Little Valentines!

Hello everyone!

I hope this long weekend has been treating you well! It feels much needed for Kindergarten after the excitement of celebrating Valentine’s Day in Kindergarten! Let’s recap!

In reading, students have been drilling vowels. Particularly short vowel sounds! We will beginning drilling the long vowel sounds this upcoming week and practicing the silent e and the job that it does. We use the phrase “the silent e helps the vowel say it’s own name” to remind students that typically the silent e at the end of a CVCe word makes the vowel in the middle of the word long! For example, in the word came, same, rope, bike, Pete, etc.

We have added some more sight words to our word wall like “said”, “will”, “what”, and “be”. We are trying to review these as much as possible in order to make our reading and writing go smoother and quicker.

In Math we have been adding things up! Students have been kicking butt with addition – they’ve been practicing the concept using pictures and manipulatives to help them. For example we used dice to practice adding numbers together. Soon we will be practicing addition without the use of anything helping them so they can practice becoming more automatic with these problems. And later we will be introducing subtraction! We have been trying to remind students about ways to check their math was well, like reminding them that the answer to their problem should be larger than the parts they added together. We have been practicing adding with zero and the concept of adding “nothing” and how in that case, the answer would be the same as one of the parts! We also have been discussing the commutative property of addition (not in those words, to make it more developmentally appropriate), and how even when you switch the parts around the answer remains the same! For example 2 + 4 and 4 + 2 are going to be the same answers!

On Valentine’s Day students got to pass out candy and cards for each other! We also did a writing prompt about showing love to others, and then had a fun Math activity! Students were given mini M&M’s and had to separate, count, and graph each color! I usually do this activity with candy hearts, but I had no luck finding them this year! Students got to enjoy their sweet treat and review their counting! We are also practicing counting all the way up 31, which we will do more reviewing of this week as many students need to practice the transition from twenty-nine to thirty.

On Monday our new school counselor, Ms. Cook, did a lesson with Kindergarten talking about differences, opinions, and perspectives. We are practicing understanding that everyone has things that make them unique, and even if we don’t see eye to eye with someone we can still live in harmony together. Ms. Cook will be coming to our room more often for more social-emotional skill lessons.

We have been learning about black leaders in history as part of our Social Studies curriculum focusing on the future, present, and past. Students have learned about Mae Jemison, Ruby Bridges, and Rosa Parks! Looking to next week we will be learning about Jackie Robinson and Garett Morgan, the inventor of the modern day stoplight!

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and for many students it was their first time receiving ashes, let along learning about Lent and what the ashes are from and represent.ย  We discussed the purpose of Lent and how it is our time to prepare for Easter by making ourselves better people for Jesus. Soon, we will be having a in depth set of lessons on the story of Easter and about the sacrifice God made for us by giving us His only son.

We have a shortened week with President’s Day giving us Monday off but everything will be back to normal for the rest of the week!

As always, feel free to reach out with any questions you have!

 

Warmly,

Mrs. V

 

Kicking Off 2024!

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to give you all a recap and some updates on what’s been going on in Kindergarten!

The first half of the year went by quick! Kindergarten spent a lot of time working on their letter and letter sounds. First we went through the alphabet just reviewing how to identify each letter, working on one a day. After completing them all, we went through the alphabet again but with a focus on the letter sounds. Each day we had the same routine, we learned the letter sound, sang a song that helps us practice the letter sound, read a story that focuses on that letter, and made a list of all the words that we could think of that started with that letter. Students picked up on our routine quick and did a wonderful job! While learning this we also learned the difference between vowels and consonants. Currently, we are delving into the difference between long and short vowel sounds, and the concept of the silent e. We’ve been using our bodies to remind us the difference between short and long vowel sounds – taking a short step when saying the short vowel sound and a large or “long” step when saying the long vowel sound. This mind body connection gives students a fun way to retain this information!

