Miss Moody's Kindergarten
When I checked the forecast last week I must admit I was a little dismayed. But alas we were given a gorgeous spring day! As the morning rolled on, children and adults alike were shedding layers, and at one point it was down right hot! Read on to find out how our day at Harris Farm played out and then check out the photo gallery.
Field trip mornings are always a bit hectic. Making sure everyone has taken a bathroom break, has their lunch, has had a snack, and so on can get a little crazy, especially when you're trying to accomplish all of that in the span of thirty minutes. A huge shout out is due to Mrs. Toohey and all of our chaperones for stepping up and helping the process move along smoothly.
At about 9:00am we boarded the bus (our class sat in the back!) and hit the road. We passed the time with rounds of "I Spy...", trying to get trucks to honk, and conversations about what we might see at the farm. While the children all thought we had arrived as we took the Kennebunk exit, we still had a little ways to go. As we left the highway, I immediately regretted sitting in the very back of the bus. Those roads were windy!
When we arrived at Harris Farm, the children were quite thrilled to see cows far off in the pastures and a pair of dogs running around the yard. We then went inside to watch a slideshow. After that, back outside we went with Farmer Rachel for a tour of the farm.
Our next stop was the cow barn, where each child had a turn trying to milk a cow. Not many had the knack of being a milker. From my experience, it is an acquired skill. We did have the fortune (misfortune?) of seeing a cow utilize the manure gutter. A few children had the misfortune of taking a spill into the gutter. We enjoyed seeing some calves as well!
Next we were off to a greenhouse. I'm pretty sure the small pasture, electric fence, and dogs were far more interesting to the kiddos. We walked up to the lawn where we saw a mother goat and her kid, who didn't seem to want to have anything to do with us. We also saw a rabbit and we even got to hold some baby chicks. I had the misfortune of having a chick poop in my hand! It was touching to see just how gentle the children were while holding the chicks.
Next up, a hayride! Both classes that were on the field trip piled onto a wagon and hay bales for a ride around the farm. The highlight of the hayride was the dogs following us! We also go to see some horses. After the hayride it was time for lunch. We enjoyed sitting outside, basking in the sun while munching on our lunches. Some children decided inside was a better dining area, and as the sun poured down upon us, we realized they had the right idea!
After lunch we played a quick round of The Farmer In The Dell, then climbed back on the bus. The bus ride home was filled with reminiscence of the day, more "I Spy", and a few sleeping children. Once back in the classroom, we dusted off the hay, wrote and drew about our favorite part, had a snack, and went outside again.
Just another day in paradise.
While I do love a hefty blizzard and Maine winters, I'm crossing my fingers that the April 1st snow storm we're expecting will be an April Fool's Day joke!
Anyway, here is a glimpse at what we've been doing in kindergarten the last few weeks!
The children have been honing their counting skills, working on addition and subtraction, and finding combinations of ten. We've explored calculators, conducted surveys, and gone on some shape walks. We've been busy mathematicians! Up next: Shapes, time, marshmallow structures, and more counting!
We're just finishing up a mini unit on writing All About Books. Some topics have included skiing, cheetahs, sand castles, having fun, candy, cats, spaghetti, and so much more! Ask your child what they wrote all about! Up next: Opinion Writing!
During Reader's Workshop we've been working at applying our Reading Super Powers to even more challenging books. The children have also been working on identifying disguised words (find the look in looking, etc.) and increasing their snap word repertoire. Up next: Becoming Avid Readers!
Keep up all the hard work!
One of my graduate classes was Teacher Research. Many of our assignments had to do with observing. Observing peers, students, and random people in the Student Union. One of my favorite assignments was to just watch my class for ten minutes, essentially being a fly on the wall. I decided to give it another try while the children were having choice time this morning. Here are my notes...
*A group of children playing flying squirrels
*One student "reading" the Lakeshore catalog, picking out things I should buy and checking the prices
*One student downing breakfast
*A few students cutting up recycled paper and making exquisite crafts
*Two children independently playing legos
*A few running feet
*And various quotes:
"The best thing ever!"
"You need to buy this whole room."
"This is how you do it. You cut around the whole outside."
"If you want to add more details just add some triangles."
"Don't you know what we'd buy if we wanted to clean the whole school for Mr. Doty?"
"I've cleaned my whole house."
If you go out when it's snowing
And look up at the sky
You'll feel lots of icy kisses
As the snowflakes flutter by
We've been reading this poem the last few days and I just love it! It is perfect for this time of year, when the fresh snow is quite the novelty!
Your children are becoming quite the little learners here in kindergarten! Each day they amaze me with their learning. It is so fascinating to see how quickly they pick up new knowledge. Here is a glimpse at what we've been learning about the last several weeks!
