Two of Mrs. Farber's students brought 'Wanted' posters to our class yesterday and asked if we could put them up. And we noticed more posters around the halls. All of them were searching for a little green man of various descriptions. And as Mrs. Farber's class has been talking about the cheeky leprechaun who has been messing up their classroom and evading their traps, Team Awesome was already aware that a little trickster had been hanging around. And you know Team Awesome- they wanted a piece of that action pronto! Which led to a flurry of activity this afternoon during Free Choice time as the children built their own traps and Wanted posters to catch the little man. If you picked up your child at the end of the day you might have seen the posters hanging on the wall outside our room and the traps placed willy- nilly around the class. If we don't catch the leprechaun this evening we might have to revisit and revise our traps as many of them don't actually have doors that close. So while many traps have some bait in the form of shiny things, fake gold and even bits of pillows and blankets to lure the fairy creature inside, there is nothing to keep the leprechaun in the trap after he steals the bait and has a nap. And that's what scientists do- revisit and revise ideas if they don't work the first time! We'll keep you posted on our leprechaun adventures.
For children germs are invisible things that cause them to get sick. Remembering to do things like washing their hands or covering a cough may not come easily. With the sneezing and sniffles that seem rampant in our classroom throughout the year, using a visual tool that demonstrates how germs spread and the effectiveness of different hand washing and cleaning methods during our health unit seemed like a smart idea. Enter the Glo Germ Classroom Kit! This last week we watched a short video on how germs make us sick and then applied the 'fake germ' powder from the kit to our hands. We shook hands, rubbed our faces and handled a few things in the classroom and then used the black light, which causes the powder to glow, to track where the germs had dispersed. We were amazed at how many things we touch in our classroom and how far the germs had spread! Emilia even had some in her hair. We then washed our hands and looked at them under the black light again. Unfortunately, Team Awesome did not wash their hands well enough to get rid of most of the germs. So we watched a video on how to wash our hands properly and then washed them a second time- just in time for an apple snack.
Are you counting down? A whole two weeks with Team Awesome! Time to rest and recoup, visit family, play outside and with friends, plan some fun activities and, during the last three days, make you all crazy and impatient for school to begin again. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder and those last few days before the children go back seem to take forever.
Sight words, often also called high frequency words, are commonly used words that young children are encouraged to memorize as a whole by sight, so that they can automatically recognize these words in print without having to use any strategies to decode. Sight words account for a large percentage (up to 75%) of the words used in beginning children's print materials. The advantage for children being able to recognize sight words automatically is that a beginning reader will be able to identify the majority of words in a beginning text before they even attempt to read it; therefore allowing the child to concentrate on meaning as they read without having to stop and decode (sound out) every single word. Recognizing sight words automatically is advantageous for beginning readers because many of these words have unusual spelling patterns, cannot be sounded out using basic phonics knowledge and cannot be represented using pictures.
At the beginning of every month Team Awesome is introduced to anywhere between 6 and 10 new sight words and we practice them every day for that month before putting them up on our Word Wall and getting new ones. That means the children have been directly exposed to the words at least 20 times in the month but often more than that as we use them in our writing and point them out when reading. Sometimes the words are theme related, like 'love' in February, or sometimes a word is chosen because a child has been using and/or spelling it incorrectly in their own writing repeatedly but more often sight words are chosen because they are the most frequently used words in beginning texts and it is important that Team Awesome is familiar with them.
I have been neglectful in that I have not been posting the sight words we have been learning every month. If you would like to practice these words at home, please do so but keep in mind that it should be kept fun and light and not drill and kill as we want to keep the children interested. There are many sight word games to be found and printed off the internet, many of which allow you to insert your own words, or sites such as starfall.com have online games. These are perfect for practice as Team Awesome loves games.
The sight words we have been working on since September are:
a am and are big boy be can car did do fun from go girl he has I is in it like little look love my me no on she see the to up was we will you yes
Mrs. Farber and myself have worked to get a Mother Goose program into the school to benefit those little peeps that are not yet attending Kindergarten but will in the future. It is an awesome program and I can't recommend it enough if you have small children at home. Parent-Child Mother Goose is a one hour, eight week research based program that focuses on sharing with the parents the power of traditional rhymes, songs and stories which builds language and literacy skills and fosters attachment.
Some of the benefits of the program are:
Unfortunately last Friday was cold and windy and frigid and did I say downright chilly? Not only was Team Awesome not dressed properly to spend an extended length of time outside in the afternoon, but we weren't either. As a consequence, the children were blue and shivering after about half an hour on the field and asking to come inside. That is the first time there have been complaints about weather during Fresh Air Friday so I know they were truly cold and we cut our activities short and returned to our classroom after about 30 minutes. While we were outside we played some team-building parachute games together and loved it. I am confident the parachute will come out again when the weather is a bit warmer.
Mrs. Bowden &