Monday, December 10, 2012

I am VERY grateful to those of you who have agreed to be our Spelling Specialists!  Thank you thank you thank you! You will be making more of a difference than you know!

We have been seeing some GREAT strides in reading the last couple of weeks.  As a reminder, the benchmark for Kindergarten is to have cleared a level A and be working on a B in class by this time.  Reading at home to and with your child is still the best support you can give toward your child's education.  The reality is that the way the Kindergarten curriculum is now is very very rigorous, and keeping up with reading practice, sight words, math practice, etc. is absolutely essential.  Kindergarten can't be thought of as a "breaking-in time" or an "easing into school" time, if our kids miss things here, it may seriously impact their work and abilities to keep up in later grades.  Let's get these kids ready for the rest of their educational lives.  The key, again, is reading.  Of course, play is also necessary, and we talk in class a lot about having balance in our lives.

The holidays are coming!  We will be going hard right up until the bitter end!  thanks for your support!

mr. matt

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Into December!

Wow, it's really the last month of 2012! 

I would like to first thank those of you who responded to the call for spelling specialists.  For the AM class, thank you to Alison Moss, Kelly Davis, and Lisa Gleed.  We still have AM Monday open if anyone would like to help out from 855-930.  For the PM class, thank you to Melissa Burrows and Suzanne Heaton.  We still have Thursdays from 1245-135 to fill, so please let me know ASAP if you feel so inspired.  This will really make a difference in our classes!

We are a couple of weeks into our IB unit entitled "We Are Family", which falls under the transdisciplinary theme of "where we are in place and time".  During this unit we are discussing families, guided by our lines of inquiry:
  • types of families
  • roles of family members
  • how family members interact with each other
  • differences in family roles and responsibilities
We will discuss, write, role play, etc.  The central idea of our unit of study is, "family roles are determined by the relationships and responsibilities of its members".  As such, we will explore what our individual family makeup is like and how roles are determined in our own homes.  We will also explore what other family units (grandparents living with the nuclear family, single parent, etc.) different from our own look like and how roles may be determined in them. We will also look at how family roles are played out on other cultures, comparing and contrasting with our own personal experiences.  The attributes of the learner profile that we are focusing on this time are Caring and Communicators.

Thanks for all of your support for your children as well as for myself and Ms. Jennifer.  your kids are awesome!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WOW! November is almost gone!!!

How time flies!  I have enjoyed being with the kids again after a long break.  We're fully back into the swing of things with centers, math stations, and all the rest.  We have 3 1/2 weeks left before the Holiday Break, and Ms, Jennifer and I are ready to really make it count!

Our phonics work is now halfway through our study of word families, as you can see by the list to the right of this page.  We are fully finished with individual letter phonics now and our kids should be sounding out words that are phonic.  This combined with the term one sight words and the term 2 sight words (so far) give the students the tools needed to read basic phonic texts.  Daily story reading in class improves vocabulary and fluency.  The continued daily minimum of 20 minutes reading to your child is more essential than ever now.  Thank you for your support in this daily reading time!

Our phonemic awareness focus is still "syllables", and we will be working on syllables in class through the end of the second term.  Ask your child to "clap out" the syllables of family member names and see how he or she does!

Penmanship is in full swing as well.  This week's letters are Jj and Pp.  If penmanship papers are piling up at home, please work with your child to get them done, having several of them built up can be very overwhelming!  Please remember that these pages need to be done IN PENCIL!

Our writer's workshop is going well.  We are currently working on choosing "small moments" to write about as we continue with "personal narratives".  We are working on organizing our writing into beginning, middle, and end.  Itls great to see the children take on writing at such a young age!

Math is moving along as well, and we are moving more and more into number sense now.  Keep up the good work on the homework activities!

