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Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Typical Day in #KFkinders Part 3

After morning recess, we have our wonderful Mrs. Pealer come in and work with us during our Workstations portion of our day.  During this time, the class is split into 4 groups. There are 4, 15-minute rotations throughout this hour.  This is my favorite part of our day because it has a combination of 2-teacher directed groups, and 2-independent groups.  The kinders get to work collaboratively with their group members AND have time that they need to practice skills independently.  Working independently is one of the hardest skills for a kinder to learn, because they need to sustain focus throughout the 15 minutes, listen to directions prior to working, and be able to apply their skills independently.  If you are a parent that is looking for ways to help build your kinder's skills at home, try setting up independent stations for them to do.  These stations need to be within their independent levels so they can be successful without your help.  Some great examples would be:
*read their sight word flashcards
*write their sight words
*give them a sight word, then have them write a sentence with that word in it
*have them write words that start with a certain sound
*have them write a list of words that go with a certain theme (Christmas words, color words, food)
*have them find sight words in a magazine and cut them out

For the independent Workstations, I try to balance tasks between breaking words up to hear sounds, writing, sight word practice, and reading books.  Most of the independent workstations (the 2 rotations not teacher directed) usually have the students working by themselves but sitting next to their group members.  Sometimes their task will come in the form of a worksheet.  You can see this as it comes home in their mailbox...I try to send work home the same day so you can have conversations about what we did daily!
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Working on identifying color words in our books at an independent Workstation.

Another form of indpendent task work can be practiced on the iPads.  Our awesome BCPTO has purchased some of our classroom iPads, along with the dictrict.  Right now we have 5 classroom iPads.  If you haven't considered joining the BCPTO, they do great things and provide so many opportunities for our kids.  Please consider joining their efforts.  If interested, please email Andrea Townsley (
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Thanks BCPTO!  Get involved today!

Every so often I try to put a challenge on their group and have them work together.  Most of our challenges thus far have been centered around identifying initial sounds.  You can find pictures of the challenge finishers on my Twitter feed (@Mrs_KFisher).
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Our Christmas Initial Sound Challenge!

The teacher directed groups usually work on reading or writing continuous text.  Getting kinders to really see the reading/writing connection really opens up the door to their literacy connections.  To keep working on this at home, please have them write as much as they read.  Here are some ideas on things you can do at home to support their reading/writing connection:
*read their sight words, then write them
*read their library book with you...they will read the sight words they find in the book, you can read the rest of the text (library books are usually above their reading levels, but are so fun to read!)
*have them read their "Take Home Book" to you, then write down tricky words, or words that were easy
*draw a picture about a book you are reading, then label the parts of the picture or write a sentence about the picture
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Workstation with Mrs. Pealer...finding sight words in our book prior to reading!

Like I said before, Workstations is one of my favorite parts of the day.  It allows movement and some social time while working on focused skill work.  Make sure to ask your kinder about Workstation time daily...this is something that we never skip because it is too important!!

As always, if you ever have any questions or need resources or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me!  I hope I see a bunch of you at our Make and Take Resource Night on Wednesday at 6:30.  We will be providing resources for both Jolly Phonics, sight words, and math!  See you Wednesday!--Kim

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Typical Day in #KFkinders Part-2

After we finish Morning Work and the random loose ends we have each morning to tie down, we join together at the carpet to go through our schedule.  I am a routine lover!  I become very scattered without it (much  like your average 5 or 6 year old!).  Our schedule is pretty routine each day as well.  I think it is beneficial for kids and adults alike to know what is coming at them.  We can reach amazing expectations when we know what to expect.

After our schedule preview, we move on to math.  During math we start with an animated story produced by our math curriculum, Envisions.  The story is great to preview the skill we will be practicing, and it also gives great vocabulary that we stress in our math discussions.  A copy of the Common Core math vocabulary words for kindergarten can be accessed through this link (Math Vocabulary Cards).  The story is interactive, so students are answering questions, using manipulatives, and discussing with table-mates.  It is a great way to channel our learning before we start with the work mat.

