Kindergarten Matsumoto

Thank you for attending our Open House!

Posted on August 28, 2009

by Ms. Matsumoto on August 28, 2009

Thank you all for attending our Open House on Wednesday! We enjoyed seeing you again and having the opportunity to share the learning that goes on in the classroom. We hope that it was informative, as well as fun (as all learning should be!) for you!

Though we talked about a lot of things on Wednesday and though the Open House packet includes this information, there are a few things that I'd like to highlight for you. BLOG
Every Friday, I update my weblog with a newsletter and Family Learning Activities. (Sometimes Family Learning Activities are updated every other week.) If you subscribed to the site by entering your e-mail address, you will be automatically notified when my newsletter has been posted. Keep in mind that after I finish writing my blog, Mrs. Hussey edits it before posting. Sometimes the blog is posted by the afternoon, and sometimes not until the evening. Try to make it a habit of checking your e-mail by the end of the weekend. One family has already told me that they don't have internet access at home. If that is also your situation, I can e-mail you any urgent messages by the end of Friday and you can read the newsletter on Monday.

The Kindergarten children met their 5th grade buddies briefly yesterday. A few of the children have two 5th grade buddies because there are more 5th grade children than Kindergartners. Every week, except for Assembly days (3rd week of every month), we will gather with our 5th grade buddies to do inquiry. Our inquiry focus is community service.
  • See Community Service to see what the Kindergarten classes will do on the third Thursdays of every month. Your suggestions for activities are welcome.

  • See Sharing in the Open House packet for details. A sharing schedule is in your child's Home-and-Back Folder.

Book Orders
Next week, I will send home September's book orders. The due date will again be Friday, September 4. I enter the due date when I open up the catalog orders on-line; therefore, if you try to order on-line after September 4, you will be denied access. Thank you for participating by ordering books; the classroom collects bonus points which can be used for free books and/or other classroom supplies.

This week, we extended our learning with Counting Jar by having the children record their answers. We began with whole class instruction. Before counting, I had all the children estimate the number of bears they thought were in the jar. The guesses ranged from six to 15 (not too bad!). Then we asked, "How can we figure out how many bears are in the jar?" Count. One friend counted 10 bears in the jar. Another friend double-checked by counting again. Besides emphasizing double-checking, we also discuss different ways of counting - taking bears out one-by-one, putting bears back in one-by-one, lining bears up and touching each one while counting aloud. We recognize that some methods are better than others (pointing to the bears in the jar without taking them out, pointing to bears in a pile on the floor without separating the ones already counted), "so we don't count it again" or "so we don't miss any."

We talked about different ways of recording the number 10 on paper - write the number, draw 10 bears, make 10 marks (circles, tallies). When working in their Counting Jar booklets, the children will be asked to write the number of objects that they counted and show the number in a picture, which could be a picture of the objects or other symbols they use to represent those objects. In addition to writing in their booklets, the children will continue to make the same number with a different set of objects.

Remember our Morning Meeting and the math concepts that come out of that? We use an attendance stick to help us figure out how many friends are in school that day. At first we started with everyone having the same color cube and we would measure it with our #1-17 attendance stick to quickly see how many friends were in school.

Early in the week, I brought out the bin of Unifix Cubes and the attendance sticks and asked, "Does our attendance stick tell us how many boys and girls are in school?" No. "How could we change our attendance stick so that we could see the number of boys and the number of girls?" We can look at the initials. "What if I held the stick so you couldn't see the initials?" We can count the boys and girls. "But I want you to just look at the attendance stick. How could we change the attendance stick to show boys and girls?" We could use blue for boys and black for girls.

The boys chose a blue cube and the girls chose a black cube. One girl friend had commented that she didn't like that idea. It came out the next day that she didn't like the idea because "black is not a girl color." Hhmmm....where could that comment take us? When we asked her what was a girl color, she thought for a while and then said yellow.

For the next two to three days, we talked about how this black and blue attendance stick. It was clear to see how many friends were in school by measuring it against the numbered attendance stick. The children had first put the tower together in a pattern. I asked, "If I didn't count, could I use these two attendance sticks and quickly see how many boys or how many girls are in school?" Because the children already knew how many boys and girls are in the class, they answered yes. I had to remind them to pretend that they didn't know the number and that I didn't want them to count, just look at the two towers. On the second day, one friend suggested that we put all the blue together and all the black cubes together, so we'd have two separate towers. Then, by measuring the blue tower with the numbered stick, we could quickly see there were seven boys in the class (one absent). And by measuring the black tower with the numbered stick, we could quickly see there were nine girls in the class. And if we put the two towers together, we could see that there were 16 children in all.

The next day, I asked the class how we could use the two sticks to tell the number of boys and girls if the black and blue towers were in one tower. One friend said, "We could move it down to the black," meaning to lower the black/blue tower so that the first black cube was next to the #1 cube on the other attendance stick. Another friend said, "We could flip the tower over," so that the black cubes were now on the bottom and the blue cubes were on the top.

We introduced a "survey" by asking the children "Are you a boy or a girl?" The children put their names on post-its and answered the survey by either placing their post-it on the boy side or the girl side. We will continue next week by answering another survey question. Look for a paper in your child's folder on Monday with which your child can take his own survey!

As we mentioned on Wednesday, all the children are in different stages of the writing progression. What is common among all the children is that we already see some progress from Day 1 to today. Here are some improvements we're noticing:
  • remembering the proper pencil grip
  • correctly forming the letters in a name
  • writing beginning sounds to words
  • sounding out whole ideas
  • coloring in a picture
  • drawing more details
  • reading back what was written

* New Family Learning Activities have been posted. Please look in our gallery for pictures from the first few weeks of school.

Upcoming school events:
Friday, September 4 - make-up picture taking day (for students who missed Aug.
Saturday, September 5, 3:00-5:00 p.m. - MPI Welcome BBQ, Elementary School
Monday, September 21 - HTY play, "Nightingale," wear green, collared-shirt
Monday, September 28 - "The Cassowary Pooped" at Kennedy Theatre, wear
    green, collared-shirt