Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pre K's First Week

We've made it!  Our first week is complete!

This past week Miss Shelly and Miss Scooter have worked together to help each student understand our centers throughout the classroom.  Over the next week, we will be posting on the blog some of the fun things that we can do in each of these centers (Home living, Math, Art, Sensory, Library, Computer/Technology, Science, Music, Block, and Writing center.

Helping a new group of students, especially two full classes of 20 students, to learn how to respectfully play and clean up before moving on to new areas was our main focus this week during center exploration time.  Below are a few pictures of your children exploring our centers.  

Home living gives each student the opportunity for imaginative play while playing together.  Acting out home life or make believe events is a highlight here.  Offering baby dolls, dress up clothes, a kitchen with food and table setting items enables our class to learn through play.  During our weekly themes, we incorporate items like special dress up items, mirrors to look at themselves, and at time card board boxes to live in.  The things these little ones come up with is awesome!

The art easel, when the paint opened up so did their enthusiasm!  The art easel is open every day with mediums like paint, water colors, chalk, markers, crayons, and stamp pads.  Before painting we practice writing our names on our papers and then flip them over to create our masterpieces!  Using dictation is when we use "quotation marks" to highlight exactly what they say about their work.  You will see many dictations on projects around the room throughout this year. 

Our sensory area has a water area (above) and bird seed tub (below) that enables each student to feel and play with textures.  Using funnels, sponges, snow (when available), and even dinosaur bones to dig for makes learning VERY hands on!  You will also notice clip boards all around our room, as a student arrives to a center, we ask them to continue to practice writing their name by signing in at each clip board.  Combining literacy any place we can improves their growth drastically!

In our science center our students are enjoying the ability to investigate through different measurements and textures.  This week we also caught a cricket that we put inside a tank to watch.  Imagine checking out our cricket with a magnifying glass and listening to the sounds.  So much fun for a four year old!  (Way to go Miss Scooter for catching it, because Miss Shelly does NOT do bugs!)

Miss Shelly sat down with everyone this week to practice scissor cutting skills and to evaluate for our daily projects that will begin next week.  We will collect these scissor skill activities within their growing portfolios, and share them during our parent teacher conferences.  You will receive many of them in their end of year portfolio gift as well as some being sent to their Kindergarten classroom teacher.

Starting this coming week, we will begin to introduce to the classes special items in each center that incorporate our week's theme and framework throughout their week.  Exploring and learning through play is our goal and our students have a great time doing so.

DENVER testing will also begin this week.  This is a test that will assist in determining the levels of each child within the classroom settings as well as help to showcase the growth of your student from the beginning to the end of the year.  When finished you will receive a copy of them.

Looking forward to a great second week, where we will concentrate on "All About Me" and practicing our letter A's.

Monday, August 25, 2014

In the Classroom . . .

How to stay up to date on what is happening in the classroom:

Our classroom blog (what you're on now), we post at least once a week with classroom pictures of what we are doing.  It's so much fun seeing everyone enjoying center exploration as well as trying out new things.  Videos are a great addition to the blog as well!  You can sign up to receive email updates on the right hand side or subscribe as a Google + follower.  Previous parents have LOVED this feature of seeing how much fun everyone is having.

Weekly newsletter, these are sent home every Friday in your child's take home folder and include our lesson plan on one side and a newsletter with important information regarding upcoming events, announcements, or helpful tips for parents.

Phone calls, because we have 15 minutes between our morning and our afternoon Pre K classes we ask that phone calls that require more attention to be scheduled in order to supply the proper care for the students within the classroom setting.  We understand many of our parents also work, and we want to be able to connect with you, if this arises we will communicate for a phone conference that would enable the teachers to provide full attention to you and the conversation instead of the preparations for the next class or with 20 children in the classroom environment.  We can always be reached at the center at 304.728.1100 during 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Miss Shelly's email address is also on all newsletters that are sent home every Friday.

Items being sent home:

You might find piles of papers or envelopes filled with letters or stickers or other fun items.  In our writing center, we encourage students to begin to practice and find a love for penmanship.  While we recognize that this collection of items might secretly find its way to a rubbish or burn pile, we encourage you as parents to help celebrate the letters that were written by your student.  (And shhh, the trash pile would never be spoken about in the classroom!)

Lots of information from the school and also the county's programs (hearing and speech screening, assessment forms, and informational handouts) will be placed in folders.  Some of these items will request further attention while others might be informational only.

Chuck E Cheese offers printable award charts for areas like behavior, clean teeth, getting dressed, being a good eater, and so many more options.  In our classroom we will award each student when they move on through the Reading Farm a certificate with 10 free tokens.  You can save these up and use them all together for a fun special day or celebrate with the certificate alone.  Who doesn't love a little Chuck E Cheese now and then?  :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What is Conscious Discipline?

Seven Skills of Discipline:
The Foundation of Problem-Solving

Ever felt at a loss for how to deal with power struggles, defiance, verbal attacks, bullying or physical aggression? Have you ever wondered what would help children stay on task, pay attention and finish their work?
The Seven Skills of Discipline are the only skills we need to transform these everyday discipline issues into teaching moments. These moments are our opportunity to teach children the social-emotional and communication skills necessary to manage themselves, resolve conflict, prevent bullying and develop pro-social behaviors.
The seven skills are Composure, Encouragement, Assertiveness, Choices, Empathy, Positive Intent and Consequences.
The seven skills emerge from the foundation of the Seven Powers for Conscious Adults. As we become more conscious of our reactions to conflict, we can choose a different response. The seven skills teach you to respond to conflict in a way that helps children move from the resistant, lower centers of their brain to the more cooperative, higher centers.
The chart below shows how each of the Seven Skills of Discipline, when utilized consciously, yields critical core values and life skills.
Conscious Skill
(emerges from powers)
Life / Communication SkillsValue
ComposureAnger management,
gratification delay
EncouragementPro-social skills (kindness, caring, helpfulness)Interdependence, optimism, gratitude
AssertivenessBully prevention,
healthy boundaries
Respect for self
and others
ChoicesImpulse control,
goal achievement
EmpathyEmotional regulation, perspective takingHonoring diversity, honesty
Positive IntentCooperation,
Compassion, generosity
ConsequencesLearn from your mistakesResponsibility

By implementing the powers and skills together, we learn to stay in control of ourselves and in charge of children in a manner that models the same skills we seek to teach. This, combined with the willingness generated by the School Family, empowers children to successfully learn and internalize lifelong skills.
Conscious Discipline’s original application is in the classroom, but these methods apply seamlessly to all human interactions. Conscious Discipline has the power to affect every relationship. It now includes a program designed specifically for parents.
Information is from Dr. Becky Bailey's Conscious Discipline Theory that Universal Pre K uses, as well as CHEERS schools.