Skip to main content
Janene Littlejohn Locker

Janene Littlejohn

~~~Room 302 Kindergarten News~~~ ~Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Littlejohn~

DECEMBER NEWS
December 3, 2018
____________________________________________________________________________

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Dear Parents,

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving break! December is
one of the most exciting months of all and the busiest!
Before telling you about all the plans for this month, we
would like to express our appreciation for all your help.
Thank you to all of you for sending in food for our feast
and thanks to the parents who helped out during the
feast. Thank you also for all your support of the turkey
trot fundraiser! We also loved having Grandparents
come to the classroom and we know they enjoyed
hearing the children sing. If any Grandparents are
interested in volunteering in the classroom, we would
love to have them. The children were so excited about
these events and had a wonderful time. If we didn’t
have such great parent participation, it would be
impossible to do events like this! A special thank you to
Raj for all her help and her excellent communication
through our Shutterfly website! Thanks for being a
fantastic room mother!

 

What’s ahead
During December, we will continue with our discussion of
family traditions as we talk about our holiday
celebrations. If you would like to come in and share a
special holiday tradition with us, please let us know. We
will be learning about some different holiday
celebrations and do some activities to learn about
Hanukkah. We will also have a special Polar Express day
and an elf day. During our Holiday party, we will do a
book exchange. We will also be making gingerbread
houses on Dec. 18. We will need two parent volunteers
to help with the gingerbread houses from 11:30-12:30. I
will be sending more information on these events in
Monday’s folder. There will be a sign up for needed
items for the gingerbread houses posted on Shutterfly
soon.

 

Math
In math, we are working on flat shapes and three
dimensional shapes. We will be comparing and
contrasting shapes and discussing how many sides,
corners (vertices) faces etc. that are on the shapes. We
will be integrating shapes into our math stations as well.
This is part of our geometry standards on the report
card.

 

Reading
A great website to practice various reading skills in
addition to our RAZ program is Starfall.com. This
website also has math activities available if the upgrade
is purchased. Please continue to use RAZ over the
holidays to practice reading.
In our reading groups, we are working on sight words,
phonemic awareness(hearing the differences in sounds,
hearing rhyming words etc.) and letter sounds. We are
listening for letter sounds at the beginning and end of
words. We are blending sounds together to read CVC
words(vowel,consonant, vowel) such as hat, fat, mop. We
are also practicing forming letters each week and
writing a sentence correctly. The children are learning
to use the sight words we have learned in a sentence and
to start with a capital and end with a period. The
children also have baggies of books to practice reading
at their level during reader’s workshop time. We are
working on increasing our reading stamina and reading
alone and with a partner for longer periods of time.
This month, we are working on “Superhero Powers” for
reading. This unit focuses on teaching strategies to
make us super readers such as pointing to each word as
we read, (pointer power) using picture clues to help us
figure out words (picture power) and looking at the first
few letters in the word (sound power).

 

Writing
In writer’s workshop we are continuing to work on
personal narratives and writing about activities, people,
hobbies etc. We are using a quick sketch to give us
ideas for writing and then adding words. We are
beginning to work on writing longer stories across three
pages so we can tell more in our stories. We are
sounding out words phonetically by stretching out the
sounds in a word and trying to spell on our own. We are
also learning to write words we know how to spell quickly
(snap words) or use sight words on the word wall. In
Kindergarten, we also do a lot of copy work where
children copy a word or sentence so they are learning
the structure of a sentence. This also helps them
practice proper letter formation, punctuation and
spacing.

 

Social Studies/Science/computers
We learned a lot of interesting facts about the Pilgrims
this past month. In December, we will be focusing on
family traditions and kindness to others. We are talking
about various social skills such as empathy,helping,
sharing etc. in class discussions. We will also be doing
some science activities related to our 5 senses such as
using gingerbread play doh. We have started art class
with Mrs. Lind and we go once a week for 40 minutes.
We are currently learning about different kinds of lines
and patterns and how they are used to create art. We
are also learning about famous artists and using their
art techniques in our own art work.

