May news and updates.

Good evening families!

I hope this update finds you all healthy and safe.

Can you believe that we have just completed 6 weeks of learning from home? When we originally were notified of school closure, we anticipated it to be for two weeks. As of tomorrow, we only have 6 more weeks of the 2019-2020 school year. At some point, I expect some information about picking up your child’s school supplies. I don’t anticipate this will be before June.

This has certainly been a challenging time. I love seeing your children in our Google Meets and I enjoy seeing their enthusiasm for learning but most importantly that they are happy and healthy. They have continued to learn and grow. I am excited to see that they are meeting many of the developmental milestones that are so important to all kindergarteners- tying their own shoes, losing teeth, riding bikes without training wheels, and reading on their own! You are providing your children with wonderful and meaningful experiences – cooking together, gardening, exploring the great outdoors- and making memories that your child will cherish. I miss your children more than you can imagine.  I miss the classroom environment and I miss being able to work with your children in person.  You have all done an amazing job by making time for their learning!  I understand that there may be many challenges.  The most important thing is to know that you are doing the best that you can for your children

Important Changes:

When our school closure began just over 6 weeks ago, schools started out by offering enrichment experiences for students. When the closure was extended, we transitioned to a Remote Learning Model where content that has already been taught was reviewed and practiced. Now that school buildings are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, we are making one final transition. Through Remote Learning, teachers will be delivering new content. We will be teaching standards that have been identified as Prerequisite Content Standards by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. These standards are being taught to help our students be prepared for the next grade level; which in our case is First Grade.

What can I expect for this next phase of learning?

All schoolwork will continue to be assigned through the Google Classroom. You will continue to see the daily morning message on the Stream. You will continue to see that all of the weekly activities are available on Mondays under Classwork.  The format of the lessons will remain the same. You will click on the weekly activity document and from there you can read the instructions and access the printables, songs, games, and stories. You can plan out your week according to your own family’s needs. The week’s work will be due on Sunday to give you the entire week if needed. You will continue to upload your child’s completed work in Google Classroom. If you have not been uploading work yet, I would strongly encourage you to do so. The school is operating under a credit/no credit grading system and I need to have some of your student’s work in order to give your child credit. The easiest way to upload work is to download the Google Classroom app for your phone.

“Prerequisite Standards ” identified by the state have been built into our assignments each week. I will also incorporate lessons to address these standards during our Google Meet sessions. Participation in Google Meets and/or completion of schoolwork is strongly recommended to give your child the best possible start as they head into first grade.

With that being said, please know that I understand the challenges that you are facing at home. Please do what you can, when you can.  If you are experiencing challenges with helping your child learn at home, please know that the ordinary things you do every day are learning opportunities for your kindergartener. Learning should be fun and meaningful to your child. If the activities are too difficult or are creating stress for your learner, you can pick and choose what is best for your child, in your home, in your situation. The curriculum for First Grade in the fall is being modified to meet the needs of your children knowing that the school closure has impacted learning. The first-grade teachers will meet your children where they are and teach your child what he/she needs to know. Please do not worry about your child’s readiness for first grade. I will continue to provide you with the tools you need to prepare your child for first grade. Together we can support learning for your child.

Last Friday, I sent out information for Splash Math, an online platform for math. The program allows me to view your child’s assessment results and determine activities to support their learning. I am also able to design Google Meets and future assignments to meet the needs of our learners. I will also be sending out information this week for Headsprouts which is also a learning platform which is a K-2 supplemental program that ensures reading success for every child. This program is also optional. Involvement in Splash Math and Headsprouts are highly recommended, but they are optional supplemental programs for your child. I encourage you to participate but your child’s involvement is not a requirement moving forward.

EPIC! is also a supplemental program. EPIC! is the leading digital library for kids offering unlimited access to 40,000 of the best children’s books of all time. If you wish for me to assign leveled books for your child on this platform, please let me know and I will assign books relative to the last assessment that was completed prior to our school closure. To date, many of the literature which I have assigned has been books related to our themes or books for enjoyment.

On Wednesdays from 2:00-2:30 I will maintain an open time for you to check-in with me and ask questions or have your child read a book to the group, share an assignment, or to explain any difficulties your child may be having with me. I will post a Google Meet link just prior to the Meet time. This time on Wednesday will be a parent/student-directed meeting.  If your child or you have questions, I will be available.

I will post a May Journal in the morning for your child. This activity is optional. I would encourage your to provide your child with many opportunities for reading and writing moving forward. I would also encourage you to let your child write words phonetically. It is expected in kindergarten that the children write words the way they are heard. Promoting independence, while it may be difficult, allows your child to be brave with spelling words. When I am reviewing your child’s writing assignments, I am looking for a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence, finger spaces between words, mostly lower case letters, unless your child has used someone’s name or the word I, and also punctuation at the end of the sentence. By the end of the school year, I would also expect for your child to know the kindergarten sight words and also use their correct spelling in their writing assignments.  We will be completing some writing prompts in our Google Meets this month. Your child may bring their May Journal to the Google Meet. If they do not have a journal a plain piece of paper will do.

During this coming week, your child will be learning the numbers 11-19. Each day we will listen to a video complete some counting activities, and also write these numbers.  To prepare for the Google Meets, please assemble a small kit with 19 manipulatives (pick one: buttons, blocks, rocks, gems, or any small manipulative to be counted). Please also create a double ten frame on a piece of paper or print out this reproducible if you have a printer available to you. Double Ten Frame

I will be submitting a Scholastic Book order this month. If you wish to order books for your child please go to this link Scholastic Book Clubs and use the class code GNNJ3. Orders will be due by Friday, May 8, 2020. This is a great time to get some new books for your child’s reading shelf and also to start stocking up books for summer reading. I will deliver books to you or you may be able to have them shipped directly to your home. If you have any questions, please let me know.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your questions, comments, and concerns. I will do my best to make sure the end of our Kindergarten year together is a positive experience for us all.

Have a great week!

Warm regards,

Mrs. Strauss

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