What I will learn this month in Ms. Courtney’s Class… (In addition to Montessori Work Time)
8/22 and 8/29: Ground Rules
Learning to greet others.
Learning to have conversations.
Learning to speak to others.
Learning to listen to others.
Learning to respond to others.
Learning to say please and thank you to others.
Learning to observe others.
Learning to respectfully interrupt.
Learning from others.
Learning to open door for someone else.
Learning to recognize situations in which to help others.
Passing in front of another respectfully.
Learning how to say excuse me.
9/5: Community Helpers
The students will learn about police officers, fire fighters, mail carriers, soldiers, bakers, farmers, doctors, and teachers throughout the week. They will not only learn about these community helpers; they will also be able to explain in detail why each one is very important to our lives.
9/12: My Family
The students will illustrate a picture of their family.
The students will have a discussion on the importance of families to each of us and the students will be able to identify one reason why their family is important to them.
Create a family tree together (Due Friday September 12th)
The students learn how to identify, handle, and understand the things they may feel and how to act about them.
9/26: Five Senses
The students will learn about their five senses and their parts of the body that correspond to each sense.
Letters of the week
8/25 and 8/31: None
Sight word of the week
8/25 and 8/31: None
Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:
Try to find objects that begin with the letter of the week wherever you go with your child.
Encourage grace and courtesy when you see your child displaying it to another or you.
Talk about the importance of 911 and when you should call and practice dialing it.
Practice dialing your telephone number with your child.
Start a family tradition by setting a night a week aside for a family movie or game night.
If your child displays an emotion they are unfamiliar with talk about it and how to handle it together.
Have students describe things at home using their senses.
We started off May talking about the Solar System. The children learned the positions of the planets and their relative sizes and distances. They had a blast using 3D models of the sun and planets to put in order. We talked about how the sun is the biggest star and why it is so important. We discussed the different phases of the moon and made a classroom book of the phases during preschool lesson.
The second week of May we talked about dinosaurs and what their habitats were like then the children did a dinosaur dig with our practical life work throughout the week. They learned different physical attributes of dinosaurs and their names. The children demonstrated an understanding of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores.
The third week of May we talked about transportation the children quickly developed an understanding that transportation means to carry things from one place to another. We named all the different methods of transportation like plane, car, boat, bike, horse, train, bus, subway, helicopter etc. The children also had a blast painting with different forms of transportation.
The children really enjoyed the last week of May when we talked about sports. The children used their gross motor skills to march, skip, gallop etc. They learned how to engage in imaginative and creative play indoors and outdoors involving their friends. We played a lot of games that involved team effort and good sportsmanship.
The first week of June we focused on summer games, activities, and experiments the children could do at home. We also talked a lot about summer safety rules while playing outside and playing with or in water. The children also practiced A LOT and setup for the talent show.
I hope everyone has a fabulous summer and I can’t wait to see all the smiling faces in the Fall!
In kindergarten lesson we finished our work with grammar. We went over how interjections help a sentence show more emotions, and we went over when to use a . ? ! We then reviewed when we capitalize words in a sentence. We capitalize the beginning word of a sentence, proper nouns and “I”.
In science we learned that Silly Putty was an accidental invention during the World War II. It has a rubber-like substance that will mold into millions of shapes and even bounce! So we decided to make our own using only two supplies dish soap and corn starch.
The kids also discovered how clouds form using a jar of water, food coloring and shaving cream. They learned when water vapor rises into the air the vapor hits cold air, it turns back into droplets of water. Those tiny drops of water floating in the air collect and “stick” together to form clouds. When clouds get so full of water that they can’t hold any more, the water falls back to the ground as rain.
By: Ms. Faith
To get everyone one in the mood for the warmer weather, Ms. Michele had the students make a fun monster ice cream cone. The group got to cut out scoops of ice cream in whatever color of construction paper they wanted. After they glued the scoops to a cut out cone, they got to make silly creations. We saw bunny ice creams, dog ice creams, and even silly monsters! The students had a blast with this activity.
