Thursday, October 29, 2015

Worms in Dirt Dessert

The "Animal Cracker" mom surprised us again today with the "Worms in Dirt" pudding dessert for a nice Halloween snack!  The kids loved it!  

Jack-O-Lantern Carving

Today I taught a lesson about how pumpkins grow, how people use them for food and how we use them as decorations for Halloween.  Most of them helped to pull out some ooey, gooey seeds.  When I was about to punch out the piece of pumpkin I just cut, I had them sing, "Pop, Goes the Weasel!" Then when they said "Pop!" I'd push it out and one flew up in the air and then it landed on Zach's face!  Oh my! They all thought that was funny!  It was a fun time!

Kids seem to love this activity!

They were so silly when they pulled
out the seeds!
"Teacher!  Can we keep some seeds?"

"My turn!"
I put it in front of my house for the 
kids to see on Halloween night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Whose hat?

We have a nice stocking hat in the room that no one will claim. If it is your child's hat, please send me an email.

Scooby Doo does quite a job at modeling hats!

Animal Crackers All Around!

A big thank you to this little girl and her 
family for bringing in a huge container
 of animal crackers for those times when 
the kids would like a little snack.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Big Thank You!

A local business, Fairway Seeds, surprised us to day by donating some animal books and mini bird flashcards for each child to take home!  We were so happy!  Please thank Larry and Lea when you see them!  Also, keep them in mind when you are looking for gifts as they have a huge selection of bird gifts: flashcards, plush toys, bird books, bird feeders, etc.  Their store is right in town.  It is very convenient and affordable!  Check them out!

The animal books are for the classroom and the 
mini-playing cards have a different bird on each one.  
The students know all of them.  They are thrilled to 
have their very own set of bird flashcards!
Thank you SO much!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Segmenting Words Helps with Writing

Image result for phoneme segmentation examples

Teaching students how to write words is not easy, but this tactic is very helpful.  Teaching students to tell the sounds they hear in a word is called phoneme segmentation.  It is something that they are actually tested on at mid-term and at the end of the year.  After lots of practice, they are able to succeed at it. Here are some examples to get you started.  You can work on it at home and we practice it everyday at home.

You ask, "What are the sounds that you hear in cat?"
Your child should respond, "/c/ /a/ /t/"

Other examples: 
stop  /s/ /t/ /o/ /p/
lend /l/ /e/ /n/ /d/  Students often miss the middle sounds, especially /n/.
bird /b/ /er/ /d/
spoon /s/ /p/ /oo/ /n/

O and R go together as /or/

Follow this link to watch a helpful video about phonemes - click here.

Common Core Standards for Kindergarten

The Common Core Standards are the skills that your child will be taught during the school year.  Here is a link to the many skills that we will work on in Reading and Math during the year.  You can help by looking them over and reinforcing these skills at home.  

I chose the standards that are written in "kid-friendly" language, so that you can discuss it with your child.  It is amazing all that they learn during their kindergarten school year!  Click on the link below:

Common Core Standards for Kindergarten 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

We passed the 200 mark!

The young students are very proud of 
their accomplishment!

Birdman Visits Kindergarten

Here are the K-3 students visiting with Birdman.
Birdman, Timothy Barksdale, is a filmmaker who is said to have shot more bird video than anyone else in the world.  He has traveled the world filming birds.  I met him via email four years ago when the Snowy Owls were abundant in our area.  I had reported them to the SD Birds Listserv and he contacted me to see where would be a good place to film them.  After a few emails, I had mentioned that I was just getting into birding and that I was teaching my students about birds along the way.  Several months later we chatted and I told him how many birds the kindergartners knew as a class and I sent him a short video of a boy naming birds off of flashcards.  

He was impressed saying that bird education for young children isn't being done successfully anywhere else that he knows of.  He said that this was something unique, so that spring he made a trip to our school and we met my bird bander/ornithologist friend, Dave Swanson, at the refuge.  The students watched bird banding and went birding with us.  It was great fun!  Those students are now the current 3rd graders and were the first class to be filmed.

Tim came back for the next two years filming more footage.  That next year he had filmed the current 2nd graders and we went to the refuge in March to see all of the Bald Eagles.  Filmmaker, Jason Kessler was along to film, so that Tim could be in it.  They got a lot of footage of activities in the classroom as well.  That class and the 3rd graders were also interviewed by Tim.  Last year's kindergarten class started the "Pennies for the Prairie" collection.  

