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4.13: Kindergarten Report

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The Kindergarten report summarizes a great deal of what was shown in Sections 12, 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."


	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.