Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SeeYou Next Year!

For those of you that aren't aware, the schools are always filled with extra excitement, joy and noise during this time of year! But this past few days have been extra chaotic for the kiddos as we really haven't had a typical routine day...well....in a very long time. The late starts, early dismissals, concert practicing, concerts, snow days and holiday parties really threw all my Rangers out of our daily routines, and I couldn't even blame them! But after some reminders, and hot chocolate as an incentive we officially survived our first half of kindergarten!
Yesterday morning, we went to Oak Terrace and sang our holiday songs and all the grandparents loved it! We laughed because it was snowing very hard as we walked over there, and along the way we sang our "Let it Snow" song. One student thought maybe we should sing about warm weather and sunshine and maybe the weather would turn to that! If we were only that lucky!
Then this afternoon we watched The Polar Express and enjoyed some well-earned hot chocolate and french vanilla marshmellows! We had such a great afternoon! Please enjoy our slideshow filled with our fun reindeer marshmellow gifts for our hot chocolate! We LOVED them so much! Happy Holidays from our classroom to your home!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ten Things I Love About Teaching Kindergarten

1. Getting free daily hugs.

2. When I see a student experience an “Ah-Ha” moment. 

3. Receiving presents like pictures, cards, and sometimes unexplainable gifts from students for no reason at all.

4. When I hear my kiddos “playing teacher” during kid time. I mean in what other profession do you get to watch children pay homage to what you do each and every day!

5. Share time - you NEVER know what students are going to say to the class, show the class or ask the class!  But it is always priceless. I am fairly certain I will have a classic book of kids quotes to compose in a few short years!

6. Seeing kindergarteners faces after you tell them they ALL earned a husky pride paw – its like telling them they are all getting a free ticket to Disney Land with pop, candy, and all their favorite friends!

7. Watching students as they discover that they actually CAN read and they CAN write on their own! They are so proud and eager to learn more!

8. I get to sing, dance, play, color and read picture books every week day! 

9.  Watching 21 kindergarteners dance and/or get their wiggles out daily. Kids really do have the BEST dance moves!

10. Knowing that something you say, do, or teach can impact a student’s day, week, or even life. 

Ah yes, life is good.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warm Welcome Back

We had a very exciting day today!
One of our student's dads came home after he was stationed in Afghanistan for the past eleven months! As a class we had been keeping the arrival a secret all day from the lucky student. While she was out of the room, we all had a discussion about where her dad has been, why he was there, and how special it was that he was now coming home. As a class, we have been talking a lot about the true meaning of the holidays lately - about how it is a time to spend with friends and family, to be thankful, and to be kind to everyone.
So today, when we got back from our gym class we knew we had the secret waiting for our special student in the reading room! As a class we counted down from 3, 2, 1...and said "Come on In!" When her dad walked through those doors, I think she was at first stunned. Then, like out of a movie, she shouted out "Daddy!" and went running into his arms. It was a silent, touching, and heartfelt moment.
Even though my rangers are only five or six, they are still very in tune with each other's feelings. As I looked at this student hugging her family, and then looked at all my little ones as they stared smiling back at this family, I realized that they all realized what the holidays really are about.

Tis' the Season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Long Ago Day

In Social Studies we have been learning about what it was like long ago. So on Monday, we had Long Ago Day at school!  Several students came to school dressed in their long ago day outfits as we spent the day pretending that we are children who lived, worked, and played long ago in America.
In small groups we made corn bread, pilgrim hats, bonnets, and collars.
We visited a website about what it was like long ago and discussed similarities and differences from long ago and today! Watch our Smilebox to hear some funny comments, see some pictures, and read more details about our Long Ago Day!

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Pajama Day Palooza!