In continuation of the summer theme, the next projects brought us under the sea. The young artists drew themselves with oil pastels to look like they were swimming. Then they painted the water with watercolors over top. Because of the oil base, the watercolors resist and won’t stick to the oil pastels.
For the last class of the school year, Ms. Michele gave the group a review of colors. We went over primary, secondary, complimentary, warm, and cool colors. The students then had to cut out a butterfly, making sure that the wings were symmetrical. They had to pick one of the groups of colors that Ms. Michele had taught them about throughout the year. Their butterflies turned out beautiful and no one looked the same. Thank you Ms. Michele for another great year of art lessons, and stirring the creative minds of our students!
By: Ms. Faith
Goodbye now we sing. Goodbye now we sing. It’s time to go. Goodbye now we sing. This is a song Ms. Lisa sings with the students at the end of every music class, and it seemed fitting for the last newsletter article of the school year. One of the activities Ms. Lisa did with the class was of course, Cat and Mouse, which quickly became a favorite among the children this year. Ms. Lisa played different instruments on her keyboard and the students had to guess which instruments were being represented. I have to admit, some of the instruments stumped me! Some of the instruments were, drums, guitar, a cowbell, and a triangle. I am amazed every time how well the group can identify which instrument Ms. Lisa is playing.
We also participated in some rhythm activities using rhythm sticks and scarves. We tapped out beats, and danced around with the scarves to music. To end our time in music class, Ms. Lisa did a review of the musical notes, Peter and the Wolf, and the musical terms staccato and legato. We were all sad to say a final goodbye to Ms. Lisa, but look forward to seeing her again after summer break!
For the month of April we talked about the seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia. We learned that Africa, is where the elephants, giraffes and lions live. South America has tropical forests and one of the longest rivers in the world the Amazon River. North America is where we live. Europe and Asia are together on the map, but Australia is an island where the kangaroo and koala bear live. Last but not least Antarctica is way down below frozen and home to the penguins.
In kindergarten lesson we learned more parts of speech. We learned that a pronoun (I, me, he, she, herself, you, it, that, they, each, few, many, who, whoever, whose, someone, everybody, etc.) is a word that takes the place of a noun. That an adjective describes a noun. Adverbs describe verbs. That conjunctions connect two sentences or phrases acting like a bridge.
For the first week of April we did a science experiment using milk, dish soap and food coloring. We poured the milk into a bowl then added a few drops of food coloring. The drops of food coloring just sat on the surface where we placed them. That’s because food coloring is less dense than milk, so it floats on the surface, and the colors did not mix because we didn’t stir the milk. Then when we added a drop of soap the action began. The soap reduced the surface tension of the milk by dissolving the fat molecules. The surface of the milk outside the soap drops had a higher surface tension, so it pulled the surface away from that spot. The food coloring moved with the surface, streaming away from the soap drops.
The second week of April we made bouncy balls using borax, glue, water, food coloring and corn starch. This experiment demonstrated an interesting chemical reaction primarily between the borax and the glue. The borax acted as a “cross-linker” to the polymer molecules in the glue, basically it created chains of molecules that stayed together when we picked them up. The cornstarch helped to bind the molecules together so that they held their shape better.
The third week of April we decided to defy gravity by filling a glass of water up and placing a piece of cardboard on it to turn it upside down. Everything went as planned and the cardboard and water stayed in place, even though the cup of water was upside down. With no air inside the glass, the air pressure from outside the glass was greater than the pressure of the water inside the glass. The extra air pressure managed to hold the cardboard in place, keeping us dry and our water inside the glass.
