April was an exciting month in kindergarten!
We prepared for a visit from Medicine River Wildlife Centre by learning about their educational animals: owls and skunks. Erin Young and her owl, Olive, joined our classes to discuss the wildlife centre’s work and how we can help our wild friends to make a positive difference. Students enjoyed caring for animals in our very own classroom Wildlife Centre and followed up the visit by sketching Olive the Great Horned Owl. After reading Otis's Story and Tangled in Trash, published by Medicine River Wildlife Centre, students journaled ways they can help wildlife (putting dots on windows, putting bells on cats or keeping them indoors, picking up trash, learning about wildlife).
Kindergarteners continued to build upon their reading and writing skills by exploring new letter sounds, isolating beginning, middle and ending sounds in words and using their understanding to decode messages and to write about Spring Break, signs of spring, Earth Day and more! We learned how to “bump up” our work through an activity designed to help us create our best 4-star drawings by taking time, adding lots of detail, colours and sounding out words to express our ideas through writing.
In math, students explored pattern cores by creating patterns through the use of given cores, such as ABC, AABB and also by designing their own patterns for a friend to identify the core. We also completed Easter egg math, represented numerals through tallies, ten frames, number lines and more. Students used their understanding of numbers to solve addition and subtraction word problems pictorially and concretely. We revisited measurement and compared objects using mathematical tools, such as a metre wheel and cubes.
Kindergarteners enjoyed taking a hands-on approach to learning about the needs of plants. Ms. Smith’s class planted a variety of herbs while Ms. Henin’s group planted marigolds. We are excited to observe our plants grow!
In preparation for the arrival of our caterpillars, we began learning about the life cycle of the butterfly through stories and plasticine art. Students sketched the lifecycle’s components and discussed how it is a 4-part, repeating pattern that occurs in nature.
Students enjoyed engaging in Mystery Show and Tell, an activity designed by our speech-language pathologist to help build language skills by using sentences to offer relevant, descriptive clues to classmates in order to help them predict a mystery object.
In March, kindergarten students focused on 3D shapes. We reviewed the 3D shapes we had learned earlier in the year when we collected boxes (prisms) and cans (cylinders) for the food bank, and learned new 3D shapes: spheres, cubes, cones and pyramids. The students enjoyed experimenting with 3D wooden blocks to determine which shapes slide, stack or roll. We sorted our shapes in hoops. When the students realized that prisms can stack and slide, they moved two hoops into an overlapping position to create a space for shapes that belong in both hoops. Later, they realized that cylinders can slide, stack and roll, so the students adjusted the hoops one more time to create an overlapping space for shapes that can do all 3. It was exciting to watch the students create their very own Venn Diagram!
After reading about children creating things out of boxes (“Ruby and Box” or “How to Catch a Leprechaun”), the students made plans and built their own 3D projects out of recycled materials. They loved building and painting their own creations!
Another focus this month has been learning how we grow and change over time. To make this concept meaningful, the students created timelines of their lives with baby and toddler photos from home. The students reflected on what they could and couldn’t do as a baby and a toddler, and what they can do now that they are in kindergarten. They also imagined what they would like to be when they grow up!
During the end of the month, we looked at the importance of nutrition to help our bodies grow and keep healthy. One class focused on food groups, while another class looked at “Eating the Rainbow” (eating fruits and vegetables from each colour of the rainbow). The students learned that each colour group provides their bodies with nutrients for a specific purpose, such as helping their heart (red), making their bones strong (green), helping their vision (orange), building their immunity (yellow) and helping their brains (blue). The students enjoyed cutting out healthy foods from grocery flyers!
Our last math focus in March was graphing. We built a giant bar graph on the floor to show our favourite fruits. The students practised graphing on paper, and answered a variety of questions using the data they obtained from the graph. We worked on the concept of “the most” and “the least”. Some students were able to identify how many more items were in one category than in another!
This past month the students continued the Jolly Phonics program, and learned the following letters: f, b and j. It is wonderful to see so many students able to identify the initial and final sounds of words, and begin to print CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words phonetically!
This month we were thrilled to watch the Evergreen Performance, “The Wicked Witch of the Wetlands”. In preparation for the performance, we read several books about wetlands and noted animals and plants who make their home in marshes. The students enjoyed looking at GoogleMaps to find all the wetlands here in Calgary!
Kindergarteners enjoyed a fun-filled February of learning!
Kindergarteners explored inclusivity and classroom belonging through stories and sharing circles. We read a variety of related stories, including The Giving Tree, and we explored how the act of giving makes us feel. Students also recalled a time they were "giving" and sketched it. Kindergarteners also enjoyed celebrating friendship, kindness and empathy through Pink Shirt Day activities, which included reading/ writing about kindness and creating feel-good crafts and messages for our classroom Giving Tree. Our classroom Giving Tree allows students to help support others who might benefit from a dose of loving kindness from their peers.
We learned about signs of animals in the winter, especially animal tracks! During centre time students made animal tracks with stamps and paint. They then carefully labelled each print. At snack time, several students created animal tracks out of food.
