Ms. Moore, Mrs. Porter & Mrs. Vacek
Mrs. Shehane - Teacher Assistant
Welcome to Kindergarten!
This will be an important and exciting year for you and your child. Your child will be involved in a wide variety of engaging learning experiences that will nurture academic and social development and unveil the POWER in ME. In AACPS, Differentiated Instruction is an initiative at all grade levels. Our classrooms are highly diverse, and teachers plan strategically in order to meet the needs of ALL learners. Your child’s instructional program will include the following elements:
i-Ready Diagnostic and Personalized Path:
This year, Kindergarten students will be assigned to their grade level i-Ready reading and math personalized learning games and activities. We ask that each student spend 10 minutes each day on reading and math i-Ready activities. To learn more about i-Ready, please go to www.aacps.org/iready.
AACPS embraces a balanced approach to literacy instruction at the elementary level; whole language and phonics instruction are both valued. A compilation of learning blocks work in tandem to address the variety of needs of developing readers and writers. These include:
• Foundational Literacy Skills: As part of our commitment to early literacy and in accordance with the requirements of new Maryland education law, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) is utilizing a screener to help identify students who are at risk for reading difficulties. A certified teacher will individually screen your child, in accordance with State law, for reading difficulties using the DIBELS 8th Edition assessment. The assessment will last no longer than 15 minutes. Schools will communicate the results of the screener directly to parents/guardians. We will use these results to help monitor and guide the development of your child’s early literacy and reading skills. Data from the early literacy skills screening is used to place students in the program that best meets their unique needs. AACPS uses two different foundational literacy skills programs: Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling and Word Study System and Wilson Fundations. Both programs provide instruction that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
o Foundational Literacy Skills- Wilson Fundations: Wilson Fundations uses a multisensory approach (using more than one sense at the same time) to teach beginning reading and spelling skills. Wilson Fundations teaches students to use sounds, letters, and words in reading and writing. Students receive direct instruction from the teacher in a whole or small group setting in order to learn new skills and practice previously taught skills.
o Foundational Literacy Skills-Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling and Word Study: Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling and Word Study System teaches students to use sounds, letters, and words in reading and writing. Students receive direct instruction from the teacher in a whole group setting in order to learn new skills and then work independently or in small groups to apply the skill.
• Literacy Centers: This student-centered time provides an opportunity for students to further investigate, and practice skills and concepts taught during other times of the day, including Foundational Literacy Skills, Interactive Read Aloud, Explicit Comprehension, Shared Reading, and Science and Social Studies.
• Shared Reading: Shared Reading is an interactive reading experience that helps build a community of readers. During Shared Reading, students read the book with the teacher. A variety of big books and poetry are used to engage students in repeated readings. As they read or reread the book, the teacher models reading, thinking and asking questions about the book to support the skills and strategies needed to become successful readers.
• Explicit Comprehension: Explicit Comprehension instruction provides students with skills and strategies they use to understand grade level texts. In Explicit Comprehension, students engage in a short lesson in which teachers model a new skill or strategy with a familiar book prior to giving students the opportunity to try it out with a partner or independently with a new book. Teachers check in with students during the independent time to monitor progress and assess students’ understanding of the lesson.
• Interactive Read Aloud: Interactive Read Aloud instruction provides students with a daily opportunity to interact with complex books. During Interactive Read Aloud, students meet in a common area to listen as the teacher reads aloud and shows how skilled readers read, think and talk about books. The teacher pauses as he or she reads to share his or her thinking with students and asks questions that prompt students to discuss the book and develop a deeper understanding of content and ideas.
• Writer’s Workshop: The Units of Study for Writing Curriculum is used to teach Writer’s Workshop. Writer’s Workshop provides student choice and ownership of writing. During Writer’s Workshop, students engage in a short lesson in which teachers model a new skill or strategy prior to giving students the opportunity to try it out in their independent writing. As students write independently, the teacher works with small groups of students or individual students to apply the skill or strategy to their own writing or provide feedback.
• Guided Reading: Guided Reading instruction provides students with an opportunity to read books at their reading level based upon the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System. Students meet in small groups to receive direct instruction from the teacher. After a brief introduction to the book, students read the book independently, whisper reading in the early grades and transition to silent reading. After students read the book, the teacher uses questions to engage them in a discussion of the book. This differentiated instructional time provides teachers an opportunity to target students’ precise strengths and needs as developing readers.
AACPS Kindergarten Mathematics program implements the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards and focuses on establishing and extending understanding related to number, quantity, addition, subtraction, geometry, and measurement. AACPS values creating a positive math culture in the classroom by inspiring success for all students through growth mindset and risk taking. Students will participate in both large and small group instruction that will support their new learning to real life situations. AACPS embraces opportunities to make math visible with the use of concrete manipulatives and representations to develop conceptual understanding. Math is a social experience as students engage in meaningful conversations with their peers.
AACPS strives to inspire students to see the beauty in math through games and real-world problem-solving. Students can practice mathematics at home including counting steps from the house to the playground, counting items while they clean their room, cooking with a family member and through basic play. It is important for students to continue their math learning at home using their Ready Common Core student instruction book and i-Ready My Path.
Science and Social Studies:
The Science and Social Studies learning block is designed to actively engage students in interdisciplinary applications and learning. Using the platform of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Social Studies C3 standards students develop questions and investigate inquiries as scientists, social scientists, environmentalists, engineers, and informed citizens. Throughout the learning block of Science and Social Studies, students are encouraged to observe, collect, and evaluate data and evidence to communicate conclusions and take informed action about topics being studied. Students are applying their classroom learning to real world scenarios and digging into how to make a difference in their communities. All lessons are designed to investigate, study, and answer a daily exploration question. Other MSDE standards/lessons being addressed within the Science and Social Studies block are: Health, Guidance, Counseling, Financial Literacy, Environmental Literacy and the MSDE Primary Talent Development Lessons.
Maryland Environmental Literacy Standards are integrated into curriculum through engaging units that connect students with their local natural world. Anne Arundel County Public Schools provides authentic environmental learning experiences for all kindergarten students which focus on how trees are essential to our environment.
Play is an essential part of the kindergarten day as it allows students to use their creativity while developing their imagination and critical thinking skills. Through play, prekindergarten students can apply new learning, ask questions, seek out new information, and discovery new ideas.
Additionally, Health, Art, Music, Physical Education, Library Media and Technology activities are incorporated in the kindergarten curriculum.