Monthly Archives: June 2010

My Last Blog

I would like to say thank you to all faithful readers of the blog that I have written for Kindergarten parents.  After 24 years of teaching Kindergarten, I have decided to promote myself and I will be heading to first grade this fall.  Teaching 54 kids every day, having 54 parent teacher conferences, no daily lunch period, and less planning time than my colleagues in grades 1-6, has finally caught up with me.  I am very excited about moving on to first grade and trying my hand with the next step of child development.  As much as I would have like to continue on with some of my Kindergartners from this year, my principal does not agree, so I will be meeting 25 new children in September. Many people have asked me if I will write a blog for first grade parents, hmm, I can’t answer that one yet, but will definitely give it some consideration.  I wish your new first grader much luck next year and I cannot stress enough to you to keep your child reading and writing all summer so as not to lose the valuable skills that he/she has learned in Kindergarten.

Have a great summer and hopefully I will be back in the fall.

Claire

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Handwriting Skills

One request that Kindergarten teachers receive every year from first grade teachers has to do with handwriting.  Kindergarten teachers are so excited to take young children from scribbling, to writing using random letters, to beginning sounds, to both beginning and ending sounds, and finally to almost writing an entire word, that we although we try to focus on correct letter formation, it often doesn’t happen.  First grade teachers spend a lot of time on correct letter formation and correct sizing of each letter.  Kindergartners will write the word ‘the’ using the same size for all three letters and not really seeing that the t and h are tall, and that the e, is not. To help your child write the letters better in first grade, take a moment to read an excerpt from an article by a trained occupational therapist and you will be reminded of all of the skills needed by your child for correct letter formation. Your child should be writing every day, summer vacation or not.  Every day! This is the only way to improve the correct formation of the letters needed for handwriting.

Leonora T. Bradley, MS, OTR,  states that there are 8 skills that need to be developed for successful handwriting:

Visual memory– knowing what each letter looks like; the ability to name letters and numbers quickly from a random list, as well as being able to visualize a letter or number without actually seeing it.

Orientation– the ability to position letters and numbers in the correct direction; ability to print them without reversals or inversions.

Placement– the ability to place letters and numbers correctly on the baseline and between lines as needed.

Size– the ability to write in an age/grade appropriate size.

Start– the ability to start capital and lowercase letters (& numbers) in the correct spot; for capital letters, this should be the top. For lowercase letters, the starting point may vary based on the curriculum.

Sequence– the ability to “form” the letter with the parts in the correct order and direction with consistency.

Control– the ability to print the letter parts neatly and without gaps, overlaps, or extra tracings.

Spacing– the ability to keep letters in words close together while leaving appropriate space between words in sentences.

If your child is having difficulty with handwriting at school, it is important to realize that handwriting issues can be improved greatly through the proper assessment, instruction, and carryover for practice at home. Most times, this practice only needs to be about 10-15 minutes per day

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Essential Skills Can Be Lost During Summer Vacation

Thanks to all of the snow this past winter, we won’t be finishing school for another 2 ½ weeks, but I know that in many other schools Kindergartners are preparing to end their school year.  Teachers are just as excited about the upcoming vacation as the children are, but vacations worry us as well.  We know that many/most of our children will lose a great deal of their acquired skills from Kindergarten during the summer vacation and what concerns us even more, is that it doesn’t have to be that way.  No teacher would expect your child to continue doing school work for hours each day, but we do ask/expect/recommend that your child spend some time each day working on school work.  The best way to do this is to establish a time at your house that works for both parent and child.  It could be first thing in the morning when your child is the freshest, or after lunch when he/she needs a break from outdoor activities, or even in the evening after dinner.  Set a time for your child, say 20 – 30 minutes, and stick to this time every day.  Children love routines and your child will do best when he/she knows that every day will include this time for school work.  Many parents like to spend summer by teaching the academics that will be taught in first grade in the fall, but that is not necessary.  Simply put:

  • Your child needs to write in a journal every day of the summer, no exceptions!
  • Your child needs to be read to and also have a chance to explore books on his/her own every day of the summer, no exceptions!
  • Your child needs to work with numbers and number concepts (card games, board games) every day of the summer, no exceptions!

Reading readiness skills such as letter recognition, sound-letter knowledge, story re-telling and understanding the concept of print have been worked on every day of your child’s Kindergarten year, but these skills disappear quickly when left untouched.  Number recognition to 30 but to 100 would be better, patterns, and simple addition and subtraction should also be reviewed.  You will be helping your child to be successful in first grade if you help him/her now not to lose any of the crucial skills that he/she will need when he/she gets there.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents, Uncategorized, Writing