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Monday, November 16, 2015

A Typical Day in #KFkinders Part-2

After we finish Morning Work and the random loose ends we have each morning to tie down, we join together at the carpet to go through our schedule.  I am a routine lover!  I become very scattered without it (much  like your average 5 or 6 year old!).  Our schedule is pretty routine each day as well.  I think it is beneficial for kids and adults alike to know what is coming at them.  We can reach amazing expectations when we know what to expect.

After our schedule preview, we move on to math.  During math we start with an animated story produced by our math curriculum, Envisions.  The story is great to preview the skill we will be practicing, and it also gives great vocabulary that we stress in our math discussions.  A copy of the Common Core math vocabulary words for kindergarten can be accessed through this link (Math Vocabulary Cards).  The story is interactive, so students are answering questions, using manipulatives, and discussing with table-mates.  It is a great way to channel our learning before we start with the work mat.

The front of the work mat is very guided.  This gives us a chance to review what the interactive story just previewed.  We  will use those essential skills on the front of the work mat, and apply them to other skills that were previously learned on the backside of the work mat.  On the front, there are no printed directions, so have your kinder explain what skills we practiced and see if they can summarize their learning!

On the backside of the work mat you will see the interactive story summarized on the top.  This allows us a place to reference the story when we are working with the skills and applying our new learning.  The directions for the work mat are printed on the bottom of the sheet.  Usually we start the backside with guided learning.  I try to scale back the amount of support I am giving by the end of the work mat.  Sometimes, especially with brand new skills, we need to work together for the duration of the work mat.  Our series does a good job of reviewing skills throughout the year, so if your kinder didn't master the skill the first or second time it showed up on the work mat...hold tight.  We will probably come back to it later in the Topic, or the year.  If you notice that your kinder isn't understanding the skill, try Googling the skill or searching for it on Pinterest.  Many times you will find free activities that you can be doing at home to help strengthen that learning.  If you still have questions on what you can be doing at home, please contact me and I'll get you hooked up or help direct your search!

An important note about our math is divided into "Topics".  These topics allow us to learn different concepts.  We will move through these topics at different paces to make sure we have a firm foundation of skills so we can build upon them and apply them in different situations.  Here is a list of the topics we will cover this year.
*Topic One-One to Five
*Topic Two-Comparing and Ordering 0-5
*Topic Three-Six to Ten
*Topic Four-Comparing and Ordering 0-10
*Topic Five-Numbers to 20
*Topic Six-Numbers to 100
*Topic Seven-Understanding Addition
*Topic Eight-Understanding Subtraction
*Topic Nine-More Addition and Subtraction
*Topic Ten-Composing Numbers 11-19
*Topic Eleven-Decomposing Numbers 11-19
*Topic Twelve-Measurement
*Topic Thirteen-Sorting, Classifying, Counting, and Categorizing Data
*Topic Fourteen-Identifying and Describing Shapes
*Topic Fifteen-Position and Location of Shapes
*Topic Sixteen-Analyzing, Comparing, and Composing Shapes
*Topic Seventeen-Step-up to First Grade
You will get a good description of each topic when the Topic Introduction sheet comes home at the beginning of every topic.  It will outline vocabulary words we will focus on throughout the topic, prior knowledge that we need to continue to build, and suggested activities and books you can use to extend their learning.  There is also a game you can plan on the backside of this work mat.

Here is a reminder of what our Kindergarten Priority Standards and Learning Targets this year!

Attached to every Topic Test you will notice there is a summary of your kinder's learning in comparison to the standards (credit to Mrs. Townsley for creating these!).  Please look at what was expected, see how they responded, and continue to push and extend their learning.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Typical Day in #KFkinders

Hello!  As I talk with my 5 year old after school and probe him about his day in AK, I usually get the "I don't know...I didn't do anything today."  I KNOW THAT IS A LIE!  I like to think that Mrs. Spading in Atkins is running around just as crazy as I am here at Keystone attending to all these little bodies and needs in the room!  We do a lot during the day but, as your kinder's teacher, I can do a better job of communicating what a typical day looks like for you.  That should make probing questions at home a lot easier on you, and might get your kinder to talk more about this awesome place!  So here you go...I am going to break these posts up with different parts of our day (with pictures of course!!).

Morning Work
When the kinders come in, they have 4 jobs that they know they need to do independently.
1.) Put their folder and Take Home book in the yellow cubbie.
2.) Sign up  for lunch.
3.) Get their chair.
4.) Complete their Morning Work.

Morning Work is just a quick worksheet that gives us a good jump-start to our day!  Here are the different parts and different expectations for each!

Sentence Writing
You will notice that your kinder will be writing a sentence at the top of the Morning Work.  Right now we are just focusing on the mechanics of sentence writing by copying a sight word sentence from the board.  Areas of focus to be looking for and can help stem some probing questions at home...
*Is your kinder starting each sentence with a capital letter.  Is that the only capital letter that is in the sentence (unless we write the word "I" or have a name).
*Is your kinder putting in appropriate finger spaces between words?  Are they putting letters right next to each other within words?
*Is there some type of punctuation at the end of the sentence?  We are usually putting a period at the early stages of Kindergarten.  Towards the end of the year when we are controlling sentence writing more we will work with question marks and exclamation points.
*Can you read the sentence?  If not, talk with your kinder about their letter formation.  Are they using the handwriting lines to form short vs. tall letters?  Are they writing too big, too small?  How is their pencil grip?  Ask them to re-write the sentence for you at home.

Number Writing
The next part focuses on number writing, specifically showing the quantity or putting the numbers in a ten frame.  We need to get writing our numbers 0-20 an automatic skill. Right now most of the kinders can write most of these numbers, but we still need to monitor reversals and that the double digit numbers are written in the correct order (12 is not the same as 21).

One-to-One Matching
The next focus is for students to count a specific quantity and then record the appropriate number.  This again practices the number recognition, but requires students to seek out how many too.

To finish there is a portion of the Morning Work that requires students to color a small picture.  This really works on fine motor control.  They really need to be able to control the crayon by moving their wrists in a flexible and comfortable manner.  We continue to focus on handwriting during letter and number writing activities, coloring really helps strengthen our pencil grip to make this skill easier for kinders.  Coloring also gets them to slow down and pay attention to detail.  If you are noticing your kinder's picture is scribbled or not colored to their best effort...TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT.  I have had numerous conversations this year about effort and giving our  best effort each time we work.  By families echoing these conversations at home will go a long way!

I try to check Morning Work daily and use fix-its for teaching points, but sometimes time does not allow for me to check them.  If your Morning Work comes back without it checked, take that opportunity to work on it at home.  Your reinforcement of these same skills at home is so powerful and can really help your kinder turn the tide!

As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns!  Thanks for the constant support!--Kim