing numbers.  You can practice this at home or in the car.  I tell or show the student a number card and ask them to tell me a number that is more or less than that number.  We also did an activity with two number cards in hand and the student had to hold up the card that was more or less depending on which question the teacher asked.  Number writing is still a MAJOR need for attention.  Please make sure your child can recognize each number when you write it and if you tell them a number they can write that number correctly.
    Please make note of the field trip notice that went home. Each student will need to pack a bag lunch that day as we will be off campus the entire day.  I will have a cooler available to keep food fresh.  Be sure to return the permission form signed and money as soon as you are able.
    Be sure and check out the October snack calendar.  
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  • September 19 - September 23

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 9/23/2016
    Our focus in science this week was all about apples.  The class learned all about the different stages of apple growth.  We had a taste test and created a graph in order to review our math terms more, less, and equal.  Granny Smith had the most votes.  We had a simple apple book that allowed the students to work on reading short texts.  This also gave them the opportunity to review some of the skills that were covered on the BOY testing such as counting how many words were on a page, pointing out capital letters, finding certain lowercase letters on a page, identifying a period, and reading in fluent way rather than choppy.  A new concept we worked on was sorting books as fiction and non fiction.  We classified fiction as a fun story that entertains and may contain silly elements such as talking animals.  A non fiction book is a book that teaches us something or gives us information and often has photographs rather than an illustrator.  We made 2 class books about apples.  
    During math we worked on numbers 0 -10.  We identified the numbers out of order.  We put the numbers in the correct order.  All of the students could benefit from more number writing practice.  We then learned how to fill in a 10 frame the correct way to represent a number.  Ten frames will be the basis of many of our math concepts this year so I will spend a lot of time working with the students on this. We also reviewed graphing each day. I introduced the counting jar which will be part of the morning routine starting next week.  Find out which counting jar journal your child chose. 
    Thank you to everyone's great response to our take home reading program.  Remember to sign and return the book each day.  Please encourage your child to leave the books and signature sheets in the folder until you sit down to read each night.  I hope this will keep us from losing these materials.  The purpose of this book is for you to read to the child so that they have experience hearing a fluent reader.  During second quarter I will send home the same type of reader and a student reader.  Then the students will read to you each night as well.  Please clean out the papers that your child brings home each day in their Southwest folder.  If need be, notes are attached or written on their work so that you can assist at home. 
    The class seems to have good handle on writing their names correctly and are actually beginning to read and write classmates names.  We have also spent time working on rhyming words.  At this point I want the kids to be able to hear and generate a rhyming pair.  This could be easily practiced riding in the car.  We have not started writing the rhyming words yet.  We work with alphabet flash cards daily.  I have the kids identify the letters in capital and lowercase form and give me the sound and a word associated with the letter.  We ALWAYS work on this with the letters out of order.  Some students have even made their own flash cards at the art center.  We play a fun game called SWAT with the letter cards.  Ask your child if they can create the game at home for your family to play.
    The names pulled out of the purple present this week were:  Gabriel Gogg, Sophia, Jesse, Kenya-Marie, and Antwon.
    I have put some of inital testing on your child's progress report which will come home on Tuesday.  Please read carefully and begin working on areas that need attention.  The most obvious areas that I notice are learning the letters of the alphabet (capital and lowercase) out of order.  You may want to practice this skill with flashcards.  One of the other skills that needs to be addressed with several students is isolating the first sound of a word.  You tell the child a word and they make the first sound of the word.  A common mistake is when the student repeats the whole word.  Model a correct response and have them repeat just the initial sound.
    Thanks everyone for a great week.  Have a fun weekend!
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  • September 12 - September 16

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 9/16/2016
    We had another busy and fun filled week.   We have earned 14 eggs total so far this year. This is a major accomplishment in such a short period of time.  Soon we will have our first GOLDEN EGG!!  A golden egg is given to a nest to replace 25 regular eggs.  In the future as we earn more golden eggs (and I know we will) the children will brainstorm and vote on other rewards they would like to have.  
    During math this week we worked on graphing.  We used appropriate vocabulary when reading a graph.  The "math words"  we used were, more, less, and equal.  We made graphs about shapes, boys and girls, lunchboxes and buyers, car and bus riders, favorite fast food restaurants, and favorite book in a series.  We continued to work on ordering 0 -10.  It appears the 6- 10 needs more work than 0 - 5 did.  A big focus that could be worked on at home would be the number writing.  Many kids struggle with the curves and often reverse the numbers when writing.  As far as numbers go,the class worked on their student number during one of the math stations.  I do not expect them to memorize the number but it is a good way to proactice recognizing and writing a varitety of numbers.  You can practice entering your student number on a calculator or on a computer keyboard at home.
    Our Social Studies this week continues to be a focus on developing a school community and following rules.  We read 3 books in the Kissing Hand series this week.  We discussed what a title is, the author of a book, and the illustrator.  I hope your child showed you the I love you sign and kissing hand they made.  This is to help you not miss them too much while they are at school.  We also talked about nocturnal animals.  
    Our morning message words of focus this week were: we, will, go, and to.  You can make flash cards with these to practice and reinforce this skill.  You can have your child practice writing them and using them in a complete spoken sentence.  We are also working on pointing and reading words in a sentence.  Using short simple sentences the children are able to point as they speak, build the sentence, and count the number of words in the sentence.
    I began the Beginning Of Year (BOY) testing this week and will continue into next week.  The test they are given ask them to isolate and produce the beginning sound of a given word.  The next test asks them to identify letters of the alphabet (capital and lowercase) out of order.  The next test is identifying parts of a book and parts of the text in a book.  The next test is a test of reading behaviors using a predictable, patterned book.   If you would like you know your child's results please let me know next week.  As I finish with their testing I will be glad to let you know what areas need attention.  All children will be continuously monitored to show growth over time or to encourage them to go farther with their abilities.
    We pulled more names from the purple present including Aiden, Khloe, Porter, Luke and Daniel.
     I will be setting dates for the class events this year along with field trips.   I will then inform everyone in plenty of time for you to make arrangements to attend or send in needed items.
    Thank you everyone for returning the pink slip for Early Release.  That can be a confusing time with lots of changes.  Returning the slip with your afternoon transportation choice is a BIG help.  We will send one of those slips on each of the early release days.
    Also, thank you to everyone who was able to come to curriculum night.  I hope the kids had fun and everyone learned a lot.
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  • September 6 - September 9

