Ms. LaTocha’s Kindergarten

June 14, 2019

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Our class had fun these last few weeks of school.  We attended several assemblies, made memory books, and took extra recesses to enjoy the sunshine!  The students shared kind words with each other and wished everyone a nice Summer Break.

On the last day of school we had a graduation surprise waiting on our desks (thank you fabulous room parents)!  In the morning we had our last assembly to celebrate our accomplishments as a school.  Students also made cards for friends.  In the afternoon we had Popsicles, a dance party, and a good-bye circle.

If you are around FPE this summer, please feel free to water our radishes and strawberries.   Also know that you are free to eat them!

This has been a memorable year for me as a teacher due to all of your kindness and support as a parent community, and the happiness that your children brought to me each school day!  I have enjoyed watching your children grow so much this school year.  I wish you all a very safe and relaxing summer break.  I look forward to seeing you next school year.


Ms. LaTocha


May 3, 2019

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We have been enjoying the sunshine lately at school!  We have also been lucky enough to follow the journey of some robins very closely.  A couple of robins decided to build their nest on my back porch.  I decided to set up a webcam so that we could study the birds at school!  We have followed the robins as they built their nest, laid their clutch of eggs, and now to the birth of the hatchlings.  We have made many science observations via webcam and photos, and observed their habits on a daily basis.  Our class has also read non-fiction texts about robins, which ties in very nicely with our literacy curriculum and avid non-fiction readers.  Recently, we have been watching the mother and father bird feed the hatchlings.

We also completed our fish unit, comparing and contrasting goldfish and guppies.  Students are now learning all about earthworms!  Students have had the opportunity to hold the worms (if they chose to), and look at them closely with a magnifying glass.  They have also learned about Earthworm’s body parts and habits.  We are looking forward to tying our science studies into our literary study of books by Doreen Cronin as we head to the theatre to see Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly! Next week!

On Monday, we will have our final visit from Friends of Trees.  We will walk through the forest behind FPE and learn about the wooded habitat and it’s inhabitants.

This month in literacy we will continue with our units of study from April, as outlined in last month’s newsletter.  As for math, students will be working on frog picture problems.  They will focus on the following skills:  interpreting visual information, counting quantities to 10, reading and writing numerals, exploring basic operations, learning to represent one’s thinking with pictures and numbers, and sharing strategies and solutions with peers.

Our class is looking forward to our in-school field trip with Portland Fire & Rescue, Station 27 on May 24th.  I hope to see you for curriculum night on May 29th!


Ms. LaTocha

Kindergarten News

April 2019

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Happy April!  It is hard to believe we are already wrapping up third quarter and heading into the end of the school year.  I have been finishing up my assessments and working on report cards.  It is nice to reflect on the gains that individual students have made since September.

Here is what we will be working on in the month of April:


We will be concluding Unit 3:  Bigger Books, Bigger Muscles, and heading into our final unit of study, Unit 4:  Becoming Avid Readers.  In this final unit students learn what it is to be an avid reader.  Students will learn and practice all of the skills that avid readers use such as reacting to books, thinking about books, staying on track, close reading, and book-based pretending.  Students will then transition into learning from all-about books.  Students will practice being avid non-fiction readers.  This unit ends with a focus on poetry and will extend through the month of May as well.


In writing we will conclude our letter writing/opinion unit with a focus on Earth Day.  Then we will transition into our final unit of study, How-to Writing.  In this final unit students will learn to make how-to books, step by step.  Readers will see if they can follow the step-by-step directions, or if writers need to edit for clarification.  We will look at mentor texts for inspiration.  This unit continues through the month of May.


Our calendar pattern for the month of April focuses on units of measurement (time, weight, temperature, and length).  Children will continue to practice solving math story problems.  Additionally, students will practice a series of new math workplaces with a focus on the following skills:  estimating length, measuring length with nonstandard units, counting quantities of 30 and beyond, recording and comparing results, comparing sets (more, less, or equal), recognizing coins by name and value, trading 10 pennies for a dime, writing numbers 0-20, exploring number patters, counting by 2s, counting using 1:1 correspondence, reading symbols for addition and subtraction, and verbally describing mathematical relationships involving addition and subtraction situations.



Nature/Change & Grow

Seeds, plants, soil

Earth Day

Healthy eating


Happy Spring!

~ Ms. LaTocha



March News!

