Activities & Lesson Plans - Kindergarten Newsletter 12/18/09

Grade: K
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December 18, 2009 | Kindergarten

In This Issue: A New Earth-Like Planet; Survey Links Texting and Literacy; The Shape of Your Sandwich

Are Other Earths Out There?
Astronomers have discovered a watery world outside of our solar system. Don't pack your bags yet; the planet is way too hot for humans—its ocean surface is 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is likely shrouded in a dark fog of superheated steam. But its existence gives scientists another reason to believe that they will soon find a planet that could support some kind of life. Known as GJ 1214b, it joins a growing list of planets discovered outside of our solar system. 

Learn More:
The Journal Nature Summary

Activity Ideas - Create a New World: 
Have your child come up with a "new" planet. 

  • ASK: What would the planet look like? How would it be similar to Earth? In what ways would it be different? Would there be life? If so, what kind of life?
  • IMAGINE that you visited this planet. Write a postcard to a friend describing an especially beautiful sight or how you spent a day there.
  • DRAW the planet, in relation to its sun. 
Book Suggestion: READ The Wump World, by Bill Peet.
The Wump World, by Bill Peet

Survey Says: Texting = Reading & Writing :-)
A recent survey indicates that kids who text, blog or use social networking sites are more apt to be enthusiastic readers and writers offline as well. Researchers from National Literacy Trust concluded that the more forms of communication children use, the stronger their core literacy skills. The Trust doesn't see any problems with the jumbled jargon and misspellings of text messages, saying that children can distinguish between different writing styles.

Activity Ideas - Sentences:
Discuss with your child the different elements of a complete sentence. 

  • Have your child write simple sentences.
  •  RHYME: Together with your child come up with words that rhyme. Then write sentence pairs that rhyme.

Learning Tips:Reading and Comprehension 

What Shape Is Your Sandwich?
Think sandwiches are boring? Think again: NPR recently explored the shape of the lunch-box staple with a chef, an architect and other experts to determine how best to optimize the ratio of crustless bread. All agreed that triangles topped rectangles. A food editor stated that the diagonal cut creates the illusion that your sandwich is bigger. An architect said that the diagonal line has a storied history of superiority—consider the Great Pyramids. And as the mathematician explained, it's all in the numbers.

Activity Ideas - Identifying Shapes
  • Have your child IDENTIFY the characteristics of a square, rectangle, circle and triangle.
  • FIND objects of different shapes in your house.
  • GROUP objects by shape.
Learning Tips: Circles and Other Shapes
Arts & Crafts: Follow Food Network's Peanut Butter Recipe; watch How to Make a Rudolph Red-Nosed Sandwich 

Game of the Week:
War Pretzels Game

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