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 9/9/2016
    Another great week in Kindergarten.  The week was short but packed full.  The children have learned routines and procedures so well that we have been able to follow the schedule that I gave out in the parent packet almost to the minute.  I am so proud of all their effort to SOAR at SW!  We have 6 eggs in our nest.  If you need to know what I am talking about with eggs and nests; ask your kid!
    During math we added numbers 6 - 10 to our math bags.  The students are now expected to order number cards 0 - 10.  We have begun correct number formation when writing numbers.  The children also made sets when shown a number card 6 - 10.  All of these skills should be practiced at home.  Make simple flashcards on index cards to make sure students recognize the digits out of order and then let your child put the cards in the correct order.  Using the same cards, have the student put that many pennies below the card.  Number writing will take a lot of practice; watch digits 2, 3, and 5 for reversals.
    During our language arts time we continue to speak in complete sentences when introducing ourselves to one another.  The children built a sentence using word cards that said:  My name is _________.  The chidren have also learned about putting a period at the end of a sentence.  The class then got to illustrate using markers and the pages were bound into a class book.  We are strictly enforcing correct handwriting on everyone's name.  Remembering to start with a capital letter followed by lowercase letters is the expectation on all papers.
    Our social studies focus was learning how we are alike and different.  We shared about people in our family, our homes, the color of our eyes, color and texture of hair.  We then discussed no matter the differences we try our best to accept others.  If you have not sent in a family photo please send that in as soon as possible.
    Thank you to all who have provided snacks.  We have 19 students on roll at this time.
    This week Caroline, Oliver, Westley, and Gabriel had their names pulled out of the purple present!
    On Wednesday Septemeber 14 we will release from school 2 hours early.  Please make sure transportation is secured.
    On Thursday September 15 the PTA will have a meeting at 6:30 followed by curriculum night in the classrooms at 7:00.
    I will begin giving prereading assessments next week.  Once all testing is done I will share the results and offer feedback on a midquarter academic progress report.
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  • August 29 - September 4

    Posted by Tiffany Larson on 9/2/2016
    WOW!!  What a busy week we have had.  These new kindergarteners have worked so hard.  They are learning the routines and procedures of the classroom very quickly.  I am very impressed.
    Here are a few bits of information:
    The snack calendar for September came home in the Southwest folder.  It is also posted here on my site under the calendar heading.  We do have a few food allergies in our class. We do have 19 kids on roll so please send enough for each student.
    Please remember to return your Southwest folder (the one with a bus on the front) to school each day.
    Take home reading for homework will begin the week of September 19th.
    This week we have learned the core values of Southwest.  S-safe, O-outstanding, A-accountable, R-respectful.  We have discussed how following these guidelines will help everyone have a great day at school.  The children have earned SOAR tickets for individually following these rules and have earned eggs for our nest by SOARing as a class.  We will continue to reinforce these ideas with positive reinforcement on a daily basis.  Find out how much your child already knows about how to SOAR at SW.
    During math we worked on numbers 0 - 5.  This incuded counting to 5, making sets up to 5 with red dots, putting number cards 0 - 5 in the correct order, and writing the numerals.  Please practice this at home as we will be jumping up to 10 next week.
    Our language arts focus this week was learning others names.  We discussed how all names begin with a capital letter and are followed by lowercase letters.  We played a hide and seek game with our names.  We played a missing letter game with our names.  We worked on reading other people's names.  The students are expected to recognize their name in the classroom in order to find their materials daily.  The expectation beginning this week is that they will write their name with only the first letter being capital.  We are also encouraging students to know the names of all the letters in their first name and to be able to tell other words that begin with the same first sound as their name.  Thank you in advance for your help with practicing this at home.
    If you have not yet sent in a family picture, please do so as soon as possible.
    There were a set of keys left in the room during KinderCamp.  If they belong to you please contact me to pick them up.
    I am working on the directory this weekend and will send it home next Friday.  If you have not yet returned your paper, and want to be included, I will look for it in your child's folder next week.
    Have a great long weekend and I look forward to seeing all my students' smiling faces onTuesday!
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