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Reading Comprehension

Understanding what we read is an essential component of the reading process.  Here is a good list of questions to ask during and after reading with your child.  If you would like the printable version, here is the link: http://www.playdoughtoplato.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Reading-Comprehension-Questions.pdf

                                 Reading Comprehension Questions
Ask two to three of the questions below when you read with your child.
Questions to ask as you read:
• What do you think will happen next?
• What does _____ (the name of a character) want?
• Where does the story take place?
• Do you think ____ (the name of a character) made good or bad
choices? Give an example.
• How does this story make you feel?
Questions to ask after you read:
• What is the same about this book and _____ (the name of another
book you have read together)?
• What do you think happened after the story ended?
• Do you think _____ (the name of a character) liked the way the story
• If you could choose one character from the story to be your friend,
who would you choose and why?
• Pretend that I have not read the story. Tell me what happened.
• If you were in the story, what would you have done differently?
• What lesson did the main character learn?
• Would this book be a good movie? Why?
• Who is the most important character in the story?
• What does this story make you think about?
• What was your favorite part of the story? Why was that your
• Why is the title of the book ____ (insert the name of the book)?

             ©2011-2012 Playdough to Plato. All rights reserved.


Kindergarten Math at Home–December 9

Here are a few articles with ideas you can use to help support your child’s math learning at home:

Math at Homehttp://teacherweb.com/CA/OakCreek/OakCreekKindergarten/photo7.aspx.  I will print the December calendar to send home today.

Helping your child learn math:  a parents guidehttp://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/earlymath/

Right now we are working on kindergarten patterning and geometry, which includes recognition of the following:  circle, triangle, square, rectangle, rhombus (diamond), trapazoid, hexagon, cube, cone, cylinder, sphere.

We played shape bingo yesterday which is a fun way to repeat the names of the shapes and see them many times.  Patterning continues with yards and yards of red and green Christmas chains.

Our countdown to the big holiday continues with many stories and activities.  Today the plan is to add Roll a Gingerbread Man to our usual routine.  I will send a copy home so your child can enjoy it again!


Kindergarten News November 30–Patterns

Students are working hard on the concepts of patterning.  Believe it or not, this is algebra at the kindergarten level!  Last week we worked on simple two color patterning with paper squares to frame a Thanksgiving turkey handprint and this week we are working on copying, extending and creating more complex patterns. For this, pattern blocks and the document camera are very helpful in the classroom.  I can set up a pattern for students to copy, freeze the screen and add labels to help the students understand that they can use letters to describe any pattern.  For example, a pattern with two colors or shapes that repeat is called an AB pattern.  One with three colors or shapes that repeat is called an ABC pattern.

We are also working on describing patterns in different ways.  Students can describe patterns with letters, colors or shape names.  While we worked with beads to make a Christmas ornament, students talked about what kind of pattern they were making.  If they were describing their pattern in terms of color, they were asked to explain it another way, with letters.  Having children attempt multiple ways of expressing their thinking helps develop their understanding of mathematical concepts.

Try these patterns at home:  pen, pencil (AB), fork, spoon, knife (ABC),  nickel, penny, penny (ABB).  Just a few minutes at home helps reinforce the idea that patterns also appear outside of school and that we use symbols in math to represent ideas (labeling patterns with letters does that).

Talk about it:  patterns happen in music, science, reading, art and every other subject area.  They occur in nature and in man-made things.  Help your child look for and talk about what is repeating.  It is amazing how many patterns you see when you are looking for them!


Kindergarten News November 6–One More, One Fewer

We have introduced the concepts of one more and one fewer in kindergarten.  These ideas are very difficult for children of this age and you can be a tremendous help at home.  Try this free game playing with blocks or similar objects. You take some blocks, and ask your child to take as many as you have and ONE MORE. Then it’s their turn to take some, and for your turn you will need to take the same amount plus one more. Reverse the game later to do ONE LESS.

Quarter Two begins tomorrow.  Please send your 1-lb. box of Ritz crackers for snack.  The children got their new folders on Friday as well as new notebooks for rest time.  I will be sending home a note specifying what other supplies your child needs.  We’ve been working hard, our markers are running low!

Now that the weather is cooling off, please dress your child for the weather, we are outside for recess every day.

Kindergarten News October 27–Ask About School

My CGI training today was very good.  There is so much to learn that every opportunity to work with other teachers brings more understanding.  Teachers are learners too, and presenting CGI techniques will develop over time.

Here is an interesting Scholastic article written for Grades 3-5 but is appropriate for students of any age:

10 Questions to Ask Your Child About His Day at School

Get a sense of your child’s life at school by asking questions that elicit more than a one-word response.

10 Questions to Ask Your Child About His Day at School

The trick is to ask about things that are specific, but still open-ended. Move beyond “fine” and “nothing” by asking your child to describe his world. It’s also great to start the conversation with an anecdote from your own day. Try one of these conversation-starters:

  1. Tell me about the best part of your day.
  2. What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
  3. Did any of your classmates do anything funny?
  4. Tell me about what you read in class.
  5. Who did you play with today? What did you play?
  6. Do you think math [or any subject] is too easy or too hard?
  7. What’s the biggest difference between this year and last year?
  8. What rules are different at school than our rules at home? Do you think they’re fair?
  9. Who did you sit with at lunch?
  10. Can you show me something you learned (or did) today?


Kindergarten News October 18–Emergent Readers

Here is a link to an article on supporting your kindergarten child:  A Parents Guide to Working with Your Emergent Reader and Writer.  Try some of these tips as well as reading aloud and helping with homework.  Your child will benefit!

Check out Youtube’s Sesame Street’s Guess What’s Next.  It was a fun introduction to working on patterns today.

Remember that on Thursday and Friday there is no school.  Enjoy your extra time off!


Kindergarten News October 13–Reading Cohort

October 13, 2011

Yesterday I attended a reading workshop for kindergarten and grade one teachers.  I have been involved with this group for the past two years and it is an excellent way to stay in touch with others who are teaching primary students.  Facilitated by Jan Ferraro, the cohort discusses classroom management and strategies that are helpful to use with our year old Mondo reading series.  There are many important components to the series but it is coming together and the message to parent is still the same:  Read, read, read to your children!  Even a few minutes a day adds up to better results.

I will also be implementing spelling in kindergarten.  In the beginning we will mainly be working with Sorts:  sorting images into categories, then letters, etc.  While students don’t read many words early in kindergarten, we will be setting the stage for learning to recognize patterns important for developing early reading skills.  More on this later.