Saturday, October 25, 2008

Literary Character Parade

On Thursday we had a grand time participating in the parade. All of the students dressed as their favorite character from a book. Everyone was excited and a little scared walking around the bottom floor of our school in front of the "big kids".

We would also like to take the opportunity to thank all of the parents who helped sell pizza at the carnival. It was a wonderful event that the PTA organized. It continues to get bigger and better each year. The money raised will go towards purchasing many important items for the children this year.

Literary Pumpkin Contest

We are so happy to announce that our pumpkin came in 1st Place for the Most Creative. We are proud of our Liberty Bell. It took many tries and the students were excited to see it finished.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A,E,I,O,U Vowel Song

Today during our Skills Block we began to learn about the vowels. The students learned that the vowels make two separate sounds. One is the long sound when the vowels say their name. The other is the short sound like in the words: apple, bed, pit, log, and lung. They also learned a song using the vowels. Please have your child sing it for you. It is sung to the tune of BINGO. As you sing the song again, you will not say "A" you will clap in place of it. The third time through, you will clap twice and only say the I O U. Continue until it is all clapping for the vowels. Then end the song with saying all the vowels again.

I can name the vowels for you
and you can name them to - oo
And you can name them to - oo

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Harry, Harry, Please Come Home!"

Today we went on our very first Kindergarten Field Trip. We started our day by putting on our new Kindergarten T-Shirts so that we would all match. Our shirts are black and white and boy did we look sharp! We had to make sure that we all had a lunch and then we took a bathroom break before we got on the bus to head to downtown Jacksonville. The bus ride was bumpy and fog was in the air. It looked like we were in the clouds as we drove across the big bridge. We arrived at the park. It was right next to the stadium where the Jaguars play. The playground was neat with lots of cool stuff to play on. After we played for a while we sat together to enjoy lunch. We were lucky to find some shade because it sure was a hot day especially for October. After lunch it was time to make our way to the Florida Theatre. It was a really fancy place with lots of seats and a big stage. It is one of the oldest theatres in Jacksonville. We heard that Grandma Ellis once went to the very same theatre to see some famous guy named "Elvis" sing. We were at the theatre to see a play of one of our favorite books, Harry the Dirty Dog. There were four actors in the show who sang and danced as they told the story of Harry. We loved it! Once the show was over, it was time to head back to one our favorite places, Chets Creek. We ended our day with a snack and some playtime on our playground. We were so lucky to have so many moms and dads come with us on our trip. It was just about a perfect day. We wished that Mrs, Ellis (who was at an important math meeting) and a few of our friends (who were sick) would have been there with us. That would have made our day absolutely perfect!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How Many Bears Do You See?

The Counting Jar is a Math Workshop activity designed to help students develop strategies for accurately counting and keeping track of quantities. Students also learn to create an equivalent set and represent quantities with numbers, pictures and words. We put a set of blue and red bears in the Counting Jar. The students look at the jar and make a guess at how many bears they think are in the jar. We talk to the boys and girls about making a "good" guess. Once they decide on a number, they record their answer on a sticky note. The children place their sticky notes on a numberline. We discuss which number had the most, least, and equal amounts of guesses. We check our guesses and count the bears in the jar. Once the students learn how many bears were in the counting jar, they can determine how close their guess was. They record their guess and the right answer on paper using numbers, pictures and words.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Teacher of the Year

Please help me congratulate Mrs. Cothern. She was chosen as Chets Creek Teacher of the Year. This is a wonderful honor that she fully deserves. Mrs. Cothern is a great teacher and knows how to reach children in a very special way.

We love you Mrs. Cothern and we are proud of you!

Chet’s Trip to Pennsylvania & New Jersey

I was so excited to go on an airplane again. “A’s” family picked her up early from school on Friday and we headed straight to the airport. When we got to the airport, I had to go through the security gate. “A” put me in one of the bins and I got to ride through the X-ray machine. I was not scared, it was kind of fun! Then, we hung out in the waiting area for our plane to come. It was a big purple and orange plane. I got to sit with “A”, her dad and her brother. When it was time to take off, “A” held on to me tight and off we went!

There were many clouds that we had to fly through and the airplane ride was a little bumpy. Luckily, we made it to Philadelphia a little bit early and “A’s” gramma was waiting for us at the end of the concourse. She’s very nice and took us to “A’s” Aunt Melinda’s house. We ate pizza and played with “A’s” cousins and brother.

On Saturday, we all got up early, ate bagels for breakfast and then got in the car to drive to New Jersey. We saw a lot of pretty trees. The leaves were orange, bright red and yellow. It was a great day to drive.

I met “A’s” great gramma at her 90th birthday party. I met a lot of “A’s” relatives and friends. I shared some pasta with “A” and then got to sing Happy Birthday to “A’s” great gramma and then we got chocolate cake and ice cream. It was yummy! The family let me get into the picture of everybody to mark this special occasion.

On Sunday, “A’s” gramma made us some blueberry pancakes for breakfast and then we went to a helicopter air show. I got to sit in the car and watch because “A” was afraid that I might get blown away from the wind the helicopters made. I saw many helicopters and skydivers. It was really neat.