During Morning Meeting I've been having the kiddos help out quite a bit with completing our Morning Message. Each child has a turn filling in part of a word every morning. As you can imagine, they love it!
We've covered a lot! Here are some highlights:
We're well on our way through our second writing unit, Writing For Readers. I'm blown away by the growth the children have made! We've really been focusing on:
We've been working a lot on using our reading superpowers! Some of these powers include:
Science and Social Studies
In science we're continuing to track the weather and discuss the weather we're observing.
In social studies we've just finished our Native American study. We read books and participated in a Pow Wow with Mrs. Whelan-Roy's class. The children made clay pots with me, which will be coming home soon!
As with all outdoor activities, the first thought when planning an outdoor field trip for a group of kindergarteners is, "what will the weather be like?" We could not have asked for a more pleasant day for our field trip to White Pine. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, and the light breeze kept the insects at bay. One child even declared after only a few minutes of walking through the woods, "I think I like nature." Here is a snapshot of our day in the woods.
We boarded the bus and made the windy trek up Mountain Road to our destination. As we piled off the bus we were met by our lovely guide Marie. Toting our backpacks, lunch boxes, and water bottles, we set off down the steep, root-entwined pathway. A few children took some spills, but they bounced right back up, ready for the next roots and rocks.
About five minutes into our initial hike, we came to where we'd have lunch at the conclusion of our morning. Here we unloaded some of our gear, leaving our lunches in the hopes that no wild animals helped themselves! We continued journeying along, crossing log footbridges, until we came to the very exciting, fully functioning outhouse. Not your typical, everyday porta potty, but an old fashioned, wooden outhouse!
We continued up an incline to the lodge, a wooden structure that was open on the bottom sides with a roof over our heads. Inside a fire was burning and the children filed in to sit on wooden benches. Our first activity of the day (aside from the hike in) was to hear three stories from a Native American storyteller. His stories were fun, engaging, and age appropriate. The children were enthralled by him! I especially enjoyed his flute playing.
From there we broke into three groups and set off on some adventures. One adventure was a mock deer hunt; our storyteller led this group. He taught the children about the importance of keeping quiet while hunting for deer and other animals, and how Native Americans only hunt to eat, not for sport. He did "shoot" a pretend deer with his bow and arrow (a volunteer from White Pine hid in the woods and pretended to be the deceased deer). Here our storyteller explained the importance of using all of the deer and how Native Americans hunted only for survival. The children loved this activity and were remarkably quiet!
Another activity was shelter and trap construction. Our leaders at this activity showed some examples of shelters, discussed how they kept Native American inhabitants warm, and even let a few brave volunteers climb into the shelters. The children got to help add more leaves to the shelters as well. Our leaders also showed the children how to make a trap for small animals and encouraged them to ask their parents for help should they want to construct one of these traps.
We also learned all about making fire, with many reminders about only doing so under adult supervision. Our leaders at this activity showed us how a stick could be fashioned into a fire-starter, creating a very small fire! Here we learned that the fire we saw at the lodge was started in the same way.
The final activity was a "cooking" activity where the children learned about some of the foods Native Americans in Maine ate hundreds and thousands of years ago. Many of these foods we still eat today! A particularly fun part of this was that the children got to smash acorns with rocks.
The last thing we did before getting back on the bus was eating lunch. We sat on logs to chow down after an exhausting morning of walking/deer hunting through the woods! The climb up the hill to the bus was an exhausting one, but it was worth it. What a gorgeous day in the woods!
Some Favorite Parts
*Walking over the log bridges
*The bow and arrow
And just like that, we're a month into school! Here are some of the highlights...
Woohoo! We made it through the first week of kindergarten! It goes without saying that this week was an exhausting one, but it was also a huge success. We had lots of fun learning about each other and practicing the routines that will help our year be successful. Here is a glimpse at what we accomplished this week.
Morning Meeting is an essential part of the Responsive Classroom Approach. It allows us to develop a sense of community within the classroom, helping us learn about one another and feel comfortable together. This past week we practiced shaking hands, saying "Good morning," to one another, reading what we could of a Morning Message, and answering survey questions using tally marks.
Village uses Everyday Math, a program that continually revisits concepts throughout the year and school career of a child. This week we compared the lengths of strips of paper, examined pattern blocks, and practiced counting dinosaurs.
Village uses Lucy Calkins Units of Study Writing, which teaches about narrative, information, and persuasive writing. We spent this week completing our initial writing assessments. Next week we'll dive into the first unit, Launching Writer's Workshop!
Village also uses Lucy Calkins Units of Study Reading. This past week our focus was on developing the routine of centers. Next week we'll spend more time diving into the first unit, We Are Readers.