Austin ISD PK3 Newsletter
From the Director!
Jacquie Porter, Director of Early Childhood
I am a list maker. I have an ongoing to-do list at work. I also have an ongoing list at home. It is a 4 block list. One block contains to-do tasks. These are the things that must be done when I get home. Another block contains a to-go list. These are the places I need to go before I go home or this weekend. A to-buy list, this is the place I jot down the items that need to be purchased for next week and the last box is one I learned from Gail Boushey. It is the to-be list. Gail describes her to-be list by asking the question, “What do I want to be today?” Do I want to be happy, loving, peaceful, grateful, balanced, kind or strong? Gail says, “Put on a mind-set of seeing things through the lens of what you want to be, and practice."
Last week, I decided to work on being more joyful. I was in a meeting that lasted way longer than it should, but I reminded myself that the decisions that were made in that meeting were making the lives of teachers and children easier in AISD. That made me joyful. I was in another classroom this week where I saw a teacher working on testing for CPALLS+. The children were so excited to get to work one on one with the teacher. Their joy was pretty contagious and I felt myself being joyful even in this difficult task.
This month is a pretty hectic one. Parent conferences, report cards, and student assessment windows take time in our busy schedules this month. The to-be list is helpful in reminding us how to positively look at the events in our lives. This month we want to-be a big support to you. The newsletter is packed with items to help you in your classroom, which will help you nurture your class, without having to search for resources. I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter.
- Monday, October 12th- Parent Conferences
- Friday, October 16th- End of 1st 9 weeks
- Thursday, October 22nd- Read for the Record
- Friday, October 30th- BOY CIRCLE Assessment Closes
Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences
2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
3. Be Solution Oriented
4. Take the Opportunity to Learn
5. Show that You Care
(Taken from the article below)
Oral Language Development
Oral language development is one of the major goals for prekindergarten 3. We work hard to engage the students in dialogue throughout the day as well as modeling discourse for them so that they have great models and opportunities to practice language for the entire time they are with us.
Looking for an inexpensive method for encouraging oral language development this Fall?
Try this dollar store inspired fun activity.
1. Purchase 3 vines of "leaves" from the dollar store. Try to find three different types of leaves in multiple colors. You will also need a "child's rake" from the dollar store.
2. Cut or pull off all of the leaves from the vine. Scatter them on the floor in the area you have designated for this activity.
3. Provide basket, pails, or paper bags for the children to put the leaves in once they are raked.
4. Demonstrate how to rake leaves and put the piles in the bags. Be sure to use words like rake, scoop, pull, push, lift, fill, red, green, yellow, brown, pile, leaf, leaves, etc.
5. One variation after everyone has had a turn: Ask the children to sort the leaves as they rake them into piles or put them in the bags. They can sort by color one day and by leaf shape/type the next day.
It is important to give our youngest learners many opportunities to engage with and explore materials on their own. The science center provides the perfect backdrop for children to use exploration and inquiry skills. The beginning of the year is a time to introduce and teach children how to explore with the tools of a scientist. Hand lenses, tweezers, and droppers are three basic tools that can be used for a wide variety of activities. Science activities and investigations also give children the experiences that are the foundations for learning new vocabulary.
The following pictures show simple investigations that are appropriate for the PK3 science center. Don't forget to teach procedures and expectations before placing these activities in the center.
Thank you Dolores McDonald from Pleasant Hill for sharing your idea of using your students' pictures for exploration with the hand lenses!
Gail's Garden Gazette
October Gardening Ideas:
- Planting in a garden or containers
- Go on a seed and leaf hunt
- Begin noticing changes in the environment: weather, color of leaves, animal activity
- Plant bluebonnet seeds outside
- October Planting options
- Comparing real and pretend (not-real) things: real leaves/ plastic leaves, etc.
- Learning to care for classroom plants (water and light)
- Exploring the characteristics of pumpkins
- Pumpkins: sensorial exploration
- Sorting, spooning, pouring, and planting seeds
- Reading books about fall and pumpkins
- Fall poems and songs
Caring for Plants
Children can help care for the classroom environment by watering plants and making sure that they are getting enough light.
Transferring grains (corn in this picture) using a spoon is a great fine motor activity.
Real and Pretend
Gather a collection of real and "pretend" objects: real leaves/ silk leaves; real apple/plastic apple; real pumpkin/picture of a pumpkin, etc.
Caring for Plants
Purposeful Play -Indoors and Outdoors
We know that purposeful play is crucial for the development of young children. It contributes positively to their cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. When teachers take time to plan an environment where purposeful play is facilitated, children benefit greatly. The month of October offers many wonderful opportunities to facilitate purposeful play both indoors and outdoors.
The pretend and learn center can be transformed into a number of different environments that fit with your October themes of fall and exercise. You can create a pumpkin patch or a fall vegetable market. For the exercise theme, you could create a gym or set up exercise stations where the students could try different movement activities. At your sensory table, you can add items such as leaves and pumpkins to get your students into the spirit of fall.
The Secret to My Success
This is a great time to illustrate to parents that we are working on beginning writing skills. One way we do this for 3 year olds is to allow them to work with items that strengthen young fingers to be able to write.
Finger painting is an excellent way to strengthen fingers and Fall is a great time of year to put fall colors on paper and allow them to create their own designs in Fall colors. Also, it allows them the opportunity to make designs within the page and see how colors mix together. These are fun to share with parents at the fall conference as an opener to talk about writing with young children.
Follow me to the internal Website. Out with the Old and in with the new!
We have a new logo! Now, we are all part of the Austin ISD Teaching and Learning Community. Instead of looking for the Office of Academics tile, you will look for the Teaching and Learning Community tile.
Steps to find the Early Childhood Internal Website:
- Sign in to the AISD Cloud
- Click on Department Websites (white writing on the bottom of the page) OR
- Search for "Teaching and Learning Community
- Click on the Teaching and Learning Community tile
- Scroll down to the Early Childhood Tile
Visual Discrimination - Letter Matching
October Professional Development
Tuesday, Oct. 6th, 3:30-5:30pm
4900 Gonzales Street
Register on HCP Section # 77940
Scientist of the Week Webinar
Wednesday, Oct. 7th, 3:30-5:30pm
This is an online event.
Using Rituals & Routines to Develop Self-Regulation
Tuesday, Oct. 20th, 3:30-5:30pm
5005 Caswell Avenue
Register on HCP Section #78966
Debra Caldwell, Administrative Assistant
Diane Smith, Data Processing Assistant
Irene Campos, EC TLI Specialist
Brian Mowry, EC Specialist
Robbie Polan, Childcare Liason
Melinda Servantez, EC Specialist
Sylina Valdez, Administrative Supervisor
Amber McDaniel, Special Education Instructional Coordinator