Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Kindergarten Team

One of the things that we do well at Chets Creek, is making decisions early so that we have a good jump on the new year. Last week the new Kindergarten Team for the 2009-10 school year was announced and today they met together to plan for the new year. It's a great mix of current kindergarten teachers mixed with looping teachers who are returning to kinder for a new loop and even a second grade teacher joining the kinder kids. The new Team began the day with a "Getting to Know You" activity, led by Standards Coach Suzanne Shall. With a lot of laughter, they learned some very interesting facts about each other!

Then it was down to work as they discussed the Kindergarten non-negotiables which are listed below:

CCE Kindergarten Non-Negotiables
Outlined by the Chets’ Creek SIP and America’s Choice Reform

2009/2010
Time for Subjects:-One hour Readers’ Workshop (year will begin with 20-30 minutes and work up to one hour by the end of the year)
-One hour Writers’ Workshop (year will begin with 20-30 minutes and work up to one hour by the end of the year)
-30 minute Skills Block (year will begin with longer Skills Block and will streamline to 30 minutes by the end of the year)
-One hour Math Workshop (year will begin with 20-30 minutes and work up to one hour by the end of the year)
-15-20 minute Everyday Math Counts Calendar Math
-Science 15 minutes daily, long Wednesdays 45 minutes (100 minutes a week)

Communication with Parents-Weekly newsletters are required
-Folders sent home daily
-Written notes in folders or emailed, kept in file
-Blogs are highly recommended but optional.

Homework-Homework will include daily book-in-a-bag
-On average, including book in the bag, no more than 30 minutes nightly.
-Homework in place on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, sent home on Mondays. -No homework on weekends.
-Uniform grade level homework is encouraged.

Million Word Standard
-Each student is responsible for reading a million words a year.
-Million word standard is attached.

Artifacts
-Book of the Month attractively displayed and accessible to students.
-A bin for books-of-the month accessible to students
-Data Notebooks (F.A.I.R. Profiles, DRA’s, Math Profiles, Interventions for at-risk students)
-Portfolios for each student of final work in Writing
-Writing work-in-progress folders available daily for each student
-Cumulative writing folders for each child of all the work done, which may be cleaned out at the end of each nine weeks, with samples of work kept
-Classroom writing rubrics in all 5 genres of writing written with the class, by the end of the year
-Teacher-made Charts demonstrating mini-lessons in Reading and Writing – a visitor should be able to walk into your room and know what was taught that day by the charts in the front of the room
-Portfolios in Mathematics
-Math artifacts (Teacher made charts, 100’s chart, number lines with negative and positive numbers, manipulatives)
-Every Day Counts Calendar must be visible and maintained

Standards-Based Bulletin Boards-The standard-based bulletin board is intended to be a window into your class instruction.
-SBBB will be displayed by the deadline date with at least the following components: Standards, Task, 4 pieces of student work, teacher commentary. They may also include student commentary, circumstances of performance, rubrics, etc…
-No SBBB due in August (“Something Good about You” instead posted for Orientation), December, March, or May.
-One board in each subject area (Writing, Reading, Math, Science, Work-over-time).

Standard Snapshots
-Will be designated on the yearly calendar and done collaboratively.
-Each student’s piece of work will be attached to the snapshot to be sent home on the specified date.
-There will be a snapshot for each subject, Writing, Science, and Math.

Diagnostics-Kindergarten will administer the FKLRS at the beginning of the year
-Kindergarten will administer FAIR three times a year during the state administration periods. Teachers will give the assessment to their own students and will be responsible for recording their own information in the computer
-Math Diagnostics will be copied in-house and teachers will be responsible for recording and turning in results on the computer
-A common report will be sent home at least at the mid-term with report cards.