Beginning in December, I will be moving away from directly running centers and math stations in order to do more one-on-one and small group reading with the students.  This is a call for anyone who would like to be our "spelling specialist", and come in and get trained on our spelling program in order to effectively run our spelling centers.  I'm looking for someone who can consistently come in and run these centers on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursdays.  Of course, more than one person can do this, coming in three times a week is very daunting!  Anyway, I'm eagerly awaiting responses so that we can start as early as next week with the beginning of December!  Any takers?

I really love teaching and working with your children.  Thank you for sending them to Channing Hall!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Well, this is it...I don't get to see the kids for six sleeps after eternity!  I hope you all have a GREAT Thanksgiving, and please remember that our DAILY 20 minutes of reading needs to be done even (especially?) over the Thanksgiving break.

Enjoy turkey day!!!  Gobble gobble!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Farm reports week!  We already had several reports yesterday, and they were fantastic!  I'm so excited to see the rest of the reports (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday)!

A word on the several math sheets that are going home.  (Almost) daily, we are doing one 2-sided math sheet together as a class.  This sheet will be sent home blank because we do it on the board.  Feel free to check it out and do it with your child (or not), but it DOES NOT need to be returned to me.  Next, (almost) daily, we will do one side of another 2-sided sheet in class.  These will also be sent home.  The blank side can be done together at home, it DOES NOT need to be returned to me.  Lastly, (almost) daily, your child will take home a 2-sided sheet entitled "my homework."  This is the one that needs to be returned to me.  The rest is for you to see what is being presented and how we are approaching math concepts according to our textbook.

As always, remember DAILY READING.  At least 20 minutes of reading with/to your child OR your child reading and listening on Raz-Kids.  We are always assessing, and several of the children have really improved reading ability in the past month.  A lot of that comes from daily reading exposure.  Thank you!

This term, our phonemic awareness target is syllables.  We are clapping out syllables daily in class, please practice at home with your child.  This is an essential building block for successful reading.

Hope you all had a great Halloween - I liked the relative warmth of trick-or treating night.  Thanks for all your support in the things we do in class, and for your volunteer work.  Please check your schedules again and see if you might have time to come in during "centers" or "math station" time, we really could use your assistance then.


mr. matt

Monday, October 29, 2012

All right!  We've jumped in and are now navigating the exciting and challenging waters of the half-day kindergarten second term!  Here is a brief overview of what we are doing/will be doing this term:

We are full-swing into penmanship.  Your child worked on the letters Bb and Dd last week, we are doing Ff and Hh this week, and we will continue at a rate of two letters per week.  We are working on those penmanship sheets in centers during class, but if your child doesn't finish in class or does not do the penmanship center for a given letter, the sheet will be sent home as homework.  Those need to be done in 2 or 3 days and sent back to avoid letting them build up and becoming stressful.  Please remember to do them in pencil only, so that mistakes can be worked on!

Spelling "lists" went home for the first time today.  Please refer to the explanation letter that went home last week for guidelines in assisting your child to study.  The Words Their Way program is unlike any spelling system i did as a student, but i have now spent several years doing it with my students, and the results are undeniably measurable and fantastic!  Each of you will also get a personalized email with specific instructions depending on which spelling target your child is working on.  First test next Friday!

Our phonemic awareness focus this term is syllables.  Please work with your child to "clap out" syllables and assist to get this vital piece of the reading puzzle mastered!

PLEASE READ WITH YOUR CHILD DAILY!  This is absolutely essential to your child's success in reading.  At least 20 minutes a night, your child needs to be read to OR be listening to and reading along with Raz-Kids, OR reading on his/her own (IF your child is reading fluently).  If nothing else, please read with your child every day.  Thank you!

Farm report assignments will be sent home tomorrow.  Thanks to all of you for your support on the homework concerning finding farm products in the home.  The children's papers are posted in the classroom, feel free to come and check them out!

In writing, we are working still on personal narratives, with an emphasis right now on choosing "small moments" to write about.  Some of the writing coming out of the Kindergarten is awesome!

