Friday, December 10, 2010

Making Tens with Counters

In math we've been learning about the numbers zero through ten. Simple, you say - but it's so much more. Those early numbers are part of the foundation for all number skills and concepts. Last week, we used double-sided counters (red/yellow) to help us learn about different ways to make ten. Actually, we've been working on different ways to make seven, eight, nine, and ten. As you can see, we talk about the "whole", or the total number of counters (which is ten).  After we find out the total, we look to see what the "parts" are.  We know that 5 red and 5 yellow make 10, or 6 red and 4 yellow make 10, etc. We can use objects, fingers, and counters to show the parts that make the whole. This concept of parts and the whole is addition in it's simplest form - and it's so great to see them "thinking" out loud as they are learning. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Skype, Karma Wilson & Bear Snores On

It has been a fantastic week here in KF.  We have been working hard and having fun taking our learning in different directions. This week we have been making new US and International friends via Skype in the classroom.  First, we became kindergarten buddies with Mrs. McMahons kindergarten class in Alberta Canada. We haven't met our new friends yet, but hope to in the coming weeks. We also met with Mrs. Andersons 1A Grizzly Bears.  Two excellent 1st grade readers from Missoula's Hawthorne Elementary School read a book to us. We ended the week with a special visitor in our classroom.  Mrs. Kaminski is a Skype Reading tutor in Wisconsin.  We connected with Mrs. Kaminski for a 15 minute Skype reading session. She read Karma Wilson's Bear Snores On - which happens to be our Reading Street book for the week. She engaged us with her passion for reading - all while sitting at her computer in Wisconsin. Check out the kind words she had to say about her visit with us on her Skype Reading Tutor blog. Thank you Mrs. Kaminski!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Snowy Day

Well, I can't believe it's been over a week since our last post. Last Monday - our unexpected last day of school before the break - we experienced our very first snow day. It was the perfect opportunity to read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. At the time, it wasn't a lot of snow - but it was new and fresh - so we quietly geared up to be the first to make some tracks in the snow. It was a great time to get out and make some connections to what we read about in the book.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life in an Ocean

Last week we began Unit 2 of our Reading Street Program.  We read Life in an Ocean.  Each week, we sing a song about the weekly topic set to the tune of a familiar children's song. These songs highlight  the "Amazing Words", or the vocabulary for the week.  We spend the week attempting to memorize it with out any help from Mr. Fines or the CD.  If you haven't heard your child humming these tunes at home, they're a hit here in kindergarten.  In fact, some of our weekly tunes are quite popular and  here is one of our favorites.  La-la-la La-la. Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

October Fun

Well here's a little slideshow that took about a week in the making, for no particular reason other than the fact that we've been busy learning.  October was a pretty fantastic month that included three field trips - two of which were pumpkin related.  The latter involved our 7th grade buddies from Meadow Hill, who will make another appearance sometime in December for more craft related collaboration.  The highly anticipated Halloween celebration ended our month.  My creativity was a bit lacking during the process - so here are your little monsters in no particularly edited order. Enjoy!...more to come in November.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A New Home for our Featured Writers

Happy November everyone.  I took a brief sabbatical from all things technology to enjoy the Halloween weekend. I am now finally catching up on my small list of things to do. It's quite large actually, but it's smaller now for sure.  If you haven't noticed, there is a slightly new look to our blog page.  I'm not totally satisfied, but it should do for now.  At least it's something different to look at.  Also new on our blog, is the "Featured Writers" tab which I'm experimenting with as a possible new home for all of our budding writers. It's just below the KF Dragons blog title.  I'll be able to display more of their work on this page, which is coming in like crazy. Student writing pieces will stay on the page for at least a week - then I'll refresh the page with new books periodically. My plan is to stagger them to keep a good rotation going.  So exciting! Thank you all for your continued support at home.  Be on the lookout for pictures, or video, of the latest KF events. I'll post that in the next few days or so.  Until then, head on over to our "Featured Writers" page and enjoy!

The luckiest teacher ever!
~ Mr. Fines

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

...and Apples grew upon it!

Here's a little apple ditty we learned during apple week.  It took some practice but we did it.  Internalizing the rhythm of a song and replacing words with a clap is one of our early musical skills.  About twenty practices and two video takes is the very funny finished product. They're such "hams" in front of the camera. Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Great Pumpkin Patch Adventure

What a great trip to the pumpkin patch. We frolicked in the patch, watched a little "Pumpkin Theatre", enjoyed a pumpkin treat, and made a pumpkin craft.  Here are some pictures along with a few clips from Mr. Fines Roving Reporter. Good times!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Featured Writer

Here is the first of many writing pieces to be featured on our blog.  Our featured writer is Grey, one of many talented, up & coming authors and illustrators  in KF.  Be on the lookout for more amazing works in the weeks and months ahead. Congratulations Grey ~ and well done!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Love Apples!

Welcome KF Dragons and fans!  Well, let's kick off this short week with a little video about what we'll be learning about in kindergarten...APPLES!  This is a great theme that lends itself to the different areas of learning in kindergarten.  We can do apple math, apple science, read apple books, write apple stories, make apple art, sing apple songs - and the list goes on.  While I have a handful of things planned in the coming weeks, I'll let our natural curiosity and inquisitiveness be our guide in some of our fun, hands-on learning.  Can't wait to share!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mr. Fines ~ Roving Reporter

I almost forgot.  I captured these up-close and personal interviews...from the Farm!

Down on the PEAS Farm

What a great trip to the PEAS Farm.  Personally, I've never been, so it was a new experience for me as well as for most of the kids.  What beautiful fall weather - a chill in the air, a scattering of clouds, and a touch of sunshine.  We learned about all the different kind of things that go on at the farm. We also learned that some of the food from the farm is given back to our community at the local food bank and produce markets.  We even sampled some pretty tasty vegetables.  For the record, I witnessed many of your children chowing down on raw broccoli, tomato, peppers, carrots, and don't say it can't be done. What a great day!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Welcome to the KF Dragons Blog - we're not just kids, but little dragons too!

Ready or not, here we come.  Thanks to all for your patience.  Next to balancing a pretty crazy first-six-weeks of kindergarten, I've been up in the air about the right time to open up our blog. I suppose, now is a better time than ever.  

At the moment this blog is in its simplest form.  I chose this template in the hopes that in the same way we grow and change throughout the year, so will our blog. I'm hoping it will look "way cooler" than it does now.  While I've managed a few blogs of my own in the past, I've never created one for my classroom.  I welcome any suggestions for things to add to our blog, as well as gadgets and other cool things you'd like to see.  I hope we'll find a "blogging-expert" out there that will lend us a hand. I'm pretty excited to take our teaching and sharing to a different space.  What a great way to share with a larger audience of friends, family, and hopefully other kindergarten classrooms around the state, around the country, or even around the world. 

For those of you unfamiliar with a blog - its kind of like an online journal or diary.  Its a place for sharing thoughts, ideas, pictures, projects.  If you can name it, you can blog about it. You can also collaborate with others by having them post a comment about something they enjoyed reading, or seeing.  Consider our blog a window into our classroom.  My goal is to update our blog with pictures, video, and posts of things going on every few days.  We'll check it as a class to see if anyone has left us a comment. The language will be casual, the setting informal - although no TEXT-TALK allowed (Lol!).  If any of our kiddos end up posting a thought or two, we'll be using complete sentences.  :)

In the end, I hope we'll all be able to look back at what an incredible year of growth, laughter, learning, and fun it has been in KF.  I welcome you to join us on our journey. ~ Mr. Fines