Curriculum-District Learning Schedules in Mathematics will be followed and can be found on Riverdeep.
-District Learning Schedules in Science will be followed and can be found on Riverdeep.
-Reading, Writing, and Skills Block Pacing Guide will be designed by Chets Creek. The Scope and Sequence of skills in our district adopted Houghton-Mifflin core reading series will be followed.
-Eric Carle Author Study will be integrated into the Reading and Writing Pacing Guide.
-The grade level will maintain a wiki of additional resources at http://kindergartencce.wikispaces.com.

Grade Book
-No grades will be taken on homework.
-There needs to be a reasonable number of grades to average for an overall grade. (at least one every two weeks)
-Even though kindergarten grade are not as rigid as other grading, the grade level will discuss consistency on what is being graded


Melanie Holtsman, our Instructional Technologist, followed and walked us through making our own websites on the new OnCourse attendance and grade book program that we are piloting. Then if was off to lunch for a little more bonding time! What a gift to be able to leave the building for an adult-type lunch!
 
After lunch the Team selected veteran Maria Mallon as their Team Leader - a teacher with wisdom and organizational skills whose up-beat personality will lead this team with a skip in her step. The Team visited Riverdeep, the county on-line curriculum, to look at the Science learning schedule and standards. They walked through beginning of the year resources on the wiki and talked about things they want to add to the kindergarten wiki on Friday when some of the Team members will be meeting to work on the Kindergarten and first grade wikis. Finally, they ended with a little quiz (see below- how did you do?) A grade was not taken, of course, but the questions were used for discussion to make sure that all of the teachers retained information needed for beginning the new year.

Phonemic Awareness
1. Phonemic awareness is ___________.
0 a. the ability to match letters and sounds
0 b. the ability to hear and manipulate individual sounds in words
0 c. the ability to hear rimes and onsets
0 d. all of the above

2. Where can you find activities for phonemic awareness for the beginning of the year?
0 a. Chets Creek’s Nursery Rhyme unit
0 b. Houghton Mifflin Teacher’s Guide
0 c. FCRR’s K-1 Student Activity Centers
0 d. all of the above


Phonics3. At Chets Creek we introduce letters and sounds using ___________.
0 a. letter of the week
0 b. the names of the children in the class
0 c. letters in alphabetical order
0 d. none of the above

4. Star Names refers to a program adapted from _____________.
0 a. Elizabeth Sulzby
0 b. America’s Choice
0 c. Lucy Calkins
0 d. all of the above

5. Where on the wiki can you find information to help you start the year with phonics?
0 a. the county’s Learning Schedule on Riverdeep
0 b. the Houghton Mifflin Teacher’s guide
0 c. Skills – Star names
0 d. all of the above


Comprehension6. What are Star Books?
0 a. a list of books to read at the beginning of the year
0 b. a list of books that have good narrative story elements
0 c. a list of books that are good for retelling
0 d. all of the above

7. Where did the idea for Star Books come from?
0 a. teachers at Chets Creek
0 b. America’s Choice
0 c. Lucy Calkins
0 d. all of the above

8. What was Elizabeth Sulzby’s contribution to the idea of Star books?
0 a. she provided the research
0 b. she provided the titles of books
0 c. she collaborated with Lucy Calkins and America’s Choice
0 d. all of the above

9. If a child tops out of the Sulzby levels, what do you do next?
0 a. send home a word list
0 b. give a DRA2
0 c. work on fluency
0 d. all of the above

10. How do you know if a child is ready for a DRA 2?
0 a. child makes the letter sound connection in writing
0 b. child reaches level 7-8 on Sulzby
0 c. child sounds like they are reading, even though they are only retelling
0 d. all of the above

11. What can be found on the wiki to support reading?
0 a. the list of Star Books
0 b. the Sulzby levels
0 c. vocabulary to support Star books
0 d. all of the above


Vocabulary12. The vocabulary program we use in Kindergarten at Chets Creek was written by _______.
0 a, Lucy Calkins
0 b. Text Talk
0 c. America’s Choice
0 d. none of the above

13. The vocabulary program we use at Chets Creek in Kindergarten comes from _________.
0 a. Star Names
0 b. Star Books
0 c. Text Talk
0 d. none of the above

