Kindergarden Canvas

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” ― Aristotle

Language

The past week we have been learning The Corner Grocery Store. It is a wonderful silly song replete with rhyming words (e.g. Corn/horn, beans/jeans). I am encouraging the class to come up with pairs of rhyming words so we can create new verses. I have also been working on rhyming with the class via silly names. When I select students names for centres I replace the initial sound of their names with a different sound. For instance, I would say Pallum instead of Callum. The class then guesses who it is.

Working on identifying the amount of syllables in a word is ongoing. We clap a word then say it again counting the syllables on our fingers. Whenever there is down time, such as when there is buffering on the Smartboard, we practice identifying the amount of syllables in words. You can reinforce this at home when you have a few spare moments. ( e.g while waiting in lineups, at a red light).

Below is a photo of a poem we’ve been learning this week.

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Second Step

In Second Step we have been learning that some emotions are uncomfortable and that we may physically feel these emotions in different parts of our body. We have been discussing strategies on how to deal with uncomfortable emotions. See below for a photo of the poster I am using in our classroom. There was a homework sheet sent home on Monday.

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Art

We have finished art work in the style of Andy Warhol. I made a display on the bulletin board in front of our classroom.

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This week we are studying Piet Mondrian. We are recreating his classic Composition ll in Red, Blue, and Yellow.

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I explained that the work we are reproducing is full of horizontal and vertical lines. I told the class that a vertical line goes up and down, just like a mountain. If you make a V with your fingers the flip it you have a mountain shape. The colours are painted in blocks of rectangles and squares. At a later date I’ll be teaching a lesson on primary colours and will refer back to this piece of art. Below are a few photos of my lesson on the Smartboard.

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Homework

Yesterday’s Second Step lesson was about empathy and showing that you care. A worksheet (lesson 11) was sent home that reinforces this concept. Ms. Wong sent home worksheets to continue practising how to properly print your child’s name.

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Printing

I am teaching the class how to print the letters of the alphabet using Proud to Be Printing, a program developed by the Occupational Therapists of Vancouver Coastal Health. I am starting with upper case letters. The focus during the past week has been straight line letters. I start the lesson on the carpet using the Smartboard modelling how to properly form the letters in reference to the top line, mid line, and bottom line. I also provide examples of common errors that I won’t accept. We practise printing the letter with our finger while chanting directionality terms. For example, yesterday we did the letter T which was down, across. We print in the air, on the carpet, on our leg, the back of our hand, and on our friends’ backs. After that I get the class to warm up their finger muscles by doing spider push ups. Then I send them to their desks via crab walking. Crab walking warms up their trunk muscles. I ask them when they arrive at their desk to sit with their bottoms at the back of their chair with the chair pushed in and put their feet flat on the floor. I circulate around the room monitoring pencil grips. You can help reinforce skills at home by ensuring that your child is properly gripping writing tools: hold the pencil between the thumb and pointer finger, and resting the pencil on the middle finger for added stability. You can also monitor that your child writes letters from the top down (same direction as the way rain falls). Some children like to print letters from the bottom going up. I remind them that rain doesn’t fall up it goes down. At a kindergarten age, it is important to redirect as it is difficult to break a habit once it has gone to muscle memory.

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2 Dimensional Shapes

Yesterday I did a lesson on 2 Dimensional shapes on the Smartboard. We named the images (triangle, square, rectangle, circle, octagon) and identified their attributes (number of lines straight or curved, sides, corners). I informed the class that tri is another word for three. We brainstormed objects that contain the word tri (tricycle, tripod, triceratops). I also told the class that oct is another word for eight. ( e.g. An octopus has how many legs?). For enrichment I introduced the class to the shape crescent. ( e.g. The moon, a croissant are in the shape of a croissant). I also showed the class an adorable video from Sesame Street: I am a Triangle by James Blunt.

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Rote Counting

Rote counting, counting aloud from memory, is a basic math skill. I reinforce it every afternoon via physical exercise. For example, today is the 23rd of October. I’ll get students to count aloud as we do a set of 23 actions. So far I’ve used the following actions: jumping jacks, hopping on one foot, hopping on two feet, scissor jumps, ski jumps, and monkey jumps. We do a second set of actions but this time counting backwards. I haven’t yet introduced the class to burpees. I plan to do that at the beginning of November as they are quite exhausting!

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Calendar Routine

Our daily calendar routine involves a lot of math. The following are some of the activities we do during calendar: sing the calendar song, identify the date (e.g. Today is Tuesday October 23, 2012), count the numbers of days in the month so far, count backwards, identify and continue the pattern on the calendar, sing the weather song, do the Macarena for the months of the year, sing the days of the week song, identify the correct day of the week for yesterday, today, and tomorrow, identify how many days we’ve been in Kindergarten, and number chanting – counting by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s.

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Second Step

During the past couple of weeks we have had Second Step lessons which did not have a homework component. We have focused on identifying the feelings of others by observing their facial expressions and body languages. We learned that people may have different feelings about certain situations. For instance, one person may be excited about going on monkey bars whereas someone else may be fearful. We did a lot of role playing. Children had fun acting out scenarios in front of the class. We had a lesson on accidents. Students learned the importance of letting someone know when you didn’t mean to do something. I also emphasized it is important to let the other person know what you are sorry for. E. g. I am sorry I bumped into you. It was an accident.

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Flipping Your Lid

On Friday I explained to the class that when the amygdala hijacks your pre-frontal cortex you flip your lid.  I demonstrated with a hand model of the brain.  I thought parents might like more information about this.  I found a couple of videos with Dr. Daniel Siegel that you will find to be informative.

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