Kindergarten

27 March, 2023

Note to Parents: Our school day begins at 7:50 A.M. Please have your students at the school by that time. We have 10 minutes to do our backpack unpacking, take attendance, and then we go straight to the church. At church, we sit together as a class. In the event that your student is late, bring them to the church, and have them join the class. Thank you!

Please check your student’s Google folder for recently uploaded poems.
Please email me if you need the link to access this folder.

Virtue of the Term: Perseverance

Student Self-Assessment

At the beginning of this term, I introduced to the students the 1-4 grading scale that we use on report cards. I want the students to develop an understanding of self-assessment. The purpose of working with the students on this concept is for them to be more intentional with the work that they complete, and to think deeper about the things we are learning in class.

The 1-4 grading levels are not designed or intended to belittle anyone, but to enhance our understanding of our capabilities, so as we can work to better ourselves. This scale is the same that is on the report card, so this may be familiar to you already.

  • Level 1 is someone who is at the beginning stage of a concept or a skill.
  • Level 2 is someone who is demonstrating a working knowledge of said concept or skill but is having difficulties with execution.
  • Level 3 is someone who is able to demonstrate the concept or skill and does so with relative ease.
  • Level 4 is someone who is so proficient in the concept or skill, they are able to make it their own and help teach someone else. A level 4 would also be someone who goes above and beyond on a task and does more than the basic directions require.

Students can be found at varying degrees within this scale, and that is ok. We are all different and process information in different ways. I would not expect anyone to be at Level 4 for all subjects in kindergarten. With the students and parents knowing this scale, I would request that the students take an honest self-assessment of their skills and try to place themselves on this scale. From there, I would like the students, in conjunction with the parents and I, to work to elevate themselves to the next level.

Weekly Poems

Every week, the students will have a poem to study and memorize. As we study the poem, they will learn parts of speech, story elements, rhyme, letter/sounds, etc.

Story Sequence Chart and Key Word Outline Story

As we practice reciting “Ooey Gooey”, we discuss that the poem is a story. It is a story because it has three things:

1. Characters and Setting
2. Plot or Problem
3. Climax and Resolution

The students then create a Key Word Outline for each section. This is accomplished by answering the guiding questions (listed on the poster above). This is an example KWO:

I. Ooey Gooey, inchworm
1. mighty, proud
2. thinks, fastest, strongest
3. dirt, farm, summer
4. loved, races

II. race, across, farm
1. fell, far, behind
2. found, shortcut, tracks
3. stepped, railroad, tracks
4. not see, train
5. whistle, loudly, blowing

III. Finish line, “Where?”
1. no sign, Ooey
2. search, farm
3. tracks, ooey-gooey
4. don’t, cheat

From this Key Word Outline, the students can brainstorm sentences, and create a three-paragraph story.

Classroom Rules

Classroom Discussion Expectations

In kindergarten, we have many discussions as a class, and at times they can quickly “go off the rails”. For this reason, I am setting expectations for classroom discussions. These are goals that I will be encouraging the students to meet. These goals run parallel to the self-control steps, as these are essentially self-control steps to discussions.

Clarity

  1. Students listen consistently and maintain focus.
  2. Students ask questions to clear up confusion.

Relevance

  1. Students responds to questions with an on-topic response.
  2. Students volunteer personal opinions on topic ideas in discussion.

Depth

  1. Students answer questions with evidence or a reason
  2. Students agree or disagree with others’ ideas and provides a reason or explanation.

Reading

Sound City

Sound City is a classroom display where newly learned sounds are placed onto a map of a city.

Writing

Writing captures the hearts and minds of people, and allows them to be known, not only deeper, but also across time and space. God has used writing to make Himself known, through the Bible. He has given us a look into his heart and mind, and has sent this message throughout time. We have been reading the word of God for thousands of years. In that same way, we can be known. We can know the minds and hearts of, not only our peers, but also those of peoples long dead. We can read the palette of King Narmer, the cuneiform of ancient Mesopotamians, the frescoes of the Minoans, the epic poems of Homer, the stories of Moses and the patriarchs, and the list goes on. Likewise, we can be known through OUR writing. We can take a snapshot of who we are today (in writing) and it could be handed on to many generations to come. In this way, we can continue to live on earth, past our resurrection into Heaven. In fact, in Ancient Egypt, one of the ways in which immortality was achieved was by having your name and story inscribed into a tomb. Conversely, the ultimate punishment was the destruction of your name and the erasing of your story from records.

The purpose of writing is for us to have a way to be known, in the same vein that God has revealed Himself to us. As kindergarteners, I believe that, although this is a BIG concept to fully grasp, they should know the basis for why they are learning handwriting, parts of speech, phonics, and story telling. They are learning these skills, so they can have the tools to make themselves known to the world. Similar to a painter needing his paint brushes, paints, canvas, etc., we need to have the tools in place before we can even start to create our story. We are putting ourselves into our writing, so that others can read and know who we are.

True Things Are Always True

Faith means to have perfect trust in God. To trust God means to know that he will always do what is right for us, because He loves us.

God loves us. This is a true statement about God. It is not a statement that I created, but it is a truth that God has revealed to us. When God creates something, He makes it to be that way forever. That’s how truth works. It is a bold, black and white statement. There is no bending or diminishing it. It is the way it is.

Some people find truth to be unfair at times. “The world is this way, but I want it to be this way!” This can be a common struggle for a kindergartener. They might want something that they cannot have, and they cannot face the truth, so they cry/throw a fit. How many times are we, adults, like this too? I am the youngest of 5 boys in my family. My mother calls me her ‘baby’ even though I am in my upper 30s. I am obviously not a baby, nor anyone would mistake me for one, and I do not enjoy being called a baby. Does my age or feelings on this matter change the truth of my mother’s statement? No, because I will forever be her ‘baby’. Truth is not up to me to agree with or like. It is what it is.

