Monday, October 8, 2012

Falling in to Learning

Last week we spent our time talking about fall.  We tried to think of different activities that we do in the fall, like picking apples, visiting the pumpkin patch, jumping in leaves, etc.  We talked about seasons and how the weather gets cooler in the fall and the days get shorter.  We used our senses to discover a gourd in our mystery box and used descriptive words to tell our friends what we felt (it was cold, hard, and bumpy).

We also introduced some very important "kindergarten" skills this week - counting with one-to-one correspondence (this means pointing at one object and saying one number, in order), coloring within the lines of a picture, and uppercase letter recognition and formation. 

Students played a cover-all math game where they rolled a die, counted the dots, and then covered up that many squares on their game board.  We played several times, and the last time we raced against a friend.

We also talked about the color orange this week.  Students brought orange things from home to share - thank you!  We also painted with many different types of orange paint (foam, neon, tempera) over masking tape in the shape of the first letter of our name.  Ask your child what happened when we removed the tape!  These paintings are hanging in our classroom in the block center.  PS - If you haven't brought a paint shirt for your child, we'd appreciate having one at school.  Thanks!

We also started working with our wood pieces to learn how to properly form uppercase letters.  Each letter can be made with a combination of four wood pieces - big line, little line, big curve, and little curve. 

The skill of patterning was also introduced this week.  We focused on making AB repeating patterns using leaves to make a crown.  Students chose two different types of leaves and then taped them to their crown in a pattern. 

We also counted apples and placed them on a tree with the corresponding printed number.  We still need a lot of practice, but we will work on it throughout the year :)

We talked about coloring in the lines and going slowly and taking your time while coloring (not scribbling!).  Students worked really hard staying in the lines and were proud of their work!  Please don't be discouraged if your child hasn't mastered this skill - it is tricky!  The stronger our hands and arms get, the better we will get.  We work on coloring every week and by the end of the year, we'll be great!  Coloring is one of those basic activities that is good for so many things, but the big thing is increasing fine motor skills (which lead to more legible writing later on!).

We opened up our listening center this week as well.  During free choice, students can choose to independently use a CD player to choose a book on CD, play the CD, and follow along with the story.  Lots of fun!

During free choice, students also had the option to use liquid watercolors to make leaves for our tree in the hallway.  They are beautiful!  

Finally, we played a game throughout the week where we matched leaves with letters to a tree with the matching letter.  We focused on the letters S, A, T, I and P.

We read many books related to fall last week and will pick up learning about fall again next week.  This week, we are moving on to Fire Prevention.  The fire department will visit on Wednesday, and we will have our first fire drill of the year.  We are also talking about what to do if there is a fire in your house, where to meet our families, and how to call 911.

Next Tuesday we will be visiting Hinchley's Dairy Farm near Cambridge, WI.  We take our P4J kids here every year because it is a real, working farm.  We will milk a cow, see lots of animals, take a hay ride, and pick a pumpkin.  We will even get to eat lunch at the farm!  We do ask that you send a completely disposable lunch with your child so that we don't have to carry around lunch bags or containers.  Parents are welcome to join us!  Please keep in mind that we will not be back until 1:15-1:30 this day, so please make pick-up plans accordingly.  Thank you!

Upcoming Dates:
Monday, October 15:  Picture Day
Tuesday, October 16:  Trip to Hinchley's Dairy Farm 8:15 to 1:30.  Please return permission slips by the end of this week.
Wednesday, October 24: Afternoon/Evening Conferences
Thursday, October 25: NO SCHOOL - Morning Conference times
Friday, October 26: NO SCHOOL
Tuesday, October 30: Cargill Halloween Bash

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