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Thank you to all of the parents who offered their time or donated items for our Valentine’s Day celebration and our 100th day of school!  We are happy to welcome the month of March.  I am pleased to announce that we will begin another art residency that will run the length of the week of March 18th!  Students will learn a folktale, audition for parts in the performance, and make puppets.  Finally, students will perform in our classroom on Friday, March 22nd, at 10:00 a.m.  We hope to see you there!  This artist residency will be our literacy curriculum for the week.

With all of the snow days, late openings, and class celebrations lately, the children seem to be a bit more off-task than usual.  I have had to spend a lot of time and energy redirecting children during learning times.  It is that time in the school year where the classroom expectations are clearly defined and learned.  I would appreciate your support in speaking with your children at home to reinforce these expectations.  You might ask your child what they can do to support the teacher when she is teaching and students when they are learning.

*Reminder:  Please send your child with a water bottle and snack each day.

Here is what we will be working on this month:


  • We are continuing our work in Unit 3: Bigger Books, Bigger Reading Muscles!  Students are working on reading more challenging books.  All students have a new set of books in their reading bags.  Students also spend time practicing their phonics skills using LEXIA during the week.  Students have begun to read books through MyOn, an online reading library.  As a reminder, we continue to work on the following skills:

In this unit there is a focus on understanding patterns to help read through the pages.  Students will also be using their letter-sound knowledge to help them read.  We will focus on such things as consonant clusters, ending sounds, and previewing a page to look for sight words.  We will begin to tackle inflected endings, making predictions, and bringing books to life when we read.


  • Writers have been working on doing their best work by sounding out their words, using spaces, and knowing when to use upper and lowercase letters.  Students are also working on printing neatly with spaces between their words.  Our primary focus recently has been on punctuation, story language words, and writing at least three sentences.  This work has been narrative based with a focus on beginning, middle, and endings to stories.  This was time well spent and I believe you will be pleased to see the gains your children have made!
  • We got a late start on our unit, Persuasive Writing of All Kinds, as we slowed down the pace to focus on some necessary skills.  In this unit our focus will be on letter writing and opinion writing.  Students will begin with a focus on opinion writing.  The focus will be on writing to make the school a better place.  We will then focus on writing letters to make change.  Students will practice knowing just what to say to the right audience.  Finally, the unit ends with a focus on persuasive writing.


  • Students continue to work on their sea creature picture problems. This month our calendar pattern provides opportunity for students to identify pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters by name and worth.  Students will learn how to participate in new math work places this month.  Along the way they will practice the following skills:  reading numbers from 10-20, counting groups of 10s and 1s, using a variety of strategies to solve story problems, addition/subtraction, using 1:1 correspondence to count and compare groups of objects, identifying the ordinal positions of objects, observing likenesses and differences, reasoning and communicating, and sorting.


  • Puppet Art Residency
  • Patrick’s Day
  • Our goldfish have arrived! From now until Spring Break our class will be learning all about goldfish through observation and inquiry!
  • Science Spin: Children will identify animals and plants that can be found in soil.
  • Let’s Find Out: In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

Children analyze a weather metaphor to identify different types of weather.

  • Let’s Find Out: When a Rainbow Shines

Children will examine how rainbows form and identify the colors of the rainbow.

  • Let’s Find Out: Have You Seen That Habitat?

Children will identify various habitats and the animals that live in them.


Ms. LaTocha


Kindergarten February Newsletter

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Happy February!  We are looking forward to another fun month in kindergarten.  Please read on to learn about what we will be working on this month.


  • This month we will begin a new reading unit entitled, Bigger Books, Bigger Reading Muscles.  In this unit children will begin to tackle more challenging books.  In this unit there is a focus on understanding patterns to help read through the pages.  Students will also be using their letter-sound knowledge to help them read. We will focus on such things as consonant clusters, ending sounds, and previewing a page to look for sight words.  We will begin to tackle inflected endings, making predictions, and bringing books to life when we read.
  • When DECODABLE READERS (paper books) come home, please have your child read them to you until your child sounds fluent.  Thank you!


  • In writing the children are focusing on transitioning to using mostly lowercase letters in their writing.  Students should also begin to experiment with punctuation at this point in the school year. If your child does not yet write their name with the proper upper and lowercase letters, please practice at home.
  • In February we will start a new unit, Persuasive Writing of All Kinds.  In this unit our focus will be on letter writing and opinion writing.  Students will begin with a focus on opinion writing. The focus will be on writing to make the school a better place.  We will then focus on writing letters to make change. Students will practice knowing just what to say to the right audience.  Finally, the unit ends with a focus on persuasive writing. This unit will continue through the end of March.


