Austin ISD Kindergarten Newsletter
FROM THE DIRECTOR!
Jacquie Porter, Director of Early Childhood
I am a list maker. I have an ongoing to-do list at work. I also have an ongoing list at home. It is a 4 block list. One block contains to-do tasks. These are the things that must be done when I get home. Another block contains a to-go list. These are the places I need to go before I go home or this weekend. A to-buy list, this is the place I jot down the items that need to be purchased for next week and the last box is one I learned from Gail Boushey. It is the to-be list. Gail describes her to-be list by asking the question, “What do I want to be today?” Do I want to be happy, loving, peaceful, grateful, balanced, kind or strong? Gail says, “Put on a mind-set of seeing things through the lens of what you want to be, and practice."
Last week, I decided to work on being more joyful. I was in a meeting that lasted way longer than it should, but I reminded myself that the decisions that were made in that meeting were making the lives of teachers and children easier in AISD. That made me joyful. I was in another classroom this week where I saw a teacher working on testing for CPALLS+. The children were so excited to get to work one on one with the teacher. Their joy was pretty contagious and I felt myself being joyful even in this difficult task.
This month is a pretty hectic one. Parent conferences, report cards, and student assessment windows take time in our busy schedules this month. The to-be list is helpful in reminding us how to positively look at the events in our lives. This month we want to-be a big support to you. The newsletter is packed with items to help you in your classroom, which will help you nurture your class, without having to search for resources. I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter.
- Monday, October 12th- Parent Conferences
- Friday, October 16th- End of 1st 9 weeks
- Thursday, October 22nd- Read for the Record
- Friday, October 30th- BOY Assessment Closes for TPRI/Tejas Lee
Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences
2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
3. Be Solution Oriented
4. Take the Opportunity to Learn
5. Show that You Care
(Taken from the article below)
Morning Message with question marks
Morning Message with exclamation marks
Easy morning message to repeat read
Pictures courtesy of Woodbury Kindergarten and Kristinskindergarten.com
In September, principals were treated to a professional development session on Fluency, based on the book by Jennifer S. Reading Strategies. Many of you are working through this book on your campuses, so I wanted to remind you of the things that are already happening in your classrooms that promote fluency in a big way.
Remember fluency practices begin at reading level E, but this can be practiced long before level e by using a poetry chart, readers theater, a repetitive book or a big book. Repeated reading and allowing the children to "read" with you as you read enables them to match their phrasing to the phrasing and intonation of an experienced reader.
Focus on Punctuation - teach punctuation and its importance to reading and writing. A morning message from the teacher each morning is a great way to illustrate the importance of punctuation and intonation. First read the message in a flat voice and then allow the children to mark the punctuation in the message. If a child circles a period, the rest of the class says, that is a place to stop. If they circle a comma, that is a place to pause. If they circle a question mark, that is a place the voice goes up. Once all of the punctuation is circled, read the message again, this time with the correct intonation and expression. Using this strategy several times a week will allow your children to have an authentic example of why punctuation is important.
Gail's Garden Gazette
October Gardening Ideas:
- Planting in the garden
- Pull unwanted weeds
- Go on a seed and leaf hunt
- Begin noticing changes in the environment: weather, color of leaves, animal activity
- Harvest and eat from children’s garden
- Plant bluebonnet seeds
- Teaching Channel Garden Video
- October Planting options
- Exploring the characteristics of living and non-living things
- Comparing real and pretend (not-real) things: real leaves, plastic leaves
- Learning about plants and what they need to live, grow, and begin their life cycle
- Understanding that plants have parts: roots, stems, leaves, fruit, seeds
- Exploring the parts of the plant that we eat
- Exploring the characteristics of pumpkins (could also compare to an orange)
- Pumpkin math activities – measurement, counting, sensorial experiences
- Pumpkin life cycle
- Sorting, spooning, pouring, and planting seeds
- Word cards with moveable alphabet and real/realistic objects
- Reading books about fall and pumpkins
- Fall poems and songs
Word bank with word cards, moveable alphabet, and objects.
Real and Pretend
Collect a variety of objects, some real and some pretend: leaves, apples, and pumpkins. The students will compare the objects and sort them. This could also tie into living and non-living activities.
Reading in the Fall
This is just a sample of books that can be read during the fall season. Pumpkin Jack is a great book to read when your classroom jack-o-lantern is ready to be thrown away, so don't miss the opportunity to do the suggested extensions.
Real and Pretend
Purposeful Play-Indoors and Outdoors
We know that purposeful play is crucial for the development young children. It contributes positively to their cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. When teachers take time to plan an environment where purposeful play is facilitated children benefit greatly. The month of October offers many wonderful opportunities to facilitate purposeful play both indoors and outdoors.
The pretend and learn center can be transformed into a number of different environments that fit with your theme such as a fire station to promote fire safety or a pumpkin patch to celebrate fall.
BUILDING VOCABULARY DURING SCIENCE LESSONS
As we are planning science lessons for upcoming units it is important to remember that we must explicitly teach the science unit vocabulary. Learning and practicing new academic vocabulary enables students to communicate what they have learned and it supports our English language learners who have the added burden of trying to learn science in a language they have not yet mastered. A focus on vocabulary supports students in learning content as well as improving their reading skills.
The following are tips to consider when planning your science vocabulary lessons.
- Introduce and explicitly teach new vocabulary, just as you would with any other read aloud.
- Ensure that students PARTICIPATE IN HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES as this gives the children connections to the new language.
- Allow students to WORK COLLABORATIVELY and ENCOURAGE DISCUSSIONS about the science content.
- Make sure students have a variety of ways to explain their understanding, i.e. WRITING, GRAPHICS, SINGING, etc.
- USE ACADEMIC VOCABULARY DURING LESSONS IN OTHER CONTENT AREAS.
- Provide WORD LISTS/WORD BANKS
- PROVIDE MULTIPLE MEANINGS FOR NEW WORDS
- Use PICTURES AND LABELS, and
- ENGAGE THE STUDENTS IN INSTRUCTIONAL CONVERSATIONS.
With a Grain of Sand
Writing letters doesn’t always have to include markers, pencils or crayons. Kinetic sand provides a tactile surface for drawing and pre-writing skills that allows children to strengthen the muscles in their hands. These are the muscles they will need to properly hold writing utensils in the future. Children can use their fingers, toothpicks, Q-tips, the blunt end of a paintbrush or a stick to scribble, doodle, draw shapes or make pre-writing strokes in the sand. When children are ready to start practicing letter formations, give them the above mentioned tools, as well as letter cards for them to copy in the sand. The kinetic sand leaves good clear lines that the children can see how they formed the letters. Here is a link to alphabet cards that include the different strokes used to form the letters.
Follow Me To the Internal Website! Out with the old and in with the new!
We have a new logo! Now, we are all part of the Austin ISD Teaching and Learning Community. Instead of looking for the Office of Academics tile, you will look for the Teaching and Learning Community tile.
Steps to find the Early Childhood Internal Website:
- Sign in to the AISD Cloud
- Click on Department Websites (white writing on the bottom of the page) OR
- Search for "Teaching and Learning Community
- Click on the Teaching and Learning Community tile
- Scroll down to the Early Childhood Tile
Thank you for helping us keep our early childhood classrooms looking top notch!
Kinder Teacher List
October Professional Development
Tuesday, Oct. 6th, 3:30-5:30pm
4900 Gonzales Street
Register on HCP Section #77940
Scientist of the Week Webinar
Wednesday, Oct. 7th, 3:30-5:30pm
This is an online event.
Using Rituals & Routines to Develop Self-Regulation
Tuesday, Oct. 20th, 3:30-5:30pm
5005 Caswell Avenue
Register on HCP Section #78966
Becoming Readers & Writers
Wednesday, Oct. 21st, 3:30-5:30pm
3800 South 2nd Street
Register on HCP Section #78091
Debra Caldwell, Administrative Assistant
Diane Smith, Data Processing Assistant
Irene Campos, EC TLI Specialist
Brian Mowry, EC Specialist
Robbie Polan, Childcare Liason
Melinda Servantez, EC Specialist
Sylina Valdez, Administrative Supervisor
Amber McDaniel, Special Education Instructional Coordinator