Wednesday, June 13, 2012

End of Kindergarten

I've worked on a movie for our Kindergarten class for many, many hours.  Last night it was finally time to start burning them to DVD's for each student to have as a gift from me.  At about 1am I realized there is an error with my disc drive (it's not reading either CD's or DVD's).  Rather than throwing the computer out the window, I turned to my 21st century tool of Vimeo and uploaded it for your viewing pleasure.  The password is "kindergarten" and can be enjoyed online.  I'll try and get my computer fixed and make the movies on a disc for you to have as a keepsake.  If you would like a movie please leave a comment below and answer this question, "What did your child enjoy most about Kindergarten?"  I'll contact you when I have the discs burned and can arrange for you to pick them up in Garvy's office this summer.

As this year comes to a close I am filled with a variety of emotions.  Happy to have nurtured student growth, excited to relax and recharge over summer break, and sad to say goodbye to a great group.  I have enjoyed this class thoroughly and they will always hold a special place in my heart as the kids that took cooperation to the next level and constantly cheered on their classmates.  I will hold their energy and spirits near and dear to my heart as I move to teach 3rd grade next year.  It has been a pleasure to know your child and families this year.  Thank you so much for your constant support.  I hope you all have wonderful summers and enjoy lots of time together as a family!  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm Glad You're My Dad

We had a lovely morning celebrating our dads and all they do to provide for us.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to come and spend time in Kindergarten.

Here's a link to the "I'm Glad You're My Dad" video.  Password is: dad.  Enjoy!

What do you enjoy most about being a dad?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Last week concluded a writing unit on "informational texts."  Over the span of several weeks, each student wrote multiple "How to..." and "All About..." stories.  These were published and added to our classroom library.  It's refreshing to see them checking out each others books from our classroom library.  One of my main objectives for writing instruction is for the students to see themselves as authors and illustrators, mission accomplished!  The next unit for Writing Workshop is poetry, instead of referring to the students as writers they have transformed to poets.  All year long I've been reading poems to the students in Room 108.  Now it's time for us to write poems and I must confess that it's a lot harder than I had expected.  After reading through the Lucy Calkin's curriculum, I thought the students would need explicit modeling before being set loose to write a beautifully elaborate poem about a pencil sharpener, paper clip, or other classroom object.  For this reason, I'm pulling in the reins of "write whatever interests you most."  We're using published poems to inspire our own.  Here are poems about what the kids can do: 


Here the students were inspired by Brod Bagert to write a Library Cheer: 

Do you have a favorite poet to share?  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Highlights of the Week

1. Celebrating 34 years of teaching with my friend and mentor as she retires.
2. Finishing my National Board exam, now just wait to find out the results in November.
3. Cheering for Girls on the Run/Track as they practiced a 5k.  Seeing my current students there to cheer their big sisters on!  
4. Students making up rules for Twister.
5. Passing the "Jim Basketball Jones" pencil from student to student.  Can I get an, "OH YEAH!?"
6. The ABC countdown for keeping the end of the year fun.

What was the highlight of your week?  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day

Thank you to all the moms and special ladies in our lives who were able to come to Garvy today.  I hope you felt pampered and special.  Enjoy YOUR weekend!

Here's the video we made.  We all love our moms!

What are you all doing this weekend to celebrate Mother's Day?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Money, Money, Money!

Over the years I've tried many different ways of teaching kids about coins and their values.  In my opinion, money is a hard concept because the coins are abstract; there is no rhyme or reason for the value of each coin. For an Earth Day activity this year I asked the children to bring in their old McDonald's toys that we would recycle.  Together we collected over 100 happy meal toys!  In class, each student has been earning coins for good behavior.  They've put their coins into a bank and count it at the end of each day.  Together we practiced counting it and used a program on the StarBoard as a visual reinforcement of the concept.  Yesterday the students were able to "buy" a new toy.  They were excited to choose a new toy and pay for it with money they earned.  I think it was a fun way to teach them about money and we will continue to shop for recycled toys throughout the year.

Here's a picture of the kids with their new toy!

Have you tried the game at home called, "If you can count it, you can keep it?"  It's pretty simple.  You hand your child a small amount of coins to be added together.  If they correctly count the amount they can keep it (put in their bank).  If they don't correctly identify the coins/values then you keep it.      

Caterpillar Metamorphosis

A couple of weeks ago a cup of tiny caterpillars arrived to Garvy school.  The kids observed them through each stage of the metamorphosis process.  We watched the caterpillars eat and grow, spin a chrysalis, and then become butterflies.  Observing this process led to many discussions and excitement about having new class pets.  Yesterday we let them go in the Garvy garden.  The children anxiously watched as the butterflies quickly adapted to their new home in nature.  Below is a picture us observing the butterflies and their empty chrysalis shells.

What did your child share with you about the butterflies?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Six Simple Things to Smile About

1.  A new library card
2.  Kids wearing glasses
3.  Recycling McDonald's toys
4.  The Kindergarten traveling fish tank
5.  Publishing student writing
6.  Pretend banks where students put money they've earned for good behavior

I hope you all have a great weekend.  I'm looking forward to a fun one in Champagin, running the 1/2 marathon I've trained for and spending time with good friends!  What's on your agenda for the weekend?  The weather report makes it sound like tomorrow will be a perfect day to stay in pajamas and watch movies.  Whatever you do, ENJOY!

