What a Great Year!!

It is hard to believe that our Kindergarten year is over.  I will miss this class so much.  They all have grown so much both physically and as learners.

The end of the year was a whirlwind of activity with a truly special visit from Kanta Bhatia, Fun Fair, Grandparents and Special Friends Day, our class play Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians, strawberry picking at Linvilla and our special publishing celebration with our families.

 Barbara D. offered to bring a Friend from Kendal at Longwood to speak to the children about her experience being from India and coming to the United States.  Kanta Bhatia wrote A Journey Home, Recollections of a Hindu Daughter about her courageous experience.  She and Barbara graciously spent a few hours one morning showing the Kindergarten photographs and artifacts of her journey and of India.  The children were excellent guests and listeners and asked very interesting questions,  Barbara and I were very proud of them.

I am amazed at the level of dedication and service shown by the parents in our class.  This was especially evident for Fun Fair.  It is a simple truth that the event WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED if it were not for you friends and I am enormously grateful for your tireless efforts.  Everyone had a great time!

We were so lucky to have so many Grandparents and Special Friends join us for a visit.  The children wrote a piece about what they loved most or enjoyed doing with their special person(s). We enjoyed Meeting together, shared our writing, had a snack and played outside.  It was fun!

The play was perfect.  (In my humble opinion)  The children owned it.  It was simple and meaningful.  It spoke of important things that they are learning (just right books and kindness). And most importantly, they had FUN and felt very successful.  We enjoyed practicing, deciding how the set would look and how it would work.  Painting the sets was a fun creative activity.  Everyone took part in it and everyone enjoyed themselves.  Unfortunately, I was narrating and couldn't take photos during the play.  I'm sorry about that.  I trust you have your own.

The trip to the farm was MUCH needed by all of us.  After this winter, a hot day of fresh berries and ice cream was perfect!!  Thank you so much to all the parents who made it possible.

I truly hope you enjoyed your child's "Three Little..." story as much as I did.  Each of the children were so individual and creative.  Many of them reflected their own interest base.  ALL of them worked very hard on the project.  Again, I appreciate you finding the time to come and be a part of their process.

I will miss all of the children and each of you as well.  Please stop by for a visit!

 

 

Spring

We had a wonderful time finishing up our space unit with our Publishing Party.  I was so proud of the children's accomplishments.   They were well prepared and so confident!  I honestly don't remember being so self assured at 5/6 years old.  It was a pleasure.  Since I was assisting the children, I do not have photos but please make sure you get a look at Sharon's Taxi Talk.  She featured the Kindergarten's Publishing Party.

We finished comparing different versions of the Three Little Pig and Three Little... stories.  It was a great deal of fun to watch the children as they recognized the nuances in the stories.  They started out noticing illustration differences such as "those pigs were wearing clothes and those weren't" and grew to notice the gender of the pigs and patterns such as which pig built the strongest house in each story or did they run to the next pig's house or not.  It was great to see their observations evolve.  We made a chart for each many of the stories noting setting, characters, plot etc.    Now, each of the children are writing their own stories.  They range from The Three Little Frogs and the Big Bad Fly  to The Three Little Marshmallows and the Big Bad Campfire - and many creative versions in between!!

At the same time, the class took a look at other Fairy Tales.  We read many and in Drama, Rita has been having the children act them out.  It has been a great deal of fun.  The kids take the story, create the sets and take turns being the characters.  Sometimes, alternate versions were "written" by the kids which allowed for more characters at the same time.  Rita is thrilled with their creativity and willingness.

Our phonics work with Baby Echo still continues.  One day, there was a request that baby Echo join us for snack.  They were so excited.  I have been reading aloud during snack from the Beverly Cleary series about Ralph the Mouse.  We have finished The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Runaway Ralph and are just starting Ralph S. Mouse.  They enjoy listening, recalling and making predictions.  I recently gave the kids little resin bunnies that quickly began driving the matchbox-type cars in the classroom.  I think this was a direct result of Ralph.

