Author Archives: Ms. McClellan

Week 2 Update

Well we’re back into the swing of thing. The children are adjusted to their new routines and ready to learn.

As noted in the newsletter, our fire inspection is on Monday. This is very important for both the school and the students to learn fire safety. Because the fire department will be coming, they will bring their fire truck. We will have a chance to take photos with the fire truck. This will be happening just after 2pm. If half day students wish to stay for this, they are welcome. They can be picked up around 2:30.

Also in the newsletter is a link to order from the Scholastic Book Club. A catalogue went home in your child’s backpack today. I highly encourage you to buy books to read with your child. Reading at home is the best homework children of this age can do. Not only does it help them academically, it helps foster a life-long love of reading. If you would like recommendations of books to buy, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Because we have a new class dynamic, we’re going to be doing  some concentrated work on kindness over the next few weeks. We will be doing this during our Morning Meeting time. Emotional awareness, kindness, and empathy are skills that should be reinforced at home as well. To this end, every Friday I will upload a PDF of the plan for our Morning Meetings for the upcoming week so you will be aware of what we’re talking about each day. I know children don’t always communicate well about their day for you to be able to follow up easily at home. Here is the first week of our Kindness Morning Meeting curriculum. Week 1 acts of kindness. We will be doing these lessons on Tuesday-Friday.

The students had a lot of fun for Crazy Hat Day. Not everyone brought a hat so we spent some time making our own.

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Phonics is till going well and the students are learning lots being separated into their level groups. In the upcoming weeks we will be doing even more targeted learning at each child’s learning level. Stay tuned!

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In PE we introduced some activities we hadn’t done since last semester such as Submarine Tag (which the students just call “the catch game”) in which the person who is “it” tags a student and that student must lay down and put their periscope up (put their leg in the air). They can be saved by another student coming along and putting their periscope down. We also tried using hula hoops with varying levels of success.

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In IPC we’ve started to make our own puppets to facilitate our learning about playing pretend.

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Learning about playing pretend in IPC has really sparked some interesting changes in our developmental play time.

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Have a great weekend and we’ll see you on Monday!

 

 

 

Week 1 Wrap-Up

Welcome back everyone!

I hope you all had a relaxing winter break full of joy and happiness no matter what celebrations or traditions your family observes during this period.

I’d like to start with a big welcome to Jisika in FS1 and Minel in FS2. We’re so happy to have them with us.

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We’re off to a roaring start this term. You can view our Term 2 Curriculum Planner here.

The students have a renewed passion for phonics. Our phonics work is now being more efficiently differentiated for the different age groups we have in the class. We start with whole-group activities that everyone can participate in then split off into groups. Ms. Jiyu has been working with the FS1 students while I work more closely with the FS2 and Year 1 students.

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Our writer’s workshop has seen some great developments with students really using their phonics knowledge to put labels on their illustrations and start to write full words and sentences.

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Math Buddies is continuing our unit on measurement and is also being divided into age-appropriate groups for working.

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Although some of the children still ask to do yoga, we’ve got a lot going on in PE. We learned the game “Duck Duck Goose”, we started playing some ball hockey, and much to the children’s delight, we’ve introduced the parachute.

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In IPC we’ve started a new unit called Let’s Pretend. The students are being guided to play pretend with traditional stories and tales. We’re using costumes and puppets and we’ve seen some creative adaptations of stories such as Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

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Much of the dress up costumes we have are old Halloween costumes and we could always use more variety. If you have any old costumes that are no longer needed in your family, we would love to add them to our costume bin. We’ve got a special desire for more princess costumes as we now have a lot of girls in our class.

This emphasis on pretend is also influencing the different ways the children are playing during developmental play time.

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Have a restful weekend and see you on Monday!

Week 16 Wrap-up

Winter break is finally here. Our Winter Show on Monday was a great success. I am so pleased with how confidently the children performed their Santa song. I hope you enjoyed watching it.

In IPC we finished up our unit on patterns.

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We revisited Writer’s Workshop and the break to do Word Work was a real success. The students are writing more in their journals.

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We did more work on measurement in Math Buddies but as mentioned before we’ll be revisiting this unit when school starts back up in the new year.

And of course we had lots of great developmental play time.

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Have a great winter break! School starts back up Monday, January 7. Can’t wait to see you all!