In math, we are continuing with our curriculum textbook.  Your child should have 3 to 4 pages a week of homework.  Please keep up on this and send it back as soon as it is done.  Because I get to look at and record all of the sheets, please realize that they will not all be returned home the same day they are turned in, but I promise to do my best to keep them flowing back to you ASAP!  We are also starting our number sense work next week.  More to come on that...

In Spanish, we are keeping sharp with our counting from 1-20 as well as our color words and names of family members.  Ask your child for a few words in Spanish!

Well, I think that's all for now.  Thanks for your support for your child and for Channing Hall!

Mr. Matt

Monday, October 22, 2012

2nd we go!

Now that all single letters and their sounds have been presented in class, we will begin "word families" study.  This means more sounding out and reading words.  For the next couple of weeks, we will be working with word families containing the letter Aa.

As a class, we will learn the process of our Words Their Way spelling program this week.  next week, students will be taking home spelling lists to work on, with a test on Friday.  Please see the letter that is sent home today for more details, and watch for an email specific to your child later in the week.

Our phonemic awareness lessons on rhyme will now transition to lessons on syllables.  Rhyme is important to keep practicing, so feel free to do rhyming practice and games at home to keep your child's skills sharp.

We start penmanship practice today!  One of our centers will be penmanship, and two letters per week will be introduced and practiced.  Penmanship homework will be sent home on Wednesday and Friday.  If your child does not bring a practice sheet home it means that the sheet was finished in class.  Please have those returned by the following Monday.  Also, please be sure that penmanship is done in pencil to allow for erasing and refining.

Halloween party this Friday!  Here are the guidelines as published in the Weekly Howler:

This year we will celebrate Halloween on Friday, October 26th.  There will be no parade this year. Students are welcome to wear Halloween costumes that are school appropriate and modest. No masks or weapon related items. Class parties will start at 12:00.  With clean up at 12:45 p.m.  We know this is a day the students look forward to and are hoping that by having this celebration on a short day we will preserve the actual Halloween day for academics. As there are always many parents on campus, if you are volunteering in the classroom and are parked in the fire lane, please plan to take your child at 1:00 p.m. so that we can have all the parked cars off campus by the time afternoon pickup starts at 1:20 p.m.  There is also parking available at Smith Fields Park or the car corral (across the street from the park).  We know this is a day the students look forward to.

 The times listed above are different for us, of course, but the other guidelines are still in effect.

Lastly, thank you very much to all of you who came in to volunteer last week and make it possible to get so much of our assessing done.  You really made the difference!

Report cards will go home this week!  I will send an explanation letter home with the report card.

Thanks for your support and all that you do!

Monday, October 15, 2012

OK, here we are in the last week of the term!  That means this week will be doing assessments, so anyone who would like to come assist in the classroom while Ms. Jennifer and I do the assessments, please feel free!

Thanks to all of your support on our Annual Giving campaign.  I know it got a little intense at the end there, and I truly appreciate all that you did to make the campaign a success.  The festival was a blast!  I really enjoyed seeing so many of you there!

This week's sight words are the full set of 20 term 1 words.  We will assess on reading those this week.  We will also finish up with presenting letters and letter sounds this week with our last two letters, u and z.

Thanks for all you do!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Well here we are into October.  I can't believe how fast time is flying!  We actually reach the end of the first term next week!  With that in mind...

Next week Ms. Jennifer and I will be doing end-of-term assessments.  So, we would like to request any assistance that you could offer in volunteering.  Even if it is not your regular time, or you can't do a regular set time, please feel free to come in anytime on Monday the 15th, Tuesday the 16th, or Wednesday the 17th.  The more helpers we have, the quicker and more efficiently we can get through the assessments.

We will be assessing sight words, shoe-tying, and counting, which you could practice at home in preparation.

