Monday, March 13, 2017

Shamrock Week {Sh} Sounds

Shamrock Week sure shaped up to be a shocker! I will apologize if this email feels a little R-rated, but it got a bit sticky shouting out Sh words. As the children sounded out the sound of Sh, they shushed until they shouted out Shark! Ship! Shamrock! Shell! Sheep! Ben shocked us all by innocently shouting the word, shhhh-t! What? “Sh-t!” Um, maybe we should find a different word. How about shut or shift? Shelf? Show? Shomething else! Sheesh! It went un-noticed except for the giggling adults in the room! Ha! Actually, last year’s experience was close to the same. That word  seems to find its way into Sh week, the same way “poop” finds its way into Brown Week. They are four! Right?

We talked and sang about leprechauns and four-leaf clovers. Monday's leprechaun project turned out great. Niki and Gracelyn loved how the leprechaun’s eyes peeked out between his hat and his beard, “He’s so cute!” they said.

We had some time for team reading games, so I suggested we use Sh names. Once again, Ben offered his special word, “How about the Sh-ts?” “Ben… that’s not a good word.” “Oh!” So, we went with the Sharks and the Shams, allowing the winning Sharks, 6 to 4, to line up first. That afternoon, the Shamrocks beat the Sheeps, 9 to 8! We also used the Sh in our flag salute song, turning Brooklyn into Shooklyn, Susy into Shoesy, and Davis into Shave Us! Such fun shushing! Everyone giggled at every name.

Wednesday, we filled a pot with gold coins to place at the end of a beautiful rainbow of Fruit Loops. The children did a wonderful job sorting and lining up all of the correct colors in a row to form a colorful rainbow. They were all masterpieces worthy of your walls for at least a week. That day, the Shoes beat the Ships, 9 to 8 and the Shocks beat the Sharks, 8 to 6. I tried once again to stump our great readers. Brig could not be tricked and read the word ‘shamrock’ without blinking. Emmett requested a ‘really hard word’. He quickly read the word, ‘shock’, with ease, and complained, “That’s not even a hard one!” I cannot keep up with these great readers! Ahhhh!

Thursday, we cut lots of green paper shamrocks out to build a fun reading game. As the children dove into their cutting project, Ben remarked, “Mrs. McClure! I love cutting!” Jace added, “I do, too!” I said, “That’s because you have all gotten so good at it!” to which Jace answered, “I know!” I love that these children are finding joy in their successes. I love that they are enjoying their work and taking pride in their mastered skills. We spent time listening and watching each child read through their shamrock words. Some of the accomplished readers jumped in to watch and help others. Niki was an especially great helper. So cute! She stepped up as the self-appointed director, organizing other readers, “You help him over there! I’ll help Grace over here!” Sooo great! But it turned out that Grace didn’t need much helping. These children are all doing so wonderfully! I am so proud of them. Being a ‘second year veteran’ in preschool, Niki has found remarkable confidence. While I was instructing everyone about the leprechaun and the maze on their fun sheets, she helped direct us all to the shamrock at the end, “Mrs. McClure! I know the password!”

I hope everyone has a wonderful time together as families during our Spring Break. I heard about some of your family plans. And Navy offered us her information, “I’m going to California tomorrow and all my swimsuits fit me!” Awesome! Someone else is going to California to play in the “snow”. Darn, I can’t remember who!

We will plan on seeing everyone back on Monday, after Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day! Have fun! Be shafe! Shee you later!

Much love and devotion,
Mrs. McClure
Miss Kristen
Miss Julie, too!

Letter {Qq} Week

I am finally finding the time and energy to write this email. With the past Lehi Days events, my week has been filled to the max. I think we served more than 3000 people yesterday at the barbeque, our biggest crowd ever.

Letter Qq was quite the quizzical letter in question. Qq just can’t quite quack, “Quh!” We flapped our arms and tried to quack all week, but we just couldn’t, “Quh!” We also sang our flag song with letter Q at the beginning of our names. We giggled with almost every one, and Quaxon,  Quiki, and Queena were especially fun. Quit it! Ha!

Monday, we colored a beautiful queen and sewed around an AB patterned quilt. The children were so great, choosing their own two colors to make their patterns with. I did not need to give any added instructions. We have practiced AB patterns so many times, that I stood and watched it all unfold before my eyes. It was poetry in motion. I love it! I love it! Then, the children carefully laid their quilts over their queens and quietly, put them to bed. “Good night, dear queen! (kiss!)” Okay, some omitted the kiss, but it was all very sweet!

