Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our thankful class

Each week we hold a Class Council.  This is a forum to check in as a community, to share appreciations and to solve any problems that have been recurring.  The friends speak honestly about things that aren't working for them and then offer solutions.  They are used to thinking of many solutions and agreeing as a class, instead of only having one friend solve problems.  There is a journal in our room where you can find the past problems and the solutions that the children have come up with and agreed to.

This week friends only had one problem to solve and everyone was feeling like they have been able to solve disagreements as they come up in the week.  So the highlight of our meeting this week was how the friends are getting good at sharing more specific complements.  The practice helps us hear what types of things people appreciate about our behavior and the details of what makes someone feel your friendship. 

I wanted to share this with you because it can be a special time, and I feel lucky that I get to hear this each week!  I hope you are all well and I'm looking forward to our field trip tomorrow!!!

Love, Jennifer

Class council 2/23/11  Appreciations and Complements:

Paz: Thank you, Henry, for sharing the little marbles for our pool. (in the construction area)

Tayler: Thank you Tennacee for helping me sound out the letters for “Legs” for my math work.

Connor: Thank you, Paz and Tayler, for letting me join your work and for letting me help you. (construction today)

Yama: Thank you for Coco for you being a bad guy and I’m the good guy and for playing with me on that game.
Coco: In the play bay?

Yama: Yeah, at recess.

Abdullah: Thank you Connor for being my partner and talking to me.

Thyra: Tennacee, thank you for letting me see your work and for explaining it. (math prove-it)

Madelynn: Thank you, Natanya, for playing the bad guy game with me.

Henry: Jennifer, thank you for being our teacher and thank you for teaching us how to sew on the paper.

Jenna: Natanya, thank you for being a kitty with me.

Natanya: Ocean, thanks for being my partner and thanks for holding the hula hoop when I said so.

Ocean: Thank you, Jennifer, for writing the jelly bean song, I liked the jelly bean song.

Agustin: Thank you Connor being my friend. Like for playing in the play bay.

Bridget W.: Thank you, Jennifer, for teaching me how to sew, too.

Coco: Olivia, thank you for doing the flags work. Your flags were beautiful because you wrote nice.

Olivia: Thank you, Jenna, for playing cheetah with me.

Aryav: Thyra, thank you for sharing your cup when we were painting.

Tennacee: Thank you, Bridget W., for sitting by me at open choice time. Thank you for telling me the stories.

Bridget B: Thank you, Jennifer, for teaching us songs and poems.

Cecelia: Thank you for my class. I appreciate that I worked hard today.

Jennifer: I really appreciate that the class in general is working on your own and not giving up on your work. And, I also appreciate how you all have taken over songs and poems and are running it yourself. It really works!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mark Your Calendars!

Hi Families!

Here's a little update on upcoming events.  Thanks for joining us!

Thursday February 24th Field trip to the Children's Museum's new exhibit.  Please pay for your field trip I(8 dollars or 20 for all three field trips) in class ASAP and sign up or email if you can help drive.  WE NEED DRIVERS PLEASE!  (the school will pay for parking!)

Thursday February24th, 2pm All school photo during our school day.

Saturday February 26th 11am Kindergarten Park Day at Fanuel Park in Pacific Beach.  Bring the family, your bike and or a lunch.  Stay as long as you would like!

I hope you are enjoying this blustery weekend!  Love, Jennifer

PS I hope the friends have been enjoying all the different types of clouds this weekend.  We have been talking about this lately, and this week's weather was a nice opportunity for study!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Dear Families,

There are so many friends who have been sick, I wish you all a healthy evening.  I have been taking a lot of vitamin c in hopes of keeping my immune system strong!

Today was our 100 celebration.  The friends were excited and we had so much fun at each station.  Thank you to all the families who brought in food and items to make this special, and to the families who found time in their day to come in and help us!

Some friends brought in 100 of an item.  We looked at how different 100 can seem.  This is the same quantity, but can seem larger or smaller.  The friends were also bringing up that they may have different weights also.

Aryav brought in 100 flag stickers, and this inspired many friends to draw some of the countries' flags.  I have a feeling that this will continue to be an interest for some weeks to come.

Also some friends counted and tallied how many stuffed animals we brought.  This was an idea that the friends had right off the bat when we began planning this party weeks ago.  We had some absences, so there weren't quite 100.  But friends were excited to see how many stuffed animals we have here!  They were getting good at counting and tallying as they counted to have a documentation piece to reference.  This was a great organizing method.

Another station was the puzzle that Henry's mum brought in that had 100 pieces.  The friends were very excited to work on such a big puzzle.  And they did it!

Stephanie also brought a bunch of cool books about 100.  The friends enjoyed them and it was so cozy to see friends enjoying parent reading time!

And as our exciting treat, Logan's mum brought in a lovely cake that she created for us.  The friends were very excited to "eat their names" off the cake.  Such a detailed and tasty treat!

Thank you to all for your involvement in making your child's experience so rich!  Have a lovely night!  Love, Jennifer

Friday, February 11, 2011

February Family Night

Hello Families!

Thank you for the fun Family night!  It was nice to see you guys talking and connecting.  We have two new families and so these parents got to meet more of our community.  Thank you to all of you for making our class strong by coming and seeing your children's work.  As has been the case each month, friends spontaneously burst out in our latest Songs and Poems.  They love to show you how much they are learning.  And that feeling of singing with a friend for your family can be priceless!

I don't know why the blog doesn't like vertical photos, but there you go.  I tried editing it and turning it into a horizontal images, but this is still how it looks.  Sorry!  Hopefully you can still see.

