Kindergarten is off to a great start! Much of the first few weeks is about learning procedures, following the rules and making new friends but we have been able to get going on some of our curriculum as well. This year’s class has been eager to get started and we are already making great strides.

One of my favorite times of day in kindergarten is first thing in the morning when the students come in but before we are ready to get started on class work. This used to be my least favorite time. I was using paper and pencil morning work and desperately trying to keep order because the students weren’t enjoying what they were doing. That all changed when I discovered Morning Work Drawers. Now the students come in and find their name and the corresponding drawer number. They pull the drawer out and take it anywhere they want in the room to get started on their work.

These drawers are filled with academic skills but they are also focused on working all those tiny finger and hand muscles that are so often overlooked. Best of all, the students LOVE them and are excited to get to work every morning!

Early in the year the drawers are filled with simple tasks like punching brightly colored paper with a hole punch or linking colored clips together. The good news for me is that the drawers will use the same manipulatives all year while the skills focused on will get more and more challenging! The students aren’t stressed and are engaged in their work and I know they are working on all kinds of skills needed for the years ahead. Take a look at the pictures to see these new kindergarteners hard at work in the first fifteen minutes of the day.


Katelyn Gunter
Writing in Kindergarten

I love watching kindergarten learn to write! They come in knowing how to write their name and possibly a few other words and leave able to write a topical paper of a few sentences. What a difference a year makes! But it isn't always easy to get them to that point. These guys have so many great ideas that it can be hard for them to pick just one and to stay with that idea until they finish their work. Most entering students are just not ready to sound out words and form complete sentences. And some are terrified to stand in front of an audience and present their work. From the beginning of the year we work on creating weekly "papers" by following five steps: brainstorming, rough draft, peer editing, final draft, and publishing, or presenting, our work. With enough repetition the class becomes very comfortable putting their ideas down on paper and sharing them with each other. One of my favorite things to see is our "peer editing" day where the students work in groups to critique their papers. The suggestions are almost always helpful and the students are learning how to respectfully work with others to make their work better. Then on presentation day everyone is excited to tell about the suggestions they made if their partner used those suggestions. Such great collaboration going on in kindergarten! 

Sarah Kyles
100 Day

Kindergarten has completed 100 days of school! We have been talking about this day from the very first day of school when we put up a 1 on our number chart. The excitement of the class grew as we watched the chart get closer and closer to that 100. I did have to let a few friends know they weren't done with kindergarten just because we made it to 100 although it will be here before we know it! 

We've been prepping for our big day by counting by 1's and 10's and adding a popsicle stick to our buckets every day. Most of the class is able to count to 100 by themselves by now and the ones that aren't quite there have learned a few tricks to help them out when they get stuck. One of the most helpful things they have learned is that 100 is 10 groups of 10. At home, with the help of their parents or siblings, they filled a bag with 100 items. That really isn't too hard when you put 10 items in each of 10 containers. Already multiplying at 6 years old! We also wrote 100 words, counted 100 steps, found 100 kisses and put them in order, made a trail mix with 10 of each of 10 kinds of snacks, counted how many times they could chew a starburst candy, and wrote about what we thought we would do when we are 100. One of the class's favorite activities was doing 100 exercise while counting to 100. Thank you Jack Hartman videos for making exercise fun!

Parents came out for a 100 Day Celebration where the class rotated through 8 learning activities. We prepped a lot ahead of time and the stations ran so smoothly! The class built with 100 Legos, stacked 100 cups, tried to make creations with 100 marshmallows and toothpicks (the kids really had to use their brain to get those marshmallows to stand up), linked 100 numbers in order, made a necklace with 100 beads, used paint daubers to make a 100 gumball machine, worked on a sight word reader about being 100, and my personal favorite, counted how many licks it took to eat a sucker. The sucker group was so quiet and busy I am thinking about doing this activity for every party!

We had a "one"derful 100 Day!

Sarah Kyles
December Fun

With all of the programs and parties December is a busy month that seems to fly by. We have still managed to pack a lot of learning in kindergarten though.

The students have loved our "Wrap Station" where they have access to wrapping paper, tape, ribbons, bows, tags, and boxes of all sizes to wrap. At the beginning of the month I demonstrated how to wrap a present and then let them go at it. Sometimes they ask for help tearing tape or figuring out how to hold the paper while they tape it to a box but for the most part they are content to problem solve with a partner. Our main objective at the wrap station is to strengthen those fine motor skills used to tear tape and cut thin wrapping paper but the class is also learning spatial awareness, measuring, comparing objects of differing sizes, and even language arts skills when they write their to/from tags! They are working together as a team and really getting into the holiday giving spirit as well!

These kids are now pros at recognizing and creating patterns. We began the year with simple AB patterns and have worked our way up to ABB, AAB, and ABC patterns.  We have made jingle bell, ornament, paper chain, and Christmas lights patterns this month alone. Patterning is a valuable skill that helps children understand predictable relationships, builds critical thinking and working memory, and stimulates creativity! 

The class is also becoming quite a talented group of artists. We try to complete a directed drawing every month where I give the students verbal and visual instructions to create an image. We all draw the same thing but the end results are so individual. The students really have to listen and pay attention to line placement and size in order to have their picture turn out right. This month we completed a reindeer and an elf and I think they are wonderful!


Sarah Kyles
November in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is learning about money! We have introduced the penny, learned that Abraham Lincoln is found on the face of a penny, and that either the Lincoln Memorial or a shield is found on the tail side of a penny. Some students even found a wheat penny! Pennies are worth one cent and it takes one hundred pennies to make a dollar. The class has been solidifying their number knowledge by counting pennies up to 10 cents and matching them to a number card. This past week they have even been able to "buy" their snacks in the morning with their own pennies. Some students have even been able to figure out that they can buy more than one snack if the prices add up to less than 10! These kids will have no problem with addition facts in the next few months. 

The November Fine Motor Morning Work is a hit as well. Students are now pros at finding their name and coordinating drawer in the morning. They have been working on matching numbers to objects, linking sight words, using play-doh to fill a ten frame, adding the numbers of two dice together, and so much more all while working on those tiny but important finger muscles! 

Sarah Kyles