By: Ms. Faith
In April we got to play some fun games and learned more about musical instruments. Ms. Lisa brought back a game that is the students’ favorite for music class. We played Cat and Mouse. In this game, one or two students start of being the cats, and the rest of the class are mice. There is an area that has cheese in it for the house. When Ms. Lisa plays a song using high notes, the mice enter the house and get the cheese. Then, Ms. Lisa starts playing the same song using low notes queuing the cats to enter the house and try to catch the mice before they leave the house. If a mouse is caught, he or she becomes a cat and tries to catch the rest of the mice. This is a fun way for students to recognize hi and low notes. We also learned how to distinguish different instruments that Ms. Lisa played on her keyboard. She would play a song and the students would have to guess what instrument the keyboard was playing. I was amazed to see how well the students knew the instruments! The students have improved so much in their knowledge of musical terminology over the past school and I’m sure they will continue to fill up their buckets through May.
By: Ms. Faith
This past month was a blast traveling around the world with Ms. Michele. The students were able to complete their Navajo weavings from North America. The colors of the yarn were so beautiful, and every students weaving was unique. The next country we travelled to was Africa, where the people make masks for special ceremonies. Ms. Michele had the students chose an African animal to inspire their masks. While the students drew their animal faces, Ms. Michele played African music to keep the creativity flowing. The next week the students were able to decorate their masks using beads, feathers, and beans for an authentic look. The last week of April we didn’t just focus on one country, but we celebrated the whole world for Earth Day. Ms. Michele collected recycled materials for the class to make Litterbugs. The students glued yogurt containers, fruit containers, bottles, lids, and much more together to make the shape of their insect. After that, they used pipe cleaners or straws to create legs, antenna, and mouths for their trash bugs. During the first week of May, the young artists will get to pain their Litterbugs to bring the characters to life! I can’t believe we only have a few more art classes in the school year. We look forward to see what Ms. Michele has for us to bring the school year to an end.
Our Academic Enrichment time is daily from 12:00-1:00pm. This time is specifically designed for our Kindergarten students to join together as a group to work and progress through the advanced materials and lessons in the Montessori primary curriculum. Throughout the school day in their classroom they are still working individually with their classroom teacher on these and other materials at their level.
Reading Group (Junior Great Book Program):
In March we began our focused reading groups for our kindergarten students. Kindergarten students are meeting with Ms. Faith on Monday and Wednesday mornings. Ms. Faith will keep you updated, most work will be sent home on Wednesdays and will need returned the following Monday for their next lesson.
5/2: Introduction to prepositions
Rules of the prepositions
Worksheets, practicing with prepositions
5/9: Introduction to interjections
Rules of the interjections
Worksheets, practicing with interjections
5/16: Introduction to punctuation (end of a Sentence)
Rules of the punctuation
Worksheets, diagramming sentences
5/23: Introduction to capitalization
Rules of capitalization
Worksheets, practicing our capitalization
5/30: Review of the year
Telling time, landforms
Coins, paper money
Synonyms of the week
5/2: UNDER, below, beneath, underneath
5/9: QUICK, fast, swift, rapid, speedy, hasty
5/16: NEAT, tidy, clean, arranged, well-ordered
5/23: LOOK, see, glance, stare, gaze
5/30: FUNNY, silly, playful, crazy, foolish Sight Words
Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:
-Look for our words of the week when reading a story, cut out pictures beginning with the letters of the week.
-Practice using the different synonyms of the week in a sentence together.
-Practice identifying different parts of speech when reading together.
We started off the month of March talking about Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle. The children loved coming to school dressed up with their hats, silly socks, and wockets in their pockets! We enjoyed reading Green Eggs and Ham and watching the students cringe as they tried their first bite of their very own green eggs and ham.
The second week of March we learned all about insects. The children learned how to identify animals belonging in the insect category and those that do not. They learned the main parts of an insect and the preschoolers made a beautiful diagram to display in the classroom.
For the third week of March we talked about plants and flowers. The children discovered the four elements needed to grow a plant soil, seeds, sun and water. They also learned the word photosynthesis! We planted flowers to watch grow in the classroom.
The last week of March we talked about butterflies and caterpillars. Students had a blast learning about how butterflies go through stages of growth and change called a life cycle.