This Friday night (October 12th) is our Harvest Festival:

Harvest Festival
Friday Oct. 12  •  5:00pm to 8:00pm

Pumpkin Painting • Pony Rides • Face Painting • DJ • Balloon Artist •
Cupcake Walk • Games • Bounce House • Hot Dog •
Pizza • Popcorn • Cotton Candy
TICKET PRICES -$1.00 per ticket
Pony – 3 tickets
Pumpkin Painting – 2 tickets
Games and Bounce House – 1 ticket
Hot Dog – 3 tickets
Pizza – 2 tickets

The kindergartens have prepared some cool blankets with a class picture for the auction, so be sure to check them out and bid high!

This week is also our annual giving drive.  The donations that come from Annual Giving go directly to the students in the school, and these funds really do make a difference.  I know that times are financially tight, but please be open to donating whatever you feel you can to assist the school is doing bigger and better things for our kids.

The Field Trip on Monday was awesome!  Thanks to our fabulous volunteers for making it possible.  I will be posting some pictures soon for you to enjoy.

We ave started our new IB unit, entitled E-I-E-I-O.  It is an inquiry into how we share the planet.  The Learner Profile Attributes that we will be focusing on this time are Inquirer and Knowledgeable.  We will be doing a research project and oral report in a few weeks, watch for details!

Please remember to READ DAILY with your child.  20 minutes minimum!  Remember also to record your reading minutes in the reading log and send those to school on Tuesdays (library day).

Inside shoes are going well!  The students can change their shoes quite quickly now, and the floors have never looked better!  Thanks for your support in this, you'll see direct positive results as soon as we have snow and mud outside...

Thanks for all you do to support your child's education!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Conferences are finished!  I know that as soon as I get home, I will collapse and sleep, so I wanted to get this updated before I left Channing Hall.  Thanks to all of you who cam in to meet with me.  It's great to e able to talk about the lids one at a time, and really focus on their strengths and needs.  For those of you who were not ale to make it, please send me an email and we can get together sometime soon for a quick visit about your child.  As always, feel free to email me at any time with questions.

OK, to next week...
"we be me" sight words homework will be due on Monday.
"he she so" sight words homework will be sent home to work on for the week.
Leveled Library book will go home for the first time on Monday.
We will start wearing "inside shoes" on Monday.
We will start spelling assessments on Monday in preparation for weekly spelling coming 2nd term.

Please remember to READ READ READ!!!

More later...have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Back to normal...?

Hello!  Well, things have calmed down a bit here at home.  Mom and baby are home and settled in, and I will be back to school tomorrow morning!

Unfortunately, this next week is not a "normal" week (with picture day and conferences), so we won't be back into the full swing of things yet, but we will try for a degree of normalcy!

Tomorrow (Monday), we will have the AM and the PM classes combined from 8:15-11:20 (regular schedule for the AM kids).  Because of this, things like centers and math stations will need to start ion Tuesday this week.  We will be doing language arts, math, etc., like always, but not in small (3-4 people) groups.  Tuesday will be a normal Tuesday.  Wednesday and Thursday will be on a half-day schedule because of conferences.  This means AM comes from 8:15 to 10:30, PM comes from 11:10 to 1:20.  We will be doing all of our regular class study on those days.

There will be a sight words homework sheet going out tomorrow.  Please remember that the reason those are sent out weekly is to allow for daily exposure.  Please work with your children on these sight words, it really makes a difference when it comes to reading the books that Kindergarteners are often exposed to.  Thanks for your support on this!

How is daily reading coming?  I ask the students daily if they read and I ask a couple of kids to share what they read.  This is essential for your child to become a solid reader.  Each child needs to read or be read to for a minimum of 20 minutes each day.  Please also remember to record your child's reading minutes (raz-kids, reading alone, being read to, listening as siblings read, all of this counts) on the reading log daily and send those back each Tuesday morning.  The reward that you and I will see is that your child will become a good reader.  The students will enjoy rewards from the library like pizza parties or gift certificates.  I really can't state enough times that this is ESSENTIAL for your child's reading development.

