Monday, December 19, 2011

ANNOUNCEMENTS and little things...

Parents...tomorrow night is the SCHOOL play! Wahoo! Have your child dressed and fed and dropped off at the Alta school by 6:15pm. We will take care of the rest. Entertainment will be provided beginning at 6:45 by Mr. Starks and other students. 

Have your child wear their pajamas to school on Wednesday for MOVIE MORNING. Please make sure they wear warm socks because at 1:15 we are headed out into the elements on a sleigh guided by Meredith Wilson and his team of horses. Please keep this part a secret as I haven't told the kids yet! I am so excited to do this with them. 

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Holiday break with their family. I am looking forward to the time off to spend with little Whitty, Jordy and my parents.

'tis the season!!!!
falalalalalala-Mrs. Griffin

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Room happenings...

Last week we celebrated Ms. Vancie's birthday! Mrs. Beard made the whole school cupcakes.

Happy Birthday Ms. Vancie

It will not be your typical week at the Alta School. We are in FULL blown play practice mode. We practice everyday and by Friday we might even practice twice. Whoa!

This week in Reading we will be reviewing the things we have learned...
Letters: M,A,T,S,P,C
Snap words: am,a,I,is,little,like,my,the,to,we...student names...colors...easy decodables: pan, mat, Tam..etc.
We will be learning three new spelling games: BANG! Word WALL rockstar! and SPARKLE!
How to help at home: Make index cards with snap words on them and decodables and play a matching game...or just learn to read them!
Some new skills to use when reading....IF I GET STUCK...
Accuracy-Use the beginning and ending sounds
Accuracy-Do the words and pictures match?
Accuarcy-Skip the word then come back.
Accuracy-Trade a word/Guess a word that makes sense
Comprehension-Back up and reread!
Comprehension-CROSS checking: Does it look right? Does it sound right? Does it make sense?

We have pretty much finished our first "ALL about" book and will be celebrating with the BIG roomers as our Thursday guests! We can't wait to read to them and have cake and candy canes! Wahoo!

Kids were introduced to their FREE writing journals two weeks ago and they have enjoyed coming in and writing in them to share their weekends. Sometimes there is a prompt on the board for them to follow and sometimes it's all student lead. I am excited about them writing words, sentences and even filling whole pages!

Yesterday we made REINDEER's the little things right? I had made little reindeer cookies at home and brought them in for the kids. They seemed to enjoy that surprise.

We are working on some surprises for you that may come home this Friday or next week wrapped. Please stick it under the tree...

SPEAKING of FRIDAY...Kindergarten will be having TACKY CHRISTMAS day! WEar all of you Christmas stuff...mix and match...have fun getting dressed...and please mark down that next Wednesday we wear our pajamas to school. It's the day after the are tired (exhausted) and we also have a VERY SPECIAL surprise planned! At 1:15 I have arranged for a horse drawn sleigh to pick us up outside the Alta School. The kids have no idea. We will have a hot cocoa bar with sugar cookies...and load up the sleigh to go caroling around Targhee town! Please keep it a secret!!!

We have a full sleigh of kids and volunteers. Even my parents are going to join us!

Back on this week and the tiny bit of next...we will be REVIEWING....CRAFTING...CREATING...WRITING...PRINTING...celebrating...practicing...and REPEATING all the above....maybe...just maybe...there might be a CHRISTMAS movie!!! Maybe!?!
WE have been reading a bunch! Reading to someone is so fun! 

Cross checking to make meaning out of the text.

EEKK! Elbow...Elbow...knee to knee!

Little love bugs after tootie fruiti pattern necklas

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Walking in a winter wonderland!

Oh man! I am in our classroom 2 days this week! I didn't really plan on it going like is. Tuesday and Wednesday I will be Curriculum mapping in Jackson for Kindergarten. Friday I am taking a personal day to head to Lander, Wyoming. Our great friends live there and we are off for a little visit!