14. Activities for the vocabulary program we use at Chets Creek are based on __________.
0 a. The Art of Teaching Vocabulary by Lucy Calkins
0 b. Vocabulary in Kindergarten by Patricia Cunningham
0 c. Bringing Words to Life by Isabel Beck and Margaret McKeown
0 d. none of the above

15. Vocabulary activities can be found on the wiki under ______________.
0 a. Skills – Star Names
0 b. Reading – Star Books
0 c. Vocabulary
0 d. all of the above


Fluency16. At the beginning of the year fluency in kindergarten is based on ______________.
0 a, the number of words a child can read in one minute
0 b. the number of letters of the alphabet the child can say in one minute
0 c. the number of words a child says in one minute
0 d. all of the above


Math Investigations17. Where do you find the directions to the Every Day Counts Calendar pre, mid and post tests?
0 a. I make up the questions to match the pictures.
0 b. They are in my Every Day Counts Calendar book.
0 c. I find the directions in my box each nine weeks when the student tests are copied.
0 d. There are no directions because there is no test.

18. Why would I use the rekenrek?
0 a. to count how many days we have been in school
0 b. to add and subtract numbers
0 c. to use as another tool/ strategy like the number line
0 d. all of the above

19. How often should I play the math games?
0 a. once a month
0 b. twice a week
0 c. every day
0 d. never - Who wants to go to all that work to play a game?


Science20. Where would you find the science standards for the upcoming year?
0 a. on the pacing guide
0 b. on the Kindergarten Wiki
0 c. on Riverdeep
0 d. all of the above

21. What model of instruction do we use in Science at Chets Creek?
0 a. Scott Foresman
0 b. inquiry based instruction
0 c. the 5 E model
0 d. all of the above


Assessments22. What assessments will Kindergarten teachers be giving in the fall?
0 a. F.A.I.R. and FKLRS
0 b. Sulzby and DRA2
0 c. Chets Creek Kindergarten Math Diagnostic
0 d. all of the above

23. What assessment will take the place of the DIBELS?
0 a. DRA2
0 b. Chets Creek Kindergarten Reading Assessment
0 c. F.A.I.R
0 d. all of the above


Standard-based Bulletin Boards24. How many standard-based bulletin boards are required of each teacher?
0 a. 9
0 b. 8
0 c. 7
0 d. 6


Kindergarten Wiki
25. What can you find on the kindergarten wiki to help you beginning the year?
0 a. resources for teaching phonemic awareness through nursery rhymes
0 b. a list of the Star books to begin read- alouds with vocabulary activities
0 c. activities to teach phonics through the names of students in your class
0 d. all of the above


I think Chets Creek teachers value their day of preparation. They can leave for the summer with a strong sense of how they can prepare for the new year. Some, of course, will do little preparation until the very end of the summer and others will be working every day, but, either way, the information is there when they are ready. Some of our teachers, who have never taught anywhere else, don't realize that this is not common practice in most schools. Having been in a dozen school in several state, I probably appreciate it more than most and am grateful to have the type of leadership that values this type of team building. It is a gift beyond words and one of the reasons I LOVE teaching at the Creek!

3 comments:

Our Family said...

Wow! What a great day of preparation for the new school year! Thanks for all of the info. It gave me something to think about as an instructional coach at my own school! :) Lana

Suzanne said...

I love the quiz you added to the end of the day. I will definately be stealing the idea--thanks!

I know teachers appreciate this day of team building and question answering. It is never teachers who go through this day that struggle the next year, but those that are added after this day occurs that have questions. We'll have to figure out a way to get them up to speed on grade level expectations if we have to add.

Suzanne said...

I love the quiz you added to the end of the day. I will definately be stealing the idea--thanks!

I know teachers appreciate this day of team building and question answering. It is never teachers who go through this day that struggle the next year, but those that are added after this day occurs that have questions. We'll have to figure out a way to get them up to speed on grade level expectations if we have to add.