Week at a Glance

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



We continue to practice this daily. We are working on being still during this practice, so that our deep breathing can benefit us fully. We are up to about 1 to 2 minutes of quiet, still deep breathnig. Some kids asked if we could try our deep breathing for an hour! We are working on increasing our stamina with this practice and even a couple minutes of focused stillness is something to celebrate...even for adults!

We had an interesting conversation about why we practice mindfulness. The kids are really aware of this practice promoting focus and calmness within ourselves. Taking the discussion a bit deeper we learned about the structure of neurons...Imagine the palm of your hand as the nucleus, your fingers as dendrites and your forearm to your elbow as the axon, with nerve endings branching out at your elbow. Dendrites receive messages from of the neurons and pass this information through the axon to the nerve endings, where it's transmitted to other neurons. Repeating our mindfulness practice daily actually strengthens nerve cell connections (this is referred to as neuroplasticity). Our dendrites related to deep breathing increase in number and size, making it easier for us to call on our mindfulness practice should we need it. For instance, next time we are having strong feelings about something, our brain may use it's strong pathways for deep breathing, allowing us take some deep breaths to help manage our feelings. This leads to reflective, rather than reactive responses! Our brains are so amazing, and I really love learning the science of how all of this works. I think it also really helps the kids understand the importance of this practice and how it can help them!


We continue our important work with feelings, with the intention that this practice will:

  • help us identify the feelings we're experiencing
  • help us learn skills to manage strong feelings
  • help us recognize feelings in others
  • help us learn to be empathetic and respond to the feelings of others in an appropriate way.

Our feeling for this week is happy! We all agreed that happy is a pleasant feeling. Many of us had examples to share of times when we've felt happy, and we continue to discuss this as we move through the week. We talked about what our faces and bodies look like when we are happy and how we might recognize this feeling in someone else. What kind of conversation can you engage your child in regarding happiness?


We are wrapping up our official work with number sense, although this work will be woven into all of our future work in math!

We enjoyed combining our love of buidling and creating designs with our number sense work. We used cubes, pattern blocks and base ten blocks to create structures or designs and then counted and recorded the value of our pieces. Some of us practiced counting by ones and worked with numbers up to 20, while others worked on counting by 100's, 10's and 1's using the base-ten blocks and worked with numbers into the 100's!

In the spirit of wrapping things up, those of us learning to skip count worked on completing our skip counting packs. We are becoming quite versed in counting by 10's and 5's...2's remain a bit tricky, but we're working on it! I know I always say this, but this could be a great activity for the car!

Those of us working on numbers up to 20 had an opportunity to reveal our skills on paper with some counting and number writing worksheets. We are working really hard to slow our pointer fingers down, so that we wait until we are finished saying a number before we move on to the nest object!

We wrapped up the week with some good old-fashioned BINGO! Perfect for practicing number recognition!


Writing Workshop: We continue to work on planning and creating stories with a beginning, middle and end. This week we are using "story maps" to capture our ideas. This is not a skill that I expected everyone to jump into right away, and was very pleasantly surprised when given the option, every student chose to plan a story with a beginning middle and end. I so love the varied ideas they've come up with...from spooky pirates that have captured them to the magic school bus in the ocean to big storms and strawberry land with vampires! I can't wait to see this ideas turned into stories! What fun!

Word Work: review of previous words

Phonics Centers: Red group: beginning sounds Y and Z ; Yellow group: ending sounds; Blue group: baby vowels (short vowels) and their babysitters (see picture) continued


Dovetailing on our work from last week, we began the week with a continued discussion on physical activity. There are 3 main types of exercise we learned about: exercise that strengthens your heart, exercise that increases flexibility and exercise that improves strength. It is recommended that all kids participate in 60 minutes of physical activity each day! I hope that you are enjoying trying to incorporate physical activity into daily routines (your child should have brought home a physical activityrecording log on Monday). I know that this can be particularly challenging this time of year when it is rainy (!!!!) and gets dark so early! This may also be a new challenge for some kids. Think of the 60 minutes as a goal to work towards and celebrate any physical activity that you are able to incorporate!

Interestingly, many of the sites I've come encountered promoting physical activity and the benefits for kids were from foreign countries! I really like this list of benefits, put together by the New South Wales ministry of health.

The benefits of being active for young children include:

  • promoting healthy growth and development
  • helping to achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • building strong bones and muscles
  • improving cardiovascular fitness
  • improving balance, coordination and strength
  • maintaining and developing flexibility
  • improving posture
  • assisting with the development of gross motor and fine motor skills
  • providing the opportunity to develop fundamental movement skills
  • helping to establish connections between different parts of the brain
  • improving concentration and thinking skills
  • improving confidence and self-esteem
  • relieving stress and promoting relaxation
  • providing opportunities to develop social skills and make friends
  • improving sleep.

As hard as we try to take care of our bodies as best as we can, we still experience injuries and illness from time to time! We are so lucky to have so many wonderful adults to help care for us, and it is never too early to learn some basic first aid skills to begin learning how to care for ourselves!

We were lucky enough to have several baby apples in need of care show up at just the right moment! We were able to provide the care the apple babies needed and learn some first-aid skills, too! The apple babies came to us after having quite a troubled morning. Falling down the stairs left her quite bruised. She cut herself while trying to slice a large watermelon, and then fell while running down the sidewalk and received a large scrape! Poor apple baby! And that's not all! Apple baby got a splinter while playing on her swingset, and then burned herself while making oatmeal (where were her parents?)! We cared for her bruise with an icepack and washed both her cut and scrape with soap and water before drying them and applying band-aids. We carefully removed her splinter and again used soap and water to clean the area. FInally, we cared for her burn by holding it under cool water. Phew! It was hard work caring for apple baby, but well worth it! We now know how to help care for ourselves should we need a little first-aid. We did talk about getting a grown-up for help when you need a lot of first-aid, and that there are some things, like a broken bone, where you'd get a grown-up right away! We briefly talked about calling 911, but this would be a great thing for youto review with your child!

For allschool theme this week we made "boo-boo bags"! We stitched up some fleece pouches, added some color with beads, and placed a rice-filled baggy inside. When placed in the freezer the rice will chill and can be used as a cold-pack when needed!


Out first winter art project is up and ready for some oohinh and ahhing!
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Important Dates

December 16: Board Meeting 6:00

December 18: Portofolio Share 9:00

Winter Break~No school December 21 through January 1

January 6: Parent Meeting 6:00

Upcoming Workshops

Dec 11: Marlo, Elsie

Jan 8: Tessa, Lucy

We enjoyed a few minutes watching a super cute visitor in the tree outside our classroom window! We have really enjoyed watching this tree transform as we've moved through the seasons. It was neat seeing the squirrel up on the teeny-tiny branches collecting helicopters!
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