Author Archive

Pay It Forward! Nursery & 3rd Grade

Written by KarinaC. Posted in Nursery

To celebrate the act of giving thanks, we invited 3rd grade to come to our classroom for the morning.  Our children worked really hard to make them personalized bracelets during the week, which they gave to the 3rd graders when they came.

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In return, the big kids sat down with the Nursery children and made them a gorgeous drawing using autumn leaves.

We paired them up and they got to work!  They showed the children how to make a drawing by rubbing a crayon with a leaf on some paper.  They also wrote them a little message.  The children were so excited to have the big kids over, and the exchange was very sweet. It was great to see the 3rd graders take charge and teach the younger ones how to do it, and then give it to them as a present.

We had so much fun and are so grateful for this experience! 🙂

Writing Workshop – Writing for Readers

Written by KarinaC. Posted in Kindergarten

Dear Parents,IMG_0029

We are now working on our third unit, and this one is especially challenging for children.  The unit is called Writing for Readers, and the goal of the unit is to inspire children to believe that with a little extra work, they can write in such a way that others can read their writing. Of course, the goal is also to give children the skills they need to create readable writing.

Please notice that the goal is not for children to spell perfectly.  If you and I were to set out today to learn anything—say, to play the violin or to program the computer—there is no way that we could suddenly and magically be perfect at doing it.  Learners must go through stages of approximating, of doing the best they can and learners make the fastest progress if they actually throw themselves into doing something, knowing their first efforts will be less than perfect, but that they will get feedback and improve.

In this unit, we are working hard to teach children to stretch words out, saying them slowly and recording whatever sounds they hear.  We are encouraging children who are novice spellers to reread their own work often and to do so with a finger under the word, making small changes so their print matches what they say.

If your child is a proficient writer, you will see more subtle changes during this unit.  Perhaps the child will begin to write more consistently in lowercase letters, or to use punctuation more appropriately, or to rely more on the high-frequency words (tricky words) he or she knows even when tackling unknown words.

In school, we will put quite a spotlight on the importance of conventions. The most important thing you can do right now is to balance that by devoting extra time to storytelling.  Encourage your child to tell you the stories of his or her day, help your child tell those stories in a blow-by-blow fashion and tell him or her often, “You should write about that!”

Our author celebration for this unit will be an in-house event, but the celebration at the end of our upcoming unit will definitely be one you’ll want to attend. I will send you more information as the time draws near.


The Kindergarten Team

Math- Numbers to 10

Written by KarinaC. Posted in Kindergarten

In Module 1, Numbers to 10, students begin to observe and analyze the world around them mathematically.  They will count, order, and draw up to ten objects.  They will eventually work toward an understanding that each successive number names a quantity that is 1 more, and that the number before is 1 less.  This is just the beginning of an exciting mathematical year for kindergarten students!

Tips for Parents:  Module 1

Number Formation

Encourage your child to form numbers in the standard way.   Bad habits are difficult to break, so following our simple guide can help to prevent problems at a later stage.

1 indicates the starting position of the pencil.  The pencil should remain on the paper, following the arrows.  Only for the numbers four and five, the pencil must be raised before completing the second part of each number.


Feel free to print out the following worksheet  Number-Writing-Practice

Writing Workshop – Launching

Written by KarinaC. Posted in Kindergarten

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Dear Families,

Our first writing unit, Launching Writing Workshop, is introducing students to what writing will look like this year in our classroom.  We are learning expectations and procedures for our Writing Workshop time so students will become confident and independent writers by the end of the Kindergarten year.

Students will…

  • Begin to learn how to visualize a story.
  • Share ideas with a partner.
  • Draw a picture with markings (such as symbols and random letters) to tell a story from personal experience.
  • Begin to learn how to use resources around the room (such as the word wall and alphabet charts).
  • Begin to learn how to write the letters to match the sounds.

This unit begins an exciting year of writing in Kindergarten!


The Kindergarten Team


Written by KarinaC. Posted in Kindergarten


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The children in Kindergarten are taught using the Jolly Phonics System.  It is a fun and child centered approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics.  Each of the 42 letter sounds has an action, which helps the children to remember them.

Enabling Children to Build Words.

The sounds are taught in a specific order (not alphabetically). This enables children to begin building words as early as possible. The letter sounds are split into seven groups as shown below.


  • Five parts of Jolly Phonics:
  1. Learning letter sounds
  2. Learning letter formation
  3. Blending for reading
  4. Identifying sounds in words
  5. Tricky words
  • Jolly Phonics gestures

Group 1

s           Weave hand in an s shape, like a snake, and say ssssss.

a           Wiggle fingers above elbow as if ants crawling on you and say a, a, a.

t            Turn head from side to side as if watching tennis and say t, t, t.

i            Pretend to be a mouse by wriggling fingers at end of noise and squeak i, i, i.

p           Pretend to puff out candles and say p, p, p.

n           Make a noise, as if you are a plane – hold arms out and say nnnnnn.

