Monday, January 15, 2018

Week 17- Making the World a Better Place

This week, in honor of the esteemed Martin Luther King Jr, we will be focusing on ways that we can make the world around us an even better place.

We have several read alouds that will help us explore this social studies topic as we practice our important comprehension skills of predicting, making connections, picturing (identifying strong words), and retelling.

In writing, we will be thinking about ways we can improve our school, our homes, and our community.

In math, we really dive into Numbers 10-19. We have been laying the foundation for really having a strong number sense of these numbers. Getting kindergartners to understand that these numbers represent amounts that are "10 and some more" is HUGE. We are also working on being able to build combinations of numbers to 5 (ex: 1 and 4, 2 and 3, 5 and 0) and combinations of numbers to 10 (ex: 1 and 9, 2 and 8, 5 and 5). Being able to easily make groups of 5 and 10 helps students to be able to understand and manipulate amounts later on. This is a really important math unit! We are working towards being able to use these skills with ease and fluency.

On Thursday, we will experience a hands on lesson about perseverance.

HUGE thank you to the kind people who donated materials to our Maker Space. This is the first year I have had such a space and it has proven to be an overwhelming student favorite. The creativity, problem solving, cooperation, and generosity it has helped to foster have been astounding. It would not be feasible for me to keep this opportunity as rich and diverse if it were not for your fabulous contributions! 

I would also like to thank you for reinforcing the use of Habits of Discussion and Formats Matters at home. These are important academic habits that are so beneficial for our young students to learn. When they practice skills in more than one setting, it makes them so much more likely to "stick" and to become part of the way they think and communicate with others. 

10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, sight words, and working on alphabet letter sound fluency.

Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes each night.
Tuesday- D.1 Count to 20
Wednesday- D.2 Count dots - 0 to 20
Thursday- D.3 Count on ten frames - up to 20

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Week 16- Jan Brett (The Mitten and The Hat)

Happy New Year, families! I hope you had a pleasant holiday season. Breaks are nice, but I am excited to see my Kinders on Monday!

This week we begin an author study of Jan Brett. We will begin by reading The Mitten.  This is another personal favorite (it is possible I overuse that the term favorite, haha).  It is a wonderful book for practicing sequencing/retelling. It is also a fabulous book for exploring strong word choice and shades of meaning. We use these skills when deciding how we want to describe something to another person. We want to use words that create clear pictures in people's minds. We have another animal friend to help us practice this skill- Picturing Peacock. We will also be comparing The Mitten to another of Jan Brett's books, The Hat.

We will also focus on reading nonfiction texts in order to gain information.  We will learn how to reword facts that our author gives in order not to "steal their words".  Our writing focus will be on gathering facts and recording them in our own words to make an informative report on foxes.   

In math, we will continue and wrap up our unit on measurement. One tricky thing that can pop up while we are comparing things by weight is that larger does not always mean heavier (it often does, but not always). Students may bring in an item from home on Thursday to use in our final lesson for this unit. This object should easily fit in their backpack. IT SHOULD NOT BE AN ITEM OF EITHER SENTIMENTAL OR MONETARY VALUE. Unfortunate things can happen and I can not take responsibility for each item's safety. Any student that does not bring an item will still be able to complete the activity with a school item- it just won't quite be as much fun.

Some upcoming dates to remember-
No school on January 15th for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  
No school on February 19th for President's Day.

I hope that your Winter Break has left you enthusiastic about the rest of our year!


10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, sight words, and working on alphabet sounds and letter names.

Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes. 

Making comparisons with real life items is an engaging and valuable way to practice these skills. Your child (along with family members) can gather items together to compare. When making these comparisons it is also valuable to encourage your child to use what we have been practicing in class with our Habits of Discussion and Format Matters. This means that they should:
* Look at the person they are speaking to.
* Use their partner's name.
* Use complete sentences.
* Use specific vocabulary.
* Ask questions of their partner.
For example: "Mom, my stuffed animal is heavier than your book." and "Dad, which is longer the straw or the pencil?"

If you email me by Wednesday night to let me know your child has been using these traits to compare real lie objects at home, I will move them up on our behavior chart. (One move total this week, although they can practice this skill each night.)

