End of the Year

Dear Families,

It has been so lovely teaching and learning from your children, and celebrating their work with you in our Museum of Authentic Work. This week has been filled with remembering our year together, playing games together, and making a memory book of special moments and parts of our year.
Enjoy a recent class picture we took this week, and have a happy summer!
Best Wishes,
Ms. Doriet, Ms. Caitlin, Ms. Alanna, and Ms. Barb
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Week 35 Newsletter

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Dear Families,

Each week our students spend a stretch of time on Monday mornings with Ms. Gracie, who leads us in breathing and mindfulness exercises. The purpose of this time is to practice listening with our whole bodies, focusing on and feeling our breath, and calming ourselves so we can do this in times of stress and excitement.

This week we thought of kind words to say to ourselves, and also made a kind wish for someone else in our class. Then we looked across the circle, made eye contact with the person we wanted to direct our wish toward, and sent that kind wish to him/her with a smile.

Over the course of the year, we have made great strides in looking clearly and openly across our morning meeting circle to make a connection with a classmate. While initially, we often greeted a close friend, or the same person over and over, now our students can name more than one person each morning who stretches their friendship, and with whom they feel less familiar. When students hear that another child across the circle wants to connect with them, their bodies noticeably lift, and their faces beam…

We look forward to seeing you at our Museum of Authentic Work this coming Wednesday, June 10th.

Take care,

The k/1 Team

Week 34 K/1 Newsletter

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Dear Families,

This Thursday we all enjoyed taking a field trip to Ms. Sara’s farm for our annual TPS field day. Our kids enjoyed water play with the slip and slide, soaking and splashing in troughs of water, petting and brushing horses, throwing frisbee, playing capture the flag, tug of war, and taking a muddy hike through the woods. All students enjoyed the opportunity to reunite with old friends from other classrooms, to play and get messy with current friends outside, and to make new friends and have new experiences in the process.

As many of you may already know, Ms. Alanna welcomed her new baby, a little girl named Ruby, on Sunday. We talked as a class about what we’d like Ruby to know. Ms. Caitlin is now a full-time part of our class. She’s excited to be part of the K/1 community.

Enjoy these photos, and have a lovely weekend,
The K/1 Team

Week 33 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

For the final weeks of school, we are returning to favorite read-alouds from the year that we crave hearing once again. Some favorites, such as The Lorax and The Book Without Pictures, are ones that students have brought to share from home, but that we do not in fact own as a class. We’d love to have a few copies of these books to put in our students’ hands next year as they seek “old friends” to reread for pleasure. We welcome any donations of these books to our class, as well as any magnets you’d be willing to share.
On Tuesday we enjoyed walking to the Waldren Arts Center to watch the 6/7/8 students perform several Greek myths. The majority of musical scores were created, composed, and performed by students, and our K/1 children were mesmerized by the spectacular show.
Field Day at Ms. Sara’s Farm!
Next Thursday, May 28th our class will be going to Ms. Sara’s farm for our annual end-of-year frolicking escapade. This has always been a wonderful time for students to come together and play, run, hike, and be with friends outside. More information will be sent closer to the time.
Questions to ask your child:
-What is something you are practicing to do this week as a mathematician?
-What is something in math that is feeling easier for you this week?
-What do we have in our fridge/kitchen that comes from an animal?
-What are you most excited to do at Ms. Sara’s farm for field day?
Have a great weekend,
The K/1 Team

Week 32 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

Last week we began a brief investigation into what schools long ago might have looked like, and how schools in the past compare to our school now. In addition to examining old photos, we are also reading books about schools in other cultures and parts of the world, and have looked at photos of our own school building’s changes over time.
We are currently making more conscious efforts to integrate play and enjoy an additional morning recess as we head into the last few weeks of school. While the end of the year is full of culminating experiences in many ways, it is also a time when we find we need to return to basics: remembering and practicing how to be kind, how to listen, and how to work together. We are returning to more play-based opportunities – much like at the start of the year – to provide this explicit instruction on social skills, and to give students chances to enjoy each other and build confidence working with peers.
We are also anticipating Ms. Alanna’s transition to being a mom, and know that any day now she might have a baby. Like we shared earlier with you, we look forward to welcoming Ms. Caitlin to our K/1 teaching team for the remainder of the year, and are confident that this will be as smooth a shift as possible.
Enjoy your weekend,
The K/1 Team

Week 31 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

Our stories are well under way, with students bringing their scripts and narrations to life through puppetry and performance. Earlier, each student created characters with paper bags and craft materials, as well as a setting. Then he/she made and followed a plan for a plot with a clear problem and solution, using a narrator’s voice, as well as character dialogue, when writing the story on paper. Now we are in our final phase, rehearsing and acting these stories out in partnerships (students realized it was too difficult to hold a script, read it, and manipulate puppets alone) to be recorded if students wish.
Questions to ask your child:
-What happens in your story?
-What is an interesting word you use in your story?
-How have you helped another storyteller in your class?
-How have you grown or changed as a writer this year?
We look forward to sharing some artifacts from this storytelling unit at our end-of year Museum of Authentic Work (MAW)!
Safety/Warm Weather Reminders:
-Send your child with a water bottle to stay hydrated (no glass please).
-Send your child to school in shoes that are safe for outside play. Flip flops fall off easily and cause more injuries.
-Send your child with a light sweater/long sleeve as the A/C in the classroom can get quite cold.
Take care, and enjoy your weekend,
The K/1 Team

