4.13: Kindergarten Report
The Kindergarten report summarizes a great deal of what was shown in Sections 1, 2, and 3. The report illustrates once again the key themes of the Getting Results model--specific goals for student learning, indicators of success, assistance from capable others, grade level leadership that supports but also promotes continued progress, and settings that permit these elements to take root and yield results. The K representative discusses the grade level's early emphasis on letter sounds. Teachers also focused on phonemic awareness and using letter-sound associations to begin spelling words when initial assessments suggested student weakness in these areas. She also describes how K team members brought "high, medium, and low papers" to the grade level meetings in order to discuss the progress of a wide range of students (see Segment 4) ; she describes this activity as "crucial." Altogether there are numerous examples of how the grade level meetings became what she calls "A rich learning environment for everybody."
Sandy K's turn. Ok.... Diana Cady would normally be here, so I am filling in for her and I did the best I could with filling out the sheet. Diana, you guys know, had hurt her shoulder so she couldn't be here today. So anyway, for -- (reading) "What specific student needs did your grade level focus on this past year?" One of the main things we did, we sent out at the beginning year, beginning of the year, a letter- sounds tape and we explained to the parents how important it was for the kids to know their letter sounds and that's a little different that differs a little from what SFA suggests which is one letter a week. But we all felt that was going to be really important and so all of us did it. Second, we worked on phonemic awareness. After we did our first results, we found out that our kids were weak in that area so we started addressing that in our common planning meetings. And then after we did our first writing assessment we saw that most of our kids were at 2s and 1s because they couldn't use their sounds to spell. So we started really, we already sent out the tapes we kept reminding them they needed to work on it, we reviewed it in class and then we did a lot of modeling for them, so they would get the connection that the words are made up of the sounds that you hear. Then, we noticed too that a lot of our kids were writing in letter strings, and we wanted to start getting them to do spacing, so we found a really good lesson from one of the books called "Teaching the Youngest Writer" and Mia had kind of helped us with that. Next... "What specific strategies or approaches did your grade level identify to address these needs?" I kind of went over that already, we sent home the tape. For phonemic awareness lessons, I guess SFA somehow got word-- I don't know if they had seen our agendas or what, but it was either a real coincidence or they had they knew that it was a need we had because all of a sudden we got a new a phonemic awareness book, kind of like middle of the year they brought us a phonemic awareness book, which some of us started doing lessons from, but one of our focuses for next year will be to use the book from the beginning of the year because it's real sequential. We shared at our meetings we shared high, medium, and low papers and that was that was crucial. Once we started doing that we did it on the transparencies you could see exactly what we needed to work on. I mean, it just really stood out because you could see the trends as each person brought out their transparencies, so that really made it a lot easier for us to focus what kinds of lessons we wanted to teach. And kind of a progression that started from that was you know we would come up with a lesson but then teachers would do other lessons so when they come back to the next meeting we weren't only talking about "Oh how did that lesson go?" that we were going to teach, but people were bringing in a lot of other ideas as well. So, it became really a rich learning environment for everybody in that way. Instructional strategies that we used.... We were all really kind of nervous in the beginning, especially when that anthology was becoming due, we were kind of using journals but we were like HOW can we get an anthology for kindergarten kids, how are they going to take it through the process and a lot of us were having a lot of anxiety at that point. And Myra, who had come from first grade, did a class lesson for us at that point, and that really helped. And also Mia had brought in some samples of anthologies, which really lessened the anxiety, because you can get paralyzed by the anxiety and not be able to start and then start getting behind you know and missing your deadline. So that those were the things that really helped. We also, we also came up with mini lessons to do before the journals that was something Myra had brought back from a conference that she had went, she had gone to in San Diego, with-- who was the name of the person? With Lucy Caulkins and she brought that information back and shared it with us. And we kind of highlighted lessons that would be good for K. A lot of us were doing morning message, and I don't know who started it but somebody had started integrating editing because it became too easy, the kids, our kids this year were really much more advance than they have been in the past, so we started doing editing in our morning message, and so they would start seeing like the basic editing. And that ended up getting shared, shared somehow kind of everyone start doing it. We did word, a lot of people were doing word wall and really focusing more on it after Mia had done her lessons. We did some predictive charts at the end of the year and class book was another thing, and then ... We started trying go back and focus on dictation because our kids, um as their conventions improved their communication decreased. So we needed to like pull out more dictation from them because even though they could write it right, we still wanted to see if they were able to communicate it and to be able to you know to tell us more of a lengthy story when they can only write like really basic small sentences. And we also did making words. And then... (reading) "What did your grade level do that helped make your meetings more focused and productive?" Again, we did the agendas like everyone else and we passed them out before the meetings, giving instructions to people for what they needed to bring to the meeting. We tallied our results and presented them in graph format, which really helped people see the importance of the assessments early on. We used people's strengths in our group. I think we kind of look for what strengths people had in our kindergarten group and if we and if we found a strength we had them be a presenter, so we kind of shared. It wasn't always Diana and me that was doing, doing all of the work, like Blaine was , she kind of became known as "the ELD folder person," and she had the instructions on it and none of us have, a lot of us were going like "Huh? what are we supposed to do?" so she lead one of our meetings that was on the ELD folder and on a phonemic awareness assessment we could do. And again we began using those transparencies middle of the year which really helped focused our group by bringing in the high, medium, and lows.