• Feb042012

POSTED AT 01:09 PM

Hello families!

This week in science students began taking turns feeding the minnows. I often find students using their free time to watch the fish with our magnifying glasses- they’ve even begun to discuss how the fish are moving and in what ways they are the same and different!

We also have been experimenting with bubbles: talking about how we make the bubble soap (we’ll be making more next week!), what’s inside the bubbles, how wind carries them so they float, and what happens when they land on different surfaces. Hopefully we'll have more warm days where we can explore the science of bubbles and the three basic states of matter. If we have any days where the weather is below freezing, we'll get to blow bubbles outside and watch them freeze!

In math we’ve been practicing sequencing with worksheets and games. This is something we are going to continue working on for the rest of the year. We have practiced putting four images in order (for example, a child stepping on a diving board, bouncing in the air, diving into the water, and then poking his head out the water). This is a bit difficult for many students, so we’re going to continue playing our sequencing games during math groups and also spend extra time sequencing as a class on the rug. Next we’ll work together as a class to make a sequencing and directional poster titled How to Make a Snowman. One way to practice sequencing at home is at dinner: if your child helps, ask him or her, “So we’re making Mac and Cheese. I’m just going to put the cheese on the macaroni.” Hopefully your child will say, “Wait mom( dad/grandma/uncle Tim)! We need to cook the macaroni first!” and you can mention words like first, second, third, next, then and talk about why we have to do things in order (“Why should we cook the macaroni first?” “Because it won’t come out right/will taste bad/that’s not how you make it”). This is an important foundation for student story writing in kindergarten.

We’ve been practicing sorting with various items in our classroom. Some items we've sorted are coins (by size, type, color, and amount), markers (by color) and crayons. The sorting project the students enjoyed the most was, as always, the easiest: crayons! We’ve talked about how there are many different ways to sort the same thing. They first separated the crayons by whether they still had paper wrapped around them. I swooped in and grabbed the bucket of “unwrapped” crayons, brought them home, and melted them into new rainbow crayons. They also sorted crayons by size and color. Sorting was a hit with a great reward!

We also continue to count, write numbers, and have been using pattern blocks and matching them to pictures. We'll continue finding shapes in our room (the clock is a circle; the board is rectangle; etc), counting forward (sometimes up to 100!) and backwards from 15. Many students are still learning how to count past 15- that's typical at this age- but we'll keep moving forward in our counting so that they are familiarized with numerical order and number names.

We created a class book inspired by The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. We used various layers of paper and paint to recreate our own snowy day pictures. The collages came out extra lovely, so they’re hung up on our bulletin board for a few weeks before we add them to our class book area. We also made a class book titled, "If I Had \$100, I Would Buy..." with some great pictures and responses!

Since December we’ve been meeting with our reading buddies from Mrs. Rono’s second grade class.  The entire school participates in this “Caring School Communities” program. The kids are assigned to a buddy who they meet with every other Friday afternoon in our room. The second graders read stories to the pre-k students and after they work together on a small project. At our last meet-up the kids created posters about their mutual favorite activities, animals, toys, even beaches! I’ve created a new link titled “buddies” where you can see the students in action!

Mrs. Garrow, our music teacher, has begun preparations for the spring concert (in May, I believe!). She’s sending me the songs the pre-k is working on during music class and we will add them in to morning song & poem routine. I’d send the songs home for parents that might want to practice with their children, but that would ruin the surprise!! ;)

Remembering scarves, snow pants, mittens, and hats can be difficult- for parents and students! If you’d like to send in a bag of all or any of these items for your child to keep at their cubby, we’d be glad to hang on to them, whether you’d like them to use them every day or just to have as a back up in case they forget something at home. Students without boots may not step on the snow, and students without snow pants may not sit, kneel, or lie down on the snow.

Next week we will be celebrating the 100th day of school (Friday, February 10th) with games and projects. I'll be sending home a notice on Monday requesting that parents send students to school with 100 of something for snack.

-class photos

-class work

-science

See you soon!

Ms. T

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Jan202012

POSTED AT 09:44 PM

Happy New Year's!
We've been very busy in room 116! This month we're learning more about weather, especially wind and water. We've also started visiting the library on Thursday mornings to watch short informative videos, play interactive games, and answer questions all based on our Let's Find Out! subscription from Scholastic. We've also finally received the newsletters from Scholastic and have been using them in class. So far we've learned about animals during winter, Martin Luther King Jr., water and ice, and penguins.
We are also continuing to learn about letters, letter sounds, and letter formation. Along with chanting the alphabet and reviewing letter cards, we also have been thinking of words that have the same beginning sounds or same ending sounds. We use Wikki Stix and letter cards to form letters, letter cookie cutters with play-doh, and our fingers in shaving cream, dishes of salt, and rice to properly form letters (always start at the top! ). While our focus on letter writing is capital letters, we have been using picture-word cards with lower case words to form words with magnet letters on baking pans. We'll continue to use our Handwriting Without Tears books to practice hand writing as well.
We will be adding another computer program to use in class called Type To Learn Jr. This is a typing program, but the goal is more to familiarize students with a keyboard and mouse as well as encourage letter recognition. Starfall will still be a choice for students to use as well.
In math we continue to practice counting backwards and forwards and to write our numbers. We also have been doing more simple addition and subtraction. We've made some graphs as a class. We continue to study shapes. We practice sequencing and math memory games as well.

We also have four new students in our class! They have fins and gills and live in a tank on our science table . We made a chart about our minnows and worked together to create a list of rules for caring for the fish. Every day a new student will get a turn to feed the fish in the morning and afternoon. I'll be keeping a close watch on that tank for any, ahem, floaters... fortunately PetCo is only a 3 minute drive away .
Parents have been invited again to come read to the class! I sent home a notice today so please feel free to sign up for a time. Parents are welcome to pick more than one reading slot. We love having you!
I have an immense amount of photos to upload for the site- unfortunately I've been looking for my USB cord since Christmas and can't find it anywhere. I hope within the next week to borrow a friend's and have the pictures up on the site. I'll make a new post when they're up!
Keep warm during the snowstorm this weekend!
Ms. T
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Dec182011

POSTED AT 12:44 PM

Hello!

Our gym teacher Ms. Cameron gave the kids some great books on having healthy bodies. I sent them home in their folders last week. We hope you enjoy reading and discussing how to have a healthy body with your children! In class, we talk about how to stop the spread of germs by washing hands and covering our mouths when we sneeze or couch. The kids also participate in cleaning germs from the tables during the day (volunteers only- students are not forced to clean the tables! They use baby wipes or paper towels after I spray with organic, chemical free spray. Ms. B, the custodians, and I do however use disinfecting sprays and wipes to clean when the students are out of the room). We’ll continue talking about health, the food pyramid, and being active for the rest of the year.

On Tuesday afternoon we joined the rest of the school in the cafeteria for a wonderful music assembly. Guided by their music instructors, the students in grades 3, 4, and 5 performed songs on their instruments and sung in a chorus. The pre-k kids were incredibly patient and attentive during the hour long concert- I’m so proud! We discussed how when they get older they’ll also be able to sing in the chorus and/or pick an instrument to play.

We are having a class party on Friday, December 23 before winter break. Students will again be invited to wear their favorite pajamas to school! I sent home a request list for some snacks and paper goods for the part on Monday- thank you to everyone who volunteered to send something in. We’ll skip rest time and have a dance party while Ms. B and I set up, and then the party will begin! I’ll provide some extra Christmas and winter crafts for the kids to make after (if they’d like) and we’ll listen to some holiday stories before we part.

I’ll be sending home our rest time blankets and towels over vacation for a washing. Please send them with students upon their return.

Report cards were sent home last week. Please send me an e-mail or see me at dismissal if you have any questions!

We are still writing letters. I am delighted that so many parents (and even a grandparent!) have taken part in this fun and important lesson with the students. Because we have been lucky enough to receive so many letters, it’s taking us a bit to read each letter and write back! But don’t worry- you’ll get a letter in the mail from all of us very soon :)

After vacation I’ll be sending home a new sign up sheet for parent reading! Parents are welcome to sign up for more than one visit. We love having you and it’s very exciting for the students.

Class photos and student work have been updated :)
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Dec102011

POSTED AT 03:33 PM

Happy December!

Last week we put up a bird feeder right outside our classroom. We’ve made a KWL chart (What we Know, Want to know, and what we Learned) about birds that we will continue to add to for the next few weeks. We’re also keeping a list of the different kinds of birds who visit us (that is... if we have any feathered visitors! So far we’ve only had a squirrel...).

Because all of our families celebrate Christmas, we’ll be making many crafts and reading many books about this holiday. We will also spend time talking about other winter holidays celebrated by students in our school like Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. If you’d like us to add any other special holiday traditions to discuss in class, please share! I remember some of my earliest school memories being from December- eating latkes in first grade, a teacher dressing up like Santa Claus, and a parent from Germany sharing how they celebrated Christmas!

We’ve also added Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, and Jingle Bells to our songs!

