Kindergarten in a Nutshell

Kindie in a Nutshell


Our Philosophy

 At Gold Rush we believe it is our job to teach your child at their level no matter what they know when they come to us.  We use assessment, observation and student work to guide our instruction.  If your child is working beyond the Grade Level Expectations we will differentiate our instruction to meet their needs.  If your child is struggling to meet the Grade Level Expectations we will provide them with additional support.  The range of learners in Kindergarten is vast, and we work each day to provide each student with the instruction that will move them forward and instill a love for school and learning. As children learn and grow we will celebrate their success and their approximations.  I will continually monitor their progress as they grow.  I ask that you admire whatever your child brings home, make them feel brave and smart about the work they are doing. 

Reading 

 There is no substitute for books in the life of a child. (1952)
~Mary Ellen Chase ~
There are two parts to reading we will develop in Kindergarten.  The first and perhaps the most tangible are “Word Level” reading skills. These skills include, letter names and sounds, sight words, and using decoding strategies to read unknown words.  The second set of skills we will work on are comprehension strategies. These skills include ways to understand and remember what students read. Proficient readers must use both sets of skills throughout their reading lives.  Many young readers become proficient at reading words but tend to fall short when they are asked to relate the books to their own lives, visualize, ask questions, make inferences, and synthesize information.  We will spend time developing both sets of skills so that students become well-rounded readers and thinkers.  

Writing 
 Teach the writer, not the writing. 
~Lucy Calkins ~
Writing is essential to a child’s education, and your child will grow leaps and bounds as a writer.  Each day we will set aside time for writing.  In our classroom we refer to this time as writer’s workshop.  Our writer’s workshop lasts for about 40 minutes each day.  We always begin this time with a mini-lesson where we gather as a class and I give explicit instruction on a skill students need.  Then, students practice writing while I meet with individual students and small groups of students whose needs may be similar.  Each workshop ends with a time for writers to share something they have learned about writing that day.  
Your child will change in dramatic ways across the school year. At the beginning of the school year most Kindergartners will pretend to write, just like they pretend to sing like a movie star or steer an airplane like a pilot.  Soon children will be labeling their pictures, and then they will begin to write sentences.  A child’s first sentence will be hard to read because they will use phonetic spelling and may not have proper spacing. Like everything else this too will change. As they learn to write the sounds they hear in words they will begin to use spaces between words and include beginning, middle and ending sounds.  

Math

Our mathematics curriculum, Investigations, is designed to engage students in making sense of mathematical ideas.  Six major goals guided the development of this curriculum.  The curriculum is designed to
  • Support students to make sense of mathematics and learn that they can be mathematical thinkers.
  • Focus on computational fluency with whole numbers as a major goal of the elementary grades.
  • Provide substantive work in important areas of mathematics -rational numbers, geometry, measurement, data, and early algebra, and connections to them.
  • Emphasize reasoning about mathematical ideas.
  • Communicate mathematics content and pedagogy to teachers.
  • Engage the range of learners in understanding mathematics.
Our units will focus on the following strands:
  • Recognize, count, order, compare and estimate numbers 0-20
  • Add and subtract using various strategies 0-10
  • Identify, duplicate and extend patterns
  • Identify relationships between numbers (more than/less than)
  • Use bar graphs to display and answer questions
  • Identifies two-dimensional shapes & uses relational words (above, below)
  • Describes and compares attributes (length, height, weight, capacity)


Science

We will explore sorting, classifying, asking questions, predicting outcomes, and investigating. The units of focus will be:
  • Force and Motion
  • Living Things and Their Environment
  • The Sun and Earth’s Materials


Social Studies
We will explore ideas about the past, sequence events, locate places on a map or globe, discuss wants vs. needs, and make decisions for our classroom community using democratic traditions.