Kindergarten News – 3/15/2019

This week, kindergartners were very excited to begin a new unit of study in Science: Famous Scientists. We finished up our Colonial Towns unit in Social Studies, and look forward to beginning our Presidents unit next week. We learned the double consonant spelling rule and wrote half of our fictional stories in Language Arts. In Math, we continued practicing using number charts as tools to help us develop tens and ones skip counting patterns. Our favorite part of the week was definitely getting a visit from a leprechaun, even though we had to clean up a huge mess!

Announcements:

  • Kindergarten will get to attend the Book Fair during school hours on Tuesday 3/19. Scholastic Book Fair now has a digital payment option for students. Click here to sign up your child for their eWallet account. The Book Fair will be open to families on Wednesday 3/20 from 3:15-4:15pm in the Media Center.
  • There will be no school during Spring Break, from Monday 3/25 to Friday 3/29.

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)

Kindergarten News – 3/8/2019

We made it through another busy week! This week in Reading, we practiced reading sentences containing tricky words. In Writing, we began to write fictional stories by brainstorming and mapping out story elements. In Math, we started our skip counting unit by looking for different numerical patterns. In Science, we released our butterflies and were introduced to magnetism. In Social Studies and Art, we learned about more tradespeople from colonial times and tried to perform scaled-down versions of their trades.

Announcements:

  • All forms are available for you to re-enroll your child at Old Town Academy. This is only for returning students, so please submit a new application if you have a sibling who you would like to enroll. The deadline to complete and submit re-enrollment forms is Friday 3/15. Click here for the re-enrollment instructions. We look forward to having your child for another great year at Old Town Academy!
  • Daylight Savings begins on Sunday 3/10. Remember to set your clocks forward so that you aren’t late to school on Monday!

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)

Kindergarten News – 3/1/2019

Kindergarten participated in more Project-Based Learning projects this week. Students’ favorite one seemed to be, “How can we, as readers, teach younger students how to read?” Ask your child what learning tool and teaching strategy their team produced to help teach next year’s kindergartners how to read. To progress in their own reading ability, our class has taken a break from learning about digraphs (“letter teams”) and has moved on to a greater focus in learning about “tricky words.” Many words, including most of our sight words, are considered “tricky” because they are not decodable, which means that they cannot be “sounded out” by blending sounds. For example, in the word ‘the,’ the initial consonant spelling ‘th’ is pronounced just as one would expect, but the vowel sound is generally pronounced /u/, rather than /e/ as students might expect. Students are being taught to first look at the parts of the word that can be read via blending and then to the segments that must simply be remembered.

Announcements:

  • On Monday 3/4, all forms will be available for you to re-enroll your child at Old Town Academy. This is only for returning students, so please submit a new application if you have a sibling who you would like to enroll. The deadline to complete and submit re-enrollment forms is Friday 3/15. Click here for the re-enrollment instructions. We look forward to having your child for another great year at Old Town Academy!
  • Thank you for continuing to send your child to school with a water bottle every day to ensure that they stay hydrated while at school.
  • Click here to see more field trip photos, shared by our amazing chaperones.

Let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. Have a great weekend!

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)

Kindergarten News – 2/22/2019

What a fun week! We celebrated our 100th day of school. Our caterpillars revealed their chrysalises. BERT helped us learn how robots can be controlled through wireless communication. Students finished their animal research reports. We made bread from scratch, similar to how colonial bakers made bread. Students discovered their new favorite song to sing and dance to while learning about animal classifications. We practiced our addition fluency by finding the missing parts of equations. And so much more!

Announcements:

  • Kindergarten’s field trip to the zoo is on Thursday 2/28. This will be an all-day field trip, so please pack for your child: plenty of food and water, their booster/car seat, and a jacket. Students will be carrying their belongings around the zoo all day, so please make sure that everything can fit into their backpack. You can place your child’s booster/car seat against the garage door, labeled with their name, on the morning of the field trip. If you forget your child’s booster/car seat and we are unable to find an extra one, then your child will be staying behind at school. Students may wear either their regular or PE uniform. If you signed up to be a chaperone, then I will send you an email with more information early next week.
  • The Show ‘N Tell theme for Friday 3/1 is: Favorite Book. To celebrate Read Across America Day, your child may bring their favorite book from home to share with our class on that day.
  • I am super impressed with how well students are learning their sight words. If you are looking for ways to make sight word practice more fun at home, consider playing Sight Word Bingo/Tic-Tac-Toe.
  • Click here to see more photos of our Valentine’s Day party. Thanks Emmerlie (Sophie’s mom)!

