Blog Archives - Helping Kids Flourish in Kindergarten and Beyond
Helping Kids Flourish in Kindergarten and Beyond
 
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Once again we thank you for your support in all of our celebrations! If you already sent in your plastic eggs or candy for the egg hunt on Friday, we thank you! If you can't help at this time, that's fine too. We simply ask that you send your candy/toys or  plastic eggs in no later than Wednesday afternoon so that there is enough time to buy anything else and assemble the eggs for the hunt on Friday.
As mentioned in the  weekly newsletter, you can also help by signing up on the classroom door to send in goodies for our celebration. If you would like to help out on Friday, April 2nd,  you are more than welcome to come help hide eggs between 11:40 and 12:00 or come at 12:15 for the hunt followed by a fun celebration when we will dye eggs, make bunny hats, sing songs  and eat our goodies! Thank you again for your support :-)

 
We realized as we watched the first video that one of our friends was absent and one's video clip was missing, so I edited the video and here it is, including the winning name choice!
 
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It's been an exciting week in Room 11 as we continued our  Life Science unit with an addition of a goldfish to our classroom! Today I finally got the light and filter working in the aquarium so the fish is very happy in its clean bright environment.  Tomorrow we will have a drawing to choose a name for the fish. The kids all voted for their favorite fish name and I videotaped them explaining their selection. Stay tuned for a fun video very soon!
We have been talking about the differences between the fish and us: adaptations, ways that it moves to get its food, its ability to breathe underwater. Next week we will be comparing the fish to crickets, which I picked up today at the pet store. We will be using our 5 senses to observe both of these living creatures though the crickets will be a bit more engaging with their sounds than the fish!
We are also discussing the issue of responsibility in having a pet: feeding the pet the proper food, caring for its environment and ensuring its overall well-being. The students are excited about feeding the fish and will each get a turn to feed it.
If you are interested in learning more about the California Kindergarten Science standards, you can check them out right here http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/ .  
We will be moving on to learning about plants during the week before Spring Break. We will even try to get a bean sprouted and ready to take home for planting! We hope to  join Mrs. Kanazawa's class as they plant in the Capri garden in April.


 
It's becoming increasingly apparent that the school year is whizzing by and in a few weeks we will be at spring break, followed by less than 2 months of school!  Some parents are concerned about the leap to first grade and have been asking important questions like, "How can I ensure that my child is ready?"
One of the most important goals that I reiterate throughout the school year is independence.  We work diligently in the classroom to facilitate students making decisions to solve problems, taking care of their belongings, and taking responsibility for their work. It may seem that we are asking a lot from them, and yes, we are!  On the other hand, we do our kids a disservice when we don't hold them accountable for their decisions  and actions. When we let them say," I did it because he did it first" or "I'll just do it later when I get home" we are not reinforcing the message that the person ultimately responsible  for our actions is ourselves.
Kindergarten is an important time to learn that what we do impacts everyone around us. It's a great time to talk with your children and ask how they contribute positively to those around them.  Even if your child does not appear to have any issues getting along with others, or seems to get all his/her work done, it's valuable to ask questions about how they stay motivated and engaged in class. Some  kids are able to learn about their own way of learning early on; they realize that when they hear a story they can vividly picture the important information in their head, or that music helps them remember. You can take an active role in your child's learning by asking them some of these questions:
  • How are you doing with completing  your work in class?
  • How are you getting along with friends in class and on the playground?
  • Are you taking care of your tools in your school toolbox?
  • What part of the day do you like the most?
There are many questions you can ask to generate meaningful conversation! All day long they try to engage me in conversation so I know they have lots to say!
Thank you for your ongoing support of our work in the classroom. It's been a wonderful year so far!


 
As you know from the creepy crawly worm sent home last Wednesday, we had a fantastic time learning about worms and their role in helping keep soil healthy for plants. Our students were able to look under a microscope and see pictures of various parts of the worm, shine a light on the worm and observe it's behavior changes, and learn some fun big words like "setae," the worm's way of moving.
All in all, the presentation was a huge hit. Please check back for a photo gallery of our fun Mad Science demonstration! We will be studying living things, plants and animals, over the next month, adding both a cricket and a goldfish to our classroom and making scientific hypotheses about how these creatures can thrive in our environment!

 
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We are learning 3D shapes in math over the next couple weeks. Please help your child to find examples of cubes, cylinders, cones, and spheres at home and out in the community. Make a fun game of, "I spy" as you drive home from school or as you cook dinner! These shapes are everywhere and, as you can see, we had fun finding and sorting examples of each shape, (pictured at left.)
Here is a fun activity you can do with your child. http://www.eduplace.com/parents/mw/activities/k/aahk_u3.html
Thanks for your support!


 
Just in case you haven't noticed, I wanted to alert you to the new tab for our latest sight word songs. Just click the underlined "new tab" above and you will be able to practice the newer sight word songs that are not on the cd your child has at home.
Singing the songs helps your child consolidate the spelling and use of each word into his/her memory. It also helps if you use another modality such as writing, reading or tracing the word with a finger while singing.
Have fun with your child! Let him/her teach you the songs!

 
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I have had several conversations this week with parents concerned about social-emotional development. They are concerned and committed to ensuring that their child is growing up strong, resilient, able to self-regulate and able to take risks in learning! I find myself often referring parents to the following resources, so I decided to list them here:
  • One of the most helpful websites I have found that helps parents understand factors for building emotional resiliency, empowerment, and overall well-being for kids is Fishful thinking, hosted by Dr. Karen Reivich, co-director of the Penn Resiliency Project, http://fishfulthinking.com/  On this website, there are parent questions and answers, videos, activities for kids, and links to a wealth of resources parents can use to become more aware and better able to meet their child's emotional needs.
  •   Another researcher who has impacted and affirmed my beliefs about kids and success is Carol Dweck from Stanford.  Her book Mindset and links to her work are in great detail here:  http://www.mindsetonline.com/
Both of these websites are filled with a wealth of resources. I often revisit them when an issue with a student leaves me searching for more understanding. I love to find resources to help parents understand and empower their children.
What are your favorite sites to help parents become better parents?