Tuesday, 27 September 2016

September in Room 122

Wow! We can't believe that a month has already gone by! What a busy and exciting month we've had. Our learners have been busy exploring our classroom environment, learning routines and expectations and having fun creating in the classroom. Here are some photos to share some of our learning from this past month.

Lots of literacy during September!
A goal of our first few months in Kindergarten is name writing. We provide many different opportunities for our learners to practice writing and reading their names.
Each of our learners create a letter using rocks. We took a photo of each letter they created to use for our writing centre.

Working on letter recognition and sorting.
 A big focus of the Kindergarten program (and ours) is self-regulation. We have been working on various strategies to help us calm down and get our bodies ready for learning. 'Take 5 Breathing' has been a huge hit with our learners (and the staff) as a way to bring everyone to a place where we're ready to listen and learn. You can use 'Take 5 Breathing' at home. Try it out. You'll be surprised how much it helps you calm down and focus.

Some learners find they need movement breaks or a space to calm down. They have been using the yoga posters and yoga mats to do various calming poses.

Tree pose.
(Yoga even goes outside!)

We have been teaching 'Whole Body Listening'. Our learners have many times throughout the day where they need to be respectful listeners (not just for whole class meetings, but for all moments they are listening to someone else). Watch the video to see how you need to use 'whole body listening' to ensure you don't miss important information.

Our learners have been enjoying using art as a way to share their thinking and learning. We have provided opportunities for them to experiment with different writing utensils (crayons, markers, pencil crayons) as well as with paint.

'Loose Parts' is another way learners can share their thinking. You can find loose parts all around you. Look at what you can create with various materials.

Fine motor skills are important to support, as they lead to a successful pencil grip and writing skills. Our learners have enjoyed the various activities in the room.

As always, the building centre is a popular location for our architects! We have had roads, stages (with performing bands!), houses, sky scrapers, drums and so much more!

We 'Read to Self' everyday. Our learners use special 'reading glasses' and 'reading pointers' to help them focus on their books during our reading time. We are working on building up our stamina. Together we created our expectations during this time.

Can't wait to see all the great learning October will bring.

Monday, 12 September 2016

A New Year in Room 122

Welcome to another year in Kindergarten. 

The educators (Ms. Tompkins, Mrs. Gerrell & Mrs. Landolfi) in Room 122 are excited to welcome all our new learners into our classroom environment. We believe that "four- and five-year-olds are capable and competent learners, full of potential and ready to take ownership of their learning". We set up our classroom environment with this in mind. 

Literacy provocations to support sight word, letters and name recognition. 

 Our family wall continues to be a central focus in our classroom. Families, you play such an important role in your child's schooling. We love working together with our families and they deserve a central place in our room!

Building fine motor skills (small muscles) is a focus we have in the beginning months of kindergarten. We provide many activities for our learners to work their finger muscles. This will allow them to then use those muscles to support their writing skills. 

Our science table features insects, as our learners are familiar with them. It gives them the ability to use their background knowledge to create on our light table. 

Our 'wonder window' provides opportunities for our learners to engage
with and observe the natural world around them.

Building, everyone's favourite location! We're excited to see what they create this year!

"Young children have the curiosity and the capability to engage in complex mathematical thinking and learning". With this in mind, we have set up various math provocations to encourage our learners to explore math concepts. We integrate math into our day, as children naturally explore mathematical ideas through play. 

"To become proficient, [children] need to spend sustained periods of time doing mathematics – solving problems, reasoning, developing understanding, practicing skills – and building connections between their previous knowledge and new knowledge."
(Kilpatrick, Swafford, & Findell, 2001, p. 135) 

Mandalas created by students last year are a nice way to welcome back our SK students.

Adding mirrors allows learners to explore different perspectives and to observe themselves and others

Self-regulation plays an important role in Kindergarten (and life!). Self-regulation is the "ability to manage your own energy states, emotions, behaviours and attention in ways that are socially acceptable and help achieve positive goals such as maintaining good relationships, learning and maintaining well-being" (Dr. Stuart Shanker). In order to support our learners, we have created areas in the classroom to help them when they become 'un-regulated'.

Yoga (breathing, stretches and poses) provides a great way to build mindfulness and regulation. This is our 'yoga studio' where learners can go if they need to calm down or need to move. This will help with focus and thinking.

Our snack table- learners can come here throughout the day when they're hungry

Dramatic play provides opportunities for many skills to develop: literacy skills, social skills, conflict resolution, creativity and imagination. We start our year off with a home as all learners are familiar and able to engage.

Literacy skills are embedded in everything we do in Room 122. Learners are talking, reading and writing daily. We provide many materials to encourage independence.

Picture/word books to support learners with independence when writing

Lots of different paper and templates available for daily writing

Letter rings, sight word rings and sentence starters create independence when writing

Small-group instruction happens continually throughout our day

Awaiting 'personal best work'!

We're excited about the amazing thinking and learning that will happen this year! 

We can't wait to create with all of you!