Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

All of these smiling faces wish you a joyful holiday season!

     We wrapped up our gingerbread theme with a fun project -- building our very own gingerbread houses!  We pretended we were Mattie, the main character from the book Gingerbread Baby, by Jan Brett.  In the story, Mattie builds a home for his gingerbread baby to live in.  We even had gingerbread marshmallow babies to "live" in our milk carton homes.  I enjoyed observing each child's creativity come out as they planned how to decorate their little houses.  They all put their own twist on their individual creations!

Friday, December 9, 2011


     Calling all parents!  I need your help!  Picture for a moment, 22 kids getting ready for recess....snow pants, boots, coats, hats, and mittens....yikes!  Preparing to go out into the cold and coming back in from the cold is quite chaotic.  Getting all buttoned, zipped, and tied can be a chore.  However, if kids practice these skills at home, they become much faster!
     Please work at home on helping your child learn how to dress and undress for the winter weather independently.  Being a parent myself, I understand the temptation to hurry things along and do everything for your son or daughter.  The problem with this is that at school, they are expected to be able to get ready for recess without much help.  
     If your child would like to play in the snow, they have to wear 5 things:  coat, snow pants, boots, hat, and mittens/gloves.  If they are lacking something, they will need to stay on the hard surface.
     One last thing....please label each item with your child's name or initials to help us identify the owners of lost things.
    Thanks so much for your assistance!  Happy Winter!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Symmetrical Art

     Have you heard your child talking about symmetry lately?  One of our math benchmarks states that we are to "explore the concept of symmetry."  Well, we've done just that!  We spent several days participating in a variety of activities that allowed us to discover the meaning of symmetrical.  We created a snowflake, drew a symmetrical body along the line of symmetry, and our favorite.....symmetrical painting!  The pictures below show how we dripped paint on one side of the paper, folded it back up and "smushed" it together, and opened it up to reveal a beautiful piece of art.  I loved hearing the "ooohs" and "ahhhhs" in the room!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

  We had a special treat today!  Ms. Rose, our Pick a Better Snack educator, came to our room and presented a healthy snack idea.  Each child had the opportunity to make their own "pumpkin pie" out of pumpkin, dry butterscotch pudding, and milk.  The ingredients were placed in individual baggies and students squished them together to mix them up.  Rose then cut a small hole in the corner of the baggie and the kids decorated a graham cracker with the mixture.  It was pretty yummy and fun, too!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Celebration

     First, I would like to thank all of you for attending conferences last week.  I had such a nice time discussing your child's progress with you, and I am so happy to report that I had 100% attendance!  Hooray!  If you think of any other questions, please give me a call at Pence or send me an e-mail.
     Last Monday, we had several fun activities to celebrate fall, but my favorite was our pumpkin investigation.  It was a great way to combine literacy, math, and science!  We first read a non-fiction story about pumpkins.  The kids loved learning a "grown up" word -- pulp.  For science, we worked on honing our observation skills, and math involved the estimation and counting of seeds.

My busy little worker bees!

 Cleaning out the pumpkin.....
 Ewwwwww!  Gooey!

Counting and counting and counting......over 400 seeds!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Random Tidbits

     It is hard to believe that the first quarter has come to an end!  I hope you found the parent-teacher conference sign-up directions in your child's backpack this week.  If you haven't signed up yet, please visit the website and choose a convenient time for you to visit with me about your child's progress.  I look forward to talking with you next week!

     By now, you may have noticed lots of little readers coming home each week.  The best way to become a fluent reader is to practice, practice, practice!  I encourage you to find an old shoe box or gallon Ziploc bag to store these readers in.  I suggested to the kids that they keep them next to their beds and choose 2 or 3 to read every night before bed.  It will only take a minute, but will be extremely beneficial!

     One more thing....regarding homework....I hope I am not overwhelming you with the assignments I send home weekly.  Many times, parents ask me how they can help their children at home.  The homework gives you a way to do just that!  It allows you to spend a little focused time with your son or daughter.  It should not be stressful or bothersome, so if it becomes that way, take a little break and return it to school as you have time.  I appreciate any help or support that you give at home!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Field Trip Fun!

