Sunday, February 28, 2010

Twitter and Skype

I am thrilled about our blog and the possibilities it has for us to connect our classroom to your home. I am trying to update it as often as possible. I am also trying to update photos of the children learning! Please send comments or any suggestions to me. I am open to anything as I begin this new adventure. If you have noticed on the blog, you can follow “us” on Twitter. I will update this periodically and you will be able to see what is happening in the classroom and in the educational field. I am new to Twitter, but it looks exciting and I am thrilled to try this out. Finally, Skype is a great way for kids to communicate with each other! It can also be a great tool for us to use to communicate! I am available before and after school to Skype (8:45 – 9:00 and 3:45 – 4:00). We can have a conversation with or without your child present. It can be school related or just to say hi! All you need to Skype is a webcam with a microphone. You can get these at Wal-mart and other stores for about $20-30.

My Skype username is: joe.stahl

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Day and Your Day...

Today I had the opportunity to spend it with all the Kindergarten teachers in the district having conversations about various components of our curriculum. I must say it was a productive day. I was able to share with the teachers the great work your children have been doing with the Olympic Skyping! They loved it! We also had conversations about phonemic awareness (hearing sounds) and Everyday Math. These conversations we have during these days allows us to plan better and work collaboratively across the district. I must say I had a fantastic day!

I would love to know what everyone did during their day off? I hope you were able to spend some time together learning and having fun!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

All I can say is "Wow"...

When I think about this past week, the only word which comes to mind is "Wow!" We had a fantastic week of learning. We skyped with our friends from Amelia and Kansas City and talked about the olympic medals. The thinking which occurred from looking at the graph was amazing. John used the graph and realized there were only 3 more bronze than silver. Gracie stated "altogether there were 28." Riley mentioned "we have come in third the most." We also heard some great thinking from our friends.

In addition to skyping, we worked on the topic of Winter and Spring. We listed similarities and differences from these two seasons. We also wrote a sentence about winter and spring. We are hoping Spring comes early or at least the sun! We worked on making words and blending sounds together to read words...I must say we have a great group of readers. Keep on practice your letter naming and reading at home!

Today in math we worked on 2-D and 3-D shapes. Many of the children have the beginning understanding of 2-D is flat and 3-D has sides. In the PM we made 3-D shapes with marshmallows and toothpicks. The AM class will get to do this activity on Monday. I look forward to listening to their conversations about their learning.

It was a FANTASTIC week!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Marvelous Mathematicians...

Today we learned how to add and write number sentences. We worked with 2 color counters (one side yellow and the other red) and the children shook them in their hands and dropped them on the table. Next, the children had to look at how many yellow and red counters were on the table and formulate a number sentence. The children then repeated this task with the exact same number of counters. It was amazing to see how surprised they were to see the answer was always the number of counters they started with. Also, it was great to talk to them about what to do when all their counters were the same color. It was a marvelous day in math. Check with your child about what they are thinking about math and adding.

You can replicate this activity with some coins. You can have them use 5, 6, 7, or 8 coins of one kind and have them find a number sentence with heads and tails! I am going to upload a few pictures later on this evening about the activity!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Welcome New Friends...

It has been an exciting week with new friends joining our class...I want to welcome Trenton, Cody, and Emily. We are helping them learn our routines and how we do things at W-T!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Zoo Fun!

We had a fantastic day of learning! We had a zoologist, Krista, come today from the Cincinnati Zoo. We worked on ending sounds with the various animal names. The kids did a fantastic job listening those sounds. We saw some great animals and were able to touch a few too. One of our favorite animal was a meerkat or kikachu as the zoologist called him. We loved watching him eat honey with his long tongue. You can check out our zoo day on the "Pictures of our Class" link. I have uploaded them from today! Enjoy...

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I love writing; however, I did not like writing as a child and writing during school was not fun. When I reflect upon why I did not like writing growing up it was because I was never allowed to write what I wanted and no one encouraged me to write creatively in school. Writing was all about grammar and writing to a specific prompt. I do believe it is important for children to learn to write to prompts, but not every time during every writing block how I was taught! I have taken my experiences of writing and used it in the positive and writing has turned into my FAVORITE thing to teach, along with math (I would say these two areas are tied)! When I think about the experiences I want for Kindergartners today, I want them to love writing, which I think they do. When I mention it is time for Writer's Notebooks...they have smiles on their faces and some even clap. I encourage children to take their experiences and write about it (using pictures or words). I use their writing to help develop the grammar compenents and sentence structure. I move around the room and give individual instruction to each child with their writing while focusing on a specific goal. For example, the goal might be to use a capital letter at the beginning and the rest lowercase. As I move around the room I talk to the children about their writing, but we look at the capital and lowercase letters.

I have spoken about Kidwriting in the past; however, I wanted to come back and revisit this idea. The children are beginning to develop a strong sense of the alphabet (letters and sounds). This is one of the things I love about writing because it encompasses reading too! They are able to hear the sounds and then write those on paper. If you notice your child writing at home or making stories, have them bring it into school and they may share it at the beginning or end of the day! I love seeing what the kids are doing at school.

Here is Mr. Harry explaining parts of Kidwriting...

Friday, February 19, 2010

What we love...