 

Finally
Thank you for supporting fundraisers like the turkey
trot for our classroom aides. We are so lucky to have
Mrs. Sundarajan in our classroom to work with the
children in small groups and to help students one on one.
She is such an efficient paraprofessional and so great
with the students!
We will be having a Holiday Party on Dec. 20 from
9-10:15. We will be doing a book exchange and
decorating cookies. A letter about the book exchange
will come home in your child’s Wednesday envelope this
week. The school sing-along is also on the 20th of
school before break and students can wear their holiday
hats to school. We have purchased special elf hats for
them to wear to the sing along as that is also our elf
day. IMPORTANT-The sing along starts at 11:15 on
the 20th and it is a minimum day with a 11:05
dismissal. We would love to have Kindergarten
participate in the sing along. If your child needs to
go home before 12, please pick him/her up at the
classroom at 11:05. Otherwise, dismissal will be at
the gate around 11:55. Please check the Vista
Grande website for other important information as well
as the Vista Views newsletter that comes home in the
Wednesday envelope. Thank you again for all your
support. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

 

Sincerely,
Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Littlejohn and Mrs. Sundarajan

 

*Dates to remember
Pride Toy Drive for foster children-December 3-13
Polar Express day- Dec.10-wear pajamas to school
Gingerbread houses- Dec.18
Elf day- Dec.20
School Singalong-Dec.20 and holiday hat day
Class party and book exchange-Dec.20-9-10;15
Dec.21- No school-teacher workday Oct. 1, 2018

 

November 1, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

It is hard to believe that November is already here and the holidays are fast approaching! This past month has been an exciting one for the children. Thank you so much for volunteering for Kindergarten Together Day. The children had a wonderful time and looked so cute in their costumes. Thank you also for your donations of items for Kindergarten Together Day and our 50th day of school celebration. We appreciate your generosity and your time. November will be a busy month as we have some exciting activities planned to celebrate family traditions and the first Thanksgiving. It will be busy as there is a lot to do in a short amount of time! We are planning a special finger food feast day and will be posting a list of food items needed for our celebration. We will have simple finger foods that the children can bring in to share and we will be dressed in our Pilgrim and Native American costumes. Thank you to our room mother Raj for all her work keeping our Shutterfly website up to date! Again we really appreciate your time and support in and out of the classroom!

 

WHAT’S AHEAD

 

During the month of November, we will do some fun fall activities including a leaf hunt and sort, a leaf measuring activity and leaf prints. Our main focus this month is family traditions as we learn about the first Thanksgiving. On Friday, November 16, we will be inviting Grandparents to the classroom. (More information will be coming) and we will also be having the turkey trot in the morning that day. This is an annual fundraiser for our school and a lot of fun for the children. More information will be coming home about the Turkey Trot this week. Your child will be receiving a special t-shirt to wear during the Turkey Trot. Grandparents and parents can come watch and cheer on the students as they run/walk the laps.

 

Reading

 

During reading time, we are working in language arts groups and focusing on letter sounds, sight words and phonemic awareness (ability to hear the difference between sounds and start putting sounds together to make words). We have been using the New York Reading/Lucy Culkins phonics program We practice our sound cards several times a week We are also blending short vowel words using the letters taught and working with rhyming words that share the same vowel (word families like pot, hot, got etc.) Please practice reading the sight words on the list we sent home.

In addition, during Reader’s Workshop, your children have been working on the following skills:

• How to choose a book by looking at the cover

• How to look at the pictures for information

• How to tell the difference between a learning book (non-fiction and fiction) and a story book.

• How to read alone quietly and how to share a book with a partner and read together

• How to look for words they know and how to use pictures and beginning letter sounds to figure out a word

• How to re-read a book to learn more from the pictures and find more words we know. 

 

Your children will also start having leveled books in baggies to read at reader’s workshop time this week . These are their “just right” books and should be the appropriate level for your child’s reading ability. Also, all your children have been connected to the online reading program RAZ kids and we sent home login information a few weeks ago. Please utilize this program weekly for extra reading practice. It is a wonderful program and is a great way to reinforce reading skills at home. We will be starting your children at the level of their “just right” books-the program will automatically move your children up reading levels as they progress.

