Austin ISD PK3 Newsletter

September 2016

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From the Director

Happy September Everyone!

Happy September Everyone!

I hope your year is off to a great start! This year I had the privilege of reading Pete the Cat and His Groovy Buttons to all of our new PK3 teachers in AISD. This is a wonderfully fun book for PK3, but it also has a very serious message.

"Stuff will come and stuff will go." I love this message. It reminds me that even if things are not perfect now, this will pass. Getting ready for school to begin is hard work and hectic. Besides registration, there are a million details to take care of in order to be ready for school to begin. Then there are tons of procedures to be taught in order to acquaint the students to their new environment. Add our new PPFT, literacy plan, dual language schedules, etc. as we are learning new things too! However, soon this will all settle into our routine and we will be off to another fabulous year. If you haven't had that happen yet in your classroom this year, remember, it is coming.

Below is my class mascot Albert, wearing his shirt with the GROOOVY Velcro buttons.

Lots of great things in the newsletter this month. Take a moment and browse through some time saving ideas!

Have a great September.

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News & Information

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Upcoming Themes

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Sept. 23 - Oct. 14

Jan. 9 - 27

May 1 - 19

PK3 teachers will administer:

  • Social Emotional
  • Approaches to Learning
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Building language by allowing children to talk!

Out of the mouths of babes....

Please watch and share.

The Promise to Georgia’s Children – Rollins Center for Language & Literacy
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science and discovery

Finding Colors and Textures

Helping young children become aware of their environment is one of the ongoing skills that you will be working on all year. One way to help your little scientists is to go on color and texture hunts around the room and on your campus.

Children learn by using their senses, so why not start there. Go on a hunt for a certain color, like yellow. Start by introducing the color (yellow in this example). Ask the children if they know something that is a banana (have a banana covered up and then reveal it slowly). Many might not know the color yellow yet, so have a basket of objects, gathered from around the room and from nature. Let the children explore the objects and then for the rest of the day/week, encourage the children to be looking for yellow things around the room and outside while playing. While in circle time or small group, ask, "Is anyone wearing something yellow?" Encourage them to answer with complete sentences. "I am wearing yellow." or "Maria is wearing yellow."

At this point the children are only using their sense of sight. Make some lemon scented play dough (sense of touch and smell). Bring some fresh lemons in for them to squeeze and make some fresh lemonade (sense of sight, smell, and taste). Crunch up some yellow paper into a ball (sense of touch and sound). Compare the texture of 2 might be smooth, one might be rough (sense of sight and touch). Use comparisons as a way to teach new vocabulary, like, long/short, heavy/light, rough/smooth, hard/soft, etc.

As children move through the colors, they will become more and more aware of things in their environment. Continue finding opportunities to expand and strengthen their oral language by comparing the properties of objects. For example, feeling the bark of trees is great for learning rough and smooth.

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Whole Child


Structured PE

"The TEC 28.002(I) requires students enrolled in full-day participate in moderate or vigorous daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes... To the extent practicable (meaning the measures will be put into effect as soon as is reasonable), a school district shall require a student enrolled in prekindergarten on less than a full-day basis to participate in the same type and amount of physical activity as a student enrolled in full-day prekindergarten." (TEA website)


AISD requires students to participate in 30 minutes of recess daily. Recess is unstructured time and students should have the option of being active or not.

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Developmental progressions help teachers in identifying what children understand or what they may still be struggling to understand. They also help teachers in understanding what the next step is so that they can provide opportunities for children to increase their mathematical understanding.

The chart below provides some guidance about the developmental progression for number knowledge.

Refer to the Early Childhood Outcomes and Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines Alignment for developmentally appropriate outcomes and activities for 36 month olds.

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Videos that Build Procedures and Routines

Transformative technology in PK3 begins with teacher facilitation and modeling. A practical and authentic activity for the Beginning of the Year Study is a teacher-produced video.

Use your camera/video or iPad to take short video clips of students accomplishing a simple classroom procedure (i.e. washing hands, carrying lunch tray). This video can be shown as a whole group or placed on the computer computer for independent student viewing.

Children love to watch themselves in videos and pictures; they will watch themselves again and again. These videos will support procedures as well as encourage use of new language.

Sample video ideas are below.

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Outdoor Play

Exploration & learning on the playground

Lauren Cheaney, PK3 teacher at Boone Elementary, wanted to extend her students' exploration and learning while outside. She created a music board and installed it on the playground fence, with the help of a special friend.
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Professional Development

Join us for curriculum support, Q & As, grade level updates, and chocolate cake!

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Teacher Tips

That’s L.I.F.E. (Logical Information For Educators)

The purpose of this column will be to share useful information to simplify your life while making it more productive. This month I would like to share how to determine a morning wake up time. The first thing to do, is to determine what time you will need to wake up in order to get out the door on time ready to start your day. To do that, you must first decide what time you need to leave the house and then work backwards from there. Next, write down all the things that you want or need to do in the morning. Some ideas might be shower, shave or makeup, hair, dress, breakfast, quiet time, exercise, checking social media, and planning for the day, etc. Estimate or actually time yourself to see how long it takes to do each task. Make sure each of those tasks are essential before adding up all the times. Finally, subtract that amount of time from the time you need to leave the house and this will give you your wake up time. Of course, if you have to get others out the door as well, you will need to take that into consideration and add on accordingly.

Check out this blog post - and the printable that goes with it -

to help you in determining your wake up time.

Next month, I will share how to establish a morning routine that includes things that will make each day the best it can be.

Crystal Young - PK4 Teacher, Sunset Valley

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About Us

Jacquie Porter, Director

Debra Caldwell, Administrative Assistant

Diana Perez, Data Processing Assistant

Irene Campos, EC Specialist

Robbie Polan, EC Specialist

Melinda Servantez, EC Specialist

Sylina Valdez, Administrative Supervisor

Liana Young, EC TLI Specialist