Erin Biddle enters her third year at The Cooper School as the Kindergarten teacher. Erin brings fourteen 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.
Atam is originally from Evansville, IN but lived in Memphis, TN prior to moving to Charleston. This will be his 2nd year at TCS as the Kindergarten Assistant Teacher. He previously worked as an assistant in a Junior Kindergarten class at Immaculate Conception Catholic School. Outside of the classroom Atam has a passion for teaching as a summer camp administrator, theater teacher and private swim coach. Atam is so happy to be in Charleston working with Miss Erin.
Kindergarteners Prepare for Self-Assessments
Kindergarten scholars have been so very hard at work as they prepare for their self-assessment meetings next week! Kindergarteners have been learning the art of evaluating their own learning in each subject area. They have worked hard to take an honest look at how they feel about their learning and rating their feelings in each area. These brave and proud scholars are ready to share all of their hard work with you. They have become 113 days smarter and have so many ways to show you! Ask your Kindergartener what they have enjoyed the most about their self-assessments!
Loving Kindergarteners spent this special day passing out Valentines, listening to special holiday books, and showing love and kindness to all. The day ended with a beautiful concert at The Circular Church. TCS students sounded angelic as they sang songs together for this delightful occasion.
This week Kindergarteners participated in a shared reading activity based on the book, Where Do Animals Live? Kindergarteners read the book fluently, discussed non-fiction text features, learned new word vocabulary, and the different places animals can live.
100 Days Brighter
Kindergarteners were delighted to celebrate the100th day of school this week! Each child collected 100 items and displayed it in our 100 Museum! In math, they were busy collecting data on which projects were the tallest, smallest, and most unusual. They also participated in a parade around the school, did 100 exercises, and wrote about being 100 years old. Students had a blast investigating multiple ways to count, sort, and gain number sense of 100.
Compliments Written With Care
Kindergarten writers have been busy preparing thoughtful and unique compliments for each friend in their class. Students discovered the joy of giving and receiving meaningful compliments. These brave and hardworking writers have shown tremendous grit as they created compliment sloppy copy rough-drafts, fancied them up, and then wrote final copies in their very nicest and neatest handwriting. Kindergarteners were thrilled to the gills to create such unique compliment books for their friends, as well as give and receive these precious gifts on such a special day!
Move Up Day
Kindergarteners had so much fun visiting First Grade on Friday. They had the opportunity to meet the Jackaroo, learn how to pick out a “just right” book that they read with a friend, got a tour of the classroom, and so much more!!! Ask your Kindergartener what their favorite part of Move-Up Day was?
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 to bottle caps, that are awaiting the bright and unique minds of Kindergarteners.
In the Tinkering 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 students’ interests, 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.
Clothing and Fabrics Come Alive In K!
Kindergarteners eagerly embarked upon an exciting new study on clothing and fabrics during Science and Social Studies this week. We explored students’ knowledge of clothing and fabrics and then shared wonders about the topic. Students are excited to explore the many purposes of clothing including: decoration, communication, modesty, and protection. In our Imagination Station Learning Center students are exploring clothing worn for decorative purposes. They are finding many creative ways to explore fancy clothes!
We Are Savvy Spellers!
Kindergarteners have delighted in learning their first set of spelling words. These savvy spellers are given a sort without words and with their “eggs and bacon” partner they work together to sort the words into their spelling pattern. During this time, they talk about the sort, discuss other words that are a part of the sort, put the words in context and discuss what the words mean. Kindergartners meet with us twice a week to explore the words even further and to check for understanding. At the end of the week, the children glue their sort down and get quizzed on 5 out of their 10 spelling words. We are thrilled to tell you that all of the Kindergarteners passed their first spelling quiz with flying colors!
Kindergarteners were eager and proud to participate in Art Walk. Students were thrilled to see and share art created by themselves and friends in their learning community. Their unique artist statements expressed how art makes them feel. Thank you parents and families for attending our Art Walk and supporting our creativity!
Kindergarten scholars have been busy investigating the exciting world of zoology during Reading Workshop this week. This new unit of study begins with an investigation of various animal groups. As we move forward students will explore learning about animals in Savannahs, Forests, and Oceans. This week, young readers compared nonfiction texts about living and nonliving things in their world. They extended this topic to explore and compare domestic and wild animals during their reading time. Students discovered exciting facts about animals that live in a zoo, farm animals, and animals kept as pets. Through these exciting topics, students are enhancing their nonfiction reading skills like using the first two letter sounds and picture clues to determine unknown words in a text. They have practiced stopping in their reading and trying again when something doesn’t sound right that they have read.
