Sunday, February 23, 2014

About Homework in Kindergarten

We have recently had some questions about how homework fits into our kindergarten grading.  It doesn't! 

We place grade level homework every Monday in the blue folder with the class Newsletter and the Principal's communique. If you do not receive the homework or a note that there is no homework for a particular week, please ask.  It is always possible that your child did not remove his blue folder from his backpack or that he forgot his folder at home or that we simply missed putting it in!  The homework is designed for the student to do with an adult and is usually a review of skills that have been practiced in class.  The homework should take no longer than 20 minutes a night and can be doubled up or skipped for a single night, depending on your family’s needs and routine.  Reading  and logging a book every night (Monday –Thursday) is an additional daily expectation and will continue to be an expectation for your child’s entire time at Chets Creek, so make sure to have a routine set for that now.  The skills on the homework are the ones that are generally assessed on Fridays' skill tests and are the same ones that all kindergartners are held accountable for across Chets Creek.  Families send the homework back in the blue folder on Fridays.  We scan the homework to make sure it is done and remind students that do not do homework routinely how important it can be for families to know what is happening in school.  We have noted over the years that students that do the best in class are the same students that generally complete their homework and make sure that it is ready to return on Friday! We also occasionally give a small treat to everyone that has remembered to bring their homework in on Friday – just as an additional incentive!  We do not give a grade for homework in Kindergarten.  Nor do we give a grade for completion of the homework in Kindergarten.  That will happen in first grade when we begin to keep meticulous records and give a grade of completion at the end of each nine weeks.  The purpose of homework in kindergarten is to get parents used to the expectation and to give families a chance to set up a routine for homework in their home (a place and time in their busy family life), because, let’s face it, homework will be a part of your child’s expectation for the rest of his/her school career.  We hope that the homework gives you a place to initiate conversation with your child about what is going on in school and a way to get a quick check on progress.  Please let us know when you have questions about homework.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Toothpicks and Marshmallows

We almost hate to leave our unit on Geometry, because it has been so much fun!  Yesterday we made all the shapes with play doh and today we made shapes with toothpicks (edges) and miniature marshmallows (vertices).  First we had to decide which 3-D shapes we could actually make.  The children decided that they could make a cube, triangular prism and pyramid.  After pairs of children made those shapes we challenged them to make a rectangular prism without adding any extra points (marshmallows) but allowed them to break the toothpicks in half.  You would be amazed at how many of the children figured it out!

Oh, the shapes we made!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Close Reading with Furby

As we are beginning to teach our children the new common core strategy of close reading, we began with having them view commercials of Furby!  They were totally engaged and at the end of the video and print ads, hands shot up with, "It talks", "You can name it", "You can feed it", "You can pull its tail and it laughs", "You can get an app for it and it works with a tablet."  As soon as we got over the "I want one!" phase, the children began to analyze the ads a little more critically comparing one with another.  Then we talked about how expensive a Furby is and some of the children that have one talked about them not working!  They need batteries to continue to operate and the some of the children tired of them quickly.  Others talked about talking to their Furby and caring for it every single day  So...are they worth the cost?  Some children took the side that they are worth the cost and others decided they were not.  No matter which side they took, the children are beginning to think about what they hear and see and to analyze more critically.  This is the same skill we want them to develop as readers.

Maybe next time we will encourage them to put on the lens of their parents...  Would your parents think they are worth the price?  Why or why not?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Such a fun day!  We enjoyed lots of Valentine activities, including designing our own Valentine hats and making heart pictures in art.  Thanks to Tiffany and Alex' moms, we had yummy Valentine treats.
Then as an added surprise, Jaxson de Ville visited us delivering flowers to our amazing Mrs. Nelson from her sweet husband! The kids LOVED it!  What fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Shapin' Up!

Hope you are hearing all about cylinders and spheres, trapezoids and rhombuses during our Geometry Unit in Math!  At the end of each day students have a chance to work on the computer with i-ready, work in a small group with Mrs. Ruark on skills such as writing from 1-50, counting from 1-100, and ordering numbers from 1-50 or work at one of the six Centers that make up our Math Center Time.

Making pattern block puzzles

Make shapes with rubber bands on geoboards

Exploring with geoblocks

 Copying linking block designs

Small groups with Mrs. Ruark

 i-Ready on the computers

 Always working on counting!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2nd Nine Weeks Soaring Eagles

So proud of our class this nine weeks.  We celebrated all of our successes at our Awards Ceremony.  Congratulations to this nine weeks Soaring Eagles!  Outstanding young students!


Each month our school highlights a character trait.  This month the character trait was tolerance - a big word for kindergartners - but they learned that it is a word that means respecting other people's differences.  At the end of the month we get to choose a student that has best exemplified that trait in our classroom. Congratulations to this month's winner whose ever-present smile and acceptance of others is a constant gift to our classroom!
Update:  Each month all of the classroom winners are put in a basket and then two in each grade level are pulled out and all of those children are invited to a special Chick-fil-A lunch.  This is the first time one of our students has won that big prize, but today, our adorable winner above enjoyed a delicious Chick-fil-A lunch! Woo hoo!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Today we played a game with partners to see how many different ways we could fill a hexagon with triangles, trapezoids and rhombuses.  We were amazing!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It's Bingo Time!

Each nine weeks we have a reading goal for families to help their child complete at home.  We really believe that reading at home makes a difference and that it is a lifelong habit that pays off in spades.  We hope that our children will establish this daily reading habit in kindergarten.  This past nine weeks we expected our children to read 25 books at home (Monday through Thursday nights) and to record those books in a book log. We send home a "just right" book each night for each child to read.  At the end of the nine weeks, every child that met the goal and turned in a log received a Readers-to-Leaders certificate at our Awards Ceremony.   Our Principal, Susan Phillips, always plans a special treat for all the children who meet their goal.  Today 30 of our children were invited to play Bingo with the Principal and every single child that played was a winner and received a prize!  What fun!

Monday, February 3, 2014

We're 100 Days Smarter!

Today was the 100th day of Kindergarten!  Can you believe it?  Many of the children came dressed in tee-shirts with 100 things.  Such creative parents - view a few of the creations below.

100 band-aids with the saying - I survived 100 day of kindergarten!

 Stars and bows and patterns!
 This is 100 safety pins!  Amazing!
Stickers and monster eyes and jewels!
 Would you believe 100 buttons?
We shared our shirts and then we wrote from 1-100 and and wrote about the 100 things that we would like to have (like money and toys!) and the 100 things we wouldn't want to have (like ants and bug bites!)  Then we had out 100 snack.
Next we made a hundred hat.  Each hat had 10 strips with 10 stickie dots on each strip.  The perfect 100!

After lunch we had a hunt for 100 Hersey kisses.  Each kiss had a number on the bottom and we had to match the number on each kiss with a number on a hundreds chart.  The deal was if we found them all we could eat them all, but... at the end of the day, we were still missing two numbers so no kisses today!  I'm sure we will still be looking for the missing Hersey kisses tomorrow!

We ended the day with Fruit Look necklaces made from 10 rows of 10 Fruit Loops on each row.  Wonder how many of those Fruit Loops made it home?  What a FUN day!