Saturday, January 31, 2015

Story Structure Maps and Painting in the Style of Eric Carle

In Writer's Workshop, we are using this really cool tool  called a Story Structure Map.  It helps us to "plan" our story before we start to write it.  Sometimes, we tell a writing partner about our story, using the story structure map.  Our writing partner might ask us questions about the details of our story or might even help us to make sure we haven't forgotten anything!



We are also working on a cool Art project during Managed Independent Learning.  We are creating a picture in the style of Eric Carle!  It is a picture from the story The Tiny Seed.  We have completed the background, but still need to paint several papers in order to finish it.  Miss Mathieson, the Art teacher, is even letting us paint in her class to help us get it done in time for conferences.  It has been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun!



Problem Solving

On Wednesday afternoons during Math, you will find Mrs. Kurt's students working on Problem Solving!  We start by gathering on the rug, near the SMART Board.  The students close their eyes and visualize the story (or problem) as Mrs. Kurt reads it.  We review that during Math we are Mathematicians and we know that there is more than one way to solve our problems.  One other thing mathematicians know is they don't shout their answer out loud.  If they do, our friends stop thinking and might just write down what we say.  That's never a good thing…to stop thinking!  So even though we may know the answer, we work really hard at not blurting it out loud!  Then we get to work…

We go to our table spots and solve the problem.  We can use a Math tool if we want to, such as blocks, counting bears, etc.  We may need to draw a picture to help us.  Maybe we can figure it out with a number sentence.  Whatever strategy we use is fine…as long as we can show our thinking!

When we think we have the answer, we write it in the box.  The rest of the paper is for us to "show" our thinking…how did we figure it out.  Then we gather back at the rug, place papers under the document camera and students get to be the teacher and share their strategy for solving the problem!




Sometimes our answers are correct and sometimes they are not.  But no worries, we are Kindergartners and we are just learning how to do these problems.  We always talk about our work and make sure we understand how we solved it and if we solved it incorrectly, we work on figuring out how to fix it.

You may think some of these problems have pretty easy numbers.  You are correct, they do.  I start with easier numbers to teach the procedure to the students.  As I feel students are ready to try more challenging number, I will assign them to students.  That will begin next week!

Our Special Visitor…Mrs. Holtz!

We had the most amazing week.  Mrs. Tori Holtz, the Northview Literacy Coach, visited our classroom on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Mrs. Holtz has a really big job…she teaches fourth grade half time and the other half of her day is spent coaching teachers on the implementation of our Literacy Collaborative model…our new Literacy curriculum!

Mrs. Holtz is so energetic and positive.  We loved having her here and can't wait for her to come back.  (she will come back later in the year…her coaching requires her to visit other classrooms, too…not just ours!)  She observed our Morning Meeting, helped with our Reading Workshop, observed and helped (LOTS!) with our Managed Independent Learning time, and observed some Writing Workshop as well.      She shared some great ways for us to dig deeper in our Author Study about Eric Carle.  In addition to her working with the students, she and Mrs. Kurt met before school to discuss how things were going…how could we change some things and how could we make some things better.  It was just a great experience for all of us.  Thank you, Mrs. Holtz!


 She showed us a really cool way to use post it notes to mark parts in the Eric Carle books that we really liked.  Later, we got to share our favorite parts!



The sharing was the best!



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Our Week in Kindergarten

Well, it was a short week in Kindergarten, but a very productive one!  We introduced a new Math Workplace…A Bucket of Sea Creatures.  First we needed to count and sort them to be sure there were 100 altogether.  There were!


We added some new tools to our Writer's Folder.  We use this during our Writer's Workshop.  One of our new tools is our idea sheet.  It is a place to jot down ideas that we may want to write about at another time.  Whenever we think of something, we can write it down and when we are finished with our current writing, we can look at this to help us think about what to write next!


One of our stations during Managed Independent Learning is an Art project.  Mrs. Radermacher assists with this and this week we worked on some cute snowmen!


We are learning to use another tool in our writing folders…the story map!  This helps us to organize our thoughts when we write.  This is new, so we started our first one together.  Brody retold a familiar story that we had all experienced…The Gingerbread Man!


Then we worked together to create a story map for this story.  We saved it to the SMART Board so we can work on it again next week.


 We made a loop snowman to hang in our classroom.  They turned out great!



We continue to learn more about the author/illustrator Eric Carle and to read more of his amazing books.  This week, we learned that he is married, has a son and a daughter and a cat for his pet!  His favorite color is all colors and he even still scribbles sometimes.  When he was young, he wanted to be a forester for a while.  As an adult, he dreamed about being a chef.  But he always goes back to doing what he loves most…writing and illustrating books for children!



We also learned this week that Eric Carle wrote a "quartet" of Very books.  Each of these books has a special theme or message.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar is about hope.  The Very Busy Spider is about work.  The Very Quiet Cricket is about love.  The Very Lonely Firefly is about belonging.  We are really enjoying learning about Eric Carle and reading his amazing books.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Week at a Glance

Just wanted to share some photos of the fun things we did this week…enjoy!