Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Turkey Strut

At the end of each nine weeks Principal Phillips promises the children who meet their nine weeks reading goal a special surprise. In our class that means that a child has read a book at home each night to an adult, has logged the book in and has turned in the log. This nine weeks we had 28 students who met the goal. So... today the Principal dressed up like a turkey, read the chdren a Thanksgiving story, and the had them all doing the chicken dance... I mean turkey dance! Can't wait to see what she does for the next nine weeks, so keep reading!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Season of Giving

Our class will be supporting “Promise to Kate” for our “Season of Giving” project this year.  Some of you may know Mrs. Elizabeth Conte.  She has been a longtime K-1 Chets teacher.    Mrs. Conte‘s daughter Kate was born with myotonic muscular dystrophy which is an inherited disorder that the family was unaware that they carried.  After Kate was born, Elizabeth and her husband, Dave, founded “Promise to Kate,” a foundation that embodies their promise to raise money to cure the disease in Kate’s lifetime.    They are working with a “Dream Team” of researchers right here in our own state at the University of Florida.  The money they raise goes to fund research but also helps families who need the services of Wolfson Children’s Hospital.  Elizabeth and Kate joined our class today to tell the children about their work. This is an especially appropriate project for us, since our children at Chets see Mrs. Conte and her son, Charlie, daily and also see little Kate, who comes to Chets early in the morning before preschool to receive occupational and physical therapy along with speech and language services.  It helps our children connect the season to making a difference in someone’s life right here at the Creek.

For our part, we will be auctioning off some holiday items (including he hearts that each family will make!) by the class during the PTA’s silent auction that will be held in the school’s lobby.  We hope that you will want to stop by and support the silent auction.  What we hope to accomplish during this season of giving is for the children to begin to understand the meaning of service to others.  We appreciate your support and especially you speaking to your child about this very worthwhile cause.   We are very excited to be supporting something so close to home.

You can learn more about supporting this worthy cause or view a video about Kate .

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pow Wow: The Main Event 2013

What an incredible day!  I hope you were able to attend the event LIVE, but if you missed it, I hope you will be able to see the pictures.  The children were adorable in their Native American outfits, thanks to a group of moms that sewed, cut and glued and made out Mighty Iroquois tribe as authentic as possible.  The Pow Wow performance is quite the spectacle with our 200+ kindergartners formed into six circles representing six different tribes.  The songs and dances the children performed and then the story by Chief Jumping Frog reminding the children of their heritage and of the Native children that walked on our very land are quite the memory!
If you had to leave after the performance, I hope your child told you all about the amazing Centers that followed throughout the day.  We had a great tasting center where we tried foods that the Natives might have eaten.  We had dried and fresh fruit, items made with corn such as corn chips and popcorn,  and even dried meat!  We heard a new Native legend about the Rainbow Raven.  We enjoyed tribal games with a real fire that included a Scavenger Hunt.  The PE teaches had the children convinced that they had seen a black bear earlier in the day!  We made medallions with clay that will be fired and given to the children.  Many parents add the year to the medallion and put it on a holiday tree to commemorate this event!  The children painted with native dyes of beets and blueberries and cranberries and spices that were available in native times.  We learned a new native song with our music teachers and the children got to beat different types of drums.  We finished the day in the great tepee (you can see in the picture above).  As Peaceful Waters passed the Talking Stick to each of your children they told us that they were thankful for their parents and grandparents, for their brothers and sisters and new babies!  On child was even thankful for a new car but mostly you could feel that the children were so very thoughtful - that they knew they were loved and that they loved in return.  How thankful we are today to have shared this time with your children!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Building Family Longhouses

We were thrilled to see so many families out tonight for our annual building of the longhouses for our Mighty Iroquois Nation.  Not sure we got everyone's picture but loved having each and everyone one of you!  Thank you for caring so much to spend time with us tonight!

Wampum belts

Today we learned that the Iroquois made beautiful belts from purple and white wampum shells.  They used the belts to tell stories.  Now, our wampum looks a lot more like purple and white pony beads, but you get the idea!  This was serious business in our class today as the children had to count out their beads in stacks of 10 to make 100 before they could start beading!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Native American Study at Home

We have been so busy making costumes for our Pow Wow.  We have had the leadership of a trio of moms. Finn, Levi, and Paige's moms have been busy little bees getting everything ready for us.  We strung necklaces with salt dough medallions and colored noodles last week and will be ready to make our wampam belts next week.

You may enjoy getting onto our kindergarten Native American wiki and viewing some of the videos and pictures with your child that we will be looking at next week.  I know Finn's dad has been talking to him about Native Americans because Finn has been sharing with us some of the things he and dad have been talking about!  I know the children will enjoy learning all about Native Americans from you. 

This week we learned that Jaxon's grandfather actually grew up on an Indian Reservation!  He told Jaxon about the rarity of the White Buffalo so Jaxon took that as his Native American name, White Buffalo, because he is as unique and special as the white buffalo.  Isn't that the greatest story?!

In the Tech Lab!

We have been in the computer lab with a little help from our first grade buddies!  Our children were taking a pre-test for a new computer support program that will be available to our little mathematicians, I-Ready.  Ask them about it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Knots on a Counting Rope homework

This week's homework was from the Native American book Knots on a Counting Rope.  Did you know the characters in the story are Iroquois? Click this link to watch this story with your child.

Update: The children brought their ropes in today with so many knots and each shared one of the stories that their parents told them.  We tied all the ropes together to represent our Kindergarten family!  We heard stories about when their parents were little and when they were little.  Some shared the day they were born!  We also heard about special books and stories that parents read as they added a note.  Just like the Grandfather and the boy, our families shared the oral tradition of storytelling.  Thank you families for participating in this time honored tradition!

About research on telling stories to your children:  Why tell stories?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Reading Partners

One of the rituals and routines that we establish early in the kindergarten year is working with partners.  In reading we ask that students sit knee-to-knee and shoulder-to-shoulder with the book in between.  They have to work out a way to decide who gets to choose the book first and who gets to read first.  Sometimes they choral read together and sometimes they take turns or one child reads an entire book and then the other.  The decision is theirs.  WE are so proud of how well our children have learned to read with their partners!

Soaring Eagle

Each nine weeks  every classroom in Chets Creek identifies two children as "Soaring Eagles."  These children can be chosen for many reasons - because they have made great improvement in a specific area or simply because they have worked really hard on a goal.  Sometimes it's just something extraordinary the child has done and sometimes it's just because they have been model students - always first time listeners, always raising their hand, always working hard even when the work is hard for them.  This nine weeks they are joyful students whose kindness and love is contagious.   We are so proud of our "Soaring Eagles!"


Each month we concentrate on a character trait.  Mrs. Jackson comes in and does a guidance lesson and we try to emphasize the quality in all the work that we do.  October's character trait was cooperation.  We decided this month that we would like for the students to decide themselves which student best exemplified the character trait.  We were thrilled with the results because they choose a student that loves life and is a good friend to all.  He's empathetic and helpful and just a delight in every single way.  Congratulations buddy!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sink or Float

Our class has been studying matter and mass in science. Since it's autumn and pumpkins are a plenty right now we decided to asked the question "Do pumpkins sink or float?" We had various sizes small, medium and large. We started the lesson discussing two vocabulary cards. One saying sink, showing a picture of a sinking ship and another card saying float with a picture of a dog on a float in a pool. Before we placed each pumpkin in the water I had the children predict if they thought it would sink or float and then turn and talk with their partner and tell them why. We would then talk about why they thought their prediction would come true. One pumpkin after the other floated and the students became more and more excited as each pumpkin got larger. After discussing how pumpkins have a hollow air pocket inside to help them float I decided to cut a pumpkin in half a have them predict if it would float. After much discussion much of the class said no. With much anticipation we placed the pumpkin half on the water and the class erupted in a roar. They couldn't believe it floated! We discussed that water is very dense and that the pumpkin is less dense than water and therefore will float. The pumpkin has less mass than the water surrounding it. The children totally got the lesson and had a blast. Great job guys!  

Friday, November 1, 2013

We love books!

Below is a video of the entire Character Parade.  Our class is the very last class and begins at 9:21 minutes with Mrs. Ruark dressed as an Ape and ends with Mrs. Timmons dressed as a zebra - Ape to Zebra... and everything in between!
Book Character Parade 2013 from Once Upon a Teacher on Vimeo.

Character Trait

September's character trait was Respect.  We selected a student that really has come in and been a model student.  She is a first time listener, shares with her friends and always works her hardest.  She respects herself, her teachers and her friends. We are thrilled to have her represent our class.  Congrats. pretty girl!