Kindergarten News

January 2019

Welcome to the Polar Vortex!

It may be beyond freezing outside, but we’ve been staying warm in kindergarten! Hopefully everyone enjoyed a cozy day at home on Wednesday and is ready for Joseph’s Sears School’s first Remote Learning Day. You should have received information about the plan for Thursday’s RLD, but please read on for further clarification of the kindergarten “assignments” and a peek at what we’ve been working on at school.


We finished our Fiction Unit with a rousing dramatic presentation of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” starring Phoebe, Molly, and Agustin. We also each shared which Fiction book we had studied was our favorite, and we wrote about our favorite part from those books. You can see our book reviews hanging in the hallway outside our classroom.

We started our next Reading unit on Poetry. We have already learned that we need to put on our thinking caps before we tackle a poem by reading titles of books and individual poems, asking questions about why the author might have written a poem, and trying to make a personal connection to the poem. We talked about how we can use those same strategies when we’re reading other genres, too. We have read some very silly poems about bedtime! Ask your child what his or her favorite poem has been so far.

We are SUPER READERS! Ask your child to tell you some of the reading Super Powers s/he activates when tackling a book. We're especially working on Pointer Power, Picture Power, Sound Power, Pattern Power, and Perseverance Power.

Finally , we’ve added many new sight words to our word wall and have been practicing reading and spelling them with “magic pieces of ice” that never melt. We also have two new shared reading books, “Motion and Force” and “Groundhog Day Hooray”. With our shared reading books, we first go on a picture walk to predict what the story will be about and then do a word wall word search on every page. It’s amazing how many words we can find on each page! We also are practicing reading words with a Consonant-Vowel-Consonant (CVC) pattern. When you're reading at home with your child, see how many word wall words and CVC words s/he can find in a book.


We are continuing our Personal Narrative Writing unit and loving it! We have learned that personal narratives tell "small moment" stories about real people, places, or experiences. We also discovered that they go in a sequential order with a beginning, a middle and an end to the story, and that the illustrations tell the story just as much if not more than the text. We loved reading Marla Frazee's "Roller Coaster"! Ask your child about the "big, strong men" on the roller coaster. We all thought they were very funny! We also read "I Knew a Lady" by Charlotte Zolotow about an elderly woman who had a very special impact on Charlotte. We wrote a class book about all the people at Joseph Sears School who make being at school so special. How lucky you are to be at Sears!


We are working hard on mastering our Word Wall Words! We added 3 new words to our wall: said, if, and of. Please practice finding our Word Wall Words in books, magazines, signs, menus, and other places. Students should be able to recognize the words in a snap. Here are the words we've learned so far:

I, a, at, as, me, my, the, for, an, can, of, go, see, and, you, to, from, had, have, like, in, is, it, said, if, of, will, and

Big picture


We continue to look for number patterns on a Hundreds Chart as we work on mastering numbers up to 100. We are learning to build numbers on ten frames and with connecting cubes so that we can more readily see numbers as groups of 10 and extra 1s. For instance, the number 47 is represented by 4 full ten frames and 7 squares filled in on another frame, or by 4 ""towers" of 10 connecting cubes and 7 extra cubes. Children are able to build and see that 47 is 4 groups of 10 with 7 extra 1s. This can be a tricky concept for kindergarteners to understand, but we're doing a great job with it! We are also continuing to work on counting by 5's. You can practice at home by counting all of the fingers and toes in your whole family.


We have started our unit on Motion and are having a great time learning about pushes and pulls! We have learned that pushes and pulls are a kind of force that can move things in different directions. A push moves things away from us, while a pull moves them towards us. We discovered that the strength behind a push or pull effects how far something moves. Ask your child what happend when s/he tried to push a car to a target in the hallway. We also explored gravity and learned that it is an invisible forces that pulls us to the ground no matter how hard we try to jump away from it. Next week we'll talk about collisions and have a chance to do more experiments with motion.


Before the Polar Vortex arrived, we had just enough time to start learning about Groudhog's Day. We learned that it is a tradition to wake Puxataney Phil up on February 2nd to see if we have six more weeks of winter (please, no!) or if spring is on its way. We read and illustrated the book "Groundhog Day Hooray!" and put our copies in our book bins to read next week. Tomorrow (Friday, February 1st), we head to Emily Oaks Nature Center to learn more about groundhogs!


Thursday is a Remote Learning Day at home! The following link includes several activities for your child to complete at home. Please return completed pictures, sorts, and Snowball Roll gameboards to school so we can discuss them with the students. I've attached the link to the activities here for any of you who may not have received it. I know where I am in Northbrook, AT&T U-Verse is out and suspect many others are having connectivity issues. If you are unable to print out the activities today, your child has through the weekend to complete them. I've attached photos of samples of a few of the activities. Please remember, invented spelling is appropriate and expected in kindergarten. Encourage your child to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out words and write as many sounds as s/he hears. Whatever your child hears and writes is the "OK Kindergarten Way". Please try to avoid helping them spell words "correctly". :) Enjoy the extra day at home getting a firsthand peek at some of what we've been working on in the classroom! Stay warm!

Click on this link Remote Learning Day Agenda to direct you to the planned activities. The link will be active Thursday any time after 7:00 am.


If you have not connected to your student's Seesaw account yet, please do so this weekend! There are already videos posted by your child about Martin Luther King, Jr., and most students have posted a video about pushes and pulls. In addition, I will be using Seesaw to send classroom updates during the week, and the children like to post photos of projects they've created or built during Free Choice or Fun with Friends to share with you. If you need assistance connecting to your account, please let me know. Thanks!


  • Friday, February 1st - Field Trip to Emily Oaks Nature Center
  • Wednesday, February 6th - Field Trip to Lifeline Theater
  • Thursday, February 14th - Valentine's Day
  • Friday, February 15th - No School (Teachers' Institute Day)
  • Monday, February 18th - No School (Presidents' Day)
  • Tuesday, February 19th - Late Arrival for Students


Happy Birthday to Agustin and Jack! Thank you to their parents for coming in and sharing Agustin's and Jack's favorite books. We loved having you! (Photos to follow. I'm having WiFi connectivity issues - so sorry, Agustin and Jack!)


  • Please remember to send your child to school with snowpants, boots, mittens, and a hat everyday. We LOVE playing outside and need to be dressed to stay warm and dry. If you would like to leave a pair of snowpants at school, please let me know and Mrs. Schoof and I will help your child remember to leave them in his or her cubby at the end of the day.
  • Please help your child remember to bring their RED FOLDER to school every day.
  • BOOK BAGS should be returned each week on THURSDAY so the children can go book shopping on Friday morning.
  • Please remember to send your child with a healthy snack each day. Fruit, cheese sticks, and Pirate Booty make great snacks! Chips and cookies are best for lunchtime. Thanks for your help keeping our kindergarten brains fueled for the morning!


Please feel free to contact me anytime with any questions or concerns.