Hello everyone! Welcome to Kindergarten. The class of 2024 has been hard at week these first couple of weeks and I’m so excited to share some of the things they have been doing in class.
We started off our school year working on our classroom routines and expectations. Students worked together to create classroom rules, and they each signed their name as a promise to follow those rules. We also discussed consequences to NOT following those rules, which students have already learned. When students go above and beyond their expected behavior, they can earn tickets to eventually turn in for prizes! We also have been putting in a lot of extra effort into our social-emotional curriculum. This will continue throughout the year, but we want to start off strong with creating a classroom culture of expected behaviors and use tools to manage emotions that come up throughout the day. We do this by reading a lot of books that focus on different feelings, appropriate ways to express them, and what to do in certain situations that can come up through the day. We practice role playing what to do in those difficult situations before they happen so that way when they come up, students feel more prepared. Students also can utilize the Cozy Corner and the Calm Down Kit when feeling big emotions in order to use tools to relax their body.
Students have a schedule that they can see every day which shows them the order in which we are doing everything. We also have learned some sign language to help students ask for common things without causing disruptions during class time, like ‘water’ and ‘bathroom’.
Students have been enjoying Free Play every day in the afternoon. It is a time for students to practice playing appropriately with other kids, practice sharing, and use developmentally appropriate toys that foster fine motor skills, imaginative play, communication skills, and more!
After recess, students get to come inside and enjoy Quiet Time. Quiet Time is a designated time for students to relax, do some independent academic work, read, draw, and do yoga. We always wrap up Quiet Time with at least 5 minutes of yoga to calm our body and our minds before we get back into our afternoon routine.
At the beginning of the year we did a couple different projects to familiarize students with the different school supplies we use. After going over the expectations for each, we would complete a project! For scissors, students made “salads” out of paper. Each color was a different ingredient to our salad and students got to practice cutting with their scissors with no expectations. They had so much fun mixing up the “ingredients” in the bowl. Afterwards we laminated them to create placements that we can use during snack time!
For glue, students glued pieces of tissue paper onto the lines of the letters in their name making unique and beautiful collages for their names. This was done as a follow up to reading Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, a story about a girl who is made fun of for her name until she meets someone special who truly appreciates it!
In reading and writing, we are in the middle of our ABC Bootcamp! There are 2 rounds of ABC boot camp. The first round is more of a review where students review the letters and letter names, upper vs lowercase, writing the letters correctly. This group has been doing a wonderful job and we are working hard at strengthening our hands to make handwriting easier!
We’ve done letters Aa, Bc, Tt, Ss, Uu, Mm, Rr, Ll, Pp, Ff and Hh! We don’t do the letters in alphabetical order because we practice them in an order that is most similar to the way kid’s first learn the sounds. When babies learn to talk some of the first sounds they learn are Aa, Mm, Dd, and Bb sounds…because those are the easiest/come most naturally that is what we learn first. Later we will do the more difficult/less common sounds.
We also are learning sight words! So far we have done I, am, a, the, to, and like! I will soon be sending home a list of words so that you can cut them out and use them as cards to practice these words at home. The more they read them, the better! I also will be sending home a weekly decodable for students to read 3xs with a grown up. These decodables will have simple sentences using the sight words we have learned, pictures to help with more difficult words, and letter sounds we have worked on. In Kindergarten, we always read anywhere between 1-3 books together as a class. Students are also encouraged to have independent reading time as well, exploring books and attempting to read them as best they can. This sort of exposure to reading is crucial for emergent literacy skills. Modeling a relationship to books, reading to kids, and having them echo/read to you is all things that should be done at home as well as in the classroom to get students ready to read.
In Math we have been going over a few things: reviewing simple counting, writing and recognizing numbers, learning Math vocabulary, and slowly starting 2D shapes. We also have been doing some fun games to practice our numbers and subitizing, which means the ability to recognize the number of objects without actually counting them. Dice are a great tool for this skill!
This quarter we are focusing on Social Studies (we will do Science next quarter), and in Social Studies we are talking about our communities. To start, we are discussing our school community and our homes. We read a story called The Family Book by Todd Barr that discusses all different kinds of families and how every family is special regardless of what it looks like. Students then drew pictures and wrote a sentence describing their family. Soon we will be talking about our homes, the different kinds we can have, and our neighborhoods.
We have been doing a color of the week each week so far, this week we will be on blue! This is more so for children to have extra practice with the structure of an assignment, get them in the routine of seeing the same assignment structure over and over to build their confidence with completing work independently. This also is a literacy opportunity for children to become more familiar with the spelling of these color words!
We had a super fun day participating in Talk Like A Pirate Day! We had about 4 students wear Pittsburgh Pirate clothes and about 9 wear pirate outfits. Students had so much fun being dressed up, talking in silly voices, learning about the letter Pp, writing about where we would hide our treasure, going on treasure hunts (one for numbers and one to review different areas of our school), and finding “treasure”! We got to wrap up the day celebrating our friend Kaliah’s birthday! And earlier this month we celebrated London’s birthday as well. Students love getting a special treat, writing cards for each other, learning the birthday person’s favorite things, and getting to watch a little bit of that student’s favorite show (a very rare occasion in Kindergarten as we don’t watch videos that are not either for Brain Breaks or Yoga).
Looking forward to October, we are going on a field trip to Soergel’s Pumpkin Patch! We also will be doing plenty of Halloween themed activities. I will be out of town from October 26th through November 7th, but there will be a sub present with plans I have made for the students. We will try to keep things as normal as possible as to not disrupt their routine too much!
Thank you to those who made it out to Open House last week! It was great to see/meet so many of you and for you to see our classroom! I’ll attach the presentation from that night to the email for anyone who could not attend. At the Open House I also had a sign up for Parent Teacher conferences. In a separate email I will be sending out a photo of the time sheet and you can let me know what time you would like to do. Conferences would ideally be in person at the school, but virtual can be offered if needed. They will be held from 3-6pm Wednesday through Friday.
Thank you so much for all of your help starting off our school year right! I am looking forward to the rest of our year and all of the amazing things Kindergarten will accomplish! Enjoy these extra pictures of students checking out a praying mantis at dismissal, our twins hugging, and an important reminder hanging in our classroom.