Today Tim had planned on filming the kindergartners, but he was not feeling well, so he said that he will return this spring and do some of the final filming for the show.  He hopes to bring a small team of people to do the final touches on the show with certain K-3 students. He will do interviews with the older kids to see how bird studies we did in kindergarten and the bird club lessons stuck with them.  {Hopefully it has!} The plan is to get the show funded, completed, and eventually aired on PBS.  It is a long process to complete it and it will take a lot of keep your fingers crossed!

Birdman spoke with the K-3 kids right away in this morning.  The kids were such an awesome audience!  We have great kids here and I was really proud of them!  Tim did an outstanding job talking to the kids about birds, science, being aware of nature, conservation, our responsibility to the land and he reminded the kids to get outdoors more. 

He told the kids that we weren't expecting them to grow up to be birders naturalists or biologists, but the hope is that they will learn to love and appreciate nature.  During this process of teaching students about birds they are learning to notice details, compare and contrast, and be more aware of their surroundings.  Maybe one of the best parts is that they have an interest in something scientific and it challenges students to do some deeper thinking and ask questions.  I have noticed that students love knowing something that most people know little about.  They like being the experts!  Birding however, can be a life long activity that you can do anywhere.  

Later, he spent time getting to know the new batch of kindergartners.  The kids did some bird identification where Tim took time to explain some interesting facts about birds. We played a round of bird bingo and we did an activity where the kids named off the birds in each family group.  I think Tim was impressed that they knew so much after only nine-weeks of school!  All in all it was a really educational morning and we had fun too!

Owl Drawings

I did a lesson on following directions step-by-step to draw an owl.  I worked with three small groups.  The kids did quite well I thought!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Leaf Sorting

One of our standards in Math is to sort by shape and color.  We went outside on this nice day to gather leaves near the school yard.  Then we came back and sorted.  They seemed to enjoy it and it let me see if they could do it.  It is always good to get kids outdoors to see, hear and feel nature. 

Footprint Ghosts

I had the kindergartners dip their feet in white paint and then step onto the paper to make footprint ghosts.  Then the kids added the details to their Halloween picture.  They are pretty spooky paintings!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Owl Unit

I taught the kindergartners about nocturnal/night animals.  We talked about many of the different animals that are awake at night.  Then I did an owl unit discussing the different owls that live in our state and their unique qualities.  They really enjoyed this lesson!  

We decided to display our learning while helping to teach others in our school about owls.  I taught a step-by-step owl drawing lesson.  I will add a photo of that tomorrow.  Next, we discussed which facts to share.  This display is in our hallway.  This will be good review for past kindergarten students too.

A couple of days ago I did a PowerPoint slideshow teaching the kindergarten and 2nd grade students about the owls of South Dakota.  I displayed a photo and played the song/call of each owl.  They quickly learned that not all owls hoot.  I also showed some photos of the prey that owls eat.   

I explained how owls cannot digest the fur and bones of their prey, so they cough it up in the form of a pellet.  Next, I gave each kindergartner a pellet and they pulled it apart removing the bones.  They compared the bones that they discovered to that on a chart.  It was mostly rodents and a couple of birds.

I imagine that you are thinking that this is gross, but kids seem to find it fascinating and so do I.  It is a good learning experience because it teaches students about anatomy, the food chain and it gets them thinking deeper by piecing the puzzle together.  Its a bit like being a detective.  The students were all actively engaged in the activity and having great conversations about what they were finding.  Kids thinking and asking good questions...this is what teachers love to see!

They compared the bones to the sorting chart.
The looks on their faces made me smile.
The bones were quite tiny.
"Look!  A skull!"
The 2nd graders and K-kids worked well together!
Here's the crew!  They are hard at work!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Some October Journal Entries

Here is another batch of journal pages. These are from their October journal.  I love their drawings!  

"Mrs. Preheim is going birding with all of us kids."
"We saw a Black-capped Chickadee!"
"I like combining with my dad."
"We went birding at the lake!"
"Halloween is fun!
"The Fall leaves are pretty!"
"I like hearts!"
"I liked the parade."

Paper Plate Skeletons

The big cutting project of the year is cutting out the bones for the paper plate skeletons.  The kids really enjoy this project and they sure are cute!

Drawing on the skeletons was their favorite part.