We read a story about finding a pet for a queen. So, I filled the last 5 minutes of class with questions about queens. “What kind of pet would you get for a queen?” Mason E said, “A dog…a baby one!” Bria qualified that, “A service dog!” Niki suggested, “A little fluffy puppy with fur on his face!” Mason D offered, “A cow would be a good one!” Grace said, “A cat would be good! Jaxson announced, “I have a cat! His name is Pugley!”  Brig added, “A dog would guard the castle! Brody added, “But, if it’s a cat for a queen, put spikes on it!” And Emmett ended it by saying; “Knights are better, because they have armor!” I love our discussions! That day, the Queens beat the Cookies, 7-4 and the Quicks slaughtered the Quinns, 10 to 5. I tried once again to stump Brig, but he sounded out the word ‘quarter’ and led his team to victory! That boy can read anything!

Wednesday, we made a crazy queen, coloring her as crazy as possible. The children loved this project and couldn’t wait to explore their own creativity, “Look at mine!” “Don’t you think mine is crazy?” “I’m going to give her a swirly-dude face!” So cute! That day, the Quarters beat the Quacks, 10-7 and the Quacks beat the Quicks, 9-8! And Brig read ‘quitter’ for the win! As the children waited on the small wall for their parents to arrive, Navy found a small rock from my neighbor’s yard in my grass, “Oh no! Brother McClure is not going to like this!”

Thursday, we colored a dinosaur book, trying carefully to keep the same dinosaurs on each page the correct color, a tricky exercise. The children did a wonderful job. Then, the Quilts beat the Quests, 10 to 6. Niki said her birthday was in 10 years. And Ammon announced, “I’ve been reading my books! 44 pounds!”

The children are doing such a great job reading during our games and the tally of books keeps mounting. I am absolutely thrilled. I love watching this whole process happen. It fills me to no end!

Next week is Shamrock Week and we will be talking about leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold as we learn about the combining of letters s and h. We look forward to that. Please be aware that the following week is Spring Break and we will not have school during that entire week. Thank you so much.

With each week that passes, we love your children more and more. We live up close and personal with each one of them, practically in their faces most of the time and we get to know and love them as our own. I always feel so fortunate to be trusted and blessed to hang with these perfect little people. I love them so!

See you on Monday!

All my love and devotion,
Mrs. McClure
And Miss Kristen, too!

Letter {Jj} Week

We jumped in and out of Jj Week in a jiffy with just two short little days to report on. We did manage to find some great Jj words like juice, jungle, jaguar, jam and jug. Adelyn offered drip as a J word pronouncing it “jrip” and Emmett was certain that Drew spelled his name with a J, “Jrew” but after rocking their little worlds and setting them straight, we carried on with jack-o-lantern and jelly bean. Each year, we discover new words to help straighten out. As a child, I remember learning that jore was drawer. “What? How can it be drawer? I’ve been saying jore all my life!” Ha!

I truly wish all of you could have seen the jellybean sorters in action. Because we just had a sorting lesson with valentine hearts the previous week, these children all took off without a hitch, sorting and grafting with ease. We had extra time for letter games and team reading where the Leprechauns beat the Alligators 10 to 7 and the Violins beat the Go Toros 9 to 8. The rising scores are an indication that more students are reading more words, which I loved seeing. Great job readers! Brig continues to amaze us with his command of large words. I gave him a six-letter word in an effort to challenge him and he read it in a snap! I am so proud of our amazing readers!

Thursday, our reading game included letter J in every word, so it gave the children lots of chances to sound out letter J. We used all of those J words again in our reading game, too. I strongly encourage you to pull out that game again and again to review letter J. Many of the children got J and G mixed up and catching it early with continual correction could be the ticket to solving a lot of confusion for your child. I know what you’re thinking… “Not my child!” Brace yourselves. You may get a JOLT!

I have been extremely busy since October in a huge production process to celebrate the 140th year of pioneers settling the Lehi Valley here. I had been asked to write and direct a musical and since then, life has not slowed down since. With auditions through November and rehearsals three times a week through January and February, we are closing in on the climax of what this will be. If you are not familiar with the tradition of “Lehi Days” here in the valley, let me invite you to a week of wonderful family activities and fun.