The front of the work mat is very guided.  This gives us a chance to review what the interactive story just previewed.  We  will use those essential skills on the front of the work mat, and apply them to other skills that were previously learned on the backside of the work mat.  On the front, there are no printed directions, so have your kinder explain what skills we practiced and see if they can summarize their learning!

On the backside of the work mat you will see the interactive story summarized on the top.  This allows us a place to reference the story when we are working with the skills and applying our new learning.  The directions for the work mat are printed on the bottom of the sheet.  Usually we start the backside with guided learning.  I try to scale back the amount of support I am giving by the end of the work mat.  Sometimes, especially with brand new skills, we need to work together for the duration of the work mat.  Our series does a good job of reviewing skills throughout the year, so if your kinder didn't master the skill the first or second time it showed up on the work mat...hold tight.  We will probably come back to it later in the Topic, or the year.  If you notice that your kinder isn't understanding the skill, try Googling the skill or searching for it on Pinterest.  Many times you will find free activities that you can be doing at home to help strengthen that learning.  If you still have questions on what you can be doing at home, please contact me and I'll get you hooked up or help direct your search!

An important note about our math is divided into "Topics".  These topics allow us to learn different concepts.  We will move through these topics at different paces to make sure we have a firm foundation of skills so we can build upon them and apply them in different situations.  Here is a list of the topics we will cover this year.
*Topic One-One to Five
*Topic Two-Comparing and Ordering 0-5
*Topic Three-Six to Ten
*Topic Four-Comparing and Ordering 0-10
*Topic Five-Numbers to 20
*Topic Six-Numbers to 100
*Topic Seven-Understanding Addition
*Topic Eight-Understanding Subtraction
*Topic Nine-More Addition and Subtraction
*Topic Ten-Composing Numbers 11-19
*Topic Eleven-Decomposing Numbers 11-19
*Topic Twelve-Measurement
*Topic Thirteen-Sorting, Classifying, Counting, and Categorizing Data
*Topic Fourteen-Identifying and Describing Shapes
*Topic Fifteen-Position and Location of Shapes
*Topic Sixteen-Analyzing, Comparing, and Composing Shapes
*Topic Seventeen-Step-up to First Grade
You will get a good description of each topic when the Topic Introduction sheet comes home at the beginning of every topic.  It will outline vocabulary words we will focus on throughout the topic, prior knowledge that we need to continue to build, and suggested activities and books you can use to extend their learning.  There is also a game you can plan on the backside of this work mat.

Here is a reminder of what our Kindergarten Priority Standards and Learning Targets this year!

Attached to every Topic Test you will notice there is a summary of your kinder's learning in comparison to the standards (credit to Mrs. Townsley for creating these!).  Please look at what was expected, see how they responded, and continue to push and extend their learning.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Typical Day in #KFkinders

Hello!  As I talk with my 5 year old after school and probe him about his day in AK, I usually get the "I don't know...I didn't do anything today."  I KNOW THAT IS A LIE!  I like to think that Mrs. Spading in Atkins is running around just as crazy as I am here at Keystone attending to all these little bodies and needs in the room!  We do a lot during the day but, as your kinder's teacher, I can do a better job of communicating what a typical day looks like for you.  That should make probing questions at home a lot easier on you, and might get your kinder to talk more about this awesome place!  So here you go...I am going to break these posts up with different parts of our day (with pictures of course!!).

Morning Work
When the kinders come in, they have 4 jobs that they know they need to do independently.
1.) Put their folder and Take Home book in the yellow cubbie.
2.) Sign up  for lunch.
3.) Get their chair.
4.) Complete their Morning Work.

Morning Work is just a quick worksheet that gives us a good jump-start to our day!  Here are the different parts and different expectations for each!

