Austin ISD Kindergarten Newsletter

September 2016

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From the Director

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 kindergarten teaches in AISD. This is a wonderfully fun book for kindergarten, 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. 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.

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

ATTN: TEAM LEADERS- Updated Kinder Teacher Lists

Last May, we asked for an updated teacher list for your team. We know that many schools have hired teachers over the summer and those lists may have changed. Please go to the google form below and submit your updated teacher list.


If you have new teachers on your team, please make sure they have emailed Jacquie Porter to be placed on the Kindergarten email list. Otherwise, they will miss out on the monthly newsletters as well as any other communication from the EC team.
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Click HERE for the museum's online tour request form

Three weeks' notice is required to schedule a guided tour. Andrea Saenz Williams Museum Educator, School and Teacher Programs The University of Texas at Austin 512.471.4523 /

That’s L.I.F.E. (Logical Information For Educators) - by Crystal Young, Prek teacher at Sunset Valley

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 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.

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ISIP (Istation) testing dates

  • BOY - Oct. 2 - 28
  • MOY - Jan 9 - 27
  • EOY - May 1 - 19

Average time to administer is 30 minutes.

Dual Language/Bilingual administer in English and Spanish

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Do you know Pete the Cat? How about Pete the Bear? (Oh Wait, that is just Albert)

The picture below is of my class mascot, Albert. Albert came to school everyday, (He had perfect attendance every year and each day he held something that we were going to use that day, marbles for science, bubbles for outside, the book for our read aloud. The children rushed in each morning to see what Albert held that day. (He was a great boost for attendance. No one wanted to miss what Albert held.) In honor of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, Albert has on a yellow shirt like Pete's shirt. Albert's buttons are just stuck on with velcro so he can help us retell the story over and over. (Velco strip and 4 buttons $2.00 at JoAnns.)

If you haven't read Pete the Cat to your class, now is a great time! The button idea might be fun for practicing early subtraction.

I am attaching the link to our Pete the Cat board on our Pinterst page that has lots of groovy ideas! Have fun!


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Heggerty Schedule

Heggerty Lessons are scheduled to begin the week of September 5th. The complete schedule is posted on the Curriculum tab on our EC site for kindergarten and can be found in the button below. Please note the updated Heggerty K Lesson Schedule reflects the lessons for the English (blue book), Spanish (green book) and Spanish red book-former TLI campuses*. The dates remain the same as the previous schedule.

* Dual Language Teachers from former TLI campuses please note: If you are on a campus that was formerly TLI and used the green book for Heggerty lessons last year, you can now use the red book as your Pre k teachers are now using the orange book. The red books should be on your campus or your librarian can tell you where those are housed. You can continue to use the green book until you receive the red book.

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Adding technology to a kindergarten classroom is always challenging. Children typically have knowledge of games on computers, notebooks, or phones but may not have experience working independently or using technology to collaborate.

As we provide digital tools for kindergarten students it is important to make sure the children use them in a purposeful and planned manner. Adding technology, even in a basic level in kindergarten, allows children to explore and understand how they can connect with the wider world.

The following are a few ideas for incorporating technology in an authentic manner at the beginning of the school year.

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Properties Do Matter

Your young Scientists will be exploring the world around them to learn more about it. Children can investigate the properties of matter by using their senses...they learn how something looks, smells, tastes, feels, or sounds.

Simple sorting or grouping activities can help them begin to understand that everything can be identified, described, and grouped by its properties. For example, a wooden block is hard, and foam block is soft. They are the same in that they are both blocks, but they are also different. All rocks are hard, but they can also be sorted by texture...smooth/rough, by size...large/small, by color...gray, black, tan, brown, red, blue, etc., by weight...heavy/light, and by use...building a house/paving a road, etc.

Crabtree Publishing has a set of books (What's the Matter? series) that focuses on comparing properties of objects: Magnetic or nonmagnetic, flexible or rigid, natural or human-made, hot or cold, absorbs or repels liquid, hard or soft, smooth or rough, transparent or opaque, heavy or light, and sink or float. Even if you don't have this set of books, you can easily gather some materials for the children to explore as they begin to build their scientific vocabulary by learning about their world.

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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.

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Whole child

30 minutes of daily recess?

If your campus chooses to implement 30 minutes of recess each day, a sample schedule has been uploaded to the Early Childhood site. Please speak with your campus administrator for additional information.

What is WOW?

WOW stands for Working Out for Wellness. WOW is structured physical activity. WOW is used by classroom teachers in grades K-5 in order to make up the minutes that students miss since they do not attend PE class every day.

Brain Breaks

Brain Break activities are strongly recommended to use in the classroom after students have been sitting for a while. Brain Breaks are quick and easy activities that are short in duration (5-10 minutes). The purpose of Brain Breaks is to give students the opportunity to refocus by allowing blood and oxygen to flow to the brain. Brain Breaks are fun and highly effective.

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outdoor play

Playing and Learning on the Playground

Lauren Cheaney, PK3 teacher at Boone Elementary, wanted to extend her students' exploration and learning while they were 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

Early Childhood Language Arts: Heggerty Training

Wednesday, Sep. 7th, 3:30-5:30pm

4900 Gonzales Street

Austin, TX

*Please note the location for the training has changed to Allan Elementary, 4900 Gonzales Street. It will take place in the annex building, Rm. 155.

Register on HCP Section #80869

Kindergarten Team Leader: SY 16-17 1st 9 weeks North

Tuesday, Sep. 13th, 3:30-5:30pm

2608 Richcreek Road

Austin, TX

Location: Lucy Read PK School

Register on HCP Section #81083

Kindergarten Team Leader: SY 16-17 1st 9 Weeks South

Tuesday, Sep. 20th, 3:30-5:30pm

5200 Freidrich Lane

Austin, TX

Location: Uphaus ECC

Register on HCP Section #81084
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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