See you next week when we concentrate on Letter Q. Quinn and Quintin will especially love it! Quite!

Much love and devotion,
Mrs. McClure
Miss Kristen

Valentines Party Week

Our week began by celebrating Valentine’s Day with a great party. I loved that many children arrived wearing reds or pinks adorned with hearts to add to the fun without even being prompted to do so. The children brought in they personally signed valentines and we had a great time passing them to each member of the class, “Will you be my valentine?” and then, thanking each for what they all received. So polite. Sooo sweet. Miss Kristen and I got our share of very special valentines, too. We feel so very loved and appreciated. Thank you!!! Walter was thrilled with the party, “This is the best day of my life! No homework!” Ha!

We frosted Miss Connie’s very famous cookies and each child chose a certain sprinkle to shake on top. As we were spreading and decorating, I stopped to tell everyone how wonderful the cookies were, “Miss Connie made these especially for us! She is Talli’s Aunt. Talli call’s her, ‘Aunt Connie!’ Isn’t that right, Talli?”  To which she replied, “Can we just focus on the cookie?” putting us all back on task as we giggled and I quickly recorded that adorable remark. Thanks, Talli. We also heard from Gracelyn, who expressed her very strong opinions to Abby, sitting next to her, “My name is Gracelyn! You keep forgetting! I NEVER forget my name!!!” These little girls are definitely large and in charge!!! Ha! We laughed and laughed! They certainly love to have their say! It keeps us all on our toes.

We played Valentine Bingo and captured the chance to have many winners earn prizes, barring their duty to pay attention and place candy hearts in the correct space! We had a great time. And, in the end, everyone felt like a winner when they each marched out the door with their big bags of loot and valentine wishes and prizes. It was a fun day, “The best day of our lives!”

Wednesday, we learned about letter Yy and yipped and yelled about letter Y with his karate and yoga! Ask your child about letter Y’s yelling. You might get and earful! Yep!

We worked on a Yummy Tummy reading game. The children are really getting exited about reading. They beg to play reading games, even when it’s not a Thursday. So, when Show-N-Tell goes quickly, we steal us a little time to squeeze a game in. I love the chance to “strike while the iron in hot” and take advantage of this enthusiasm to read in these little ones. So many times, that chance is lost when they grow a bit older, but now is the perfect time. They are so like little sponges. They beg for it and I can’t get enough of it, either. I tell them, “You’re doing it!” and see astonishment in raised eyebrows and sprouting smiles of gratification and amazement in them, “You just read that word!!! You are so good!” I love it! I love it!

Miss Kendra was there on Thursday to help with yummy hamburger puppets. We love Miss Kendra. Some of you may remember her. She was a teacher with us for 6 years, back when her children were young. We love when we get a chance to invite her back to school. She played some reading games with the children and while I was away at Connie’s son’s wedding, the Dogs beat the Cats 7-6 and the Ironman team lost to the Teamers 6-7.

Much, much love to you all!

Mrs. McClure
Miss Kristen
And Miss Kendra, too!

Letter {Vv} Week

We had a great week with Letter Vv as we vacuumed everything we could find that began with that vibrating sound; vents, vans, veggies, vests, and valentines, of course.

We sorted valentine candy hearts by color and then counted and recorded our finds. The children are really getting great at remembering their number poems and putting them into practice. I absolutely love this time of year when I see our painstaking efforts pay off. We stand back and watch the magic of sorting, counting and recording happen right under our noses with very little effort on our parts. The room is a buzz with activity and many raised their hands in an amazing timeframe to have us come check their work. “Yep! That’s perfect! You did a great job! Zip that up in your backpack!” I hardly have to remind them to flip their nametags or push in their chairs. It has become automatic. Ahhhh! “The planets are aligning ever so nicely!” As the children worked, we could hear Sam singing his own rendition of the song from “Mulan”. He sang, “You must be swift as a coursing river…” He knew every word. And when he got to the chorus, Brody, sitting next to him, joined in to sing, “Be a man!” Both boys in sync, singing their little hearts out while sorting their candy! Miss Kristen and I busted up. It was adorable.