We will start sending home leveled library book the first week of October.  More details on that as the time approaches.

We have a field trip coming up!  We will go to the Hee-Haw Pumpkin Farm!  Watch for details this week!!!

For those who have not yet signed up for a conference, please do so ASAP!  The link is here:

There is a book fair at Channing Hall Sep. 24-27.  All proceeds go to our awesome library.

A quick general announcement from Karen in the office...if you are going on a field trip with the class OR working one-on-one with students, you need a background check.  If you are just helping out in the classroom, then you do NOT need to get a background check.

A lot of announcements!  I guess that's what happens when you miss a week!

I'm so excited too see the kids again!!!!!!!!!!! 

Mr. Matt

Monday, September 17, 2012

What a weekend!

It all started Friday afternoon...

My van broke down, stranding my (very pregnant) wife and small son.  I left here at about 2:00 to get them, taking stuff to do over the weekend (sight word homework check, math sheet check, etc.).  Well...

I checked a bunch of things on Saturday amid the usual housework, weekly grocery shopping, helping my own kids with homework, etc.  Then, about 10:00 PM Saturday night...

Labor!  The kind that REALLY HURTS (according to my poor wife)!  By 3:00 AM Sunday, we were headed for the hospital to get our baby - two weeks earlier than planned!  The baby was born at 5:31 AM, and then the day really got crazy!  Back and forth to the hospital with siblings, and a birthday party for my now four-year-old (yes, he got a baby sister for his birthday).  Needless to say, I still have a HUGE stack of stuff to go through!

Your child's papers, etc., will be gone through and checked throughout this week as we are moving mom and baby home from the hospital and working to stabilize life.  I have a daughter who attends Channing Hall, and I will be sending papers to Ms. Jennifer through her to go home in your child's file.  Thank you for your patience!

I will be at home helping out for the remainder of the week, and Ms. Jennifer will be subbing for the class.  Ms. Jennifer and I have discussed the centers, the math stations, and other things that the children need to do this week, and she has all the supplies ready to go.  We will be in touch throughout the week.  If any of you have a little time to come in and help her out, even if it is not a regular volunteer things but just a one-time deal, please feel free to do so.

Thanks for your patience!  Things should be back to normal in a few days.  I spoke with the kids today and let them know what was going on.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Another week come and all goes by in a fast blur!  Welcome to Aayan, Chesney, and Ellie, who joined our classes this week.  Also welcome to Gage and Gavin, who will be joining us starting on Monday!

We had several students who did not turn in their sight words homework.  Those are important to do so that children have lots of exposure to the sights words all around them.  There is a new assignment in the folder for the weekend.  Starting next week, I will send home the assignment on Monday and have them due on Friday so that I can remind the children daily to work on them.

Thanks to all of you who are reading to and encouraging your children to read daily!  It makes a BIG difference when this is done with consistency.

Book orders were just submitted, thanks to all of you who ordered.  Your children will bring home books when they arrive, in a week or so.

We have the baby pictures up in the room along with current photos.  It's fun to see how different (and how unchanged) your children are since babyhood!  We also have a web up in the hall depicting how we are the same and how we are different.  This is in conjunction with our IB unit about Who We Are, entitled Me-Ology.  We are learning about our physical differences and similarities, our emotional differences and similarities, as well as a bit about our senses.

Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

First week!!!!!

What a great first week!  We are now ready to get into our regular schedule starting on Tuesday.  Thank to all of you who have volunteered to come in and assist.  I know it will take a little while to get everything sorted out, but I also know that the results of your volunteering will be fantastic!  Still need to take a full class picture of PM, hope we are all here on Tuesday!!!  Have a groovy long weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tell Me How You Feel

This is a cool video that the kids liked.  They asked if they could see it at here it is!

The Schedule!!!!

Special thanks to Lisa, who got this ready for us!  If you click on it, it will come up nice and big!!!