Monday, October 31, 2011

Griffin Gazette and a short week reminder!'s me...the APG {aka- Alta Pumpkin girl} to the rescue...saving kids from turning into pumpkins! Or something like that! Happy Halloween! I am taking lots of hold on for updates later in the week of the kids and our party!

This week in K....
We are reading Life in an ocean by Carol K Lindeen. This will be the first time that I refer to a non-fiction book as non-fiction. We will start to sort books non-fiction and fiction in reading and in writing.
Letter of the week: Aa
Snap words: have, is (and review: the, a, to, little, I, am)
Comprehension skills- Compare and Contrast AND non-fiction features
See the family times for more! *Coming home today...but you might not see it because of the HALLOWEEN madness...right!?

Writing this week: We are going to publish one more time Tuesday or Wednesday. We hope to celebrate on Thursday. This will be a party where we will share our writing using the promethean board and eat some popcorn.
Kids will concentrate on the following skills:
How to fix and fancy up.
Editor's checklist
How to share and be an audience when others are sharing.

Math this week: Click the link below to watch THE BIG NUMBERS's calming and the kids love it! You will too!
Tricky teens - introduce and practice with counting and recognizing teen numbers.
Sorting objects (review)
Playing oral counting games: give the next number (review)
Listen and Do (reinforce oral counting and recognizing teen numbers through a movement study)
Teen Partners (To introduce the concept that teen numbers represent "10 and some more"
Arranging objects by length and paper chains (10 links same color...and 11-19 are a different color to show the teens)

November brings on our first Science official Science unit: Animals two by two
 which provides the students with close and personal interaction with some common land and water animals.
-develop a growing curiosity and interest in the living world around them
-observe and describe the structures of a variety of common animals (fish, snails, earthworms, isopods, and chicks)
-Compare structures and behaviors of different pairs of animals.
-Observe interactions of animals
-Communicate observations and comparisons
-Acquire new vocabulary
-Handle animals carefully, and participate in the are and feeding of classroom animals.

Other news:
No school Friday for kids...teachers will be participating in professional development and getting report cards ready.
Your SCHEDULED conference sheet should come home Tuesday after school. Please sign it and send it back to school filled out. Please let me know ASAP if your scheduled time does not work for you.
November volunteers are the same as OCTOBER...and all volunteers are cancelled for Christmas except my book orders and my To-do volunteer. Sign-up for January will be hanging outside soon!
Until then....let the night begin!
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

4th annual Poppas and Pumpkins and a recipe

 The following pictures are in random order for you and your family to enjoy. I will post a few more tomorrow. We had so much fun! The weather was great. We ate pumpkin seeds (thanks to Heather Dolman), pumpkin dip with apples and vanilla wafers(thanks to Mrs. G), and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (thanks to Ms. Vancie). The kids had a blast. The parents had fun and did pretty well handing over control of the pumpkin! :)

Ingredients for the pumpkin dip (if you were interested)

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon frozen orange juice concentrate


  1. In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice until smooth and well blended. Chill until serving. Serve in a small cute little pumpkin for fun. I did and it was such a fun surprise!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 9 {Griffin Gazette} and some news!


 Greetings fellow blog readers! Hope this finds your weekend going well! Kindergartners have been working hard that FRIDAY afternoon they earned some free time to go outside and just PLAY. "My mother taught me how to read before I got to school and so when I got there I really just wanted to do two things. I wanted to read books because I loved reading books and I wanted to go outside and chase butterflies. You know, do the things that five year olds like to do." ~Steve Jobs CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE!

 We have about 2 more weeks until our first PARENT/TEACHER conferences. I am getting excited to share some AWESOME news about your little ones. I am so impressed with how much growth they have made!
Can you believe kids are writing...letters...words...sentences...and even booklets now!
 They are building up lots of tools needed for writing and to know what writer's do!
 Check out that pencil grip? Mom and dad are are in the back!
 Oh...did I mention the JACKSON HOLE fire fighters came over? Kids were excited to see them dressed up and more excited that they got to spray with the hose.