Since we were learning about the letter Pp, we decided have a Pajama, Pop, Pizza, and Popcorn Party! We definitely had to earn this party through good behavior and by showing our Husky Pride! Today, we all showed up in our best pajamas and we had a grand time. We started the day by reading
"If you give a Pig a Party." We used our fantastic four friends to help us make predicitons, questions, and clarifications while we read. At the end of the story we summarized all the main ideas!
In the afternoon we had a mystery reader come read to all the kindergarten classrooms! It was the real Fancy Nancy! She was dressed in a big red tutu, a sparkling shirt, shiny shoes, and silk gloves! She was Fancy from head to toe! She even read her Favorite Story about her Posh Puppies - as she explained Posh is a fancy word for fancy! 
She was so kind to even stay after and help our class make fancy pizzas along with Anthony's mom, Tanya! We covered our pizzas with mozzarella cheese, creamy red marina sauce, and perfectly round pepperonis! Then Fancy Nancy and Tanya took them to a secret Fancy Oven and baked them perfectly for our whole class to enjoy!
For kid time we got to watch Scooby Doo's Pirates Ahoy! While watching it we enjoyed some Pop and our Personal Pizzas! We ended the day by performing for our classroom helpers. We put on our turkey hats and performed our favorite end of the day song, Turkey Time! They loved it and we put the video below in hopes that you'll enjoy it too! 
Whew...good thing we are in our pajamas! That was an exhausting day, time to curl up on the couch!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daily 5

The Daily 5 is a structured language arts program that helps students develop the daily habits of reading, writing, and working with peers that will lead to a lifetime of independent literacy. The 5 elements that students participate in every day are: Read to Self, Read with Someone (buddy reading), Listen to Reading, Word Work and Work on Writing. In our kindergarten classroom, we have Read to Self, Word Work and Work on Writing on a daily basis and Listen to Reading and Read to Someone a few times a week. 
Being a novice to Daily 5, I am amazed by the progression in writing and reading this year already!! They truly are reading to self -- they each have a book bag with books at their level. During this time they can read the pictures or read the words. For writing they are labeling pictures through sounding out words and some are writing one t0 three sentences daily! That is quite an accomplishment - especially for being so early in the year! The last one that is fun to watch is word work - they use wikki sticks, molding clay, stamps, and magnets to create star words, their names, color words, or read the room and spell words. Here are a few snapshot I took of them during our Daily 5 Time
Read to Self
 Word Work (using stamps)
 Word Work (modeling clay)
Work on Writing
 Read with Someone (3rd Grade C.A.T Friends)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Tangled Up!

We are working on those tricky teen numbers (11-20)  in kindergarten and to help our brains remember them we use flash cards, songs, pattern claps, and we also played a game called Teen Tangle! The game is played with 2-4 people. One person is the spinner and has to spin a number 11-20. They have to call out the number and the whosever turn it is, has to find that number on the board and they can reach for it using their hands or feet. The person who can stay up, and untangled the longest is the winner! We definitely got tangled up with those tricky teens, but at least we had fun doing it! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fire Prevention

For those of you that don't know, Fire Prevention Week was this week,  October 3-9. This is a BIG deal for the Kindergarteners because fire fighters came in to talk to them about the necessary steps to help them stay safe at home and in school, if a fire was to occur. They also teach the students to update and maintain their home smoke alarm protection, how to create a fire escape plan, and how to respond if a fire were to occur. 
Enjoy the photos. Who knows...maybe we have some future fire fighters on our hands


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Can't Catch Me!

Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the Ginger Bread Man! Well, that is what we were told anyway! We learned about the nursery rhyme Ginger Bread Boy this week and when we returned we found a letter from him - giving us hints as to where we could find him. We put on our Ranger Hats and set out to find him. Follow us along as we hunt for the Ginger Bread Man!

Starting off, this is the note we discovered in the classroom:
"I've left my friends for you to snack,
But I'll bet you'll never get me back!
Look for me where there are lots of books!"
This is the note we discovered on our classroom door! The Chase is On!
This is the note we discovered in the media center:
"I've read lots of books,
But I'm gone, can't you see?
I'm a gingerbread man and you can't catch me!
Look for me by a friendly face who answers phones in a busy place."
We didn't find the Gingerbread Man, but he did leave a clue behind in the Library
We made a prediction that there are friendly faces and the phones are always ringing in the office, so we headed there next and this is what we found!
"The secretaries have a friendly face,
And answer phones in a busy place.
Find me by the leader(s) of our school."
With the Secretaries in the Main Office!
We know the leader of our school is the principal, Mr. Kamphoff, so we headed off to his office next. Unfortunately, the Gingerbread Man wasn't there either! This is what he left behind!
This is the principal's office.
They're nice, you know.
They told me not to run anymore,
But to walk, wherever I go.
Go find me where we eat together.
The note we discovered at the Principal's Office!
We knew that we always eat lunch in the cafeteria, so we figured we would try to catch the Gingerbread Man there! This is what we found waiting for us.
"This is the lunchroom.
These friends like us a bunch,
And always make sure we have a good lunch.
I'm getting a bit tired as you can see,
  The Rainforest Room is where I'll be!"
He got away again! Outside the Cafeteria!
Well we finally made it back to our room. It took awhile for us to find him, but when Mrs. Rehder opened the snack cupboards, our final clue was waiting for us!
"I've run and run and I need some rest.
I think this room is the best!"
Our Snack Cupboard!
 After the long hunt we rewarded ourselves by enjoying some delicious Gingerbread cookies!