  • Our February calendar focuses on 3-D shapes (sphere, cylinder, cone, cube).
  • Students will be introduced to several new math work places with a focus on money.  Students will also make sea creature story problems involving addition within 10. Students will then work to solve each-other’s story problems.  This is really fun for the children.
  • Here are the skills we will focus on:  recognizing coins by name and value, counting quantities to 20, exploring counting strategies, comparing quantities, recognizing and counting quantities between 10 and 20, reading and writing numbers from 10-20

Science/Social Studies

  • Teeth are beginning to fall out everyday around here.  We are going to look at why that happens and how we feel about it.
  • Groundhogs.  They get an entire day on the calendar, what are they?  We will find out!
  • We’ve gone through a lot of pencils so far this year, we are going to learn how they are made.
  • In the spirit of Valentines, we are going to examine the nurturing side of animals.  
  • Who was Abe Lincoln?  With President’s Day coming up, we are going to learn about this historical person.
  • Lunar New Year (read alouds, crafts)
  • Valentine’s Day


  • Please do not use Lexia at home.  This is a tool designed to be used at school only and if a student progresses through it too quickly, it is not a useful tool to supplement what we learn at school.  MyOn is the reading app that we would like to encourage your child to visit at home. Here is a link to all of the books available on this site:


  • Please send your child with a water bottle and snack each day.

Important Dates:

  • February 5th: Lunar New Year
  • February 14: Valentine’s Day and Class Parties
  • February 18th: No School, President’s Day
  • February 19th:  The 100th Day of School!  


Your Kindergarten Teachers

Deborah Crews:

Koren LaTocha:

Sam Etchison:


Kindergarten January Newsletter

Dear Kindergarten Families,

January is a time for assessing all that we’ve learned so far this year.  We have a day off on January 22 when we will be working on your child’s first report card.


In reading, we will be finishing Unit 2 in our Lucy Calkins curriculum, Super Powers, reading with print strategies and sight word power.  We will continue to focus on having the students point to the word they are reading to help with tracking.  Students will be reminded of letter sounds through the use of their sound charts. Kindergarteners will continue to work with their reading partners to sound out words, or check for understanding.  We will focus on using strong reading voices to bring characters to life. Students will be reminded that punctuation helps the reader to figure out how to read.  Finally, students will talk about books they have read, and retell stories.

Students are excited to participate in our art residency with the NW Children’s Theatre.  Students will learn about acting and retell a class favorite for your viewing enjoyment. See you Friday!


During Writer’s Workshop we will continue to focus on sounding out words the best we can using Kid Writing.  Students will spell their sight words correctly. In January we continue our work with handwriting, taking special care in noticing posture, pencil grip and paper placement.  Students are learning that when they leave spaces between their words, it makes their reading more legible. Kindergarteners will work together with partners to make their writing more readable.  We will also use pictures to make our stories better. As students write they will work on writing amazing story beginnings, and work with partners to answer reading questions.


Here are the skills we will focus on in the month of January:

*counting by 2’s

*adding 1 more

*observing and describing likenesses and differences

*identifying pennies by their name and value

*counting with 1:1 correspondence

*comparing sets (more, less, or equal)

*adding and subtracting

*recognizing quantities relative to 5’s and 10’s

*reading numerals

*interpreting mathematical observations

*searching for number patterns

*describing shapes by their attributes

*sharing strategies

*using positional language

*reading, writing, and understanding numbers to 20

Science/Social Studies

  • January’s Word of the Month is: EMPATHY. We will be working with the students on how to look at things from another person’s perspective.  We will also be talking a bit about Martin Luther King at the end of the month as an introduction to February being Black History Month.
  • Science Concepts: Push/Pull, Snow, Germs, Penguins.  
  • We continue to learn about the weather through the seasons.