 

Math

 

In math, we are working on writing numerals properly(reversals are common at this age, but we are practicing forming numbers correctly), counting, sorting, number recognition, graphing and taking apart numbers to 10. We are working with quantities to 10 and looking at different ways to make a number as we learn addition skills. We are also comparing groups to show which is more, less and equal. These are all important early skills for teaching understanding of number before writing out addition and subtraction problems. We have also started doing some problem solving and using word problems to promote higher level thinking skills. The children will discuss how there are different ways to solve a math problem.

 

Writing

 

We continue to work on writing letters each week and proper letter formation. Please reinforce proper writing skills at home and watch that your child forms letters from top to bottom. Also, please have your child do all written homework in pencil and not in crayon or pen. We also are working on our launching unit in writer’s workshop. During writer’s workshop, we teach a specific skill through a mini lesson such as writers make a quick sketch of their idea before writing words. The children have writing folders and keep their writing in the folders until we complete a unit and have a writing celebration. Kindergartners are beginning to learn how to express their ideas in a sentence and how to write a sentence correctly. Some of the children are sounding out words and writing them independently while others are writing a letter to represent a word. We also do copy work where the children practice writing by copying a sentence or poem.

 

Our writer’s workshop lessons so far include the following:

• Writer’s write about their own lives

• Writers think of a topic and make a picture in their mind of what their story is about

• Writers use pictures to tell their stories

• Writers stretch out words slowly and write the sounds as they hear them

• Writers label things in their pictures with words

• Writers re-read their writing and make it better by adding to the picture or the words

• Writers work with partners to read their writing and get ideas to improve their writing.

 

Social Studies/Science/other

 

We have enjoyed learning about our skeleton and reading books about bones. This month we will look at leaves and scientifically observe a fall colored leaf. We also are enjoying monthly editions of Scholastic news that teach us interesting scientific facts. In the area of social studies, we continue to talk about character traits and how to follow rules etc. as part of our character education program. We will also be learning about the Pilgrims/Native Americans and the first Thanksgiving as well as discussing family traditions. Lastly, we have been learning about digital citizenship and how we need to always get adult permission before using the computer and going to a website.

 

FINALLY: Please look for information this week on our turkey trot fundraiser. There are some important changes this year on how funds are collected etc.

 

Also, please check Shutterfly and sign up to bring items for our feast on Thursday, November 15.

 

Again, thank you so much for your time in and out of the classroom. We wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

 

Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Littlejohn and Mrs. Sundarajan

 

*No school on November 12-Veteran’s Day

*November 15-PTA meeting 8:45 am

*November 15- feast in the classroom from 11:45-12:25.

*November 16 -Grandparent’s Day and Turkey Trot

*Thanksgiving Break-November 19-23 *November 26-29-eat at Dos Coyotes and raise funds for VG

*November 26-30-Coat/Pencil drive for Downer School

*November 30th-First Movie Night- The Incredibles 2- 5:30-MPR

 

Oct. 1, 2018

 

October News

 

Happy Fall!

 

We have really been enjoying our first months of school and our wonderful group of children. We did some fun apple activities this past week and your children can tell you some interesting facts about John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) They really enjoyed doing apple math with their 4th grade buddies! Thank you so much for all your help with prep work, volunteering in class and your generous donations of supplies. We really appreciate your help! A special thank you to Raj Rakkar for coordinating the volunteers, setting up our Shutterfly page and keeping everyone so well informed! You are awesome! The children love having their parents volunteer in the class and we really enjoy working with all of you! We look forward to talking to you next week at conference time and learning more about your child! …………

 

What’s ahead… We will be starting a unit on pumpkins and will learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin. The children will plant pumpkin seeds in a baggie and watch them start to grow. Tomorrow we will be going on our field trip to the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Patch. Thank you for sending in donation checks and permission slips and for volunteering to chaperone. We look forward to a fun day with the children! Later this month, we will do a mini unit on the skeleton and learn about our bones. We will also be doing many activities integrating the Halloween theme into all subject areas.

