Erin Biddle enters her fourth year at The Cooper School as the Kindergarten teacher. Erin brings fifteen years of classroom experience in Connecticut, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Erin received her BA in Education at Mercyhurst University. She is a certified early childhood and elementary educator. Erin believes her mission is to instill the love of learning. She is thrilled to be a member of The Cooper School team! Erin enjoys spending time with her husband, Chris and daughter, Abigail exploring Charleston and going to the beach.
Holiday Choir Performance
On Tuesday, our school performed a holiday Choir Performance at the Circular Church downtown. Ms. Hazel led students through several songs and classics, filling the beautiful church with echoes of harmony and melodies of the season. Second Grade had their time in the spotlight, as well as three brave Kindergarteners performing solo parts throughout a song. It was definitely a highlight of the show for all in attendance.
Brave Authors and Illustrators Preparing to Publish their 2nd Piece
Our young authors have been busy writing small moments from their lives. Kindergartners wrote who, where, and what happened on each page. Our brave writers practiced telling a story across several pages, stretched out words to record all of their sounds, and made their characters talk by adding speech bubbles. Then, students learned to switch to the role of the illustrator as they practiced drawing pictures that matched the words on the page. Illustrators used real life colors to bring their stories to life.
This week our Kindergarten mathematicians have continued learning about measuring different weights and have started to learn about volume. We weighed cubes, pennies, and other small objects to see how many would equal the weight of a pencil. Kindergartners have been having so much fun using the balance scale and predicting what objects have the same weight. We are now studying the volume of various objects. We even poured rice into different cups, bowls and plastic containers to study their capacity.
Next week we’ll be collecting pajama donations for our annual Pajama Drive. All pajamas will be donated to the Pajama Program and distributed to children in need across the Lowcountry.
This week our Kindergarten builders continued studying what materials buildings are made of. We looked at different pictures of buildings from all around the world such as the Statue of Liberty, the Great Wall of China, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and more. We then shared what buildings we would like to create for our buildings museum. Kindergarteners also spent time talking about what happens inside of buildings. Ask your Kindergartener what their favorite building has been so far!
Discovering More About Donald Crews
Kindergarten readers continued exploring their author study on Donald Crews. This week, Kindergarteners explored the many ways that good readers approach books. Readers practiced reading and then retelling the major events from the beginning, middle, and end of their books. Students learned that good readers use picture clues to read words and that sometimes books can teach us about numbers and math! It has been a lovely week exploring Donald Crews, experiencing the joys of reading, and learning about a collection of books.
This week our Kindergarten mathematicians have been comparing lengths and measuring weights. We compared different objects from our classroom to our 5 stick number cubes to see if they were longer or shorter. We learned different ways to get five, such as adding 4 and 1, and adding 3 and 2. Kindergartners compared numbers all the way from 1 to 10 using our cubes. We weighed classroom objects of all different sizes using a bucket balance to compare them. Kindergartners enjoyed weighing objects because they got to choose which object they thought would be heavier.
Francis Marion Square
Kindergartners were delighted to go downtown yesterday to decorate the the tree on Francis Marion Square.We were so happy that parents were able to join us on this special occasion.The oysters came out looking fantastic.Kindergarteners wrote what they wanted to be when they grow up and then dipped their on personal oyster into paint and sprinkled it with glitter and dust.This joyous activity was so fun and we really enjoyed seeing you all.
Meet Donald Crews
Kindergarten readers are exploring a new author study on Donald Crews. This week they learned that Donald Crews is not only an author, but also an illustrator! In fact, he is such a great illustrator that he has won a special award that is awarded annually, by the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Kindergarten students are enjoying discovering more about Donald Crews through his vast collection of books.
Special Guest Brenton Rueger
Kindergarten parent, Brenton Rueger, is an amazing contractor who stopped by Tuesday morning as our special guest expert. He came by for our buildings unit to discuss and explain all about his construction tools. Students enjoyed hands-on experiences with tools that builders use and examined tools designers use when designing buildings. Your Kindergartener got the opportunity to use the tools safely and to participate in various activities to help learn about the different types of tools and what they are used for. Ask your child what their favorite part was from this special visit!
Lunch Buddies & Finger Knitting
Kindergarteners were thrilled to the gills to be lunch buddies with Third Grade on Thursday. This builds a yearlong friendship and community across grade levels. Kindergarteners love spending time with these older friends, talking and playing together. Third Graders also stopped by our classroom to help Kindergarten finger knit decorations for the our tree in Marion Square. Kindergarten enjoyed this so much and can’t wait to show you how well they can finger knit.
