Week 26 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

In the wake of upcoming changes for next year, our students have brainstormed what they would like their 1/2 classroom to look like next year. They generated lists of new, more “grown up” books they’d like; they named tools and materials that they wish we had, as well as ways in which we can rearrange and adapt our physical classroom space to their future needs as a class.
While there will be much work to do to prepare, this change provides such an amazing opportunity for our current students to co-create what their new classroom will look like. They already know what works for them, and can continue to build on this. They also know what they have seen in “older kid” classrooms at school, and how they want to integrate these features as well.
In an effort to prepare and begin gathering materials they have requested, as well as materials we hope to have in our school’s new kindergarten class, we have put together an initial wishlist for you.
If you are willing to donate any of the following items, either used or new, we would greatly appreciate it.
Wishlist for K and 1/2:
Boxcar Children Book Series
Books about dragons
Books about horses (fiction and nonfiction)
Small plastic dinosaurs
Magnet tiles
50-100 piece puzzles
Small plastic farm animals
Baby dolls
A world globe that spins on an axis.
Have a lovely spring break,
K/1 team

Week 25 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

This week we launched into a counting inventory unit with all of our k/1 mathematicians. Students decided which items in our class should be counted, and then began to count these items. Reams of paper, unifix cubes, sea creatures, and books were among materials counted, and students have shared multiple strategies for counting and keeping track of such large quantities. With a goal of helping mathematicians grow more efficient and accurate with counting, we are focusing on counting and organizing items in groups of five and ten. We are also investigating place value in our grouping quantities of tens, hundreds, and even thousands.
We encourage you to pull out a large amount of items at home (pennies, legos, beans, toys, etc) and watch your child count them.
Questions to ask your child when he/she counts:
How are you keeping track of your counting? ( Does your child go back and keep starting over at 1? Does he count on, recording and writing an updated number? Does she make bundles or groups of 2, 5, or 10?)
What is the final amount or total? How would you write that number?
How many groups of 10 are inside your number/amount? (This is an opportunity to point out the place value connection between the number of groups of ten, and the actual numeral in the tens place)
Happy counting!
The K/1 Team


Week 24 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

Upon jumping back into the swing of things at school, our class enjoyed watching two different performances earlier this week. We took a walk to the Waldren Performing Arts Center to support our 4/5 book buddies and watch their dress rehearsal of “Going West.” The next day we clapped to the rhythm of banjo and fiddle music from Appalachia, as well as Zydeco music from Louisiana, as we watched two musicians perform at the Rhinos Youth Center.
We are scheduling times to meet with you for our required annual reflection conferences. This is a time in which we discuss your child’s growth and set goals for the remainder of the year, and into next year. Please sign up for a time to meet with us by emailing Ms. Alanna 3 times that work from the PDF attached to the email.
Important Reminders and Dates:
There will be an author celebration on Friday, March 6th from 9:209:45am. All families are invited to join in reading and sharing students’ nonfiction books.
We want to give you a friendly reminder that birthday invitations should be given OUTSIDE of school. We understand that it is impossible to include and invite our entire class to a child’s birthday, and we also know that passing out invitations to a select few creates problems of exclusion if it happens at school. In order to help you with this, we are happy to forward a birthday invitation directly to families you’d like to invite. This way we avoid bringing the birthday party into the classroom.
Thank you for your help with this.
Have a great weekend,
The K/1 Team

Week 22 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

For the past couple of weeks, our K/1 class has returned to thinking about what is hard for us, what is easy, what feels “just right”, and what or who might help us move closer to our goals.In the wake of Martin Luther King Day, and our attempt to help students see how MLK did not work alone but was part of a movement whose power lay in many, many people working together, we hope our students see their own work and efforts connected to others around them.

We’ve asked our students what they feel is difficult for them, and in what areas they’d like encouragement. We’ve practiced using specific words of encouragement with each other. We’ve read a trilogy of books by Peter Reynolds (The Dot, Ish, Sky Color) that all highlight a character finding encouragement and overcoming a challenge because of it. As we’ve named what we want to get better at or how we can encourage each other, we’ve also returned to stating what our future goals are for the remainder of the year. Some of our students’ goals are: reading chapter books and solving longer words; playing more; making new friends; having a party that will create a special memory.

All our students also worked to write and draw what they want to accomplish by the end of the year and what need to do in order to achieve their goals. With paper in hand, each student stood up in the circle at morning meeting and bravely shared their his/her personal hope with the class.

We encourage you to ask your child what he/she finds easy or difficult at school, and what will help him/her reach his/her goals.

Have a sweet weekend,

The K/1 Team


Week 21 K/1 Newsletter



Dear Families,

This week we celebrated our 100th day of school. Students brought in collections of a variety of items from home, and arranged and counted them. Then we took a “museum walk”, touring our different displays. Some mathematicians arranged q-tips in groups of 5’s as tallies, some arranged pennies in rows of 10, while others divided their quantities into 4 groups of 25.
At calendar time we traded in 10 single tiles for a strip of ten, and then traded our ten strips of ten for one large square of 100. With much excitement we counted 100 cents to make a dollar, and read Ms. Bindergarten’s 100th Day of Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate. And in a grand finale, we made book our own “100” books and cherios necklaces to munch on.
Have a sweet weekend,
The K/1 Team

Week 20 K/1 Newsletter


Dear families,

You should have received an email or paper copy of your child’s semester 1 progress report this week. In addition to the report here are some things you can do to support your child at home.

Take care,

K/1 team

Ways to Support Your Child at Home

Please apply the practice that best suits your child and the specific work he/she needs to do


·      Practice tying shoes with your child if he/she doesn’t already know how. This fosters independence.

·      Role play scenarios at home to help him/her use words to get what he/she needs and to problem-solve.

·      Help your child make an I-statement: “I feel _____when you _____. I want you to ______.”

Ask your child

What word describes the way you feel right now?

How can you get what you need?

What do you do to calm down your mind and body when it is feeling wild?

What do you do that is mindful?

Is that (behavior) helping you to get what you want? What is a different way?

Ask your child “What did you notice?” “What do you wonder?” “What connections are you making?” as they interact with different settings and experiences


Continue reading with or to your child 20-30 minutes each day

If your child comes to a word that they don’t know

Say the sound of the beginning letter or letters

Look at the picture

Think “Does it make sense?”

Notice the end of words (ed, s, ing, sh, er)

Read ahead to find more clues and then come back and try again

What do you already know about this topic? (Activate previous knowledge before reading)

What questions do you have?

What do you think will happen next?

Who is telling the story? How do you know?

How does this book make you feel?

What is the setting of this story? (when and where does it take place)

What do the characters want? How did they get what they wanted?

Take turns reading favorite books and speaking different characters dialogue to build fluency and expressiveness

Practice reading high frequency sight words daily (make flashcards, hunt for them in books, play “memory game” with a double set of them, or “Go Fish”)

Work together to write stories at home. Practice to write numbers with accuracy so that others can read them.

Website resources:






Work to count on from any given number


Start at 4 and stop at 13

Start at 34 and stop at 76

Start at 42 and stop at 152 counting by 10

Work to count back from any given number

Example:         Start at 13 and stop and 4

Start at 76 and stop and 34

Start at 152 and stop at 42

Ask you child “What number comes before ____? After____?”

Example:          Before 5, after 5

Before 10, after 10

Before 29, after 29

Before 198, after 198

Count pairs and groups of things, by asking:

“How many hands are there in our family?”

“How many eyes do we all have?”

“How many fingers? How many toes?”

Practice recognizing the value of coins

Practice telling time to the hour and half hour

Practice finding and making patterns

Practice making sets/groups of equal amounts and calculating their total (eg: There are eight 6cent stamps. How much do they cost altogether.

Ask your child how many different ways he/she can arrange groups of 6, 5, 7 etc and combine totals. Have them show their work in repeated addition form (6+6+6+6, 4 groups of 6, 4×6, 12+12)

Practice splitting a larger amount into smaller groups of equal amount (eg: There are 36 pencils, and each person gets 2. How many people are there? Or: There are 36 pencils and 18 people. How many can each person get?)

When combining or separating amounts, ask your child “How do you know?” This is an opportunity for children to express and build on their number relationship understanding.

Website resources:



nlvm.usu.edu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html       (this is the national library of virtual manipulatives)



·      Work on handwriting practice and letter formation with packets sent home (first graders should be writing in lower case letters)

·      Keep a journal with your child to record observations, wonderings, and interesting words.

·      Write a story together, taking turns

·      Do Mad Libs together

·      Have a written conversation, where you talk to each other by taking turns writing the exchange instead of speaking it.

·      Practice spelling sight words correctly (write a list, play “hangman” type games)

·      Have your child write lists of rhyming words (for example, use word families like ig, og, ug, in, en, an, ut, ot for fig/pig/jig or hut/rut/shut)

·      Make a “how-to” book together

·      Write a play or puppet show together

Write a comic strip together

Website Resources:


Homework Routine:

If your child will be in 2nd grade next year, he/she will receive more daily homework than in k/1. To support this transition and new expectation, we suggest building a homework routine up over the summer, where your child does 10 minutes of writing daily and continues to read for 20 minutes. This will help to establish a homework routine before school starts, and will help your child build his/her homework muscles and stamina.


Week 19 K/1 Newsletter

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Dear Families,

On Martin Luther King Jr Day, our K/1 students worked together to assemble care packages and make cards for clients of The Shalom Center, a local day shelter in Bloomington. In addition to this school-wide service project, we all gathered and walked to the Courthouse and sang songs together, calling for peace and justice.
In the classroom we have used the book “Martin’s Big Words” (written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier) as a launching board for thinking about and discussing ideas about justice, freedom, and love. We started by sharing what we already thought we knew about MLK, and then continued to add new ideas and questions about what his words might mean. This work will be ongoing, as we we continue to develop and change our understandings of what “rights” are, and what “freedom” means. We have also tried to enact some of MLK’s words in our role-playing exercises.
Here are some big questions that stemmed from our introduction into “Martin’s Big Words”, and the discussion and idea-mapping that followed. We encourage you to return to these with your child…..
What is a “right”?
What does it mean to be “free”?
How do you know when something is fair or unfair?
Enjoy your weekend,
The K/1 Team

Week 18 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

We are excited to continue our nonfiction journey next week as readers go to the public library to check out books on topics they have chosen to research. Topics range from football to cooking to crabs to volcanoes, with many more in the mix. You should have received an email from Ms. Alanna with details regarding this walking fieldtrip.
The end of this week marked the end of our two week intensives round. “Intensives” is a school wide time in which students practice a particular set of skills that they have demonstrated a need for. Based on assessments, we organized our K/1 students into one of the following groups, so that they could receive additional instruction focused more “intensely” in this area: 1)making 10,  2)adding and subtracting 2 digit numbers, 3)counting on, and 4)stretching out words and writing the letters for sounds,.
Questions to ask your child:
-What topic have you chosen to research in your nonfiction unit? What do you already know about this topic?
-How does nonfiction work? What are the parts you might find in a nonfiction book, and how do they teach you?
-What is something you got better at during “intensives” time?
Have a sweet weekend,
The K/1 Team

Week 17 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

Welcome back from winter break, and happy new year to you all. As we launch into our new year, we also launch into some new reading and writing units as well. K/1 students will be studying features of nonfiction, and learning how to use these features (table of contents, diagrams, captions, labels) to locate and understand information. As a class we are taking a journey investigating and reading about “sound”, and as individuals each student will select a topic of his/her choice in the next week to research independently.
Ultimately, students will apply what they learn about the structures of nonfiction books when planning and making their own nonfiction books on a single topic. We are hoping to taking all students in small groups to the Monroe county Public Library to check out books on their chosen topic, and will be contacting families for help chaperoning. If you are interested please email Ms. Alanna.
As we’ve returned to school, we’ve also spent time role-playing scenarios and reading books about how healthy partnerships work, and what we can do/say when working and playing with more than one peer at a time. We have practiced using words like “May I join you?’ or “Do you want to join us?” to making compromises and putting several ideas together. We encourage you to rehearse some of these situations at home in order to better prepare your child for these situations when they do really arise.
Please send in snack if it is your turn to do so. Please send in healthy crackers. Please do not send popcorn or cereal, since they are messy and harder to serve.Check the attached snack list schedule to confirm when you’re expected to supply snack.
Thanks, and have a sweet weekend,
K/1 team
The K/1 Team

Week 16 K/1 Newsletter


Dear Families,

This week we enjoyed some culminating celebrations. Our annual Variety Show featured singing, dancing, and comedy acts that impressed all our K/1 students. We also made a class book of riddles as a final “hoorah” to our pattern book unit, and students paired off and performed read alouds of “Elephant and Piggie” books to the class. We also enjoyed a December birthday celebration by watching “Toy Story 3,” and took moments throughout our last day together to prepare our room for our return after winter break.

Thank you for your partnership so far, and we look forward to continuing a sweet year full of learning, growing, and play upon our return.

Happy winter holidays to you,

The  K/1 Team