Your child will have the opportunity to build mathematical concepts by manipulating objects and participating in investigation-type activities. Please refer to the Loudoun County Standards of Learning for specific skills that we will be working on during kindergarten. Math is incorporated into many everyday classroom activities and routines, so your child will use mathematical skills frequently throughout the day in a variety of applications. Mathematical instruction will be tailored to an appropriate skill level for the individual child.
Our hands-on approach to math stresses understanding and application, rather than rote memorization. For this reason, your child will not bring home a lot of math worksheets. Students will apply, review and refine skills by playing math games in addition to paper-pencil type activities.
If you would like more information about our Investigations math series, please visit the Scott Foresman Website:
“Phonics” refers to the association of sounds with a given letter. A key component of the kindergarten curriculum includes identifying letters and the sounds they make, combining letters to make digraphs (for example, “sh” and “ch”) or chunks (like the -an in “can”), and combining letter sounds to make words. Students will also apply phonics skills to “stretch words out” by slowly saying each individual sound in a word. This will help students to develop beginning spelling skills by hearing the individual sounds that compose a word, and identifying the correct letters that make each sound.
Each student will be placed in a small reading group based on his or her current level of development. This means that I will assess your child's skills constantly throughout the year, and place him or her in a group of other children at a similar level of reading development. In these reading groups I can instruct children on an individual level and hone in on specific skills that each child needs to develop. These groups are flexible, meaning that a student's reading group will change, frequently, throughout the year. It is important to me that each students" individual needs be met; I strive to challenge children so that they can continue to grow, but I also work patiently and carefully with students who need further help and practice.
Kindergarten students will enjoy a variety of texts through read-alouds, small group reading instruction, and independent or buddy reading. Poetry/shared reading is an important part of reading instruction. Weekly poems provide a familiar text that students can read and reread, which offers opportunities for identifying and learning high frequency words (words that cannot be “sounded out” using conventional phonics but that appear frequently in common texts). We will also use these poems to practice rhyme, punctuation, spacing, phrasing and reading fluency.
Each time I introduce a new poem for shared reading, I will give the students a copy of that poem to illustrate and place in their poetry notebooks. These notebooks go home on Friday and should be returned to school on the following Monday. It is important that the poetry notebooks be returned to school on time, because we add to them and use them during class activities.
Poetry notebooks are a wonderful opportunity for students to read familiar text at home and build confidence. When your child brings home the poetry notebook, please encourage him or her to point out and share favorite poems or songs, explain illustrations and why they choose to draw what they did, and to identify words that they recognize in the poem. Students should track text from left to right across the page, and from top to bottom, pointing to each word with the right index finger. Encourage your child to identify the types of punctuation or the rhyming words used in the poem. Think of hand motions or a dance to accompany the poem or song. There is no limit to the fun (and learning) that can happen with familiar poems and songs!
In the past, it was believed that children could not learn to read or write until they knew all of their letters and sounds. Current practice encourages and celebrates early writing of young children--even before letter skills are mastered! We encourage students to write, no matter what their current level of development. Some children will begin with squiggles or curly-q's. Others will write a random series of letters with no spacing. Soon, children begin to identify beginning sounds in words, followed by ending sounds. You will then notice your child “sounding out” words and writing them phonetically (we call this “kid-spelling”). Each of these stages is important to a child's writing development, and we refer to all of them as “writing.” It is important that your child feel like an author so that they have the confidence to work at new skills.
Please encourage your child to write at home. If your child comes to you with a scribble, drawing, or phonetic spelling, ask, “What have you written?” Odds are, they know exactly what they “wrote!” Take the time to print the words before their eyes, assuring them that you “want to write it in dictionary spelling,” so that you don't forget the wonderful words they put together. Your child will learn from watching you print.
Please give your Kindergartner lots of praise. Encourage him or her to write letters to relatives and friends, journal entries, “learning logs” of the new things learned in school, and poems or songs. Let your child compose grocery lists and to-do lists. Put magnetic letters on the refrigerator and ask your child to sound out words while you cook dinner. While children write, they read and use high-order thinking skills. This sets the stage for a productive educational experience.
It is important that students read at home so that they can apply what they are learning in school, and experience a rich variety of texts. We participate in the Scholastic book clubs to help you purchase books at a reasonable cost for your child's personal library. We will send home monthly catalogs for the book club, which offer wonderful children's literature at affordable prices. The school or Loudoun County does not sponsor this or any other book club and the book selections have not always been previewed. We are merely giving you the opportunity to take advantage of the program.
Ordering from a book club is completely optional. Please watch for these book orders to come home in your child's folder, and note the due date for return to your child's teacher. Adhering to the due date will ensure that all participants receive their orders in a timely manner.
Kindergarten students participate in four “special” classes outside of the regular classroom. Each week we will visit the computer lab, where students will learn computing skills such as keyboarding, mouse control, and hand-eye coordination. Our activities in the computer lab will correlate with the Virginia Standards of Learning in Technology, and with our state and county curriculum in Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies.
Students will participate in a Guidance lesson with our grade level guidance counselor, and a SEARCH lesson on a rotating biweekly basis. Guidance lessons will focus on character education and social skills in and outside of school. SEARCH lessons will challenge your child to use higher order thinking and reasoning skills to solve puzzles, problems, and complete activities.
We will also visit the school library each week. When we visit the library, your child will be able to check out one book to bring home for the week. Please keep this book at home until the following “library day.” If your child does not return his or her book during the following library session, he or she will not be permitted to check out a new book. This is an important lesson in responsibility for the children, and we do remind the students to bring books back in a timely manner. Please note that, should your child forget a book on our scheduled library day, he or she will have to wait until the next week to check out another book. We will not send students for open checkout at any time other than our scheduled library session. Please be certain that your child brings his or her book to school on this day.
We would like to extend our thanks to the PTA for supporting us throughout the year with fundraisers and instructional funding. This important organization has allowed us to purchase new books, puzzles, and literacy center materials for our classes. Thank you in advance for supporting our school by participating in fundraisers.
We serve the children best by working as a team. I am one-third of the team. You and your child are the other two-thirds. Thank you for encouraging your child to do his/her part. Finally, parents, thank you in advance for all of your assistance in educating your child.
The Kindergarten Team