Where Children and parents can discuss their thinking, ideas and the world!
March and April were busy months. We worked very hard, finishing our ACCESS 2.0 doing testing for all grades, doing science projects, writing All About non-fiction books and beginning our poetry unit.
We were busy learning about different animals, doing research on them and writing our All About books. First graders worked every day putting their information and thinking together to write their individual books. We learned to visualize or make pictures in our brains as we listened to different writers during our read- alouds - visualizing helps us understand and infer what we are reading. We also learned to ask questions about the texts and illustrations to have a greater understanding of the author's and illustrator's message.
Kindergartners wrote group All About Penguin books and made their own penguins during Makerspace using different materials in the STEAM lab then wrote about the process and reflected on how they "built" their penguins. We planted seeds and are waiting eagerly to see if they grow!
Spring is one of our favorite times of the year - we are can go outside and admire the changes in nature.
As we begin to write our poems, we look at "treasures" I collect from the beach and from walks. Children add to our collection of objects as we explore poetry through our senses written by different experienced poets and by new poets, our kindergartners and first graders.
Some groups interpret poetry, some groups illustrate poetry and we all write poems. Here are some examples of the work we have been doing.
Please take a look and enjoy our work!
We have learned a lot about nonfiction this month. We have written How To's where we teach others how to do different things that we are good about. We have also read a lot of nonfiction, informational books and learned about the different features that nonfiction has - table of contents, photographs, illustrations, captions, labels, diagrams, bold words, glossaries and indexes. We now know that we don't need to read a whole nonfiction book from beginning to end, like we do stories or fiction. We can decide what we are interested in by looking at the table of contents and finding a heading or part that we want to learn about. We are now getting ready to begin thinking of the one topic we want to write about and do lots of research. Soon we will begin writing our All About books. We will also begin to explore the outdoors and look for signs of spring - we can't wait!
We are also busy taking the ACCESS 2.0 test to see how much we have grown and how much easier it is for us to listen, read, speak and write in English.
On another note, February was a busy and exciting month for me. One of my articles was published by Education Week and also featured on ASCD Worldwide Edition - Please feel free to take a look - blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2018/01/encouraging_creativity_and_play_lessons_from_korea.html
I was also interviewed by Dr.Linda Hirsch from CUNY Lehman College - we had a fascinating time discussing Kindergarten education in Korea and here. If you would like to see the interview please go to this YouTube link www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4DbNPly5pg&feature=youtu.be
As soon as we can spend some time outdoors and become scientists and writers, we will share what we have learned with you. Until then, enjoy the last days of winter!
Happy 2018! We love new beginnings and January is a time when we are learning many new topics and skills to move forward to the next grade.
In Kindergarten we are learning about fiction and nonfiction or stories and informational text. We are also learning about winter, hibernation and how to retell by telling what happens in the beginning, the middle and the end of the story. We are talking about characters and setting and learning how to write sentences using upper case letters, spacing and periods at the end.
In First Grade we are reading Leo Lionni's amazing literature, winter poems by Douglas Florian, persuading our teachers and friends through writing as we give our opinion and reasons supporting what we think and in reading, we are using our schema or what we know from our experiences to connect to our reading.
Please support what we are doing in the next few weeks by discussing with your child the different things that I listed.
Books we are reading in Kindergarten:
The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats
Old Bear, Kevin Henkes
Time to Sleep, Denise Fleming
Snowballs, Lois Ehlert
Animals in Winter, Henrietta Bancroft
Different nonfiction texts
Books we are reading in First Grade:
Yes, Day! Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Leo Lionni's books: Fish Is Fish, Swimmy, Inch by Inch, A Color of his Own, It's Mine
Fall has been very busy in nature and in our classrooms. As the trees are changing, we are getting used to being in Kindergarten and First Grade.
We have learned many different things this season. We began our fall exploration reading one of my favorite authors, Kevin Henkes. We read In the Middle of Fall and loved the illustrations by Laura Dronzeck. As the trees were beginning to show their fall colors, we could not wait to do some of the things the girl in the book does.
We have been learning to observe nature and its changes, weather patterns, how pumpkins and apples grow, what the different communities are and discovering the objects in the sky.
In first grade, we have learned about communities, character traits and have written poems after reading and enjoying poems by Bobbi Katz and Beverly McLoughland. The have inspired us!
In Kindergarten, we have learned through going outdoors to observe a pumpkin patch in the Cherry Blossom Park next to our school - we have learned through poetry and science. We learned about fruits and vegetables in the alphabet as we read Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert.
Here are some of the other books we read in Kindergarten- You may want to borrow them from the town library to re-read with your children.
