Monday, November 24, 2008

Chet went to the Blue Ridge Mountians

B. and Chet had about a 8 hour drive up to Blue Ridge, was a long ride but they had a good time. We arrived at our first cabin but it was infested with wasps but everyone in the family survived no wasp stings and was moved to our new cabin which was located in TN. B. and Chet had a great time playing with B's sister, A. and hanging out in the cabin. B. and Chet also went to an Apple Picking Farm where they got to pick apples and purchase them and at the Apple Farm got to run around in the field. Also, while in TN got to go to some really cool shops where they had tons of Native American stores and they thought that was really cool since it is being discussed at school. When we were leaving B. and Chet were upset they had to leave the really cool cabin but were excited to come back to school.

Pow Wow

Native Americans from Melanie Holtsman on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BJ's Adoption

Did you know that BJ's Wholesale Club has adopted Chets Creek this year. We are so honored.
This Friday night at BJ's they are selling hotdogs, chips and a drink and all proceeds are going to our school. Our Chets Creek Recorder Club will also be performing.
Also during the holiday season from December 1st - 19th our school is having a can food drive. If our school receives 1000 cans, BJ's will give our school $1000. Please help our food drive by sending in cans from now until the winter break. Our class goal is for everyone to send in 2 cans a student.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pow Wow

We have been very busy making our costumes for Friday's Pow Wow. Please make sure you look in your child's folder for important information regarding the Pow Wow. We could not have finished everything without help from some wonderful mommy's. Thank you to Chase S., Grace, Jordan, Emma, Courtney, Brandon, and Ashley for letting their moms help us. Thank you to everyone else for bringing in all the supplies. We can't wait for the fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Hi, I’m Chip! My brother Chet was already travelling with one of his class friends, so I got to take a trip to Colorado with T and her family! We flew on a big jet to a place called Atlanta, which is in Georgia. I learned that is a state next to us in Florida. From there, we took another plane to Colorado. It was so far away, we had to set our watches back two hours because we got there before the sun did.

It was pretty cold in Colorado, partly because it is North of Florida, but also because it is at a higher elevation. Jacksonville is at sea level because it is right next to the ocean, but when we landed in Denver we were 5,280 feet – or a whole mile – above that. Thankfully I have a thick coat, and I really needed it for our first adventure: a visit to a town called Estes Park. Initially I thought we were going to play in a park, but that’s just the name of the town. It’s even higher (and colder) than Denver – 7,522 feet – because it is even closer to the Rocky Mountains. While at Estes Park, we saw wildlife just walking around the town! There were elk white-tailed deer and even bighorn sheep (though I thought they should have been called smallhorn sheep!)

Next to Estes Park is the Rocky Mountain National Park. Here we actually got to drive up into the mountains and saw snow flurries during the drive. T and I climbed up a rock at one of the scenic lookouts and with beautiful snow-capped mountains behind us. Unfortunately so much snow fell the previous day that they closed off part of the road for the rest of winter, but where the road ended we were at a place called Many Parks Curve at an elevation of 10,829 feet. The air was so thin up there, it was hard to catch my breath!

Near the end of the road were more scenic lookups and some signs that showed us what mountains we could see and T and I also read how the mountains and valleys were formed by large glaciers, which are solid blocks of ice, cutting through the land over many, many years The adventures of the day really tired out my good friend, T.

The next day we went to a place called the Butterfly Pavilion. I thought we were just going to see butterflies, but they had exhibits of insects and fish, too! We saw some creepy critters, like bees , scorpions, fiddler crabs, Madagascar cockroaches and they even let T’s daddy hold a live tarantula EWWWW! Of course, we also saw a wide variety of butterflies including some that hadn’t been hatched yet. These butterflies were in things called pupa where caterpillars change into beautiful butterflies. According to the sign we read the Pavilion gets these pupa from all over the world for their collection – they even had some from Florida
Even in all this excitement, T and I were feeling a little homesick and missing our friends back at school. On our last day, we said goodbye to T’s great-grandmother and braved the freezing cold to journey back home, bringing with us treasured memories…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chet Goes to the Hospital

Wow, was I a lucky bear. I got to go to work with E’s. mom. She works at a hospital and helps little babies being born. When I visited the hospital, I got weighed. Then I warmed up underneath the heating lamp. I felt like I was just being born like a real baby. Next they took my vital signs, meaning they checked my heartbeat to make sure I was healthy. After all of this I was tuckered out so I snuggled into my new blanket to take a nap. It was a fun day.

