I had a parent e-mail me and ask me for some book recommendations. It is so hard to pick my faves, but here are a few books I can't live without.
I swear by the Pete the Cat series. The free songs are so catchy that my students BEG for them. James Dean recently added a new line of easy readers. My students LOVE those, too!
I also adore Mo Willems. Oh, my word! All of his books are absolutely hilarious! The Elephant and Piggie books are my favorite. I use them to teach my students about using picture clues for voice inflection. Elephant and Piggie have the most expressive faces, which makes reading the books so much fun!
The last author I cannot live without is Robert Munsch. If you have never read his books, you are missing out! I like to read We Share Everything the first week of school. The book pokes fun at how you need to share everything in kindergarten. My class and I laugh so hard.
Speaking of the first week of kindergarten...
I am so lucky to work at a school that is in high demand. We are a public school, but we have an accelerated curriculum (we teach kindergarten and first grade math in kindergarten), we have uniforms, and we have extremely high expectations. Now, don't judge us... we still have a TON of fun!
Last week, we had open enrollment for our school, which means that parents can wait in line to (hopefully) be called to enroll their child at our school. Open enrollment happened on Monday morning at 7:30, and we had a parent in line on Friday at 7:45 am. I felt like it was Black Friday again, and we had the best deal on a big screen TV. We had about ten people in line and an RV parked by the end of school on Friday. We were on two channels for the local news and a national radio station called to talk to our principal. Again, I am SO super lucky to work at my school.
We have kindergarten readiness testing in the spring, so we can see where our new kiddos are at, which allows us to make balanced classes. I am weird, and I love those two days. First of all, I'm not sure there is anything more cute than a little peanut that is a bit nervous at first, but after ten minutes is ready to tell you his life story, and his mom's age, his sister's favorite color, and how he ate waffles for breakfast. I love that age! Anyway, this testing allows us to see if there are gaps in the fundamentals needed to be successful in kindergarten. But what do kids need to know to be successful in kindergarten?!
This is where one of my favorite products comes into play. My team and I wracked our brains to think of the skills a child should have in order to be successful in kindergarten. Together, we have close to forty years of experience teaching kindergarten. We asked ourselves what skills and knowledge was necessary (in any kindergarten classroom... not just our accelerated classrooms) for a kindergartner to know when they begin the year.
At testing, we collect all parent e-mails and send them our "Getting Ready for Kindergarten" packet. This packet contains printables to work on shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and first sound. It also contains clickable links that take you to videos, printables, informative articles, and more. We used the packet for this year's kinders, and boy, were they ready for kindergarten! Our beginning of year DIBELS scores were higher than last year. In my opinion, the higher scores were due to the fact the kids knew how to say a first sound. I LOVE this pack!
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