Mr. John’s Corner – November_December 2013

Cuyahoga Falls School

At the end of the third month of school my classroom is running like a well oiled machine. Children are advancing nicely in math, reading, and their social skills. Dana, Kathleen, and I are pushing for more “Thank Yous, Pleases, and You’re Welcomes.”   When we call a name we are expecting a “Yes, Ms. Kathleen or How can I help you Ms. Dana?” rather than “What? or Ya?” I want to tell the parents of the older children in the classroom… “Be Proud!” They are taking a leadership role like I’ve never seen. They are helping younger children and helping each other with more challenging work. I wanted to once again thank Dana and Kathleen for their hard work and dedication. They step up and just do what needs to be done without me asking.

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After learning about the five major classes of animals at the beginning of the month, we looked at some creepy crawlers. We studied insects and arachnids. These were the first animals that were not classified as vertebrates instead are called invertebrates. We discovered most have an exoskeleton. We now know insects have six legs, a head, thorax, and abdomen and arachnids have eight legs. Also, students learned all bugs are insects but not all insects are bugs!!!

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898Next, the class went back in time and studied dinosaurs. We learned the names of 5 dinos (T-Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, and Brachiosaurus) and if they were meat eaters (carnivores) or plant eaters (herbivores). We learned when they lived and I introduced the phrases “extinct” and “fossils” what they meant. We read “Dad is a Dinosaur”, and Dinosaurs go to School”

We then learned about Pilgrims and Thanksgiving. Students worked on a craft where they wrote what they were thankful for on feathers. The feathers were put on turkeys that we placed on the bulletin board. Hand print turkeys and pilgrim hats were also made for the holiday.

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896Our final week in November, which was a short week, I managed to slip in a “lesson” on Buckeye Football. It was appropriate since “THE GAME” was that Saturday. If your child hears someone shout O-H they will give a resounding response of I-O! They know Hang On Sloopy is the official rock and roll song of Ohio and will yell O-H-I-O and do the hand gestures as they sing the song. We watched several Ohio State Buckeye video highlights and the children especially loved “Script Ohio” 42-41 Go Buckeyes!!!

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We spent the majority of our group time together in December practicing for our Christmas program. Our little reindeer performed nicely. My big reindeer did a fantastic job getting our students ready for the show!

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Cultural subjects:

We can count to ten in 15 different languages. We can count in English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Japanese, Greek, Arabic (with the Lebanese dialect), Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, and Korean.

Kindergarten lesson:

The kindergarteners are learned how to tell time. We ended our section of telling time by learning how to tell time to the minute. We have done many worksheets, use flashcards, and use a toy clock with moveable hands to help us learn to tell time. Then we delved into everyone’s favorite thing…money. We learned about coins. What they look like and how much they are worth. The kindergarteners learned how to count coins when presented with multiple coins of different denominations. We went over bills including the ever elusive two dollar bill. We ended November with learning the parts of plants, flowers, and leaves. In December the kindergarteners discovered the ruler. They first learned to measure lines in inches and centimeters and ended up measuring things around the house.

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The kindergarten class can count to ten in 17 different languages… English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Japanese, Greek, Arabic (with the Lebanese dialect), Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, Korean, Hungarian, and Polish.


Mr. John’s Corner – October 2013

Cuyahoga Falls School

“It is so quiet in here.  It is so calm.”  This is what I have been hearing teachers and parents say about my room.  Usually it takes several months for my room to become normalized but this year it was on it’s way to being normalized within a month of school starting.  I credit those around me for the earlier than usual success.  Miss Kathleen and Miss Dana are wonderful teachers and work well with the students.  They are fun yet firm and know how to handle difficult situations well.  When I mentioned “those around me” I didn’t only mean the teachers but I want to give credit to the older students and  the leaders of the room.  They are showing the newer/younger students how to work with materials and are guiding them through the classroom.

 Children love animals, and I enjoy teaching them about different types of animals.  This month we started by discussing mammals.  I chose mammals because we are mammals.   We learned that mammals have hair or fur, are born alive, and drink mother’s milk when first born.  We learned that mammals are warm blooded (their body temperature remains constant) and that they are vertebrates (have spines).  We learned that dolphins and whales are mammals and that the bat is the only mammal that can fly.
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Then we slithered our way into discussing reptiles.  We came to the conclusion the snake is the most popular reptile. We learned reptiles are cold blooded, vertebrates, lay hard shelled eggs, and have dry scales.  The children enjoyed seeing our own albino garter snake and a visiting black garter snake.  The geckos were just as appreciated.