Sam was on a roll that day. As I asked what words began with letter V, Sam suggested “Vat”. I asked him, “Is vat a word?” “Yes!” he answered, “Vat is a bat in Spanish!” Oh! I didn’t know that! Too cute! We also found a small bug crawling up our wall. As I grabbed a tissue and pinched him up, Bradley was quick to relate his own experience, “My mom killed a cockroach inside the bathtub!” I’m not sure which reaction was bigger, the resounding “Oooh!” from the children when I flushed my captured victim into the toilet or when Bradley made his announcement, but both made Miss Kristen and I giggle…a lot!

Wednesday, we decorated our Valentine holders. Once again, we stood back and watched them color, cut and paste, crimp strips, and peel the backs off of sticky hearts to decorate their bags. I loved hearing the children expressing desires to decorate their own a certain way, “I’m gunna do this!” or “I want to put this here like that!” Trey loved the way his turned out, “This is so cute!” Many have captured my own passion for what paper, glue and a pair of scissors can do! I’m telling you, The planets! The planets! I do love February.

Thursday, we colored and played a letter V maze game using our heart candies, then I gave them a page with blank hearts and they each studied their heart candy messages and wrote down the letters they found on each heart. I went around reading them all, “Look! You wrote I LOVE YOU!” or “That says, CALL ME!” I also learned what TTYL meant from Miss Kristen. She is so smart! My tech savvy is so limited, so if a four year old doesn’t know it, neither do I! Pathetic!

We have been playing letter games and yesterday, we played a sound-blending team game. We divided up the class and let the teams choose their own team name. Then, I wrote three letter words on the board and each teammate had the chance to gain a point for their team by reading a word. Yesterday, the LOVES beat the BIRDS, 7-6 and the VESTS won the SCARLETS in a close tie-breaker 10-9! The children cheer when someone reads a word to add a point to their team score. It is a fun game. Because Brig had read 141 books by Thursday, I gave him a five-letter word, “splat”. He read it without a hitch. He could not be tricked. Little smarty pants! I am so proud of him! I love pulling up all of our readers, displaying their numbered stickers on their chests to the front of the room, to announce their accomplishments. We watch them bow as we clap and then, they all bow as we shout, “GREAT JOB READERS!” This has become our routine and I hardly have to remind a reader to bow and the classes resounding cheer at the end is bigger than ever! Ahhh! Gotta love those planets! These children are like putty in my hands. I love what they are doing and love the things we are seeing. This is when the rewards of teaching come full throttle. I love it! I love it! If your child does not have a reading folder and you think them ready, let us know and we will send you one. Also, if you want to have your child receive more books each time, let us know with a note attached to the folder. Miss Kristen is great at packing up and exchanging books.

Monday is our big Valentine’s Day Party. Please send your child with 24 personally signed valentines. We do not need backpacks on that day. Please leave them home. Please send your valentines in a disposable bag. We will exchange valentines, decorate some of Miss Connie’s famous heart-shaped sugar cookies and play Valentine Bingo. We feel especially lucky to get Connie’s cookies, as she has a son getting married next week, but she loves us so much that she was willing to make great sacrifices for us. We sure do love that Miss Connie and her amazing cookies!

Well, that about wraps up our Vv Week. We look forward to a wonderful day on Monday. Have a great weekend.

Much, much love and devotion,
Mrs. McClure
Miss Kristen

Letter {Uu} Week

U just wouldn’t believe how unbelievable Letter U was this week. Undeniably and unmistakably! Uh! Finding letter U words is not as easy as it sounds. We found umbrella, under and up. We turned under into understand, underneath and the children giggled when we mentioned underwear, especially Tolson, “Underwear! Oh, ho ho ho ho! She said, ‘underwear’!”

We made an umbrella on Monday and colored a hat for Thursday. We put blue glue drops on our umbrellas and held them up to make it rain.  “It’s raining, Mrs. McClure! It’s raining!” So fun! We sang some raindrop songs and hoped our pictures would dry, but held them for Wednesday instead.

Wednesday, we made and played a nutty reading game and I showed the children what a real acorn looked like. I had a friend send them to me from Boston. I cracked it open (with my teeth! Ha ha!) and we talked a lot about it. Then, we read a story about a squirrel named Miss Suzy. Ask your children about Miss Suzy. You might get a fun report. The children are learning to sound blend. This was a great game to learn and practice on. I encourage you to play it often with your child, asking for instance with bug, “What does b say? What does u say? What does g say? Sound that together. Again! Again! Faster! Louder!” if they need help getting started. So, so sweet to see the readers helping others with their games. I loved that!

