For the month of January...
Happy New Year to all! I pray that 2019 will bring you many blessings.
The monthly theme for thhis month is Animals/Habitats. We will discuss the characteristics of different animals, how they move, where they live and how they are born.
Beginning in January, the children should now be writing both their first and last name on all of their papers. Numbers written backwards will now be marked incorrect as the children should be looking over their papers before they hand then in, checking their work for any mistakes, and then correcting the errors. This is a habit that will serve them well as they move on to the upper grades.
****The children will now have homework every single night.
**In all areas, neatness counts. We should not be rushing through things sloppily, coloring carelessly, nor writing without using the lines to form letters properly
**We will begin spelling with weekly word lists, sentences and tests. Please go the the page on my website titled "Our Spelling Program" for more specific information. Copying from the board and tranferring words and sentences into their notebooks may challenge some students in the beginning because it requires eye/hand coordination but this is a necessary skill in life....not everything can be from keyboard to computer screen! Spelling is scheduled to begin on January 28th.
****Our K+ Program is also scheduled to begin on January 28th.
We are working in our F books and will be reviewing the letters C, O, G, A, D, S, L, i and T. (letter recognition, sound and written form). During this month, we will also be moving on to the letters E and U. Please make sure to review the vowel sounds every night as the similarity of some sounds can confuse the children and mixing them up readily affects their reading skills. We will be distinguishing between similiarly spelled words by identifying the sounds that are different. We are readily blending sounds together at this point. This is decoding. The students should be able to spell some simple words using the sounds we have learned so far. This is encoding. While I am happy that some children can read some words through sight, the goal is for the children to develop the important skill of blending to read words instead of just memorizing. we are using pictures or orally dictating to narrate a single event in which it occurs and provide a reaction or opinion on what happened. We are also focusing on recognizing and naming different punctuation at the end of a sentence ( periods or question marks) and identifying the diffence between each one. We are capitalizing the first letter in names, the word I, as well as the first letter of the first word in a sentence.
I have sent home a guideline for you at the end of September to help parents understand how we are teaching letter/number formation and how to use the lines. I hope this has been helpful. We will be focusing on identifying initial sounds with pictures and continuing to work on our listening skills using our Listen, STOP, Think and Then Do technique. We will also stress rules for classroom discussions (look at the person speaking, take turns talking, raise your hands etc.) We also want th children to listen with a sense of purpose and develop aural comprehension of stories. Expessing themselves using full sentences and expanding their complete sentences with more information in shared language activities is also important. Understanding question words such as who, what, when, where, why and how will be stressed. Many times in school we ask the children a "why" question and they respond with a completely off track answer such as "I like the story" or "Yesterday my cousins came over my house". Ummm....that wasn't an answer to the question I asked. I am also now looking for more detailed reponses to my questions.
We are working on using graphs and tally marks to illustrate/count the numbers/sets. We are also moving on to identifying a "whole", 1/2 and 1/4. Counting sets of 11 to 20 and beyond. This includes knowing the number order....what comes before, between and after a given number. Bundling groups of 10 in order to count much larger number will be a focus.
Wewill be concentrating on our monthly theme of animals and their habitats.
In social studies...
We are focusing on Martin Luther King Jr. and treating people with fairness and dignity.
We are focusing on fine motor skills such as holding a pencil correctly (as well as a crayon, and scissors). We are reminding the children to work from left to write....some children are writing their names from right to left (in a mirror image). Proper formation of both capital and lowercase numbers is a priority ( numbers too). Neat/readable handwriting is an important form of communication.
Important December dates to be aware of......
On Wednesday, January 2nd, classes will resume.
On Friday, January 4th, we have an 11:50 dismissal for Kindergarten due to our monthly faculty meeting.
On Friday, January 11th, there will be a $2 N.U.T. day.
On Monday, January 21st, the school is closed for Martin Luther King Jr Day.
On Thursday, January 24th, progress reports will be distributed.
On Friday, January 25th, there is a $1 N.U.T. Day and a food pantry collection.
On Monday, January 28th, our spelling program begins.