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)

Kindergarten News – 2/14/2019

Even though we accomplished a lot this week, as usual some of our learning activities seemed to be more memorable than others. Students enjoyed beginning to write their animal reports with research help from YouTube Kids and Amazon Alexa. Making butter in a similar way to how colonial people made butter was hard work but also lots of fun. We did some special arts and crafts projects to celebrate Valentine’s Day, such as creating many different forms of hearts (yarn, wire, paper, paint). Lastly, students seemed very engaged in learning about farm animals: how they are cared for, what they are used for, and how they differ from each other.

Announcements:

  • There is no school from Friday 2/15 to Monday 2/18. Happy Presidents’ Day!
  • Show ‘N Tell will not be on Friday 2/22. Instead, we will have our optional Show ‘N Tell on the 100th day of school, Tuesday 2/19. The theme is: 100 of Something. Legos, seashells, blueberries, stickers… Get creative!
  • We get to go to the zoo on Thursday 2/28! Thank you to all of the parent volunteers for signing up to chaperone.
  • To clear up some confusion – you might not see your child in the newsletter photos every week (especially if your child chooses to not have their picture taken), and only some of what we do each week at school is photographed. If you would like to see more of what we do in our classroom, then you may schedule an observation or sign up to volunteer. 🙂
  • Thank you SO much to everyone who contributed to the class teacher gifts and for the individual gifts from students that we received for Valentine’s Day. You are all so thoughtful and always make us feel very appreciated!

Have a great long weekend. See you back at school on Tuesday, our 100th day of school!

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)

Kindergarten News – 2/8/2019

You have probably heard by now that we have 8 new additions to our class: 2 fish and 6 caterpillars! Our class pets have been the center of many of our learning activities this week. Students seemed most excited to come up with names for our fish: Silver and Flame. We decided to not name our caterpillars; we do not want to become too emotionally attached to them since we will be releasing them in the butterfly garden once they complete metamorphosis. We are excited to learn more about animal needs so that we can responsibly take care of our pets!

Announcements:

  • Kindergarten hopes to go on a field trip to the San Diego Zoo on Thursday 2/28. To be able to attend, we would need enough chaperones to help transport and supervise our class. If you are available to chaperone, you may sign up here. Please sign and bring back your child’s permission slip by this Monday. Due to the success of our Jogathon fundraiser, we are able to provide this field trip free of charge for all students and chaperones.
  • OTA’s Family Neon Dance Party is tomorrow, Saturday 2/9. Click here for more information.
  • Valentine’s Day is on Thursday 2/14. We have 23 students in our class, so if your child chooses to bring in valentines then please make sure that they have enough for each of their 22 friends.
  • There will be no school from Friday 2/15 to Monday 2/18. Happy Presidents’ Day!
  • To continue our commitment as a Heart Safe School, and to increase awareness of a healthy life style, next week we will be handing out “felt hearts” in exchange for “heart felt” donations for a minimum of $1. These hearts, cut from felt by students, will help us sustain AED supplies and ongoing Heart Hero education for students. Cash will be accepted at morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up from Monday 2/11 through Thursday 2/14. Thank you for joining us in our celebration as a heart safe school!
  • This week, students were assessed to measure their current reading level. If you practice leveled reading with your child at home, feel free to email me to find out which reading level your child’s reading would most benefit from.

As always, let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. Have a great weekend!

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)

Kindergarten News – 2/1/2019

We have successfully made it through half of the kindergarten school year! Students have shown such impressive growth in Quarter 2. Thank you to all of you kindergarten parents for being the support system who helped us get to this point. In Quarter 1 we learned how to be “big kid” students while mastering the basics in all subject areas. This prepared us to delve deeper into academic content during Quarter 2, while beginning to form both independent and collaborative learning habits. We look forward to seeing where Quarter 3 takes us. 🙂

Announcements:

  • Some of the kindergarten website pages have been updated for Quarter 3: Extended Learning (optional projects to extend learning at home), Current Topics (topics that we are learning each week), Volunteering (opportunities for parents to help out in our classroom).
  • We recently took our second round of MAP assessments. Feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in receiving a copy of your child’s MAP Growth report.
  • Quarter 2 report cards will be mailed home soon. Click here to better understand your child’s report card grades, and let me know if you have additional questions.
  • Valentine’s Day is coming up on Thursday 2/14. Students may bring in valentines to pass out to all 23 of their friends if they would like. We will participate in academic Valentine’s Day activities in the morning and have a holiday party in the afternoon. Contact me if you would like to help out at our party so that I can give you more details. Please let me know if you prefer that your child not join in on our festivities so that accommodations can be made.
  • The PE schedule does not change each quarter for kindergarten, as it does for higher grades. Please continue to send your child to school in their PE uniform on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  • Your child’s education is a collaborative effort, so I love hearing from you all. 🙂 I try to check my email as frequently as possible. However, it can sometimes be tricky to do so during the school day when I am also trying to give students my full attention. If you have something that needs to be addressed within the same school day, please contact the office to ensure that your message is received in time.