We also have been working on isolating sounds in a word, namely the beginning and ending sounds. This has been key to helping us with rhyming, which we also have been working on. Rhyming can be difficult for many students but it is one of the easiest phonics skills to work on at home and I encourage everyone to practice rhyming at home! You can do this by singing or reading nursery rhymes together, playing rhyming games (even if you’re rhyming silly/nonsense words), or even just singing popular songs and pointing out the words that rhyme! We will begin to focus on isolating middle sounds once we get a firmer grasp on the various vowel sounds. This is the first step to working on blending sounds together, or decoding, to read words students haven’t already memorized. We have added many sight words and high-frequency words to our word wall and those are words that students are encouraged to memorize. Sight words are words that do not follow standard English phonics rules (i.e., ‘the’) and high-frequency words are words that we so often that it can slow students down to have to sound them out every time they come across them (i.e., ‘is’).

In Math we have been working on recognizing and counting higher numbers, shapes, patterns, and using Math vocabulary like “before” and “after”, “less” and “more”. Students have been using multiple methods of work to try and learn these new concepts including using blocks, cubes, and more! In the second part of the school year we have already started working on addition and subtraction concepts.ย  We will be furthering this throughout the year, starting with addition and using words like ‘plus’ and ‘add to’! We will also be making our way up to 100 and making sure we can accurately identify and write those tricky higher numbers!

We had a lot of fun holiday celebrations in the first half of the year! Halloween was a blur, but students enjoyed celebrating with our classroom aide Ms. Patty. They did a trunk-or-treat and carved pumpkins! In November, we discussed the history of Thanksgiving and what we have to be grateful for. In December, we celebrated Christmas by learning the story of Jesus’ birth and putting on our annual Nativity Play. Kindergarten did amazing, and it was so wonderful to see all of you there! We also enjoyed a very fun Polar Express day full of many fun activities and watching the classic Christmas movie. Since we’ve returned for the New Year, we recently celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. day. Students had spent the days leading up to the holiday learning about MLK and his legacy, and how he prioritized peace over violence in order to achieve equality for all. We will be continuing learning about leaders and pioneers in black history throughout the rest of this third quarter that is just beginning, as we focus on Social Studies this quarter.

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In the second quarter of the school year, we focused on Science. We learned about the seasons and how the environment and weather change, and how animals hibernate in the winter. We learned about living things and what they need to survive, including plants and how all living things have their own life cycle. We also learned about the difference between meat eaters and plant eaters, and how humans are both – along with many other types of animals!

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our Grownups with Donuts event this past Friday! We had a lovely time snacking, playing tic-tac-toe, coloring, and creating our own donuts together. Students got to enjoy the Book Fair this week and they picked out some amazing books that I hope they’ll enjoy reading at home with you all! We have started reading our first chapter book of the year! We are reading a graphic novel called El Deafo by Cece Bell which is an autobiography about how Cece Bell lost her hearing as a child and had to wear a hearing aid, and her experience being differently abled trying to make friends with others. Cece ends up creating a superhero persona for herself that helps her work through her experiences. Students are enjoying all of the pictures in the story, learning new things, and the way humor is used as a storytelling device.

Catholic Schools Week was a big success. Students looked so sweet dressed up as if they were 100 years old. We made necklaces declaring that they were 100 days smarter, and students enjoyed using their fine motor skills to thread the beads onto the strings. We also did a special two part question of the day were students got to answer what they would want 100 of and what they would NOT want 100 of. Their answers cracked me up!


Looking forward, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in a couple weeks. If you’d like to send in candy or cards for the class you are more than welcome to but it is not necessary. We will be having a very relaxed, lowkey “party” in our room on the day of. We have 16 students total! And please, no nut products!

Thank you again for all that you do, I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and has a great week!

Warmly,

Mrs. V ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Welcome to Kindergarten! 2023-2024

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!

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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.

Love,

Ms. V

 

Happy New Year!

Hello everybody! I hope the holidays treated you all well and that you’re ready to take on the new year!