Mrs. Cameron, the gym teacher, is discussing healthy eating with the kids. We’ll be piggy-backing her ideas and incorporating this topic in our math and science blocks. Check out a (very small) picture of a healthy foods/food pyramid poster we made! It’s currently hanging next to our cubbies if you’re inside the building and want a peek!

We were also visited by some great volunteers from the Aquarium. Check out more info under our "science" link.

Also, I have a special request...
Our CD player is broken! It won’t play past the first few songs on any of our cds...
We use our CD player to play our songs & poems after morning meeting (a big part of our Opening the World of Learning curriculum), to listen to stories, and to play classical music during rest time.
If anyone has a CD player that’s collecting dust in the garage that they can part with, we would love to put it to use! If not, I’ll contact the PTO after break and see if they can replace it :) Thanks in advance for thinking of us!

Report cards will be going home next week. For parents with siblings also in school: you may notice the pre-kindergarten report cards are set up a bit differently from students in k-5. Pre-K report cards have more detail; a bit like a progress report!

Classroom directory ( Angelina’s e-mail corrected!)
Photos
Science
Class work
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Nov272011

POSTED AT 12:26 PM

Greetings from room 116!

As always, pajama day was a hit! The kids felt very cozy in their warm, extra comfortable pjs. The faculty cooed at the pre-k’s cuteness whenever they left the class. We plan on having another pajama day before we part for vacation in December.

Thank you to families who brought in fruit for our fruit salad Thanksgiving feast. We had apple slices, oranges, watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and even a mango!

Next week we will be:
using blocks and other materials to build a playground
continue shopping in our class grocery store
use our class sandboxes as a space for road construction vehicles
explore books from our book bin and rug area
use play-doh for making cookies and pizzas
paint on our easel with a basic set of colors
play beginning sound games and letter font matching
begin identifying coins and paper bills
continue counting and identifying numbers and shapes
making patterns with popcorn and cranberries to feed the birds
respond to letters from parents
reading Hooray, a Pinata! by Elisa Kleven  and re-reading Dandelion by Don Freeman and Matthew & Tilly by Rebecca C. Jones (along with many other stories)
...and more!

Updated pages:
-Photos (I changed the page set-up: new photos are always at the top!)
-Food Drive link (last link on the left side of the page)
-Calendar

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy the time off with your families:)
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Nov212011

POSTED AT 06:11 PM

I’m excited to announce that Allison DiDomenico has decided to extend her maternity leave- she’ll return next fall. I’m thrilled by this news and I look forward to continue teaching your children for the whole school year!

Last week we opened our class grocery store. It was a bit chaotic keeping our items “stocked” at first, but they’ve been having a great time pretending ther’re shopping... and trying to get each other to sniff the empty milk carton.

We also received letters from Max’s dad, Caleb’s mom and Angelina’s mom! The kids were so excited to open the letters and write back. We worked as a class to respond to the letters by talking about how to address an envelope, where to write the date, and what to write back. Everyone eagerly participated in answering the writer’s questions, and during center time kids volunteered to decorate the letters and envelopes.

We’ve been discussing what it means to be thankful during Thanksgiving time. We discussed how when we say we are thankful it is usually for something very important. My examples were things like our families, having a home, having food to eat, and having healthy bodies (which inspired Charlie to be thankful for his eyeballs ;) ). I wrote the students ideas on paper leaves which are now posted on the window next to our courtyard entrance.

Although conferences are over, please never hesitate to contact me with your concerns, questions, and comments. Conferences made me really reflect on every student’s personalities, abilities, and skills- and I feel so lucky, and thankful, to have such a wonderful group of students with such supportive families this year. I am very fortunate and grateful.

Pre-K is taking charge of the school’s food drive. We’ll be collecting items until winter break. Thank you so much to all of the generous donations we’ve received. Our goal is to collect 600 items- as of today, we’ve already collected over 100! In the next few days I’ll create a link on our website for the food drive with information about donations and what we’re doing in class alongside this project.

Friendly reminders:
Wednesday is pajama day.
Wednesday is also a half day.

I’ve forgotten my camera at school, so there are no picture updates today- but check back before Thanksgiving!
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Nov052011

POSTED AT 01:16 PM

On Tuesday we joined the kindergarten classes in the art room for an assembly. Father and son artists from Mexico spoke to the class (with an interpreter) about wood working. They displayed their beautiful pieces for the kids to look at and showed the students how they make their carvings, beginning with chopping down a large log of wood and finishing with painting the details. The kids were delighted and continued to discuss their experience all day! Mrs. Gillooly, the art teacher, will continue the lesson with the pre-k students next week where they’ll create animal pieces inspired by the presentation.

