Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Time to Talk!

You wouldn't think that we would have to teach Kindergarteners HOW to talk...but we actually have standards that do just that!!

We can participate in conversations about kindergarten topics and texts with
peers and adults in small and larger groups.

We can follow rules for speaking and listening during conversations.

We can continue a conversation with multiple exchanges.

We can describe familiar people, places, things, and events and give details.

In Kindergarten, there is always talking, but teachers are given the task to stear the conversation so that the chatty friends are made to stop and listen...and the quiet friends are allowed opportunties to talk. In our classrooms, you'll see students pausing with their thinking faces on so that they'll have time to think about their answers to questions.  You'll then see friends sitting "eyes to eyes...knees to knees" with knees together, leaning in, engaged in conversation. 

During these talks, we should see one friend talking, then the other friend talking - both friends taking turns talking AND listening to the other.  We give 1-2 minutes for these exchanges during lessons.  There should be equal opportunities during these "talks".  We then allow time for students share their answers aloud.  We can always observe who is talking, but one way that we "check" to see that there is actually "listening" going on is to ask the friends to share their partner's thoughts to the question (i.e. My friend thought that...).  Using this strategy has really helped make good listeners in our classes.

You can help us with these important strategies by creating "A Time to Talk" in your own home.  Perfect opportunities for conversations are at the dinner table or when you're running errands in the car.  Ask your child questions about what is happening in class.  Encourange your child to answer in complete sentences (i.e. Parent: "What did you do in math today?"  Child:  common response:  "played" - more acceptable response: "I used cubes to make towers of 10"). 

Who could have imagined that Kindergarten standards would be specific about conversational rules.  We hope that these rules encourage fun visits at your house and that students take these rules with them for a lifetime of good friendships!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Singing Through the Standards

ABC & 123...singing through our standards is as fun as can be!

Here are some of our recent favorite phonics & math songs.  You can watch and sing along with your child (please monitor as you would with any You Tube clips).

Math Songs:

Counting to 20
Counting to 100
Numbers in the Teens
Numbers in the Twenties
Transition Numbers
2D Shapes
3D Shapes

Phonics Songs:
Do You Know Your Alphabet
Hip Hop Alphabet
ABC Rock
Who Let the Letters Out?
Rhyme Time
Vowel Bat

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Walk Through Kindergarten

If you walked into a Hayes Kindergarten classroom this week, here are some of the conversations you may hear:

"Hey. . .what are you going to be for Halloween?". . . . ." should see all of the candy that I got!!"

. . . but more importantly, you'd hear:

"What did you learn about being a good reader today?"
     "I can stretch my words to sound them out."
     "I can back up and reread."
     "I use cross-checking to figure out words I don't know."
     "I practiced finding sight words in my book."
     "I read lots of books to be a voracious reader!"

"What did you do to write an informational piece today?"
     "I remembered facts from a book about pumpkins."
     "I wrote my facts in a circle map."
     "I used my resources around the room to spell words."
     "I left spaces between my words."
     "I wrote a complete thought about my topic."

"What important holiday did we learn about this week and why is it important?"
     "I learned about Veteran's Day."
     "I learned that there are people that serve in the military."
     "I remember that veterans work hard to make our country a safe place to live."
     "I know that we should celebrate the people that protect our country."
"How can you match a number to the quantity of objects?"
     "I can line them in rows of 10."
     "I can make towers of 10 with some ones left over."
     "I can put them on ten frames and then count how many."
     "I can lay them on a numberline to see how many numbers I cover up."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Few Notes

Conference Week

We are excited to share the progress of our sweet Kindergarteners next week at conferences (Monday, October 22 - Friday, October 26).  School is dismissed 2 hours early. 

A reminder of the conference time will be sent home in the Friday folders.  Please be on time for your conference so that we can stay on schedule. 

School Vision & Mission

There is a brief survey on our school's website ( that you can take to rank our school community values.  We will use these values to create our new Vision & Mission statesments.  We value and appreciate your input!!