I hope everyone enjoyed their spring break and is ready to get back into the swing of things!
The kindergartners started their grammar unit by learning their five vowels and what isn’t a vowel is a consonant. We learned a fun song to the tune of BINGO there are five letters that I know and vowel are their name O’s A,E,I,O,U A,E,I,O,U A,E,I,O,U and vowels are their name O’s. Then we looked at noun and verbs. Nouns are people, places, and things. Verbs are action words or something you can do. We also learned that there are three articles, a, an, the. We learned that “a” hooks up with consonants, “an” is very picky and only hooks up with vowels. And “the” is not picky at all and hooks up with anything!
For the first week of March we made our own oobleck. Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid; it has properties of both liquids and solids. We learned that we can slowly dip our hands into it like a liquid, but if we squeezed it it felt solid. The name oobleck comes from the Dr. Seuss book, “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.”
The second week of March we made a hoover craft using a CD, balloon and water bottle cap. The air flow created by the balloon caused a cushion of moving air between the disc and the surface of the table. This made the CD lift and reduced the friction which allowed the disc to hover freely over the table.
The last two weeks of March we talked about how in every seed there is a tiny plant and food to help it grow. Using paper towels and plastic bags we germinated bean seeds. The children learned that when a seed first starts to grow it is called germination. The kids learned that germination can be done without soil. After we germinated our bean seeds and saw the seedlings we planted them in soil.
By: Ms. Faith
We continued our journey through different cultures and places this month with Ms. Michele. The students learned about India and the tradition of henna tattoos. Henna is made from a spice, turmeric, and is used to draw temporary intricate designs and patterns on the skin for celebrations and special occasions. Ms. Michele showed us a video demonstration of someone drawing a henna tattoo. The week before the students got to trace their hands into clay and cut out the shape to make a replica of their hands. After seeing the video, the students were able to use markers to draw designs and patterns on their clay hands to look like the henna tattoo in the video. After learning about this Indian tradition, the students were introduced to an American Indian tradition of weaving. Ms. Michele showed the students a video of how Navajo Indians sheer sheep and use the wool to make yarn. It then showed a lady using a loom to weave a blanket. Ms. Michele made little looms out of popsicle sticks and string for the students to weave with yarn of their choosing. I know the children will be excited to see what cultures we’ll be learning about next month leading up to our International Festival.
By: Ms. Faith
To start off March, Ms. Lisa reviewed the characters and instruments of Peter and the Wolf. The students had to remember the instruments by listening to them and the got to pretend to play that specific instrument. Then, they had to remember what character the instrument represented and it’s song and got to pretend to be that character. The students enjoyed acting like the characters from the story. Ms. Lisa introduced the musical terms of staccato and legato to the class. Staccato are notes that are played short and quickly and legato are notes that are played smoothly and connected. The students got to dance to music with scarves while listening to a song that played staccato and legato notes. The group quickly picked up on what movements to use when they heard the notes being played staccato. They jumped and skipped around moving their scarves in this manner as well. When the song started playing legato, they would twirl and danced slower and moved their scarves around in a flowing motion. Another activity that Ms. Lisa shared with the students is one of their favorites, a game called Cat and Mouse. One student is the cat and the rest of the students are the mice. When Ms. Lisa plays a song on her piano using high notes, the mice have to move into the “house” to get the cheese, then when she plays the song in low notes the cat has to move into the “house” and try to tag as many mice as he/she can. When mouse is tagged, he/she becomes a mouse as well. The game continues until one mouse remains untagged. This game is a great way for the students to recognize high and low notes while having fun. We look forward to our next music lesson!
The First week in February we had a blast talking about all the different types of farm animals and what each farm animal provides for us. We talked about where milk comes from and what else we can get from farms like fruits, vegetables and grains.
The second week of February the children learned about all the different types of pets and how to care for them. To wrap the week up the children made Valentine’s Day boxes and had a blast at their Valentine’s Day party. I would like to thank all of the parents who made the party possible! As always it was very successful.