Preparing for our 100th Day of Kindergarten
Kindergarten scholars are eagerly counting the days as we approach our 100th day of school. Each day before math, we conduct a calendar routine. In this calendar routine students examine the calendar to identify the date, name what day yesterday was and what day tomorrow will be. We count the days that we have been in school and add a number to our growing number line each morning. Students count how many days that we have been in school in a variety of ways. Currently, we are practicing counting by 5s.
Kindergarten readers have been busy deepening their non-fiction reading skills with their “Strawberry & Bananas” reading partners. This week, as we approached the close of our non-fiction unit, reading partners took turns sharing facts and new information they learned from their nonfiction texts. Partners were very excited to read and share information that they found to be interesting and then hear what their partner found to be interesting. Reading partners practiced asking questions about what their partner read. Our non-fiction experts closed the unit by finding ways to connect information found on different pages of a non-fiction text. They learned to ask themselves, “What is the author trying to teach me?”
Wrapping Up Our Study of Buildings
Kindergarteners have thoroughly enjoyed becoming experts on buildings during our study of buildings. We have investigated what local buildings look like, the different people who build buildings, what buildings are made of, flimsy and sturdy building materials, and what is special about our building at The Cooper School. Kindergarteners have enjoyed having guest speakers come teach about the process of building a home. We have explored many books about different kinds of buildings and occupations involved with buildings through class read alouds. Students enjoyed hands-on experiences with tools that builders use and examined tools designers use when designing buildings.
Building experts used all this knowledge to create a building design on special architectural paper and then used that design to construct their very own building. On Friday, Kindergarteners were thrilled to have their families come to a Buildings Museum that showcased all of their hard work.
Growing Our Writing
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 story to life.
As we returned from a restful break and entered 2018 we discussed choosing one word to show how we want to live, learn and play in the New Year! Kindergarteners found such unique and fitting words to represent their focus as they entered the New Year. Ask your kindergartener what they chose as their “One Word” for 2018!
Kindergarten readers were thrilled to continue building their non-fiction reading skills during reader’s workshop this week. They practiced using the glossary to find out the meanings of unknown words, identifying interesting things with post-its, and sharing interesting parts with partners. Readers noticed when looking at non-fiction books they found real pictures, diagrams with labels, bold words, and facts & information that are true.
Kindergarteners have immersed themselves in using their creative minds to create a model of their building. Kindergarteners decided on what building they wanted to create, drew a blueprint of it on special drafting paper, and are now using this design to build their model. It has been awe-inspiring endeavor!!
Building experts have been busy drafting their buildings for their building project. Kindergarteners have learned the difference between exterior and interior design. They used this information to draw detailed designs on special drafting paper. Your Kindergartener will then take these designs, add black pen tracing, and color them in. It has been an exciting process.
This week Kindergarteners built upon their relationships with Third Graders and Fourth Graders. On Monday, Third Graders came to visit to read an assortment of holiday books. Kindergarteners were delighted to listen to classics and new favorite tales. On Wednesday, Fourth Graders came to read different tales of the Gingerbread Man. Kindergarten and Fourth Grade buddies created their own gingerbread characters and wrote stories about them. Buddies then were able to create an illustration of their characters and color them in. Kindergarteners ate lunch and played with their buddy afterwards. What a delight it was to spend time with our older friends!
Students at The Cooper School participated in Whole School Morning Meetings this week to learn about how different winter holidays came to be, and specifically how light is important to each one! Scholars were delighted to make new discoveries about holidays celebrated around the world, as well as make connections amongst the variety of celebrations. Students learned how light is a valued component across holidays. Ask your scholar which holiday they enjoyed learning about the most!
Friday, December 22nd Winter Break Begins
Thursday, January 4th School Resumes
Kindergarten readers were thrilled to start a new reading unit on informational texts. They compared fiction books to non-fiction books and discovered several key features of non-fiction books. Readers noticed when looking at non-fiction books that they found real pictures, diagrams with labels, bold words, and facts & information that are true. Readers learned to examine book covers as a strategy to activate background knowledge before diving into a non-fiction text.
