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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Earth Day

If you live on Instagram or Twitter you couldn't help but notice that #keyrocks (Keystone Elementary's hashtag) celebrated Earth Day on Friday.  I know your #KFkinders probably came home telling you everything we did, but I wanted to make sure you had all the facts (that may have been hidden in their excitement!!).

Mrs. Happel (1st grade teacher) and Mrs. Bishop (guidance counselor) got together and got us a bunch of trees to plant for our campus.  They are part of the outdoor learning team, which is a team of teachers that are looking into activities, maintenance, and overall organization of the outdoor learning area we have at Keystone Elementary. This is a new space that was implemented this past fall and we are continuing to find new additions and uses for the space.  Here are a few pictures of their recent work day!

The new raised beds are ready for planting! 
Always thankful for great volunteers to provide more learning opportunities for our students.
This is an old picture of our upper deck garden area!
Teachers are encouraged to chase their own passions and interests to help create more authentic opportunities for students.

We even had one of our own #KFkinders lending a helping hand!  Thanks, Kaiser!

On Earth Day our students were given areas to help pick up trash.  These areas had to branch off of campus because Keystone is a VERY clean town!  Our students had to really search for trash (kudos Keystone residents!!).  Here are some pictures of students showing how to be"Earth-friendly"!  We also talked a lot about how this project practices caring and respectful Bobcat Behaviors! 
#KFkinders ready to clean!  They look pretty cute in their Earth Day headbands too!
Don't worry, we gave them gloves so their hand wouldn't get too dirty!
Adisyn provided a helping hand!
Mrs. Townsley and Haddie are showing the true definition of teamwork!
After cleaning up the town and campus, we headed to our planting spot.  If you go look behind Keystone Elementary, you will find our 3 lilac bushes between the windows of Mrs. Kimm (3rd grade) and Mrs. Bonewitz (3rd grade).  I don't know about them, but I would be so excited to have these beautiful bushes bloom right outside my window.  It will take a couple years to bloom, but they smell and look so is definitely worth the wait!  Here are some pictures of #KFkinders planting their lilac bushes!

#KFkinders taking a well deserved break prior to planting!
Kaiser, Kira, and Kenna are showing how our lilac bushes looked prior to planting.  They were shocked they were so little.
We talked about the importance of worms to plants and soil...these were returned after we were done digging!
The ground was a little hard for the kids to dig, so the teachers had to help out a bit!
So curious, and so helpful!

It was such a great day to be a Bobcat!  I love how passionate our teachers are to provide authentic opportunities for our students.  Our students banded together to make a difference in our community and a lasting improvement on our campus.  I can't wait to enjoy these plants for years to come and recall all the fond memories I have of this class.  I am truly thankful that you let me spend my daylight hours with your awesome kinder each day.  This has definitely been a class for the books!  So many memories made, and more time to make a ton more!!  Let's make the final weeks of the 2015-2016 #KFkinder year fantacular (a word my brother in-law uses all the time, but somehow sums up my feeling perfectly!).
2015-2016 #KFkinders

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

An Email Coming Your Way!!

Hello all!
I am so excited to show you another trick up my sleeve!!  I will be emailing you soon.  I have recently sat down with your kinder to have them read into an app that I like to use.  The app is called LevelBook.  It is amazing on so many levels...(I know that's corny, but hang with me...I hang out with 5-6 year old humans all day, I get excited easily!!).  This app records a student reading with an audio clip.  It will also allow me to monitor any miscues (mistakes) and self-corrections the student has in their reading.  Since you can't see the text, you will get an email of stats on each reading.  You will notice that there is an accuracy level, a self-correction level, and words per minute (WPM).  For the accuracy level, we want books to be between 100%-95% to be considered INDEPENDENT.  This would be books that are under their independent control.  When books are between 94%-90% is considered INSTRUCTIONAL.  This would be books that students are able to read, but they are doing so much word attack (decoding) that it could be affecting their comprehension of the text.  If your student's accuracy level is between 90%-0%, this would be considered FRUSTRATION.  Obviously, just as the name would reflect, we do not want students to be reading at this level.  The book might be too hard and/or they might not be monitoring their own reading.  In the end, the student's comprehension will most likely be affected at this level.  So when you get this email, pay attention to the accuracy level to give you a picture of what your student's reading ability looks and sounds like on a grade-level text.

Next look at the self-correction and error ratio.  If students are making miscues, we ideally want them also self-correcting.  If students are not self-correcting, then that tells us that they are not monitoring their reading as closely as they could.  We don't want a ton of self-corrections, because that still serves as an interruption in their reading.  But, if they are making errors, we want to continue to encourage them to self-correct with their reading strategies.

Lastly, you will see a WPM stat.  IGNORE THIS STAT!  I do not measure words per minute in Kindergarten.  Research will say to start measuring student fluency with WPM after January of 1st grade.  So instead of using this stat, I have left the timer going after the student is done reading.  This allows me to continue to record our after reading conversation!  I will highlight positives from their reading, reading strategies I either saw them use or ones that I think would have been beneficial for them, or ask comprehension questions.  Make sure and listen to this segment because it will allow you to reflect on how your end of the story conversations flow at home.

So...with all of that, please enjoy listening to the audio clip of your kinder read.  Listen to it with them, ask them about their book and reading strategies.  JUST ENJOY IT, because I know I enjoy listening to them read and reflect on how far them have come this year!  If you have any questions or did not receive an email with an audio clip, email me back.  I may not have all the correct email addresses and I would gladly change my contacts to make sure you receive one too!!  Thanks--Kim