ABC's of Kindergarten

THE ABC's of Kindergarten will hopefully help to answer any question you might have about your child's kindergarten year.  If you do not find the answer you are looking for here, please feel free to contact me with your question!  

Attendance, Arrival, Absences, Allergies
Attendance - Your child's attendance is a vital part of his/her success at school.  Most of our learning experiences will take place in the classroom environment.  Please make every effort to ensure that your child attends every day.

Arrival - Please help your child to arrive at school on time everyday.  It is important for him/her to have time to visit with peers and take care of morning routines every day. The bell rings for students to enter the school at 8:55am.  Please do not bring your child to the room prior to that time, as I am often not in the room.  Between 8:45am and 8:55am there is supervision on the playground and your child can head there.  At 8:55 a bell will ring and students will line up and be led in.  At 9:05am the bell rings to begin the day.  I expect all students in the room at this time. 

Absences - If your child is going to be absent please be sure to call the office and let them know.  715.345.5420

Allergies - Please make sure to make us aware of any allergies your child might have.  Any medication that your child needs can be dropped off with office staff for the nurse.

Behavior Plan, Book Orders, Birthdays, Bus

 Behavior Plan - Please find information on our classroom behavior plan HERE.  

Book Orders - Periodically throughout the year I will send home Scholastic Book Orders.  You are encouraged to order!  I am asking that all orders be placed online through the Scholastic website this year. 

Birthdays - I love to celebrate birthdays at school!  If you would like to send a special birthday treat for us to have at snack time simply send me a note to let me know.  If a student has a summer birthday, we can celebrate it during their "Super Kid" Week (Star Student) or at the end of the year. Just let me know what you would prefer!

Bus - All students will be dismissed to their assigned bus at the end of the day, unless I hear differently from you.  A note works best, as I have lots of bodies going lots of different directions at the end of the day.  

Calendar, Conferences, Communication

Calendar - We do calendar every morning and this is where we learn and practice our math skills on a daily basis.  We use our SmartBoard for calendar.  It is very engaging for the children and such a fun way to learn!  In addition, every student has their own calendar binder for individual practice.  Monthly calendar pages will go home at the end of every month.  Some pages, such as birthday graphs, will stay in the binders all year and go home in June.  We also practice other skills, such as money recognition, that are not in the binders. 

Conferences - Conferences are held twice a year.  I ask that all parents plan on attending fall conferences.  Winter conferences are optional, however, I highly encourage you to attend.  It's so nice to have that time to touch base on your child and it is a great way for your child to be aware that we are all on the same page!  Please watch the school and classroom newsletters for conference dates.  An additional sheet will be coming home with options of times that work best for you.  Please send this back promptly so that I can do my best to ensure your first pick!

Communication - It is extremely important that you and I maintain strong communication throughout your child's kindergarten year.  I am typically available between 8:00am and 9:00am.  Please feel free to call!  Also, a note in your child's folder works well too.  I try to check my email a couple times a day, but I cannot always guarantee it.  If you need me to receive information on that particular day, please call or send a note. 

Daily Five, Dismissal
Daily 5 - The Daily 5 is not a language arts curriculum, but the way that we use our language arts time.  Please click on the following link to get more information:  THE DAILY FIVE

Dismissal - School ends at 3:35pm.  If you plan to pick up your child, you are welcome to wait outside the office until the bell rings and then walk down to the room to meet your child.  It is important for your child's sense of independence and responsibility that he/she completes end of the day activities such as packing up backpacks by him/herself.  Thanks for your cooperation with this! 


Email - I love email! :)  If you plan on communicating with me via email throughout the year, please make sure you fill out the email permission form that will come home in the first few weeks of school or I will be unable to return your emails.  If you need me to get the information before the end of the day, please call school - I don't always get a chance to check my email in the middle of the day and sometimes don't get to it until after school or even the next morning.  

Field Trips, Folders

Field Trips - I will keep you posted as to when our field trips will be.  Typically we go ta play in the fall and Boston School Forest in the winter.  There are usually a few others as well.  We are almost always in need of volunteers.  Please watch the classroom newsletter and special notes home for more information!  If you plan to help on field trips or in the classroom, please make sure that you have a background check form on file in the office.

Folders - Please be sure to check your child's folder EVERY day.  There is almost always something sent home.  It is equally important that your child brings his/her folder everyday.  I will be checking these every morning for the first few weeks of school.  After that it will be your child's responsibility to put them in the basket and empty any important notes  or lunch money from you into my basket. 

