The Coaching Connection

Kindergarten - The Colleague to Colleague Edition

What's Happening in Kindergarten?

As coaches, we get to see so many great things happening across our elementary schools. We wanted to highlight this work because we believe that sharing different perspectives about the teaching of reading and writing makes everyone stronger. We would like to thank the teachers who agreed to allow us to showcase the resources they have created. It takes courage to share in this way. The embedded links connect to the NCCS KINDERGARTEN folder found in Google Drive. Feel free to add teaching resources that you have found to be helpful. Let’s use this shared folder as a collaborative tool so that all might benefit from the collective wisdom of the group.

~ Patty and Kieran

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ISA Revisited

Last Tuesday we had our second ISA training. Joan Sweeney and Gretchen Mahan have done a wonderful job presenting the research based goals of the Interactive Strategies Approach. In an effort to show this work in action, Gretchen graciously agreed to give colleagues the opportunity to observe during her reading block. While there were many insights shared, one practical take away was the strategic use of charts as both whole class and individual student teaching tools. Below you will find a link to the district's shared kindergarten folder housing the newest version of the Key Words chart. Along with the traditional chart, you will also find versions featuring uppercase letters, vowels, and pictures. Teachers also requested a chart to help students distinguish between the letters B and D. To make this, simply print both the B and the D documents and then glue them onto large paper.

Dimensions of Writing

Over the last few years writing instruction has been an important area of focus. As teachers, our discussion has shifted from the ins and outs of writer's workshop to the characteristics of all quality writing: meaning, development, organization, language use, and conventions. As a former 3rd grade teacher, Deanna Morse used these five dimensions as a jumping off point for writing instruction. She trained her students to look for evidence of these dimensions both in their own writing and when conferencing with peers. After moving to kindergarten, Deanna wanted to create a simplified chart that could be used first as a whole class teaching tool and then, after much practice, be housed in the students' writing folders for personal use. Check out Deanna's charts by clicking on the link below. We recognize that kindergarten teachers have not yet received professional learning about these dimensions. If you would like to learn more, please reach out to your instructional coach.

Harnessing the Power of Formative Assessment

WHAT IS IT? Formative assessment is information obtained during the course of a lesson for the purpose of informing next instructional steps.

WHEN DOES IT OCCUR? Formative assessment takes place during instruction so that immediate action can be taken to help increase learning. Assessment strategies are carefully chosen so as not to disrupt the learning process.

WHO USES IT? Formative assessment should be used by both teachers and students. In order for students to benefit from formative assessment they need to know what the learning target is, where they stand in relation to it, and how they are going to make up the difference. This may sound daunting for our kindergarten students, but Trish Vecchione and Breanne Taylor have found strategies to help our littlest learners do just that. Students have been trained to look at their writing with a critical eye and determine next steps. Click on the link below to see what the Blue Creek kindergarten students use to assess their writing.


We know that an important consideration when creating charts for use in kindergarten is using an appropriate font. Choosing a font that is free from embellishments can promote correct letter recognition and identification. Abc print is one such font. Consider requesting this font for your computer so that you can create charts for classroom and student use.