 Kathy Clay always does the inside lecture part of the visit and she was awesome with the kids. They watched in wonder as two WOMEN firefighters dressed in gear, talked about cool tools like an axe, and addressed FIRE SAFETY.
This week in Kindergarten...
READING WORKSHOP: We wrap up UNIT 1 with reading Goldilocks and the three bears. Please know the family times will say that we are reading DIG DIG DIGGING. We are working on all the same skills but have found that Goldilocks works better for reviewing character and setting and teaching sequencing and retelling.
Kids will work hard this week on retelling stories that they know. We will practice this a lot in class. You can practice at home too. Retelling and memorizing are BIG things that READERS do!
Letter of the week: Tt
Snap words: to, a
Comprehension skills: sequencing and retell...classify and categorize
DAILY FIVE: Readers know 4 of the daily 5 and will be learning # 5 this week.
helps up become better readers
helps us learn and understand new words and stories
it is fun
STUDENTS WILL:                                     TEACHER WILL:
1. Get our materials                                       1. Work with the students
2. Listen to the whole story
3. May listen to another story if time
4. Follow along with pictures and/or words
5. Stay in one spot
6. Listen quietly
7. Get started quickly
8. Put materials away neatly
*Note: You could set this up at home if you have a cd player with books on tape or visit here or here for stories online that you can use at home.

Writer's workshop this week will focus on:
Reviewing "If you hear a sound, WRITE it down!" and Silent writing versus Quiet writing...
New skills-
1. What to do when a writer makes a mistake.
2. How to share writing and how to be part of the audience
3. Adding on to a piece (PICTURE-MATCHING WORDS)
4. Introducing a rubric

Math skills:
1. Preparation for writing (laying groundwork for number writing through kinesthetic and tactile stroke formation activities...paper practice, sand practice, shaving cream practice and finger painting...
2. Matching coin game (Be on the lookout for homework with this one)
3. Number board (reinforcing the meaning of numbers by constructing a class number board)
4.Tricky Teens (introduce and provide practice with counting and recognizing teen numbers

Other things:
POppas and PUmpkins is 1:15...we will meet outside at the picnic tables...please remember your sCOOPED out pumpkin and carving tool and anything else you might want to participate...
Friday is SPIRIT day...wear RED or your ALTA SHIRT.
Monday is Halloween. Come in costume..please no weapons or accessories with costume that may cause a problem. Use your best judgement!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 8 {A whirlwind weekend and the Griffin Gazette}

Here is me, Chris Biffle {the WBT founder}, and Rachel Freundlich {my best teacher friend} in Palm Springs, Ca!
What an inspirational few days away. Not only did I learn a WHOLE bunch about WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING...but I got to be with one of my favorite teacher friends {Rachel Freundlich} and we were a dynamic duo in California.
Below is a little letter about my classroom happenings...please read.

Dear Parents,
As the year progresses, you may notice that our classroom doesn’t run like other classrooms. We will be learning through Whole Brain Teaching, a research based system that utilizes all areas of the brain, keeps children engaged throughout their lessons, and helps them retain much more information than the standard lecture-discussion model.
Whole Brain Teaching is a highly interactive form of instruction that delivers information to students in short “chunks.” Kids then teach what they have just learned to their partners, using hand-gestures to help remember specific vocabulary.  While students teach each other, the teacher walks around the room to discover who understands the lesson and who needs more instruction.
Research shows that children retain more information when they have an opportunity to put it into their own words and use gestures to emphasize key instructional units …plus, it’s amazingly fun! For more information about Whole Brain Teaching please contact me, come by for a classroom visit and/or go to
Thanks! -Lauryn Griffin

I am so excited that I had the opportunity to travel to California to learn more about this teaching REVOLUTION! WOW!