Monday, September 20, 2010

She Comes From a Land Down Under!

G'Day Mates! Well it is true! We had an Aussie visit our Rainforest today! I taught over in Australia for a semester and Mrs. Jodie Riek was my mentor. She is now here visiting over their school holiday to observe classrooms and colleges - or unis, as she calls them! We had a wonderful time with her today! She sang to us, taught us their alphabet, took pictures, and she even read us 2 of her favorite stories - Wombat Stew, written by Marcia K. Vaughan and Possum Magic written by Mem Fox. We showed her our Hoover Husky Pride throughout the day and even reached a new goal when doing "Read to Self" for the Daily 5 today - 8 minutes! Mrs. Riek and myself were VERY impressed! Enjoy the storytelling!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Partner Match

On Monday we got to explore our first Math Activity. We learned all the songs and dances that we sing at Calendar time, we learned about the temperature, the date, the days of the week, how many days we've been at school, and patterns. Whew! We've definitely been busy! But we also had a lesson on shorter, longer, and the same lenght. We each had a strip and had to find our partner without talking at all! It was tough, but we just lined up our ends and if our strips were the same lenght, we knew we were partners. Once we found our partners we sat down with them and measured to see who's hand, feet, hair and bodies were shorter, longer, or the same length! Check out our teamwork! 

Matching up their strips! 
Comparing Hands
Comparing Feet

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Day of School!

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Well the day has finally arrived and already passed - can you believe it?! We started our day talking about how to be Respectful, Responsible, and Safe Rangers. But most importantly we discussed how to Try Our Best each and every day! Then we read the story "The Night Before Kindergarten" and shared drawings with the class.
Next we went on a Safari Hunt with our Rainforest Ranger hats and we used our binoculars to "spot" new areas and new friends. During the safari we discovered that we have an office, a library, a computer room, a music room, an art room, a gym, a cafeteria and A LOT of teachers and classrooms! As one Ranger said "It's like a BIG high school, for little people!" And indeed it is.
We also read "The Kissing Hand" and painted our own hands on puzzles and placed hearts in the middle. This symbolizes how a parent can kiss a child's hand and their love will stay with them throughout the day, no matter where they are.
We had a very busy, yet fun-filled day! We cannot wait until tomorrow! Day Two...Bring it On!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Kindergarten

Welcome to Mrs. Rehder's Rainforest! 
This blog is to let me keep you updated on all those little moments that mean so much - the first day jitters, the successes, the struggles, the mishaps, the accomplishments, etc. Let's be honest, Kindergarten is FILLED with them. Those little worries, wonders, experiences, and memories that happen day in and day out. In a sense, it is my open journal to share with those who might be experiencing the same first year wonders, it might be for the parents that want to know "what really goes on in Kindergarten." Some days it might provide a comic relief, while other days I may just ask questions and share ideas.
Welcome to our classroom. 
Hope you enjoy the journey.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oh How I Hate Goodbyes...

Well, you can definitely feel it and especially hear it...the end of the school year is here! The past few weeks have been EXTRA full of energy, colored pictures, hugs, and sweet compliments. My pandas all seem very eager and anxious to move into the first grade and they have been working hard to show me that they are more than capable. Me on the other hand...I am not so sure I am ready! I am proud to say I have only had one minor meltdown in front of them and rest assured they were there to comfort me. But let's be honest, tomorrow is a whole new story. I am sure I will be filling a bundle of emotions. I am sad to see them go, but I know they will all be off to do grand things. Hope you enjoy the slide show of our final field trip together at Sibley Park!

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Hello From Afghanistan!