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Jan. 11 – Kinder Play/Performance in your child’s classroom:
      • La Tocha at 9:30-9:45
      • Crews at 9:00-9:10
      • Wade/Etchison at 9:15-9:25
  • Jan. 21 – No School: Martin Luther King Day
  • Jan. 22 – No School: Teacher Planning/Grading Day
  • Jan. 24 – 6:30 p.m. Kindergarten Round-Up for next year’s Kinders


“Dear Parents and Families,

In order to ensure safety and maintain an inclusive learning environment for all our students, PPS is asking all parent volunteers to complete a Volunteer Training.  Join Principal Newlyn January 1/10 @ 6pm and 1/11 @ 8:30am to learn about Child Abuse Prevention and Adult Sexual Misconduct reporting, as well as maintaining a confidential workspace for students.  We’ll also go over FPE Work Room essentials.

Thanks so much,

Lisa Newlyn, Principal”


Your Kindergarten Teachers

Deborah Crews:

Koren LaTocha:

Sam Etchison:


Kindergarten December Newsletter

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Thank you for all of the hot cocoa kit donations coming in to school.  Again, please know that kindergarten classes are working toward a goal of 150 kits.  Of course you are welcome to make donations of other food items, but our kindergarten focus is to reach our hot cocoa kit goal.  We would like to have enough kits to place one in each of the 150 food boxes. We have a long way to go in order to reach our goal.  Please let your child’s teacher know if you are available to assemble hot cocoa kits on December 7th at 9:30!


  • During the month of December, we will be taking a break from the Lucy Calkins literacy curriculum to study various versions of the story The Gingerbread Man.  We will compare and contrast different versions of the story.  We will also be reading other fairy tale classics. Along the way, students will learn about the basic elements of a story.  
  • When you see a paper “decodable reader” book come home, please have your child read it to you until they can do so fluently.  These are good practice for the reading skills we are learning at school.
  • Technology information went home during parent/teacher conferences, but as a reminder, please do not do Lexia at home.  This program is being done at school and will generate lessons for the teacher as your student moves along independently. It’s important that we teach those lessons before the children forge ahead, possibly leaving gaps in their reading skills work. MyON and IXL are the programs we want you to use at home.  There are over 1,000 books in MyON online for your child to interact with!


  • In December, students will build upon previous work and use their reading powers to edit their work with a reading partner to make their writing more readable.  
  • Students will complete writing activities related to their literacy work and The Gingerbread Man.  
  • We will also continue working on narrative writing and adding details and adjectives to our stories and descriptions.


  • As we continue to move forward in mathematical concepts, we would like to take this time to remind you of what can be done at home to help your child develop strong math skills.  Playing board games at home as a family can greatly improve your child’s one-to-one correspondence. One-to-one correspondence is important because it is a precursor for almost all mathematical concepts. Simply put, without well developed one-to-one correspondence skills, young children will struggle with basic math concepts.  
  • Check out our mathematical counting strategies on our Hot Cocoa Kit bulletin board!  We have been visiting it daily to count by 5’s, 10’s, and 1’s using both ten frames and tally marks.  It is a great practical math experience for the students and they love visiting the bulletin board each day.
  • We continue working on graphing and patterns.  November’s calendar pattern focused on directional differences (to the left, to the right, right-side up, upside-down).  December’s pattern will continue to deepen this concept, by adding: inside, outside, in-front of, behind, to the side. When making observations in the world, ask your child to describe the position of things. “Is it to the right? Is it above? Etc.”

Science/Social Studies

  • December’s Word of the Month is: INCLUSIVE
  • Students will learn about various winter holidays such as Kwanza, Christmas, and Hanukkah.  
  • We are working on habitats, hibernation, and animals in the winter. We will also touch on electricity and how lights work.  Over winter break, feel free to observe animals outside during winter, perhaps birds feeding at a feeder or squirrels gathering nuts.

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Dec. 7th – Snowflake Winter Dance (Fundraiser for Lincoln H.S. Club)
  • Dec. 7th – Hot Cocoa Kit Volunteer Project 9:30 a.m.
  • Dec 14th – Winter Break classroom celebration.  We will be watching a short film, eating popcorn, and drinking cider!  * If you would like to contribute popcorn, plates, or cider to your child’s classroom, please let your child’s teacher know.  Thank you!
  • Dec. 17 – Jan. 1: Winter Break – no school


  • CLASS PHOTOS were sent home.  If you are missing a class photo, please email your teacher asap.