The Kindergarten has been reviewing coins and their values in Math.  We have been working with visually identifying and placing the correct value.  We mostly concentrated on pennies, nickels and dimes but quarters were introduced. We are exploring Hundreds Charts also. We have played games and completed puzzles that help show the children patterns on the chart.  This introduction will help with counting, number identification and skip counting by twos and fives.

With a great big sigh of relief, we are looking forward to starting our garden plot.  As with most things, I like the kids to decide what they'd like to plant.  These conversations always creates an opportunity for teaching.  For example, we can't grow bananas and oranges in our climate and if we plant pumpkins, they will take over the garden and they take so long to grow, the Kindergarten children won't be here to see the fruits of their labor!!  So, we narrowed down our option in terms of sensibility and created a graph of what each child most wanted to grow.  Of the options, the most votes were received by carrots, cucumbers, and watermelon.  We were asked by Sharon if we could consider growing Kale for Oscar and all of the kids thought that this would be a great idea.  so we have started all of these seeds and we will record their care and any growth.

We had a visit from the Ladybugs one morning as they were learning about teeth and dental care and where better to explore teeth loose, lost and coming in than in a K classroom!! They came down and checked out our mouths.  It was cute.  We really love visits from the other classes especially when it includes siblings.  It is one of the many unique and wonderful aspects of Fairville.

In Spanish, the kids have moved from learning the words for food to parts of the body.  I was incredibly impressed by their use of the Spanish words when requesting from me when I was serving them lunch the other day.  'Mas leche, por favor.'  Even well-mannered when bilingual! :)

It is delightful to be outside again.  I am sure some of the kids came home pretty tired a few days last week,  They didn't stop running the whole recess!!

Once again, I encourage you to come in to read to the kids if you are so inclined.  They loved our first Mystery Reader and he enjoyed himself enough to schedule a second visit!  We'd love to have you!

Best,  Andrea

 

Out of this world!

This crazy weather has given us more than a few days off and late starts but we have been managing great fun and learning in and around the flakes!!

The children asked to do a unit on Space so we have been reading many fiction and non-fiction books and gathering facts on the Sun and the planets in our solar system. These facts will be referred to when each of the children choose a planet about which they will write a fact book.  We will share these books at a publishing party before the end of the month.  (That is if we actually get to come to school!!)  One fun treat was Christine (Ladybug Teacher) brought us some Astronaut Food that was cleared for us to enjoy at snack time one afternoon.  I couldn't imagine from the looks of it that it tasted very good but apparently the kids liked it!

Rita created a lunar surface in Drama that the children were able to take turns walking on while they used their imaginations and the information they learned about atmosphere on the moon.  It was really fun to see.  We are working together to create an orbit exercise where each of them assuming the planet they are studying, will physically rotate and orbit as that planet would around the sun (probably one of the teachers.)

In celebration of finishing the alphabet, we had a little dance party and they were adorable. (photos below)  Also in our phonics instruction, we created a great deal of excitement by adding digraphs to the letter board! With the digraphs we have used our letter trays to spell out words and they were highlighted in one of our mini books that the children brought home to read to you.  In the lessons that accompany the illustrating and sharing of these books, the children practice reading, vocabulary development, critical thinking, speaking and listening skills.   Each of them are very excited with the possibility of reading to you at night.

In math, we have been working with unifix cubes.  Unifix cubes are plastic cubes that fit together and come in a variety of colors.  The manipulation of them is excellent for fine motor practice and the colors lend themselves to sorting, categorizing and patterning.  Most recently in our classroom, we have done measuring activities, basic addition and subtraction practice, and games reinforcing the concepts of turn taking, fair play and rule negotiation.  We have also done some practice with forming numbers with pen to paper but also in shaving cream and snow.  Next we will be beginning to learn about money first looking at coins and their values.

When the weather was so brutally cold, the K created beautiful ice ornaments to bring a little color to the gray/white landscape. (It was also a science experiment noting which froze first, what the container was made of, how much liquid was in it, and speculating whether the color choice would make any difference in freezing time. :))  They were very well received by the community and so we made them again before the Open House and recruited other classes to join us.  The results were delightful!  We have also had SO much fun in the snow.  We have explored ice, built snow creatures, created games and have been sledding like crazy!!  It has been so much fun.