Here in Kindergarten, I actually was extremely impressed with how quickly we have gotten back into the swing of things! Before the break, we were finishing up our review of the alphabet and the letter sounds. We had also begun “tapping out” words, which is just a technique that we use to isolate the individual sounds in a word. Now that we’ve returned to school we’ve picked up right where we left off! We are trying to wrap up our Handwriting books so that we can soon move into our writing journals. We have been encouraging the students to write independently as much as possible, and to try figuring out how to spell words on their own without worrying about mistakes.

Another skill we introduced before the break, and that we are only strengthening more and more is learning the vowels. Students learned a special song to help remind them of the vowels. We also have been distinguishing between long vowels (when the letter says it’s own name) and short vowels (when the letter makes it’s typical sound). Students have been using long and short steps while saying these vowel sounds to try and reinforce the skill! We’ve been utilizing all sorts of tools in our classroom like puzzles, tablets, small group work, and group games to focus on these various reading skills.

In Math, we reviewed shapes and patterns this week. We will continue to strengthen Kindergarten’s knowledge of numbers 11 and beyond, and soon we will be introducing concepts of addition and subtraction. We also have been doing lots of work on place value and counting backwards, specifically using the word ‘before’. At home, it would be great for students to get even more practice seeing and counting the higher numbers. One easy way to do this would be to make a number line and hang it up in their bedroom.

As the quarter comes to a close, we will be wrapping up Science and moving back into Social Studies. In Social Studies we will be talking about Black historical figures, until the end of the third quarter.

In the next two weeks we will be doing our middle of the year DIBELS testing, and I will be sending out sign up sheets for parent-teacher conferences that will be happening on Thursday, January 26th. Report cards will also be coming out during that week as well.

Also, tomorrow we will be joined by two new students! Carter and Elliott! We are excited about the new additions to our classroom!

Let me know if there’s anything coming up that you have questions about!

 

Warmly,

Ms. V ๐Ÿ™‚

Week 5 in Kindergarten, Hello Fall!

Hello families! Hope the start of fall has been treating you all, let’s recap this past week!

In Math this week Kindergarten worked on writing and counting 5-10. This sounds like an easy task, but many Kindergarten students are having some trouble with one-to-one counting which means accurately assigning a number to each object. Many students are skipping objects, counting something more than once, etc. We will continue to do activities to practice this, but luckily it’s an easy skill to practice at home as well! Have them count small objects at home like beads, rice, coins, etc. Students have been getting better at writing their numbers and recognizing them, but six and nine are tricky ones. When you see numbers while you are out and about, have your child tell you what numbers they are!

With the start of Fall, we have been learning about the seasons and the differences between them all. One of the ways students can differentiate between the seasons is talking about how we dress for the weather. We played a game where students were given a picture of something they might wear or an object they might use during that season and had them match it to the correct season.

In reading, we worked on letters Cc, Gg, Wy, and Yy. We talked about soft C’s and soft G’s, and the soft C’s were especially tricky for students. We also added some more words to our word wall including “is” and “he”. Students did a great job using those words in a sentence! When reading together, be sure to point those words out and have your student try them out!

Kindergarten also practiced listening for rhyming words, which they have so much fun with! Some of them even came up with some nonsense rhyming words as well! Rhymes are easy to find in music which is why that is one of my biggest recommendations when practicing identifying rhyming words at home. Students have also been showing a lot of interest in reading lately! Many even choosing it as their preferred activity! It’s so lovely to hear them create their own story by utilizing the pictures. Next week we will also be adding some more word wall words and talking more about beginning sounds!

Students got some great building and puzzle practice in this week. It was also Club week, which students are really enjoying! Some students even joined Ms. Patty’s Puzzle Club!

SO many more students have been enjoying their ticket prizes for good behavior! And our good behavior jar is filling up rapidly! I am so impressed by this class and their effort that they put in to becoming better students. This week we also got to have one final lesson with our guidance counselor Mrs. Shearer. We wish her luck as she moves along to a new career opportunity and Kindergarten is thankful for the time they had together!

