Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Goal for Writing

The goal for writing is to get students to feel free to easily write their ideas on paper without worrying about perfect spelling.  That we can edit later.  A first grader came in to share two of her recent journal entries.  The kindergartners really enjoyed it and I was very impressed!  The way you can help at home is to supply your child with the supplies for writing, inspire and support their efforts in a positive manner. Your child will grow and grow as a writer and it will be a great asset to him/her in their future!
Her Snowy Owl page of her Journal
Here she is reading her journal to the 
I love the last two sentences!  I always hope 
that the kids enjoy bird club.
The kindergartners were very interested in 
her share time.

The Outdoor Campus

The Outdoor Campus is in Sioux Falls.  It is a great place to visit at any time of the year.  I was there today and watched the very busy bird feeders.  While there I thought how much my students would enjoy it.   I noticed that they have snow shoes for people to check out and they had other winter activities to do as well. It is only 2-3 blocks from the Empire Mall near the Sertoma Butterfly House.

Click here to find directions and times: The Outdoor Campus East - Sioux Falls, SD. 

This photo by Christian Begeman shows the bird feeder
 complex.  You can stand indoors and watch the birds 
at the feeder.  There was a nice variety of them and it 
was very birdy!
The Outdoor Campus is a great place for hiking 
and birding during the warmer months.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Reading to the Preschoolers

During this semester we will be spending time with the 4-year old preschool class.  Having the kindergartners and preschoolers build a bond will be helpful at the start of school. Also helping them get used to the kindergarten classroom and myself will help them transition to kindergarten without feeling stressed.  Last week we went to the preschool room and the kindergartners read their two books to them.

The preschoolers seem so little.
The kids were a little shy this first time.
The kindergartners felt like a big deal reading to the kids.

A New Total!

They are nearing their goal of
identifying 400 birds!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kids Around the World

Learning about the different cultures 
of our world is very important.
These days the world seems like a smaller place due to technology.  I feel like students need to get a feel for what it is like in different parts of the world.  After all, the world is so vast and the people are so different in the various cultures.  

I purchased some posters displaying children from different parts of the world.  On the back of the poster it tells about the child in the photo, the land, their culture, what school is like and what different foods they eat.  I show the kindergartners where each child is from on the globe and world map.  

In these short lessons they have learned:

  • What a market is and how it works.  They learn that some people trade.
  • Some children don't go to school and some only go for a short time.
  • Some children have to help their families and some have to  work.
  • There are different traditions in different lands.
  • Some places do not ever have snow.
  • They see the different clothing that others wear.
  • They learn about islands and that some people live near volcanoes.
  • They learn about different climate:  the North Pole, along the equator, mountains, desert, etc.

Word Wall

The Kindergarten Word Wall
The Word Wall is on a wall of the classroom.  It has the alphabet and sight words placed below each letter.  They practice reading 6-8 words a week and when they know them well enough, the word is placed on the board.  This board is very helpful.  They practice reading the words often and when they are writing in their journal they use the Word Wall to help them spell the words in their sentences.  I also have a mini Word Wall printed off for the students to read and highlight.  

The Word Wall is a very good tool in helping students read and write.  You should have your child practice reading the words at home.  Break it into groups, so it is not too overwhelming.  Remember to keep study time positive and light.  Learning to read should be a good experience for the children.
The mini-Word Wall is what students use to highlight 
words as each student takes turns reading a box of words.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bird Legos

I didn't realize that there were bird Lego kits.  This boy made this with his mom and they said that it came in a kit of three with the other birds being:  American Robin and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  I thought I'd let you know about it in case you have a bird-loving Lego maniac in your life.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Name the Bird" Game

At the very end of the school day when most of the students are bundled up and we are waiting for the last students to get ready to leave, we play a favorite game called, "Name the Bird" Game.  Each child takes turns saying the name of a different bird.  They are not allowed to copy each other.  At first this was difficult for them, but now it is easy and they try to come up with a bird with a really interesting name.  Here are the birds that were used today.  If you are wondering what the birds are, you can google them to see an image.

Northern Cardinal
Laysan Albatross
Chinstrap Penguin
Emperor Penguin
California Condor
Bald Eagle
Green Jay
Blue Jay
Little Blue Penguin
American Robin
Gray Jay
European Robin
Blue Tit
Least Flycatcher
Tri-colored Heron
Cuban Tody

This is really amazing for kindergartners!  They are doing a great job!  If a child draws a blank and can't think of a bird to say we have two little rhymes that help.  "If you get stuck, pick a duck."  "If you don't know what to say, choose a jay."  This is a game that you can play with family or while you are driving.  I know that some of you do this already.  Have fun!  Some bird names are really cool!

December Artwork

The artists used potatoes that I'd cut into the basic 
shapes to stamp on the snow.  This lesson deals with the
math standard of seeing shapes in our environment. This
group of painting belong to the girls.
After the white paint dried, they added details to the 
painting with Q-tips and colored paint.  These are the boys'
These smaller paintings were also done with Q-tips and 
paint.  They were to paint a snowman.  As you can see 
they are all very original and unique!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Beautiful Trees

The fog left behind some beautiful, frosty trees this morning and when the sky cleared, this is what we saw.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Beauty of Pollination Video

The kindergartners and I love this video about pollinators. It is absolutely beautiful and amazing!  The music is awesome too.  The young birders in our school especially enjoy the hummingbird section.  Check it out!