Welcome to Kindergarten! This is a very exciting time and I look forward to getting to know you and your child. Together we can ensure a successful year filled with lots of learning and fun!
My name is Ms. Herrick and I am delighted to be your child’s teacher this year. There are a variety of ways to reach me if you have questions, concerns, or stories you want to share. The best ways are...
I believe play and exploration are at the heart of learning and all children follow a unique learning path. I want kindergarteners to leave with an active learning stance, developing questions and looking for answers independently. I believe that learning is a messy process. Play and inquiry are important parts on this journey to build literacy and mathematical sense. Our classroom will allow your child to be independent as well as part of an empathetic community.
Kindergarten is one of the most magnificent years of growth. Children enter at a variety of developmental stages and emerge reading, writing, and applying number sense to the world around them. Beyond this, Kindergarteners show tremendous social growth. Our classroom will be one where empathy, joy, respect, kindness, and the motto of #Other People Matter shines through.
I look forward to sharing our learning journey with you on Seesaw as well as in our classroom. Please feel free to contact me at any time. Your children are precious, and I take your entrusting them to my care seriously and with enthusiasm.
A Peek into our day
Our classroom uses a workshop model. We start each lesson gathered together on the rug where we learn and practice together. Then students move off to chosen spots to practice independently and with partners. During this time I am working with individuals and small groups of students. After the workshop, we meet again at the rug to share our learning. Your child will participate in many workshops throughout the day, engaged by asking questions, discovering answers, learning, and growing.
A Closer Look at Our Day
Our day begins with the students arriving and preparing for the day by placing notes in the notes basket, folders in mailboxes, snacks and lunches in the tops of cubbies, and hanging up jackets and outdoor gear. After the students have unpacked, each student will sign in and make a choice until everyone has arrived and is ready. During this short time, students may choose to play, create in Seesaw, talk with friends, or just hang out… their choice. A question to always ask your child might be, “How did you start your day today?”
Next, we gather at the rug to read our schedule for the day, explore the weather, count, place the days information on the calendar, and have a storytelling circle. During storytelling circle we tell a story about us, possibly something that happened in class, either just that morning or on a previous day. This exercise is helpful to build skills for reading and writing, as well as celebrating the students’ successes and growing brains. Your child will have the opportunity to share stories from home too. Watch Seesaw for more information on storytelling. After storytelling circle, we get our math brains ready with a number talk and number of the day discussion. A number talk is a student led discussion about numbers. The students are shown a number or numbers, maybe a numeral, a picture, or an equation. The students think in their heads how they would solve it (see it) using as many strategies as possible. Students share with partners and the whole class asking questions to make sense of each others strategies. We will post lots of examples of number talks on Seesaw.
Once we return from specials, we begin our literacy activities. This includes; reading workshop, writing workshop, and word study workshop. The students will be reading lots of books, writing lots of books, and working with letters and words. During this time the students will also listen to books as I read, read books all together as a class and in small groups, and write books, signs, letters, and messages together. Questions to ask your child might be, “What special did you have today?” or “What did you read during reading workshop?” or “What are you writing about?” or “Did you like the book Ms. Herrick read today? What was it about?” or “Who’s name came out of the Star Jar today?” I will post other questions and inspiration on Seesaw to help get your child talking about school.
After lunch, we have a P2 lesson building community as a lead into choice time workshop. During this workshop, students will choose from a variety of play activities including; music & drama, art, makerspace, building and construction, and sensory bins. The students will choose where to “work”, come up with an idea, make a plan, revise if something is not working out, and finally share their “work” with classmates. As we learn and play together we will also be building critical skills for a lifetime of curiosity and growth. Your child will be learning some important ways to think about themselves and the world. Through these activites I hope your child develops a growth mindset, believing that (s)he can learn anything with support, hard work, and thoughtful strategic instruction. Other questions to ask your child might be, “Where did you work today?” or “What is your plan for Choice Time Workshop?”