We had an awesome time dressing up for Spirit Week. So many students went all out with their cool outfits! Here are what Kindergarteners did for Wacky Wednesday. ๐Ÿ™‚ This week we go back to regular uniforms.

We have many exciting things coming up next week including a fire safety presentation and our Open House on Wednesday October 5th at 6 pm. I am so looking forward to seeing all of you there!

Keeping this short and sweet, please let me know if you have any questions about anything at all. Talk soon.

 

Love,

Ms. V

Week 4 of Kindergarten!

Hello everyone! I hope you all have been enjoying the fall weather! Before getting into this past week I just want to remind you that starting tomorrow we will be celebrating Spirit Week! Each day has a theme and I have reattached the flyer that was sent out from Mr. Barr. On Thursday, students were sent home with a school shirt provided by the PTSO that can be worn this coming Thursday for School Spirit Day!

This past week we focused on the letters Ss, Uu, Mm, and Rr! Students have been practicing listening to the first sound in a word to see if it matches the letter that we are focusing on. They have been doing a great job! DIBELS tests were also administered this week to see where students are at with their reading skills. Listening for and isolating the first sound in a word is one of the major skills on that test. The results of those test give us a starting point to see how students grow in their phonics knowledge throughout the year, help us determine their reading readiness, and help provide them with additional reading services if needed.

We also have been playing games such as alphabet match to practice identifying our letters, and we can even step it up a little and incorporate letter sounds into this game! Some students also got a chance to start reading some decodable books, which use picture clues and sight words that we have learned so students can easily read them.

We have several words up that students have learned and are continuing to review! Words like “the” and “am” are considered sight words and/or high frequency words. The difference being that sight words are words that students have to memorize because they don’t follow typical spelling and phonics rules, high frequency words are just words that appear often in the English language. I will be sending home a set of the words that we have been working on so that you all can practice these words at home along with the letters!

In class we practice finding some of these words in our morning message every day. We also will continue making sentences with these words.

These are one of the books we have read this past week, and the others that we will read more of this week! Kindergarten was so excited about the start of Fall and we have been discussing the ways the weather will change. We have been making many observations about the weather, and we even have learned that a scientist who studies the weather is called a meteorologist! Later this week will continue learning about all of the seasons. This is something we do during our morning meeting, where we also have been practicing our days of the week and our months of the year!

In Math this week we practiced ordering numbers 1 through 5. We use the words “counting order” and practiced rearranging mixed up numbers to put them back into counting order. We also introduced the words fewer/fewest, more/more, and equal. These are words that we will continue to learn and elaborate on. This upcoming week we will practice writing and identifying numbers 6 through 10.

In Social Studies we wrote a sentence about and drew pictures of our family. The students came up with some beautiful words about their families!

Now that students have been earning more and more tickets for good behavior, they have begun turning them in for prizes! This week a few students got the prize of flexible seating for a day. They got to choose a special kind of seat to use throughout the day instead of their regular chair. Flexible seating is a great option for students to be able to have some freedom, comfort, and ability to move their body throughout the day in a way that is not a distraction. Other students chose to have lunch with me for a day, which is always a fun treat for the both of us!

Students have been exploring many fun activities during morning work time and Free Play. One of the students’ favorite activities is to play with the uncooked macaroni pasta. They love to pretend they are working at a mac n’ cheese restaurant! It also was fun to watch students build this very tall tower with connecting blocks – they came up with the solution to use the stool to build the tower up even more all on their own!

Last weekend, Logan got to take home our class pet of the month – Penny! He got a chance to share the things they did together over the weekend. This weekend Laila got to take Penny home, and we can’t wait to hear all about their adventures!

Lastly, we celebrated two birthdays this week! To Logan and Tristan Neal, happy sixth birthday! Thank you to their parents for bringing in birthday treats for the class. They had so much fun celebrating their friends.

