Friday, September 22, 2017



Try again!

In Handwriting, I've introduced the Frog Jump Capitals. On Friday, we learned the Wet, Dry, Try method on slates. We always start our capital letters at the top. F E D P B R N and M are all Frog Jump Capitals. We also learn the sounds and key pictures that begin with that sound. Next week we'll start the Corner Starter Capitals.
Handwriting is fun!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

PTO Grant

The Parent Teacher's Organization awarded kindergarten a grant to purchase bird feeders and supplies. Here you see the feeders which we put out every morning and I take in every night (in order to not attract raccoons, not to mention bears!). How long do you think it will take for the birds to find the bird food? My guess is two weeks.
Soon I'll order two pairs of child binoculars and a primary bird book. We're excited to begin keeping a log of which birds come to the feeder. 
If you'd like to keep data on which birds come to your feeders at home over the winter, visit I've signed up for a personal subscription for my feeders at home. It could be a fun family activity.

More shots of our Math work. During Choice time, some of us painted cardboard rolls. Previous to that, we counted a huge pile of unpainted rolls by ones. Then we counted out groups of ten and counted those by tens. We ended up with 67 both times. The next day we added one. 
Some days during Math class I dump a pile of the painted tubes on the rug. We sort them, estimate which group has most and least. We order the three colors from least to most.
Above, you see a colorful structure which is a collaboration of all five students. It's a model of a bee hive, bees and I've forgotten what the green triangles represent. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Big line, little line, big curve, little curve. We use only these lines and curves to form our capital letters. And we start all our letters at the top when making capitals. Be sure your writer does that when he or she writes their letters.
On the first day of school we drew a picture of a man. Today we had a lesson on drawing Mat Man. When you come to Open House on the afternoon/evening of September 12, please look at our cupboard doors for before and after pictures.

Math Workshop

We're learning to take care of our materials. At the beginning of the year, there's a lot of free exploration of math materials. We share and clean up using self-regulation.
Before we start Math class, we usually do a movement activity that involves a math concept or we do a Brain Dance which makes us cross our midline to get our brains working.
Stay tuned for a post with photos of that.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It's a new school year and the Kindergarten classroom has changed since you las saw it. The bottom photo in the sequence of 4 photos above is from last year.
Just above, you see our new reading corner. I'm excited about starting tomorrow. 
Check back here, parents, for weekly updates on what's new in Kindergarten.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Remember to check last week's Ellsworth American or Islander for your portrait. They're very cute! Hoping your Mother's Day was special. 

Early last week we took a walk on Neighborhood House Road to watch progress at a construction site. I asked students what they noticed and what they wondered.
We had only a short time to spend in observation and unfortunately, were not there for the lifting and placing of modular units. The second graders and Ms. Cullen's first graders did see some of that.
Upon our return, students recorded what they saw and posed their questions. I'm hoping for better weather this week. Perhaps we'll be able to return to the site to note progress. We may also ask the second and first graders to answer some of our questions.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dance Party!!!

In celebration of filling our Good Behavior Jar with gems, we held a dance party before April break. No worries, we made it a controlled environment with the audience lined up along the sides of the room and two dancers per 4 tables in the middle. Before the dancing we discussed safe behavior on the tables and the children set some guidelines. You can see some really good dance moves here. 
I wonder what we'll do the next time the jar is filled? This is hard to beat!
Crocheting is Fun...and Calming!

My friend Claire wasn't crocheting a chain on this day I took the photos. But a number of other students (approximately 10 out of 16) now have been introduced and enjoy quiet time with a crochet hook and some yarn, periodically. Parents, you are welcome to join us at Choice Time, and perhaps these children can teach you this first step to crocheting.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Self-Regulation Needed!
This month our kindergarten students returned to school somewhat discombobulated. I believe the week before vacation was too disjointed due to the winter storms, early releases, late starts, snow days and illness. Generally, I've noticed that when students in my class have a week off they return ready to get back into their routine and are able to apply all the skills they've learned.

That didn't happen this time.

So we tried our hardest to do all the things we know can help us. We did Brain Gym and  other movement exercises. Ms. McKernan used some Mindful Life exercises with us. We talked about what we could do to help ourselves get ready to learn. And on Friday, we colored mandalas. 

In the photos above, you see several shots of us coloring with special markers that we save for "Friday mandalas". You also see Jake and Claire doing a Brain Gym exercise called "The Owl".
Harriet was our Teacher Assistant on Friday. Before Math you see her leading the class in a brain break exercise called Xs and Os. She colored the lovely mandala on the table for our classroom. And last, you see four handsome gentlemen who are waiting for the rest of the class to join them at the rug. They were remarkably silent!

Next weekend I hope to post some photos of Claire and perhaps a friend or two, crocheting a chain.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Winter Gear

Even though the weather forecaster may predict a warm day, please continue to send warm clothes to school with your student.
I'd like to think Spring is arriving early, but I fear we're simply having a late January thaw.
On a snowy background you see 14 pair of beautiful mittens donated by Arai Dunbar, hand knit by her great grandmother, Jane Dunbar.
If your child loses or forgets her/his mittens, these are in a bag outside the first grade classrooms and may be borrowed.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


I'd like to think an unscheduled early release won't happen again this school year, but I can't promise it. You may have read (or surmised) we need an alternate after-school plan for days when children must be sent home early due to extreme weather conditions. If you haven't already done so will you send one in? Some of you may be fairly certain that you'd like your child sent home on the bus. Others may not know for sure about child care until the day it happens. In that case, if a storm has been predicted, please send in your alternate plan on that morning. We appreciate your flexibility.

