Friday, October 19, 2018

Taking Shape!

Our Math Lessons this week centered around shapes and geometric solids. We have been angling at distinguishing between two dimensional and three dimensional forms. We have added new words like parallelogram, trapezoid, angle, rectangular and triangular prisms to our word banks.

Our Circle Time book The World is Not A Triangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid, is a story about an architect who, despite having to face discrimination based on race and gender, became a world renown figure in architectural/art history. We read how Hadid and her design crew were inspired by nature to design unique and organic looking building structures. Later, Kindergartners journaled about a structure that they would design and construct if they could and what their inspiration would be.

Choice times were filled with structure building using small cubes, geometric solid minis and paper crafts.

On another day, Kindergartners painstakingly assembled cardboard cubes from scratch but not before bedazzling each one with intricate sharpie marker designs. The construction process took some patience and risk taking for the children who were not completely convinced about what they were actually making.

Two other Math lessons this week challenged Ks to use their spatial awareness skills and patience to build a triangular prism using only sticks and masking tape to assemble a triangular prism.

Kindergartners were blessed with four guest readers these past weeks. Hosting our family members as Special Guest Readers and visitors is one of the highlights of the Kindergarten experience. Our class has the opportunity to hear tons of beautiful stories (including the classics) read by our loved ones! These very special times will undoubtedly be cherished memories for years to come!

Augustus was so pleased to have her Mom Victoria read the endearing, The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman (protege of Dr. Seuss). Afterward, Gus' Mom assisted with a discussion about ways we might
treat others although we do not even know them. Mom and Augustus offered different strategies (like asking questions instead of making assumptions) if you are unsure about something or someone.

Henry’s Grandma came by to read us a funny book called It Could Be Worse by James Stevenson.  We were uplifted to hear that there is always a bright side to situations and that we have Grandma's who love books as much as we do! She even donated a copy to our class!

Lulu’s sister also stopped by and read Paper John by David Smalls, a story about a man who was very handy at handling an adversary and crafting paper structures.

Graham just so happened to bring in a book for Sharing Day and graciously read Eric, The Boy Who Lost his Gravity to us during P.M. Snack.  It was a very "dinner theatre cafe-like" atmosphere while we munched:)  By the way, Kindergartners have a very wide range of abilities when it comes to reading readiness. Reading is a very individualized skill!

The Ks heard a presentation by the 3/4th graders on Non-violent communication at SK FridayA.M. Meeting.  We extended this talk into our Circle Time upon returning to the classroom and teased out a bit more of what it means to say how we feel about what may happen to us i.e., “I feel sad that you sat in the chair that i wanted” versus making assumptions about what we perceive happened, i.e. “You stole my chair.”

We also continued our discussion about how our senses can be used to find out information about our world. We remembered two recent examples of our studies about the senses 1) a visit from an ear, nose and throat doctor  and 2) scavenger hunts that used our senses in Science class.  We also heard a story about artist Wassily Kandinsky and his gift of synesthesia, a heightened sensory awareness that, in Kandinsky’s case, gives the ability to either hear colors, see music, taste words, or smell numbers. Wassily Kandinsky’s abstract art was our inspiration for Art class earlier this week. We were led through a lesson of drawing circles within circles reminiscent of Kandinsky’s Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913.

Please visit our K Gallery at the entrance to the Kindergarten classroom for a closer look at our pastel drawings. Additionally, the Kindergartners listened to an excerpt of Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, supposedly the catylist to one of Kandinsky’s vivid experiences with synesthesia. After only a few moments, however, some of the children spontaneously asked that the music be turned off because it made them “feel sad”.  Listen to a taste at:

Our second week of the EB (Exploratory block)
“Extremi-tees" involved no-sew methods to create pillows. There were many attempts to thread sewing needles for beading, disassembling of some treasured Rec and Ed  tee shirts, and some bright splashy acrylic paint designs. Other children came back to the classroom literally tooting their own horns that they made from scrap art materials.

(left.) Kindergartner Henry's keen eye for color and energetic multimedia design created with fabric markers and acrylic paints!

I am pleased to say that Kindergarten had 100% of our K families participation during Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences. It was wonderful to discuss your amazing children’s progress so far and to hear all of the positive comments about our school and K program.  Please remember that there is no school on Monday, October 15th to allow for conference note compilation and to make up for extended days this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Doing Some Good in our Own Neighborhood!

On last Wednesday morning, the Kindergartners ventured out to Normal Park Community Garden in nearby Ypsilanti to weed one of its plots and compost the debris.

Our first stop was to check out the composting bins.

The sunflowers were so burdened with beauty, they could no longer stand erect.
Bursts of color from many types of flowers dotted the garden landscape.

A grasshopper sighting!

Ks also used their entomology skills to identify several other bugs like Monarch caterpillars and crickets found among the plants.

Next, we perused other plots to locate nature's bounty like this bunch of onions. We also made some predictions about what could have used the community garden for its personal salad bar.

Then, it was literally all gloved hands on deck to pull weeds and extra grass.

Some of the children also accepted the role of photographer and documented nature’s finds while using keen eyesight and careful hands.

Phantom in the Garden.- by J.J.

Cutie (caterpillar).- by Alex

Pepper. - by Augustus.

s.y.n.c.o.p.a.t.e.d accordion. -by val

During the entire community service project, Ks were careful to pick only what was needed and tread lightly past other plot areas. Proud Mamas stood like sentinels as they paraded by.

The deed done and off to the compost heap!

A romp in the grass to let off some energy and a victory lap.

A special Thank You to all of the parents who joined us on the trip, captured some of these beautiful photos, and extended high fives as the children ran the bases on the diamond to celebrate all of their hard work!