Gym Shoes, Guided Reading

 Gym Shoes - It is recommended that you send a pair of gym shoes with your child's name on it for him/her to keep at school.  We have phy. ed. twice a week and the shoes also come in handy for recess some days...especially for the girls with all of the 'fancy shoes'!

Guided Reading - Yes, it is true...we begin working on reading skills in kindergarten!  We aim to get every child reading at a level 4 by the end of the year.  Ways that you can help?  Read to your child every day.  Review sight words with your child every day.  Each list that I send home with our Rainbow Words on it will also include several fun and easy ways to practice the words with your child.  I meet with small groups several times a week to practice reading strategies, review sight words, and increase skills needed to help each child progress throughout the year.  

Homework, Help at Home, Handwriting Curriculum

 Homework - I do not believe in typical homework at the kindergarten level.  I will not send home work with your child if they've been sick or gone on vacation.  The most important thing you can do is READ to your child every night and have a consistent bedtime and routine.  I realize that every family operates differently, so I will be sending home a monthly calendar with something for your child to do.  These will be very quick tasks, such as having your child write his/her name 3 times.  I hope that these are fun activities that you can enjoy doing with your child!   

Help at Home - As mentioned elsewhere on this page, your help at home is vital to your child's success at school.  Things that you can do at home to ensure a positive kindergarten year for your child are: read with your child every day, review sight words/Tucker signs, ask your child about school, check your child's backpack and folder every night.  Your interest in your child's schooling will let them know that it is important and it will become important for them!  Thank you in advance! 

Handwriting Curriculum - In 2010 we began a new, district-wide handwriting curriculum.  We learn Zaner Bloser letters - these are the letters with straight lines and circles.  We usually focus on two letters a week in correlation with our Tucker Time (find Tucker information under T on this page).    I believe it works well for kindergarten students and it is amazing the growth that can be seen by the end of the year! 

Lunch, Library Books

Lunch - Our recess and lunch schedule has changed this year!  We will be heading to lunch from 12:35-1:00.  Recess will follow from 1:00-1:35.  You are welcome to join us any time.  If you plan to eat school food, please try to send a note of call first thing in the morning so that I can include you in the lunch count for the day.  When you send lunch money to school, please make checks payable to McDill and always send any money in an envelope labeled with your child's name and the intent of the money.    

Library Books - We have library every Day 5.  If your child wants to check out a book for the week, the book from the previous week must be returned that day or prior.


 Milk - We have our milk with our snack, which will take place following our special at 10:45.  Children have the option to have milk every day.  Milk payments are made at the beginning of the year and at semester (unless you choose to pay for the full year in the fall).  


 Newsletter - I will send home our classroom newsletter every Friday with weekly updates.  I will also put them on the website every Friday as well.  Please take the time to review them.  Talk to your child about the things mentioned from the week, notice important information and dates, and review sight words and Tucker signs with your child.  

Principal, Parent Helpers

 Principal - Please take a moment to introduce yourself to Mrs. Koepke! 

Parent Helpers - Parent help is always appreciated!!!  I will send home a form with volunteer options after we get our year up and running.  I prefer to start the year without parent helpers in the classroom so that all students can learn classroom routines first. 

     Quiet Time

 Quiet Time - We have quiet time for approximately 20 minutes every afternoon.  This is especially vital at the beginning of the year as our little ones are getting used to the new routine and very full days.  Typically we lay on rest mats and watch a literature based and/or theme related video during that time.  This seems to work best in my room for giving students a few minutes of quiet 'down time' during the day.  As the year progresses, I will pull students in small groups for projects or individually for assessments.

        Rainbow Words, Report Cards, Recess, Release Days

 Rainbow Words - This is our way of introducing and encouraging acquisition of sight words.  I began this program in 2010 and has been a fantastic addition to our reading instruction!  Please see the page on this website for more information (tab at top).

Report Cards - In 2012, McDill transitioned from a trimester report card to a quarterly report card.  In 2013, the report cards transitioned to reflect the kindergarten standards.  Although, this lets you know if your child is at grade level for our standards, it is not always in parent-friendly language.  We also will send home quarterly Academic Updates to let you know how your child is progressing.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Recess - Kindergarten recess is everyday after lunch.  Typically students are outside from 1:00-1:35.  Please make sure that you send clothing appropriate for our ever-changing Wisconsin weather!  We only stay in if it is below 0 or if there is rain.  

