Week 2

This week our class was officially named!!! We are proud Blue Jays and are already making our classroom our cozy little nest!

For some laughs here were some of the other contenders for names: the Fabas, the Dancing Bananas, the Princesses, the Best Classroom Ever, the Flamingos in a Banana Peel, the Dogs and the Race Car Team Drivers.  We “pulled” (wink, wink) three names from a hat and voted between the Penguins, the Rabbits and the Blue Jays. After a decisive vote, the Blue Jays we are! To appease our other voters, our half groups will be called – the Rabbits and the Penguins. Don’t you wish it could be like that in all elections?!

To cement our identity as a class, we created a collaborative collage of a Blue Jay. Ripping lots of blue scrap paper, the Blue Jays got busy making a beautiful bird to hang in the kindergarten suite.  Please stop by to check it out!

Throughout the week we explored many new materials. On Monday we used glue sticks and scissors. We learned about a safe scissor walk and how to apply glue when using a glue stick.  We are big believers in open-ended art provocations. As such, every child received two blank pieces of paper: one white and one black. We gave them no further directions other than they were limited to using these materials. We enjoyed watching everyone’s varied approach to this task. Their creations are hanging in our cubby room and each reflects their unique point of view and distinct creative process.

 

We also worked with cray pas and watercolors this week. Working collaboratively in groups of 5 or 6, the Blue Jays explored the properties of this medium using various abstract strokes. Opportunities for children to work together and feel gratified by the process are integral to forming a community.

More centers opened during Choice Time this week. Specifically, “Loose Parts” was a big hit. In this area of the classroom, children work with many found or recycled materials to create temporary collages. While working with Loose Parts, children often arrange for aesthetic, while others turn this into an opportunity for imaginary play. Steve Nicholson, the architect who developed the Theory of Loose Parts, says, “the idea that loose parts, materials which can be moved around, designed and redesigned, or tinkered with; create infinitely more opportunities for creative play than static materials and environments.”  We love loose part play as it is always available to children. Whether playing at the beach, waiting at a restaurant or working in their classroom, loose parts simply require found materials, and as we know, found materials can always be found! Here are a few of the arrangements friends made this week:

  

While loose part play will always occur at our Loose Parts center, loose parts are present in many areas of our classroom. Friends were thrilled to tinker and build at the Light Table this week!  Over the course of the year materials at this center will change to encourage varied play experiences. For our first full week, the Blue Jays worked with Magna Tiles and found objects, including: corks, neon golf tees, shells and transparent 2D shapes.

On Thursday, we launched the Beautiful Stuff project. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy we are curious “to investigate what it means to children when they have sought out, discovered, and collected recyclable and/or used materials themselves.  Does this affect the way they use and care for those materials? Are they more thoughtful, focused, and pleased with their efforts when they have been engaged in the process right from the beginning?”. To begin our conversation about found materials we read “In Mary’s Garden” by Tina and Carson Kügler.  This is a true story about the artist Mary Nohl. Mary transformed her lakeside Michigan cottage into a magical wonderland full of recycled art.  She loved collecting materials and used her collections to make lots of beautiful creations. As we read, children connected to Mary, as they shouted out some of their favorite things to collect. Ms. Rojas and Ms. Jaconi then shared their beautiful stuff with the Blue Jays, emphasizing that the beautiful stuff we bring to our classroom is to be donated and shared with all classmates.  Using these bits and pieces we created a collaborative loose parts collage. When we were finished we admired the beauty of our shared process.  

We shared ideas about what our temporary collage reminded us of – “a city with lots of buildings,” “a dancing man,” and “lots of shops.” What do you see?!

We all agreed, together, we could elevate the beauty of these materials through our creative process. We are looking forward to creating beautiful things with the Blue Jays’ beautiful stuff. Please spend your weekend collecting.  Beautiful Stuff bags are due back to school on Tuesday, September 19. As a reminder, here is a list of some of the materials we are looking for:

Wire, Shells, Feathers,  Sponges
Beads, buttons, Small seed pods
Costume, broken jewelry, Wood scraps
Fake flowers, plants Corks
String, Leather remnants
Ribbon, yarn Screws and bolts
Old keys,  Small mirrors
bottle caps, plastic rings
sticks, rocks, acorns
Paper of different weights, textures, and colors

We continued our efforts to get to know Packer.  On Wednesday we took a safety walk around the school.  We shared that it is their teachers’ #1 job to keep friends safe at school.  As we told friends, this is a big job and Ms. Jaconi and Ms. Rojas do not do it alone! We toured the school meeting many members of our school community. During our visit we passed by the front desk and elevator, the nurse’s office, the lower school office, our school psychologist’s office and Dr. Dennis’ office! When we returned to our classroom the Blue Jays drew portraits of the many people at school who help keep us safe.