I must mention the newest addition to our classroom. THE LOFT!!!  The children as beyond excited  by it and it has become an integral part of our class.  Already there are many "known" games involving the upper and lower areas.  The children are actually torn about going outside for recess because they'd rather stay in and play one of several loft games!  We were also able to enjoy an afternoon snack up there one day. Of course, the loft is the most comfy reading nook in the room!   THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you who donated pillows and carpeting.  Please note the delight in their little faces in the photos below.  Their joy is worth every effort.

Finally, I would just love to have Mystery Readers come in and share a favorite book with the class.  I think Wednesday or Friday afternoon at 2:45 (just before pick up) is a good time but I will make time in our schedule if another time would be more convenient for you.  Please let me know if you have any interest in doing this.

Thank you!!

 

 

Winter Arrives

Believe it or not, between conferences, holiday and snow, we have only had 13 school days since my last post!

It was wonderful to meet with each of you at conferences to talk about the children.  Thank you for making the time for this.

I hope the Thanksgiving holidays were lovely.   It was great to hear from the kids which parts of your tradition they appreciate.  An overwhelming favorite aspect of the holiday was pie.  Of course. :)

We are winding down our Sea unit of study.  As you know we put together many of our separate art projects in to a seascape. They were lovely and were absolutely a class collaboration of thought and creativity.   Our musical production on Tuesday afternoon will be the grand finale.  The children chose Space as our next unit of study after the break.

The Letter Fairy has delivered the last of the alphabet to the Kindergarten!!  We have now "met" all of the letters.  We will continue our work in all areas after the break.  We originally were planning to have a publishing party before break but weather and absence have made it seem like a better idea to wait until the New Year.

Speaking of weather, the snow has been SO MUCH FUN!  We have been out playing and collaborating everyday.  Personally, I love it.  The cutest was when we all hiked around to Judy's kitchen to see about carrots for our snowpeople and we knock on the door and a very genuine, sweet child asks, "Judy, do you have carrots and COAL?"  ADORABLE.  Turns out she was fresh out of coal...

I hope you all have a happy and peaceful holiday.

Andrea

 

Under the sea...

We have splashed right in to our unit exploration of oceans and sea life.  Each student has chosen a sea creature that he/she are interested in learning more about.  We are gathering facts from non fiction books and the occasional Google search.  The children are a wealth of knowledge already and it is exciting to hear the questions that are coming up.  Some of the things the group is interested in knowing about the oceans are: Why is it when you dig deep in sand, you get to water?  Why does the sand make the design that looks like lines across it? and Why doesn't the ocean freeze? All great questions.  I love these kids.  Our exploration crosses all aspects of our curriculum.  We are writing about sea creatures, drawing, painting and molding in art, in math counting and sorting sea shells and playing sea creature bingo, we have examined all kinds of sea shells from a huge collection that Judy has allowed us to use and also some contributions from the families.  Sharon, Amy, Judy, Meaghan and I have all brought books in from our personal libraries and the children have brought some of their favorites from home as well.  It has been very exciting.  Rita is creating a play based on this unit and the children are developing characters and a plot.  We are just in the beginnings of this process but it looks very fun.   I am looking forward to doing some measuring in the hallway upstairs to see just how big and small our sea animal choices are.  We vary from exploring orcas to the sea horse and many things in between. :)

In Language Arts, we are more than halfway through our deeper understanding of the alphabet!  Super exciting!  There has been an ongoing wonder about how the letters on the letter board get there.  The one day that I put the letters up, the children asked Sharon if she was the one who did that and she answered honestly, no.  The next time, when Sharon put the letters up, they asked me if it was me and I said honestly, no.  I told them that they weren't there when I left at the end of the day and I was the last person to leave the building (truth) - they didn't ask if Sharon put them up in the morning. ;)  This made them start to discuss all the possible scenarios.  One child thought that maybe it was a letter fairy!  One child asked which teacher lived the closest to school (clever) and we said Amy.  They then asked Amy who said that she didn't - she couldn't leave her children at home alone to come over to school!  Then they asked me who the next closest teacher was!!!  Too funny!!  So one morning this week we had new letters on the board and there was GLITTER on the floor near the board!  *GASP* REALLY A Letter Fairy?!?!  This created a group investigation complete with magnifying glasses, a gathering of clues, several hypotheses and a great deal of excitement.  It was fun!  We still don't know but we anxiously await the next letters and any subsequent clues.

