Sunshine Room May Newsletter

What’s Been Happening

Olé! May kicked off with the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Ms. Lourdes came to the classroom to explain why this holiday is important in Mexico.  She shared information about the Mexican culture, and even had the children dancing along to the catchy rhythm of “La Bamba.”

For Mother’s Day, the children worked very hard making portraits of their mothers. It is amazing to see how well they remember their mothers’ specific features and how closely the portraits resembled them. After that, they turned their mothers into queens, with all kinds of details and fancy crowns. We hope all moms had a wonderful day!

The socio-emotional learning of this month centered on understanding and developing empathy, in the hopes that we will be able to create a better world to live in.  Finally, the teacher explained Memorial Day as a day to remember all those who offered their lives to protect us.

Art

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Happy May! I hope everyone had a fun and enjoyable spring break!

This month we created a lot of fun projects; for our first project, the Kindergarten artists learned about Aboriginal dot art! After the students read Wombat Stew in their drama class, we were inspired to learn more about Australian art. Before we started creating, we had to learn a little bit more about Aboriginal dot art. Students watched two videos; the first, Aboriginal Rock Art from National Geographic Kids, showed us that traditional Aboriginal dot art was first painted on rocks and then tree bark! These artists also made their own paint using clay and sand. Our next video, Aboriginal Art Dot Painting, introduced us to an artist creating her own dot art painting. Students learned that instead of using a paint brush to create the dots, sticks work even better to make perfect round circles. The Kindergarteners used a very similar method, but instead of a stick we used the handle of a paint brush! Since there wasn’t any tree bark available for us to use, a regular piece of paper came in handy. Each group was given a different native Australian animal to draw. The Great White Sharks drew a lizard, The Diving Dolphins created a turtle, and The Jumping Blue Whales made a snake. Using chalk pastels, the Kindergarteners smudged in color on their animals and then began making their dots. Working slowly and carefully, the Sunshine Artists created some amazing works of art!

The month of May also had the Kindergarteners creating a familiar project we do for every change of the season: Spring Trees! The Sunshiners are now pros at painting trees, as they created some phenomenal ones for our fall and winter tree projects. Our first step was creating the sky and grass; using shades of blue and green chalk pastel, students smudged in color with their whole hand. Next, we used bronze metallic paint to create our trees and crumpled up tissue paper to make a unique print flower for our trees!

The artwork we created next was a group effort! Family Day is almost here which means the Sunshine Artists have been hard at work creating their name banners! Everyone was able to help paint all the banners in their group using blue water color paint. It was a big job, but they were up for the task! Next we painted in our names with shiny, silver metallic paint and I helped outline the bubble letters with a thick, black, permanent marker. I can’t wait for our families to see such amazing artwork!

Science

 

This month in science, students continued to learn about the living environment.  Last month, the Sunshine Roomers planted a variety of seeds including flowers and vegetables. Within three weeks, our seedlings grew so big that they were ready to be planted outdoors in our garden!  First, a group of students worked together to prepare the space. We used hoes, shovels, and rakes to turn and soften the soil and prepare it for planting.  We also added new top soil over the and used a rake to smooth the surface.  Next, each group went outdoors and planted the seedlings they were responsible for.  Afterwards, student volunteers watered the garden each day.  In addition to caring for the garden by weeding, watering, and treating it with extra care (especially during sports time outside), students continue to record the growth of the plants on their charts.  Most of our plants continue to grow strong and tall. Unfortunately, our lettuce plants and zinnia plants did not react well to the transplant and have wilted and stopped growing.

          Students also learned about earthworms this month.  We learned the burrows earthworms create in the soil produce openings for oxygen and water to enter the soil, while also allowing carbon dioxide to leave the soil.  This process helps plants to grow strong!  Earthworms also assist in the decomposition of dead plants, releasing nutrients into the soil so that new plants can use it.  We also read a book called, The Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. The students really loved the illustrations in the book.  We also learned about spiders and read the book, Diary of a Spider, also by Doreen Cronin.

          Over the last few weeks of school, students will begin a unit on space.  We will learn about the planets, stars, constellations, and rocket ships.  Students are very excited to learn about space and have been asking questions about space throughout the year. 
It will be out of this world!

Spanish

The Kindergarteners are busy wrapping up a year of learning in Spanish class! To culminate all they have done this year, each child is creating his or her own Spanish portfolio with all the work s/he has done throughout the year. From learning how to respond when asked our names and age (“¿Cómo te llamas? – Me llamo…….”; “¿Cuántos años tienes? Tengo…. Años”), to numbers 0 to 100, and vocabulary on colors, shapes, food, family, animals, clothes, and the body, it is amazing to reflect back on all we have learned! 

Through reading, writing, and of course, song, the Sunshine Roomers have developed a solid foundation of the Spanish language.  The Kindergarteners cannot wait to share their work with their parents and loved ones on Family Day!

Ms. Dora is so proud of all you have achieved this year, and would like to invite you to join her in a musical send-off to the year,  “Y me voy cantando… Feliz Año… con mucha suerte en el próximo… Yo soy el Frutero y vendo frutas buenas… Frutas, Frutas, Frutas…”

Math

This month has been all about measurement: length, weight, capacity, and area. This subject allowed the children to combine math concepts they learned throughout the year.

They began learning how to measure length in non-standard ways, such as using strings, chain links, and inch worms. The Sunshine Roomers then explored standard measurements using rulers, yard sticks, and tape measures. They engaged in solving problems by asking questions like, will this table fit through the door if we needed to take it out of the room?

With the book A Day at the Zoo we began exploring weight. Did you know that an elephant weighs as much as three pick-up trucks?! The children used comparative scales to find out what objects weigh more than others, and discovered that the size of an object doesn’t necessarily predict its weight.

Each group went outside to learn about measuring liquids. Using the water table, the children experimented by pouring cups of water into measuring cups and bins. They had a blast!

Finally, they learned the difference between perimeter and area. An informal way of measuring area is by placing same-sized objects to cover the area, and then comparing how many objects are needed to cover different areas.  The book Science Measurements put everything together, inviting the children to review what they learned and apply it to science.

The very last part of this unit relates back to the beginning of the year. On the first day, all the children were measured and had their height recorded. Now they will measure each other again and find out how much each one grew. A great subtraction exercise!

Handwriting

As the school year seems to be rapidly coming to an end, the children’s handwriting appears to be quickly improving!

This month, students focused on writing words related to Cinco de Mayo and animals that you would find on a farm.  The sight words that we learned this month were: here, over, about, was, and who.

We spent a considerable amount of time building words and reviewing our word building strategies.  We rediscovered consonants and vowels by playing “What’s in a Name?”, a game that identifies the amount of vowels and consonants in our names. That was a fun way to combine word problems, addition, and language arts all in one! We also played CVC relay race, where it was students versus the teacher to see who could come up with more CVC words. The Kindergarteners were so motivated that they won every time!

Though our school year is almost over, we are still learning and growing each day!