Reading - (See Guided Reading)

Release Days - The district has implemented full day release days (Professional Development Days) to allow for teacher collaboration and training.  On these days, students will have no school all day.  They happen approximately on a bi-monthly schedule.  Check out the district calendar for the dates.  I will also add upcoming dates to the weekly newsletters.  

Snack, Smart Board, Schedule, Show and Tell, Social Skills, Student of the Week

Snack - This year, we will be having snack every morning aroud 10:45.  Periodically throughout the year, we may need to replenish our snack supply.  We appreciate your help with this!

Smart Board - I LOVE our SmartBoard!!  We are so lucky to have it in our classroom and use it frequently throughout the day.  It is like a giant computer screen with touch capabilities that hangs in our room.  We use it for lunch count in the morning, calendar, Morning Message, videos, letter of the week, brainstorming lists and much, much more!  Our interactive white board has changed the way I teach and am so grateful to have it!

SMART Table - Last year we also received a Smart Table through a grant!  It is AMAZING!! It is the only one in our building AND one of about 3 in our district!  We are so lukcy!! Students will use it in small groups on a rotating basis as a part of our Daily 5 Rotations.

Schedule - I will post a schedule on the 'Our Classroom' page as soon as it is finalized for this year.  I make every effort to stick to the schedule that we have every day...for my own sanity, to aide any substitute or additional staff in the classroom, and to help build confidence and a feeling of security for each child in the classroom with the knowledge of consistency. 

Show and Tell - We do not do 'object' show and tell in my class.  I encourage you to keep your child's toys or other items at home.  When they come to school they tend to be a distraction and/or get lost or stolen.  Students have time to share (talk) every morning.  I make every effort to get to every student who has something to share with the group.  This helps to build a sense of community, as well as build students' oral communication skills.  Each student will have a chance to bring a favorite book during their Super Kid Week. (see below).

Social Skills - These are skills that are worked on every day in kindergarten.  I try to teach students how to work out their problems with peers by giving them the words they need to do so.  We 'self-evaluate' often in my room by asking things like "Was that a good choice or a bad choice?"  We will also be spending time each week building on the monthly positive behavior (PBIS) themes that are our school focus.  We call this time SUPER Choices and once a month Mrs. Koth, our building Speech and Language Pathologist, will come in to teach us!

Student of the Week - This year we will continue the Super Kid of the Week (to go along with our Super Kid theme!).  Towards the beginning of the year, I will send home an introductory letter, as well as a list telling each child's star week.  I do my best to coordinate each students special week with their birthday week whenever possible.  The week before your child's week I will send home their packet of papers.  Be on the look out! 

Tucker Time, Tardies

 Tucker Time - I LOVE Tucker Signing Strategies.  What a great way to increase letter-sound understanding!  Click here to find out more: TUCKER

Tardies - It is so important that your child arrives at school on time and is in the classroom by 9:05.  It is so helpful for them to start the day with their peers, have transition time to visit with peers and teachers, and take responsibility for the jobs they have at the beginning of everyday.  If your child does happen to come to school after the bell rings in the morning, please be sure to check in at the office and let them know that your child has arrived (even if it's only 9:06).  Thanks for your cooperation! 


 Visitors - All visitors during school hours are asked to check in at the office prior to coming to the classroom.  Thanks for your cooperation! 

Website, Word Their Way, Winter Weather

 Website - I will be posting pictures throughout the year.  Thanks for signing the permission form sent home at the beginning of the year!  Let me know if there is something you would like to see on the website so that I can make it useful to you!  I want it to be a great, USEFUL resource for you!  Please check in often!! :)

Winter Weather - Oh, Wisconsin!  Don't we have fun playing in the snow?  But that means that we need a lot of special gear through much of our school year.  Please be aware of the weather and be sure to send snow pants, boots, mittens, hats, etc that are WELL LABELED. (We get a lot of black snow pants! :)  Continue sending boots and snow pants even when you don't think they are needed any longer because they will help to protect us from the wet when the snow begins to melt. 

"Xtra" Clothes

 "Xtra" Clothes - At the beginning of the year, please send zip-loc bag with your child's name clearly written on it with a complete change of clothes inside.  As the year goes on, you may need to update with 'weather-appropriate' wear.  These clothes come in handy for many reasons - bathroom accidents, wet weather outside, milk spills, etc. 


 You - You are your child's first and most important teacher.  Thanks for all you do to make your child's education a priority!


  Zzzzzs - It is incredibly important to your child's success everyday that he/she is getting enough sleep at night.  It helps to have a consistent bedtime and bedtime routine as well.  I am so grateful for your assistance with this!