Choice Time Centers
As you probably know, play is the work of children! In kindergarten, here at BSI, our children have Choice Time every day. Choice Time benefits children’s social skills, language skills, empathy, imagination, problem solving, self control and motivation to learn. These are all skills that are needed to navigate our world.
There are building materials like Magnatiles, Legos and Connectagons. There are many floor puzzles that we love to put together. There is also the popular art center where creativity comes alive with markers, scissors, glue and other materials. The Library center is always open for reading with a friend or independently and includes some of our BIG books that we read in class.
Most recently, we opened our block building center! We are exploring ways to build structures with the blocks that are stable. Children work together in a small group to build and create pretend scenarios. The blocks are designed in mathematical units and encourage logical thinking. Children can learn about shapes, sizes, numbers, area, length and weight as they select, build and clean up blocks.
The kids love Choice Time and were really excited about our latest center. Choice Time is definitely something you can ask your child about each day. You can ask: What center did you choose today? Who else was in your center? What did you build/make? Did you switch to a different center?
Our scientists have been busy becoming experts on nature artifacts such as pinecones, gourds, sticks and leaves. We are almost finished our “Writing Like a Scientist” unit. We are creating informational books that can teach others what we’ve learned about the artifacts. You learn a lot when you look very closely at something like a scientist does. We are using our knowledge of letters and sounds to stretch out words and say them slowly so that we can hear each one and feel them in our mouths. Then we write down all the sounds we hear. Our hope is that others can learn about these artifacts from all the hard work we’ve done! If you and your child find an interesting artifact in nature, you can bring it home and have your child observe it, draw it with details and write something about it.
Our readers have been hearing and reading their favorite stories over and over again. Lucky for them, we have MANY extra copies of these books so that the children can enjoy reading them in their book baskets. The kids were so excited to see that we had “found” multiple copies of all these books! This is all part of our Emergent Story Book unit that highlights special titles so that kids can become familiar with them and know them so well, they can read them. Reading is not only reading words, but also looking closely at pictures and “telling” the story through the pictures. While reading with your child at home, encourage him/her to study the pictures and tell the story by looking at them. You can help by just asking, “What’s happening here?”
We have begun learning letters, sounds, and letter formation(handwriting) using a program called Fundations. Fundations is a systematic, sequential, multi-sensory approach to teaching writing early learners how to write letters. We begin by explicitly teaching how to write lowercase letters as these are the letters we read and write most often. So far, we have learned the letters t, b, f, n, m, c, a, r, o, i, g, d, s, e, u, l and h. We include many ways to make learning letters and sounds fun! Some ways include using a mystery box of objects that begin with our sounds, matching 2 piece puzzle pieces and skywriting with our bodies to form letters. We have also started to learn sight words. Sight words are words that appear frequently in many texts that people read, but can’t easily be sounded out. Learning them helps children become more confident readers. Our words come from shared reading text. Words we have learned so far include I, the, like, see, is, my, to, and a.
We are working on the big idea of comparing. We used cube towers to compare lengths of objects in the classroom and described them as longer or shorter. We also compared the number of letters in our names to the names of some classmates and described them as longer, shorter or the same length. We then began thinking about comparing numbers. We initially explored this by grabbing a handful of colored tiles and comparing it to a partner’s handful. We came up with different ways to record our findings on paper. We also learned how to play “Compare” using number cards. This is a game you can play at home with your child using a regular deck of cards (without the picture cards). Each player takes the top card. The players compare by saying which card is more or less. The player that has the card with more gets to keep the two cards.