Sentence Writing
You will notice that your kinder will be writing a sentence at the top of the Morning Work.  Right now we are just focusing on the mechanics of sentence writing by copying a sight word sentence from the board.  Areas of focus to be looking for and can help stem some probing questions at home...
*Is your kinder starting each sentence with a capital letter.  Is that the only capital letter that is in the sentence (unless we write the word "I" or have a name).
*Is your kinder putting in appropriate finger spaces between words?  Are they putting letters right next to each other within words?
*Is there some type of punctuation at the end of the sentence?  We are usually putting a period at the early stages of Kindergarten.  Towards the end of the year when we are controlling sentence writing more we will work with question marks and exclamation points.
*Can you read the sentence?  If not, talk with your kinder about their letter formation.  Are they using the handwriting lines to form short vs. tall letters?  Are they writing too big, too small?  How is their pencil grip?  Ask them to re-write the sentence for you at home.

Number Writing
The next part focuses on number writing, specifically showing the quantity or putting the numbers in a ten frame.  We need to get writing our numbers 0-20 an automatic skill. Right now most of the kinders can write most of these numbers, but we still need to monitor reversals and that the double digit numbers are written in the correct order (12 is not the same as 21).

One-to-One Matching
The next focus is for students to count a specific quantity and then record the appropriate number.  This again practices the number recognition, but requires students to seek out how many too.

To finish there is a portion of the Morning Work that requires students to color a small picture.  This really works on fine motor control.  They really need to be able to control the crayon by moving their wrists in a flexible and comfortable manner.  We continue to focus on handwriting during letter and number writing activities, coloring really helps strengthen our pencil grip to make this skill easier for kinders.  Coloring also gets them to slow down and pay attention to detail.  If you are noticing your kinder's picture is scribbled or not colored to their best effort...TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT.  I have had numerous conversations this year about effort and giving our  best effort each time we work.  By families echoing these conversations at home will go a long way!

I try to check Morning Work daily and use fix-its for teaching points, but sometimes time does not allow for me to check them.  If your Morning Work comes back without it checked, take that opportunity to work on it at home.  Your reinforcement of these same skills at home is so powerful and can really help your kinder turn the tide!

As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns!  Thanks for the constant support!--Kim

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pumpkin Investigations

This past week the kinders in both Mrs. Kimm's and Mrs. Fisher's rooms studied about the pumpkin's life cycle.  Some words that your kinder should have been able to highlight within the pumpkin cycle are:
*green pumpkin
*orange pumpkin

We read a lot of books that were on our instructional levels.  A lot of these books are accessible via the internet if you search for free printable books.  You can always find these, print them off, and read them at home as well!  If you are ever looking for  resources at home, I encourage you to search for things on Pinterest (I'm slightly addicted!!).

To end our week's learning, we conducted a pumpkin investigation in the MakerSpace.  For this investigation each kinder got a little pumpkin.  With it they measured how tall with blocks, counted how many lines were on their pumpkin, drew their pumpkin, and decided if it was small/medium/big.

Then we made a prediction if their pumpkin would float or sink in water.  This was the best part of the investigation because most of them thought their pumpkins would sink.  It was so fun to see their faces light up when their pumpkins actually floated.  It is so fun to have a space within our building that lends itself so well to messy learning!!  If you ever want to know how you can support the MakerSpace with donations of things you no longer need at home, please email me!  We love getting new priceless treasures!


**Make sure to follow our learning on Twitter @Mrs_KFisher  I update that almost daily!!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Bloomsbury and Reading Buddies

Wow, our field trip day was a BUSY day.  Our morning started with yummy muffins and fruit (provided by the BCPTO!!  THANK YOU!!) for our Breakfast Buddies.  Here are a couple pictures of our Breakfast Buddies!

We also went to Bloomsbury Farm on Friday morning (also paid for by BCPTO!!).  Our morning was full of a hayrack ride...

We had 3 awesome parent volunteers...THANKS!!

We also went on the Jumping Pillows...

the corn box and slides...

Barnyard Buddies...

Western Town...

and tire maze...

Even the teachers had fun!!

It was a great day to enjoy each other, appreciate our awesome community, and remember how great it is to be in this great school district where our BCPTO and district administration believe in the importance of providing opportunities for learning outside of the classroom walls!  

Keep following along with our learning on Twitter (I post a lot more frequently there!!) @Mrs_KFisher  We have so many great learning experiences to share with you all!!