What we do...
In kindergarten, each day is filled with new ideas and new things to discover! A typical day includes:
Morning Meeting - Students sing songs, study math and calendar concepts, and take part in shared reading activities. This is also a time when children may choose to share exciting or important events in their lives, or when we might address interpersonal or behavioral issues as a class.
Read Aloud and Shared Reading – Students build an understanding of print, fluency, vocabulary, and the subtlety of language by actively listening to books read aloud by the teacher and by reading together with the teacher in a group setting. The introduction of a variety of text types (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, mystery, how-to, etc.) helps children to gain meaning as they read independently across genres.
Reader's Workshop – Students spend time independently reading "just right" books that have been carefully selected for book bags. The teacher simultaneously meets with students individually for discussion and assessment of literacy related concepts. These reading conferences allow the teacher to understand what the student is already doing as a reader, and, in turn, to determine plausible next steps. The student receives immediate, specific feedback, and the teacher is able to provide individualized instruction designed to address targeted areas of need.
Writer's Workshop – Students apply concepts taught through mini-lessons, read aloud, and shared reading and writing experiences to their own written work. Children will be encouraged to write in a variety of genres, for a variety of purposes, and with a variety of audiences in mind. We start with writing about what we know, and we slowly introduce elements of craft and convention to move students along as writers. Much like Reader's Workshop, individual conferences allow for focused instruction and the development of future mini-lessons. Most importantly, students will have the opportunity to revise and publish their work to share with the class.
Word Work – This is a time for students to study how letters and sounds work together in words. Attention is given to very specific concepts, such as phonemic awareness, spelling patterns, phonics, and identification of high frequency words.
Recess – In the words of Maria Montessori: "play is the work of the child." Recess is therefore a critical part of our school day. This is a time when students build gross motor and social skills, and a time in which students are encouraged to use their imaginations as they explore and create outdoors.
Lunch – Kindergarten students go to lunch at 11:00 am daily (10:00 am on early release days).The students will eat in the cafeteria as a class with a teacher assistant nearby to help out. Students may choose to eat a hot lunch, served by our super sweet cafeteria staff, or bring a lunch from home. The school lunch menu can always be found on the Mesa Public Schools website. Students are given 20 minutes to eat, so importance is placed on eating quickly, rather than socializing, during this time. Lunch is followed by a 20-minute recess time.
Book Bags - During book bag time the students read books from their book bags in a comfortable spot around the room. These are all books that the students have chosen as just right books or from selections that were read during guided reading group time.
Math – Kindergarten math is built on the idea of students exploring and constructing their own mathematical knowledge. Math explorations will involve the use of various manipulative materials (eg., pattern blocks, geoboards, unifix cubes, attribute shapes, rekenreks) to provide concrete representations of often abstract concepts. The ultimate goal is not for for students to "do" math, but for students to understand mathematical concepts and how numbers work.
Science – Science is a time for discovery and exploration. Students will learn about weather, animals, ecosystems, and engineering concepts. There will be hands-on experiments and activities that inspire students to build understanding through scientific inquiry.
Social Studies – The kindergarten social studies curriculum provides opportunities to learn about communities, holidays, families, citizenship, history, and basic economics. Social studies is often integrated into other areas of the school day, and allows students to read and write around informational themes.
Specials – Students will visit a variety of special area classes throughout the week. Specials include physical education, music, library, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) Lab. Please check our Specials page for an updated list of days and times.
and how we do it...
All learning takes place through doing. Making meaning is an active process, and can sometimes be loud, as children need opportunities to talk to each other about their thinking consistently throughout the school day. This is especially true for five- and six-year-olds! While there are periods in which students are expected to work quietly and independently, we will engage in a great deal of discussion and exploration. Focused talk is allowed and encouraged. We transition between activities often to accommodate for limited attention spans and the need for movement among kindergartners. Students are expected to work at their own pace, and individual needs and choices are respected. We function much like a family, where differences are common, and we celebrate progress as it is made, in whatever form that may be.