Group 2

c k        Raise hands and snap fingers as if playing castanets and say ck, ck, ck.

e           Pretend to tap an egg on the side of a pan and crack it into the pan, saying eh, eh, eh.

h           Hold hand in front of mouth panting as if you are shaking out of breath and say h, h, h

r            Pretend to be a puppy holding a piece of rag, shaking head from side to side, and say rrrrrr.

m          Rub tummy as if seeing tasty food and say mmmmmm.

d           Beat hands up and down as if playing a drum and say d, d, d.

Group 3

g           Spiral hand down, as if water going down the drain, and say g, g, g.

o           Pretend to turn light switch on and off and say o, o, o, o.

u           Pretend to be putting up an umbrella and say u, u, u.

l            Pretend to lick a lollipop and say l, l, l, l, l, l.

f            Let hands gently come together as if toy fish deflating, and say f, f, f, f, f, f.

b           Pretend to hit a ball with a bat and say b, b, b.

Group 4

ai          Cup hand over ear and say ai, ai, ai

j            Pretend to wobble on a plate and say j, j, j.

oa         Bring hand over mouth as if you have done something wrong and say oh!

ie          Stand to attention and salute, saying ie ie.

ee or     Put hands on head as if ears on a donkey and say eeyore, eeyore.

Group 5

z           Put arms out at sides and pretend to be a bee, saying zzzzzz.

w          Blow on to open hand, as if you are the wind, and say wh, wh, wh.

ng         Imagine you are a weightlifter, and pretend to lift a heavy weight above your head, saying ng…

v           Pretend to be holding the steering wheel of a van and say vvvvvv.

oo OO    Move head back and forth as if it is the cuckoo in a cuckoo clock, saying u, oo; u, oo (Little and long oo).

Group 6

y            Pretend to be eating a yoghurt and say y, y, y.

x            Pretend to take an x-ray of someone with an x-ray gun and say ks, ks, ks.

ch          Move arms at sides as if you are a train and say ch, ch, ch.

sh          Place index finger of lips and say sh sh sh.

th th      Pretend to be naughty clowns and stick out tongue a little for the th, and further for the th sounds (this and thumb).

Group 7

qu          Make a duck´s beak with your hands and say qu, qu, qu.

ou          Pretend your finger is a needle and prick thumb saying ou, ou, ou.

oi           Cup hands around mouth and shout to another boat saying oi! Ship ahoy!

ue          Point to people around you and say you, you, you.

er           Roll hands over each other like a mixer and say er er er.

ar           Open mouth wide and say ah.  (UK English).  Flap hands as if a seal, and say ar, ar, ar.


For more information on Jolly Phonics, please click here.

Welcome to Kindergarten!

Written by KarinaC. Posted in Kindergarten

 Kindergarten (1)

Dear Parents,

We are very excited to start this new school year and are looking forward to spending lots of memorable moments with your children.

As you can see in our timetable we begin our days with a morning meeting, a crucial time for the kids to settle in and enter school mode.  We appreciate you making an effort to drop them at 8:35 when the bell rings to be in time for this.  The rest of our day is structured in 50-minute blocks.  Kindergarten is an important transition year, between preschool and a more academic structured school day.  We try to keep a good balance between age appropriate activities with direct academic structure and others that allow the children to play freely, growing and developing their social emotional skills.

What will we be doing this month?

During Math time, we will be working on identifying and writing numerals from 1 to 10 as well as matching numbers to the quantities they represent.

We will start this new school year making out first approximation to writing by learning how to write stories about ourselves.  We will build on the children’s reading skills by working on letter sounds and letter formation.

Letter Formation


When forming letters, it is very important that a child holds their pencil in the correct way.  The pencil should be held between the thumb and first two fingers.  If a child’s hold starts incorrectly, it is very difficult to correct later on.  A child needs to form each letter the correct way, usually starting at the top.

Note: When forming the letter the pencil stroke must be anti-clockwise, starting at the top.  When forming the letter the pencil starts in the middle, not the top.  There must be an initial down stroke on letters such as and n.

We will also spend a lot of time on working on establishing routines and classroom expectations to help the children have a successful year.


Every week we will be choosing one of the children to be the Star of the Week.  We will let you know in a week in advance so you can help them build a simple poster with pictures of them, their families and favorite things to do.  They should bring it on Friday to present it to the class.  The posters of Ms. Lindsey and Ms. Karina out in the halls are examples of Star of the Week posters.

PE days

Please remember to have your children wear comfortable shoes for PE days (sneakers should have velcro closures-no shoelaces please). Water bottles and hats are also useful to beat the heat at this time of the year!

 We are looking forward to an exciting new school year!!!