This brisk weather has kept us off the bikes but I am hopeful that we will have a few more chances before winter really sets in.  The kids have been asking.  Thank you very much for sending them with all of the appropriate gear for the cold.  I am grateful.  We really don't have much to complain about with the weather.  I feel like we have only been kept inside due to rain a few times and we certainly make the most of that time by building the most AMAZING block structures!

Here are a few photos.  I had a bit of a phone (camera) issue and am in the process of an upgrade but I unfortunately lost more than a few photos.

As always, thank you for sharing your delightful children with me.

In Friendship, Andrea

 

Linvilla and Longwood

We had a wonderful Teacher In-Service on Monday, October, 14th.  The topic was expanding your science curriculum with the use of our amazing outdoor space.  While many of the ideas we already put into action, the presenter offered ways to expand on our programs and gave us a few new ideas as well.  It was a good day for all of us.

I had so much fun having everyone out to Linvilla on Tuesday!  What a treat for me to have some of my favorite people visit my favorite place!  I think we all (K) agreed that another trip is in order!  Thank you to all of the parents for making the trip and helping throughout the day. 

We also enjoyed a visit from Longwood Fire Company last week.  They are gracious enough to come and talk about fire safety and the jobs they do.  It's always great fun when they run the sirens and flash the lights on their way out!

Academically - (Oh right, there's that!!) we did some writing about our Linvilla Trip as well as some thank you notes for Judy for her many tree classroom materials she lent us.  We introduced /g/ and /o/ which brings our current total to 11 letters.  In Math, we used peg boards to form numbers.  It is another way to get the formation in to their brains.  We use many methods such as pencil to paper, wiki sticks, shaving cream, play dough and peg boards with rubber bands. 

I have been meaning to mention that we have been conducting a little science experiment growing crystals from a "blooming rock" with the assistance of vinegar as the accelerant. It has been incredibly fun to watch and I want to share a photo so you would understand if your child was speaking about it.

One of the kids found a white pumpkin on the Linvilla trip and I brought in your standard orange pumpkin and we also did some predicting and exploration with them as well last week. We wondered if the insides would be the same or different, if the seeds would look or taste different etc. We graphed our findings.  It was fun!

Here are some photos for you to enjoy.

Andrea

 

K is GREAT!

 

We have been busy in the Kindergarten since my last blog entry!

We finished out our "getting to know you" time with family portraits which we shared with each other and we paired up for portraits of each other which was very fun and interesting.   Of course, we will continue to learn little details about each other throughout the year in our writing and in other ways but my intentional, beginning of the year community building work has wrapped up.  Everyone knows each others names, siblings, likes and dislikes. This class is a really sweet group who all play well together and seem to genuinely care for one another.

In Math we have done various activities that include prediction, estimation, sorting, classification and visual discrimination. This all happens in addition to the counting, and number forming learning.  The kids find all of it really fun which is great.   So many math activities and lessons can take "game form" and the kids actually beg to play them.  I love that this type of learning allows them to use manipulatives, pair up and find a corner of the classroom to work, climb, roll and jump and on occasion, complete an obstacle course!!  

The tree unit has been very fun also.  We have "Our Tree" in the taxi yard that we watch for changes and then adjust the tree in our classroom to reflect those changes.  The kids each also have their favorites on other parts of the campus.  We will take out nature journals and  backpacks out to sketch different favorite spots.  I am looking forward to adding the writing to the journals now that we are really getting much more confident with  writing skills.  Judy has been sharing a number of treasures from her personal collection of tree educational materials and they are marvelous.  They include slices of trees to count rings and HUGE pinecones that were an enormous hit.  We promptly collected some pinecones from the FFS campus and decided that the big ones probably weren't from our taxi yard. ;) (CA Giant Redwoods perhaps?)  The class also wrote a book about Tree Facts that I will send home to each family for a turn looking at it.  We also read Lois Ehlert's Leaf Man and collected many, many leaves and sticks and created out own Leaf Creatures.  They turned out amazing!  Each child got a copy of his/hers but the book is fantastic and that too will go home to each family.