Your Kindergarten Teachers

Deborah Crews:

Koren LaTocha:

Laura Sandgren:

Kindergarten November Newsletter


We are beginning a new unit in our reading curriculum. We are going to focus on using our super powers to look and point and then read everything. Our students can already do so much! There are many things in our world that they can already read– names, labels, signs and words from our favorite books that we know by heart. We are working on pointing at words when we read them, using our reading partners to help us be better readers and rereading books to build comprehension and fluency. We are moving into conventional reading where we match our reading voices with the print, trying to make the word they say match the letters they see. New super powers are on the way!  


In writing kindergarteners will continue with narrative writing.  We will launch our second unit of study, Writing for Readers. Students will use pictures and words to express ideas about themselves.  Students will reread their own ‘story’ (pictures, words, letters, scribbles, etc.). The kindergarteners will also use phonemic awareness and the alphabetic principle to write (including using resources such as word wall, picture/sound cards, family word chart, etc.).  

Here is how we do it:  First, students think about what they want to say.  Then, they make letters for the sounds in the word. We call this “kid writing”.  Children spell their sight words the “adult” way. Then the teacher writes “the adult” way below the “kid writing”.  This helps build independence and confidence, which in turn, motivates the students to write!


Some of the math we are working on this month includes:

Comparing sets (more than, less than, equal)

Counting by 2’s


Counting forwards and backwards by 1’s

Exploring number operations

Ordinal Positions

Compose and decompose numbers from 2 to 10

Observing, describing, and creating patterns

Counting with 1-to-1 correspondence

Calendar Math:  In November we will continue to chart the weather each day.  We will continue to track how many days we have been in school this year, and practice counting by 5’s and 10’s.  Our calendar pattern focuses on the use of directional words and making predictions about the pattern (up, down, to the right, to the left).  

Math concepts spiral and we will see them again throughout the year, but at a deeper level.

Science/Social Studies

In November students will learn about Thanksgiving and being thankful.  We will also focus on needs vs. wants. In science we will continue our study of trees with a fall focus.  We will be looking closely a variety of leaves and the fall foliage.

Upcoming Important Dates

November 12: No school

November 19 & 20: Parent/Teacher Conferences

November 19-23 Thanksgiving Break (no school)


Your Kindergarten Teachers

Deborah Crews:

Koren LaTocha:

Laura Sandgren:



Kindergarten Team Monthly Newsletter – Coming Next Month!

Dear Kindergarten Families,

The first of what will be regularly scheduled monthly kindergarten newsletters will be sent home to you by all three kinder teachers as a team beginning next month.  We work as a team to plan, prep and reflect on our teaching practices and wanted to combine our efforts to let you know what’s happening in all of our kinder classes!

Meanwhile, here are some updates for our class:

  • We enjoyed learning all about our Star Students, Colbie and Edoardo! Happy birthday to Lotta (10/16) and Ellie (10/23)!
  • Our first FIELDTRIP to the PUMPKIN PATCH went very well!  Everyone was on their best behavior and the students had a fun time learning about the farm and pumpkins.  Thank you to all of our chaperones!
  • Class Harvest Parties are happening on October 31st.  Thank you to our room parents for organizing this culminating event for our children.
  • Monday, October 29th is a teacher planning day.  That means no school for the students. November 12th is also a no-school day.
  • Conferences are November 19th & 20th. Be sure you know your time and day to meet with your teacher.
  • Thank you too for all the wonderful books donated to all the kindergarten classrooms during the book fair!  The teachers appreciate it so much!

Have a great long weekend!

~ Ms. L


October 11, 2018

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It has been a short, yet enjoyable week in kindergarten!  We had fun learning all about our Star Student, Claudia, this week!  Thank you Nicola (Claudia’s mom) for the fun read aloud!  We had a special visit from Katherine, of Friends of Trees this week!  Children learned about the difference between coniferous trees and broad leafed trees.   Mid-year she will return to make paper with our class.  At the end of the school year we will take a walking field trip in the forest behind FPE.

If you have any extra plastic grocery bags, please send them my way.  We will need one for each student on our upcoming field trip!