 

Reading We have been focusing on letter recognition, letter sounds and rhyming. We have also been practicing reading and writing sight words. We have been using our new phonics program and doing a lot of activities with the letters in our names. This week we will be working on the letter P and the sight words like and my. Due to our short week and our field trip, we will not be having two letters this week. In addition, we have been learning the rules of reader’s workshop and building our reading stamina. During reader’s workshop, the children are reading from shared book tubs and will soon transition to “just right” leveled books in their book bags. October News! The children are practicing looking at books alone and with a partner. They are using non-fiction books and discussing what they have learned from pictures in their books and sharing “wow” pages with their partners.

 

Writing We have been focusing on proper letter formation through daily practice using the Handwriting Without Tears program. The children practice tracing and writing on little chalkboards with chalk before writing the letters on paper. We launched writers workshop in September and the children have been working on narrative writing and writing stories about events in their own lives. For kindergarten, much of the early printing we do will be copy work and/or dictated as we begin the writing process. Narrative writing is the first unit in our writing program and is part of the Core Standards for writing in Kindergarten. The first units of study include: 1. Writers write about their own lives and we are all writers 2. Writers use pictures and words to write a story. 3. Writers know that when they are done, they have just begun. 4. Writers stretch out sounds to write words. 5. Writers add labels to their pictures. 6. Writers share their writing with a partner.

 

Math In math we are using the Eureka math program. We are working on concepts of number, particularly counting, number recognition, numeral writing and addition with numbers to 5. We are breaking numbers apart(finding hidden partners like 2 and 3 are hidden partners for 5) and learning to count forward and backward from a number. We are also doing activities using a large number line such as counting by 1s, 5s and 10s to 30. Twice a week we do math stations using a variety of math materials to enrich our math program. These activities include games, iPads and working with hands on manipulatives. The children are enjoying the math stations and we really appreciate your volunteer time to help make this small group instruction time possible!

 

Social Studies/Science/PE Our social studies lessons have centered on social skills and character traits. We are learning rules for our classroom and school and working on following directions. We are discussing the meaning of empathy and relating this concept to getting along with our classmates as part of our Second Step curriculum. We have done some science related activities with colors in class and are getting ready to study the life cycle of pumpkins as well as learning about our skeleton. The children are enjoying going out for PE with Mr. McKinney each week. They are learning several warm up exercises, working on motor skills and learning how to play various games and follow rules/ directions.

 

Finally… Before concluding this letter, we would like to give a few important reminders. Our school carnival is coming up on the 20th and this is a great fundraiser for our school. We hope to see you there! The book faire will go on all next week and is an opportunity for you to purchase some great books for your child. We will be walking though the book faire next week. Your child can bring money on next Wednesday or come by with you after school until 3:30 to purchase books. Also, our visiting author comes this week on Wednesday. Again, we look forward to discussing your child with you next week at conferences. If you have to change your conference time, please let us know. (Minimum days –school starting at 8:35 and dismissing at 11:05 conference week of Oct. 8th )

 

Again, we really appreciate your support in and out of the classroom. Thank you!!!

 

Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Littlejohn and Mrs. Sundarajan

 

Other important dates: October 4-minimum day-staff development

October 5-no school -teacher workday

October 8-conference week-minimum days

October 8-12-Book Faire

October 19-Rodeo Dress Up day

October 20-school carnival

October 22-26- red ribbon week

October 22-26-Pride canned food drive

October 31st-Halloween Parade and K Together Day*MINIMUM DAY-11:05

 

September News!


 

September 4, 2018

 

We are off to a great start!

