I wrote this blog post about "Getting grade 1 ready" on my class blog for my parents and thought I would share it on my personal blog as well in case anyone found any helpful Pinterest posts. :)
I know. I know. It seems all too early to start thinking about your little heading to grade 1 next year. While I do want to share with you the skills I like my kinders to have mastered by the end of kindergarten to be ready for grade 1, these skills are not required to head to grade 1. I also wanted to share with you what skills we have already taught & are re-teaching since the beginning of the school year.
Social & Life Skills
Yes, social and play skills are very important for our littles. Our kinders are working daily on being problem solvers and independent. For the most part, they can get dressed & undressed for recess in their winter gear. We highly encourage them to zip, unzip, button, unbutton, etc. etc. all by themselves. If you find that your child is often leaving their lunch kit or clothing at school it is probably because we are doing our best to remind them less to pack up their belongings when they leave for the day. These little guys and gals are even recording their home reader in their agenda every day. We are so proud of them!
We encourage play and exploration inside and outside of the classroom. At the beginning of the year our kitchen play area would look like this... 4 kids playing in the kitchen area, creating wonderful dishes & playing with the baby dolls, but they would do all of this playing without even communicating or actually "playing" with each other. We have set up role playing cards, a café menu, café order form, etc. so now if you check out our kinders playing in the kitchen area you might see a waiter or waitress taking an order from a customer to hand over to the chef. They are talking, communicating and PLAYING with each other. Being able to play, communicate and be respectful is very important for our kindergarteners.
As I have explained before, we are taking part in the Zones of Regulation which is pretty much a fancy saying for "learning how to regulate our emotions". We have been working on identifying the Zones (blue-sad, tired, bored; green- happy, calm; yellow- excited, worried; red- angry, mad) since October. Boy oh boy, are these littles ever pros at identifying an emotion and then telling me what zone that emotion is. Proud teacher moments! We are working hard on identifying their own emotions when they are not in the green zone & what helps them get back into the green zone. We did this by creating tool boxes. The children chose strategies that help them calm down when they are mad & glued them into their toolbox. This week the children chose strategies that help them become happy when they are sad.
These are the letters & sounds that we have learned so far- Ll, Tt, Hh, Ff, Pp, Dd, Oo, Mm, Ss, Aa, Bb, Ww, Uu.
These are the letters & sounds that the kinders will learn in February- Gg, Vv, Xx, Ee.
Every morning we review letters & sounds. I point to the letters A, E, I , O, U that I have written on the board and ask the class what these letters are called. They are able to tell me that these are vowels & that they are in every word. Many of them then state which vowels are in their name. We talk about how these letters are special because they also make 2 sounds and we review the sounds.
Reading & rhyming- Each morning I choose 1 word family to focus on... I write a word on the white board, we sound out the CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) word using our fingers, then we read the word. I then show them the picture for the word and we add it to our word cabinet. For example- cat, rat, sat, hat. The children then tell me which letters are the same in all the words. (Ex: -at) I underline the letters & we talk about if the words rhyme. Rhyming is a skill that some of them are having trouble with so it is definitely something you can work on at home. Along with reading CVC words, the children are working on recognizing and reading sight words. You have all seen the sight word readers they bring home each week. Here are the sight words we have learned so far- a, the, I, see, can, run, it, is.
Writing- We have worked very very hard on the children being able to write their names independently with the first letter capitalized and the remaining letters in lower case. All of the children are working on writing in their hand printing books and/or journals daily. We focus on writing from top to bottom, as well as left to right. When writing sentences we are focusing on beginning our sentences with a capital letter, putting spaces between our words and ending our sentences with a punctuation mark. After we write our journal sentence, we read it and then have to determine if our sentence needs a period or question mark.
We are working hard on identifying and writing numbers 0-10. We are moving on to identifying and writing numbers 11-20. If your child still needs to work on numbers 0-10 we are doing so in the classroom but you can also provide extra support at home. Each morning we count to 30, backwards from 10, by 2's to 10 and by 10's to 100. We will eventually learn to count by 5's to 100 as well.
We have introduced addition these past few weeks. We will continue working on adding up to 10.
Sorting by colour, shape and size is something we worked on in October-November but we still review this skill.
We work on identifying and extending patterns daily.
If you are in need of ideas for your children to help them learn you can find a variety of ideas on Pinterest. It's one of my favourite references. :) I hope this helps you understand some of the things we have been learning in the classroom.