Here is what we worked on this week:


  • Readers reread old favorites, remembering to say more of the story
  • Twinkle, Twinkle
  • Visit to the Scholastic Book fair:  Students brought their wish lists home today.
  • Read Alouds: The Word Collector, The Biggest Apple, Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff: Students made stick puppets and a set to retell the story.  It was so cute and they did such an awesome job meeting with friends and telling the story on the carpet.  Please ask your child to tell the story using their props at home.  I think you will be very impressed!
  • Sight words:  the, I , am, little, to (practice & review)


  • Making stories
  • Stretching out sounds
  • Using sound charts
  • Looks like, sounds like, feels like…


  • Numeral Writing
  • Assessments
  • Math Work Places (counting, ten frames, patterns, predicting, shapes, symmetry)
  • Calendar Math


  • Friends of Trees
  • Choice Time (The children definitely earned it this week! Wednesday and Thursday were our best days so far this school year!)
  • Scholastic Reader: School Rules

Enjoy the extra day!

October 5, 2018

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Happy Friday!  Today you will find a blue paper in your child’s purple folder with information regarding our upcoming field trip to Plumper Pumpkin Patch.   I will need 5 chaperones for the field trip.  If you are interested, please return the bottom part of the blue paper in your child’s purple folder next week.  In addition, please make sure that your background check is current if you are going to volunteer in the classroom or on a field trip this school year.  The background check is good for three years.

I would like to share parent contact information amongst our class to make it easier for families to connect.  I would like your permission first.  Please let me know if you would/would not like me to share your contact information.  Thank you!

We will be having our second annual International Festival on Friday, February 1st.  Each grade level will be focusing on a specific country for this event.  This year the kindergarten classes will be learning about Italy.  Dr. Bob (our music teacher) is looking for some parent volunteers, especially those with a connection to the Italian culture, to volunteer for this event.  If you are interested, please reach out to Dr. Bob.

Star Students:  Annie & Braylin

Here is what we have been working on in kindergarten:


  • Read the World books (non-fiction)
  • Sight words: the, little, to
  • Independent & Partner reading
  • Cleaning out book bags and adding new books
  • Decodable Reader: The Little Toys
  • So Long Summer booklet
  • Room on the Broom (Thank you for the awesome read aloud Braylin and mom Sheryl, complete with props!)
  • Mini-lesson: We make the words and pictures match


  • “Our Favorite Foods” book – Interactive Writing
  • Be Safe class book
  • Stretching sounds
  • Partner share
  • Writer’s Workshop looks like…, sounds like…, feels like…
  • Making a list of topics to write about
  • Noah’s birthday book
  • Handwriting (frog jump capitals continued)


  • Our class quilt (hanging outside the classroom)
  • Math Workplaces (shapes, counting, sorting, patterns, predictions)
  • Calendar Math
  • Numeral Writing
  • Math assessment


  • Read Alouds: Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun, What Does it Mean to Be Present?
  • Lockdown drill
  • Read Aloud: I Spy Shapes in Art
  • Making shape art
  • October take-home calendar


September 21, 2019

Dear Kindergarten Families,

I hope you are able to attend the kindergarten picnic this evening to celebrate 20 years at Forest Park Elementary!  Unfortunately I will not be able to attend, as I will be picking my children up from their daycare in Beaverton.  I would also like to remind you that the New Parent Social will be held on September 29th at 7:00 pm.  Only a few families have RSVP’d, and they would like to encourage more people to attend.

Thank you:  Elena Foley (Stella), and Sheila Scrobogna (Luca), for volunteering to be our room parents this year!

Please let your child know that we will welcome a new student, Angel , to our class next week.  It might be good to discuss how they can make a new student feel comfortable in our classroom and at a new school.

Here are some ways you can help me with class management:

  • Please do not send your child to school with extra hair elastics or jewelry as it has been very distracting during learning times at the carpet.
  • Please send your child with a water bottle each day so they won’t need to leave the classroom frequently for water. We can keep the water bottles at school and send them home to be washed on Fridays.
  • Please try to send your child with everything they need for school in the morning. If they forget their water bottle, they can use the water in the hallway.  If they forget their lunch, they can eat school lunch.  It can be disruptive to receive a call from the office when I am teaching.  I need to stop my lesson to answer the phone.  When this occurs the students lose their focus on learning.
  • Homework was sent home with each family at BTSN. You may not recognize it as homework as there is a cover letter explaining the homework expectations.  Many students reported that they had not started their September homework.
  • Some children have been peaking under bathroom stalls at other children when they use the restroom. I have talked to individual students when this occurs.  Please talk to your children at home about respecting the privacy of others.

Thank you for helping us to have successful  school days focused on learning with minimal distractions!