I’m looking forward to this upcoming, FUN week we have ahead of us! Please continue to check students’ folders daily for important information, their completed work, and more!

Have a great rest of your night!

 

Love,

Ms. V ๐Ÿ™‚

Week 3!

Hello everyone!

I hope your weekend has been treating you well! Kindergarten had a very exciting week, let’s get into it!

We had a new student join us the week, and Kindergarten was so welcoming to him. We are happy to have you Neko!

In Reading this week we worked on the letters Ll, Ff, Hh, and Pp.

We practiced sorting the new letters by uppercase and lowercase, we made frog headbands for the letter Ff, and more! We not only have been working on letter recognition, handwriting, and introducing letter sounds but we also have been introducing the difference between vowels and consonants. We will not get into more detail about this until later in the year but I would rather them be familiar with the words now. When going over the words we have been also listening to some songs that help us remember the letter sound each letter makes — our current favorite is the videos that Have Fun Teaching’s channel makes on Youtube!

Some fun activities we did to practice these new letters we learned (and review the letters from the previous week) involved doing centers that included letter tile and letter magnet exploration, an uppercase and lowercase matching puzzle, letter tracing in sand, rhyming puzzles, and word puzzles. Some of these centers were more open ended and allowed students to just experiment and get more exposure to letters (for example, students loved grouping letter tiles together like finding all the Aa’s, etc.), while others had more structure. Most of the puzzles we use are self-correcting, to encourage independence to ensure they are retaining accurate information. Letter tracing in sand is a great way to use a sensory tool to also practice handwriting!

We also have been working on learning the difference between a letter and a word. This is a skill that is part of “concepts of print”. Students need to recognize that letters have individual sounds but when they are put together they make a word, and that word can be recognized on paper by the way print is grouped together. We talked about finger spaces (aka, meatball spaces – LOL) that show us when one word has ended, and spaghetti spaces which is the much more minute space in between letters in a word so that we are still able to determine what those letters are. An easy way to keep practicing this is to have your child sit next to you while you read aloud to them and point to each word while you read. This also models what they will be learning to do later this year, and connects sound to print.

This week in Math we finished up our chapter on sorting and have moved on to reviewing numbers 1 through 5. We focused mainly on writing these numbers correctly/recognizing what the number looks like and identifying the number word. Next week will be working on ordering these numbers and learning vocabulary words such as fewer, most, and equal to. We also have been periodically been discussing patterns to continue to strengthen that skill.

Some other activities we do to help encourage math (and science) skills are building! Building things can help teach spatial reasoning, engineering skills, problem-solving. Even more so, it can help build and strengthen fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, creativity, and divergent thinking! We use lots of different building tools and materials — wooden blocks, legos, connectors of all different shapes, magnets, and more!

On the other end of the spectrum, we also have been utilizing imaginative play as much as we can during our Free Play time. Imaginative (or dramatic) play, which is when students are given the opportunity to pretend and imitate either real life or imaginary situations, has many equally as important benefits. Imaginative play fosters and strengthens language development, social skills, emotional competence and empathy, problem-solving, creativity, and independence. Unfortunately, in our society, children are usually pushed into only one kind of play based on their gender. Boys tend to not be given enough opportunities to practice imaginative play, and girls are not often given enough opportunities to practice building. The important thing is finding balance, which is something we try to do as often as possible in Kindergarten! We have things like puppets, dress up clothes, people and animal toys, TV show character toys, and other toys that encourage dramatic play like a veterinarian toy set and a gardening toy set. Closely aligned with this, is allowing plenty of opportunities to allow students to create Art. Another option I provide often during Free Play is the opportunity to create utilizing our Art Cart which contains scissors, glue, crayons, colored pencils, markers, paint sticks, and various kinds of paper. This also encourages creativity and independence but can still be an opportunity for students to practice fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, language development, and additionally can be a way to express their emotions.ย  As you can see below, Justice is showing off some of her creations!

