Monthly Archives: October 2012

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

In Kindergarten we eventually will learn to tell time on the hour but for the moment teachers are working on your child’s sense of time.  Does your child understand about the passing of time?  Is your child able to correctly distinguish between yesterday and tomorrow?  In my Kindergarten classroom we wrote in journals every Monday about what we did on the weekend.  Sounds easy, right?  Not so for a 5 year old.  Anything that happened more than a few hours ago is a long time ago in the eyes of a 5 year old.  In the fall, Kindergartners are not able to recall events that took place yesterday and often confuse them with events that took place months ago.  In most Kindergarten classrooms, children work on the calendar every day and talk about TODAY, TOMORROW and YESTERDAY.  We drill these words and talk about what we will do today at school, about what we did at school yesterday (or if it is a Monday, we talk about the weekend), and at the end of the school day we talk about what we will do tomorrow at school.  With continual use of these time words, Kindergartners do begin to understand time and words that are used to describe time. Please begin to incorporate these words into your family’s vocabulary so that your child hears them not only at school but at home as well.

For now, teachers focus on building your child’s sense of time.  Working with the calendar is a daily activity, and you can expect your child to learn the days of the week fairly quickly through songs and rhymes. Words like yesterday, today, and tomorrow will also be discussed.

In First Grade, learning calendar language is part of our daily math lesson.  Most children understand the passing of time, and understand what the future means…but not all children get it.  Why not?  It is not important to them and they are not developmentally ready to understand abstract passing of time.  Children do need to understand the reason we have calendars and parents, we ask that you use this language in your daily conversations with your child:

Today (name the day of the week) is…..

Tomorrow (name the day of the week) will be…..

Yesterday (name the day of the week) was….

We expect children to know the full date of today:  for example:

Today is Friday, October 26, 2012

What are the days of the week?

If your child is looking at a calendar of this month and you ask him/her to point to the last day of the month and tell what day of the week it falls on, can he/she?

It is important for your child to hear you talk using calendar language such as: today, next Tuesday, last Monday, etc and continue to support your child as he/she learns about calendars and calendar language.







Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Math, Parents

Parent Teacher Conference Tips

Most school systems offer Parent-Teacher conferences at the end of the first quarter of school.  This is a time to discuss your child’s strengths and weaknesses and to set goals for your child for the next quarter.  Conferences usually last 15 or 20 minutes and believe me, they go very quickly.  Go into your conference prepared to listen, talk about and ask any questions about your child.  Please do not take valuable conference time talking about how this child is like, or not like other children at home.  Concentrate on just this child. Also listen with an open mind.  Your child’s teacher sees how your child behaves and learns with several other children (think at least 25 others!) and what you may hear may not be what you see at home where there are only a few other children, or perhaps, no other children.  I have made a list of some questions that you could ask at your upcoming conference.  Be an active listener, an active participant and you will have the best kind of conference.  One that helps you to see where your child is developmentally and to learn how you can help him/her to progress to the next levels of achievement.

Great Questions to ask at Your Parent Teacher Conference

  1. Is my child developing as he should for his age?
    2.  What can we do at home to reinforce skills learned at school?

    1. What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
    2. How can we develop our child’s weak areas?
    3. Does my child participate in group activities?
    4. What is he like in class?
    5. Is he/she taking an active interest in learning?
    6. How does my child interact with the other children?
    7. Is my child on track for mastering the skills needed to complete Kindergarten, or First Grade?

Children are more likely to succeed in school if they know that their parents and teachers are working together cooperatively

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parent Teacher Conferences, Parents


Bedtime should be bedtime no matter what


5 and 6 year old children need sleep, and lots of it.  In order to be prepared for school, school work, after school sports, homework etc, children need a very good night’s sleep.  Most parents are usually mindful of this during the school week but when the weekend arrives, bedtimes are often relaxed.  Parents want to catch up on spending time with their children, night time activities run later on Friday and Saturday nights and bedtime for Kindergartners and First Graders is often later than normal.  This all seems like a good idea until Monday morning arrives and you try to get your child up and ready for school.  If bedtimes over the weekend were different than school night bedtimes, chances are on Monday you will be faced with a sleepy, groggy, and perhaps grouchy child who does not want to get up and get moving.  This tiredness carries over into the school day and for many children Mondays are an extreme challenge just to stay awake.  Do yourself, your child, and your child’s teacher a favor and be sure that your child goes to bed at the same time 7 nights a week.  Everyone, but most importantly your child will benefit from a nightly routine that includes going to bed at the same time each and EVERY night.

