Time Flies…

As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun! We have been honing our skills and exploring new opportunities.

The students were introduced to Zoo-Phonics in April. It was familiar to just a handful. But it only took a couple of days before everyone had caught on to the letter sounds. I have used this program for many years and it never fails to give every student a deeper understanding of the letter and sound relationships. I will try my best to make our own Zoo-Phonics video. In the meantime, check out the one made by a previous class on the Class Video tab.

We have also worked diligently on letter formation. I use a program called Handwriting Without Tears. It is wonderful! With this program I can explicitly teach students how to write every letter. It unlocks the mystery of how to make all though “squiggles” so others can read them. The name says it all! No tears here!

There are many parent resources at lwtears.com.

Where Did January Go?

I knew we had lots of action in January, but I am still surprised at how fast the month flew by.
We had a week dedicated to “The Great Kindness Challenge”. I love seeing the fluttering heart decorating the campus. It felt like we were surrounded by love. We had a tremendously positive response from everyone at school.
Can you believe that school-wide, there was only one behavior referral that entire week? Practically heaven on earth! When we focus on the social-emotional needs of ourselves and those around us, we can all be more productive at school. The staff is looking into ways to make it even better next year.

Our Student Leadership Team kicked off our annual Pennies for Patients fundraiser. Our school has participated for the last six years, each time topping the previous donation total. We have been the #2 fundraising school in the nation for the last two years. I don’t the total of our fundraising for this worthy cause, but last year alone we raised $11,531.94. I’m impressed and you should be, too! We have a very generous and caring school community.

We also had a wonderful visit from Coach Greatness and Coach Kindness. We thoroughly enjoyed his positive and empowering message embedded in songs, chants, and cheers. “I’m cool! I’m kind! I’ve got greatness on my mind!” I hope to have a short video of that experience post on Seesaw soon.

We closed out the month with a trip to Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. I think we had the most beautiful day possible for that event. We certainly got a spectacular show from all those migrating snow geese! Thanks to all 13 chaperones who joined us. I hope you all will take your families for an outing while the birds are populating the Pacific Flyway. It’s so close, I bet you could ride your bikes!

Enjoy the month off! See you on March 5th.

Jump into January!

As I was looking over my photos and Seesaw posts for this month, I was a bit surprised at how much we have explored in just a couple of weeks. We focused on a snow theme at first and got to build a snowman with fake snow we made in class. Just stir together three cups of baking soda and one cup of white hair conditioner and you get a mixture that has the consistency of packable snow without the freezing hands. We also made artistic snowmen in a variety of ways. They are currently decorating our room.

We read and retold The Mitten by Jan Brett many times. The children love to act out the part when the bear sneezes and all the animals go flying in the air! Retelling a familiar story builds stronger comprehension skills and gives much needed verbal practice.

I introduced an ice cube challenge that got their brains thinking with determination. How can you pick up an ice cube using just a string? No hands on the ice cube either! We had a few successes once I provided some salt. I love how engaged and creative the students get when presented with an interesting problem to solve.

We also grew beautiful crystals using a super saturated solution of Borax in hot water. Here’s how we did it: start with three cups of very hot water and add 1/2 cup Borax laundry booster. Stir in more Borax until no more will dissolve. Twist and shape a pipe-cleaner and hang it from a stick so it doesn’t touch the sides or bottom of a clear jar. Pour in the solution. Don’t disturb the jar! In about an hour you will see crystals begin to form. The longer you leave it, the more crystals form on the pipe-cleaner.

This month has been made special with guest teachers helping us learn. Mrs. Stark has been providing music lessons. She has introduced us to different styles of musical compositions and use of voice. Beethoven’s Moonlight Serenade had an impressive and immediate calming effect on the whole class!

Mrs. Tweedt has been teaching us about arctic animals. We get to draw the animals as we make our own book. We couldn’t secure a connection for our videoconference with the park rangers in Alaska but we have explored mini icebergs in the classroom. I’ll keep trying to find a solution the the connectivity issue so we can reschedule that virtual fieldtrip.

I hope you are enjoying the photos and videos on our Seesaw blog. Be sure to leave a few comments for your child. It makes quite an impression when we read them in class.

Weekly Wrap Up

It may have been a short week, but everyone is a bit worn out from all the excitement. We are already making friends and figuring out how to work together in this new environment. The children are learning how to follow the rules and make their wants and needs known politely. I am impressed with their care and concern for others. They are quick to share a hug and an encouraging word when they noticed a classmate who was missing Mommy. As we lined up to go home today, my heart grew with admiration when a student suggested, “I think he should line up first because he is the most worried about seeing him mom.” The world needs more compassion and wisdom like that! I count it a privilege to spend time with your precious children.

FYI: Communication Folders went home today. Please complete the forms contained inside and return them in the folder by Wednesday.
New pictures were just posted on Seesaw and Shutterfly. Be sure to register for both! The QR code to link to your child’s Seesaw journal is in your child’s folder, if you didn’t pick it up yesterday.