The third week of February the children learned how Washington was a great man, the father of our country, who led in war and peace. They discovered that Abraham Lincoln was also known as “Honest Abe”. They also talked about what they think life is like for the Obama family in the White House.
The last week of February we did a sorting activity with different objects of foods with a dental hygienist. She explained that our teeth get sad and full of tooth decay from sweets and soda and get happy and shiny and bright from brushing and eating healthy foods.
We started out the month continuing with multiplication using the golden beads. The introduction of beads shows the kindergartners a solid correspondence between the written symbol and physical quantity. We also discussed what tools could be used in the classroom to help with multiplication, such as the stamp game, multiplication bead board and dot board. We even talked about dynamic multiplication with exchanges (carry overs). We introduced fractions. We learned that we can divide anything as long as it can be divided into equal parts. Even our kindergarten class can be divided! We then learned about different shapes. We knew that a triangle has three sides but we learned that a triangle with three equal sides is called an equilateral triangle, with two equal sides is an isosceles, and with no equal sides it is called a scalene triangle. Any shape with four sides is a quadrilateral. Some examples include a square, rectangle, rhombus, trapezoid, and a chevron. We learned all about agons like pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, and decagon.
Children believe that if their hands look clean, they are clean. So we decided to do an experiment on the power of germs and the importance of hand washing. We took two slices of bread and wiped our clean hands on one slice and our dirty hands on the other slice. Mold grew on both slices, but much sooner and more abundantly on the dirty slice. This experiment helped us understand that the germs became food for the mold.
For our second experiment in the month of February we put an egg in salt water and an egg in ordinary water to see the difference. Since the salt water was denser than the ordinary water, the egg floated in the salt water.
The last week of February we did a leak proof bag experiment with colored pencils and a Ziploc bag. We learned that we could stick a bunch of pencils right through the bag of water without spraying water everywhere. This is because when we punctured the bag with the sharpened pencils, we were essentially separating polymer chains without breaking them. The long chains of molecules squeezed in tight around the surface of the pencils preventing any sort of leak.
Art Article (By Ms. Faith)
In February, the students got to participate in some great art projects with Ms. Michele. We started off the month with a piece of art inspired by Ezra Jack Keats’ book The Snowy Day. Keats started out illustrating books and then decided to write and illustrate books with African-American and other minorities being the main character. In his book The Snowy Day, a young boy, Peter decides to explore in the snow after the first snow of the season. While he is out exploring, Peter makes tracks in the snow, makes snow angels, and many other fun things. Ms. Michele then had the students draw a picture of what they would do on a snowy day. To create the snow in their drawings, the students pulled cotton balls apart to make it look like they were playing in fluffy snow. Some of the students drew pictures of themselves sledding, having a snowball fight, and building snowmen. The next week our art teacher started off a series of projects based off of different cultures to gear the students up for our annual International Festival in the spring. We learned about the Chinese New Year and watched a traditional lion and dragon dance that are part of the celebration. The young artists got to make their own Chinese dragons or lions out of paper cups and decorations like pipe cleaners, sequins, feathers and different kinds of paper. While creating their pieces of art, the children got to practice their scissor skills by cutting paper into different shapes to decorate their dragons or lions. Our next adventure with Ms. Michele will lead us to India where we will learn about the tradition of Henna tattoos and get to create our own tattoos on clay hands.
Music Article (Ms. Faith)
To start off this months music activities, Ms. Lisa wrapped up her unit on Peter and the Wolf by having the students pretend to play the instruments that were played for each character and then they got to act like the different characters. The students absolutely loved this activity! Throughout the rest of the month, Ms. Lisa reviewed each of the notes with the students and how to sing in a high and low voice. Some of the instruments we got to use where rhythm sticks, bells, and castanets. Ms. Lisa uses a lot of movement along with the instruments in her lessons, which helps the students develop their coordination and gross motor skills. The young musicians got to march in a parade to Yankee Doodle while playing the rhythm sticks, gallop while playing either bells or castanets, and got to have a scarf dance. Music class is not only a fun experience for the students, but provides cultural experiences as well as brain and muscle development. We appreciate all the thought and love that Ms. Lisa puts into each lesson.