Math workshop is our next afternoon activity. The students will explore numbers through an inquiry process developing number sense. The students will look closely at a problem…. maybe an image, a video, a dot pattern, or listen to a math story...noticing, wondering, and discussing ideas with their classmates coming up with questions they want to answer and a plan for answering those questions.. Students will have a variety of tools and will be encouraged to use a strategy that works for them. These problem solving tasks will not only enhance students’ development mathematically but will also help them to see the math world all around them. Everyone will share their work on Seesaw using their math vocabulary.
Our day in the classroom finishes with more literacy activities, snack, and science and social studies inquiries. The students will consider questions such as, Where does a puddle go?, Why do animals live where they live?, Am I unique? This inquiry process will assist students in developing an active learning stance, asking questions about the world around them and looking for answers independently.
Our final activity is recess at the end of the day. I am pretty sure your child will arrive home tired from their busy day of work.
Supporting Kindergarten work at home
I do not assign homework but have listed some ways you can support your child’s growing brain at home. Your child’s Seesaw portfolio will also act as way to support your child’s active learning at home.
* Read books together. Any chance you get, read a book with your child. Besides a great opportunity to bond, this helps your child develop a love of reading and healthy reading habits.
* Tell sequenced stories, retell events. Stories can help children understand who they are in the world and help them make sense of events around them. Model this for your child by telling stories: the trip to the store, the day he or she was born, the time he or she saw a giant bug. Encourage your child to tell the story with you. Children’s oral language and vocabulary development explode between the ages of three and six; take advantage of this and talk, talk, talk.
* Make writing tools available and encourage children to write lists, cards, stories, labels—anything really! Children will go through several stages of spelling before they become “conventional spellers.” Scribbling leads to letterlike shapes, then to actual letters, and then to more conventional writing. Each step has a place, just encourage children to write no matter what it looks like. The more children attempt (even if it is just scribbles), the more they practice and gain confidence. Over time, children will develop lots of ways to write and spell, but only if they are first accustomed to taking risks and making a few mistakes!
* Count everything, everywhere! When unpacking groceries, count each item; when lining up stuffed animals, count them. Try using words like more, less, and same. These basic activities are laying the groundwork for number sense.
* Have fun and play often!
This year your child will create a digital learning portfolio using Seesaw. Your child will post pictures, videos, and drawings annotating them with voice. Each child’s unique portfolio allows up to 10 people to be connected. Only those connected to your child’s journal will be able to see their work. With Seesaw you will be able to see your child in action throughout the day! I also use Seesaw to send messages, reminders, and newsletters. Please sign up now!
If you do not have digital access to Seesaw and will need communication through printed messages, reminders, and newsletters, please let me know.
Children should bring a healthy snack and water bottle to school each day. Students may leave their water bottle at school to replenish during the day. We have an early lunch so we will snack in the afternoon.
Students may purchase a school lunch, bring a lunch from home or bring a lunch and purchase a milk from school. If you send in money with your child, please be sure it is labeled with your child’s name and what the money is intended for. The school uses a POS system for lunches. You can log in to your child’s account on the PCS website.
Birthdays are an exciting time in Kindergarten. Each child can celebrate his/her birthday in class. We will celebrate summer birthdays in June. On your child’s day (s)he can decorate and wear a birthday crown (to let everyone know to say, “happy birthday”). We will sing Happy Birthday in class and celebrate with a special treat or activity, As your child’s birthday celebration approaches, please discuss what (s)he would like to do to celebrate with the class. Children choose a variety of celebrations including; a STEM challenge, a party game, a special snack, a special visitor to read or teach us something, or even a build-your-own birthday treat. I am open to all suggestions, but we do try to keep things uncomplicated. If you choose to share an edible treat with the class please remember our school enforces the Department of Health regulation that specifies we may not serve foods to students that were not prepared in a licensed kitchen. Be sure what you send in is store bought and in the original packaging.
We have a daily recess. Please be sure your child is prepared for outdoor play each day. This includes proper footwear for running and jumping on warmer days and snow pants, boots, mittens, warm jacket, and a hat for colder snowy days.
Please be sure to notify me of any emergency information changes. (new phone numbers, new emails, new address, etc.)
I look forward to talking with you more as this year unfolds. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any question, comments, or concerns.