Every November Cooper School students and staff begin their discussion of Gratitude. This unit culminates at the Harvest Feast, where students share their Gratitude Books with their families and friends. These books are a labor of love that the students put a lot of thought into before their final copy is created. The outer covers of these books were painted by your Kindergartener using gorgeous natural dyes that were created by artist and Cooper School alumni parent, Rose Wirtz. Inside the books, are the six things that the students are most grateful for in their lives.
On Tuesday, TCS parents and friends were invited to join the students and faculty in a Harvest Feast to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a fantastic and delicious celebration for the entire Cooper School family.
This week in math Kindergarten mathematicians have been working with 2-Dimensional shapes. In addition to being vital to math learning, 2D shapes are important for art and life skills. Shapes are the basis of many early drawing and painting lessons. Kindergarteners used straws this week to build 2D shapes such as triangles, squares, rectangles and hexagons. We are now observing and studying solid shapes, ask your Kindergarten student what their favorite shape is so far!
This week Kindergarten readers have being using all their super reading powers to help them become better readers. Readers have been able to talk about the book before reading it and discuss with their peanut butter and jelly partner about what they think the story is about. They have also learned to read a book and discuss it with their partner afterwards. Your Kindergartener has the ability to use many reading powers such as rereading power, picture power, pointer power, partner power, sound power, persistent power, book talk power and snap word power. Ask you Kindergartener what their favorite power is!
Artichect Will Wingfield
On Wednesday, Lulu’s dad came to visit our class and discuss buildings with our class. Will Wingfield is an amazing architect that shared much of his knowledge and answered many curious questions our young builders had. Kindergarteners were able to see tools and look at many examples of different buildings that he has designed for various businesses and families. Kindergartners were also able to touch cardboard models of buildings that he designed. Our young builders are learning more each day about buildings and eager to know what will come next!
Natural Dyes With Rose Wirtz
Kindergarten students experienced a beautiful lesson in using natural dyes to paint, by local artist and former Cooper School parent, Rose Wirtz. Rose visited with Kindergarteners under the oaks to demonstrate the process she uses for creating a rainbow of dyes, using items found in nature. Stay tuned for the unfolding of this exciting project!
Building our Knowledge
Kindergarteners were delighted to launch our Buildings unit in Science and Social Studies this week! They offered diverse background knowledge based on individual experiences and unique wonders, as we began to discuss local buildings, buildings that are far away, and buildings that are far, far away. Working in pairs, students compared photographs of buildings near and far and shared observations during a class discussion. Our learning centers reflected the wonderful world of buildings through building and constructing in the blocks center, illustrating their home in the art center, and designing and then constructing a building in the tinkering center. Students examined parts of the Kindergarten classroom to record how many windows and doors we have. Ask your curious Kindergarteners what they learned about buildings this week!
What is Gratitude and How Do We Show It?
Students have been exploring the topic of Gratitude during our Morning Meetings this week. We discussed what it means to feel gratitude, how to show it, and the many ways to express it. Students shared ideas on ways to receive gratitude and why it matters. Kindergarteners love participating in these “grateful” activities!
Wrapping Up An Exciting Pumpkin Unit
This week, Kindergarten pumpkin experts shared all of their pumpkin knowledge with Kindergarten families during our beautiful Pumpkin Feast! This festive event was truly special for Kindergarteners, as they have been working quite hard to prepare their pumpkin facts, create a unique pumpkin necklace, learn pumpkin songs, and practice speaking in front of an audience. Kindergarten pumpkin experts did a fabulous job sharing all they know about pumpkins! Parents did a lovely job supplying a fabulous spread of pumpkin foods, and we thank you!
Kindergarteners were thrilled to participate in their 1st Annual Halloween Carnival. Kindergarteners lead our costume contest in which they paraded around the backyard showing off their costumes. Kindergarteners were then free to participate in the various Halloween booths that were created by the lovely Fifth Graders. These included a Cake Walk, Haunted House, Tattoos, Face Painting and many more…. TCS students got together at the end and received prizes for their costumes. It was fun for all!
This week kindergartens learned all about snap words.We focused on “the,a,and me”. Kindergartners are able to now point out these words while reading.The importance of snap words are an essential part of learning to read. These words cannot easily be sounded out or illustrated, so it is important that our kindergartners be able to recognize these words.
