Mrs. Bryer's Class Newsletter

September 10, 2012

Bits and Pieces

  • We do not have enough parents who use their email regularly to rely on emailed newsletters. I will copy the newsletter as well and put it in the folders. I apologize for the length, I am having difficulty without the limitation of the single page. I want to tell you EVERYTHING that is going on. Please feel free to contact me with questions at any time.

  • Please help your child decorate and return their puzzle piece if you have not already. We will place the together in the Safe Place.

  • If you have not already sent in your child's change of clothes do so this week. Please enclose them in the baggie sent home with the green ID sheet.

  • There is a bathroom in our classroom. Children are free to use the bathroom when needed except when we are together at the carpet. Even then, if they signal to me I will make exceptions. With this being said, we are having a high volume of bathroom accidents in our classroom. Please talk with your child about using the bathroom when needed.

We reached our goal!

One way to encourage children to work together is to give them a common goal. Each time we are outside of the classroom we are trying to earn a compliment for the class from a staff member. We can do this with the way we walk down the hallway, conduct ourselves at lunch, or in CAMP. Each time we receive a compliment we earn a monkey. When we have 10 monkeys hanging from our chain we earn a class reward. Monday the children will enjoy popcorn and a movie as our first reward. We will be watching a Magic School Bus video on smell to kick off our Senses unit.

Classroom Jobs

We will start our classroom jobs this week. We have been talking about them from the start but I have been the sole employee of the classroom. I will hand the jobs over to the children and we will work together to keep our classroom tidy and running smoothly. Please ask your child Monday what their job title is and what they are responsible for. Remind them that all jobs are important and that they will have a chance to have every job at least once this year.

Behavior Reports

The top issue in our classroom is keeping hands and feet to yourself, staying in our own personal space. I have spent the first two weeks setting expectations and procedures and practicing with the children. I do not expect children to have a perfect day. I do, however, expect children to learn to control their hands and feet. This week I will start a behavior report. You will only receive one if needed. This report will be a checklist of common issues. If you receive a note, please talk with your child about it. Please know that if I am including a report in the folder, your child did receive warnings or their actions were interfering with another child's learning.

Handwriting Without Tears

Handwriting is very important in kindergarten. Learning to form the letters is vital. I didn't understand completely until I moved from kindergarten to 3rd grade. The children who struggled with composition were children that also struggled with letter formation. The HWT process teaches children to form letters quickly and efficiently by using the four basic strokes. For example, the little curve, or "Magic C" can turn into an a, o, d, g, q. Learning it this way also cuts down on the confusion between the b and d!

Our focus for handwriting right now is pencil grip, beginning letters at the top, learning the four strokes (big line, little line, big curve, little curve). I am trying to focus on writing names in small groups right now. This is the one word that they will write everyday. It is important that we establish good habits. Please assist by practicing with your child at home. Verbalize the words for each letter. This is how they learn to write the letters correctly. If you need another copy of the Handwriting Without Tears letter writing sheet please email me. I will be happy to send another copy.

Royalty In the Classroom

As part of our handwriting curriculum we are also learning about Mat Man. He is created by using wooden pieces that represent the strokes. It is a great way to help children move from stick figures to more detailed drawings of people. Each day a student is celebrated. We interview, draw, and practice writing their name. The goal is to introduce letters in a meaningful way, learn to draw people, add details, and begin labeling our pictures. I hope to pick up the pace and celebrate two royal classmates each day after another two weeks. At conferences, I will share with you the completed book of your child's classmates, drawn by your child so you can see the progress made. It makes a great keepsake.

Lunch Time Procedures

It is amazing how many students know their lunch numbers! Thank you for practicing. It helps make the line move quickly. If your child is still struggling, please continue to help them practice.

Continue to be conscious of the containers you pack in the lunchbox. I have been monitoring the children at lunch trying to encourage good table manners and setting expectations. I will begin weening them off my support this week. It is important that they continue to practice the expectations that I have established. Please review with them the following: stay on your pockets, raise your hands if you need help, eat only your food, keep your hands and feet to yourself, and use your manners.

Math Stations

We began Math Stations last week. These are small group tubs that give children time to explore and practice math skills. The children seemed to really enjoy them. They rotated between floor puzzles, unifix cubes, and making pony bead necklaces with an AB pattern.

During this first six weeks we will focus on shapes (identifying, describing, sorting), ordinal numbers 1st-5th, numbers 0-6 (identifying, counting sets, and writing), and counting to 30. We will also work on recognizing, continuing, and creating simple patterns.

Literacy Stations

We have established our literacy station routine as well. These will take place in the mornings. Students will rotate from station to station. The goal is to train them to follow the station rotation chart and work in pairs. Once completely established students will rotate between the following: library, teacher table, technology, fine motor, science observation, and ABC/pocket charts. This time is from 9:30-10:30. I would love to add a game rotation in the mix if anyone would like to volunteer during this time on Mondays or Thursdays. It does not have to be every week. Just send me an email by Friday of the prior week of your availability.

We Will Become Scientists

I LOVE science! I encourage you and your children to be observant of your surroundings. If you find a unique dead bug, in good condition, or other natural findings, feel free to send it in so we can examine it. So far we have caught a cricket and almost a spider (someone instinctively smashed it before I got there). Friday we had our first observation, Dancing Raisins. Ask your child what they observed.

This week we will begin our unit on Senses. This really establishes what a scientist does. They use their senses to observe, make predictions, ask questions, and test their ideas. The goal is to have an experiment a week, generally on Fridays. This week we will have to be scientist outside, it's a messy one!

COLOR WEEK... please encourage your child to wear the following colors this week.

Monday/Red Tuesday/Orange Wednesday/Yellow Thursday/Green Friday/Blue