Archive for the ‘KIndergarten Here We Come’ Category

My Phone Number Is…

Apr 08

An important part of being a young child is and always has been, knowing how to get a hold of your parents in case of an emergency. As parents we have all been there. Trying to get our children to memorize their phone number, address and state they live in so God forbid, if there is an emergency they are able to tell someone this important information.

As a teacher I worried about the kids who just didn’t seem to be able to or want to learn their parent’s phone numbers. So, I came up with this work page where they could use their counting skills while coloring in the number of boxes for each number in their phone number, but they could also practice their number in the classroom.

After each child had finished their page, we placed their picture in the box and bound all the papers into a book (we would also send home a copy of it to parents for much needed practice at home as well). The originals became our classroom phone book, left in the kitchen play area with a couple of old, disconnected cell phones so the kids could pretend they were calling each other. This made for lots of practice and fun during center s.

Several years ago, I found myself with a grandson that was having a hard time remembering his mom and dad’s cell phone numbers. So I printed out two of these pages. Put my daughter’s cell phone number and picture on one and my son-in-law’s picture and number on the other. My daughter took them home and put them on their refrigerator. Every day my son-in-law would ask my grandson about the numbers and eventually he memorized both of his parent’s numbers. After he had memorized the numbers my daughter and son-in-law took this one step further and left these on the refrigerator so babysitters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends would have easy access to the numbers when they were watching their son.

Have fun with your little ones!!! 32180

20160407_130720_edited-1My phone number is


May 17

Patterns are great fun! And an easy concept to play with! Some of the easiest things to practice are color patterns. Can they lay ten beads out by the color pattern of red, blue, red, blue, red, etc. There are so many different pattern combinations you and your child can make up and copy. We tend to use alphabet patterns both with the kids and when we are writing down information or assessments. Here are a few examples: A B A B A B, ABBA ABBA ABBA, AABB AABB AABB, ABC ABC ABC, etc. Beginning patterns can be done with anything and everything as long as you have more than one of the items. Here are a few ideas of things to use: Food items (carrots, broccoli, etc. are fun), clapping and stomping, beads, any toys that you have a lot of such as Legos, cars, that kind of thing, silverware, shoes, socks, clothing, and so on.

After children know the basic patterns I listed above we will go on to harder concepts. Two patterns that we teach and use in kindergarten include skip counting and the growing pattern. If you are working on skip counting, please note that end of the year kindergarteners are expected to skip count by 10’s to one hundred. (so that is the perfect place for you to practice). After that I would go on to skip counting by 5’s and then 2’s.

Growth patterns are a much harder skill but can still be fun to work on. A growth pattern has one or more of the items you are patterning growing in quantity. Let’s use silverware for an example:

Growth pattern #1


Fork, fork,

Fork, fork, fork

Fork, fork, fork, fork

Growth pattern #2

Spoon, fork

Spoon, fork, fork,

Spoon, fork, fork, fork

Growth pattern #3

Spoon, fork,

Spoon, spoon, fork, fork,

Spoon, spoon, spoon, fork, fork, fork

Growth patterns can be done in any combination you want as long as one or more of your groups of items is growing.

All of this patterning is leading up to one concept in Kindergarten. We want kids to look for patterns in everything we do in math. That will eventually lead them to see patterns in numbers, and hopefully make it easier for them to figure out number problems later on in school. Enjoy!!!

