Monday, March 28, 2011

Officer John

Officer John Tierney came to visit us. He taught us a lot about street, bike and car safety. Do you remember Elmer the Safety Elephant? He's the mascot for Street Safety.

Here's the traffic song! (Ask your child for the tune!)

Stop says the red light.
Go says the green light.
Wait says the yellow light,
Blinking in between.

Here is what they say and
Here is what they mean.
Stop says the red light!
Go says the green.

This couldn't have been better timing. We're in the middle of talking about transportation!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Math Monday - Data Management

In Kindergarten children sort, classify and compare objects and describe the attributes used. They collects objects or data and make representations of their observations, using concrete graphs. They answer and ask questions about their data and the graphs, and use mathematical language in their discussions.

Graphing activities for kindergarten include collecting data and organizing it in a variety of ways.

When children walk around the classroom and ask their friends which cereal they prefer, put a tally mark under the cereal picture, and count how many tally marks are in each column, they are not only graphing but also working with statistics or data analysis. There are lots of fun things to do in this area of math and the activities integrate well with science activities.

Graphs make counting and comparing meaningful and provide opportunities to bring numbers, letters, letter sounds and other literacy skills to the children's attention.

When children are making guesses about what might happen in different situations, they are learning about probability.

The children should have experiences:

  • collecting information
  • counting and making tallies
  • surveying peers
  • sorting objects
  • making graphs with real things and making picture graphs
  • reading graphs
  • making observations from a graph
  • working with tally marks and comparing their results with a friend's results
  • asking questions about graph results
  • using the terms "never, sometimes, always" (probability)

This graph is one of our "entry" activities. Each child has a name card and they pick it up upon entry and answer the question. We are currently talking about transportation and the ways that we come to school (we walk, ride bikes, come by car, ttc, in a van, etc.) We talked about how many people had said yes, they came in a van and how many people had not come in a van (it was up to them to decide if their car was a van or not). We talk about not having to count every name, we can just look to the side (the left hand numbers) and find the top person's number and that is the total. (Confused?-- this makes more sense when we do it)

Did more people come in a van? Or did more people not come in a van? (we talk about more, less or the same, or equal.). Then I asked the hard question: How many more people came in a van than didn't come in a van? (5 more). This is a tricky one, but we have done it lots of times, so most Sk students and some Jk students understand it.
One way of explaining it was taking off some of the names and having it be equal -- or a "tie" and then counting the 'extra' people. We also practice it by everyone standing up and then I say "The two people who are in row number 1 sit down, then the two people who are in row number 2 sit down", etc, until there are no more pairs to sit down -- the last people standing are how many more.

Some of the math words that we use:
equal (same)
row (this one is trick)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Look for the helpers

We didn't get to talk about the Earthquake in Japan before the break. If it comes up in the discussions of the children, I will be focusing on all of the people who are helping -- and how we can help.

This is a partial post from Preschool-blogger Teacher Tom (see the whole post here) [ I've done the 'bolding']:

We can’t keep the truth from our children: it would be a crime to try. Our first responsibility, it seems to me, is to be aware of the emotions, both ours and theirs, name them (“I’m disappointed,” “You seem angry,” “I think we’re both sad.”), accept them, and just feel them.

As parents of young children we may not fully control the channels of communication with the outside world, but we are their main source of interpretation. Whatever the subject matter, we owe our children our honest opinions, emotions, questions and understandings. It’s perfectly normal that my own deep sadness or anger or despair would be shared by my child. But it's my job to make sure it doesn't end there. I need to help her [his daughter], as I help myself, work through those feelings and find away to move forward in hope and joy: I don’t want live any other way.

One of the most concrete ways, I think, to find that hope is, as Mister Rogers says, is to "look for the helpers."

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me. “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

Fortunately, for most of us the world is not so full of daily disaster. Your child is unlikely to experience much of it except on TV, and frankly I don’t think that’s such a bad place to get some initial exposure as long as you’re there with them. It doesn’t have to be television: passing the scene of a traffic accident or witnessing the business end of a fire department call to a neighbor’s house would serve just as well. Viewing disaster at a distance gives parents an opportunity to calmly lay down a little philosophical groundwork to prepare for when tragedy strikes closer to home.

Brilliantly, Mister Roger’s mom came up with looking for the helpers. It was a simple observation that comforted him throughout his life.