Thursday, we made and played a groundhog counting game, finished up our hats and made a hole for our little tasty groundhogs to pop up through. The children were so cute as they shoved their sticks through, “He goes up, he looks around, he sees his shadow and drops down!” We had groundhog for lunch! Yum! Sam told Miss Kristen, “I ate a real groundhog before, at my house! My mom served it for dinner!”

The children are really taking off in their little readers that we are sending home. I promised big prizes at the end of the year for top readers. We place stickers on them for every 5 books (now, that Miss Kristen knows the plan) and we celebrate their success with cheers as I have them all bow.  Then, we all yell, “Great job readers!” Our top reader is Brig with 91 books so far. They are off to a great start! If you feel your child is ready for a reader, let us know. We will send you home with one. We have a reading game every Thursday. Today, I noticed how well some are really catching on. I was also a bit insistent on having everyone participate and repeat together with us, calling out straggler’s names. I have treaded lighter in the past, but we have reviewed these letters and sounds so often, everyone should know them well if they were paying attention. Ahhh! There’s the key! IF!

We hope everyone is happy and well. Thank you for all of your continued love and support. We feel so blessed to have such wonderful children by our sides and families as our friends.

Much love and devotion,
Mrs. McClure
Miss Kristen, too!

Letter {Kk} Week

Letter Kk kept us counting Kk words, especially those from the land down under, koalas, kangaroos, and kookaburras. We talked about how Letter Kk is a copy cat. It copies Letter Cc like that!

Monday, Embree had a random thought. “I think my dad is 58 or something like that.” Ha! Sorry, Brett! We created a gum tree with gum drops and we placed a kookaburra in it as we sang the “Kookaburra” song. We sang it and sang it and talked about the king of the bushes and Austrailia.

Wednesday, we decorated a crown and made a king’s scepter. As we sprinkled glitter, Grace said, “She’s going to put some magic on your scepter!”  Nixon asked, “Is it real?” I answered, “No. It’s just pretend.”  I told them that when I was young, we loved to play a game called, King of the Mountain. Then, I asked what they would like to be king of. I told them I was king of the school because I was in charge. “I make the rules and tell everyone what to do. What do you want to be king of?”
Jace: I want to be king of the world! Gracelyn: I want to be King of the cats! And little kittens, too!
Bradley: I want to be King of Computers! Brooklyn: I’m King of Computers! Drew, “I want to be King of the Bears! I tell the bears what to do! I told them to kick the wall.” To which Mason D added, “He must have holes in his house!” Ha! Then, the whole classroom exploded with ideas. (in both classes) Just for fun, here’s the list of all who participated.
Kensi: Leopards! Brig: Kings! Jacob and Trey: Lions! Londynn: Butterflies! Navy: Unicorns! Quintin: The Ocean! Madden: Kids! Niki and Walter: King of the Mountain! Ben: Snow! Ethan: Flowers! Emily: King of Hearts! Sam: Zebras! Bria: Giraffes! Quinn: Elephants! Talli: King of Lightning! Tanner: King of the Sun! Ridge: I want to be King of Puppies! Katelyn: The Zoo! Adalyn: King of the Princesses! Karina: I’ll be King of Queens. Lena and Brody: Horses! Marshall: I want to be King of the Road! “Hey! That’s a song!” I wanted to bust out in chorus with Roger Miller’s song singing, “I’m a man of means, by no means, king of the road!” Ha! Probably way before any of your days, but I sang it anyway to amuse myself! Mason D, “I want to be King of the Bushes!” I asked, “Like the kookaburra?” “Yes!” But Grace said,  “No! He can’t be king. I’m King of the Bushes!” Tolson added,  “Um…I think I’ll be King of the Bushes.” “Nooo!” they protested. “Ok. I’ll be King of the Cheetahs! Tallin: I just want to be King of the Houses. Then, I said, “This is all pretend. Who do you think is the REAL King of the World?” A resounding, “Jesus!” “God Is!” “Heavenly Father!” Good children! Great discussion.

Thursday, we made kites and flew them outside. Great fun. I was hoping for some wind, but they had to run and make their own. That about sums up Letter Kk. We will send out calendars on Monday and learn about Letter Uu. We will be talking about the groundhog and watch to see if he will see his shadow or not this year.

Thanks to all for your love and support. Have a great weekend. Much love to all.

Mrs. McClure
Miss Kristen, too.