851Next, We hopped into our discussion of amphibians. We all agreed that the frog was the most popular amphibian and that amphibians are cold blooded and vertebrates.  We also learned their skin is moist and soft and  they can live on BOTH land and water. Amphibians lay eggs, these eggs have no shell but are like jelly.   The children were encouraged to look for our Pac Man Frog and our Eastern Toads in our nature center.

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After learning about amphibians, we swam to our friends called fish.  We learned that fish are cold blooded (their body temperature changes to the temperature in their environment) and are vertebrates.  We learned that most fish have scales, gills and fins. Some fish lay eggs and some fish are liver bearers (babies are born alive). We introduced a new word, “habitat”.  This is where something lives and the fish’s habitat is the water. The children were thrilled to learn that the shark is a fish.We then flew with the animals called birds.  Birds have feathers, are warm blooded and are vertebrates.  All birds lay hard shelled eggs and have wings.  All birds have wings but some birds are flightless (cannot fly) such as the penguin, ostrich, and emu.

Cultural Studies

At circle time we count to ten in different languages.  We now know how to count to 10 in English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, Arabic with the Lebanese dialect, Italian, and Romanian.

Kindergarten 862During Kindergarten Lesson, students learned about landforms.  Ask them what the definition of a lake, island, bay, peninsula, gulf, harbor, cape, isthmus, straight, chain of lakes, and archipelago.  We went over telling time to the hour, half past, and quarter after.  Your kindergartners now know how to count to ten in, English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, and Arabic with the Lebanese dialect, Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, and Tagalog.


Mr. John’s Corner – September 2013

Cuyahoga Falls School

After what seemed to be a very short summer break it was good to get back in the classroom and start teaching.  I do miss the Alumni, eager to get to know the new students, and get reacquainted with the returning students.  It is amazing how students change over the summer.  Some are more mature and some look as if they grew six inches!

The first two weeks we went over the ground rules of the classroom. We reviewed the “big four” rules.  Walk in the classroom:  because if you run, fall, and hit your head on a table, chair, or the hard ground; which would win, your head or the super hard table?  That’s a no brainer, pun intended.  Keeping your hands and body to yourself, use your listening ears, and be respectful in the classroom.  We focus on being kind to others and respecting the materials.

We then explored the subject of healthy habits.  Washing hands and our bodies, exercising, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep were needed to keep a healthy mind and body.  Healthy habits created a good segway to the introduction of the food pyramid.  We learned what the food groups were, what foods were in each food group, and servings of each.

We had examples of many fruits and vegetables.  I quiz each child at lunch time about what foods they have and the group in which they belong.

The next week we took a look at what was living and non living.  It was pretty easy to identify what was living and non living but we went a step further and determined what characteristics were needed to be labeled living.  Reproduction, growth, taking in nutrients (eating), and exchanging gases (breathing) were the four categories we reviewed.  We discovered that the children were living but Mr. John’s shoe was not.  A chair was non living and so were Ms. Dana and Ms. Kathleen before they get their morning coffee!


We have counted to 10 in eight different languages: English (our native language), Sign Language, Spanish, German, French, Greek, Japanese, and Arabic w/ the Lebanese dialect.

Kindergarten:

We kicked off the Kindergarten season with a dose of Geography.  They learned about the seven continents, fun facts about the continents, and a few countries in each continent.  They are very familiar with the cardinal directions, the equator, the prime meridian, and the hemispheres.  They even know the North America is in the North Western hemisphere. We then looked at our home state of O-H-I-O and the surrounding states (their abbreviation and nickname).  PA-Keystone State, WV- Mountain State, KY-Bluegrass State, IN-The Hoosier State (what in the world is a Hoosier?) and that…(sigh)… state up north MI-The Wolverine State.  Ask your child all about Ohio! The cardinal is the official bird, scarlet carnation the official flower, lady bug is the official insect. I see a consistent theme of red! Even tomato juice is the official drink!  We are the BUCKEYE state and for some reason they got the impression the only college football team that matters is THE Ohio State Buckeyes! The official rock and roll song is Hang on Sloopy performed by the McCoys in 1965.  Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy Hang On… O-H-I-O, YA!