      It doesn't get much better than a field trip to Jefferson County Park with naturalist Therese Cummiskey!  She is extremely entertaining and so knowledgeable, that we always find ourselves learning without even realizing it!  Tuesday turned out to be a great day to be outside.  It was warm enough that we weren't miserable, but cool enough that we kept things moving.  We spent the majority of time learning about signs of fall and searching for fall colors.  Fun was had by all! 

     I think I'll let the photos (with a few captions speak) for themselves this week!

When we arrived, we explored the nature center....

Therese impressively learned every child's name by magically memorizing his or her face!

We next ventured outdoors to collect fall colors on a palette.

Josh tried his hardest to blow the milkweed off his finger, but it wouldn't budge!

 Mr. Squirrel called to invite us to help him collect some hickory nuts.

 Here's a close-up view!

We kept Therese busy with her nutcracker.

Alex tried a hickory nut!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Special Presentation on Fire Prevention Week

       We were honored to be surprised by the Fairfield Fire Department this week!  At the Fire Prevention assembly, Fire Chief Scott Vaughan presented each child with a citizenship certificate and thanked us for calling in the fire that we spotted.  The kids were so Mr. Vaughan was telling the story, you could hear their little voices exclaiming, "That was us!"  They were pretty proud.
     I would like to take this opportunity to thank the true heroes...the men and women who fight fires every day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"We Saved the Day!"

     KR is in the news!  I hope you've had a chance to hear from your child all about our big day on Tuesday, but if you haven't heard, see the front page of Wednesday's Fairfield Ledger!
     Part of our math curriculum suggests a neighborhood walk.  As you walk, you are to search for numbers on houses, street signs, and license plates.  The kids then record their findings on a clipboard.  We had so much fun writing our numbers, but we ended up finding something very unexpected.....we found a house on fire!
     I was so proud of my students because they knew that we should call 911.  They waited calmly and patiently while Mrs. Price and I sought help.  We walked back to the playground out of harm's way, but excitedly watched as the emergency vehicles pulled up to begin fighting the fire.  We all felt good that we could help a stranger in need.  I think it was a "real world" lesson that will stick with them always!
     Although our math lesson got a little sidetracked, the pictures below show how hard the students worked prior to all of the excitement.

We even found numbers on our clothes!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Apples, Apples, Who Likes Apples? We do!

     Oh, what fun we had on Tuesday!  The Pence kindergarten classes had the chance to experience learning in each other's classrooms.  We investigated apples in our room, peeled and cored apples for applesauce in Mrs. Sandbothe's room, and participated in a taste test in Mrs. Bachar's room.  Our activities integrated math, science, and literacy for a morning full of discovery.  I would like to thank all of the parents who donated apples for our special day.  You helped to make memories!
     Now, for the photos!

All three classes graphed their favorite kind of apple.

The taste test!

Coring and peeling the apples for the applesauce.

Investigating with our five senses and recording our observations.

And.......trying out homemade applesauce!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

A New Way to Learn

     I just love this picture!  All of the kids are so engaged and seem joyful!  Our Pence kindergarten team was so excited to discover a new instructional tool last year and we were overjoyed when the Fairfield Education Foundation awarded us a grant to purchase these materials!
   In the photo above, the kindergartners are participating in simultaneous multi-sensory learning.  This is a method of teaching that engages multiple pathways to the brain at the same time.  The students see it, say it, hear it, and do it all simultaneously.  Currently, we are working on our numbers to thirty.  We watch a video developed by Heidi Butkus.  As we watch, we sing the song and move our bodies.  You can just feel our brains lighting up!  It is my hope that this sensory method will improve our number recognition and help us all to feel successful.
     You might be wondering what the kids are seeing on the screen.....
     If you'd like more information about Heidi's resources, visit


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