• "We're on a Learning Safari"


    I'm so excited to have your children join me, along with our class mascot, Pete the Cat, on the ever changing adventure of Kindergarten! 


    Welcome aboard and thank you for visiting our Class Page.  It is here that you'll read all about the latest happenings in our classroom.  Each week you'll find updates, not only about classroom events, but information about our weekly curriculum and goals for learning.  If you haven't already done so, please consider joining my Remind group, which will be used to inform families that our Class Page has been updated.  I'll also be using Remind to inform families of any 'last minute' happenings or changes to events.  To join my Remind group, simply text @62bh2e to 81010.



    The only required school supply your child will need is a backpack large enough to hold a 9 x 12 folder.  ALL other school supplies will be provided at school.  While I suggest you have extra pencils, crayons, scissors, and glue available for use at home, please do not send your child to school with any supplies.






     Updated for the Week of:  June 3rd


    "No More Homework, Kindergartners!"

    We have collectively ended homework assignments for the remainder of the year, but we do hope you'll continue to read nightly!


    Homework is intended to be a reinforcement of classroom learning.  After meeting with my Kindergarten colleagues, we have opted to assign Homework on Tuesdays.  However, don't be surprised if your child comes home and tells you that their homework is to "go outside and play!" as I'm a firm believer that 5 year olds (and ALL OF US) need to remember what it means to play and enjoy life!  In addition to assigned Homework, reading with your child 15-20 minutes each and every night is highly recommended!  "Book Bags" (as I discussed at Back-to-School Night) are now coming home nightly.


    I kindly request you do not send in supplies for your child's individual use at school, however, having extra pencils, crayons, scissors, and glue sticks at home will be helpful for use with Homework.  If you are unable to provide these types of supplies for your child at home for any reason, please just reach out to me.  I will gladly make sure your child has what they may need for their Homework experience.  


    This week's Safari Star is:


    Gino Padilla!


    On Monday, Gino will bring home one of our classroom friends, along with a journal!  He'll use the journal through the week to share about his adventures with our classroom friend.


    Parents, please note, I do not expect Kindergartners to 'write' down everything they do throughout the week, and it's perfectly acceptable for parents to do the writing.  We will use the journal throughout the year as a 'class book' in progress.  The boys and girls typically LOVE bringing this book home as a 'reading' book once everyone has had their turn for being our class Safari Star!


    Our Safari Stars so far...












    Ryan K.


    Ryan Carlin










    Has your Kindergartner come home talking about our adventures with Pete the Cat?  If not, ask them!

    Pete, a story character created by the talented collaboration of Illustrator James Dean and Author/Singer/Songwriter Eric Litwin, is a cool cat with the right attitude and he's taken up residence in our Kindergarten classroom!  He's got lots of great stories to tell and acts a daily reminder to us that whatever the day brings, "It's all good!"




    Please make note of some upcoming dates:  


    Farewell Kindergarten...It's been fun!

    Friday, June 14

    1:45-2:30 p.m.

    Parents are welcome to join us this afternoon as we celebrate together one last time.  As in the past, I will need to provide reception with a list of those grown ups attending.  I will be sending home an official RSVP this week, with celebration details.  I will also be posting a Sign Up Genius later this week for any families who are able to contribute.




    Classroom Learning


    I am a strong advocate of interactive and play-based learning!  While the expectations of Kindergartners has increased, developmentally, these little boys and girls are just that:  little 5 year old boys and girls.  It is just as important, if not more so, that my kiddos learn the importance of making friends, taking turns, being fearless, exploring their world, and spreading kindness!


    Our Literacy learning is cross-curricular and I use a Balanced Literacy approach to teaching.  Essentially, that means that students are exposed to skills and concepts needed to read ALL DAY LONG.  This is accomplished not only through direct instruction, but through shared reading, read alouds, and interactive reading and writing.