First, the morning class finally had their "love" with their Valentine's Day Party. Thank you Mrs. Mullins for putting together a great party! Also, thank you to Mrs. Crouch who put together a great party last week for the afternoon class! There are many things we love about Kindergarten! One thing I love is teaching Kindergarteners. I asked the kids what they love about kindergarten and used wordle to create a picture of our thinking. There were four things the kids said they really love, which were repeated a lot...reading, writing, math, and skype. Today we also learned a little bit about Kansas City. We talked to friends out in Kansas City (Miss Thomas' class) and we found them on Google Earth. It was great talking about weather and asking questions! Finally, I love the fact I was able to see the morning kids twice this week and I am hoping we have a full week of learning next week. On Friday, there is professional development for teachers; therefore, we will not have school.

I have added a few pages to the blog. You can check them out on the side under "About Me." One is our learning goals and the other is pictures of our class. I love hearing the feedback. If there is something you would like to see, let me know and I will try and put it on!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Learning with Technology!

It was a fun day of learning with technology in room 120...and there is a lot more to come! The day arrived for the morning class, in more than one way. First, they were welcomed back to school after being off since February 8! They have had an extended winter break due to snow days and delays. The kids came bouncing into the room all excited to tell me what they did. Quin mentioned he was able to visit the Airforce Museum and he told us all about the numbers and things he saw! I heard a lot of kids playing in the snow. However, the most important and exciting part of the day was their first Skype with Amelia Elemenary's morning class. We introduced ourselves and talked a little bit about the olympics. We learned about the rings and a few of our favorite olympic sports. We also talked about the different countries flags and found similarities and differences between them. It was amazing to see how many flags are alike and how they are different. One observation made by Shushruth was the same colors seem to reappear in the flags. We noticed red was used a lot. It seemed everyone in the class found a flag they loved. We will be watching a few clips from an event tomorrow...hopefully where one of out athletes wins gold! We will also be graphing the medal count. You may want to check it out with your child and have them come and report back to me tomorrow for the graph. Check out our Skype session from the morning below!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

An Afternoon of Skype...

Well the day arrived with our first Skype session with Amelia Elementary. It took a lot of planning and discussion amongst Ms. Van Eman and me; however, it worked out better than imagined. We had this planned for the past few days, but the snow kept us away. I must say Skype is very cool and the kids were excited, you can see this in Hannah! She was energetic and so much fun to watch...the learning that can occur with this can be huge! Morning kids do not worry your first session will be tomorrow! It was extremely exciting for everyone and I am looking forward to linking our class with other classes around the country!

A little bit about who we are skyping with: One class is Ms. Van Eman's Kindergarten class from Amelia Elementary. Today we introduced ourselves to her class and had a little chat time. We will be skyping with them over the next couple of weeks about the Olympics and we will be keeping track of the medals the US has won. I personally love the bobsled and ski events. I always thought I would want to be a bobsledder, I am just sticking to running right now! In addition to Ms. Van Eman's class, we are going to be skyping with Ms. Erin Thomas from Kansas City, KS and her Kindergartners about weather and culture. You can check out a clip from this afternoons Skype session with Amelia. As you can see most of the kids are extremely excited and enjoyed the session.

I hope you enjoy...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Days...Delays...What you can do at home...

The weather is still holding us from school or at least the AM class. We have had numerous snow days and delays; therefore, we have lost a lot of learning time at school. There are a few fun things you can do at home with your children to encourage learning. One of the best things to do with your child is to sit and read to them. This helps improve vocabulary and it helps them hear fluent readers. If it is a book they can read, then you can "buddy" read with them. Also, you can check out magazines, newspapers, and books and look for words your child may know. You can also practice the alphabet and sounds! A fun website you should check out is there are a lot of games, stories, and activities you can do.

One of the exciting things to do in math is just work with various numbers. We use a lot of "ten frames" in our class. A ten frame is a rectangle divided into 10 equal squares. The kids then roll two dice and use bears to fill in the ten frame with the respective number. This really helps children begin to develop adding and subtracting skills. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a fantastic website with web activities for the children. Here is one on ten frames:

I would love to know what you think about the websites...also if you did anything fun over the snow days and delays, share them with me!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter Wonderland!

WOW...I cannot believe we will be off school again tomorrow. The last time I remember a snow season like this was when I was in high school at Glen Este. I really miss my morning class, I cannot wait to hear what they have been up to over the past week. This will be the 5th calamity day for West Clermont; therefore, we will have to begin making up days if we miss anymore. Our morning class will have missed 7; therefore, we will have to make arrangements to make those days up. Do not worry at this time, Mrs Brown and I work closely with Mrs. Schmidt and the District Office to plan those days. It is typical for this to occur.

I decided to start a blog for our classroom to keep you up to date on various happenings in our classroom and school. I also have a "flip video" camera I have used and thought it would be fun to put some videos of the kids learning and completing different activities. I also take LOTS of pictures throughout the school year and would like to share with you some of my favorites! I also wanted to give you some fun stories, which occur throughout our days in room 120!

A deck of cards is a great way to help your child with math skills. We love using them in the classroom. You can practice sorting by suits, color, or number. You can "steal a card" and see if your child can figure out what is missing. You can see this happening with John and Evan. We are working on addition; therefore, you can play "War," but have to draw two cards and add them up!

I hope you enjoy...