In Social Studies this week we have been continuing our discussion on problem solving and our now moving into discussing different kinds of communities. While we have already learned about our classroom community, now we move on to the next tier of community — family! To kick this off, we read The Family Book by Todd Parr. This book beautifully illustrates the different kinds of family we can have in a very inclusive way, and offers great adjectives for describing your own family. Next week students will be writing about their own families!

Speaking of community, we also celebrated a birthday this week! The first birthday of the school year! Happy sixth birthday to Ta’Liah, and thank you to her mother for sending in cupcakes! For birthday celebrations in our classroom we always have a treat, the birthday student gets a chance to show everyone their baby pictures, and students all make a card for the student that includes that student’s favorite things (which they share with everyone beforehand). Some of Ta’Liah’s favorite things are the color blue, oranges, and playing with toys including her hoverboard!

This week we also read I Am Yoga by Susan Verde, and if you can, read the author’s note to see why I choose to read this wonderful book every year (sometimes more than once a year) to Kindergarten! They always have fun with it, and we continue to practice calming our bodies when we are feeling over-energized, angry, or sad.

Students also enjoyed their first time going to their club! Clubs at STBCA are new this year and have been included in our school schedule so that all students have an opportunity to participate. It will alternate with Mass, which is held every other Friday. So weeks that we do not have Mass we have Clubs instead! I am running the Arts & Crafts club for the upper grades but some of the clubs Kindergarten students are participating in are the Jump Start Art Club (arts & crafts for primary grades), Music Club, and Book Club! Students had the opportunity to give their top 3 choices and were then sorted into a club based on their choices and club availability. Students reported back that they had a wonderful time and we look forward to the next session!

Next week we will be working on letters Ss, Uu, Mm, and Rr in reading, and we will also be doing some DIBELS testing — this is the school wide testing that we do to measure reading and phonics skills.

Open House has been scheduled for October 5th from 6 – 7:30 pm. I look forward to all of you visiting!

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. Enjoy your week!

Love,

Ms. V ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Week 2!

Hello parents!

We have successfully made it through week two of Kindergarten! We had a short week due to Labor Day. We also celebrated Mass together for the first time as a school on Friday! Students did a wonderful job with conducting themselves appropriately.

This week we began our true academic curriculum. For reading, we start with doing a letter a day and at the beginning of the year we are just practicing recognizing the letter. We started with letters Aa, Tt, and Bb. We do teacher letters out of order based on the sound they make, the level of difficulty of the sound that letter makes, and it’s frequency of use in the English language. We do introduce the sounds at the beginning of the year but when first making our way through we focus on being able to identify the letter. We read stories with words that start with the letter we are working on, we practice searching for that letter, writing it, and even make a list of words we can think of that start with that letter!

We also learned our first sight word — “am”! Students learned the word and practiced spelling it, using it in a sentence, and recognizing the letters within it. We added it to our sound wall, which has the letters we have learned about so far (separated by vowels and consonants) and underneath we will continue to list new words we learn under the letter/sound they begin with.

This week, we also focused on the color red. At the beginning of the year, we will do a new color every week not only to reinforce recognizing the colors but also to try and learn how to recognize the color word. These lessons are also great opportunities with using our scissors!

At the beginning of the week, we had a special visitor! Our classroom aide, Ms. Patty, brought her grandson, Bentley, into the class for the morning and he read the class a story. The students were so excited!

In Math, we worked on sorting things. We practiced sorting things by color and learning the words different, same, and alike! We also are continuing work on patterns, which some students need to practice quite a bit. Especially with patterns that are a little more complex than ABABABAB.

Another fun thing that students got to do this week was visit Mrs. Shearer, the guidance counselor, for a social-emotional learning lesson! This is something that will be happening once a month,ย  students will go as a class to visit her in her room and she will conduct a lesson on naming emotions and learning how to process them.