Week 30 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

This week’s newsletter will focus on sightwords. Sightwords are those words that show up very often (they’re also called “high frequency words”) in everything we read as children and adults. Words like “come”, “and”, “was.” These words don’t always follow regular spelling patterns we learn, and we just have to memorize and recognize them in an instant when we read so that we’re not trying to figure them out each and every time. These are also the same words that show up in stories we tell and sentences we write, and so it’s important to know how to spell and write them correctly.
Here are some activities to do at home with your child to support his/her learning to read AND write sight words.
1) Practice writing a sightword. Then trace over the whole word again with a different colored marker or crayon. These are called “rainbow” words, and provide practice repeating the spelling and letters multiple times in a colorful way.
2) Play “memory match” by making pairs of sightwords on file cards, and then turning them over to play rounds of memory to make pairs again.
3) Build these words with magnetic fridge letters; necklace letter beads; letter blocks.
4) Go on a sightword “hunt” to find these words in familiar books.
Linked is a list of sight words your child should be able to read and spell in order to be on grade level as a readers and a writer by the end of the year.
(Click on the pre-primer, primer, and 1st grade lists)
Enjoy your weekend,
The K/1 Team
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Week 29 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

As your child nears the end of kindergarten or first grade, here are some ways you can support him/her as a writer at home:
1)Make lists together. Invite your child to be a part of designing a meal menu and recording a grocery list. Perhaps you could make a “to do” list together, or a “favorite books” list. This supports your child in developing a main idea and generating examples that fit under that idea.
2) Have a written conversation with your child. This means writing a sentence or question, having your child respond in writing, and possibly going back and forth on paper rather than out loud. If your child is capable, this might go for several sentences (emphasize using complete sentences and punctuated ideas) If your child is still emerging as a writer of words, you could provide a prompt and make a space for him/her to complete the idea with a word.
3) Write a story with your child. Take turns brainstorming a set of characters, setting, and beginning, middle, and end for your story. Model how you stretch out words and listen to their sounds as you slowly record them on paper. You could tell the story in pictures and then create speech bubbles, labels, or comic strips.
We are excited to see so much progress from our k/1 storytellers and writers as they plan and record their ideas on paper. To get a clear idea of what is expected of your child as a writer by the end of the year, please visit the following website:
Scroll down to page 20, where Indiana’s academic standards in writing are outlined.
Have a great weekend, The K/1 Team

Week 28 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

We are excited to launch into a storytelling unit that brings characters, settings, and plot events to life. This week students began to invent and make puppet characters that they named and described. Thinking of what their characters do and say, think and feel, k/1 storytellers will then introduce a setting and set of problems to propel their characters through a story of their design.
This initial phase of our fiction storytelling unit provides students with a chance to make characters, settings, and props with their hands, and to rehearse and perform stories while recording them on paper too.  As readers, they will examine characters in familiar books, retell the most important events in sequence, and apply craft decisions from well known authors to their own storytelling practices.
In preparation for Ms. Alanna’s maternity leave in mid May, Ms. Caitlin will be joining us at various times in the day and will eventually take Ms. Alanna’s place for the remainder of the year. Ms. Caitlin has been working in the 4/5 room, and has worked closely with our students at recess and in guided reading. Feel free to introduce yourself if you see her, since she will be one of your child’s teachers at the end of the year. We are excited to welcome her to k/1, and are confident this will be a smooth transition.
We also want to thank those of you who have brought in items that our students named wanting for this year and next year, as well as wish list items for our new kindergarten classroom next year. Below is a preliminary list we sent out in an earlier newsletter:
Boxcar Children Book Series
Books about Dragons
Books about horses (fiction and nonfiction)
Magnet tiles
50-100 piece puzzles
Small plastic farm animals
Doll House
Baby dolls
A world globe that spins on an axis
The K/1 Team

Week 27 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

We hope you found joy with loved ones as the weather warmed and signs of a new season peeked out this week. As we launch into our final months of this school year, here is some of what we are currently working on:
Persuasive writing and reading: In this unit we are studying books in which a character wants or claims something and attempts to convince an audience in order to get it or change their minds. Important components of this unit are choosing an audience and generating strong reasons to support an argument. Writers have chosen an audience, made a claim, and listed reasons, and they will also learn to write letters in this unit. As readers, they are identifying what different characters think and want, what their motivations are, and who their audience is.
In addition, our readers and writers are creating products in their visual arts time with Ms. Sara, and are planning commercials to advertise them in their performing arts time with Mr. Chris.
Some read-alouds we are using are:
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, by Mo Willems
I Wanna Room, by Karen Orloff
Earrings, by Judith Voirst
The Day the Crayons Quit, By Drew Daywalt
Have a sweet weekend,
The K/1 Team