Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall and Fine Motor Fun

Fall is here, although it feels more like summer out there.  The students enjoyed running around, looking for acorns and playing in the leaves outside.

Fall always makes us kindergarten teachers think about fine motor activities--and not just because we are using those small muscles for crunching up leaves!  We start writing the first day of school, and we write a lot throughout the day--words, our names, numbers, you name it!  Many kindergarteners can feel sore in the small muscles of their hand and wrist after all the hard work they do.  We incorporate many other materials and activities that help build up stamina and strength in those small muscles.

Playdough is a great sensory material for small muscles.

Legos are a popular manipulative that require small muscle work.
If you interested in other creative and fun ways to help your child strengthen their fine motor strength and control, check out this great pinterest board. The Hands On As We Grow blog also provides lists of household objects that can help young learners with fine motor.

I look forward to seeing everyone at conferences next week!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Popcorn Words

We are well on our way to learning our kindergarten popcorn words!  So far, our class has reviewed and learned can, I  and see.  We encourage our students to find these words wherever they "pop" out at them--in bedtime stories, in environmental print, and more.  You can find our complete printable list of kindergarten sight words here.  We will learn one to two new words a week throughout the year--and learn some cool word families too!

Some of our students can be challenged by finding the popcorn words inside other words in text and environmental print--like the can in canister.  We are starting our guided reading groups next week, reading "just right" texts.  Mrs. Wills, another kindergarten teacher-blogger, has a great explanation of guided reading that you can check out here.

Bus Safety Week

We kicked off bus safety week with a reading of the Donald Crews book School Bus.  The students shared all the ways they know how to be safe on the school bus, and here are few we reviewed:

  • We always sit "seat to seat, back to back."
  • We make sure to be listening to the driver during our ride.  
  • Outside, we need to be ten feet from the school bus for the driver to see us--any closer is called the danger zone.
  • We never go behind a school bus--it's very hard for the driver to see anything behind the school bus!

Mr. Ryks, the head of Breck transportation, talked to our class and a second grade class about important safety rules to remember around the bus.  
We're ready to be safe on the school bus!

Sunday, September 21, 2014


We had a great time meeting the homecoming court on Friday afternoon.  We practiced our fine motor skills by cutting and making paper pom-poms--in blue and gold of course!

I couldn't resist jumping in this picture in all the excitement!

A huge hit of course was... the mustang!

Check out Breck's Facebook page here for more pictures from Blessing of the Animals and the Homecoming events.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Patterns, Patterns Everywhere

We finished up our math stations this week with more math patterns.

Some friends worked on individual hands-on materials to complete patterns.


One of our stations worked on repeating patterns and one worked on growing patterns--patterns that increase at each interval.  We saw some wonderful ABAABAAAB  and ABABBABBB patterns on our dot marker crowns!

Community Meeting

We had our first community meeting this Wednesday!  All the new students in the lower school were introduced, and we learned a little more about sustainability this year. The school's sustainability goal this year is R.O.T.--reduce our trash!

The big theme was optimism!  As part of our Writers' Workshop, we read the story The Little Engine That Could.  It helped us to remind ourselves "I think I can, I think I can" when we are writing, and stay optimistic.

After community meeting, we wanted to explore optimism further.  We read Whistle For Willie and tried to whistle.  Some children shared how they learned to whistle by trying and trying again. What optimism and perseverance (our theme for next month)!

Thank you to those parents who came to see community meeting.  If you are interested in hearing our community meeting song, "This is Where I Live, click here.  It's a catchy song!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Gingerbread Man

We finished up our study of gingerbread stories this week with the following wonderful books:

Some of our students enjoyed making their own gingerbread men during free exploration time.

And of course we had our wonderful gingerbread man hunt around the school!  Check out our gingerbread movie!

Bug Discovery

What a wonderful we wrapped up!  Even with some rainy days, we were able to get out on the playground--and then this little critter was discovered.

This sparked an ongoing discussion about what it could be.  "Is that a stinger?"  "Is it a wasp?"  "Why isn't it flying?"  "Is its wing hurt?'

To find answers, the teachers took to wikipedia and showed the children our visual match to see if they agreed.

See the entry here.  Luckily, it appears that our new playground critter does not have a stinger but rather an egg depositor.
Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back to School Night

Thank you to all our parents who attended Back to School Night!  If you were not able to make it, please look over the blue folder that went home and email or call us with any questions.

Please make sure to fill out and return the purple volunteer form as soon as possible!  Feel free to put the purple form in your child's take home folder and we will pass it along to our classroom coordinators.

Check out the short presentation from curriculum night, with some short videos and snapshots of our students working, playing and getting to know each other!

**please note, viewing may be limited on mobile devices**
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Food Drive... and a few reminders

Our Lower School Physical Education Department and Chaplain are co-sponsoring a fall effort to collect healthy foods for our local food shelf S.T.E.P. If you would like to participate, please help your child select their favorite healthy foods to donate.  Boxed and canned food can be delivered right to the classroom with your student.  The classes with the most donations will receive a fun fitness reward in gym class!

If your family garden has produced an abundant harvest, many food shelves now accept donations of fresh produce and would welcome yummy vegetables, herbs and more.  Go to to find a food shelf near you and learn more.

Please bring in your picture forms and Scholastic forms by Tuesday next week!  Picture Day is Tuesday, September 16.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Rainbow Fish Part II

The students' beautiful fish are on display outside the classroom.  Come see them on Back to School Night this coming Thursday at 6:30.


You can also see who's rockin' in their school shoes outside the room!  Peek under the feet to find our kindergartners' names.

And of course some builders and friends at work and play...

Have a great weekend!  See you next Thursday!
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Friendship Fish

We read the wonderful story Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister to help us think about friendship.

Each student worked with another student to design, draw and paint their own sparkle fish.  The goal was for each set of friends to listen to each other, hear each other's thoughts, and collaborate in order to design their fish together.  The project had multiple steps, and each set of buddies did a wonderful job working in tandem to create a sparkling friendship fish!

Drawing together
Taking turns


Having fun

Listening to each other

Listening thoughtfully again!

Talking through design

Pictures of our finished fish to come tomorrow!