Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed a restful, rejuvenating holiday break! We all came back ready to get back into the action of kindergarten last week. Students started off by doing some writing about something they did over vacation and they did the most amazing job! When you stop and consider where they started as writers, they have really come a long way. It sounds like Mary Poppins was a hit for most!
Kindergarten progress reports will be available for families at the end of January. This will be your kindergartner’s first Newton standards-based progress report. The performance level scores are based on mid-year expectations. Kindergartners will continue to work towards June benchmarks during the second half of the year. We try to balance the focus on objective standards with comments about your child’s individual growth and goals. If you have questions, please feel free to ask!
Fundations: This month we will be introducing several new letters and sounds including Ee (Ee-Ed-/e/), Rr (Rr-rat-/r/), Pp (Pp-pan-/p/), and Jj (Jj-jug-/j/). We have begun taking our phonics instruction to the next level by introducing how to break down words into individual sounds and put them back together (segmenting and blending). For example when students are asked to break down the word "dog" they are learning how to break the word apart into individual sounds (/d/-/o/-/g/) and then identify the letters that make those sounds. Ask them to share with you our "Break it Down" chant.
Read Alouds, Shared Reading and Poems: In January, we will continue to read folktales. We will add several new books to our “Classroom Favorites” collection. These will include, The Little Red Hen, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, and The Mitten by Jan Brett. Our “Classroom Favorites” collection provides the children with a solid core of books that they can enjoy and retell independently. Repeated readings of these books are used to teach key comprehension strategies. Students are also encouraged to retell these stories by using the "Stepping Stones" strategy that we learned last month.
This month we will continue to reinforce and work on counting skills as well as number writing. Last week we started to focus our math learning around the "tricky teens" by doing our best to remember that the digit "1" always comes first! We also started building the teen numbers with cubes on ten frames. Check out the catchy tune below that we listened to last week.
This month we will also begin working on putting numbers together and taking them apart as we get ready for our “Bunk Beds” unit in February.
Last week we continued moving forward with our Living and Nonliving science unit by planting our own bulbs. We are investigating the question: "Are bulbs living things?" We talked about how we might know if they are living or not. Ask your kindergartner to share his/her thoughts with you about how we will know if they are living things.
This month we will also study the Season of Winter. We will discuss how we dress in winter, what we celebrate in winter, how the weather changes in winter and how plants and animals are impacted by winter weather. We will work on our winter self-portraits and learn winter poems. We will also read and learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our first K Family Drop-In will be Thursday, January 24th, from 8:20 to 8:45 AM. We will be sharing what we are learning in our Science unit. We hope you can join us!
Valentine’s Day isn’t until next month but you might appreciate advance notice about how we celebrate in kindergarten. On Valentine’s Day students will be exchanging Valentine cards. Students should bring in a Valentine for each of their classmates on Thursday, February 14th (or before if the valentines are ready). When you start working on the Valentines, remember that kindergartners vary in their stamina for writing names and signing cards. Encourage your child to do some of the writing, or to read you the names, but it is okay for you to help. I will be sending a class list home soon!
Throughout the winter months, we will continue to go outside for recess each day. Please be sure to send your child with a complete set of labeled outdoor gear each day. This includes hat, jacket, mittens/gloves.