This week, Kindergarten pumpkin experts examined their pumpkins. Kindergarteners wrote about the outer appearance of the pumpkin and also the inside. In our classroom, students practiced finding interesting ways to sort our pumpkin museum by attributes, observed and illustrated the “Case of the Decomposing Pumpkin”, and conducted exciting experiments to see if pumpkins sink or float in water.
Tinkering Minds in Learning Centers
Kindergarteners were introduced to a new “tinkering” learning center in their classroom this week. Our tinkering learning center is filled with many objects, from beads to rubber bands and bottle caps, that are awaiting the bright and unique minds of Kindergarteners.
In this learning center, students create an illustrated plan for the materials they choose to work with. Once students have illustrated their plan, they attempt to build their “plan” and compare it to their tinkered piece. Tinkering activities provide a powerful way to inspire student interest, engagement, and understanding in science and the arts. Student exploration during tinkering supports science learning through providing opportunities to deepen engagement, innovation, and understanding, as well as supporting self-expression through the arts.
On Thursday, Kindergarten authors had a publishing party. Over the last couple of weeks we have been writing stories and narrowing them down to a final piece. Our young authors wrote their own words and illustrated pictures. Kindergarteners have been working so hard on these stories and we were excited to celebrate them and their wonderful achievements! Ask your Kindergartener what was their favorite part about writing a book!
Kindergarten students and teachers were thrilled to have parents join us for Morning Meeting on Tuesday. Responsive Classroom’s Morning Meeting is an engaging way to start each day, build a strong sense of community, and set children up for success socially and academically. Morning Meeting has four components: Greeting, Sharing, a Group Activity, and a Morning Message. Students practice social skills in structured ways during our daily greetings. They learn the valuable life skill of greeting another person while making eye contact and saying the person’s name. During the Sharing part of Morning Meeting, students learn to articulate their thoughts and feelings in a positive manner. During the Group Activity portion of our meeting, students build community with classmates through active participation. Finally, academic skills and community building are both embedded through class discussions about our daily Morning Message.
Daily Morning Meetings help to create the positive power of community in our classroom! Students are able to fulfill the need to belong, to feel significant, and to have fun! Each day, your child is being taught the skills of friendliness and social interest through sharing, listening, inclusion, participation, and speaking in front of a group. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we do!
Kindergarteners were thrilled to finish reading the emergent storybooks and to celebrate with a parade throughout the entire school. Other classrooms cheered our readers on with signs and chants to congratulate them on learning to read their book. Kindergarteners were then given a key to open up the world of books. By the end of the parade, each student was beaming with pride!
Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkin experts were thrilled to go on their first study trip to the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch on Thursday. Kindergarteners spent the morning jumping in the sun on a gigantic trampoline, going down giant slides, and just having lots of fun! Your child then enjoyed a hayride through the plantation. They saw ghosts, spiders, pirates, witches, and so much more!! Kindergarteners learned all about the life cycle of the pumpkin and acted it out through movement and song and then picked a pumpkin in a large field. Pumpkin experts then enjoyed eating lunch together among the pumpkins. We had a fantastic time!
Young pumpkin enthusiasts are deep into our study of pumpkins. Kindergarteners learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin during Science this week, through read-alouds and class discussions. We read Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden, Pumpkin, Pumpkin, and Pumpkin Jack. Our young scientists learned about the life cycle and parts of a pumpkin. They now know that the beautiful yellow flowers that grow from a pumpkin vine are the promise for a future pumpkin. Scientists also observed our “Pumpkin Jack” and recorded daily observations of the changes occurring. So far they have noticed that it is getting “fuzzy” or “furry” and there is a lot of pumpkin juice at the bottom of the container. Stay tuned as we continue to learn more about the decomposing process through our pumpkin unit!
This week, Kindergarten storytellers worked with their “Peanut Butter and Jelly Partners” to retell story books! Your reader retold stories by looking at the previous page, saying the words first, next and last, and by using dialogue that the characters use. Kindergarteners can’t wait to continue learning how to make facial expressions and voices like the characters so they can act out the popular story, “Three Billy Goats Gruff.”
This week in math Kindergarten mathematicians have been working on numbers 6 through 10. We have mastered the ability to sort by count using numbers 6 through 10. Your Kindergartener has the ability to write out these numbers and count them using objects.