Saturday, October 31, 2009

Milk Bags for Beds

I have asked parents to send in milk bags (the outer bag with the logo on it)
Like this one:
(By the way, this information below is from the Earl Beatty Library Blog! check it out!)

Canadian Food For Children is making sleeping mats for children out of milk bags. The material used in milk bags resists mildew and bugs, is washable, and provides cushioning for children who sleep on the ground or on bug infested leaves. They prevent 75% of diseases from parasites and hookworms. It takes 250 to 400 milk bags to weave one mattress. They are shipped to Haiti and Africa.

We are looking for the outer milk bags only. The bag that says Neilson or Beatrice or whatever, that holds the 3 smaller bags. Currently, the City of Toronto does not recycle milk bags. Instead of going to the landfill, milk bags can be dropped off at the Earl Beatty Library.

For further information click

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Pumpkin Patch

Although we didn't visit a pumpkin patch, the read about them and talked about them. We don't do a class trip this early in the year because some of the juniors are still learning our routines, and aren't quite ready yet.So we made our own pumpkin patch! It's flying in the air above our tables! If you look closely, you will see some bats flying up there too!We talked about how pumpkins come in many sizes and shapes, and how some are for Jack-o-lanterns and some are for eating.
We read books about the life cycle of the pumpkin too.
I learned new things too -- did you know that the reason the pumpkin is cut with a long stem is because it helps keep the pumpkin from getting moldy? So if you buy a pumpkin with no stem, it will get moldy much faster. You shouldn't carry your pumpkin by the stem either, because it might break off (and the whole pumpkin will rot faster)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October and math

I've talked alot about reading and writing on the blog -- but what about math? Our first (formal) exposure in the day to numbers is at the calendar. The helper of the day holds the pointer and points to the numbers and the whole class says the numbers. This helps us match the written number to the number that we say. It also helps the helper learn that we read the numbers from left to right, and then do a "return sweep" at the end of the line and go back to the left again. This month we have added a basic abab pattern to the pictures (leaf, apple, leaf, apple) The person who is chosen (by the helper) to put up the missing number (today's date) also has to choose the correct picture (apple number 6 or leaf number 6). I keep notes on who "gets it" and who needs a bit more practice.

We have been working on matching numbers with quantity in the math centre. We have begun to estimate and independently make patterns too!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


We are having lots of fun with black!

We are also learning about the letter B. If you are helping your child learn the letter B -- please remember to focus on the sound that B makes. (the morning class poster is on the left, the afternoon is on the right)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Here are some of the Fall books we're reading. Now we're focusing on:
Changes (daily weather, seasonal, temperature, how we cope with these changes, how animals cope ....)

Monday, October 12, 2009


We're talking about the colour orange -- and this week we'll talk about the word family _at -- and rhyme words with fat (cat, sat, hat, etc). Understanding of word families and a good sense of rhyme helps children read and write. If you can spell cat, you can spell mat!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Turkey time!

What do you get when you mix a handprint with lots of collage materials? A turkey of course! We had so much fun making these. Everyone loves playing with feathers, but the leaf punch was the biggest hit! Many punches are too hard for little hands, but this one worked quite well. I usuallly use the lever type punches, but I couldn't find a leaf shaped one. Click on the pictures to get a close up!
We talked a lot about Thanksgiving, fall and the harvest. We talked about how some people celebrate Thanksgiving -- and some people don't. Some people might eat turkey -- and lots of people don't! We made some hand print turkeys and read lots of books about Thanksgiving.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend with your families! Gobble Gobble!

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Suns and Stars - Learning Letters and more

S is for sun. S is for star. We practiced writing an S in the air, printing an S and making them out of play doh.
These are some of the S words that we came up with as a class:
(pm is on the left, am is on the right)

In our S books, we drew 3 things that started with the letter S and then printed the words. We did it as a group, so most words in this activity were copied. We will start "inventive spelling" (writing what you hear) in our journals soon (Most of the SKs and some JKs who are ready) (I scribe for the JKs and read them the words that they have dictated to me -- then they "read" it back to me while they point to the words).
Here are some examples of our Ss Books:
Some parents have asked about the order in which I teach the letters of the alphabet. We talk about many letters every day. We talk about them in context when we are sounding out words or talking about words and letters in our messages and poems.

In general we teach the most frequently used letters first. S, T, M, P, N. I taught A first because most children know A ( but it really is confusing because it makes more than 2 sounds!) But if we know A than we can write many rhyming words.

I teach upper and lower case at the same time. While it is true that the upper case letters are easiest to print, there aren't many books written all in upper case. If we want our children to read, we have to teach them lower case too! I know that a child REALLY knows his/her letters when they are copying something that I have written in lower case, and they write the whole thing in upper case! That means they have learned both, but are more comfortable printing in upper case. We often play matching games with upper and lower case letters.

I teach letter names and sounds at the same times -- and we focus on the most common sound the letter makes (we focus on the hard C as in cat, for example). I do explain that sometimes the letter makes an extra sound.

But when we are writing I expect the students to write the sound that they hear. If they were writing circle, for example, I would expect them to write something like SRKL (vowels are difficult to hear)This is very acceptable and developmentally appropriate for kindergarten. If your child askes you how to spell somehting -- you should say "Try to write the sounds that you hear" When they ask "Is this right?" say something like, "yay! you wrote all of the sounds!". Then you are supporting them in their writing, but aren't fibbing to them. I often say to the children "In Kindergarten, we write what we hear, and we might hear things differently, but that's okay" We call this 'Brave Spelling'. I say "Be a brave speller and just have a try!" We also strettttch words out so we hear the sounds.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fire Safety Week

This week was Fire Safety Week.
We practiced our fire drills and talked about fire safety at home (never playing with matches, being careful that you never throw toys or clothes on space heaters).

We all practiced Stop, Drop, and Roll! Have your child explain it to you! I wish that I could show you photographs of the students practicing -- we tried for lighthearted seriousness...... but giggled a lot......

We talked about the importance of having (working) smoke detectors at home, and the importance of having a safety plan. Please take the time to explain to your child where you should meet if there is a fire at home. We don't want to scare them, but we do want them to act safely and calmly in an emergency.

We'll keep reading Safety related books throughout October.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I believe in you!

On curriculum night this past Thursday, a DVD was shown to parents in the Gym. If you missed it, here is the YouTube link for it. It is of a boy named Dalton Sherman(I believe he is in Grade 5) giving a motivational speech to Teachers in the Fort Worth/Dallas area.