    

Lastly, there has been lots of emerging interest in game making this week!  After Benjamin shared a game he developed using Gears and dice, many other Blue Jays were inspired to create their own.  With dice, marbles, 10s frames, and all sorts of loose parts, they have been making up creative and fun games, experimenting with rule creation and material set up. During Choice Time reflections, all of the children are eager to share their methodology with their classmates, teaching friends to play their original games. Game making has allowed the Blue Jays ample opportunity to flex their creative muscles, requiring thoughtful planning, engineering, collaboration and communication.  Can you see all of the math happening in these photos?! It has been so inspiring to document.

 

We had our very first birthday this week! Happy Birthday Avery! We loved reading “The Day the Crayons Quit” and snacking on some delicious cupcakes!

It was a busy first full week of school! Your children did such a great job settling into new routines and sustaining for 5 FULL days of school in a row! We were very impressed and we can’t wait for more fun next week!

Please make sure to look at the many photos from  the week in album 2. (Week 2 Photos )

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

 

Love,

Erica and Chelsea

Week 1

Dear KJR Families,

 

Our first week of school together was short but sweet!  We spent lots of time getting to know one another and building connections.  New friendships have already begun to form and it has been so wonderful to watch our new classroom community come together.

 

The first week of school was spent learning lots of new routines.  Routines ground children in expectations, providing consistency and predictability in their school day.  When learning a new procedure, teachers always model the routine first, and then ask a child to model.  Your kindergartners loved this opportunity to act as an example for their friends and we loved watching the pride they took in following the directions. We have been so impressed by the helpful, positive spirit present in our classroom community. We can already see your children building a foundation of trust and respect.  It is going to be  a great year!  

 

There was lots of play that took place this week! Play is the work of children, and their work began on day one! We started the week with some Kapla block exploration.  This open-ended material can be used in an infinite number of ways, providing space for a number of creative interpretations.  Throughout the week children visited this material over and over again and we have already noticed them beginning to build in more sophisticated ways.  Kapla blocks will be a fixture in our classroom and we look forward to watching their engineering skills develop!

Shell exploration has been a big hit this week! Throughout the year children will work to hone their observation skills.  With magnifying glasses in hand your kindergartners eagerly discussed the varying properties of the shells.  Already, organic classification and categorization has begun.  Many friends were motivated to draw their noticings and we challenged them to look closely and to draw what they saw.  Make sure to check out their documentation of shells under the loft!

Throughout the week friends spent time drawing, beading and puzzling! We have enjoyed watching them work alongside one another, sharing materials and helping one another out!

We opened the loft this week! Friends were so eager to work in Dramatic Play and while not everyone had a turn, everyone was so flexible, understanding that next week they too will have the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild in this space.

We also enjoyed some water play at the Sensory Table. With cups, pitchers, funnels, spoons, gems and stones there was lots of imaginary play taking place.

On Friday we had our first Choice Time! Choice Time is the meat of our school day, as we are committed to rich learning grounded in play.  Everyday, play experiences will change based on student interests, teacher provocations and the needs of our learners.  During Choice Time children will learn to navigate their social and emotional worlds, developing many skills including (but not limited to): self-regulation, cooperation, resiliency, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, oral language, tolerance, flexibility and creativity.    During Choice Time the teachers will actively observe and document your children’s thinking.  Our documentation will be carefully considered and used to inform curriculum, as well as, to prepare meaningful contexts for further investigations. We look forward to diving into our students magical worlds of fantasy!  Stay tuned for many new centers opening at Choice Time next week.  

 

As we nurture a respectful classroom culture, we have been documenting children making helpful choices.  Take a look at all of the care and love that is already present in our classroom.  Next week, we will use these photos to help us develop class rules.

 

We met many important community members this week! It was so fun to have many special teachers and staff members stop by to say hello!

 

 

We had our first art and music classes! This year Ms. Titone will be our art teacher and Ms. Cibrano and Ms. Meadows (currently on maternity leave) will be our music teachers. Ask your friend to show you their first piece of artwork or sing you one of the many songs we learned this week!

It is hard to believe our first week of school has come and gone. We are loving spending time with your sweet children and we cannot wait for our first full week next week!

 

Please make sure to look at the many photos from  the week in album 1. (Week 1 photos )

 

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

 

Love,

Erica and Chelsea

Welcome to KJR!

Dear KJR Families,

The year is off to a great start already! Our first morning was short and sweet, and left us eager for more time together. Tomorrow we will meet for a half day of school with our whole class! We can’t wait to form our classroom community and watch new friendships begin to blossom.  In case your kiddo came home talking about someone special, here is a class facebook from our first day of school.

Throughout the school year we will update our blog on a weekly basis.  Our hope is that this website will serve as a window into classroom life, providing a way for you to connect with your kindergartner about their daily inquiries.  We are committed to documenting your child’s learning and we are hopeful that you will visit this website often. Stay tuned… Kindergarten discoveries and explorations coming soon!
All Our Best,
Erica & Chelsea