The Parent night theme was family connections so I put out some questions to write on.  They were:
Do you have any pets?
When is your birthday?
How did you and your partner meet?
Do you have a favorite song?

I will put these up outside our class so families can continue to add to these.  Please feel free to respond to this blog post, or write your answers at school!  I hope you all had a nice evening.  I love having time with you all. 

Thank you to all of you for everything you do to make our school special!

  Love, Jennifer

Monday, February 7, 2011

What do you think? Come to Parent night to share ideas!

Hello families!

*Thursday night is family night!  I hope you all can make it!  I always look forward to this nice time together.

How are you?  Math has been on the kids brain so much lately.  It's in so much of our lives when we stop to think, isn't it?  As we usually do, the friends like to calculate how many kids are here in the morning, and we often take these small moments to think about quantity and addition and subtraction. 

The kids are beginning to make the leap between counting repeatedly to get their answer and logically working it out because they are gaining more number sense.  Today at the moment of this discussion we had thirteen friends and two teachers.  Now some friends initially counted all the PEOPLE in the class, while others counted the KIDS.  This meant they came to different numbers.  When I put the problem by asking if we have fifteen people and two teachers, how many kids, many friends wanted to add.  Subtraction can be a tricky concept.  Sometimes it is good to look at something manipulable, so I created the representation below.  The friends began seeing the number fifteen as the whole and two and thirteen as the parts that make up this whole.  As we go through these days, the friends are making new leaps of understanding every moment!

Last week the friends were talking about symmetry, balance and circles in their work.  This caused us to think about the designs and relationship between shapes in mandalas.  The friends who are working on this begin to see how numbers work together.  For example, if you start with 8 sticks in the center and have 5 jewels represent the petals for each of the 8, then how many jewels do you need?  Wait, isn't this multiplication?  Here are a few of our unfinished pieces. 

It is so fascinating how serendipitous things can be.  Our new friend Bridget B's mum is an artist and mandalas are her work!  The friends have been inspired by her creations and the titles she gave them.  They have been thinking about the math elements of these creations, but also the symbolism that can be represented by the person who creates them.  A few friends have work in progress going in class, come in and check these out!

We also looked at a few videos of mandalas being made.  The first one has subtitles, but I mostly summarized the bare essentials and we watched in silence for much of it.  Since the kids are interested in the process and how they make these, I didn't read all of the philosophical elements.  They were mostly interested in how the work unfolded, from the middle to the outside layer.  And there can be so much planning involved!  The second one had many great time lapse moments and the kids were interested in the tools and the way the artists manipulated the sand.  Also the fact that they spent five days working on this!  So interesting.  Let me know if there are other details the kids notice on further viewings!

Here's a third one because it was fun to see how someone got excited about creating mandalas with food!  :)

I hope you are having a great week!  Love, Jennifer

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

100 what?


There are so many things happening, it can be hard to keep track of whether I reported them all to you!  I hope you know I'm trying!

I asked friends if they knew what today was for many Americans.  They couldn't think of anything except for the fact that we have new songs and poems.  (This is actually pretty momentous for our community! )  I told them about how some people really celebrate Groundhog Day and other friends talked about what they had seen on TV.  Many of my kids were skeptical about the logic in this, how can the shadow of a rodent predict the weather? :)  But they thought it was fun and curious. It stimulated a fabulous discussion about how shadows work which lead to them thinking about the earth's rotation and trajectory in the universe, and how light travels. Pretty cool.

This week I brought in a chest full of pennies, nickles and dimes.  We began exploring what we know about these and how their quantities relate to each other.  This can be so tricky, moving from looking a a nickel and two pennies and thinking "I have three coins" to "I have seven cents".  We will continue to use coins to study how number quantities work.  They are very familiar with the concept of tens from our daily calendar count.  And we have also explored counting by fives.  So when we each had a small pile of pennies, the friends tried to organize them and decide if they could trade up for nickles or dimes.  They are very interested and seem to want to know about this because they know how important money is.  I will keep you posted!

Math is everywhere!  As the friends get closer to their 100th day of school we have been discussing what this means to us.  And also how do we want to celebrate this?  There have been many exciting and extravagant possibilities.  Some, like each friend getting 100 presents, may not come to fruition...  But one about bringing stuffed animals in brought forth a dilemma.  How can we coordinate this?  Thyra volunteered the info that she has 27 stuffed animals, but she would need others to make up the rest.  Taylor decided that it could work if each friend brought like 3 stuffed animals, but how do we check our work?  Would 21 kids at three stuffed animals work?  The children plan to use their own methods to work out these types of real life word problems.  As a teacher I am wondering how many ways we will have to explain how we got to our answer? What will the children use to represent how they came to their findings?  Especially if 21 children at 3 stuffed animals each will not get us to 100 stuffed animals, they how will they figure out how many stuffed animals each child DOES need to bring?  The fun is in figuring it all out.  And these kids are up for the challenge!


On the topic of 100 day party, I am feeling like the kids are still not as inspired as to the details about this, and time is moving closer...  Other years the children have had so many exciting and interesting things they wanted to do to represent 100.  Many of you asked me about this because of memories of other years or other children.  I have been thinking it would be fun to have a special party full of activities planned by parents FOR the children and am wondering if this could be it?  Is anyone interested in joining a committee of parents to secretly create some games and activities that we know would be a special surprise way for the children to explore and enjoy the concept of 100?  It could be our treat for the kids!  And of course we could still do the few things the kids suggested, like the 100 animal collection, too!  WHAT DO YOU THINK?  (I'm excited about this possibility, but MUM'S THE WORD!)


Have a lovely night!  Love, Jennifer