We kicked off January by talking about all the different polar animals. The children made a bar graph based on their favorite polar animal to see which was the most popular. The children also enjoyed waddling around the classroom like penguins.
The second week in January we learned all about ocean animals. We learned about things that exist in an ocean habitat like sand, small shells, smooth stones, seaweed, coral etc.
After having Martin Luther King Jr. Day off we talked about how he was a hero because he was brave and honest. We shared who are heroes are and who we’d like to be like someday with the most popular answers being either Mom or Dad. We discussed how MLK made a speech and worked hard toward peace because back then people were treated badly if they did not have the same color skin. Each child made a picture of what their dream was and wrote about it.
The last week in January we talked about tigers, lions, chimpanzees, kangaroos, elephants etc. Some of our friends even invited their favorite zoo stuffed animals to school to spend the day with them during work time, line time, recess, lunch and snack.
The kindergartners worked hard on learning both static and dynamic addition and multiplication using the golden beads. They have even started working on more abstract materials like the stamp game and dot board to solve problems.
We made waves in the bottle and discovered that on our planet waves happen when our earth spins on its axis and water is pulled by gravity across the geological formations of the ocean floor. When we moved the bottle we got to see the energy move through the water to make waves, just like out in the deep blue sea!
During the week of MLK we took two eggs one white the other brown that have not been cooked and compared their similarities and differences on the outside and took a guess as to whether they will be the same or different on the inside. We determined even though different on the outside, they were the same on the inside, just like people!
We also did a humpty dumpty experiment where we tested if we could protect a hardboiled egg from cracking. We placed six boiled eggs into Ziploc bags filled with different items to cushion the fall to see which protected the egg the best.
Music (Ms. Faith)
During the past month, the students have enjoyed the story of Peter and the Wolf with Ms. Lisa. Peter and the Wolf is a musical symphony composed by Sergei Prokofiev, a Russian composer in 1936. During the symphony a narrator, in our case Ms. Lisa, tells the story while the orchestra plays the music. Before the class heard the full story, they were introduced to the characters. Each character has a song and instruments to represent them throughout the symphony. The characters are, Peter (string instruments), Bird (flute), Duck (oboe), Cat (clarinet), Grandpa (bassoon), Hunters (tympani drums and woodwind instruments), and Wolf (French horn). The students learned what the instruments sounded like well enough to be able to identify which character was being portrayed in the symphony. It was amazing to see how well the children remembered week to week which instrument belonged to the characters. Ms. Lisa always does an amazing job bringing the story to life and engaging the students in learning this musical masterpiece. Last year she commissioned Ms. Michele, our art teacher to paint pictures for Peter and the Wolf to give a wonderful visual aspect. Thank you Ms. Lisa for sharing another piece of the world of music with our young learners!
Art (Ms. Faith)
It was time again for one of my favorite art projects with Ms. Michele, imaginary creatures! To inspire the students, Ms. Michele shows the class pictures of mythical creatures such as a Griffin and a Centaur. The young artists got to pick two different animals to combine into a new creature and draw their ideas. Some of the combinations the group made were a squirrel/fish/flamingo, a panda/butterfly, a zebra/fish, and many more. After drawing, Ms. Michele instructed the students on how to make a foil armature, which is a base to mold clay around. Once the armatures were formed, clay was used to start making their creatures come to life. The next week, after Ms. Michele baked the creations, students painted the imaginary creatures. When the creatures dried, the children sat in a circle and were able to share what their creatures’ names were, what they eat, and where they live. I love how much effort and creativity each student puts in to this project. Thank you Ms. Michele for bringing some fun and whimsy into our lives through art!