This week, Kindergarten mathematicians have had “fun” learning math skills by playing lots of different games. Kindergarteners have learned how to play Monster Squeeze, Top It, Teen Frame Game, Card Games, Buzz, and Race to the Finish. Games are an integral part of the Everyday Mathematics curriculum because it gives students opportunities to explore fundamental number concepts, such as the counting sequence, one-to-one correspondence, and computation strategies. Engaging mathematical games encourage students to explore number combinations, place value, patterns, and other important mathematical concepts. Furthermore, they afford opportunities for students to deepen their mathematical understanding and reasoning. Ask your Kindergartener what math game is their favorite!
On Wednesday, building enthusiasts got the opportunity to meet Graydon’s dad, Brent, who is a community developer. Kindergarteners learned that to create and build a development you must work as a team and have good communication skills. Our visitor brought in a modeled scale of the development to share with the children. Kindergarteners learned where the roads, parks, and houses go. Building experts were delighted to see and touch wood models of houses of all sizes that they got to place in the neighborhood. Mr. Brent then had the children pick one wood model for them to keep and bring home. Ask your Kindergartener what they learned from Mr. Brent.
This week building experts investigated what is special about our building and drew a picture of TCS. Kindergarteners enjoyed having guest speakers come teach about the process of building a home, including the materials that are used and how to draw a blueprint. Students have enjoyed many hands-on experiences with tools that builders use and examined tools that designers use when designing buildings.
During learning centers, your Kindergartener has built famous buildings and structures using a variety of wooden blocks. Building enthusiasts have pretended to be construction workers in the imagination station and loved digging in sand with toy construction vehicles. Ask your Kindergartener what they liked best about learning centers.
Growing Our Independence
This week scholars began looking at the many ways that we can be independent at school. Kindergarteners started the discussion of independence by brainstorming what independence looks like and sounds like. They discussed ways they can be independent by completing personal tasks like putting their shoes on or hanging their tote on their hook. During Morning Meeting, brave learners shared ways they can be independent both at home and at school. These were stated in “I can” statements. These independent scholars now know they can demonstrate independence in the classroom by referencing charts on the wall for information, using snap rings to write tricky words, and using the strategy “Ask 3 Then Me.” Ask your independent Kindergartener how they are independent at school.
Writing For Readers
This week, your Rainbow Writer was busy learning to write true stories. Kindergarteners learned that a true story has to have three elements, who is in the story, what happened, and where does the story take place. Writers learned different strategies to help make their writing more readable. These strategies tie in with our theme of independence. Kindergarteners can now use a checklist to see if their writing has all the elements it needs, a vowel chart to help make their writing more readable, and snap ring words to help write those tricky words.
American College of Building Arts
This week, Kindergarteners had the opportunity to visit the American College of the Building Arts. Kindergarteners learned that the new campus building used to be a trolley barn and has been sitting vacant for over thirty years before the college recently renovated it. Kindergarteners observed students drafting blueprints for houses and learned that everything that is going to be built needs to be drawn first so they know what to do. Building enthusiasts toured the library and looked at a pop-up Gaudi architecture book. There were a lot of OOH’s and AHH’s as our tour guide showed us each picture. Kindergarteners were then shown various tools like an ax, a paver, a saw, and a hand screw.
Kindergarteners then toured the different parts of the college. Students were introduced to plaster molds, brickwork, and intricate woodwork that had pegs to connect them or that looked like jigsaw puzzles. Kindergarteners learned how stone is shaped with a mallet and chisel and that it is a very slow process and tedious process. Kindergarteners were able to watch blacksmiths forging different metals into nails and hammering them into shapes. They loved seeing the sparks fly and thought it was cool to see how big the fire got. Ask your kindergartener what they learned at The American College of Building Arts.
Holiday Collaborations with First Graders
Kindergarten students have been busy working with First Grade and Fifth Grade to prepare decorations for our tree in Marion Square. Fourth Grade friends helped teach the lovely art of finger knitting to Kindergarteners. Students collaborated to finger-knit garland and to prepare pinecone bees for the tree. Students were excited for our festive outing Thursday, to decorate the tree! We are so excited and proud to have a holiday tree in downtown Charleston’s majestic Marion Square!
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. Kindergarten readers used Donald Crews books to examine how authors use different fonts that make readers pay attention. Readers practiced reading and then retelling the major events from the beginning, middle, and end of their books to sequence events. Students learned that good readers use picture clues to read words and tell the stories and that sometimes books can teach us about numbers and math! It has been a lovely week exploring the joys of reading and learning about Donald Crews’ collection of books.