Author Archive

Welcome Back to School!

Written by Catherine Gallin. Posted in Kindergarten

We are so excited to be back in school with all of our lovely Kindergarteners. From what we’ve heard, everyone had an exciting, restful, and happy break. After a week back at school, it’s great to see the kids jumping right back into the rhythm of school. And we’re learning lots of new things!
This week we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, celebrating the birthday of the Civil Rights Movement leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who fought against injustice and championed and struggled for equal civil rights for African Americans and other people of color in the United States through civil disobedience and non-violent protesting. We talked about the importance of equal rights for ALL human beings, the beauty of difference and diversity in our world, and how the best way to change the world is through love, not hate. Since we have been talking about being an Upstander  for the past few months, we took the chance to talk about how MLK was a very important Upstander.
For more on Upstanders, see this short video: (
Ms. G. also taught both classes some songs and chants about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and we read a few books about celebrating difference.

Kindness Counts!

Written by Catherine Gallin. Posted in Kindergarten


Hello Kindergarten Families!

We hope you enjoy these  photos of our adventures into what it truly means to be kind, a phrase we hear often but sometimes forget the true meaning of. Our Kindergarten classes have been reading books and doing craft projects about kindness as well as sharing ideas about how we can be kind to ourselves and others every single day. 


Kindergarteners delivered special cards to the 1st Graders 

This week we have also been lucky enough to be visited by a very special friend, the Puppy Elf (Fluffy in Ms. Holly and Ms. Poonam’s class and Rudolph in Ms. Lindsey and Ms. Cathy’s class), who hides in different corners of the classroom each morning, leaving us notes with ideas of acts of kindness for that day. Ask your children about the agile Puppy Elf. We are sure they will be excited to share his latest hiding spots and the great ideas he leaves behind for us to try out. 


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  Kindergarteners cleaning up trash around the school campus this week as a small act of kindness 



Literacy Learning Update!

Written by Catherine Gallin. Posted in Kindergarten


As many of you know, a couple of weeks ago our Kindergarteners became proud Jolly Phonics Graduates! They were very proud of their hard work learning the 42 Jolly Phonics sounds. 






Over the past week or so both Kindergarten classes have started our Literacy and Word Work Centers work during second period, which we used to devote to Jolly Phonics. With our 42 sounds under our belt, we spend the time at the Literacy Centers (different table set up across the room) practicing various reading and writing skills  through games and other types of fun activities. Some of the literacy skills we work on during center time are: blending, de-coding, phonemic awareness, letter recognition, reading stamina and more…


Centers include:


Classroom library


Letter stamping

Ipads (Jolly Phonics app)


Centers time is also a time for the teachers to meet with groups of students who are all working on the same skill at the same time. We call these are Guided Reading Groups. This part of the morning is fun and dynamic and also allows the students to have more personalized time with their teachers. 



Guest Readers and Special Visitors

Written by Catherine Gallin. Posted in Kindergarten

Our Kindergarten classes have been so fortunate to have special visitors come into our classrooms to read to us. The kids (and we teachers) have been absolutely loving it! Here are some photos from our most recent Guest Readers. Thanks to all of you have expressed interest and have signed up to come in. We can’t wait to see you soon! 


This week we also had a special visit from two Middle Schoolers who, as part of their Wellness Class, came into Kindergarten to read stories, play games, and talk about what it means to be a good friend. This was a very special opportunities for both the Middle Schoolers and the Kindergarteners to connect across age levels and build community. The Middle Schoolers read the books You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreaes.

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We Are Readers!

Written by Catherine Gallin. Posted in Kindergarten

We Are Readers


We have finished Unit 1: We Are Readers and have just begun Unit 2: Super Powers




Students  read to each other and their stuffed animals during Reading Workshop 


For many of our students, one of the most exciting things about Kindergarten is learning to read. Reading Workshop is a great time for the kids to put their Jolly Phonics phonetic knowledge to work for sounding out words, but mostly importantly it is a time to learn and apply key reading skills and techniques like using the pictures to understand and retell what is happening in a story, reading a book from cover to cover, reading independently and with partners, pointing to words as we sound them out and read them, using connecting words, speaking like the characters in a book, etc. We practice all these skills with storybooks that we read and reread with the children so that they are very familiar with the story by the end. The kids get a chance to read by themselves after the mini lesson and then to read with their partners before coming back together as a whole class. In this newly begun unit, we are focusing on Super Powers for readers (how to point to words as we read, how to put words together, how to face longer words, how to use punctuation when we read, etc.) We can’t wait to see our Kindergarteners become Super Readers!



We Are Writers!

Written by Catherine Gallin. Posted in Kindergarten


We Are Writers

Put on your writing hats, put on your writing gloves and POOF…we are Writers! 



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Students from both Kindergarten classes share their stories at one of our “publishing parties.”


We have already finished Unit 1: Launching Writing Workshop and Unit 2: Writing for Readers

During the first and second units of Writing Workshop we focus on getting our ideas out on to paper through both drawing pictures and starting to write words. In the first two units, we focus on narrative writing, in which the kids work on telling stories about real life events, or “small moments,” that have happened in their lives–a Halloween party, going camping with family, playing on the patio at school with friends, anything that they are excited to tell a story about. Within the guidelines we give them, students have the freedom to choose their own topic, which really helps keep them engaged and interested. It’s great to see all the elaborate and creative memories ideas that the kids come up with for their stories! We use these “small moments” to learn about story structure (i.e. beginning, middle, and end), transition words (i.e. first, next, then, finally). We have also been practicing adding details to our drawings, making sure our drawings match with our storyline, adding written labels and speech bubbles for dialogue, and working on starting to write sentences for our text. Our Kindergarteners stories have come a long way since the beginning of the year and we are looking forward to watching them continue develop.