Later, we went back to the Philadelphia airport. “A’s” dad bought me a Philadelphia tee shirt! Our plane was a few minutes late and we had to sit in the airport for a bit longer than we were supposed to do. We did get to watch our airplane pull up to the gate – that was cool! It was fun to fly at night and see the moon and the lights from the towns and cities. It was a fun weekend. I hope that I can go back to see some of the city of Philadelphia next time!

Your friend,

Chet went to Vermont

I had such a great time in Vermont with N and his family. When we arrived in Vermont, we couldn't believe how beautiful the fall foliage looked. The leaves were so many colors. We saw orange, yellow, and red leaves and we had fun trying to identify the different types.
I really liked the cool crisp weather with my thick coat. We wasted no time
starting our adventures. We went to Stowe, Vermont where I met a bear friend right away!

We had fun throwing the leaves and rolling down hills. I also liked walking on the covered bridges with N. We saw the biggest pumpkin I have ever seen! I really liked hiking in the mountains, canoeing down the Laomille River where I saw beaver dams, and fly fishing
where we caught fish and even spotted different animal tracks. After all the activities we did, N's parents let us have lots of treats. We went to an Apple Cider Mill where we had delicious cider and apple cider donuts! One of my favorite stops was the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory-yummy! Can you believe that just in time for the beginning of the holiday season, we even saw elk. I had a wonderful trip but I am glad to be back at school with all my friends and I am looking forward to my next adventure!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Compare Card Game

This past week the students learned a new card game called Compare. If you have ever played the game of War, then you already know how to play Compare. The students played with a partner. They learned how to shuffle the cards then pass them out to each other. One for you, one for me is the saying that helps with this process. It is not quick but they are learning how to deal. Once all the cards have been passed out, then the students keep their pile face down in a neat stack. Each student flips over one card. Each student has to call out their number, then together they have to decide which number is higher. The person with the highest number gets to keep the cards in a separate pile.

They continue to play until their original stack of cards has been finished. If both students flip the same card, then they flip one more to see who gets all the cards. There are no winners, so there are no losers. We encourage you to play this game with your child at home. Just use a normal set of cards, taking out the face cards. If your child is advanced and is not challenged with flipping over one card, then each of you can flip two cards and add them together to see which set of cards is higher.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


This is the story we read today about the life cycle of the pumpkin. Please have your child take a picture walk through the book and have a discussion about what they learned.

Science Unit on Pumpkins

We started a new pumpkin unit in science today. We are going to be learning the steps to growing a pumpkin from seed to pumpkin. We will also learn interesting facts about the pumpkin. Today's fact was: Pumpkins we mainly see are orange, however pumpkins can be blue, tan, white, yellow, and green.

We sent home a letter asking for pumpkins for us to use in the classroom. If you are able to find an unusual one we would love to have it. Even though we show the students pictures of the other color pumpkins, sometimes seeing is believing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Roll and Record

We introduced the game of "Roll and Record" last week in Math Workshop. The students love to play this game in class. Here is how it works. The students need a dot cube or dice and a recording sheet. The recording sheet is a chart with 9 rows and 6 columns. The numerals 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 are printed in the bottom row of each column. This creates a chart with 6 numbered columns and eight empty boxes above each number in the columns. The first thing the student does is roll the cube.

Next he or she counts the dots they see. The next step is to write the number they rolled in the appropriate column on the recording sheet. They repeat these steps rolling the dot cube and recording the number in the column.

The numbers begin to stack on top of each other in the columns. They continue to roll and record until one column is filled. This is a great time to talk with the students about their chart. "Which number did you roll the most times?" , "Which number did you roll the least?", "How many times did you roll a three?". After the student has talked about the chart, they can continue to play the game until they fill all columns. When a column is full the child should skip the record part and roll again. This process will help the children practice writing and recognizing the numbers. To make this game a little more challenging, two dice can be rolled. The recording sheet would have eleven columns with numbers 2-12 in the columns. The student would roll the two dice and add them together before recording their combined total. "Roll and Record" is a perfect game to play with your child at home. Try It and let us know how it goes.

Skills Block

During Skills Block last week, the students had the opportunity to compare their work from the beginning of the year to what they are able to produce now. It is amazing the growth everyone has made. It ranges from being able to write their name without help, to writing the beginning sound, to writing the first and last sound they hear, to finally writing down at least three sounds they hear in a word. We can see the difference but the most powerful thing is that the students can see the difference. That is why we use the document camera daily in our room. We would like to take all the credit for teaching your child but often the students learn from each other. Here are a few samples from that lesson. When you look at the work on the left in each photo, it is the sample from the beginning of the year. The pictures are not very detailed and you will only see the beginning sound for each picture. The sample on the right is the most current work. You will notice the pictures have more details, the students have at least the beginning, ending and a few middle sounds.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Reading With Our Mouth

This week we have focused on a new reading strategy. "Get Your Mouth Ready" is what good beginning readers do when they look at text. As your child looks at a word, they should notice the beginning sound and get their mouth ready to make that sound. Have you ever noticed how your mouth gets ready to make the "m" sound? Does your mouth look different when you make the "r" sound? This strategy makes students look at the beginning letter in words, decide what sound the letter makes, get their mouth ready to make the sound and then make the sound that they are reading. Using letter flashcards, practice this strategy with your child in front of a mirror. It will be lots of fun.