Previous Request

Thank you. Landon and Abbie are bringing in pretzels for Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Valentines Name List
It's coming up! We'll be having a little Valentine Celebration on Tuesday, February 14. I'll buy some organic cranberry juice and raspberry lime seltzer water because the kids seemed to relish it when we served it for a Writer's Celebration toast. I really don't want to serve them sweets as they're so excited on this day, even without sugar! But how about donations of heart shaped pretzels? I know they're not really hearts...but they're close. Please send me an e-mail if you'd like to send in a bag, or if you have any other festive, non-sweet ideas.
Thank you for understanding that when we pass out Valentine cards (or any invitations such as Birthday ones), we include all members of the class.
Below you will find another class list for your convenience.


January Birthday Celebration
Last Friday, for the first time in their history, Kindergarten hosted the Birthday Celebration. Some of them were chosen to give the announcements and all Kindergarten students, save the ones who were the January birthday guests, served the delicious snack. Chef Emily and Jan prepared the parfaits with fruit. Unfortunately, I didn't have them practice snack distribution and it could have gone more smoothly. We'll work on improving that when we host again in the Spring.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

One last post this weekend.
You buy cheap, you get cheap, I suppose. I bought a new one this weekend, again a cheap one. 
What's wrong with it? It no longer lets me select a track. Has a mind of its own.
I tried cleaning the sensor with a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. No luck.
If anyone wants to take a look and see if they can figure it out, you're more than welcome. Send me an e-mail or note by your student. Then (maybe) we'll have a back-up.

Winter Decorations
Above you see one of the many paper chains our students made before Christmas vacation in collaboration with their 7th and 8th grade buddies. I came in during the break and put up every chain that was made on the last day of school.
 The "littles" and the "olders" all had great fun. I taught many of the 7th and 8th graders when they were in kindergarten. It's so nice to see them back in my classroom. Being a mentor is a fantastic confidence booster and an all round good experience. It's amazing to see the nurturing these "tough" junior high kids can give. Just think, one day, your child will be the nurturers!

Blue Book Envelopes
Students should be bringing home books to read with you at least once a week. They may take them more often if they want. Please encourage your student to return his or her envelope to the classroom when he or she is done with the book. I generally don't allow readers to take books home unless their book envelope is available. that way books are protected.
If a reader is stuck on a word we use these beginning strategies:
*Get your mouth ready with the first sound.
*Cross check information from picture and does the word make sense?
When a reader seems frustrated after trying the above, just give him the word.
Have fun and relax together!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Latest bulletin: The rink at the Knowlton Park in Ellsworth is due to open Tuesday, January 10th in the morning.
Unfortunately, the ice rink in Ellsworth is not open yet! I'm hoping for next weekend. Will keep you posted when I find out for sure. 😊

Friday, January 6, 2017

Kindergarten Parents! 
Do you know about the ice skating rink at the Knowlton Park on State Street in Ellsworth? It's open to the public for free. There are hours on weekend mornings when certain hockey teams play but I believe after 11:00, it's open to all. I plan to go this weekend both on Saturday and Sunday around 1:00pm.
The nice thing about this rink is volunteers clear it after a big storm.
I hope to see you and your families there, if not this weekend, then maybe another time.
It's also fun to go out for hot chocolate afterwards, or bring your own in a thermos!

Monday, January 2, 2017

High Frequency Word Practice
I promised you some activities to foster word reading with your kindergartener. 
First, here's the list of words we've covered so far in case you've misplaced it:

Here's a game called Bang! that you could play with the entire family. Make a box with cards in it. Some will say Bang! and others will have multiples of the above words. You can add some other words that your child is learning if these words are already known. Sit in a circle. Each player takes a card out when it's his turn and reads it. If they can read it, they get to put it down in front of them. If they cannot read it, it goes back in the box. If they pull the word, "Bang!" out, all the words they've collected this far go back in the box. Keep playing until the group gets tired or set a timer and the winner is the one with the most cards when the timer goes off. Players may keep a written record of the # of cards accumulated and try to beat their record next time.
Bean Bag Toss: Divide a shower curtain liner into a grid of 20 squares. Make cards with high frequency words on them and print  a  # of points on it in the corner of the card. The student tosses a bean bag onto a square and if she can read the word, gets the number of points on the card. At the end of the game she adds up all her points.
Don't forget those old favorites: Concentration (Memory), Bingo and Tic Tac Toe.

Math Games

Math Games are fun and so much learning goes on when we're playing. This one is called Santa's Hat Bump and it's so much fun, we may keep playing it even though the holidays are over. It involves rolling two dice and adding the numbers together. We think about what strategy to use when adding. Do we "just know" that 6 and 6 equals 12? Do we choose the highest number when we roll a 4 and 5, stick it in our head and count on? Five...six, seven, eight, nine. Do we use the number line? Start on 5 and jump 4 spots forward.
This game is fun because you place your color cube on the answer you get. If your partner gets the same answer and you only have one cube on the hat, he can bump your cube off. Once there are two cubes of one color on the hat, you may not bump a cube off.

Here are some photos of our friends during the last week before vacation. This was "hat day". We wore our hats in class during Choice Time, as it would have been too exciting to wear them all day!