• Monthly Virtues- Each month we will focus on a different virtue. We will talk about the meaning of each virtue, role play and practice using our virtue in the classroom.
• Class Meetings- One way we discuss virtues and character education is through regular classroom discussions. During our meetings we may spend time problem solving, giving compliments, discussing concerns, share in a group, sharing stories related to our virtues, and simply getting to know each other.
Last year we adopted a new reading curriculum. The Benchmark literacy program supports all of the daily components of high quality reading instruction. There is a particular emphasis on the development of comprehension strategies
• Assessment – used to drive our instruction
• Interactive read-alouds – time to model strategies good readers use
• Shared reading – mini lessons used to explicitly model comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency
• Differentiated Small Group Reading – small group work focusing on extending instruction from shared reading lessons
• Independent Reading – time to practice skills and strategies
• Phonemic Awareness (ability to hear sounds in words), Phonics (letters and sounds), and Word Study (taking words apart and putting them back together)- daily time to build strong decoding and word-solving strategies
Our kindergarten classes use a Kid Writing program, within a Workshop model. Kid writing provides an integrated approach to teaching writing. We focus on phonics, sound-symbol relationships, illustrations, sharing our ideas through writing, and interactions between teachers and students. Our youngest writers are led through the writing process, from discovering new ideas to write about to publishing stories and sharing our writing with friends in our classroom.
The workshop model emphasizes writing as a process. We walk kids through the writing process while encouraging kids to create books, poems, and stories. We like to think of our Writer’s Workshop as a woodworker would think of their woodshop. Our writers are taking raw materials and creating something unique, amazing, and artistic, just like a woodworker would in their own workshop.
• Illustration Study – focus on wordless books and how authors tell stories through their pictures
• Journal Writing – using invented spelling in a risk free environment with high levels of challenge and support
• Author’s Studies – using favorite authors’ books as our mentor texts for writing
• Cooking – This is a kindergarten favorite! We spend lots of time cooking, baking, and writing about our experiences.
• Poetry – kindergarten poems used as models for our own free verse poems
• Nonfiction Writing – expert topics, favorite animals, how-to writing
• Class Books – each child creates a page of a class book with familiar pattern or repetitive text
Math – Our math program is called Math Expressions. It focuses on the most important core concepts. Kindergarteners spend quite a bit of time finding numbers embedded within single-digit numbers and finding the tens and ones in multi-digit numbers. We work with story problems, basic algebra concepts, geometry, measurement, and graphing. Our math concepts are spiraled throughout the school year. We focus on one particular topic and then keep coming back to the topic as the year progresses.
• Calendar – days of the week, months of the year, counting, money, tens and ones, and student helpers leading quick practice
• Kinesthetic – hands on activities using manipulatives to assist learning
• Workbooks – pencil/paper practice
• Homework – assigned homework pages
• FOSS kit: Pebbles, Sand, and Silt
• Five Senses and Observation
• Home and Family
• Our school community
• Getting along with others
• Character education
• Problem Solving
• Pledge of Allegiance
• Celebrations (Thanksgiving, Holidays, Dr. King, Friendship, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, Mother’s/Father’s Day)
Arrival and Dismissal: Kindergarteners line up outside the office when they arrive at school. We will meet the children at 8:30. Half day lines up by the blue wall. Both full day classes line up by the office.
The children will be dismissed at 3:10pm, although kindergarteners usually come out 5 minutes early. Your child will only be released to the people you designate on the dismissal sheet or emergency card. Please send a note for any changes to their usual schedule.
Snack and Lunch: We will have a snack time each day. Please send a healthy snack for your child each day. (No chips or cookies please!) Keep a Ziploc bag in your child’s backpack with one snack for each day of the week. Instruct your child that they are only to eat one snack each day. Fresh fruit would also be a good choice.
Full day classes eat lunch at school, in the gym. Half day classes do not eat lunch at school.
Rest Time/Quiet Time: All classes have a “silence and stillness” time each day. As kindergarteners we will have a short rest time with quiet music playing to get our minds and bodies ready to work.
Specialist: Kindergarten participates in all of the special area classes. We will have music, library, and PE. We will share the schedule with you at the start of the school year.
Daily Folders: Children will bring blue folders home each day with completed work and parent information. Please check these folders daily. Read, complete, and return appropriate papers in this folder.
Homework: Homework will be sent home in the blue folders. Students will have a few fun projects they will take home over the course of the year. Directions for each project will be sent home. Our new math program also requires nightly homework for students. This will be sent home with newsletters beginning later in September. Nightly reading is a MUST for kindergarteners! Please be sure to read to your child each evening. Please be sure to visit the public library!!!
Kindergarteners will also have take-home reading books. They will be responsible for practicing these books, with an adult, three times during the week. You will receive a reading check-off-chart that will be kept in the blue folders.
Notes: Notes are required for the following reasons:
• Early dismissal for doctor appointments
• Different person picking student up from school
Conferences: Conferences are scheduled two times during the year (October and March). We will meet with all parents in October, but only a few in March. These conferences are planned to discuss your child’s progress and offer you ideas on how to help your child succeed. You are always welcomed to schedule additional conferences by sending a note with your child or calling us.
Newsletters: Due to significant budget cuts, we will not be sending home paper copies of newsletters. We will be sharing about the curriculum, things that happen in our classroom, and suggestions about working and playing with your kids at home through email. Occasionally, we will also be sending emails with specific information about our classroom. Please be sure we have a valid email address at all times.
Other Important Information
Dressing for School: Please dress your child in comfortable clothing for school. It is best to dress children in “play” clothes instead of “dress” clothes since some activities require children to paint, sit on the floor, or play outside. In cold and rainy weather, please dress your child accordingly for play outside. Children must wear tennis shoes to school on PE days.
***Please keep an extra set of clothes in your child’s backpack at all times. A wet slide or a walk through a puddle at recess can cause lots of tears if there are no dry clothes to change into.***
Medications: The school office staff will administer all medications. Please contact the office if your child is to be given any medicine during school hours. Do not send medicine to school in your child’s backpack. This includes cough drops.
Can You Lend A Hand???? Volunteers are very important to the kindergarten program. If you can volunteer please let us know on the questionnaire form that will be coming home. There are many tasks for volunteers and we will try to find one that best fits your needs.
Birthdays: Children may celebrate their birthdays in school. Cookies, popcorn, or a fun snack may be sent as a special treat. Treats may only be store bought. Please let us know ahead of time if you plan to celebrate your child’s birthday at school.
** If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at school. The best way to reach us is through email.
We look forward to working with our Hilltop Kindergarten families this year!