Saturday, January 2, 2010

New for 2010

We are just now finishing the first half of kindergarten. That's a big hurdle to cross, but it is worth it. During the second half of the year we have more exciting activities and studies coming up. Here are just a few exciting things that will happen in our class in 2010.

Take Home Backpacks
Each backpack has a special theme (Insects, counting, colors, plants, Dr. Seuss, etc). There are a few books that will accompany a few activities. I try to have both literacy and math activities, and some even have science based activities. The activities will depend on the theme. The backpacks will go home on a rotating basis. Each child will have the opportunity to take home at one least backpack once a month. The key to making it a successful program is for all students to turn the backpacks back in to me on each Friday. This allows me to have plenty of time to refill the backpacks with the worksheets that go with each backpack. We will start the backpack rotations in mid-January.

Hands on Center Games
Kids just LOVE games and I have fun making them too. The kids will learn how to use the new games when they come to my small group table. Many of the games are similar to games at the store...except that the game cards are based on what we are learning and the boards are based on the themes we are studying. One of my favorite games that the kids will start using as soon as we get back is our Fishing For Words game. They will be using a real fishing rod to fish for words.

Computer Commanders (brand new this year!!)
Each day as the kids finish on the computer, they can turn in papers they complete. Each paper completed will equal one point. After earning 10 points they can visit the Treasure Box.

Class Garden (for the spring)
Each year my class plants flowers and food plants in our garden. Currently our class garden (the blue pool outside of the morning meeting room) is a real mess! So, if any parents would like to help us bring it back to life that would be great. I will need some help pulling the weeds and filling it again with some healthy soil. We usually start planting in March, so in February we will spend time cleaning up the garden so it will be ready in the spring. In the past we have planted marigolds, sunflowers, parsley, lima beans, grass. I still have not decided what exactly we will plant this year. I'd like some input from the kids first. If you would like to donate either supplies or your time/talent, just let me know by emailing, calling, or writing.

Field Trips
As a grade level we are hoping to go on a field trip this year. Due to the budget situation, we have to be very creative with our limited funds. We try as much as we can to have the student cost be as low as we can get it. Some of the field trips we have done in the past have been visiting Blue Springs, the Sanford Zoo, and going to a Jack Hartmann concert. The trip for this year is still up in the air. As soon as we sit down as a team and figure out the best option for the kids we will send home permission forms. When we go on the field trips we will need some parent chaperones. If you would like to be a chaperone (monitoring a small group of students) you MUST have a cleared volunteer form on file. If you still have not completed a volunteer form, NOW is the time to get that completed. The forms are valid for 5 YEARS! :)

Published Book
For the past 2 years my class has published a book through StudenTreasures. Both years the kids have chosen to write about animals. The children read books about animals, did research on the computer (as a class), and created charts about the animals. After the kids gathered all the information, each child wrote an information page about the animal of their choice. The children also illustrated their work. My work was compiling all the pages and sending it off to be bound in a hard back book. All families will have the opportunity to by copies of the class book for a fee. If you would like the see our past book, just ask and I will let you see one. The quality of the book is great. The best part is seeing how the kids go through the entire writing process. This project is a favorite for the kids and myself.

Book Buddies
Our Book Buddies will continue to visit us every few weeks. So far this year our book buddies have come to read with is, helped us with our Pumpkin day, and even spent some time with us during Writer's Workshop.

End of the Year Bash
I know it may seem really early to start thinking about it, but its never too early. As a kindergarten team we all sit down and plan a special day for the kids. Last year we had a water day and it was a real hit with the kids. The key to making the day a success is by having parents help out by sending in supplies and food, and by having lots of parent volunteers.

Summer Birthday celebration
We have several students who have summer birthdays. I will collaborate with those families to work out the details of how to make the last birthday celebration of all the summer birthdays a fun experience. We will plan the event sometime during the last two weeks of school.