Best,

Marie McClellan

Week 15 Wrap-Up

Some housekeeping notes before the wrap-up begins:

  • Reports were sent home today in your child’s backpack. Please read the report, use the comment section, and sign it before you bring it with you to the parent conferences on Wednesday.
  • Parent conferences are on Wednesday afternoon. You are able to book a 20 minute slot by signing the sheet in the office if you haven’t already. Please bring the signed comment section of the school reports to the conference so we can better discuss your child’s academic progress.
  • The Winter Show is on Monday night. Doors open at 6pm with the show starting at 6:30. Please have your child wear black/dark bottoms and a red or green top. School uniforms are not required.
  • On Thursday 13 December there will be a special lunch provided for the children. The Lickert family is leaving HFS and this is to bid them farewell. Lunch will be early, at 12:15. Half-day students are welcome to stay for lunch or be picked up at 12:15.

Whew, that’s all. Onto this week’s wrap-up.

With the term winding to a close I am so excited to see all the rich interactions the students are having. Students are trying out new games, playing with different groups of friends, and really expanding their horizons.

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Our theme for Star of the Week is Curiosity. Mentoring on Monday saw the students working with their mentors to learn new things or expand their knowledge.

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The students are showing an increased interest in books and literacy and have made a habit of going to explore the books in our reading corner when they finish their phonics workbooks. This happened spontaneously and is something I will continue encouraging.

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Math Buddies saw an introduction to measurement. However, with practicing for the winter show, upcoming parent conferences, and next Friday being a half-day, we will not complete the unit. We will continue to explore measurement and learn vocabulary such as “bigger”, “smaller”, “longer”, “shorter”, “taller” so that we can dive back in and look more closely at measurement when the new term begins.

We continued our word work and looked more closely at the sight words “like” and “and”. On Wednesday we had a sight word scavenger hunt that the students found exhilarating. During the scavenger hunt, students looked around the room for the words “I”, “like”, “and”, “mom”, “dad” which I had posted. They used their magnifying glasses and felt like real detectives as they checked off each word on their recording sheet. This is definitely an activity which we will use again.

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We’ve been hard at work preparing for the winter show. The students have been having lots of fun singing their song. It’s going to be a real treat. We also made salt dough ornaments for the sale table. Please support your children and the PTA by buying one (or more!) on Monday night.

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Some of the students have noticed that I take a lot of pictures and have started hamming it up for the camera and asking that these photos be shared. So, I will finish this post with a posed picture. This is a firefighter, two cars, and friends on an airplane.

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Best,

Marie McClellan

Week 14 Wrap-up

In the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, there is a philosophy which is almost a mantra. This is: “meet them where they are.” This is essential to student-lead learning. If students are not producing the kind of work one as a teacher expects, one has to think about where the barriers to learning are for those students and “meet them where they are” and remove those barriers. That mantra was put into practice in our classroom this week.

In English we moved away from Writer’s Workshop for the week and just focused on some word work. There was no pressure to write in their Author’s Journals. We did whole-group work making words with magnetic letters and students took clipboards and paper and found words around the room that they wanted to try writing. Copying writing is a great way to learn. We started more intense sight word work and those who felt comfortable tried writing a sentence with the sight words we had worked on.

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We moved away from the fast-paced nature of Math Buddies to get practice with the fundamentals of forming numerals.

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Our IPC has always been exploratory so nothing has changed there. At the end of last week we took a pattern walk around the Hanmaeum Centre looking for patterns in the real world. This week we used the photos we took to create a pattern book. The students were very excited to show it to the school. We also looked at exotic pattern on animals and explored that further by creating our own exotically patterned animals.

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We allowed some time for some really rich developmental play. The students have begun role-playing real life situations such as taking care of a sleeping baby and fighting fires with fire engines and hoses (and costumes!). Also the block and train constructions the students make are beginning to become very elaborate.

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This week has also seen some of our youngest friends developing great independence in things like putting on their own jackets, fixing their own shoes, or completing puzzles with almost no help at all.

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As this term begins to wrap up, I will continue to “meet them where they are” and make sure all students are successful in the classroom.

Best,

Marie McClellan

Week 13 Wrap-up

A quick note about homework before we begin: FS2 and Year 1 brought home literacy homework which involves sight words. Sight words are words that don’t necessarily follow a 1:1 phonics pattern (although lots of them do) but students should be able recognise on sight, not by sounding them out. We are very early into the reading process and students have just been introduced to these words. If your child struggles with this homework, do not worry about it as we will be working with these words more and more in class. Homework is meant to keep learning fresh in their minds, not teach them completely new concepts. However, please communicate with me if you have concerns regarding the difficulty level of the homework.