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)

Kindergarten News – 1/25/2019

We had another productive week in kindergarten! We are currently finishing up units in the four core subjects. Within the next week we will have completed learning about: consonant clusters, addition and subtraction, taking care of the earth, and Columbus and the Pilgrims. We will soon move on to learning about: digraphs, sequencing double-digit numbers, farms and animals, and colonial towns and townspeople. We are all very much looking forward to the fun projects planned for Quarter 3! But first, let’s finish off Q2 strong.

Announcements:

  • The Great Kindness Challenge begins on Monday 1/28. All students are encouraged (but not required) to complete some or all of the acts of kindness that are listed on the checklist that was brought home today. Students may bring back their completed checklists on Friday 2/1 to share during our kindness discussion. Click here for more information about this worldwide challenge.
  • Friday 2/1 is a minimum day, with dismissal at 12pm. It is the end of Quarter 2, and it is also Pajama Day!
  • OTA’s Family Neon Dance Party is on Saturday 2/9. Click here for more information.

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)

Kindergarten News – 1/18/2019

This week we learned: how to read consonant clusters and write sentences containing sight words, how to decompose numbers and come up with related addition and subtraction equations, more about recycling/composting and pollution, how Christopher Columbus’s crew treated the native people and what happened when the Pilgrims made it to the New World, how to use chalk pastels and interpret lines in famous art pieces, about the different parts of a computer, how to control ball kicks, and about musical beats.

Announcements:

  • There is no school on Monday 1/21. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
  • As a reminder, Quarter 2’s Extended Learning is optional. Students who have chosen to participate will have an opportunity to share their projects on Friday 1/25.
  • Show ‘N Tell’s theme for Friday 1/25 is: Something I Made. Participating in Show ‘N Tell is always optional, but the theme should be followed when one is specified.
  • Our classroom Lost ‘N Found is overflowing with unclaimed apparel. (This is different than the school Lost ‘N Found because items in our classroom Lost ‘N Found were lost in our classroom.) Feel free to stop by to claim any missing items you might have.

Have a wonderful weekend!

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)

Sorry for the lack of photos this week!

Kindergarten News – 1/11/2019

Students impressively jumped right back in to our kindergarten routines this week, even though we were off of school for so many days! The following were our learning focuses this week. In Language Arts, we learned that the letter ‘s’ at the end of words can sometimes make a buzzing /z/ sound, so it’s important to blend a word’s sounds using that alternate sound if what we read does not make sense. Some fundamentals of writing were also introduced: when to use uppercase versus lowercase letters, spacing, and punctuation. In Math, we practiced determining whether to add or subtract with given problems along with using appropriate math tools to help us solve the problems. In Science, we learned and applied some techniques to help take care of the earth by conserving natural resources. In Social Studies, we learned what happened next in the adventures of Christopher Columbus (Spain granted his request to sail on a journey to find spices and gold in Asia, but his crew unknowingly ended up in America.).

Announcements:

  • Our Free Dress Day reward for collecting at least 100 pairs of socks during our Sock Drive will be on Friday 1/18. Students may wear any non-uniform, school-appropriate apparel on this day.
  • There will be no Show ‘N Tell next week, on Friday 1/18, because kindergarten will instead begin our winter MAP assessments during that time. Please always let me as well as the office know in advance when your child will be absent, especially on this important day.
  • Students are going to start memorizing weekly sight words. (Sight words are high frequency words that should be automatically recognized by sight without having to use any decoding strategies.) We will practice reading and writing these words in class. Students’ progress will be monitored through cumulative assessments at the end of each week or at the beginning of the following week. Click here to see our sight word schedule. Reading and writing sight words is a substantial part of learning literacy skills, so students not memorizing the words in class will require extra practice at home to “keep up.” I recommend checking in with your child weekly to see if they are successfully learning their words.
  • OTA is having an Unused Gift Card Drive until Friday 1/18. Please consider donating your unused gift cards, worth at least $10, to be used for spring fundraising. The class with the most gift card donations will earn another Free Dress Day. 🙂
  • Since our first lima bean plants did not survive the winter break, additional lima bean planting materials were sent home this week for your child to “try again” if they’d like. This is a completely optional project to do at home.

Contact me anytime if you have questions or concerns about anything. Have a great weekend!

– Alex Halverstadt (“Ms. H”)