Understanding an Amount

May 16

Counting comes fairly easy to most of us as we practice saying those wonderful numbers over and over, but understanding what each number means can be hard to some children and often takes some extra time to learn. There are several ways your child’s teacher will check to make sure your child really understands what the value of a number means. Their ideas may be very different than mine but if you try these ideas out your child will understand the basic concept. I thought I would give you a few quick ideas I use to check students understanding or qualifying in numbers and how to work on these skills. Here are three ideas I will be looking for when school starts from each child in my classroom:

  • Does your child understand the concepts of more, less and equal
  • Can your child count on or count all of a group
  • Can your child solve basic problems using 10 or less objects

Here are some quick ideas to try at home to ensure these three concepts:

More, less or equal to

  • We all know this one just takes practice. The more you show your child groups of objects and ask which one has more? Which has less? The better. Try to ask the fewer questions more often, it seems to be the harder of the two ideas for children to understand. Equal seems to be the easiest, since children like things to be fair, so don’t for get to throw in a couple of equal amounts every once in a while.

Counting on and counting all of a group

  • I covered a few ideas on ways to work on this concept in my last post. Please remember, counting on is a developmental skill and may not come to your child easily. Please don’t get frustrated or worried if your child does not seem to understand this concept. We will work on it throughout the school year. So go out there and count everything you can find, as often as you can.
  • Remember to try to get your child to pull the items away from the group as they count. This gives them a finished group at the end and helps them keep track of what they have already given a number to.
  • Teach your child to count backwards from ten to zero. You can also show them this concept by beginning with a group of ten objects and counting backwards as you take them away until your child is left with zero.

Solving basic problems

This sounds like teaching your child to add and subtract, and the truth is it is the beginning of teaching that skill. But I by no means want you to sit down and teach them addition and subtraction problems. I want them to begin to see groups or amounts of objects in a different way. The altogether part of these activities is very important. Here are a few quick ways to work on this skill:

  • Count their fingers! When you count fingers show them a different amount on each hand and then ask them how many fingers there are altogether?
  • Show them objects of two colors and classify them into groups and a whole. One idea I use in my classroom is with plastic beads. I may give them five beads. 3 will be green and 2 will be yellow. I want them to tell me you have 3 green, 2 yellow and 5 altogether.
  • Make number combinations. If you have a bowl of two different colors of plastic beads lay them out on the table in a pattern going up or down showing the number combinations. Ex: 0 green and 10 yellow, 1 green and 9 yellow, 2 green and 8 yellow, etc. And then talk about what they notice.
  • Make up subtraction type story problems. “You have three stuffed animals. I left two at grandma’s house. How many are here at home?”

Most importantly, make sure this seems like a game to your child. We want them to enjoy math and numbers. The concepts seem hard sometimes but it is important that they jump right in and try as hard as they can. Enjoy your Saturday!!!


May 12

Counting seems to be such an easy skill to teach as well as an easy skill to assess. As your child’s teacher, I am going to be thrilled if your child can count out loud to at least 20 when they start Kindergarten. My grandson learned to count by counting the steps up to my house and then back down again on his way out the door. But being able to count out loud does not always mean a child understands what that count or number means. So the second thing I look for is can your child count out objects accurately between 10 to 20 items. The third thing we are going to check for at the beginning of the year is, can your child tell me what number comes next from any given number under 10 without having to start at one (counting on). With these three goals in mind here are some ideas to help you practice counting with your child:

Counting to 20

  • This is just practice, practice, practice. Count everything you can think to count. My daughter even practiced counting out loud with my grandson while he was in his car seat and they were going to the store. Remember counting out loud is just a rote skill. You learn it though memorization.

Counting out objects

  • When I talk to parents about counting objects, I tell them to count out everything they can find in the house: pennies, beans, toy cars, Barbie’s, shoes, etc.. The most important thing to remember when counting out objects is to teach your child to pull the item they are counting away from the group as they count it. This will help them to keep track of what they have already counted. They can pull the items into another group, a line, a cup, or anyway they want as long as it is away from the group they still need to count.
  • After they have counted out an amount ask them again how many do you have? At first they may need to recount them to make sure,. But over time they will begin to understand that the number objects is the same whether they just state what they know, or if they recount the items again.