I Know It's Autumn- Eileen Spinelli
The Apple Pie Tree - Zoe Hall
The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree - Gail Gibbons
An Apple A Day - Melvin Berger
Growing Pumpkins - Melvin Berger
A Tree for All Seasons - Robin Bernard
Pumpkin, Pumpkin- Jeanne Titherington
It's Pumpkin Time! - Zoe Hall
Divali was celebrated on October 19th and a group of Indian mothers came to talk about its meaning and share with us crafts and clothing. Everyone loved it. Thank you for making our world more interesting!
November will bring learning about feelings, wants and needs, Thanksgiving and much more. We will continue to read literature and informational texts by amazing authors as well as poetry that will inspire us to keep observing and learning from the world around us.
I have photos of some of the books we will be reading about feelings - you may want to borrow them from the library to help your child put words to their emotions.
Please take a look at all our accomplishments and post some comments! We love to year your feedback.
The Kindergartners and First Graders
Dear Parents and Children,
Welcome to a new year of learning English and discovering the world. For those of you who are continuing the journey of language discovery and exploration with me, I am so happy to work with you again! For those of you who are new to our program and my classroom, I hope that you will explore the different ways to communicate and learn in English and in your home language.
My philosophy of teaching English as a second or new language is rooted in using everything you already know in your own language and helping you to discover how to make those language connections to transfer what you already know. Learning languages is a skill that serves us in many ways - we learn about different cultures, we are able to think about language and use what we know to make connections and research has shown that "Rather than causing confusion, it is now understood that the constant need to manage attention between two languages fosters children’s thinking about language per se, and
leads to increased metacognitive and metalinguistic skills (Bialystok, 2007)
This year, we will have many opportunities to work together creating a strong connection between home and school. It is my hope to be able to learn from your culture and to integrate that knowledge into my teaching. As always, I encourage you to continue to speak your home language, to read to your children good literature from your culture, to have meaningful conversations in your language and to try to develop a rich vocabulary and a variety of concept or content knowledge.
My door is always open so please contact me if you have any concerns or if you are interested in learning more about raising bilingual children or ways to help your children become bi-literate.
After Yangsook Choi came to visit our school, some of our students really wanted to create their own "cat characters". Here is a book that students in Mrs. Harle's class wrote and illustrated with the help of their teachers. Enjoy reading their descriptions and please feel free to comment on their amazing illustrations.
Once again, we were so lucky to have Ms.Choi in our schools. Her visit was an incredible culmination of Ms.Schnee's time in South Korea. We were all so lucky to have this opportunity!
We had an amazing visitor who came all the way from Korea. Author Yangsook Choi came to our schools to share how she was inspired to write The Name Jar and to teach us what illustrators do. She read us her book, New Cat and then she taught us how to draw a cat based on using certain vowels and consonants.
I met Ms.Choi in Korea when I was there as a Fulbright recipient this fall. I have always admired and used her book, The Name Jar, to talk about being bilingual, new to a country and how important and essential it is to love who we are, starting with our names.
It was incredibly exciting to have her come to River Edge and meet students and teachers. Everyone had questions for her and made her feel like a "rock star". Teachers and students asked her to sign her books and parents participated in a wonderful talk about creativity, imagination and being multicultural.
It was an honor to have Yangsook Choi at our school and an amazing benefit from my Fulbright experience. Please look at our photos and post your thoughts.
Dear Parents and Students,
I am back from South Korea after five months of the most extraordinary learning experience. Please feel free to make an appointment if you would like to meet with me.
I went to South Korea on a Fulbright Distinguished Teaching Award Scholarship to do research on education and English language education in Korean schools and universities.
It was a privilege to learn about Korean culture, its language and its ancient and complicated history. Seoul is an exciting and thriving city that never stops. I loved everything about it!
Please visit my blog to find out the places I visited and things I learned:
I will miss you in the fall but will share stories and experiences from South Korea. Please stay tuned.
Below are some pictures to celebrate the year! As this school year draws to a close, I want to thank all of the students, families and teachers who made learning exciting and meaningful. It is wonderful to watch our Kindergartners and first graders grow as they become independent and successful learners.
You make teaching fun, challenging and the best reason to keep on learning!
As I begin to get ready to go to South Korea this fall , our Korean families are teaching me about their culture and are sharing lots of wonderful information. The families had a picnic that kicked off my experience - breaking the boards with a Tae Kwon Do move! It was the beginning of a new experience.
I will miss you during my travels but I will share stories and experiences from South Korea. Please stay tuned.
Below are some pictures to celebrate the year!