Hello Pandas --
How are all of you doing?  I've made it to Afghanistan and I just wanted to say hello.
It was a long journey to Afghanistan.  We flew our plane from Minnesota to St. Johns, Newfoundland, CN, then to near London, England.  The next day we flew to Bucharest, Romania and finally to Bagram, Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is very mountainous and dry.  Some of the mountains that we fly over are 24,000' tall.  That's 10'000 feet taller than the highest mountains of Colorado.  We have been very busy flying almost everyday here.  Our plane has carried many passengers and their cargo to many different locations in Afghanistan.  The roads are in very poor shape here and often the only way to reach villages is by airplane.
Thank you again for the very special blanket.  I have it hanging on my wall and it reminds me of the Pandas and everyone back in the US every day.  I've thought of your class and the special presentation many times since I've been here.
Enjoy your last week of Kindergarten and have a great summer.
Thank you,
Major Jason Ceminsky

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Scientists in the Making...

In Science we have been learning a lot about animals - insects, pets, birds, fish, etc. We know that in our own neighborhood there are a lot of these animals, sometimes, we just need to take a closer look. This week we grabbed our clipboards, our pencils, and focused on our eyes, ears, and touch to see what we could discover at Hoover on a Nature walk. Within our 15 minute exploration we discovered 37 birds, 12 caterpillars, 2 inchworms, 6 spiders, 5 butterflies, several insects and 1 dog across the street! Take a look at the our future scientists at work!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Breaking a Sweat & Breaking a Board!

We had a great time today with our Friday Friend Master Winkler. He taught us about respect, focus, and self-control. He was a wonderful speaker and Aiden - one of Master Winkler's students - actually demonstrated how to break a board! He was very respectful, saying "Yes Sir!" and focusing on his Master's commands and directions. I even got in on the action! After listening carefully to Master Winkler's directions, focusing, and getting support from the students, I broke a board! It was quite a great time!
As a group we all practiced our listening skills, our focus skills, and our self-control. We are hoping that this discussion will help us remember to remain respectful of the rules, be a first-time listener, and give our best for the remainder of the school year! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just for Jason

Olivia's dad, Jason Ceminsky, is returning to Afghanistan on the morning of Thursday, May 12th. As a class we wanted him to know how much we appreciate his service, his courage, and bravery.
We wish him, and his fellow troop members, safety throughout their tour of duty. May he return home soon to a true hero's welcome.
Hope you take the time to enjoy the video and remember those who are serving our country!

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just for Jason

Olivia's dad, Jason Ceminsky, is returning to Afghanistan on the morning of Thursday, May 12th. As a class we wanted him to know how much we appreciate his service, his courage, and bravery.
We wish him, and his fellow troop members, safety throughout their tour of duty. May he return home soon to a true hero's welcome.
Hope you take the time to enjoy the video and remember those who are serving our country!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wiggle, Waddle, and Witness the Wonder!

So...we are finally learning about animals in Science and we all know that the best way to learn is by experiencing hands-on, real-world learning. Therefore, we decided read stories about animals, do some whole group lessons on animals, write about animals, and interact with animals! Yes, I said it, kindergartens interacting with LIVE animals....scary...yet interesting thought.
Last week we brought in the goldfish to show one example of an amazing creature that may live in the water. One of my student's begged for me to bring in an Anglerfish. I explained that not all fish are exactly friendly fish! We discussed a variety of characteristics about fish - as well as how to care for them, how to feed them, and responsibilities of having a pet like a fish.
We also discussed warm-blooded animals like mammals and birds. We were fortunate enough to have an grandparent bring in an incubator filled with eggs. The incubator helps keep the eggs moist and warm. They were brought in yesterday - just in time because the first egg crack yesterday and three chicks today! My classroom, and the entire dome, was literally alive with the sounds of chirping all day - not only from the chicks, but the students too! Several times I caught them sneaking off to catch a glimpse the latest waddle or newest crack in the egg. Sneaky little detectives they are!
The last thing we investigated was cold-blooded animals. We were scientists as we brought in worms into our classroom. We used our 5 senses to discover unique features about them and also discuss interesting facts.
Overall, we have a good sense of some of the amazing animals that we may see everyday, but we still know there is a lot to learn. As one student put it "We gotta stay in school so we can learn about all this stuff, because t.v. doesn't let you play with everything like school does!"
Until the next adventure....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Pandas Podcasts!

 In our classroom we are working very hard to become fluent readers and expressive writers. We have done such a grand job that we would like to broadcast our ideas with the world. When we finish partner reading our books, we work as a team, or by ourselves to create sentences about the knowledge that we've learned. Please feel free to listen into our thoughts, ideas, and storytelling. 
We hope you enjoy the Pandas Podcasts!
Click on a name below to listen in: