Ms. Austin's Kindergarten

Newsletter, January 10, 2016

Dear Parents,

Happy 2016! I enjoyed my time at home with my boys, my Mom, and my other family and friends. The best part of this holiday for me was seeing my Mom walk again on Christmas Day. She has been in a nursing home in Lexington, Kentucky rehabilitating after a nasty fall she took in August. The doctors were not sure if she would walk again because of the bad break (that required surgery) in her leg. She was walking all over my brother's house on Christmas Day! It was the best present I've ever received.

Thank you all for the lovely knit wrap and tea set that you gave me as a class gift. The wrap is perfect for traveling on the plane and wrapping up when working on my computer at home. I've been using the tea set at night when I make a cup of mint tea after dinner. These were very thoughtful gifts and I am enjoying them every day.

We have jumped right into 3 new units since we have returned from the break. In Reading Workshop we are learning about Non-Fiction Reading. In Writing Workshop, we are beginning our work in learning how to write How-To Books. In science, we have started a new unit called, Scientist, Engineers, and Motion!

So much fun and learning ahead in 2016!



  • Math Assessments with Ms. Austin
  • Top-It Card Games
  • iPad Problem Solving Math Games
  • Making Teen Numbers
  • Everyday Math Online Games

Reading Workshop:

  • Readers, when we're getting ourselves ready to read a book, we also wonder. We say things like, "I wonder why..." or "I wonder how..." or "I wonder if..." as another way to get ready for all we'll read about.
  • Today I want to teach you a new superpower for solving tricky words: we can think about the title and what we know about the topic of the book to help us figure out the tricky word.
  • In order to figure out these tricky words, good readers ask themselves questions like, “What might this word mean?” “Are there any clues in the picture?”
  • Readers, today I want to teach you that nonfiction readers use the title of their book to figure out the main idea of it. The title of your book is like a sign that tells you where you are going on your trip. Book titles help us get ready to notice and name the things we expect to find on our travels (the key details of the book).


  • What tools do Scientists Use?
  • How do Scientists Stay Safe?
  • Lets Practice Being a Scientist! Little Mysteries (practice observing)
  • Continue Practice Observing (Go on a Motion Hunt - What are the different ways things move?)

Writing Workshop:

  • How To Writing 1. tells what to do, in steps; 2. numbers the steps; 3. has a picture for each step.
  • Writers plan before they write. One way writers plan any writing - stories or how tos - is to touch and tell across the pages. When planning How-Tos, each picture and page is a new step.
  • The best way to check whether your directions will make sense is to read them to someone who will try to follow the steps, to do whatever you are teaching (for real or for pretend).
  • Writers feel really lucky if they have readers who not only try to follow their directions but who also speak up, saying things like, "I'm confused" or "Can you explain that more clearly?" when they need to do so.
  • One way writers add detail to information books is by adding detailed pictures called diagrams. Writers often help readers understand their how-to books by making detailed diagrams and by labeling the diagrams, using the most precise, specific words they can.

Learning Centers:

  • High-Frequency Words
  • Assessments with Ms. Austin
  • Math Games
  • Legos and Blocks
  • Dramatic Play

Upcoming Dates:

Tuesday, January 12th- Free Dress Day if you give 5 rmb to the Will Foundation. Bring the

money to class and we will turn it into the office that morning.

Friday, January 15th- Early Release Day Please remember that school is over at 11:30 a.m.

February 5- All school CNY Assembly Early release day (School ends at 11:30 a.m.)

February 6-14- CNY Holiday Break

March 8- Early Release Day School ends at 11:30 a.m.

March 25- Good Friday/Easter Assembly

March 26-April 4- Spring Break

Thursday and Friday, April 7-8- 3-Way Conferences

May 2- Labor Day Holiday- No School

May 21- High School Graduation

June 8- Last Day of School All School Closing Assembly Early Release Day (11:30 a.m.)

Verse of the Week:


“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.”

1 Chronicles 29:17

What is right is not always popular; what is popular is not always right.” Give an example in your school life that proves this to be true.

“Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.” William Penn