Counting on from any given number

  • This is a hard skill for some children. And until they really understand that a number is what it is whether you are counting beans, fingers or cars, they will struggle with this. What we like to see is a child beginning to count on without repeating the number you have given to them. Here’s an example: Teacher: “Can you count on from 5 for me?” Student “6, 7, 8”. We most often get the answer of “5, 6, 7, 8.” We really try to get them not to repeat the number we want them to start from.

Enjoy counting everything you can find!!! I know your kids will love the time spent with you working on their numbers!

Learning To Write

May 03

Learning to write as a small child is a complicated thing to do. Learning to read is much easier for most kids. The main reason why is learning to read includes a child decoding (or sounding out the words as well as reading the words they know already) and comprehending what they just read. Writing includes making up your story you are going to write, thinking about all those sounds you already know, putting the sounds together to get them on the paper and then being able to write the letters just as a start. And did I mention they have to be able to remember that story they thought of in sequence to make sure they are getting the whole thing down on paper. Writing is a harder and more complicated skill to learn. For that reason alone I hope you will let writing with your child be an experience  and not worry about it until they start Kindergarten.  I will include the six beginning stages of writing at the end of this post so you know which stage your child is in and what to look for next. But only to give you information for the future school year. My suggestions for you in writing before the new school year starts include only a few things to do, while hopefully  making writing an enjoyable, fun experience.
•  Make sure your child can recognize (or read) and write their first name. If they can write their last name too, great. If not, we will work on it mid-kinder year.
• Give your child opportunities at home to write on paper and pretend they are writing stories. Lots of paper, markers, crayons, pencils, etc. are always fun.
• Give your child an opportunity to read their writing to you.
• Continue to point out writing features in books you and your child read together.
Make sure they are pretending and enjoying writing and that it is a big deal in your home. So, as promised here are the six basic stages of writing that children go through during their first years of school.
• First stage – writing as scribbles and marks on the paper
• Second Stage- scribbles on the paper begin to look like lines , rows, and circles.
• Third stage-your child will begin to make mock letters or letter-like forms on their paper.
• Fourth stage-your child will make strings of letters in a row. Or even all over the page of paper.
• Fifth Stage- Your child will write using inventive spelling. This inventive spelling will usually include a lot of beginning sound of words as they go through their story.
• Sixth Stage- Your child will use inventive spelling which will include beginning, middle and end sounds as well as some small sight words.

Let’s Talk Books!!!

May 02

I think one of the prerequisites of being a teacher is you have to love to read! The same holds true of parents of little kids. Kids love to have a book read to them. It doesn’t start out as a love of literature but a love of having your parents spend this precious time with you. But the precious time quickly turns into a love of reading and all things about books. Let’s face it, even as an adult, there’s nothing better than finishing a good book.

As adults we often join book clubs, or share about what we have read with friends and family. Kids are no different. We spend a lot of time in the classroom sharing about the books that I read to them or that they read to themselves. Here is a list of ideas you can use when having a book discussion with your child while you are reading the story:

  • What are you thinking about …
  • What did you notice on this page?
  • What are you wondering….
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • What does this remind you?
  • I can’t believe that just happened, what did you think was going to happen…
  • Why did the character do that, or act that way…

Here are some ideas for discussions after you have finished reading the book:

  • What’s the main or big idea? Sounds big but it really is just a one to two sentence statement on what the book was about.
  • Who are the characters?
  • What happened to the character? And how did they solve their problem in the end of the story?
  • What did you learn from the book?
  • What was your favorite part of the story? Why?
  • Did the story remind you of something in your life? On TV? In another book? On the computer?
  • Can you tell me what happened in the story at the beginning? Middle? End?
  • If the author wrote or continued this story, what would happen next?
  • Pick out some beautiful language or important sentence in the story and ask your child, What did the author mean when he wrote___________________?
  • If time has passed by in the story or through several stories in sequels to a book, How could we tell that time had passed by in the story?
  • Was the character nice or mean? Good or bad? How could you tell?
  • How did the story make you feel?