In Language Arts we have added the letters M, N, A, C, I, R.  We practice the sounds along with the keyword routinely, and we utilize letter trays for locating them in the alphabetical order and we practice handwriting each one.   We always use lower case for this aspect of the learning so for many children, it is a challenging adjustment.  The creative writing process is becoming more and more fun,  It is absolutely delightful to see the light in a child's eye as they figure out that they can effectively communicate through writing.  They are SO proud.  JUST as proud as they are when they are able to "read" to us.  We read from "just right" books so the kids are choosing books they can have success with.  It is amazing to have Sharon in the class for some of this time.  She is not only a wealth of knowledge (and a super great person) but a fantastic partner with whom I can  strategize and plan.  I'm not sure who's learning more, me or the kids!  ;)

In Drama, Rita has been introducing props, lighting and continues to stress the importance of being a good audience as she teaches the children aspects of the dramatic arts.  They love it.

In Spanish, I overhear, the hello and goodbye song and this past week I heard many colors in Spanish being discussed and the colors of foods especially.  I will try to get more of a synopsis.

Music with Bill is always rocking.  I have a few photos of hair flailing.  They LOVE Bill.  Someone even created a playground game based on one of his song jokes.  Bill was so flattered! 

The class has decided that the next big unit of study will be Space.  It seems to make sense that the rest of the week after the field trip, we will finish up any lingering tree projects and then blast off in to our Space unit beginning the week of 10/21.

A few things to mention: 

Monday October 14th there is no school for students.  Teachers have an in-service that sounds very interesting.   Details to follow.

We are meeting at Linvilla on Tuesday October 15th for a 9:15/9:30 Hayride departure.  Farmer Steve Linvill is looking forward to it!  So am I.  :) 

As usual, thanks for sharing your children with me.  They are delightful. 

 Andrea

 

 

Getting Comfortable :)

Week two has us in a groove per se.  We are used to the routine for the most part and are feeling pretty good about knowing each other.  The afternoon playground recess is one mass of kids playing this game or that.  It's very nice to see.

This week in Fundations we introduced B (b-bat-/b/) and F ( f-fun-/f/) to our letters.  We worked with our letter boards which are magnetic letters and cookie sheets.  This offers a chance to put and see the letters in order and to manipulate them.    We honored both Zuzu and Cerys with their Birthday books which we will do for each of the children.  Summer birthday kids we will do at the end of the school year in anticipation of the birthday.

In Drama, Rita worked with the kids noticing emotions on each other's faces and then had them do a mirroring exercise that was wonderful and ADORABLE.  She really has them engaged and for many, reaching outside their comfort zones in a delightful, safe way. 

Peace Day was wonderful.  Both of the outdoor Meetings were great.  Having the students from Wilmington Friends School with us on Friday was amazing.  They were remarkable.  They jumped right in - engaging the Kindergarteners and participating fully. One of the young ladies in the K was a Fairville Alum!! They helped us paint our Peace doves, read to/with us, enjoyed snack and then played in the taxi yard.  It was adorable watching them play hide and seek and duck-duck-goose!  We almost had to pry one larger young man out of the airplane.  The kids were delighted!   

Water play Friday went well too.  I had half of the kids on the farm yard side of the building with the sprinkler and water table and Meaghan took small groups of interested kids to the K side of the building for use of the slip and slide.  They had a ball.  Even Sharon got in on the fun letting them water her feet!  One small clever group were using oxygen tubing that I have for water table play to put over the sprinkler and fill up a pitcher.  And it worked!  I was impressed! 

A reminder for this week is Thursday 9/26 is Back to School Night.  While most of our happenings at school are child centered, this is one for adults only.   We will gather in the Meeting room at 7pm and will be done by 8pm.  I hope to see you there.

I hope you enjoy these photos from the week. 

In Friendship, 

Andrea

Kindergarten ROCKS!!

The Kindergarten year is off to a GREAT start!  The children are already familiar with our routines and are creating a cohesive community in the classroom.  It is really wonderful to see.