Here is what we have been working on this week:


Read Alouds:  Skippyjon Jones, Caps for Sale

*Mini-Lesson:  Readers Reread to Rethink

*Mini-lesson:  Rereadings Helps Readers Learn from Words, Too

*Mini-lesson:  Readers Can Read Stories They Have Heard a Zillion Times (ask your child to tell you the story of Three Billy Goats Gruff)

*Students practices “sounding like a teacher” when they read.

*Word Sort:  animals/not animals

*Decodable Reader:  Am I?

*Sight words:  am, I, a, the

*Independent Reading, Partner Reading, Conferring with the teacher, daily phonics instruction

We read the story Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten.  We talked about characters in a story and then students illustrated their favorite character.


*We made birthday books for Parker and Lukas this week.  Happy birthday!

*I had an OT visit our classroom from the district this week.  If you hear your children talk about how Ms. LaTocha was breaking all the crayons, it is true!  Our OT recommended breaking the crayons as it forces the children to hold their crayons with a proper grip.  I will reintroduce regular sized crayons later in the school year.

*Stretching out sounds

*We started interactive writing this week.  One child holds the pen to work on a group writing project using adult writing.  The rest of the class sits with a pencil and clipboard at the carpet area.  Students take turns holding the pen to write the adult way.  This is a time where we do correct our mistakes and it is different than our “Kid Writing”.  We are making a class book about our favorite foods.  This integrates well with our reading instruction as we make a “Learn about the world” reading connection.

*Students started their Handwriting Without Tears curriculum this week.  We talked and sang about starting our letters at the top.  We also talked and sang about Frog Jump Capitals.  We practiced writing the uppercase F and E.


*Numeral writing

*Matching numerals with groups of objects of the same number.


*Calendar math

*We worked on a fun math project this week.  We read the books The Shape of Things, and Shapes of Things to Come.  Students used their imagination to add details to a shape and turn it into something more.  The project is hanging outside our classroom.


*STOPPS Drills – Students learned how to safely evacuate a school bus in case of an emergency.

*I invited our school counselor, Ms. Lizzie, to our classroom this week to talk about feelings.  Students practiced expressing how they are feeling in a healthy way.

*We talked about how to be safe at school.  Next week we will make a class book on this subject.

Read Aloud:  Germs Make Me Sick

We have been talking about how to stay healthy and not spread germs.  I am encouraging students not to pick their nose, but to get a tissue instead.  We talked about washing our hands frequently.  We also discussed how to sneeze into “our cave” so that we don’t spread germs.  The class talked about not putting hands or other objects, such as pencils, into our mouths.

*Choice time

Have a great weekend!

~ Ms. LaTocha

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Thank you for coming to BTSN on Thursday.  I had so much fun speaking with families and watching your children take pride in our classroom and school!  I am sorry that I missed some of you, as everyone seemed to visit all at once.  Please feel free to email me with any questions after you have read through the handouts.

Reminders:  If you would like to place a Scholastic book order, they are due by the end of the school day on Monday.  At that time I will place the orders.  Thank you!

If you haven’t signed up for parent-teacher conferences yet, the sign up is outside our classroom.  You can also email me and I can help you find a time.  Conferences are on November 19th and 20th from 8:00 a.m. to 7:20 p.m.  Ms. Newlyn has requested that we do not schedule conferences prior to our allotted days.  If you will be out of town then we can schedule a phone conference for one of the available times and I can send any paperwork home after the break.  If that won’t work for you, please send me an email and we can work something out.

Here is what we have been working on in class this week:


Word Sort:  Fruits/not fruits (guided discovery – scissors)

Sight words:  a, the

Read Alouds:  Chica Chica Boom Boom, Chrysanthemum, Three Little Kittens, Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Rocket Learned to Read

Students have been building stamina for reading this week.  We are practicing both private reading and partner reading.  During partner reading students are learning to sit side-by-side, put one book in the middle, see-saw read, share “wow” pages, and reread to learn more.


We made a birthday book for Braylin this week!

At Writer’s Workshop students continue to learn that when you’re done, you’ve just begun.  Students are working on adding more to their picture, to add to the words, reread their writing, or start a new story.

This week we made a class book about being respectful, and a book about being responsible.

Name writing


Calendar math (continued)

This week students focused on numerals to 10 in addition to math work places.  Students took pride in their counting books and looked forward to completing them each day!


Students continue to practice characteristics of a successful learner in the classroom.  I have already observed many gains in a short period of time.

