Friday, September 27, 2013

Investigating Thermometers in Science

Over the past week our class has been investigating the tools scientists use. We have discussed how and why scientists use goggles to protect their eyes, balance scales to compare weight, hand lenses to magnify objects, as well as various other tools.

Yesterday the students were each given a thermometer and were asked to observe it by using their five senses.  We then investigated the effects of hot and cold (using a cup of ice and the sun) on thermometers and how to read the thermometer. Today we had a group discussion on how we can use thermometers. We talked about how our moms and dads place a thermometer in our mouths when we are sick. We talked about how outdoor thermometers can help us figure out how to dress in the morning for school. We also talked about how mom and dad sometimes poke a thermometer in the turkey at Thanksgiving to tell if the meat is fully cooked so we don't get sick. At the end of our discussion the children were tasked with answering the essential question, How can we use a thermometer? in their Science Notebooks. At this early stage of kindergarten the children are writing in pictures but they are starting to show beginning stages of labeling words. The student pictures below show amazing detail and how well they grasped the concept of how thermometers can be used, as well as, the general understanding of how hot and cold refer to temperature.

This student shows Farenhiet and Celcius and includes the numbers associated with thermometer. He decided to show how we use a thermometer when we are sick so the smiley face and sad face represent if you are feeling well or feeling sick. His second page shows that the thermometer gets hot when someone is feeling ill and he shows this in the color red indicating hot. Above he is feeling better and no longer needs a thermometer. An amazing understanding of how thermometers work!

This student chose to represent her understanding of thermometers by drawing a picture of herself sick in bed but she also has begun to label her pictures as well. Here she spells thermometer "simo" and bed "bad". She also choose the color red to represent hot for the rise in temperature when you are not feeling well. If you look closely you can see the thermometer sticking out of her mouth. So cute!

Finally, our last student decided to use the outside weather to show her understanding of how we utilize thermometers. On the left hand side of her drawing she shows that is it night time with stars in the sky and the little girl in the picture in her words "was not dressed appropriately and so she is cold". The thermometer numbers are in blue indicating cold and the little girl has a sad face. She also labels "DOK" for cold.  On the right hand side of the page it is day time with the sun shining with the little girl still wearing her pretty little dress. This time, however, she is much happier as the thermometer shows red around it labeled as "toH" showing hot. The middle of the thermometer shows red more than half way up indicating its hot outside. The little girl is smiling and happy. These students have a clear understanding of how and why we use thermometers. What an amazing job!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Red Riding Hood

We're still working on our Star books. Love listening to the children retell and act out the stories.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Predictable charts

We have been writing predictable charts which include each child's name, a sight word (likes) and a color word.  Today we converted that chart into  a page to put in our Reading bins.  We practiced reading it with our partners.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stop Monkeying Around!

We wrote our class promise together.  We discussed the things that have to happen in a family so that everyone gets along together, so the promise is in the children's words.  They are the "Rules of the Jungle."  When a child breaks one of the promises, he is given a warning.  The next time, the child changes his white card to a yellow card.  If it happens still again, a warning is given again and then finally the child adds a red card, misses a free time activity and a note is written to the parent so that the parent can discuss the issue at home.  Each day the child's Home-School folder is marked if a yellow or red card is received.  Most children stay on white all week and if they do, they get to go to the Treasure Box at the end of the week.  Some children might need a single warning but as soon as they realize that they have broken a rule, they straighten right up.
In these early weeks, more children end up on yellow because they just forget or might not be entirely clear about an expectation.   Most kids thrive in this environment where they know the expectations and limits and they can always expect the same consistency.  This environment of trust and mutual respect means that we can really concentrate on the learning.  There are so many times that we have wished the school system had nanny cams so that parents could peep in throughout the day and see all the learning that is going on all day long!  Most of you would be so very proud of how your little ones are handling this new environment.  We are sure proud of them!

Homework Bulletin Board

One of the skills that students are expected to master early in kindergarten is the ability to isolate the first sound in their name and then think of other words that start with the same sound.  To practice this skill, we asked parents to help their child find pictures that start with the same first sound that starts their child's name for homework.  We were so impressed with the work of our families that we highlighted it on our first bulletin board!
Jai is one of several students from the Portside Community that takes advantage of free tutoring at the MARC.  Jai, who is a second language learner, completed his homework with Mrs. Ruark using pictures he identified and searched for on the Internet.  His /j/ words that start with the same beginning sound as his name are jump, juice, juggle, jaguar, and jungle.

One of a kindergarten teacher's challenges with a project like this is students whose names start with a vowel that is neither long or short.  Parents seem to help their child find pictures of words that start with the first letter of the child's name instead of the sound.  No so with Austin's family.  They helped him find pictures that start with the same /aw/ sound that starts his name and even provided an answer key on the back!  Austin found August, autograph, Autumn and auto racing!  Very impressive!

Sanela is another of our second language learners and her homework is sent to her family in Spanish.  Even with the challenge of a second language her family helped her find pictures that start with the same beginning sound as her name.  Her mom even wrote sol under sun in Spanish.  She found both pictures and words with the /s/ sound..

Sawyer was one of the first students to complete and return his homework.  He said he worked with his mother to complete the assignment.  He identified Jack Sparrow, steak and seafood, strawberry, sundae (yum!), starfish, seahorse, and slides.  He said he used two of his mother's magazines to find and cut out all the pictures.

Independent Nia said she worked all by herself to complete her project over the weekend.  She identified neighborhood, night shirt, nail polish, Nerds, nuggets, nuts, and naked (well, we had to cover up part of the naked for the bulletin board!)  She said she had to look in three different magazines to find all of the pictures.

Joseph and his twin sister, Mia, worked together with their mom to complete their kindergarten homework.  All kindergartners have the same homework, which makes it easier for a mother of twins!  Joseph found pictures of jam, jar, jeep, and jump rope to finish his assignment.  He said he cut the pictures from a workbook he had at home.

Finn said Mommy helped him find pictures that start with the /f/ sound, but he cut them all out.  He found pictures of face, fun, family, football man, fork, fish, France, fries, Florida, feet, fingers, feet and flex!  He said all of these words start with the same sound that begins his name!

According to Tiffany, she and her mom worked on the computer and found pictures on the Internet that start with the same /t/ sound that begins her name.  They found pictures of Tinkerbell, tiger, taco, turtle, turkey, time, and tie.  Tiffany said she thought of the words and then mom found the pictures.

Paige said she and her mom looked through "just regular" magazines to find pictures of pig, peanut butter, pretzel, pizza, peach, pencils, popsicles, plate, pinwheels.  When asked who read the magazines, she replied, "Not me!  I can't read those magazines!"

I have no idea how many of our children have learned the /sh/ sound because it starts Shane's name! I have overheard many children say, "I know it is sh because that's the sound that starts Shane's name!"  Shane found Chevrolet, shoes, shirt and shampoo.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Humpty Dumpty

We have been working our way through Nursery Rhymes.  We have been using them for their rich vocabulary and to help us with rhyming words and other phonological awareness activities.  We took a time out on Friday to talk about the fact that the reason the King's horses and King's men couldn't put Humpty together again was because he was an egg!  To demonstrate we took a raw egg, drew some eyes, a nose and mouth and pretended it was Humpty.   As he fell and squashed, the children realized that the yolk came apart and the shell broke into many small pieces and that it would be hard to put him back together.  We added some glue, and then some tape and even some band aids, but just couldn't him back together!  Poor Humpty!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Science Noteboooks Begin

Today Mrs. Ruark introduced Science Notebooks to our kinders.  She started by choosing an engaging picture to go on the notebooks a bear at a picnic table!

Then she showed two Youtube videos of bears - one of bears in a candy store  and another of a bear breaking into a Subway sandwich shop!   It was obvious that these bears were curious and that they used their inquisitiveness to explore!  She then compared the bears to the children as Scientist.

The  children opened their notebooks to the first page and drew pictures of themselves - All About Me!