Most importantly read, and read and read with your child. It is such a great activity and their teacher will thank you for all the wonderful things your child understands about books when they start Kindergarten.

Understanding All The Parts Of A Book

Apr 28

Reading books is a huge part of kindergarten. And most children don’t realize it but you as parents have been teaching them all about books from the first time you read to them. Think about all the concepts you just seem to understand about reading because it just is what it is! Holding the book right-side up, starting at the beginning of the book and reading each page before you turn to the next, looking at all the pictures as you go, knowing where to start reading next when you have finished a page, and so on. Most of these things just seem like a natural thing to do for all of us readers, but somewhere along the line your parents, a teacher, grandparents or someone in your life pointed these things out to you or told you, you were doing them correctly, so you kept doing it the same way the next time you read. Concepts of print in a story or book are very important prereading skills. The best way for you to help your child with knowing their concepts of print before they go to school, is simply by talking to them about the books each night as you read together. Here are some questions you can discuss with your child as you are reading to them each night before bed.

  • Where is the front of the book? Explain to them that the front of the book has the title and a picture about the story.
  • Where is the back of the book? Sometimes the back of the book tells us what the book is about so you can tell if you are interested in reading it.
  • Can you open the book and point to a picture? Point to the words in the story?
  • Open the book to the first page and ask your child, “Where should I start reading?” If they don’t point to the words ask them if you should read this (point to the picture) or this? (point to the words)
  • When you get to the bottom of the page on the left hand side of the book ask them where you should start reading next?
  • When you finish reading at the bottom of the right hand page as them where you should start to read next?
  • If your book has speech bubbles in it- explain to them that that shows us the character is talking.
  • When you get to the end of the story ask them if you can continue reading the story? Why or why not?
  • Point out to your child whether a book is fiction or informational ( we tend to use the term informational text instead of non-fiction when talking about reading these type of stories in school now). Remember fiction is written for entertainment and information text is written to teach you. So if you read a fiction book with your child ask them about their favorite part, what was funny or sad, how did the story make them feel . If you read an informational book ask your child what the author was trying to teach them about.
  • Another fun thing to do is get a book with little to no words (Goodnight Gorilla is a great example). Discuss with your child how the pictures tell a story. You can read and understand the entire book without ever reading a word of text. Looking at pictures and understanding that they are a huge part of a story will be an important skill to have later on when your child is trying to figure out an unknown word.

The more you and your child talk about books, concepts of print and what they have read, the further your child will be ahead when they begin kindergarten. Please don’t think you need to do all of this at one time, pick one of these points a night to discuss with your little one. Then revisit the points as your reading each night until kindergarten starts. Most importantly enjoy reading. If your child loves reading with you, you are more likely to raise a lifelong reader! Enjoy!!!

Beginning Sounds, Syllables And Rhyming

Apr 26

Before your child knows all their letter sounds they can begin to listen for sounds in a word to get them ready for reading. Distinguishing between the different sounds and syllables in a word as well as rhyming those words will play an important part in beginning reading. The best part about sounds, syllables, and rhyming is you can learn it as a game. Here are a few ideas to learning these three skills at home:

Beginning Sounds

  • Help your child to change their beginning sound of their name to another. In kindergarten we did this every day. The kids thought it was so funny to say their name as a fun Dr. Seuss word. I always have my kids say their own name first and then the name with another beginning sound. Example: Marie, Parie or Marie, Larie
  • Challenge your kids to find ten words a day that have the same beginning sound. Example: Look for the /b/ sound, and they may come up with ball, bike, bucket, etc. You can even make it into a contest.
  • Read some of the Berenstain Bears books such as C IS For Clown or The B Book.


  • The best way I have found so far to teach distinguishing between syllables is to just clap out the sounds. Example would be my name Jennifer, so they hear three claps, one at each sound segment. You can do this with any and all the words you want to practice. If your childs name is a two syllable word, have them find as many two syllable words as you can. Or build and look for a three syllable word, and then a four syllable.