Skate Night

Join your Hayes friends for Sparkle Skate Night on Tuesday, October 23 from 4:00 - 8:00pm.

International Day

We are looking forward to celebrating the cultural diversity of our Hayes friends.  Please join us at school on Saturday, November 3 from 1:00 - 4:00pm.  PTSA would love to showcase any displays, food or dances from your native country.  They would also love some volunteers.  If you are interested in helping or participating, please contact Beverly Pleinis (

Friday, October 12, 2012

I Am Christopher Columbus

I am Christopher Columbus.
I am an explorer (I explored my classroom when I first came to Kindergarten).
I hope to learn new things (reading, writing, math, social studies, science, art, music, computer, PE).
I am on a constant journey (to learn SO many new things this year).
I can use tools to help me on my journey (pencils, crayons, clip boards, flip books, dice, unifix cubes, books, 10 frames…).
I can find treasures (great books in the library, a neat rock outside, wonderful friendships).
I am Christopher Columbus!

This isn’t a true “I Am” poem in the “poetic world”, but it shares the importance of what the kids are learning. We have had a fun time learning all about Christopher Columbus this week. Though he wasn’t really the first person to discover America, he showed us the character trait of persistence - staying true to your goal. Learning that it is important to have a goal, to try your hardest to meet that goal, and to celebrate when you reach that goal is something that we hope the kids will always remember!

Coming Up:
The week of 10/18 - 10/22 is Hayes Spirit Week.
Monday: Pajama Day
Tuesday: Hay Day
Wednesday: Sports Day
Thursday: Backwards – Inside Out Day
Friday: Hayes Spirit Day

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Coming Up at Hayes

Please mark your calendars:

Our fall pictures are this Monday, October 8.  Even if your child isn't purchasing pictures, his/her picture will be taken, as this is the picture that will go into the Hayes yearbook.  If you are purchasing pictures, your child will need to bring his/her picture form to school on Monday (the pictures are prepaid).  If you pay online, please send your child with the printed receipt (that you either printed at the end of the online transaction or printed from our confirmation email).

In your child's Friday folder, there will be a note regarding your scheduled conference time during the week of October 22-26.  Please sign and return the bottom half of the form to confirm your conference time.  To make your visit more convenient if your child has siblings at Hayes, we worked with their teachers to schedule back-to-back conferences.  If you are unable to make the scheduled time, we cannot guarantee that your conferences will be back-to-back.  We look forward to sharing all of the wonderful things that our Kindergarteners have learned and how they've grown during the first quarter of school.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Kindergarteners . . . Oh My!

We are having such a great time learning all about animals.  We began by talking about living and nonliving things.  Then we introduced some great vocabulary including:  similarities & differences, size, and appearance.  Exploring different animals to see how they are alike and different is so fun!  We have sorted animals by their coverings:  fur, scales, feathers, smooth skin.  We have also sorted by how they move (crawl, slither, hop, fly, walk…) and where they move (sky, ground, water).  We have read some fun books, too:  Do Bears Buzz?, Do Frogs Have Fur?, and Do Goldfish Gallop?.  You can pick up a copy at the local library to share at home. 
We have been making predictions about stories.  We read Tops & Bottoms.  It was a very silly story about how a hare outsmarts a bear.  We began by looking at the front cover of the book and making predictions about what would happen in the story.  Try this at home with books that you share.  It’s fun when we can giggle about our predictions if they’re not right and exciting when our predictions are correct!
We added a couple fun math links this week.  We played Counting Game and Splat Square  during our math lessons.  The kids had great fun!  Make sure to turn the sound on when you play.  Splat Square has great a great sound effect!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

We LOVE Reading!

An interesting vocabulary word in Kindergarten is VORACIOUS (vo*ra*cious).  Yes, that seems like a very large word for a Kindergartener, but as we create little readers, voracious is quite popular.  The children have learned that good readers increase their vocabulary by reading...and reading...and reading, thus becoming a voracious reader. 

