Week at a Glance

Becky's 2-Year Kindergarten Class...October 14, 2016

MINDFULNESS

This week we explored what it means to be mindful! When we are mindful we're paying attention to what's happening here and now! We were able to connect this to what we've learned about the different regions of the brain. When the amygdala is activated (whether you are in real danger or just perceived danger), our bodies are in a state of reacting automatically...freeze, fight or flight. This type of behavior is not mindful and can be contrasted to our behaviors when our sensory input is perceived by the amygdala as pleasurable (or at least not dangerous). In this case, the sensory input is sent to the prefrontal cortex, for processing. This is the part of our brain that helps us learn and problem solve. While our amygdalas might sometimes over react, it is possible, through mindfulness, to help our "guard dog" remain calm!


We talked about a variety of scenarios and discussed whether they should be labeled as mindful or unmindful behavior. Is it mindful to walk into the street without looking both ways? Is it mindful to include a friend that looks like they're feeling left out? Ask your child if he or she can think of mindful or unmindful scenarios to share!

MATH

Our work with patterns continues! We continue to work on labeling patterns with letters, both labeling patterns that we create and coloring patterns when given a set of letters like AB, AAB, ABC, etc. Everyone's working at a just right level, so this phase of our pattern work has been individualized to meet the needs of a variety of levels.
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Early in the week, we strengthened our pattern skills with "apple" patterns. Create a pattern and color the apples using corresponding colors!
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Pattern snakes! Please create a pattern that challenges you at a just right level!
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Our week ended with a variety of pattern worksheets...this will help you get a sense of the differentiation that's happening within this unit!

LANGUAGE ARTS

With so much to write about, it is important that we have routines in place to maximize our writing time! What should I write about today? Do I have a story I'm working on...or an unfinished piece of writing? What do I do when I'm done? We are working on becoming independent with these routines so that more time can be spent focusing on the actual process of writing!


Several stories were completed this week and the excitement of stapling a finished book seems to be catchy! Seeing the stapler in action has inspired several others to diligently work towards completing books or even to take on the challenge of writing a book that spans several pages!

Skit skat skoodle doot...flip flop flee...I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a long time favorite book! We (re)read this book and created our own coconut trees! Our trees wouldn't be complete without letters, but instead of just putting any old letters, we put letters together to make words! You might ask your child about the difference between letters and words! Some of us added our names or the names of family members, others added favorite words and some of us delighted in adding words that we knew how to spell!
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We had our first taste of centers this week! Without our work study helper, our centers functioned more as practice centers, but we can never have too much practice when learning new routines! We'll focus on similar lessons again next week, just to make sure we've got things internalized! We have four groups for centers, each focusing on different phonics skills!


Red: Beginning sounds B, M

Yellow: Beginning sounds B, M, R, S

Green: Review of beginning consonants

Blue: Spelling inventory to see what skills to focus on

THEME

It was a very exciting week at OCS!!! Our theme for the year was finally revealed! Yay! On Thursday afternoon we met as a whole school and first discussed what "theme" is! Our friends that have been at OCS for previous themes were quite helpful in describing just what theme is...it's really fun, involves lots of projects, is like a big topic that you study but there are smaller topics throughout the year...Then came the big reveal...our theme for this year is "WE ARE THE WORLD! HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE!" We spent time imagining what me might study for here...there...everywhere. There was so much enthusiasm and so many thoughtful responses! I can't yet say what there and everywhere will entail, but "here" will start our year with a study of this wonderful place we call home, Washington state! We will touch on many aspects of our state, from geography to landmarks to fun facts to animals and plants to first people! What is this place where we live like? How can we work to make a difference in our community? There is so much to learn and much fun to be had! I am so excited and can't wait to begin exploring with the kids!
The perfect kick off to our theme was an all school art project! Yes, we are the world! What is the world, anyways? We'll be exploring this idea next week in class. In the meantime, we had fun working together to create a giant collage world! And, since, we are the world, we each created a miniature replica of ourselves to adorn our beautiful world! Look for this on display soon, on the wall at the end of the hallway (actually, as you come up the stairs, I don't think you 'll be able to miss it!)!
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Finding blue and green pieces for our collage world!
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Creating mini versions of ourselves!

ART

Our Halloween cats are finished and up on the wall! They are so cute! Be sure to venture down into our classroom to check these out!
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STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)

What does it mean to be a scientist? We had a great discussion about what it means to be a scientist! A scientist is someone who...builds, experiments, guesses, sorts, answers questions, asks questions, invents, has an assistant...
We are all scientists! Today we worked together as scientists to design coconut trees (think Chicka Chicka Boom Boom) that could support 5 letters! Each pair was given a collection of blocks and popsicle sticks to complete this task. There was lots of planning, building (and rebuilding), testing, and working together....there was also lots of laughing! It was a fun challenge to see how many letters we could support in our trees!
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Important Dates

October 19: Board Meeting 6:00

Week of October 24 (Mon-Fri): Conferences~1/2 days~pick up at noon Sign-up here!

November 2: Parent Meeting

November 11: Veteran's Day~No school

November 16: Board Meeting

FIELD TRIPS

October 21: Lattin's Cider Mill

November 4: Northwest Trek (all day)

November 18: Kennedy Creek (salmon run)

December 2: Squaxin Island Museum

December 9: Washington State History Museum (all day)

UPCOMING WORKSHOP TEACHERS

October 21: Tessa, Atticus

October 28: Elsie, Lyla

November 18: Tessa

REMINDERS

There is a new clip board on the "sign-in" table that has a chart with daily and weekly cleaning chores that will help keep our school clean! If you have a few minutes, feel free to take on a job, or two or three! Thank you to Eric, Sheila and Wendy who have already jumped in! Things are looking great and we teachers really appreciate you!