  • Once your child begins to hear those beginning sounds as a different sound they will be able to start rhyming words. Rhyming skills come from practice and us as adults telling kids those words rhyme. The more they hear rhymes the better they will understand. If you can get them to play the games above and tell them they are making rhyming words, they will understand the concept over time.

Enjoy your special time with your kiddos today!

Songs, Motion and Retells

Apr 25

I have always loved singing but as an adult I never let my voice be heard in public singing. But catch me in my car and the radio will be up loud with me singing along out of tune and at the top of my lungs. When I changed grades to Kindergarten several years back, my first and most frightening thought was “Oh NO!!! I am going to have to sing out loud! They are going to hear my terrible pitch. Those poor babies!” But sing I did! (I mean it is pretty much a given that all kindergarten teachers are doing a lot of singing throughout the school day. ) So, those first several weeks were a stretch for me but the kids didn’t even notice. Before I knew it, I was enjoying myself singing as much as the kids were.

That leads me to the next skill. Singing!!! Kids learn so much from singing kids songs and/or chanting rhymes. It gives them experiences in language, rhyming and even motor skills. Songs also help them to remember important information. We sing songs about all of the holidays, themes we are learning about such as pumpkins, and butterflies, numbers, and other fun experiences. And they remember the information we are singing and then apply it to situations or other experiences.

Of course going to your local store and buying a Kids CD of songs is a great idea but there are lots of other ideas and places you might want try or use. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Work on singing some of the old tried and true ones you learned as a kid such as Itsy, Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, or You Are My Sunshine.
  • Check out some of the great songs and rhymes on Kindergarten websites. One of my favorites is:
  • Check out YouTube, I was amazed at the number of songs for kids.
  • Go to your local library and see if they have a preschool class to attend for free. My local library has 4 different classes a week where kids and their parents can come for free and hear stories, sing, dance and all of those other fun things we do at school.
  • Look up your childs favorite picture book on line. There are tons of ideas and songs out there for free. I have found all kinds of songs and rhyming activities to go with books on line. My favorite website for books and themes is:
  • Look for characters to use while you are singing. My kids love when I have the characters in a song that they can use to play with while we are singing. A couple of great websites for rhyme and song characters are : and

Most importantly have fun and next time you’re in the car or have an extra few minutes, belt out your favorite kids song with your little one as loudly as the neighbors will allow.

Letters And Sounds

Apr 24

This is one of my favorite tips, because parents love teaching their kids letters and sounds. You get to see such great progress. Kids love learning them and let’s face it, the alphabet song is fun to sing. A couple of things to add after your child knows the alphabet song by heart include:

  • Have them identify both the capital and lower case letters in order . You can do this by reading alphabet books, playing with alphabet puzzles or even flash cards.
  • After they know their letters of the alphabet in order, it is time for them to learn them out of order. When your child can quickly name each of the capital and lower case letters out of order, they absolutely know them.
  • Next is the sounds that each letter makes. When learning the vowels stick to the short vowel sounds.

In my classroom I have the kids practice their letters and sounds with flashcards. Each of my flash cards has a picture, the capital and lower case letter and the word that matches the picture. I start out with all the cards in alphabetical order, when they have those down, I mix the cards up. As we practice each card I point to the two letters one at a time and say the name of the letter. Next I point to each letter again saying the sound the letter makes each time. Next, point o the picture and say the name of the picture. Lastly, point to the word on the bottom of the card and say the word. Here is an example of my A card I use in class. I would say: A, a, /a/,/a /, apple, apple.


I have attached my set of cards I use in my classroom for you to print as well.

Big Alphabet

I go through these quickly and over and over again until the kids have them down. I am always amazed at how quickly they catch on and memorize these cards. I hope your kids will enjoy learning their sounds in a snap!