Back in the classroom during reading:
We will be reading Bear snores on. Monday we will begin to focus on plot and predictions as a whole group and as I read.
Kids are starting to get stuck more often during independent time while reading. This week we will continue to focus on what to do when a reader gets stuck. We will be using the HANDY reading strategies! I sent this home with you during your parent/teacher conference. I hope it comes in handy at home too. :)
See the family times for more information.

During Writing we will continue on our EXPERT book. Kids are wrapping up their first book. We learned all about making spaces when we write last week. We are trying to make spaces between our words every time we write. You can help your child at home with this too by reminding them of the 2 finger rule or making a spaceman like we did. We just decorated a tongue depresser with a little guy and our name and called it spaceman. He reminds us to make spaces when we write!
We will read ANIMAL babies during writing again this week. We will begin to brainstorm a list of what our EXPERT book has to have.
Things like:
titles, bold words, table of contents, labels, pictures...
We will review NONfiction and it's features. I hope to be publishing by this week or next. That will leave our PUBLISHING party before Christmas. The Kindergartners have invited the BIG roomers to this one. They are so excited about it!

During math we are...
Continuing to work in our NEW math books. Kids are pumped about a MATH book! We have just started writing our numbers. Kids are practicing estimating every other day. They are getting better at being educated guessers. Try this at home too. It's fun!
Review Roll and record where we practice our number counting and writing
You should be counting at home by: 1's, 5's, 10's and 2's and even backwards from 10.
Learning something new: THE PAN BALANCE (comparing weights of objects)
Domino concentration game
Monster squeeze

Other news:
Christmas play practice is underway. Last week we had SONG practice everyday, but this week we actually start to tackle the play. Kindergarten is only involved on Wednesday. As it gets closer we go to practice more, but for this week...just once.

I had my formal observation last Thursday with Mrs. P in our classroom. I was so excited to get observed....yet really NERVOUS too. It was the first time in 3 years since I had been observed. It went really well...I think. I will let you know if they will be asking me to leave anytime soon. :)


Mrs. G

Monday, November 28, 2011

BAck at it!

Welcome back! I had 5 kids show up on time. That's 50% of the class...yikes. I guess everyone is feeling like this guy pictured above. I felt like him for a whole day. Bleck! The Griffin's had a blast visiting both Chico and Bozeman. Whityn swam everyday and we ate way too much! It's good to be back! Hope to see everyone by Friday!

This week we are transitioning from November to December! During reading we are focused on READING all of Laura Numeroff's books such as "If you give a mouse a cookie"...and there are tons of others. Your family times says: Animal Babies which we will be reading (but during writing time as we continue to focus on non-fiction). The skills are the same but I am using books that better help to teach the comprehension skills and reading strategies. This week we will focus on: Cause and Effect, reviewing sequencing a story, begin to make predictions, and learn about a story circle. 
Letter of the week: /Pp/ 
See the family times for more.
Kids will begin to learn about the HANDY reading strategies this week. Please refer to it at home if needed.

In writing we will continue on in our "EXPERT book"! Aren't you glad to know that kindergartners are experts?

During math we will focus on the following skills:
Symmetry by making CHRISTMAS trees
Teen numbers (follow the leader)
Number books (practice writing and representing numbers)
Macaroni or fruit loop necklaces ( creating and describing patterns)
Roll and Record (review counting and number recognition through a graphing activity)

During Science:
I guess we will discuss death (as 2 fish died)
Observe what happens with guppies and goldfish when a tunnel is added into the tank.
Compare and Contrast both fish.
Read Animals Two by Two

Other news:
Christmas auditions were today...too bad Kindergartners can't be leads huh?
However they are in the play. We begin SONG practice tomorrow everyday until the play. We will be singing from 10:00 until 10:30. With that being said...I am going to go ahead and cancel all volunteers this week which means no more volunteers until January 9th. Please email me if you are still interested in volunteering. The needs of the class have changed and that means that my schedule will look differently so let me know if you are still available. I will send out a more formal sign up later in the week. 
Looking ahead to next week: I am out Tuesday and Wednesday for mapping reading for Kindergarten over in Jackson. I am also out of Friday due to a personal day. 
Stay tuned! 
Mrs. Griffin 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini Griffin Gazette - a few happenings

So I was busy over the weekend with lots of organizing, crafting, cleaning and PACKING! I got 4 boxes packed up nice and tight for our soldier buddies over the ocean. Thank you so much for helping me make it a success by donating something...I have so much stuff...that I will send another 4 boxes in 6 weeks.


It was so fun to pack them all up. I felt like a little elf. I really appreciate you helping me fill the boxes. What a great service we did!
Last week in Kindergarten...we mastered the ART of the daily 5. This picture on the right is a group of kids who chose WORD WORK. They are working with tiles to make 2,3, and 4 letter words. Then they read them and write them down.
This great pair chose READ TO SOMEONE. They took turns retelling books, reading words and pictures and discussing them.
This crew of 4 chose LISTENING to READING. They plugged into and listened without looking because they were working on visualizing. They drew pictures instead in their minds and on their paper!

Last week we celebrated THANKSGIVING at school. We had our annual TURKEY lunch and our parents came. It was delicious!

Even Virgil made it.

Some sibling snuggles.

Excited about TURKEY!

Excited to be here!

This week in Kindergarten...
We are going to focus on giving writing, reading and learning about THANKSGIVING..THANKFUL...and what it means. We are going to immerse ourselves in TURKEY the one coming home today. If you like my turkey projects...check out and if you don't become obsessed...then well, you don't...but I am. We even have turkey math...:)

Kindergartners will have 2 fun-filled days! Wahoo! I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am leaving Wednesday to go to Chico Hot Springs. Wherever you travels bring you...I hope that you arrive safely. Have fun and eat a lot! 

See you on the 28th! Wednesday the 30th is my last VOLUNTEER day until I re-evaluate the schedule for January.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Griffin Gazette {sub for Monday and possibly Tuesday}

Kindergartners are having some mature conversations around reading. It's been neat to be a part of it. I am so proud of how far these little guys have come in just 50 days!

This week in our classroom...
We are reading Armadillo's Orange. Our letter of the week is /Ss/. Our snap words are review this week: have, is
Our comprehension skill this week is VISUALIZATION. We are going to be working hard to make pictures in our minds while we read stories...while Mrs. Griffin reads to us and when people talk to us. You can practice this at home too. Read to your child a poem...or a book without showing pictures. Have them make a movie in their mind. Have them share with you what they saw. Then read again and show the pictures to them.
Review comprehension skill: Setting
For more information see the FAMILY times.
Essential questions:
What is visualizing? How do you visualize? How does visualization help readers understand a story? What is setting? What clues and/or details are in the picture that show what the setting is? How does knowing the setting help you understand the story....ahhh the things we will discover over the next few weeks.

In math we will...
Review number stories
Begin Symmetry (by painting) look for them hanging later in the hallway.
Finding symmetry in nature (leaves...butterflies...ladybugs...etc)
This Wraps un Unit 2 this week. I may spend some extra time with NUMBER stories since the kids are WAY eager to begin adding and subtracting...and then toward the end of the week we are going to being some of MRS. GRIFFIN's favorite THANKSGIVING projects...:)

or the one I do every year...Apple turkey...

In Writing we are focused on our "ALL about book" We have begun brainstorming for our book. We had to choose an animal (since Kindergarten studies animals) and we had to write down 3 facts about it. This week we will work to draft a practice page about our animal. Kids will watch as I model this practice. Thursday we have a visiting writing teacher (Mrs. Hultman) from Wilson. She is a writing expert. She is likely to jump right in and teach. She will be meeting with all the teachers to see if they need help...and/or resources. I am excited to pick her brain because she has done the WRITING institute at Columbia University a BUNCH of times.

In Science...we will continue to compare and contrast Goldfish and Guppies...feed our animals...learn to care for them and observe and talk about them

Other news:
Please try and have any items for our Soldier here by Friday. I plan to mail boxes after school or Saturday morning. Thanks for helping with this one. It's dear to my heart.

Spirit day is FRIDAY. Wear your RED shirts.

Remember to keep classroom shoes at school. Wet boots make our carpet soggy and smelly AND the kids are supposed to have on shoes throughout the day.

Hope this finds you all doing well and healthy...I hope to return I am still having a hard time talking.
Until then...Happy Almost THANKSGIVING!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Report card week {Griffin Gazette}

LOOK in your child's red folder tonight for their REPORT card! I slaved hard on them and am finally finished! Please look it over and bring it to your parent/teacher conference if you have any questions. I am very excited to meet with you this week.

This week in READING...
We are continuing on the letter /Aa/ and UNDER the sea. Since the 4 day week and Halloween stole some of my teaching time. I am going to hang out UNDER the SEA until Thursday. We will spend the week reviewing and mastering. 
Kindergartners are working hard to make connections.
Text to self
Text to text
Text to movie (some have claimed it)
Kindergartners are mastering the DAILY 5. Kindergartners are learning all about NON-fiction books. Check in with your child on non-fiction books. Next time you are at the library explore the nonfiction section too!
I have some great hand-outs for you to use at home when you read with your child that I will hand out on conference night. If you are chomping at the bit. Look HERE!

This week in MATH...
TEEN partners (more teen practice) Look here for song!
Arranging objects by length
Paper chains with teen practice
Estimation jars
BEGIN number stories (stage 1) addition and subtraction

This week in writing...
We begin TRIMESTER 2...
NON-fiction (Expert books)
Kindergartners will start to brainstorm an animal that they know a lot about (2 or 3 facts)...
We will write down our facts.
We will be introduce to a sample expert book. 
We will do practice pages and make transfers. 
Students will work on individual goals with teacher during conferences.

SCIENCE this week includes...
Caring for and observing our guppies and goldfish....hmmm, a guppy is pregnant. uh-oh!

Other news:
1. Veterans day assembly is Thursday at 2:00. Grant Wilson will speak to the kids about Veteran's day. I will also be speaking with the Alta school about my friend who is a pilot in Afghanistan. We will work to send 4 boxes over in the next few weeks. Be on the look out for a list of things the soldiers have requested Thursday night. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. They will greatly appreciate it.
2. PICTURE RETAKES are Tuesday...come dressed and ready. This is for our school and individual pictures. 
3. Parent/teacher conferences are this week. Please let me know if you won't make it. I am planning on 100% attendance. 
4. No school on FRIDAY due to P/T conference week. Have another great 3-day weekend!
5. November 17th at 11:20 is our THANKSGIVING day lunch. Visitors are welcome. Let Ms. Rose know in advance if you are coming.
6. Your children were taught today how to dress in under 2 minutes in their snow clothing. Our classroom goal is 2 minutes or less! Watch here for tricks and tips.  *Just scroll down to the video of the little boy getting dressed. He's 5 and he's fast!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A little Halloween...a little learning...

Mrs. Crista reads a spooky story.

Cecilia delivers popcorn pumpkins to her friends.

Tristan examines his popcorn pumpkin.

A little Halloween game was pretty hard!

The mummy game was easy...and funny!

Wrap those mummies!


With a smile now.

Mrs. Farrier does a nice face painting job.

Another guest reader....can you tell who it is?

Is it a bear or a lion?

Look at these Halloween treats that Deb made...hands with yummy treats inside.
A little learning...
Meet Ben and Jerry...our new goldfish.
The kids began their first science investigation by observing the goldfish...and drawing and labeling what they saw.
Meet John, Paul, George, Ringo and Yoko....the guppies.
1 to 1 correspondence....0-10
With buttons and beans....
Perfecting our names...Big letter...followed by little letters.
Working on first and last names.