On another note:
This week in Reading...
We read Julius by Angela Johnson. We are working on characters, setting, retell and making connections. Today readers worked in their RESPONSE journals to connect to the character in Julius. We tried something new that I learned at my conference. Before we left the carpet, kids had to come up with what they were going to write. I modeled first: Julius and I are the same because we both like to have fun. While I spoke my words I used my hands to demonstrate a BIG letter and then squished them down to make them little and when my sentence was done I demonstrated with my hand a car coming to a screeching halt with the sound: errrrrr!! This is called DOOZY...the oral writing game. Kids practice with gestures capital letters and punctuation so that they learn to write it down. It really helped our brains!
Letter of the week: Mm
Snap words to learn: to, a
See the family times for more.

This week in Writer's workshop...
Writers put their PUBLISHED WORK in the hallway. Be sure to check it out if you are in the school.
This week we will hone some techniques we have learned like: using the WORD WALL {word woods}, using the ABC sound board to help us when we hear a sound then to WRITE IT DOWN, and oral story telling and trying it out on paper.
Writers will be introduced to booklets this week too. We are looking forward to publishing again before PARENT/TEACHER conferences.

Math Workshop...
Students are learning:
Spin a number game - reinforcing counting and reading numbers 1-10 {also practicing our GOOD game etiquette...please play a game at home and work on taking turns, how to chose who goes first, how to roll the dice versus throwing the to play by the rules...etc.
Reviewing visual patterns
Patterns all around - reinforce recognition of patterns through a pattern search activity.
Oral counting games - oral counting skills through movement activities
Preparation for number writing - groundwork for number writing through kinesthetic  and tactile stroke-formation activities

Other things in our classroom:
Reteaching has begun. In our classroom we have an UH-OH spot where I document your child's behavior based on our 4 b's:
Be Safe
Be Respectful
Be Responsible
Be Friendly
Students have a chance to be reminded once and then I document. Once it's document 3 times, they go in for a RE-TEACH in Mrs. Blackburn's room during 10AM recess.

Friday, October 21st is SPIRIT should wear their ALTA shirts or RED!

Thursday, October 28th at 1:15 is POPPAS and PUMPKINS...more on this next week. 


 You have to remember EEKK-elbow,elbow...knee to knee body language
READ THE whole time...I read, you read, I read, you read
Stay in 1 spot
Read quietly
Check for understanding

November 8th and 9th are PARENT/TEACHER conference days. Let me know ASAP if a day is better for you.  

Monday, October 10, 2011


Ending our Apple week...

How about a smile?
Take apple slickes...spread on the peanut butter and stick on mini marshmallows...and top it with another apple slice and you have apple smiles...

Week 7 {Griffin Gazette}

Hi friends! I hope you enjoyed your 3-day weekend. I did. The Griffins went to the UPICK Red Barn in Idaho Falls. We picked out 4 great pumpkins for 20 dollars. Have you ever been to the Pumpkin patch in Idaho Falls...if you haven't it's awesome....check it out across from the zoo. 

In Reader's workshop this week...
Readers will listen to an interactive READ aloud of Miss Bindergarten takes a field trip. We will focus on Classifying and categorizing information in our stories so that we better understand them.
This is our last week of letter recognition: T-Z
Snap word review: the, little, I and am
Last week we focused on SELF to TEXT connections. We learned that good readers use their schema and prior knowledge in order to take more meaning from the text. This week we will build upon that skill by making more meaningful connections to our self and other text.
See the family times for more information on reading. Please complete the family times with your child. There is no need to send it back.
Please note that Tuesday - Thursday your child will bring a book home to read. The book can be read 3 ways:1.READ pictures 2.READ words 3. RETELL a story
Please make every effort to read with your child and send the book back the following day. You can work this week on making connections while reading a book at home too. It might sound something like this...
Parent: while you are reading to your, that reminds me of the time that I......Does that story, picture or sentence remind you of anything?
Child: Yes, it reminds me of the time that....
Parent: WOW< that's called making a connection..that's what a good reader does to better understand the text. 
In Writer's worskhop....
WRITER's will: 
Revisit how to draw people and heart mapping from last week.
Learn about the ABC chart and add it to their writer's folder.
Learn how to spell the best you can and move on.
Publish a piece of writing.