Chet Goes to St. Augustine

C. was thrilled to take Chet on a trip to St. Augustine with her big brother D...better known as "Bubby". Grammie and Grampie took us in their beautiful motor home to a St. Augustine Beach camp site. My parents went on a date weekend to celebrate their 21st anniversary. After setting up camp we took a walk on the beach. The weather was wonderful and Chet enjoyed watching the waves roll in. Luckily my Grammie loves to take long strolls on the beach so Chet and I were able to go on many adventures. Later that day my Bubby and I grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. He thought we were great at cooking. Later that night we played Scrabble and Bingo and even later we made some yummy smores. I tried to get all of the sticky marshmallows off Chet... he really liked that yummy treat!The next day Chet was very sleepy and took a nap on my Grammie and Grampie's bed. When he woke up I gave him lots of love and we took another walk on the beach looking for shells. We had so much fun. I enjoyed being with my family and Chet enjoyed meeting and playing with all of them as well. We made some wonderful memories that will last forever.

Skills Block - Bossy e

All children come to Kindergarten with different phonics knowledge of letters and sounds. We introduce a letter a day. The letters are not introduced to the students in alphabetical order. We begin with the letters that say their sound when you say their name (Tt, Bb, Kk, Jj, Dd). The students learn how to form the capital and lower-case letter when they write it, the name of the letter and the sound that it makes. We might listen to a story, share the reading of a poem or share the reading of a big book that focuses on the letter. We create a student generated list of words that begin with the letter sound. The words are added to our word wall so that the students can refer to it during workshops. Once all of the consonants are introduced, we focus on the vowels. The boys and girls learn songs about the vowels and their long and short sounds.

Now that we have talked about all of the consonants and vowels we are ready to learn language rules that will help the children read. It is not enough to tell a child to "sound it out" because the English language is not that simple. The first language rule we teach the students is the "Bossy e" rule. The following words have a "Bossy e" - bake, kite, nose, cute, & name. The "e" on the end of the word bosses the vowel to say it's name (the long vowel sound), and then the "e" says nothing. "Bossy e" words only have one consonant between the vowel and the silent "e". The children begin to notice this pattern in words which helps them decode words. When reading with your child at night help them find words with a "Bossy e".

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pumpkin Unit

As we begin to learn about the Sioux Native Americans it is time to say goodbye to our study on pumpkins. Mrs. Holtsman who is a parent as well as our technology specialist at Chets has made a wonderful video showcasing many lessons and cute facts the students learned. The one on our blog is a shorter version. Mrs. Holtsman is making a complete disc for every students to have their own copy. Please join us in thanking her for taking her personal time to make each child their own copy, so they will never forget these special memories.

Sioux Native Americans

When the students arrived today, they noticed a transformation of the kindergarten hall. Outside each kindergarten room was a representation of the home their Native American tribe lived in. There was also a flag representing their tribe hanging in the hall. Outside our room was a teepee the students must walk through to enter our room. The students learned the reason why the Sioux lived in a teepee was because it was easy to move the teepee around when they were following the buffalo. We also had our flag hanging on the wall. Please don't forget that all supplies must be in by Friday. If you can send them in earlier it will help us get started decorating early.

Voting Day

Today we had so much fun discussing the election. We talked about the job of President. We introduced each candidate Obama and McCain to the students. We also had a discussion on how important it is to vote. After teaching the students how to choose only one candidate by filling in the bubble, the students went to the polling booth and place their vote. Afterward, they placed their paper in our bucket and received a sticker for voting today. Once all votes were placed we tallied the votes together. It was a great opportunity to teach the students on how to use tally marks to count higher numbers. We also discussed the way we group tally marks, four up and down and one diagonal. When we finished counting our votes the winner was McCain. We can't wait to see if our vote holds up to the actual winner. Please discuss this process with your child and tell them when they wake up who the winner is.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"The Long and the Short"

Last week during Reader's Workshop the students learned a new reading strategy. Because we have focused on the short and long vowel sounds in Skills Block, the kids were ready to "Try Both Vowel Sounds" as they read. When a child decodes a word they should think of the sounds that each of the letters make. When it comes to the vowels they will need to decide if it is the long or short sound. Because all words have a vowel they need to try both sounds to decide which one works in the word. In the word "nine", students should notice that the long sound works, but the short sound does not. Trying both sounds will help them master both vowel sounds. As we begin to introduce language rules the children will begin to notice the patterns in words that make the vowel sounds long or short.

New Vocabulary

As an update on our vocabulary study we have 6 new words from the story Where the Wild Things Are to share with you. We want the students to keep an ear out for the words in stories they hear, TV programs they watch or conversations you may have together. We love it when the students use the new vocabulary words in our discussions we have in the classroom or in their writing. The new words are: rumpus, private, tame, adventure, frightened, and longing.

Fall Celebration

On October 31st we had a Fall Celebration in our room. The students had a wonderful time making treats and art projects. Thanks to our room mothers and your donations the students made tootsie pop ghosts, jack-o-lantern flashlights, necklaces, bats and decorated cupcakes. The students also spent time reading fall books together. It was a fun and relaxing day.