Wednesday-S.5 Compare size, weight, and capacity 
               Have your child pack their item for making math comparisons. Please remember, the item should not be of sentimental or monetary value.
Thursday- S.6 Measure using objects

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Week 15- Gingerbread

I am so excited for this special week in Kindergarten!  The kids can hardly wait for Christmas to arrive.  We will continue to read, write, and to do math each day but we will do so with a special hum of happiness!

Our theme this week is Gingerbread Men. It is an enjoyable and rich way to practice comparing and contrasting stories.  We will be finding similarities and differences between stories in regards to characters, settings, and events. We will also continue to practice retelling the important parts of fiction stories.  You can help with this skill by asking about the stories that they hear and read at school and with you at home.

In phonemic awareness, we are continuing to work on hearing different sound chunks in words. We want to be able to break them apart and put them back together.

For writing, we will be having a cookie taste test. We will record what we notice with our senses. 

In math, our measurement unit continues with a focus on length, height, and weight. We have a great variety of books and hands on activities to help us explore comparing these.

I want to thank everyone who was able to send items in for our party on Thursday. You are so generous! I wouldn't turn away one more parent helper to run a station :) All materials are provided- you just need to come hang out with some of the best people on the planet...our Kindergartners!

As we count down the days to Christmas break, I hope that you are able to take some time to relax and enjoy your child's joy this season.


10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, sight words, and working on alphabet sounds and letter names.

Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes. 

This week your child can explore any of the following objectives in whatever amount/order seems most appropriate for them.
  1. S.1 Long and short
  2. S.2 Tall and short
  3. S.3 Light and heavy
  4. G.3 Fewer and more - compare by counting
  5. G.5 Fewer, more, and same 
Thursday - Have a great Christmas Break! 

I came across a site that looked pretty engaging from the sample I was able to try out. The website says that parents can sign up for free (There is also a paid version available). If your child is whipping through the IXL assignments, you may want to have them try out this site for additional practice with important foundational skills.

Over break:
Having your child read, play a sight word game, practice any IXL skill, and/or write a bit whenever you can fit it in or they seem interested is a great way to keep the many things we have been working on sharp in their growing minds. (No pressure!)

Thank you for sharing your child with me!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Week 14- Reindeer

This week our theme will be reindeer.  Often, children's only exposure to reindeer will have been Santa's flying reindeer.  To be able to engage in an informational study of reindeer without lessening the magic of Christmas, I will differentiate between most reindeer and Santa's special reindeer. During this nonfiction study, we will introduce many nonfiction text features such as maps, diagrams, and headings.  

We will also be reading a funny story called The Great Reindeer Rebellion. While still practicing our previous comprehension focuses, we will also be comparing texts more formally.

Your child will be bringing home a Retell Bracelet that they can use during their homework time to practice this oh-so-important skill!

We will be exploring onset and rimes for phonemic awareness.

We are continuing to work on writing informational booklets to share facts. Our kinders did a fantastic job with this new genre of writing last week!

We will be wrapping up one math unit this week and then jumping in to a new one- measurement! This unit totally builds on and strengthens our comparing skills.

Students will continue to learn about Forces and Motion with our next STEM Challenge- Race Car Ramps!

We could still use a few things for our Christmas stations:
* green SOLO cups
* shaving cream
* spangles and sequins  
* volunteers for the stations (You would be responsible for overseeing a center activity with 4 kiddos at a time. We will be cycling through the stations at 15 minute intervals. All materials would be provided for you. Our party will be Thursday, December 21st from 8:15-9:45.)
Thank you so much to those who have already given!

Thank you for the fabulous turn out for conferences. I appreciate you taking the time to attend!


10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, sight words, and working on alphabet sounds and letter names.

Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes. 


Monday- G.3 Fewer and more - compare by counting (or a review of a previous skill) 
Tuesday- G.5 Fewer, more, and same(or a review of a previous skill) 
Wednesday- S.1 Long and short  
Thursday- S.1 Long and short (or a review of a previous skill)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Week 13- Pigs

This week we will be learning about pigs from a nonfiction text. We will use facts from this text to write a piece of informational writing. There are countless skills that go in to be a strong reader- one that can be difficult is "using text evidence". We want readers to make connections and inferences based off of their own experiences, but we also need them to be able to refer to knowledge gained through others. 