We have had a VERY busy week and I think we are all pretty tired.  Happily so, but tired.   Much of the first week is getting to know each other, our classroom and the expectations.  We use the Responsive Classroom model with the goal of creating an orderly, stimulating and cooperative learning environment.  Through modeling and direct instruction, we try to create a general climate of warmth and safety.  The schedule is taught and our expectations around the routines are explained.  Of course, the children are familiarized with the materials and the physical environment of the classroom and the school and they are taught over the first six weeks of school how to use and care for the materials.  While it may seem tedious or unnecessary, these processes are important for creating the optimum climate for learning.  We will as a group generate rules for the classroom that will keep us all safe and happy.  During our classroom morning meeting, we follow a routine that includes a greeting of one another and while it will vary thought the year, at the beginning it is a great tool for helping children learn or remember each other's names.  We are pretty good already after just  the first week.

At this meeting we also look at the calendar which familiarizes us with numbers, left to right progression, and patterning.  We have also been practicing writing numbers both pencil to paper and on white boards.  We created a birthday graph by month and learned that we had a tie - two August birthdays and two September birthdays. We also searched a table covered in letters to pick out those in our first names and tracked how many letters were in each of our names.   I will use this list again for other uses (looking for a specific letter etc.) to keep the names "out there."

Sharon and I started our Fundations Language Arts work with the kids.  Like everything else the first week, much of it is introducing materials and explaining processes.  We did introduce the letter "t" and they were right on board with the process.  You may hear a "t - top - /t/' repeated around the house this weekend.  We also looked over some appropriate books - learning how to care for them, look at them, etc.  We also talked about our favorite spot to read and wrote our very first piece.  Very exciting.

We decorated our our Nature exploration bags after a rough draft on paper and they turned out great!   We also prepared our science journals and today made our first entry.  We hiked out to the farm yard and chose something we wanted to sketch.  :)  Some of us understood the concept, others "saw" things in their imaginations and HAD to draw them. ;)  Also, apparently we are an unusually gifted puzzle group so if you have any fun FFS appropriate puzzles we could try, please let me know or send them in.

In Drama with Rita, the children acted out different animals first just making the motions the animal would make and then choosing another animal and added sounds.  Their classmates had to guess which animal they were depicting. They were delighted by it.  At the end of the day, when I ask what was the best part of the day, Wednesday most of the children said Drama.  I think they are really going to love their time with Rita.  She and I will partner in terms of areas of study.  For example, I am teaching about the kids themselves, their senses etc. and she will be doing some pantomime relating to feelings and expression. 

Spanish was also terrific this week.  I was eavesdropping but I heard the children sing songs, learn vocabulary and play games.  Very Fairville-ish.

The request was made to build a fort one afternoon so I stole the tablecloth from the faculty lunch table and we fashioned a fine little fort.  One of the kids felt a little to closed in (or didn't want to crawl in - not sure:)) and made the request that the fort be higher.  So I brought sheets the next day and Judy, who I suspect just wanted her tablecloth back, brought a bedspread and voila!  The kids were delighted!  Nothing makes me happier.

On Thursday a few of us were exploring in the garden and came across a sugar baby watermelon that looked to me to be about ready to be harvested.  It was tiny but with the weather being so crazy this summer, its size didn't surprise me.  So after telling Judy, she suggested that the K pick the melon, which we did today and she offered it to us for snack.  I thought it would be fun to have snack in the new climber (which has become a pirate ship apparently) and with Sharon's OK, we enjoyed the nicest outdoor afternoon snack today.  It was just the K on the playground and it couldn't have been a more beautiful afternoon.   

Thanks so much for your support and kind words throughout this week.  Your children are AMAZING and I honestly feel incredibly blessed to be their teacher.

In Friendship,

Andrea

 

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A New Year of Friendship Begins

 Welcome!

Welcome!

A very warm welcome to our Fairville students and families!  

The program at Fairville incorporates the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. Children are nurtured in body, mind and spirit by experiences that speak to their physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and creative development. Fairville children are taught conflict resolution and peacekeeping in the manner of Friends.

Please feel free to contact your classroom teachers if you have any questions or concerns.