This last week, we slowed down a bit in Room 203. We shifted our station work, moving from five ten-minute rotations a day to four twenty-minute rotations over two days. This shift allows us to go a bit deeper into the math and handwriting learning concepts that these stations teach. This new schedule also allows more time in our day for whole group phonemic awareness routines (we call it our word work game), read alouds and number talks.
All year, we have been talking in our class about how our behavior can help our learning or hurt our learning. We have spent time together defining what is helpful as well as what is not, and we work together to solve problems that get in the way of our learning. As we shifted to this new schedule last week, we talked again about the importance of behavior that supports our learning. We read the book “Personal Space Camp”, which reminded us how important safe, calm bodies are in our classroom. We also read “How Full is Your Bucket”, which reminded us of the importance of kind words and actions. Both of these books featured kids who didn’t really “get” the impact their behavior had on others at the beginning of the book, but by the end they “get it”.
My expectations are pretty high for my students in this area, and I am really proud of how hard all of them are working to help our learning. Many of the students in our classroom are already able to consistently sit on the carpet with still bodies, wait to talk until it is their turn and listen with engaged brains to whomever is teaching or sharing. Others do these things a lot of the time, but still have times that their behavior gets in the way of our learning.
When we first started QAE, we created 5 pillars. These pillars focus on important learning goals for our students that go beyond academics. Two of these pillars are at the foundation of this “getting it” work: We are Self-Directed Learners and We Learn Everywhere, We Learn Together (collaboration). Developing strong skills in these two areas in kindergarten will be so beneficial for your student's future school success! At conferences, I will be providing you with specific information about the learning behaviors that we observe your student showing in class. I am posting our K-5 continuums for each of these skills below, so you can see how your this learning will progress at QAE.
QAE Pillar Continuums ~
Our pillar continuums are living documents. We created them as a staff and will continue to assess and tweak them to best meet our students' needs. If you are interested, you can see these documents in their current form on the Curriculum / Resources page of this site.
The second focus concept for our “Mistakes Are Welcome Here” year-long theme is Gratitude. We kicked off November at last week’s Monday Morning Meeting by talking about Dia De Los Muertos. This Mexican celebration provides us with opportunities to show our gratitude for relatives who are no longer living but who impacted the world in positive ways when they were alive. If you have not had a chance to visit our school ofrenda in the front hall of the brick building, make sure you do!
This week, we will be celebrating Veterans’ Day, another chance to show our gratitude to the men and women who bravely have served in our countries armed forces. On Tuesday, we have a day off of school to celebrate the official holiday. On Thursday, we will celebrate again with an all-school assembly at 10:15 am. Please invite any family members or friends who are veterans to attend the assembly as our special guests.
Early last week, we officially wrapped up our first “Who Am I?” PBL project. On Monday, we watched our presentation videos, noticing how our bodies, voices and brains looked and sounded, and then filled out a final speaking self-assessment, On Tuesday, we went on our first field trip to “The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi” at the Seattle Children’s Theater. The QAE students were amazing audience members. When we got home, we filled out a final listening self-assessment. Both of these rubrics will be posted on your student’s PBL page soon. All About Me boards will be sent home with you after your parent conference.