This is special addition to our social emotional learning curriculum that goes on in Kindergarten. Another aspect is that everyday after students return from lunch and recess we do at least 5 minutes of yoga. We do this so that so we can find some calmness through movement so that we can make it through the second half of the day.

We are working diligently on handwriting and doing other tasks to help develop our fine motor skills, like playing with Play-Doh!

This upcoming week we will have our first week of clubs, which will be held every alternating Friday (alternating with Mass). Your student has chosen/was assigned to a club based on their interests, and they will go to that teacher who is running that club and spend that time with them and the other students who are in it.

We also will be working on letter Ll, Ff, Hh, and Pp this week along with working on numbers one through five and the color orange.

If there is anything you would like to share with me please feel free to reach out! I will see you all soon!

Love,

Ms. V

Welcome to Kindergarten 2022-2023!

Hello everyone! Welcome to our first newsletter of the school year! Here I will recap our week to give you all some insight into what we are learning about in Kindergarten, and keep you updated with some reminders. I want to first start off with a safety reminder:

Please do not send your student with any foods containing peanuts! We have two students in our classroom that have severe peanut allergies, and it is also against the school’s food policy. We do not allow peanut products in classrooms or the cafeteria. Even the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches provided at lunch are not actually made with peanut butter, but with sun butter (which is made from sunflower seeds). If anyone would like to donate more snacks for our classroom please bring them to the front office or to me!

We have nine students this year! I am excited to have a smaller group so that we can build strong relationships with each other and so that each student can get time for small group and one-on-one instruction.

On the first and second days of school we read a few books to help us get familiar with starting in a new class. We discussed all of the feelings we could be having: nervousness, excitement, sadness, etc. We also got a quick introduction into some of the fun things we will be doing over the course of the year! Students also got a chance to meet the new principal, Mr. Barr, and learn about his 3 R’s: Respect Yourself, Respect Others, and Respect Our School.

We also created our own rules for our classroom on the first full day of school. Students collaborated on what the rules should be and then each one came and signed their name. We discussed how when you sign something with your name you are agreeing to what is said, and you are promising to follow the rules. These are hanging up in our room so students can see them and they can be referred to often. On this past Thursday and Friday, we began our Social Studies curriculum which begins with talking about rules and being a good classmate to others. We discussed the importance of sharing, asking for things the polite way, and working together to solve problems.

To start the school year we take a whole week to go over the different kinds of supplies we use in our room. For example, on Friday we discussed crayons, Monday we discussed pencils, Tuesday we discussed markers, Wednesday we discussed scissors, and Thursday we discussed glue. We had activities to go along with each lesson such as tracing the alphabet and their names, and coloring pieces to a puzzle that students later cut out after learning how to use scissors. We also read the story Purple, Green, and Yellowย to learn about how we can safely use markers!

For glue, we did a project that is now posted in our hallway in which students glued pieces of tissue paper to their name after listening to the story Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. This was a great way for students to practice some fine motor skills and letter recognition.

Students have started their Handwriting curriculum already, as it begins with learning how to trace, how to hold a pencil correctly, and how to make different kinds of motions with their hands. We want to encourage correct posture and having students learn how to write correctly on our writing lines.

This week we also introduced our classroom library and the importance of reading. We discussed the way you hold a book, that we read (and write) from left to right, and that we can learn a lot about what is happening in a story by looking at the pictures. To reiterate the importance of pictures, we read the story Good Dog, Carl which only has two short sentences within the whole book. Students had to look at the pictures and use critical thinking to figure out what the story was about. This helps encourage students who might feel like because they don’t know how to read that there is no reason for them to look at books. But exploring books and print helps develop their reading skills!

Later in the week we read the story Madeline Finn and the Library Dog.ย This story is about a young girl who struggles with reading but when she starts practicing reading with a service dog she flourishes! Afterwards, students were then able to practice reading to their own “animal”, which was a stuffed animal from our classroom. This is something we will be doing often as giving students time to read independently is vital to encouraging a love for reading, and practicing without the pressure of making a mistake.