 

We have had a great first 15 days of Kindergarten and we are really enjoying our sweet group of students. We are really looking forward to starting our volunteers this week and to working with all of you. Your help in and out of the classroom is so beneficial to the students. Thank you so much for signing up to donate your time! A special thank you to Rajveer Rakkar for setting up the shutterfly page and for coordinating our volunteers! We are also thankful to have our wonderful aide Priya to work with small groups and help provide individualized instruction to meet the needs of all our students. She is such a wonderful asset to the classroom!

 

What’s Ahead:

The children have been enjoying our color activities this past week. We have also been doing activities with our names and made some special self portraits. We read our Core Literature story “Corduroy” last week and did some activities with the story including a chocolate pudding Corduroy bear! We are also continuing with our color activities this week and will be learning about primary colors and mixing them to create new colors. This is a fun thematic unit for the children. Later this month, we will be doing some apple activities and learn about John Chapman(Johnny Appleseed).

 

Writing

In writing, we are launching writer’s workshop and focusing on handwriting. We are working on proper letter formation and will work on one letter each day. The children will practice on mini chalkboards before writing letters on the practice worksheets. Our homework packets will frequently have handwriting practice pages. Please make sure your children start their letters from the top and use pencil on their handwriting sheets. The focus of writing workshop this month is beginning narrative writing and learning that we are all writers. Lessons include using pictures to tell stories about our lives and later adding labels and words to these pictures.

 

Reading

As part of our new phonics program, we are using letter cards with pictures. The children learn the letter and the corresponding picture and sound. As we hold up the cards, they also write the letter in the air with their finger and say the sound at the same time. We will be using these letter cards to practice recognizing letters and sounds each week. As we build on the letters we learn, we will be working on writing words and later writing sentences using the weekly sight words along with short CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. In addition, we have just begun Reader’s Workshop. We will start by using tubs of books and getting children familiar with the rules of reader’s workshop. Our current unit is called “We are Readers” and helps the children understand that words are all around them in our environment and we read every day. This unit builds confidence and motivates all children to be excited about reading. Our first lessons teach the difference between fiction and non fiction (learning books) and the children are looking at non-fiction books in the tubs and sharing things they notice and learn. Children learn that they are readers just by telling about what is happening in a picture. Once we have established a routine, we will then move to individual book baggies. As your child progresses, these books will be leveled to meet his/her needs as a reader.

 

Math

We have also begun our Eureka math worksheets and have done some hands on lessons to work on number sense, sorting things into groups, counting and number recognition. We will be focusing on counting groups to 10 as well as proper formation when writing the numbers. Next week, we will start doing math stations twice a week. These hands on games as well as math activities on the iPads will reinforce the concepts we are learning in a fun, motivating way.

 

Social Studies/Other

 

In Social Studies, we have been focusing on Character traits and classroom /school rules. The children are working hard to earn table points as a team and to fill our class marble jar. We will also be learning about John Chapman and how he provided apple trees to the early settlers.

 

We have PE on Wednesdays with Mr. McKinney and music with Mr. Gates on Friday. Please make sure your children wear proper shoes on PE days. Library will also begin this week and is on Wednesdays. Your child will check out a book every Wednesday and needs to return the book by Wednesday of the following week. If books are not returned, your child can’t get a book that week.

 

Finally:

 

As discussed at Back to School Night, homework will be a packet that comes home on Mondays and is due on Fridays. This week, your child will receive a homework packet. Please help your child with homework and read with your child 10 minutes per night. Thank you for your help with establishing good homework routines! Thank you so much for all your donations of supplies to our classroom! We really appreciate your generous donations and they will be put to great use. In addition, thank you for all of your participation in our Kindergarten classroom and your volunteer time! We look forward to a great year!

 

Sincerely, Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Littlejohn and Mrs. Sundarajan

 

Thursday September 6-Welcome Back Social with food trucks-5-7pm Friday,

 

September 14-Fall pictures Thursday,

 

September 20-PTA meeting at 8:45 in the library

 

Principal/parent coffee-Friday, September 28, 9am

Current Assignments
Happy New Year Posted 1/9/19