Week at a Glance

Becky's 2-Year Kindergarten Class...November 11, 2015

AUTUMN JOY

Autumn is such a magnificent season! This week we are exploring many of the joys of autumn. What do we really enjoy about autumn? There are so many things that excite the senses this time of year...from beautifully colored leaves to cold rain to the smell of pumpkin pie in the oven! Ask your child what he or she particularly enjoys!


One of the things I love sharing with my class this time of year is the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert! Leaf Man is exactly what he sounds like...a man created with leaves. He takes quite a journey through a world entirely created with beautiful fall leaves! This is definitely a treat for the eyes that you won't want to miss! If you have a few moments, follow this link to enjoy this fabulous book with your child!


Our ART this week centers around the changing fall leaves. The first step of this project was an exploration with melting wax, as we used a hotplate to melt crayons onto wax paper. Although quite beautiful on it's own, the melted wax art was then turned into leaves. Add a little puffy paint (or black glue, as the case may be!) and voila! Stained glass leaves!


It's great to enjoy the colored leaves of fall and even more fun to create leaf art, but why, oh, why do the leaves change colors? We answered that with a simple science experiment! We used crushed leaves, alcohol, and coffee filters to explore what happens when the chlorophyll (think green) is removed from a leaf...you see the reds, yellows, oranges and other colors that were present all along, but masked by the chlorophyll! Typically throughout spring and summer there is so much sunlight that leaves contain enough chlorophyll to completely cover other colors. When sunlight and chlorophyll become less prominent, other colors are visible!

THOUGHTS ON MINDFULNESS

This week we've been talking about the importance of focusing our attention on the task at hand/ one thing at a time. When our focus is divided between too many things, it becomes really difficult for our brain to take the information from our short term memory and tuck it away in the hippocampus, our "memory keeper". This really made sense to the kids and I overheard them reminding each other to focus so that they could learn things! This is something that we'll continue to work on and practice. The simple breathing exercises we've been practicing each morning are a great way to help our bodies learn to focus on one thing at a time. This is definitely not an easy practice, but one that is so very important! I am including a link to a video related to this topic (What the Internet Does to Our Brains) that I personally found interesting...this is not one that I shared with the kids, but thought you might also find some nuggets of wisdom in it! I can definitely relate!

MATH

This week we continue to expand our understanding of numbers. Some of us practiced reading numbers, counting with one to one correspondence and representing numbers accurately by building a city of towers with a partner. Others worked on expanding our knowledge of place value by creating 2 digit numbers with dice, building that number using base-10 blocks, and then representing it with a picture. We all explored the concepts of more and less. For some this meant comparing towers of cubes, and for others this meant working with two digit numbers and the "hungry alligator" (greater than and less than signs)! What would more and less be without a great game of compare (you probably know this card game as "war", although our version is slightly modified to reduce competition)?! This is always a favorite!

LANGUAGE ARTS

Writing Workshop: This week we are working on connecting our Word Work with Writing Workshop. Everyone now has a personal word wall in their writing folder that contains all of the words we've been learning and practicing through Word Work. Now when we're writing and want to know how to spell one of these words, it's right there for us to look up!

Word Work: Review of all previous words

Phonics Centers: Red group: beginning sounds J and W; Yellow group: review of all beginning sounds; Blues group: beginning blends gr, dr, pr, tr

Reading Workshop: Our strategy for this week is retell the story. This is a comprehension strategy that helps us to understand what we are reading about. Why read if you don't understand what you're reading?! We read the book How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills and practiced retelling this story as a group. We will continue to practice this strategy here at school, and this is one that will be really great to also practice at home! If you'd like, start by reading (listening/watching) How Rocket Learned to Read with your child and have him or her practice retelling this story to you. What happens at the beginning? What happens next? What happens in the middle? What happens at the end?

THEME

Muscles, muscles, and more muscles! We started the week exercising our muscles in PE! We all ran laps around the gym with the goal of running 3 laps, although I think many of us ran more! We also tried out a variety of exercises that helped us learn where major muscles are located and to experience what it feels like to work these muscles!


Muscles are responsible for all movement in our bodies! This is quite a large job, but fortunately skeletal muscles each have a buddy to work with! We explored this concept by making paper models of the arm, complete with a bicep and tricep muscle (red yarn). Contract (pull the yarn) the bicep muscle and the arm flexes. Relax the bicep and contract the tricep and the arm straightens out again. What fun!


Within our bodies there are 3 types of muscles! See if your child can remember these types (see the picture below)! Our skeletal muscles are voluntary...yay! I can move my arm when I want to! Cardiac and smooth muscles are involuntary...we all got a good laugh at the thought of trying to move our intestines, and we are very thankful that these muscles do not tire...what a bummer it'd be to have a tired heart!


Last week we began soaking a chicken bone in vinegar to remove the calcium. We finally removed the bone for a last time, and were all surprised at how "bendy" it became! Be sure to eat your greens everyone! This experiment really demonstrated just how important calcium is for our bodies! With the bone in such a soft state, we were able to break it apart to see the layers we learned about last week! It really was neat...next time you have chicken, you may consider soaking a leg bone for a week and seeing for yourself what happens!


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SPECIAL REQUESTS

Looking ahead to next week...there are some really fun experiments and models I'd like to explore with the kiddos! Here's what I'll need (by Monday, please!):


*11 small clear plastic bottles with lids (like the disposable water/ juice bottles)

*4 2L clear soda type bottles


Thank you!

Important Dates

November 13: Field Trip to Kennedy Creek 12:30

November 17: Mindfulness Presentation (by Jeriann!) and Open House 6:00

November 18: Board Meeting 6:00

November 26-27: Happy Thanksgiving! No school

December 2: Parent Meeting 6:00

December 16: Board Meeting 6:00

December 18: Portofolio Share 9:00


Upcoming Workshops

Nov 13: Marlo, Declan

Nov 20: Sayde, Andrew

Dec 4: Lyla, Calder

Dec 11: Marlo, Elsie

Jan 8: Tessa, Lucy

Once again...this week's videos!
How Muscles Work
Why Do Leaves Change Colors in the Fall?