Bear Hunting

Yesterday I introduced a new read aloud story that I picked from a Scholastic book order (thank you parents for ordering online because they gave us this book).  It was new to our class, but many of the students excitedly remembered, "We're Going On a Bear Hunt" from their pre-kindergarten classes.  They shared all the fun activities their teacher(s) had done with them; singing songs, going on a pretend bear hunt, and learning about bears.  I looked up the song and found this AMAZING video on You Tube.  Here's a link to the online story if you want to watch it yourself.  The kids loved it!      

Then we checked back in on Jewel and her cubs.  The kids were shocked that they had left the den and were no longer sleeping.  Here's the link to the live webcast of their home in Minnesota.  I love hearing the sounds of the running water and animals in the background!

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm your child has for a new book?  Do you prefer finding new books at the library or taking a chance and getting them through a book order?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We've Been Busy

I'd like to send out a BIG thank you to the two families who were the top bids on our class book.  Both the Breede and Surnit families bid $200 for our class book, earning $400 total!  Thank you for your generous donations to Garvy, I hope you cherish the book for years to come.

Today I'll give you an update using pictures. 

Dennis Hehn brought in his lizard to share with our class. 

Recycled artwork; old boxes cut up to make a robot by Maggie and a season by Adam.  

Sharing stories on the Nook Color in small groups.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Conferences Tomorrow

I meant to print this out and send it home with everyone today. I'm hopeful that you all held onto the confirmation slip that was sent home. In the spirit of Earth Day (conserving paper), here's the list of times your families are scheduled to attend conferences tomorrow. Also, please think of a goal you have for your child/children to reach by the end of the year. We'll be working together to make goals to work toward throughout the next 8 weeks of school. See you soon!

12:00 - Peter
12:10 - Maggie
12:20 - Paul
12:30 - John
12:40 - Mason
12:50 - Lillian
1:00 - Savannah
1:10 - Russell
1:20 - Adam
1:30 - Gabby
1:40 - Farris
1:50 - Leah
2:00 - Elena
2:10 -
2:20 -
2:30 - Calvin
2:40 - Alyssa
2:50 - Milan
3:00 - Ocelotl

3:15 - 4:00 BREAK

4:00 - Destiny
4:10 -
4:20 -
4:30 -
4:40 -
4:50 -
5:00 - Megan H.
5:10 - Bobby
5:20 -
5:30 - Michal
5:40 - Joe
5:50 - Megan N.
6:00 - Lynette

Silent Auction Preview

This year at the Garvy Silent Auction you all have an opportunity to bid on our 12x12 class book titled, "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." It includes both student writing samples and pictures of the children. Tomorrow during Report Card Pickup you can preview our book, and if interested place a bid. We're excited to extend the bidding to families who are unable to attend the auction. Sadly, I'm unable to attend the auction as well because I'll be running a 1/2 marathon early Saturday morning on April 28th in Champaign, Illinois. It's my favorite race of the year because I went to school at U of I, my very best friend lives in Urbana, and I've been training since the end of January!

What do you remember from when you were in Kindergarten? How has it changed? How is it the same?

Monday, April 16, 2012 on the Nook Color

Today was the first day we used the new Nook Color Tablets during reading group. The students were navigating to read leveled books. It was amazing to watch them pick up the new gadgets and use them with little support. I'm excited to see continue to grow with the use of our new technology. Thank you Mrs. McGlade for providing our class with these tablets!

Do you have a tablet at home? Do still prefer reading paper books to your child over an e-book?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Great Week Back

The past four school days were great. After a long break from school I always come back energized and look forward to spending time with my students again. They all have fun spirits that inspire me to approach life with a "glass 1/2 full" mentality.

There were many events that made me smile this week...

1. Four new Nook Color tablets to enhance student literacy achievement. Thank you Mrs. McGlade!

2. Giggles throughout the room when breaking apart the word, "underwear" during phonemic awareness practice.

3. Mrs. LaFleur complimenting the students on ALL being characters of the month. The character trait was friendship and I nominated the entire class because they are the best of friends.

4. A "thank you" post card from Ms. Diaz visiting her daughter in NJ.

5. Observing reading progress during small reading groups!

6. Co-teaching social skills with our schools social worker, Mrs. Callan.

I hope you all enjoy the long weekend! Do you have any fun plans for Friday? Has anyone been to see the jellyfish exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

All About Ladybugs

Yesterday I read an information (non-fiction) book about ladybugs. Before reading, students asked questions about ladybugs. The book provided answers to most of their questions.

Questions we had before reading the story...

Do ladybugs make a cocoon? Kind of, they make a shell.

Are there different colored ladybugs? Yes; orange and red.

What do they eat? Insects, specifically aphids.

Are they poisonous?

Do they have black dots? Some do, some don't.

After reading the students shared information they remembered about ladybugs from the story.

Ladybug facts...

"They use their antenna to smell." -Michal

"The hard wings protect the soft wings." -Mason

"They use their claws to pick up insects." -Megan H.

"They eat aphids." -Russell

"They lay eggs in the Spring." -Bobby

"Some don't have spots." -Leah