Blog Posts - Helping Kids Flourish in Kindergarten and Beyond
Helping Kids Flourish in Kindergarten and Beyond
 
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Just want to give you all a bit of advanced notice as the end of the year is right around the corner! As the days in school dwindle I get sentimental and nostalgic, thinking about the wonderful progress and growth our kids have made this year. Speaking of sentimental, you will definitely want to stock up on Kleenex for our end of the year performance on Wednesday, June 9th at 8:30 a.m. in the cafeteria. We will be singing five songs with all of the Kindergarten classes and then will go back to our classroom for refreshments. After recess that day we will sing again for all of the classes who wish to attend. Last year we did the performance only once and we received requests later for other teachers and our kids' siblings to witness the tear-inspiring event.  You are welcome to bring family and friends but also please be aware that we have 120 Kindergartners at Capri so we will be a big crowd with all of our friends and families. We will still have class on the following 2 days, June 10th and 11th so please plan accordingly!
 
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As I just spent about an hour and a half trying to find a class picture just right for our class book cover I realized just how tricky it is to find a picture that includes all of the kids, ( not one absent) and all of them smiling! After giving up I tried making a collage using Picassa. When our class book is published through Bookemon you will be able to purchase it online! I am so excited for the kids to see their hard work in print! Stay tuned for more information.
 
Today during our Friday centers, we took the opportunity to try out a new way to record our students' voices. In honor and celebration of Earth Day, we asked the students how they will help the Earth.  You can listen to our "podcast" by clicking the play button below  and you can see the responses written here on our "wall wisher." The kids would love it if you would like to add your thoughts on how to help the Earth. We told them we would invite parents to add their thoughts and commitment to helping Earth.  Click here to add yours.
It's quite amazing to hear the insights of 5 and 6 year olds. Hope you enjoy their wisdom!

Click the arrow below to hear our students talk about saving the Earth!

 
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It's been a busy week and I apologize for the delay in posting. There seem to be so many things to talk about, yet not one that stands out as most critical. One issue I would like to discuss is that of emotional literacy: kids being able to handle their emotional ups and downs and thrive whether they are at home or at school.  When kids are emotionally impacted by a disappointing encounter whether at home before school or with friends at recess, their learning suffers. So, what can we do to help them manage their emotions, and in turn, help them learn?
There is a wonderful resource, via the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, where you can learn about how to give kids the skills to regulate themselves and be happy in the long term! By following the link below, you can watch some brief videos on a variety of issues related to kids. Check them out and let me know what you think!
http://www.youtube.com/HappinessMaven#p/u/4/PwZU2rsxnPg
There is also a wonderful article you can read by clicking below:
Emotion Coaching: One of the Most Important Parenting Practices in the History of the Universe

Parents and teachers are important teammates in helping kids grow up to be the best they can be. Please feel free to ask me any questions you might think of about how your child is doing at school! Thanks again for your support. It has been a wonderful year in Room 11.
 
As you may have read in our class newsletter today, spring break begins officially at the end of the school day tomorrow! We talked about our spring break journals today and the kids were very excited to choose stickers to decorate the covers. Please encourage your child to document some fun activities during the break.  Yes, this assignment is optional as it is technically a "no homework" time, but it is an opportunity to capitalize on the students' natural desire to share about fun experiences. Please help your child slowly say the words aloud as he/she stretches the word, isolating the sounds he/she hears and writing them down. We are working hard to empower our students to say a word slowly and "try it" before asking for help. Remember, developmental  or phonetic spelling does not have to be perfect!
Today we had fun sharing our plans for spring break. I can't wait to hear the stories when we return. Hope you enjoy a wonderful week with your kids. And remember, as stated in the announcements sent home today, Capri has begun a campaign to increase school attendance. We are tracking attendance and tardies and your child has an opportunity to win a drawing prize for being in class, on time every day! As always, we appreciate all of your support.

 
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First off, I want to thank all of you for your time, support and donations that made our spring celebration a great time for all! We had a wonderful time searching for candy and toy-filled eggs, dying eggs, making bunny baskets and cute bunny hats! To top it off we ate some yummy cookies, healthy fruits and veggies and ended the celebration singing our fun spring songs to our wonderful parent helpers. For pictures of our event, click here.  We truly appreciate your generosity; without your ongoing dedication we could not provide the positive, engaging environment that excites kids about learning. Thank you!

 
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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!