    Letters:  uppercase letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

    Sight Words:  was, say, some

    Phonemic Skill:  blending CVC sounds to decode words; beginning, medial, and final sounds, 

    long and short vowel sounds; digraph sounds for (ch, sh, th, and wh)



    Letters learned to date:  all lowercase letters have been introduced; all uppercase letters have been introduced...look for the FUNdations workbook to come home later this year!

    Sight words introduced to date:  stop, go, yes, no, I, can, to, the, a, we, look, see, like, my, at, play, is, it, can, am, be, you, and, me, your, our, he, she, this, or, that, do, here, an, on, are, so, us, up, down, in, out, said, did, for, him, her, his, will, come, get, have, has, had, of, with, got,  they, went, saw, all, as, if, not, little, jump, ball, was, say, some


    Readers' Workshop:  We're showing our stuff as "Avid Readers" in Unit 4 in our Readers' Workshop curriculum!  We will continue to use leveled books during this time, as well as for our 'book shopping' experience.  Book shopping will no longer be taking place, though the boys and girls will hold on to their book bags and continue to bring them home for a bit longer.


    Writers' Workshop:  I am absolutely AMAZED at how much the boys and girls are growing as WRITERS...real, honest to goodness, WRITERS!  We've been busy practicing using our BRAVE spelling, stretching out words, and writing down the sounds we hear when trying to spell.  Please...do not spell FOR your child.  Encourage them to use their Kindergarten spelling when writing.  At this time, we are beginning our sentences with an uppercase letter, we use spacing between our words, and we end our sentence with punctuation.  We are also practicing to read our writing back to our 'thinking friends' using the same powers we use when reading books.  WOW!  Just wait till you see what they've been writing!



    Like Literacy, Math skills and thinking is encouraged across the curriculum.  I love to incorporate stories, songs, art projects, and hands-on activities when teaching, and Math time is no exception.  In fact, Pete the Cat will be making an appearance here, too!



    Topic 12, Identify and Describe Shapes, will wrap up this week.  Topics 13 and 14 will be covered throughout the remainder of the year, but much of it is more 'hands on', so you will not see as many "math mats" coming home.  I will be sending home "Step Up to Grade 1" support, for your use at home closer to the last day of school.



    My friends have made great progress in their numeral writing!

    Though we're moving on to newer concepts, PLEASE continue to practice writing numerals 0-10 at home, in addition to what we're doing in class.  The following 'chants' are used by me when we're writing our numerals in class:

    1:  "A straight line down, and then we're done; that's the way we make a 1."

    2:  "A candy cane, then a shoe; that's the way we make a 2."

    3:  "Around the tree, then around the tree; that's the way we make a 3."

    4:  "Down, across, and down some more; that's the way we make a 4."

    5:  "Short neck, belly fat; the number 5 wears a hat."

    0:  "Start up top and around we go; that's the way we make 0."

    6:  "Down and around to pick up sticks; that's the way we make a 6."

    7:  "Across the sky, then down a line; we can make a 7 just fine."

    8:  "Make an S, then do not wait; twist back up to make an 8."

    9:  "First a circle, then a line; we know how to make a 9."  



    I often take a thematic approach to teaching across the curriculum.  Most of our Science and Social Studies learning is done through our every day interactions, from our Morning Meeting where we build our classroom community, to stories strategically chosen.  





    Science:  Life Cycles...ladybugs, chickens, and plants, oh my!  We're going to finish out the year learning about many different life cycles!  Families, please know that we did not have a successful hatch this year with our Chick Project, with only 2 of Kindergarten's eggs having hatched.  I downplayed any 'chick' related projects we had planned and am focusing on our caterpillars/butterflies instead.  I am sad.  :(


    Social Studies:  We will continue to use our Scholastic reader, "Let's Find Out" to explore the world around us.



    WE are a team…please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns you may have.  I can be reached through the Main Office at 732.833.4680, or via e-mail at vlanger@jacksonsd.org.