A HUGE thank you goes to Jalisia’s mom, Athena’s mom, and Adam’s sister for spending time with us to make our transition to school smoother for everyone.

Enjoy your weekend!

Mrs. P 😀

Happy Mother’s Day

tissue-paper-candle-holder-a-gift-kids-can-make-slideshowmainimageSending best wishes to all the mothers of my adorable students. The students were very purposeful as they decorated the jars and created their flowers for you. The jar can be a vase, a candle holder, or just a lovely container for any items of your choosing. My daughter made one for me many years ago and I still use it to hold coins on my dresser. Every time I look at it, I remember her joyful smile and hearty giggles when she was just a little munchkin. It is my hope that this jar will spark such memories for you in the future.

Meet Poppa Jerry and Gramma Anne

It was a special treat to enjoy the company of Poppa Jerry and Gramma Anne in our classroom last week. Guess what? They are my very own parents! They were visiting from Michigan (barely north of Toldedo, Ohio) and I invited them to spend a few afternoons with us. They sang and danced with us, read stories, played with playdough, and helped us cut and count. It was delightful for everyone to have such child experts help us start the year off. Poppa Jerry and Gramma Anne raised five children and now have 25 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. That’s pretty impressive, don’t you agree?IMG_7126


Our First Week

Dear TK Families,
I hope your student came home excited to share many experiences from our first week of school. We are getting to know each other and learning all 24 new names. We are practicing the classroom rules and routines for listening and sharing. We have been exploring the different areas of the room and how to use the materials properly. The students are enthusiastic about every activity, which is a big reason to love teaching this group eager beavers!

We will be focusing a great deal of effort on drawing, writing, and cutting for small muscle development. It would be very helpful to provide many similar opportunities at home. If you don’t have one already, now would be a good time to set up a box of crayons, markers, scissors, stickers, glue sticks and paper for at-home practice. Using playdough frequently is another effective way to build those muscles. I’ll post an easy recipe shortly.

We have also toured part of the campus and some of the important people. So far, we have met Mrs. Noya and Mrs. Wilson (AM Kdgn teachers); Mr. Hauder (principal); Mrs. Robinson (vice principal), Mrs. Grayberg (librarian); Mrs. Cha (computer teacher); Miss Toni (custodian); Miss Mai, Miss Debbie and Miss Vickie (office staff).

I will be sending a test email today to see if I have entered everyone’s address correctly. If you do not see an email from me, please send one so I can fix my contact list.

Enjoy your weekend!
Mrs. P 😀

What a Week!

We certainly had some fun this past week. On Tuesday, we cut open our large pumpkin and looked inside at all those seeds. Everyone had a chance to take some out and count the seeds. Then we filled the pumpkin with dirt, gave it some water and set it outside to see what will happen. What will you do with the seeds you took home?

On Thursday, we met with our Big Buddies from Mrs. Goodwin’s class to decorate our large butterflies that we are sending to Mexico. We are taking part in the Symbolic Migration of Monarch Butterflies. We are learning about how the real monarchs move south for the winter through Journey North, an online collaboration of citizen scientists around the world. Our Big Buddies helped us write friendship messages in Spanish! We included them with our butterflies that were sent to school children who live the forests where the monarchs spend the winter in Mexico. We will track the migration online and in the spring we will receive symbolic monarchs to represent the return of the butterflies to the north.

On Friday, we completed a delicious math and science experiment with Oreos! We needed to find out how many Oreos we each could stack before they fell over. Our Big Buddies guided us as we made predictions, stacked and counted. Then we got a short nutrition lesson and we each enjoyed a full serving of cookies and milk. Next week, we will post our information online and compare our results with many other classes around the country.

Isn’t Kindergarten a great place to learn? I think so!

Mrs. P 🙂

Welcome Back!

Oh my goodness! How wonderful to see you all back at school. I really missed my 24 hugs a day while we were off-track. It seems that all my students were also happy to be back, too.

This past week we met our Third Grade Buddies from Mrs. Ghilain’s class. They helped us put together our own books. Then each student read the book with their buddy and got some tips on learning sight words. We had a little extra time so we enjoyed some “GoNoodle” silliness, too. (GoNoodle is a fun website for music and pe activities)

Mrs. P 😀

Westward, Ho!


Our travels to the Western Territories were less than treacherous and more than exuberant! I overheard many students say, “This is HARD, but it’s so FUN! Our pioneer spirit was challenged and encouraged throughout the day as we attempted to craft and play just as thousands of pioneer children did on the Oregon Trail in the 1840s.

Thank you to our many volunteers who participated before, during, and after the event. I could not do this without you. You have created a memory that will be treasured by every child who joined us. I hope you enjoyed yourself, too.

The photos have been posted to our Shutterfly account. You can order prints or even create a photobook from there. Just click on our Photoblog tab and follow the instructions. I will resend our password in an email, in case you have misplaced it.