We will also be reading an adaptation of the Three Little Pigs by Mark Teague. In this version, the problem and solution of the story are delightfully different than the traditional tale. We will be really taking note of how the problem and solution of a story often fit together, not unlike puzzle pieces.

We will continue to learn about some more Secret Stories- Sneaky y and oo.

We begin our next science unit on forces and motion this week, by exploring our use of pushes and pulls.

Our math unit continues to compare numbers and amounts, with a special note on figuring out "how many more".

The students will have a STEM challenge on Thursday to build a sturdy house that can withstand the huffing and puffing of the wolf. 

A shout out of gratitude to the lovely parents who were able to send materials in for our upcoming Christmas stations! 
We could still use:
* green SOLO cups
* shaving cream
* small multicolored craft sticks
* spangles and sequins
* volunteers for the stations 

No one has claimed the Tuesday morning center spot.

I am looking forward to conferences this Friday. It is so nice to get a chance to sit down and meet with each you!

10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, sight words, and working on alphabet sounds and letter names.

Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Week 12- Goats

This week we are continuing to work on our retelling skills. We will continue to use these skills as we retell via acting out The Three Billy Goats Gruff. We will also be stretching this skill to use it to retell what we read about in nonfiction books. This requires us to really think about what an author wants us to be learning about. We will be using the informative book Goats are Great.

We will continue our work with syllables- the kiddos are becoming great at listening for and feeling these important word chunks. If you place your fist below your chin, you can feel your jaw bump your fist for each syllable in a word.

This week's featured Secret Story will be: Mama e. This is when Mama e hangs out at the end of a word and encourages a vowel to proudly speak up with their name, such as in words like "game", "home", and "fine".

We will be writing our own story about a troll. We will be focusing on including information about our characters, setting, problem, and solution. Students will get to share their stories with a student from Ms. Morrison's class on Thursday!

In math, we will be extending our work with numbers 0-10 to include a focus on comparing amounts. This work is crucial to developing a strong foundational number sense.

I could use a parent to run a couple of centers on Tuesdays. If you are interested, you would pull two small groups during your session, but the whole class will reconvene for a mini lesson in between. Sessions will be from about 8:30 - 9:30 (this will give you a few minutes to familiarize yourself with your center and get set up if needed before I send a group of kiddos to you). Materials and directions for your center will be provided. Kindergartners are THE BEST people to work with.

Conferences are approaching. If you haven't yet signed up for a time slot, please do so at your earliest convenience. ( To prepare for this important, but fast paced meeting, please begin to make a list of any questions, concerns, or even just things you want to comment on. We have so little time to talk about your child specifically I really want us to be able to maximize our time together.

The winter holidays are also approaching. I am thinking that we will do activity centers for our celebration, much like we did for Halloween. These would take place on our last day before Winter Break, Thursday the 21st of December, 8:15 to 9:45. I could use some parents to run stations. I could also use some help gathering the following supplies:
* multicolored craft sticks (small)
* green SOLO style plastic cups
* glitter glue
* spangles/sequins
* pompoms
* shaving cream
I could also use a parent or two to whip up some Christmas/Winter themed sensory bins.

10 minutes each night. Reading can include reading stories, the poems in the binder, sight words, and working on alphabet sounds and letter names. If you haven't had a chance to read about the BANG sticks, please check out that earlier post and consider utilizing this fun way of practicing sight words.

Remember, math should be done for 10 minutes.

Wednesday- G.3 Fewer and more - compare by counting

Thursday- G.4 Fewer and more - compare in a mixed group

Skills can be revisited and repeated to increase your child's automaticity. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

BANG Sticks!

With it being our Fall Break, your child does not have homework per se, but... you whipping up a version of this game would be a really good idea.

These are BANG Sticks and they are a sight word practice sensation! 

If a child is able to quickly read the sight word on the stick that they pull, they get to place it in front of them. If they need help figuring out the word, it goes back into the can so they may have another shot at it later. When anyone pulls the BANG stick, all words go back in.

You don't even need sticks and a can to make this game. The same idea could be used with slips of paper and a cup.

I hope you are enjoying your week!