Reposted from 2009

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents

Counting One by One

When most parents think of the readiness skills needed for Kindergarten, they immediately think of reading readiness skills.  Well that is only the half of it.  Let’s not forget about math skills.  Many children arrive in Kindergarten and are very proud of their counting skills.  Children love to be able to say “I can count to 100!”  Now most cannot do this, but they think they can.  The beginning of Kindergarten usually teaches and reinforces counting and recognizing numbers.  Kindergarten teachers want parents to know that just because your child can count by memory; it does not mean he/she can count accurately when actually counting items.  We call this one to one counting and it needs to be practiced each and every day.  Just grab a handful of cereal, coins, small toys and let the counting begin. Ask your child to count the items for you and watch carefully to be sure that each item is only counted one time and not repeated in the counting process.  Your child must touch one object for each number that is counted aloud.   Most 5 year old children get stuck when they get to 14 or 15. Counting and coordinating with the hand movement is tricky but improves with practice.  When your child gets stuck, give him/her the correct number and then ask them to count again. This process takes lots of practice but in order to be able to count accurately children must have the opportunities to practice.

Reposted from 2009

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Math

Write Every Day


  1. Your child should be writing every chance that he/she gets.  Put a pencil, crayon, marker or paintbrush in your child’s hand and let them explore the writing process.  Knowing how to write your thoughts down on paper takes many, many weeks, months and years to practice.  Many incoming Kindergarten and first grade children know their letters and sounds but they are hesitant to use them when writing for fear of making mistakes.  Encourage your child to try and write the first sound that they hear in any sound.  If they want to write Mom, have your child sound out the first sound, M.  If your child wants to write pumpkin, have your child sound out the first sound, P, etc. If you have a reluctant writer, a child who won’t even give writing a try, then have him/her write the alphabet letters for practice just to be able to put letters down on paper.  Writing begins with baby steps and that’s where we are in Kindergarten and even at the beginning of first grade, learning our baby steps of writing.  Please have paper available for your child along with writing tools such as pencils and markers.  If you are headed to the grocery store, have your child ‘write’ down your list.  If you are preparing dinner, have your child ‘write’ down what you need from the cabinet before you can prepare your meal.  Young children will write when they have a purpose, but often will not, when they are presented with a sheet of paper, a pencil and an order to ‘write’.  Help get them started and then watch out, your child’s writing will really take off.

Re-posted from 2009

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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Parents, Writing

Children Should Be Expected To Say Thank You

When my daughter was 24 years old she said to me ‘I have one complaint about how you and Dad raised me’.  Oh, boy, I thought, what is coming next? She said ‘you taught us how to say thank you’ and that is the problem.  Still not quite understanding her, she went on to explain that when you are raised to say thank you at all times, you always expect the same courtesy from others at all times.. and it doesn’t always happen and it can be very disappointing lesson in human behavior.  How true!  Not only are 5 and 6 year olds negligent about saying thank you, grown-ups can be guilty as well.  Very few, if any of the Kindergartners or first graders that I have taught say ‘thank you’ when I hand them a paper, give them a sticker, give them a compliment or say anything that should be answered with the words thank you.  5 and 6 year olds can write thank you notes for gifts, even if it means that mom and dad write most of it and that they sound out what they can.  Children should be taught to say thank you when something is given to them, when someone hands them something, when someone stoops to pick up something that he/she has dropped, when someone moves out of your way to let you by, when someone says “bless you” after a sneeze…the list could go on and on.  Please demand that your child show you courtesy and respect by using the words thank you as often as possible and then perhaps that learned social skill will carry over to the classroom with teachers and classmates deserve the same respect.

Re-posted from 2009

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Filed under Behavior, First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents

Discipline At Home

Young children crave and need routines in their lives.  It makes them feel safe when they know what to expect not only at school but at home as well.  One of the routines that often fall by the wayside in homes is discipline.  Discipline being teaching your child about right and wrong and what you will and won’t accept from their behavior.  By discipline I do not mean physically hurting your child to get them to do what you want but, teaching appropriate and acceptable behaviors. Year after year, and this year is no different, there will always be some children who test the teacher at every possible turn.  More often than not, these children also test their parents and win!  This ‘winning situation’ is seen as power by 5 and 6 year olds and they don’t understand why it doesn’t work at school. Some children learn at home that if they push and push and push the adults, eventually the adults will be too tired/frustrated/worn out and will just give in.  Sound familiar?  Parents will say to me at conferences in November, how do you do it?  They won’t listen to me and I don’t know what to do.  Parents, you MUST get a handle on your 5 and 6 year olds’ behavior, it takes work, just like it takes lots of work for me at school to get 25 children a day to follow and obey ALL of my class behavior rules.  We work day after day after day on the same issues and by mid October MOST of the children understand them and then we are able to pick up the pace on academic learning. Who doesn’t get it?  Who is a repeat visitor to the time out table?  Almost always a child who exhibits the same oppositional behaviors at home but the consistency needed from the adults to correct the behaviors hasn’t been given.  I often hear, ‘this doesn’t happen at home’ or ‘this didn’t happen in preschool.’ Children are very smart and learn quickly what they can and cannot get away with and who they can get away with it from. They also learn quickly which adults will take the time to correct their behaviors and which adults will let them slide and not address them at all.  The time to regain control is now, middle school and high school come sooner than you can believe and I can assure you that if you cannot parent your child at 5 and 6, you will need lots more than luck when they are a teenager.


Filed under Behavior, First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents