11 January, 2021


I am very impressed with the homework the students have been producing in the last couple of weeks. Their assignments are a testament to their hard work and dedication. I am very proud of them and I look forward to seeing the levels they can reach this year.

As a way to connect the work we do in class to what they complete at home, I would like to ask that students use pencils for their homework. Pens/Markers can vary in their writing smoothness, size, weight, etc. In order to produce consistency between school and home, I would prefer that they complete their homework in pencil. This would give the students more practice with the basic feel of a pencil, and allow them to get more experience with the appropriate pressure needed to write without ripping the paper, and how to erase when mistakes are made.

Additionally, to help your student with their writing. please check their pencil grip, and their writing using the 4-Point Check.

Key Word Outlines

We’ve had three weeks of working on KWO’s and I think many students are starting to get their “ah-ha” moments. I found a way to relate this process to the students that helped them understand why we do this. When we read a source text, we are reading someone else’s writing. They own the writing and if we copy it, and say it’s ours, that is stealing. But, we can take out the main ideas (key words), throw away the rest, and start a process for making our own paragraph based on the main ideas that we took out. Once we get the key words, we can make new sentences that are ours, that we can own forever. Once we complete all the sentences, we have a whole story that is our and that we can put our name on and show off to our friends.

In order to help bring you, the parents, into what we are working on, I would like to guide you through the steps. This process is difficult and can be a struggle for most students, but as we work on it, we will grow to a greater understanding of sentence structure, parts of speech, synonyms, etc.

Step 1: Read, discuss, and review the source text.


Pigs are called hog or swine. They have no sweat glands. They cannot sweat to cool off. They roll in the mud to cool their skin. The mud dries and protects them from the sun.

Step 2: Count the number of sentences and create the Key Word Outline template. This can be done by simply counting the end marks (periods, question marks, and exclamation points). Ex: This source text has 5 sentences, so we make 5 lines. (We start with the Roman numeral (I) because, in future years, students will be making Key Word Outline for multi-paragraph source texts.) We also add a simple title.

I. __________________________________________
1. __________________________________________
2. __________________________________________
3. __________________________________________
4. __________________________________________

Step 3: We extract the 3 main/most important words from each sentence. We can only use 3 words, but we can use as many symbols or numbers as we need.

I. called, hogs, swine
1. have, sweat, glands
2. cannot, sweat, cool
3. roll, mud, cool
4. mud, dries, protects
(notice a symbol was used to strike through the word “have”, meaning “no have” or “don’t have”)

Step 4: Use the Key Word Outline to create new sentences. The sentences form a brand new original paragraph, that contains all the same ideas, but is written by the student. Ex: (Student-generated sentences developed last week in class).


Hogs or swine are what we call pigs. Pigs don’t have sweat glands. Pigs can’t sweat to cool off. Pigs roll in mud to cool. The mud protects the pig when it dries.

This week’s source text is “Pease Porridge”.

Pease Porridge

Copy Work

The students are continuing to work on their copy work pages. Copy work is similar to the homework that they have been working on over the last few weeks, where they have to trace the letters and copy them on the dotted lines. Now, we are moving on from writing letters to writing full sentences. With this, we are going to pay attention to letter placement on the lines, proper use of punctuation, and appropriate spaces in-between words. If you could help your student with this when they are working on their homework, that will be very helpful.

As we explore self-control, we realized that the work we complete shows a level of self-control. With the realization, I am challenging the students to a little contest. I will be looking at their handwriting homework everyday, and the top 4 students with the best handwriting/ most improvement, will earn a self-control badge on our classroom bulletin board. At the end of the term, the 3 students with the most earned badges will win a prize for their hard work. This contest has already proved to help motivate the students to take their time and produce amazing work. I am very proud of the amazing things that the class is doing.


This term, we are going to practice an extra virtue in Kindergarten, the virtue of self-control. To help us in this virtue, we will be having whole-class discussions about what self-control means and how we can show it. Self-control can be demonstrated in how we walk, how we talk, how we interact with our friends, how we eat our food. It can be shown with pretty much everything we do.

Self-control is when we make a decision that helps strengthen our relationship with God. It is when we say no to ourselves and yes to Jesus. We are being called to give up the things we think we want in order to obtain a much higher goal. This is a huge and confusing concept for Kindergarteners, so we are going to start small, and practice what we can. One easy way to show self-control is to stay in our seats during classroom activities.

In class, we have discussed three steps to self-control:

  1. Stop: When big emotions begin to take over, it’s time to FREEZE!
  2. Think: Ask yourself “What do I do? How should I act/react? What would Jesus want me to do?
  3. Act: Using the answers from the previous step, control your body in a way that is good.

Water Bottles

Please remind your students to bring their water bottles to school. When they don’t have their own, Mrs. Steffy in the office does provide bottled water to those who need one, but I fear that her generosity is being used as a crutch for students not remembering their own.

Sound City @ Home

If you would like to create your own Sound City at home, I have just the thing for you. The link below is to a folder of the Sound City house templates. Just print, cut, and follow the diagram below. 🙂 Enjoy!!!

Sound City Houses Templates

Sound City

  • R-Street: ir like in bird or girl
  • Long A-Street: ay says long-a like in May, say, and day
  • Diagraph Train: th as in the, th (voiced) as in them, wh as in what.
  • Long I Street: y at the end of a one beat word, as in fly or guy.
  • Long E Street: ee as in feet, and ea as in team.
  • Clouds: ARE and AIR say /air/ like in dare and fair.
  • Ambulances: OW and OU say “Owwwwww”… It’s time to go to the hospital!
  • Leftover Alley: Short-E ea House: ea says |e| as in head and thread.
  • Leftover Alley: (Short vowel)ck House: When you hear “k” after a short vowel, it is written as “ck” like in duck or pack.
  • Leftover Alley: ing House: ing can be found at the end of a verb that is happening NOW!
  • R-Street: er like in Xavier and in teacher
  • R-Street: or like in for and order
  • Long U-Street has the house “EW” which says ewww, like in few and pew.
  • Baby-sitter Lane: aw House, where it says awwww, like you would say in raw and law.
  • Silent-E Library: Magic-E Book: The silent e at the end transforms the short vowel sound into a LONG vowel sound.
  • Silent-E Library (where the e helps its friends change their sound the e stays silent) we have “ce” house, where it says “ssss”, like in ice and cent.


Generosity connects to our virtue of self-control. Generosity is not just self-control of the body, but self-control of the spirit. Our body and spirit desire many things, and sometimes these desires get in the way of our relationship with God. We have it in our heads that we’re supposed to collect things. God gives us many gifts but those gifts sometimes overshadow the giver. We like to collect games, toys, money, cars, etc. These things eventually get in our way of seeing God and get in the way of our hearing his command to share his gifts with all of his other children.

We are commanded to give up the things that keep us away from God, and give to others so as to honor their dignity and that they may be shown the grace of God. Our job is to live for God. God does not care about your stockpile of fancy toys or treasure. He cares about how you gave to honor the other children of God. We are all children of God. Let’s be generous and share our lives with our heavenly brothers and sisters!

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.

St. Ignatius Loyola




Andrew Pietryga


(734) 769-0911 Ext. 2111

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