We also have been practicing how to appropriately play with one another. This is something we will be working on for the whole entire school year. Students have time to play for a bit in the morning as they trickle in, and at the end of the day they have Free Play in which they can choose between 4 toy choices and play for about 20-30 minutes. In order to negotiate working with others in a calm way we have already started our social-emotional learning curriculum by talking about how to name our emotions by reading a story called In My Heart. We also read the story Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It’s OK to Back Away and discussed how we should take some deep breaths, walk away, and do something that makes us feel good when we are feeling extremely angry so that we do not make a choice we regret.

In our Cozy Corner, we have something called a Calm Down Kit where students can go to use some fidget tools, coloring books, and other things to help calm their body when they are feeling extremely sad or angry. There are also pillows and a couch for them to lay on and relax if that would be what they need. We discussed the rules and parameters around this space and we will utilize this throughout the year so that students can develop the tools needed for healthy emotional regulation.

This week we will begin working on reviewing the letters in the alphabet and beginning an introduction into the sounds they make. We will also be working on patterns in Math and talking about the color red! I completed an assessment with the students this past week that I sent home to you all, so you can see what academic skills they need to work on. I will be keeping in touch regularly so that we can have ongoing communication about how to work on strengthening these skills.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Thank you so much and have a wonderful week!

 

Love,

Ms. V

 

 

 

 

Week of 1/10/2022

Hello everyone!

I hope you all have been enjoying this long weekend full of snow! Students received 1 or 2 sheets of homework focused on Martin Luther King, Jr. They also received a packet just in case of school being cancelled tomorrow. This packet does NOT need to be completed unless school Tuesday is cancelled. If it is not cancelled, please just send the packet back in with your student because that is the work we will be completing during the day.

We have been talking about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his accomplishments this whole week. This provided many different opportunities for important and difficult conversations. We have overlapped this with our reading lessons by using the multiple books we have read about him to also recognize sight words and practice decoding some short simple words. We also did some practicing with ABC Order and learning new words like “dream”.

This past week we did DIBELS testing for the middle of the year. Students were tested on letter sounds, letter naming, and their ability to isolate each sound in a word. One of the big goals for Kindergarten in the next couple of months is to get better at isolating every single sound in a word. We call it tapping out a word and we have students tap different fingers when doing the beginning, middle, and ending sound. At the moment we are working on three sound words but at home feel free to challenge your student with four sound words like “stop”, “skip”, “frog”, etc.

We were able to do a lot of differentiated reading groups this week, and it has been great to have students practice reading more and more. At home, have students read with you by echoing what you read and following along with their finger.

In Math we continued to work on numbers 11-20. We had students do plenty of hands on activity with just counting over and over all the way up to 20. Some students still need to be practicing this at home because many keep skipping numbers and messing up those counts. One of the phone ways we practiced this was giving students puzzles and making them count the pieces and then writing down the number on a white board before they were allowed to put the puzzle together. This helps me check their counting and their ability to write two-digit numbers correctly — many students have trouble with flipping two-digit numbers (this is called transpositioning). This is something we will be practicing this whole year.

Students had Ms. Byron visited this week to practice more social-emotional skills.

At the end of the week students had some structured “extra recess” as a prize won by one of the students, and one of the fun activities they got to do was use their stamps and ink pads for the first time. They loved getting a chance to be creative and make pictures with the stamps!

This upcoming week will be a short one, as we do not have school today and we won’t have any on Friday.

Next week on the 27th will be parent-teacher conferences. I have decided to make them all virtual in order to be safe with the rising number of cases of Covid-19. I’m going to do something a little different with conferences this time around and I will send out a sign up sheet for times and you can go ahead and fill in the time that you would like to have. You can manually fill your child’s name into a time slot onto the Google Sheet. It will be first come, first serve. If any of the times do not match up your schedule please let me know so we can schedule another time.

Thank you and let me know if you have any questions you have!

Love,

Ms. V ๐Ÿ™‚