We help students with this strategy by encouraging them to choose "good-fit" books.  We remind them of practicing "I PICK": 

I =  I look at the book
PPurpose - What is the purpose for reading this book?
I =  Interest - Are you interested in this book?
C = Comprend - Do you understand what you read?
K = Know - Do you know most of the words?

You can help your child with this strategy at home by reading.  You can read to your child.  Your child can read to you.  You can read beside your child (you read your favorite book/magazine/newspaper - your child reads his/her own book).  Sharing a common love for reading will help to create a voracious reader in your child, and you may have time to become a voracious reader again yourself!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Great Week!

What an incredibly busy and fun week we had! Thanks to those of you who were able to attend our Open House. The kids had a great time showing off their classrooms. We really enjoyed sharing the happenings in Kindergarten with you. If you have any questions about things going on in our classrooms, you can always email us (click on your child's teacher on the left side of our homepage). You can also write a note in your child's daily folder.

Homework for September will be distributed this week. Your child can complete the homework nightly and return it at the end of the month. Please help your child practice the sight words listed each week. If your child knows the words, he/she can practice writing sentences using the words.

We had fun learning about Labor Day and community helpers. We learned about the various tools used and the importance of the jobs of a police office, fire fighter, doctor, farmer, teacher, mail carrier, baker.

We will continue to roll out The Daily 5 this week. We have practiced with Read to Self, Work on Writing, and Word Work. This week, we're looking forward to learning about Listen to Reading. If you want to explore Listen to Reading at home, you can use some of the links shown on "Websites to Explore" on our homepage.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Coming Up

We hope you'll be able to join us for Open House on Wednesday, September 5th at 6:30pm. First there will be a brief PTSA meeting in the cafeteria. Following the meeting, you are invited to visit our classrooms. There will be many important things that your child's teacher will discuss with you. You will be able to ask questions and discuss procedures that will make this a smooth and wonderful year for your little sweetie.

We look forward to having you visit! See you on Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Busy in Kindergarten

We are so excited that Hayes Elementary is one school again. We are one big, happy family. Our administrators are Mrs. Teressa Watson (principal), Ms. Chris Michael (assistant principal) and Mrs. Angela Whitehead (assistant principal).

We are having such fun getting to know each other in Kindergarten. We have been learning about school & classroom rules and have been excitedly making new friends.

We've been exploring letters and their sounds. We are enjoying singing songs about the alphabet. The Daily 5 is one of our favorite parts of the day. We are learning to build stamina for reading (Read to Self) and writing (Work on Writing). We are writing letters and words to label our pictures as well as sentences about events.

Our little mathematicians have been counting...and counting...and counting. They are counting quantities to match numbers. Our Number Talks are helping us look at the way we see numbers. The purpose of Number Talks is to get students to think about numbers…not in the addition or subtraction sense…but it the ability to take numbers apart, to know what “five” or “six” or “ten” is.

It has been a busy beginning of the school year...and we're just getting started!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to School

Welcome to Hayes! Hayes Elementary is such an exciting place to be, especially in Kindergarten! We're looking forward to the most wonderful year!

Check back often for updates about all of the fun happenings in Kindergarten at Hayes!

Here are some important back to school pieces of information:

  • Please make sure that your Kindergartener is in the classroom by 7:50. He/she can either ride the bus or you can drop him/her off at the front of the school. Please do not walk your child to the classroom. If you have information for the teacher, please write a note and include it in the daily folder. Thank you!

  • The front lanes are fire lanes. If you park in the fire lane anytime other than AM/PM carpool, you risk being ticketed by the fire marshall. ASP parents, we suggest that you park in the parking lot and walk in to get your child.

  • We will have our fall Open House for grades K-2 on Wednesday, September 5. More information will come soon!