Speaking of literacy, our phonics program continues as we worked on the letters T and P this week. As always, we focused on these being the initial sound of words. We also worked on blending phonemes which is the academic way to say “stretching out words so we could hear all their sounds individually then putting those words back together.” This activity in phonics is tying in well with Writer’s Workshop where we began our Writing With Sentences unit this week. During our Illustrators unit we had the goals of “I can add details” and “I can label” where students made sure their illustrations were rich with setting and characters and that individual parts of our illustrations had a label, which was usually the first letter of the word. This week we added the goal of “I can use words” and students are beginning to work towards this goal.

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Students are also taking a more active interest in the books in our classroom library and are beginning to roleplay reading to each other. There is one very popular alphabet book that all the students love to read.

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In IPC we began our unit on patterns. We experimented with fabric to create patterns (which was also great scissor skills work) and today we took a chilly walk around the school grounds looking for patterns we saw out and about. I took photos of the patterns we saw and we will work with those photos to create a project.

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During our developmental play time, the students have really been enjoying dressing up from our costume bin and going about the rest of their business. This week there has been witches cooking meals, vampires flying on airplanes, and pirates going shopping. Developmental play time is also seeing some communication and conflict resolution skills being developed.

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In PE we’ve been trying some yoga for kids from the Cosmic Kids yoga series. Today we did a yoga workout based on the story of Moana.

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I am happy to see all the children dressing for the weather. We still have outdoor play during recess and lunch so this is very important as the temperatures continue to drop.

Have a great weekend. Stay warm, and we’ll see you on Monday!

Best,

Marie McClellan

Dress Down Day for IPC

Our next IPC unit will focus on patterns. On Wednesday, uniforms are not required. In fact, please have the students dress in their favourite outfits. If these outfits have stripes, dots, or patterns of any kind that’s even better but certainly not required. Although we will be exploring patterns in IPC, all students are welcome to dress down that day – not just the full-day students. We do have PE that morning so please make sure students are wearing appropriate footwear for sports and games.

Week 12 Wrap-up

Between illesses, abscenses, book home day, and our excellent field trip, our learning didn’t follow a traditional academic path this week.

In Math we concentrated on reviewing patterns, number sense, making combinations to 10, and “how many more” than 5 our number of the day was. We’ll be back to daily Math Buddies continuing on comparing numbers 1-10 using less/more/same next week.

In Phonics we focussed on the letter H. Next Week we’ll have 2 new letters to study in depth. We’ll also begin our Writer’s Workshop which is all about writing with sentences. The students didn’t know it, but they got a taste of that in our field trip consolidation piece and unit wrap-up in IPC where we wrote a book about our day at the park. Feel free to stop by and read it as it hangs on our display. When the display comes down, it will join our class library as a piece of work the children can read.

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Speaking of the field trip, it was amazing. The students had so much fun. We began the day enjoying the Dragon Playground.

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Then we enjoyed our snack and walked carefully over to the new Children’s Park. Upon arrival, we played in the ball pit which had a VR dinosaur game where children had to throw the balls at dinosaurs to blow them up and reach the next level.

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Then we got to experience the Sand Art. It was an interactive learning experience where the children manipulated the sand to make different things happen in the various games and experiences. They dug up dinosaurs, they created paths of land and water to guide animals to a habitat they could live in, they created volcanoes, and so much more.

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Next, we moved onto the giant lego room where the students had a great time creating imaginative structures. They built quite a large castle.

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We had a picnic lunch outside and then played on the trampolines, explored the sand pit, climbed the rope structures, and walked through tunnels.

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Between Ms. Esther who joined us on the trip and myself, we took over 200 photos. I have collected them all in another Google Photo Album which is linked here for you to see. There are a few short video clips in that collection of photos. You should be able to download photos from the Google Album. If you wish to and are not successful, please email me and I’ll do my best to explain to you how to do it.

I hope you have a good week and I look forward to a week of routine next week as we enter the homeward stretch of this term.

Best,

Marie McClellan

Field Trip Postponement

Because of the forecasted rain for Tuesday, we will be postponing the field trip until Thursday November 15. All other details remain the same. I apologise for the inconvenience.

Best,

Marie McClellan