WE START UNIT 2 in includes:
*Finishing up our "WHERE WE LIVE MURAL" Look for that in the hallway. Kindergartners have a goal of learning their address and phone number by Halloween. We made a huge mural to help us out.
Shape Collages-introducing and reviewing cirlces, triangles, squares and rectangles
Shapes by feel- develop understanding of shapes using the sense of touch
Which way do I go? - reviewing spatial vocabulary and concepts
Spin a number game- reinforce counting and reading numbers 1-10
Reviewing patterns, numbers 1-9, number sense, address and phone numbers.

Other things you should know... 
BAG of leaves due this week by WEDNESDAY.
Health screening is Thursday. Our nurse will be in house screening the students' eyes, ears, and getting some stats like height and weight. 
Remember I am out of the building Thursday and Friday. My sub will be Heather Dolman. I can be reached by phone or email. I am so excited to try out my new skills when I return. 
THURSDAY October 28th- Poppas and Pumpkins...1:15 outside by the Aspen trees. Please bring a pumpkin all scraped out and ready to carve. This is for Dads and kids. However, exceptions can be made if needed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week 6 {Griffin Gazette} and other THINGS...

1st Alta School Camp-out in Teton fun!

Late night by the fire...
 Ms. Amy came to our school on Friday. She led us through a review first about what we had learned at the ART museum and then she taught us something new using the pattern wheel.

 Center sneak peek: This is ART!
Depending on the medium, this center is forever changing. 
Cecilia and Tristan make patterns with apple stamps.
 STUDENT of the MONTH! Alta school began a new tradition on Friday. At the end of every month a student from every class will be honored as the student of the month. Students can be nominated because of academics or behavior. This month in Kindergarten Cecilia has shown her enthusiasm for learning, follows the classroom rules, tries hard everyday and has exemplifies good citizenship. Thank you Cecilia!
 During Math workshop, we sorted our coins into buckets based on color, size and name.

 Last week Kindergartners set their individual goals and class goals. You will learn more about goal setting during Parent/Teacher conference time. For now, see the BIG SUPER CRITTER on the WALL... well, your little super critter is trying to chase that critter down by learning all they can. As the year progresses so does the critter! FOLLOW THAT CRITTER!
 Here is where the Kindergartners start...they are working hard to move forward!
AND NOW for this week...

READING workshop-
Essential question: How do families cooperate?
Story of the week: Plaidypus Lost
We will be story mapping, sequencing, learning to make TEXT to SELF connections, and reviewing characters and setting.
Snap words-the, little
Letter recognition- O, P, Q, R, S
Please read and complete the family times with your child this week.
Take note that TUESDAY-THURSDAY your child will be bringing home a book to read. Remember the 3 ways to read a book are:
1. Read the pictures.
2. Read the words.
3. Retell a story that you know.
Your child might have special directions on the front of the book!
This week we get # 3 and # 4 of the DAILY FIVE!
WORD WORK and READ TO SOMEONE...stay tuned for more!
Kids also get to start shopping for books this week.
Learn more about IPICK later this week with our IPICK movie!!! Stay tuned!

This week in WRITING...
We are working on functional writing pieces such as lists, labels, step by step...etc!
Keeping our materials organized...
Adding to a piece...
Oral storytelling...
More with heart mapping (brainstorming ideas so that we always can have a place to refer to when we are fresh out of ideas)
Writing VOLUNTEERS begin this week! :)

We are working on our APPLE math books.
Body Height comparisons
GEtting to know numbers 0-9
Finger counting fun
Sand and water table (volume and measurement)
PARENTS-please let me know what PHONE number you want your child to learn!

Other news:
Please have your child bring in a bag of leaves (different colors, sizes and shapes) by Friday!
OCTOBER 5th - Tracy Poduska here all day. 
OCTOBER 10th - No school for kids (Columbus day)
OCTOBER 13th and 14th...I will be out. Heather Dolman will be my sub. I am attending a WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING conference in Palm Springs, California. Learn more about whole brain teaching here!
OCTOBER 31st - Halloween party (Kids wear costumes all day) ROOM MOMS can post the sign up sheets outside the classroom and start recruiting parents for help!