Parents and Guardians
This guide provides an overview of what your child will be learning in Kindergarten. It is based on the Common Core Standards, the Massachusetts Frameworks, and the curricular approaches which have been adopted by the Somerville Public Schools. The detailed Massachusetts Frameworks are available at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/current.html
Academic standards are important. They ensure that all students, no matter where they start, are prepared for success in the next grade level, college and their careers. By defining standards clearly, we aim to help families and teachers work together to ensure that students succeed. There are some students who will need additional support to meet a standard. Other students will need more complex work to go beyond the standard. Teachers craft their day-to-day classroom instruction based on the standards, individual student needs, and the unique characters of their schools and community.
How can I support my child's learning at home?
- Talk to your child about what they are learning in school
- Contact your child's teacher with any questions or concerns and attend Parent Teacher Conferences
- Check your child's folder and/or agenda book every night
Somerville Public Schools uses the Balanced Literacy Approach to best address the needs of all students. This approach involved shared reading, mini-lessons about key reading skills, discussions, exposure to high-quality literature and non-fiction texts, and the reading of books at each student's own level. Somerville classrooms also use the Fundations curriculum in grades K-2 to build phonemic awareness and phonics skills.
Reading: During the year, Kindergarten students will be working on:
- Reading from top to bottom, left to right
- Pointing under a word as we read
- Recognizing words we have seen before
- Readers identify spacing between words
- Identifying uppercase and lowercase letters quickly and accurately
- Using multiple strategies to figure out unknown words (tapping, phonics skills, pictures, what might make sense)
- Making and checking predictions
- Identifying the character in the story along with what they do and how they feel
- Identifying the setting of the story
- Noticing the problem and solution in a story
- Retelling the story in order
- Retelling key facts in a non-fiction book
- Asking questions before, during, and after reading
- Making connections between a story and their lives
- Noticing how poems look different than other text
- Thinking about how poems make us feel
- Finding and sharing poems we love
- Making pictures in their brains as we read
- Noticing words that make us use our senses
- Participating in conversations and discussions while following rules (including listening to others and taking turns speaking)
Writing: Somerville's new writing model introduced in the Fall of 2013 emphasizes giving students many opportunities to write each day across subject areas. As they write during the year, students will be working on:
- Writing a title
- Writing on idea in one sentence
- Writing three sentences that go together (ex. beginning, middle, end; three steps)
- Sharing something we want to say by talking, drawing and writing
- Using details in drawing (later used for writing)
- Using interesting words in our writing (ex. big vs. huge)
- Writing the sounds we hear using the alphabet chart
- Leaving finger spacing between words
- Spelling high-frequency words from memory or using the word wall
- Writing on the top line, top to bottom, left to right
- Capitalizing the word "I"
We use the Thinking, Drawing, Writing program to help students learn to put their detailed thoughts on paper, as well as the Handwriting Without Tears program to help students learn to form their letters.
How can I support my child's literacy learning at home?
- Read to your child daily and discuss the books he/she is reading
- When your child shares an opinion or thought about a book, ask them why?
- Encourage your child to write by sending a thank you note or a letter to family or friends
Science, Technology, and Engineering
During the year, Kindergarten students will be learning to:
- Identify body parts
- Identify healthy foods and discuss the importance of a healthy diet
- Discuss the characteristics of rocks
- Name the four seasons and describe the changes in weather and changes in animals during different seasons
- Tell living from non-living things
- Match animals with their offspring
- Sort and classify pictures of plants and animals
- Use the 5 senses to describe and identify objects
- Identify and sort objects as solid or liquid
- Explain that the sun provides both heat and light energy
- Describe the phases of the moon
- Design and build a model with wooden blocks
During the year, Kindergarten students will be learning about:
- Appropriate school behavior
- Respect for peers teacher, community workers/authorities classroom property, school property, environment, national symbols
- Respect the cultural diversity of people in their community (including family customs and celebrations)
- How to handle disagreement and conflict in acceptable ways
- How to construct and describe simple maps of their environment using location words (including neighborhood landmarks)
- The roles of community helpers (including fire safety, personal safety) as well as different kinds of jobs in their home and community
- Uses of money (buying, selling)
- United States national holidays (Columbus Day, Independence Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents' Day, and Thanksgiving)
- Important United States symbols (United States flag, Pledge of Allegiance, current president, National Anthem melody)
The Somerville Public Schools are committed to maintaining a safe and secure learning environment in order to maximize student learning. To this end, the District strives to support students in developing the knowledge, skills, and attitude needed to:
- Effectively communicate thier needs interests and opinions
- Make healthy choices
- Respect the needs, interestes, and opinions of others
--Social Competency Vision Statement, approved by the Somerville School Committee on 10/15/2007
Schools guidance counselors and other support personnel assist teachers and students to work towards attaining these goals. The staff at your child's school can give you more detailed information about the sequence of skills taught and how social/emotional skills are taught.
Specialists: The Somerville Public Schools provides each student with 40 minutes per week of instruction in General Music, Library/Media, Art, and Physical Education. The specialists at each school are available to give you more detailed information about specific skills addressed.
Assessment: We believe that there is more than one way to accurately assess student learning. These include not only standardized measures such as DIBELS (Grade K-3), MCAS (Grades 3-10), and MAP (Gr. 2-8), but also more informal assessments including common end of unit assessments, reading/writing conferences, classroom participation, classroom projects, and writing assignments.