**** Let me make you aware of our homework schedule. I do not list the actual homework and directions because this is a way to strengthen and test the children's ability to retain information/instructions given to them with a time lapse. It also makes the homework THEIR responsibility and forces them to rely less on their parents. (Please refer to the homework page on this website).
***Remember that you need to decide the best time for homework to be done. Some children need to do it right away when they get home or else they loose momentum. Other children require a bit of a break when they get home from school and do not have a problem getting back into work mode without a struggle later on. You will need to determine what will work best for your child. Please avoid doing homework in front of the T.V. This takes focus away from the task and sends the message that homework is not that important. Please do not write your child's name on their paper for them or do any of their coloring for them. Homework is their responsibility and these tasks provide further practice for them.
As you read the subject objectives above, you will see that much is expected of our children as per the common core curriculum. Proper classroom behavior can enhance or distract us from our goal. That is why our folder's behavior chart that we will discuss on Open House night is so valuable. You can help us keep our children on track and participating in good classroom management by reinforcing our needs to give your children the best learning environment possible!
We will be focusing on following the classroom rules for both safety and learning. Children are encouraged to LOOK at the person speaking and to take turns when talking.
****WORTH REPEATING.....Listening with purpose and developing aural expression is important. When children begin answering questions posed to them from a story such as "Was the boy happy?", they should be able to reply and supply specific reasons for their answer from the story read to them to back up their response. This is an important skill that will be built upon every year.
The emphasis will continue to be on listening and following directions. All learning stems from developing listening skills. Oral expression will be encouraged. They need to speak using full sentences...producing and expanding complete thoughts in shared language experiences. It is important that children speak in complete, clear sentences. We will be focusing on answering question words...who, what, when, where, why and how.
******* The learning technique that I call..."Listen, STOP, Think and then Do" will be continued in class. Young children sometimes listen to only bits of what someone says and then rush ahead to complete a task. This often results in careless mistakes. I tell the class that before they pick up a pencil or raise their hand to reply to a question, they should listen carefully to what is being said and then STOP. They need a chance to process the information/request before they charge forward. When they stop themselves, at that point they are asked to THINK about what they need to do next. Only after they take the time to formulate the information should they begin to DO. This technique forces the children to slow down their actions until they have a clear understanding of the task at hand.
Aural comprehension of a story is tested. Questions that require critical analysis is a valuable way to evaluate whether a child understands information read to them and helps them often a deeper awareness of the material. Literal questions such as, "Where did the boy in the story live?" or "What color was the room?" are fine but it is also important to delve into a more substantial thought process such as, "How do you think the boy felt when that happened? Why did he feel that way? Have you every felt that way and why?" This requires the child to internalize the story and look for content in the story to support their answer. These are little steps that will prepare their ability to process information in general not only in Kindergarten but in grades to come!
Art in my class, aside from work done in art class with their art teacher, has many different purposes. I use art to develop their ability to follow directions, specific sequencing to get a finished result, practice their fine motor skills etc.
In religion will will focus on the Our Father. We are a "class family" is stressed. Showing kindness to each other makes God happy. Religion is not treated as a subject in our class. It is a part of our lives all the time in what we do and how we act and how we treat others. We have been talking about how we are a "class family". Even though we go home to different houses and have different parents, we are still all God's children and are all brothers and sisters of Jesus. We know no child in our room is better than another because God made us all special and loves us all the same. We are learning the Our Father through song because singing is a way to pray too. The children have been taught to make the sign of the cross whenever they hear a police, ambulance or fire truck siren. This means that somewhere someone is in trouble and needs our prayers to keep them safe. As we make the sign of the cross and move our hands, we say (either out loud or inside our heads) Father, watch, over, them. The children have been encouraged to share with you/teach to do it too. Part of our mission as Christians is to be ready to offer our prayers for others.
Please be aware that we are also working on the LURES program (please look on my website for more specific information) which will be discussing what types of affection if okay and what is not. Beginning in April thru June, the social worker/psychologist will be coming to the K classes to talk about personal safety in various scenarios.