On Wednesday we began to create our pretend classroom grocery store. For the rest of the week we discussed why grocery stores are important, what makes someone a “customer” and what the different jobs of a grocery store worker are. During centers, the kids will get a chance to play different parts- customer, bagger, stocker, and cashier. We talked about money and paying for groceries, and why we stock foods and other items in particular sections of the store. Some of the books we read that discuss this topic are The Little Red Hen and Matthew & Tilly. We will start to “shop” at our grocery store next week! Thank you everyone who donated empty boxes and containers to the store :)

We also went on a leaf hunt behind the school. Unfortunately most of the leaves are brown, but the kids had a great time anyways. We brought all our findings back into the classroom and put everything on our science table. We talked about how leaves make sugar to feed the trees, why leaves change colors, and what happens to the trees that makes them to lose their leaves. We will be using our found leaves for math, writing, and crafts next week!

Friendly reminders:

School is closed on Tuesday (for voting and Professional development) and Friday (for Veteran’s Day).

Parent conferences start the week of the November 14th. The teachers met up and arranged appointments so parents can consecutively meet for sibling conferences. If your appointment does not work, or you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll see how we can fix the problem!

-Class directory
-Specialists
-Photos (old photos were removed to make room for new shots)
-A new link: Making Pizza Dough
-Wish list

Have a great weekend!

Ms. T, Ms. B, & Alanna

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Nov012011

POSTED AT 07:27 PM

We had so much fun at our Pumpkin Party! Thank you to every one who donated items. We watched a short story from storylineonline.net during rest time (Stellaluna), had a fun dance party on the rug, and enjoyed our snacks! I will be sending home an updated class directory tomorrow, as well as stamped envelopes to parents who volunteered to write letters to the class. Thanks again for participating!

We will be learning more about leaves and the changing trees and weather this week. We’ll get to go outside during Science and collect colorful fall leaves for the classroom and to inspire us while making art and in Writer’s Workshop. We’ll finally make that pizza dough just like the little red hen, and we will begin setting up our classroom supermarket.

On November 1st the Cunniff will be visited by Mexican woodworking artists. Room 116 will visit with the other K classes during their “specials” time.

On November 8th (PD) and November 11th (Veteran’s Day) we do not have school.

Soon I will send home the appointment times for conferences. Teachers will be meeting together on Wednesday to try and book conference times so that parents of siblings will not have to make multiple trips.
Conference days are also half days; school ends at 12:15 and students can be picked up at the courtyard door as usual.
Students who attend Voyager (extended day) will still be able to attend the program. They will be dismissed at 12:15 and meet up in the cafeteria as usual.
We have both snack and lunch on half days.

-Class directory
-Science
-Student work
-Class photos (scroll to the bottom!)
-Specialists

Stay warm!
Ms. T, Ms. B, and Alanna!
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Oct242011

POSTED AT 05:51 PM

We have two new wonderful additions to our class! Please welcome Massimo and our new (additional) classroom aide, Alanna. We are so happy to have them join us room 116!

Last week we were visited by a representative of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. The kids loved having her- she read a story and taught us about where water comes from, how it comes into our houses, and where it goes when it's poured down the drains.

Here are just a few things we’ll be doing in class this week on top of practicing our letters, numbers, handwriting, motor skills and more...:

This week we will be reading Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza and A Letter to Amy as well as many pumpkin and fall books. We’ll learn how to make pizza dough (and even get to play with it!) and continue to discuss mailing letters and practice making stationary. We’ll learn more about shapes- especially circles and triangles. We’ll cut open our pumpkin and see what’s inside. We’ll talk about friends and feelings. We’ll also learn about spiders and bats. We will finish the week with our Pumpkin Party!

specialists page
October photos (check near the bottom of the class photos page!)

See you soon!

Ms. T and Ms. B
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Oct172011

POSTED AT 07:49 PM

Hello Parents!

For the next two weeks we will be learning all about pumpkins: how they grow, what they look like, what’s inside... we’ll be using pumpkins to inspire us while making artwork, counting, matching, creating stories, and more! We’ll also start talking about everyone’s favorite echolocation user, the bat! During our free story time we will be reading books on these two topics, as well as fiction and non-fiction books about leaves and autumn. The books we read will go into the students’ special browsing bin where they can explore during literacy.

Our letter of the week is B! B, Bat, /b/

We are starting Unit 2 of our ELA curriculum. The topic is friends.
More to come on our units on a new page! Stay tuned!

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has donated to the class! I am so happy to have such generous families in room 116. I’m also amazed at the recycling coming in- we’re going to be creating some awesome projects soon! Thank you again for your thoughtfulness.