However, I find that truth can be reassuring. It can be a good foundation to stand on. When I know something is true, I can rest assured that I can count on that thing 100% of the time. Truth is my safety net. It is there to prop me up when I fall, and it is there to pull me down when I get too full of myself. It is the ultimate compass, always pointing me to where I need to go.

If God made everything in the world, and true things are always true, then I can surmise that God created truth. If God created truth and I rely on truth to guide my life, then I am trusting in God. Having perfect trust in God is faith.

How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

Abraham Lincoln

Math Chapter 10 – Subtraction

Number bonds will be used in this chapter to help the students make the connection between addition and subtraction. Students often find subtraction more challenging than addition because of the multiple situations that can be interpreted as subtraction. The following two subtraction situations will be explored in Kindergarten.

Subtraction as taking away or leaving

There were 6 ladybugs and 3 flew away.
How many ladybugs are left?

Subtraction as part of a whole

There are 7 short and tall flowers.
If 4 flowers are short, how many are tall?

The students will learn the strategy of counting back on a number path to subtract. This is an effective strategy for subtracting 1, 2, or 3.

Math at Home

• Continue practicing for automaticity with number bonds to 10 and if your student is ready, you can extend that by practicing with addition and subtraction sentences to 10.

• Play Under the Cup. Using up to 10 objects and a cup, help your student practice subtraction facts within 10. Count out a set of objects up to 10, then hide some under a cup. Ask your student to determine how many are under the cup based on the part that is showing. For example, if the set includes 8 objects, hide 3 under the cup and leave 5 showing. Your student should be able to determine there are 3 hiding under the cup. You can give your student a number path or a number bond and objects to help him determine the correct answer.

• When shopping, engage your student in helping solve real life problems. For example, when shopping for fruit at the grocery store, you might say, “We need to buy 5 apples. There are 2 in the bag. How many more do we need?”

History

Italy Country 3D Render Topographic Map Border is a piece of digital artwork by Frank Ramspott which was uploaded on August 18th, 2017.

Italy

Italy is a boot-shaped peninsula sticking out into the Mediterranean Sea. It features two mountain ranges. In the north, the Italian Alps, cut across the top of the country, creating a wall offering some protection from Northern invasion. Also starting in the North, the Apennines mountains stretch south down the middle of the boot-shaped peninsula, looking like a zipper on a map. Between the Northern Alps and the start of the Apennines, lies a river valley, the Po Valley and the Po River. West of the Apennines are wooded hills that are home to many of Italy’s historic cities, including Rome. In the south are hot, dry coast lands and fertile plains where olives, almonds, and figs are grown.

Etruscans

Around 800 B.C., during the time of the Assyrian Empire in the East, and while Homer was writing his Epic poems in Greece, the Po Valley was home to a growing people called the Etruscans. The Etruscans spread throughout the Po Valley, however, we do not know very much about them. They left no written history, plays, or literature, and archaeologists have never discovered tombs of their kings. The Etruscans did leave behind their cities, sculptures featuring carvings that have yet to be deciphered, and lots of jewelry. The building of their cities remain standing, due primarily to their use of the arch. Archaeologists have been able to discover some things about their culture, from frescoes left in their ancient tombs. These frescoes depict scenes from Etruscan funerals, featuring scenes showing priest-led animal sacrifices, dancing, boxing matches, chariot races, gladiator fights, and slave sacrifices.

Etruscan arch of Perugia
Music and dancing at an Etruscan funeral
Etruscan jewelry

Science

God is the creator of the universe, and He created it with both visible and invisible creations. We use our 5 senses to examine and explore the visible creations. When we use our senses in this exploration and examination, we call that science. It is through science that we can discover God’s creations, and in that process of learning about the creations, we can gain insight into the creator, God.

God has created many things in the world that we use to make tools and objects of our own. We call these things ‘materials’. One material we use to make tools and objects is wood. Previously in class, we explored how we use wood, the properties (different aspects of wood including density, color, smell, taste, feel, hardness, etc.) of wood, and how we can make man-made woods.

Our current material that we are exploring is paper. We use paper for many everyday things. There are many different kinds of paper, each having different types of properties. We performed an experiment to find the paper properties that are best for writing, and which paper properties make the for best folding paper. Our next experiment is going to focus on answering the question: What happens when water gets on paper?

Schedule

Snack Information
(Please read the red font)

We have opportunities for snack time in the morning and afternoon. These snack times will coincide with recess. Snack is optional for your student. It is not required nor is there any pressure to feel like you need to provide a snack for either time. This is just a time when students can have a snack, if it is needed. In order to facilitate this arrangement, I am requesting a student’s snack to be within the following parameters: 

  • Packed separate from their lunch box. In the past, students get confused as to what is the snack, end up eating their sandwich during snack time, and then their lunch is just a bag of pretzels, fruit snacks, and a juice box.
  • Labeled with student’s name. At the end of the day, I often have many leftover snacks, and the students do not remember if they are theirs, and they go unclaimed
  • Can be eaten without the use of utensils. (storing dirty/used utensils can be problematic)
  • Small enough to be finished within 5 minutes. 

*As stated above, there will be two recess/snack time opportunities, so please plan accordingly based on your student’s needs.

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Assignments

Resources

Mr. Andrew Pietryga

Kindergarten Teacher

(734) 769-0911 Ext. 2111

St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School