Kindergarteners continued to expand their understanding of letter sounds and early literacy concepts. We recited poems, wrote rhyming words, decoded morning messages and sounded out CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. Students are beginning to take excellent risks by sounding out words to print independently. We encourage "kid spelling" and love to celebrate trying our best.
Students were challenged to work through a variety of word problems in math. They also practiced subitizing and adding numbers together to make different sums. Kindergarteners looked closely at 3D shapes, learning their names, describing their features (number of sides, straight or curved edges, flat or pointy tops) and deciding if they can stack, slide and/or roll. They collected, sorted and began building a variety of 3D structures.
We made it to the one hundredth day of kindergarten! The students rotated through ten stations to build ten strips of ten items for a grand total of 100. We attached these strips to make hundreds day hats. Some of the stations included printing the first letter of your name ten times, creating a pattern, printing the. numbers from 1-10 and from 10-1, making ten animal tracks and using a variety of stamps and stickers. The students enjoyed listening to the story, "The Night before the 100th Day of School". In a sharing circle, they told the class what they would like to have 100 of, and what they would not like to have 100 of! One hundred stuffies, dollars, and donuts were among the top answers.
We began the month of January with a focus on self regulation, learning how to take deep calming breaths. We listened to the Indigenous story, "The Girl and The Wolf" in which a wolf reminded a lost girl to stop and breathe, allowing her to calm down and solve her problems. Students made the connection between this story and "Anh's Anger"! We practiced belly breathing by placing our breathing buddies on our stomachs, and watching our breathing buddies rise and fall as we took deep breaths.
Next, we spent some time on "The Mitten", a Ukranian folk tale retold by Jan Brett. The story led very nicely to sequencing activities, measurement and comparisons. We used unifix cubes to measure the length, area, capacity and weight of our mittens. The students enjoyed comparing their mittens, hands and feet with those of other students, to see whose was longer, heavier, held more or had a greater area. We read a second version of "The Mitten" by Jim Aylesworth. The students compared the two versions by creating a giant Venn Diagram out of hula hoops. They discovered that elements that were common to both versions could be placed in the overlapping section. Finally, students drew and wrote in their journals about their favourite part of The Mitten.
Students continued to learn the sound, formation and actions of new letters. Through white board activities, centres and games, many students are beginning to recognize initial sounds of words, and even print consonant-vowel-consonant words phonetically!
Happy Holidays! December has been an exciting month in kindergarten. Our students practiced diligently for their first Winter Concert with Mrs. Dennison and we were very proud of their performances. Thank you for joining us to celebrate the holidays as a school community.
Our final week of school brought carolling and Nellie Spirit Days. We enjoyed connecting with other grades to come together and spread holiday cheer.
Students learned about different holiday traditions and celebrations through sharing circles, drawings, a story and classroom visit from Rabbi Elana. We also reflected on Red Parka Mary, an Indigenous story that explores deeper meaning behind giving and receiving.
Kindergarteners participated in school-wide Food Bank collection challenges and used this opportunity to learn more about 3D shapes in our environment. We completed several math challenges using our boxes and cans, such as estimating how many cans would be required to cover a star and how many boxes of cereal it would take to reach the ceiling! Kindergarteners also continued to sketch and write responses to winter-themed word problems involving more than one possible answer. Students continued to practice subitizing dice and ten frames through games and classroom activities with buddies.
We welcomed Firefighter Alex into our classrooms to learn about fire prevention and safety. Students were able to identify ways in which to keep themselves and loved ones safe through preparedness and awareness.
Kindergarteners continue to build their pre-reading skills by learning letter sounds and utilizing their understanding to blend and segment in order to create and decode new words. We’ve continued to practice rhyming through stories and games and have worked on sight words to help us read short, commonly used words.
Students love the magic of the Northern Lights and have demonstrated a keen interest in learning more about this magical phenomenon. They’ve created oil pastel artwork and enjoyed stories reflective of Indigenous perspectives in addition to learning about the science behind the beauty.
As we continue to investigate the ways in which animals prepare for winter, kindergarteners have reflected pictorially on their understanding of different fiction and non-fiction books. They have also taken a hands-on approach through the creation of a beautiful winter habitat made from plasticine.
We’ve also continued to explore snowflakes through the creation of art using a variety of mediums. Students have been working on some beautiful surprises for parents!
Have a happy holiday! We look forward to seeing you in January.
Brrr...November has brought with it a transformation in our weather and related activities. Kindergarteners have been exploring seasonal changes through outdoor learning, stories and pictorial reflections representing students' own personal connections. Our stories have included Snow, Cold Snap, In Winter. What is your child's favourite part of the season? As students prepare for the changing season, we have also started to learn about the ways in which a variety of Alberta's wild animals get ready for the cold. We will continue to explore animal adaptations and footprints over the next several chilly months.
