13 September, 2021
This week, the kindergarten class will be taking the NWEA. NWEA is an assessment that we preform three times a year. The purpose of it is to pinpoint a students level of understanding. In Kindergarten, we take the Math and Reading NWEA assessments. These assessment are performed on a computer and it is formatted as a series of multiple choice questions (around 40 or so). As your student completes the assessment, the questions are adjusted in difficulty to challenge and match your students level of understanding. Once the assessment is complete, the questions answered correctly and incorrectly will lead to a narrowed range, and that will indicate where your students currently operates at in the tested subjects. For more information, follow this link. Understanding NWEA
What is Faith?
Last week, we discussed the concept of faith. We cannot see, hear, feel, taste, or smell God in any quantifiable way. Everything we know about God comes down to faith. But what exactly is faith? In class, we talked about how the students in the class are constantly being drawn to the beauty of Constantine the Turtle. They are drawn to him like a magnet. Magnets have an invisible pull, but it still has a pull that you can feel. That is what faith is. It is an invisible pull to the true, good, and the beautiful. God has made everything, including us, and he has left his creations with a way of knowing each, and in knowing each other, in turn, knowing God. When we find ourselves wanting to know more about things, that is faith in God that is drawing us closer towards his truth and reality.
So, in our class, we say that faith is like a magnet, pulling us closer to God through the truth, beauty, and goodness of this world.
In history, we began discussing our first humans who lived in groups, he Nomads. They wandered across the land searching for the things that they need to stay alive. Human beings have certain basic needs. We must have food, water, air, and shelter to survive. If any one of these basic needs is not met, then humans cannot survive. The nomads knew this. They hunted and gathered. They moved from place to place looking for the best shelter. They searched for clean water and fresh air. This eventually led them to settle around rivers. Rivers provide clean water, generally found in places with abundant plants for gathering, and it is a place that the animals often return to for water. Settling near rivers gave early humans a place where they could find everything they needed to survive. They begin to settle and start (slowly) creating the different parts of civilization: cities, government, religion, social structure, writing and art. Civilization is vital to man’s living. Without it, mankind would be constantly fighting, and would never make progress. Civilization creates order, and within order, we can work, think, and manage our lives better.
We are all here to learn. in class, we have already discussed tools that can help us with different tasks. A broom helps us clean the dirt off of a floor. A hammer helps us hit nails into wood. A thermometer tells the temperature of the air. This clip chart is also a tool. It is a tool to help us see how we are managing ourselves in the classroom.
The only way to move your clip on the chart is through your behavior throughout the day. As you show appropriate behavior in class, you move up the chart. The goal is to move yourself up on the chart to Outstanding (pink). If a student is struggling, and they need reminders on how to behave/interact appropriately, they may move down the chart. This chart is by no means an indication that your student is good or bad. It is merely a tool that give a visual to our journey throughout the day.
Everyday, all clips start on “Ready for School”. This helps teach the students that no matter what happened yesterday, today is a brand new chance to be the best I can be.
The purpose of this is to help guide all students to be better and to do better each and every day.
Going to Mass
Holy Mass is a celebration that brings the reality of Heaven and Earth together and we are invited to share in this celebration. In Kindergarten, we attend mass on Wednesdays and Fridays at noon. This year, I am encouraging the class to be more active in the celebration of Mass. I want the students to know that Jesus is present, and that we are in the company of angels and saints. To this end, the class is going to be practicing different ways to be involved in the Mass.
The first is how to take care of the kneelers at the church. When we enter the pew, the students use their hands (not their feet) to lower the kneeler slowly and carefully. This is an exercise to show them how to take care of the equipment that we share with others. We also are practicing using the kneelers for only kneeling. For the younger students, there is a temptation to use them for standing, but in class we are learning that there are certain tools that have a purpose and that we need to use those things only for their purpose.
The second is to respond when the priest is talking to us. As of right now, I am having the students practice responding to “The Lord be with you.”, with “And with your Spirit.” My goal for this is to have the students listening in more to what is being said, but also to take ownership of their role during Mass.
True, Good, and Beautiful
In Kindergarten, we are building the foundation of our faith. We begin the year with discussing God, three divine persons, personified in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From this concept of God, we move into creation, and that’s where we find our three transcendentals: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. In class we will look at the world, our classroom subjects, and each other through this lens.
True – The basic reality of an object that is always real, and does not rely on other objects for it to be true. Something that is true is always true, and can never be in conflict with another thing that is true. There is truth in the things God has made, and the truth of an object, in turn, points to the existence of God.
Beautiful – When a creation of God is participating fully with all other creations of God. Things were made to fit together, to have balance and live in harmony with each other.
A simple explanation for these concepts: A hand is a hand and cannot be anything else. It is not a foot or an eye. (True) A hand is used for holding objects and to aide in the expression of our mind/spirit. When I use my hand to grasp an object it is being used in the way it was designed. (Good) Using a hand in conjunction with a pencil and paper to express the mind/spirit of a person. When I use my hand to hold a pencil and write down my thoughts that glorify God, that is finding harmony in the purpose of my hand, the pencil, and the paper. (Beautiful)
Subjects and Schedule
This year, we will be discovering so much about God and how He connects to us through science, math, history, language, music, and so many other ways. The students will be learning and reciting a new poem each week, as well as discovering the literary element (parts of speech, story elements, etc.), exploring God’s revelation as it relates to the ancient world and to the world around us. Additionally, we will be integrating a curriculum based on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body into our class this year. This will aid us in discovering ourselves, others around us, and ultimately, God. I have made a basic schedule for our day. This is what the typical week would look like, but as you, the parents, know, when managing 5 and 6-year-olds, things are subject to change.
Updated Snack Information
***If you choose for your student to have a snack, PLEASE Label the snacks (snack 1 or snack 2) and pack them SEPERATELY from their lunch. In the past, I’ve had students get confused between lunch and snack, and they only eat their snack, and leave the lunch in their backpacks.***
We will have opportunities for snack time in the morning and afternoon. These snack times will coincide with recess. Morning recess will be from 9:00 am to 9:25 am and afternoon recess will be from 12:15 pm to 12:40 pm. 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 where 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:
- carried outside of their lunch box. (in order to limit students having to access their lunchbox when preparing for recess/snack).
- 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.