School Photos

Here is a list of questions to help get more information about your child’s day.  I will also send home a paper copy next week.

Questions to ask your child…

Sample Questions to Find Out What Your Child Did Today in Kindergarten

Can you tell me about your work in your folder?

Did you do calendar today?
What was the date?
How many days have you been in school?
What story did you read?
Who was the main character?
Was the story fiction or non-fiction?

What did you read during private reading time?
Who did you read with during partner reading?
What did you learn from the pictures?
What did you learn from the words?
What words did you practice today?

Did you do a writing activity?
What did you write about?
Did you add details to your picture?
Did you change your words or add more words?
Did you start a new story?
What do you want to work on next time at Writer’s Workshop?
Did you share your writing with a friend?

Did you do GoNoodle today?
What did you do at recess?
Who did you play with?
Did you climb?
Did you run?

Who did you sit by at lunch?
What was your favorite thing to eat today?

What did you read at silent reading time?
What did you like about the book you read?

Did you do a math activity today?
Did you do a science activity?

What was your special today?
What was your favorite activity today?

Did you have choice time?
What did you choose?

How did you help a friend today?
How did you help the teacher?
What did you do that was respectful?
What did you do that was responsible?
What did you do that was safe?
What did you do that was kind?

What was your favorite thing about today?
How can you make it better tomorrow?

Good luck with some of these.  I hope they help!


Have a wonderful weekend!

~ Ms. LaTocha

September 7, 2018

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We are off to a good start in kindergarten!  Students have been spending time becoming acclimated with our building, our procedures, and building a respectful learning community in the classroom.  They have been practicing responding to a variety of listening signals.  The class is also practicing whole-body listening.  Students are learning to take turns talking, and to not interrupt teachers or other students when it is their turn to speak.  We have spent a lot of time talking about Kelso’s choices, and how to solve small problems independently and appropriately.  The class is also learning how to take materials out and put them away, to line up and walk quietly in the hallway, lunchroom procedures, and voice volumes and expectations for different learning activities.

Here is a glimpse of what else we have been up to in class:


Read Alouds: Fox Makes Friends, First Day Jitters, How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?, What Does It Mean To Be Kind?, The Night Before Kindergarten, I Am Truly, How Full Is Your Bucket?, and more!

We started Reading Workshop this week.  Students learned that they are already readers, and that we can read both pictures and words.  We took a walk around the school and read many signs and posters.  Students learned that we can look, we can read, we can think, and we can learn.  We compared story books vs. informational books.  We practiced independent reading expectations.  We practiced reading the sight words I and Am.


The class made birthday books for Luca and Katie!

We also started Writer’s Workshop this week.  Students wrote about what they wanted to learn in kindergarten this year.  The class learned that first we get an idea in our head, then we imagine it like a movie, and finally we draw pictures or write words to tell our story.  Kindergarteners learned that in kindergarten we use “Kid Writing”, except when we are writing a sight word that we have practiced, or a word that we know by heart.  The class talked about how everyone is a writer, and if we can’t find a sound to write a word then we can use a “magic line” so that we don’t get stuck.  Finally, we discussed how at Writer’s Workshop we say, “When you’re done, you’ve just begun!”  We can always add more details to our work to make it better, or start a new story.


Updated Specials:  Monday Technology and PE1, Tuesday Music, Wednesday PE1 and Mandarin, Thursday Library, Friday Music and PE2.

I hope you received our class calendar in your child’s purple folder this week.  BTSN is September 13th from 6:00-7:30.  The time has been changed to better accommodate families.  We have changed the format of BTSN this year.  Parents are encouraged to bring their children.  There won’t be a presentation, but there will be important information distributed at this time. This is a time for me to share general information about our kindergarten program and curriculum with parents.  It is not a time to ask questions about your individual child.  Please feel free to email me with questions specific to your child and I will be happy to get back to you.


Calendar Math: Weather, shapes, colors, days of the week, months in the year, birthdays and special events, counting the days we have been in school, weather report and graph, and counting how many children are in our class each day.

Math Workplace:  Introduction to math manipulatives and free exploration (pattern blocks, unifix cubes, polydrons, A Bucket of Frogs counting) and shape sorting.



*School Spirit Assembly

*Be Kind:  We talked about how to be kind at school and read some good books on the subject.  Students then made a class book.

*Choice Time

Have a great weekend!

~ Ms. LaTocha