Kindergarteners have also begun to learn about the beauty and science of snowflakes through stories, such as Snowflake Bentley. We took a closer look at these lovely creations through guided sketching, the creation of light catchers and loose parts arrangements. In math, explored symmetry and completed symmetrical snowflakes, carefully using grid paper. We also created pictorial responses to solve word problems involving snowflakes falling on mittens. Students continued their problem-solving work by sketching snowmen and counting the number of eyes, buttons, etc. each picture contained.
November has been a month of focusing on emotions and our responses to challenging situations. With the help of our wonderful volunteers, students built their own breathing buddies after reading the story, Anh's Anger. When placed on our stomach's as we lie down, breathing buddies can help us to regulate our in/ out breaths as we work through challenging emotions. Breathing buddies are almost ready to go home! We also explored happiness through the story, My Heart Fills With Happiness and each student filled a large paper heart with drawings representing all the things that bring us joy. We are now adding a watercolour wash to our artwork.
Our students performed at their first Remembrance Day assembly. Kindergarteners created torn paper wreaths and sang the song, Peace in My Fingers. We learned about the concept of peace through stories such as Peace Is An Offering and What Does Peace Feel Like? Students created insightful pictorial journal responses describing what peace means to them and how it makes them feel. Ask your child when he or she feels most peaceful.
In literacy, we have continued to learn and practice phonemic skills such as rhyming, identifying initial and final sounds of words, blending and segmenting. Kindergarteners also continue to work through Jolly Phonics with weekly printing of upper and lower case target letters, sound identification/ sorting and songs. Our letter work now includes S-A-T-I-P-N-C-K. Can your child utilize some classroom strategies to sound out small words using these letters, such as S-A-T, C-A-T, P-A-T? We have also started to work on syllables and enjoyed a drumming circle to count the syllables in each of our names. When drawing pictures, students are beginning to take positive risks by isolating initial and/or dominant letter sounds to label their images. This practice will help us develop our ability to sound out familiar words and continue practicing printing both upper and lower case letters.
Please see Google Classroom for more pictures and updates from Ms. Smith and Ms. Henin.
October 31, 2022
October has been a great month in kindergarten! We began the month with the story “Not Yet” by Lisa Cox and Lori Hockema, which encouraged the students to view difficult tasks as something they can’t do YET, but will learn if they keep trying. The students made bracelets out of beads to remind themselves of the Power of Yet, just like the girl in the story. We also looked at a variety of feelings through stories like “In My Heart” and “The Colour Monster”. The students have been identifying different emotions by name and by facial expressions. Students identified, discussed, sketched and labelled their three most common emotions, leading to some great personal insights and awareness.
In science, the students have been learning about fall and observing seasonal changes. After listening to the story, “Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn” the students drew pictures of themselves on a fall day. We collected leaves for sketching and making leaf rubbings and used leaves to create people and animals during centre time.
We also spent time this month learning about the 5 senses, and using them like detectives to learn about the world around us. We focussed on the sense of touch, making prints in clay with nature items, stamping with different textures and identifying objects in our mystery box by touch. The students participated in a “sensory walk”, where they walked through different textures and classified them as rough, smooth, soft, hard or bumpy.
In literacy we began learning the sounds of letters using Jolly Phonics. The students have been learning to print letters, identify their name and sound, and identify words that begin with those letters. Kindergarteners utilized their understanding of letter sounds to sort objects. We also started a new Phonemic Awareness program that we call “Listening Games”. The students are learning phonemic skills such as rhyming, identifying initial and final sounds of words, blending and segmenting.
In math, the students have been building sets of numbers in multiple ways, printing numbers, patterning and sorting. After listening to the story “The Shape of Things," students cut out shapes and used them to create pictures to represent objects in their environment. They have begun solving open-ended math problems using pictures and numbers.
The month ended with Hallowe’en! The kindergarten students did an amazing job participating in the school wide costume parade. The parade ended in the gym where we had fun dancing to a few Hallowe’en “Just Dance” songs. After the dance, the students drew pictures of themselves in their costumes, adding colour and details. During centre time the students enjoyed several Hallowe’en themed activities such as: colour by number, building patterns, playing “Fill the Bucket” and “Cover the Pumpkin”.
September 29, 2022
Kindergarten has gotten off to a great start this year! We began with stories about kindness and learned many ways to be “bucket fillers”. I love observing the students including others in play, helping each other, and sharing!
In math we focused on patterns. After collecting nature items in a scavenger hunt with our grade 3 buddies, the students made patterns using a variety of leaves, pinecones, sticks, stones and moss. The students also created name banners by gluing seeds and lentils on the letters in their name, many choosing to do so in a pattern!
In literacy we’ve begun responding to stories and prompts with drawings. The students are beginning to add details, background and words to their pictures.
This month the students learned about Terry Fox and his incredible resilience. They participated in the Terry Fox run to help keep Terry’s Marathon of Hope alive!
The students also participated in Orange Shirt Day and learned the meaning behind the orange shirts. Through stories like “Phyllis’ Orange Shirt” and “Amik Loves School: A Story of Wisdom” they began comparing our school experience to those of Indigenous students’ experiences in residential schools.