The ABCs of Mrs. Small's KA Class
**Because of COVID, we need to be flexible if things change. I will always communicate changes.**
Absence - If your child is absent please either call the school office or email both myself (email@example.com) & Mrs. Kreinbrink (firstname.lastname@example.org) before the start of the school day. When your child returns to school, please send a note stating the reason for the absence to avoid an “unexcused absence”.
Allergies – Allergies (food or otherwise) must be diagnosed by a doctor and reported to our school nurse, Mrs. Siefring (email@example.com) and to me. There is food in the classroom every day, and I want to make sure that there isn’t anything in the room that will cause a problem.
Arrival – Because of COVID, students will begin entering our classroom at 7:30 to start their school day. Before 8:00, the students unpack, hang up their coats, move their lunch cards, and work on Morning Work. If you are dropping off your child, please try to time the morning so that your child is in our classroom by 7:50. Children really feel “lost” on days when they arrive late and when they arrive “just in time”. A doctor’s appointment is obviously a different case.
Binders - Please check your child’s Take Home Binder EVERY night. I send home a weekly classroom update, notes about behavior (when necessary) and other important information that you need to be aware of (forms requiring your signature, permission slips, etc.) The weekly homework packet, bag books, and AR slips are also kept in the Take Home Binder. Once you have checked your child’s Take Home Binder, please return it to your child’s backpack. The children are responsible for turning in their Take Home Binders EVERY morning.
Any notes (change in dismissal, reason for absence, etc.), checks (class fees, lunch and milk tickets), and money (paid out-of-uniform days, Mission money, etc.) should be sent to school in the pouch in the Take Home Binder. Please remind your child that either myself or my aide will check the Take Home Binders each morning.
Brain-based Research – Brain-based research is the foundation for everything in our classroom. Creating and maintaining a safe, structured, challenging, and accepting environment is my #1 priority.
Birthdays - Children enjoy non-food treats like stickers, pencils, small toys, etc. Treats do not need to be sent in! If you choose to send in a treat, please make it a trinket instead of food. Birthdays are recognized during our calendar routine as well. There are 15 students in our class.
Please do not send birthday party invitations to be distributed at school unless all children receive an invitation. If there is not an invitation for all children, we are not allowed to distribute any. Please understand this is to prevent little ones from getting hurt feelings.
Breakfast – Please make sure that your child eats a healthy breakfast containing protein every morning. Watch the sugars, empty carbs, and red dyes as these all negatively affect brain function.
Communication – It’s extremely important! Feel free to contact me whenever you have a question, comment, or concern. The best ways to reach me are by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by note. Email is the fastest and best way to contact me as I check my email several times each day during the school week. Please be aware that I often don’t have time to check email from the time my aide leaves at 12:45 until after dismissal at 2:28. If there are “going home” changes after 12:30, please call the school office to let Mrs. Bihn know (419-423-2738) so that she can page me. Please know that I rarely check email when I am at home; I have found that this is a healthy boundary for me.
Conferences - Parent and Teacher conferences are an important part of your child’s success this year. Please contact me if you feel a need to have a conference concerning your child and I will do the same. Our scheduled Fall conferences are Thursday, November 5th and Wednesday, November 11th.
Classroom Management – Great behavior is expected at all times! We work hard as a class to make the classroom a positive and safe place for all. “Class Dojo” is used to document the wonderful choices that your child makes each day! We certainly don’t expect our students to behave perfectly, but we do expect a willingness to learn, grow, and respond to our prompts and attempts at re-direction. If your child has difficulty following a particular rule, this will be documented on Class Dojo as well.
We have a school-wide system to improve behaviors. Be Responsible - Be Respectful - Be Safe There are rubrics that we refer to when re-directing student choices. We encourage students to behave in the "Defender Way". Students earn one Defender Dollar for every five Class Dojo points earned in my class. Defender Dollars can be earned anytime, anywhere in the school, and by any staff member for good choices. With COVID, we will be tweaking how the students can spend their Defender Dollars on merchandise in our Saint Shop and also privileges in our classroom.
Children need to hear meaningful, relevant feedback so that they learn what they should keep doing and also learn which behaviors should be replaced by more appropriate behaviors. If there is a more serious issue, I will email or call you.
Please have established consequences at home for both positive and negative choices. Remember that each day is brand new!
Dismissal – I need a schedule of how your child will be going home each day. For re-occurring events like Girl Scouts, you can write one note for the entire year. For irregular changes in going home, please email me and Mrs. Kreinbrink before the school day begins or, better yet, send a note for that day. If it’s after 12:30, any changes in going home should be communicated by calling Mrs. Bihn so I can be paged.
Kindergarten dismisses at 2:25.
Dress Code – We enforce the dress code. The dress code is on the school website and in the parent handbook. Please dress your child appropriately each day. Also, make sure to dress your child for the weather as we go outside for recess as much as possible.
All students need to wear a face mask into the building each day and bring an additional back-up face mask and hand sanitizer in their backpacks.
Email Address – My school email address is: (email@example.com). I check email several times daily. Please share your email address(es) with me so that I can create a class distribution list to keep everyone informed.
Emergency Drills – We want to keep our students safe! This is our first and foremost priority. For this reason we have fire drills (once a month), tornado drills (once a month during tornado season), and lockdown drills (a few times each year). It’s very important for the children to remain quiet during drills. If a child is going to be anxious about a drill, it’s usually the lockdown drill. The noise from the fire alarm can also be upsetting to children with environmental sensitivities. Please help us by preparing your child for these drills.
Emergency Medical Forms - Please complete and return the emergency forms promptly. All forms are CONFIDENTIAL! If your home or work phone number changes, please inform the office and me.
Field Trips – For now, field trips have been put on hold. If we feel that we can safely attend a field trip, we will happily schedule a trip! You will need to fill out a permission slip and send in money for the trip (if there is a cost) and for the transportation. We travel by Findlay City School buses to and from all field trips. Parents are sometimes able to join us on certain field trips as long as you drive separately and do not bring other children.
Grades & Grade Cards – Students are assessed individually to determine whether or not learning benchmarks have been met. We do not give “letter grades” in Kindergarten. There are four quarters in our school year. Your child’s first three grade cards will be sent home about a week after the first three quarters end. The fourth quarter grade cards will be sent home on the last day of school. You keep all of the grade cards that are sent home. We’ll be conferencing nine weeks into the school year. I try to write very specific grade card comments so that you know exactly what your child needs to work on. My website is full of ideas that you can try out at home when you’re helping your child. Please contact me if you ever have any questions of concerns.
Gym, Music, Library, Technology, & Art – We have Art, Music, and Gym, Library, and Technology class once a week.
To help maintain the Gymnasium floor, we ask that all students keep a pair of gym shoes in their cubbies at school for the entire year. The shoes do not need to be new, but the soles should be cleaned before being sent on or before the first day of school.
Homework – Students ARE expected to be read to and to read to you every night and then when we start bag books/AR, they will be expected to read their books to you! A big part of reading is memorizing sight words so I’ll start sending lists in September. I expect all of my students to know at least 90 sight words by the end of the year.
Students will have weekly homework packets to reinforce the concepts learned at school. The packets go home at the start of each week and are due at the end of the week. Packets should be completed neatly using a pencil to print and crayons when coloring a picture or doing “rainbow words”.
There will be two special projects that will replace the homework packets. In December, the children will be doing a Flat Gingy project. Leprechaun Traps will be designed and made in March.
In April, the children will be doing animal research projects. There will be a rubric to follow (just like the “big kids” have). We do most of the research at school, and we send home packets to make this first research project a fun, esteem-building experience!
Health Conditions – If your child has any health conditions I need to know about, please notify me AND the school nurse. Medical information is confidential! I can’t fully do my job of keeping the children safe if I don’t know about health conditions.
Independence – It’s a goal for students because it builds self-esteem and self-confidence. Kindergarteners are very capable of doing many things on their own and I encourage them to do as much as they can for themselves in the classroom. Please work on the following self-help skills at home with your child: zipping, tying shoes, dressing, etc. It is also helpful to have your child wear velcro shoes until he/she learns to tie his/her shoes proficiently. I encourage my students to try to solve problems on their own first before asking for assistance.
Joyful Learning – My job is to help your child meet Kindergarten standards AND make it fun! I have a good balance of pencil-paper work, group work, using journals, whole class activities, independent work, craftivities, and play-based activities. As the year progresses, I provide more experiences to get the students acclimated to the expectations and procedures of a first grade classroom.
If you ever have a question or concern about the academic program or anything else regarding your child – please know that I am here for you AND your precious child. I look forward to working with you!
Keep updated – Daily: Check your email, your child’s Take Home Binder, and Class Dojo if your child is struggling to make good choices.
Weekly: Check Class Dojo and the hard copy of the week's events which has important dates and learning content. You will know what sight words, Religion concepts, etc. that we’re working on each week.
Monthly: Check the weebly website (http://mrssmall.weebly.com)The “parent section” on the weebly site is full of information that you can reference anytime about what’s going on this year (conference times, weekends with Hootie, websites for your child, the Kindergarten handbook, prayers, sight words, special event sign-ups, etc.), and it’s full of ideas to assist you as you help your child with learning goals.
You can sign up for “Remind” so that I can either send reminders via email or text to you. In the past, I’ve used “Remind” more in the fall when we’re all getting used to new routines. I also use it to remind you about field trips and other out-of-the-ordinary events. You don’t need to use Remind. If you do, please know that I won’t over-use it or send a reminder after 9:00 p.m. (I'm usually in bed before 8:00!)
Keep Healthy – There are a lot of people sharing a small space each day. Please help your child develop healthy habits (proper hand washing, the “vampire cough”, keeping fingers out of mouth AND nose, eating right, getting enough rest & exercise, etc.) Your child should come to school each day with two face masks (wearing one and one in the backpack) and personal hand sanitizer. There are always tissues and hand sanitizer available. KA is typically one of the healthiest classes.
Lunch – Each day there are two lunch choices; an A lunch and a B lunch (it’s always the same - a soy PB sandwich called the EZ Jammer). Your child can also pack a lunch with a drink or buy a milk at school. It’s important that your child know exactly what he/she is doing each day for lunch! Please take time to make sure your child is able to do this. I encourage you to pre-pay for your child’s meal and milk tickets. You can purchase a few meals and milks; no need to purchase 20 meals or milks if you don’t think your child will use it all. It’s a good idea to have a meal and a milk ticket just in case! Sending money for each day is discouraged because of the new system being used.
Labeling Items – Please label your child’s backpack, coats, hats, gloves, lunchbox, crayons, glue sticks, and anything you send to school. They are young and will lose things; we do our best to help, but there are so many children and only two adults in the room!
Math – The Kindergarten math curriculum is very hands-on and interactive. Many of our math concepts are covered through our daily calendar routine. We do this every day. We have monthly calendar notebooks to work on our skills (days of the week, tally marks, even/odd, the seasons, ten frames, number sentences, etc.). We spend sometimes up to 30 minutes on this daily routine. By the end of the year, we have days when we may only spend 10 minutes on this.
In the afternoons, we often use manipulatives (sometimes with partners) in a fun, engaging way that provides mathematical experiences that help students develop number sense and a positive attitude towards mathematics that will continue throughout their school career and lives. We also watch videos on the clean YouTube and on Brain Pop Jr.
News – I want to hear from you! Let me know if there are changes or issues that affect your child.
If your child ever comes home with a “strange story”, let me know so I can make sure you have the correct information. I hear lots of interesting stories too!
Notes - Should you need to send a note from home:
1. Tell your child that you’re putting a note in the Take Home Binder.
2. Tell your child what the note pertains to.
3. Remind your child to leave the note alone. I quickly check folders for notes, etc. right away. My aide does a more thorough check later in the morning.
4. Include the date, the class (KA), your child's full name, and your name. This is so helpful!
Please send a note from home:
1. If your child is riding the bus, but he/she is getting off at a different stop. (Students are not allowed to ride different busses; they are assigned to one bus.)
2. If your child is to be picked up from school early for an appointment or if your child is pick-up at the end of the day, and this is not part of the normal routine.
3. If your child is participating in an activity at school after 2:25 that your child doesn't normally attend (Extended Day, cheer leading camp, Girl Scouts, etc.)
4. Each time your child misses school, send a note explaining the absence.
Open Communication – It’s so important that you and I work together this year to make kindergarten a wonderful learning experience for your child!
The school office phone number is:
My school email address is:
My school weebly site is:
St. Michael the Archangel School site:
School Office Email – Mrs. Kreinbrink
School Office Email – Mrs. Bihn
School Nurse – Mrs. Siefring
Our Assessments – Assessments are mostly individualized. We use a skill-based quarterly report card.
MAP testing (our standardized testing) is done in the Tech Lab for Reading and Math during the months of September, January, and April. Most children aren’t used to using a “mouse” which is what is used for the MAP tests. If you have the hardware available, please have your child practice clicking and dragging with the mouse. The website (http://abcya.com) has terrific “click and drag activities” (decorate a cake, make a pizza, etc.)
Pick Up - When picking up your child at the end of the day, you will enter the south lot (the bell tower side) and go in a clockwise direction along the perimeter. You will have an orange placard that you will need to display on your sun visor. If you arrive at school by 2:25, you can go to the front of the line because of the orange placard. Stay in line, and stay in your vehicle. You will pull up to a colored cone, and we will direct your child to go to that cone. An adult will load your child. Please park somewhere in the parking lot if your child needs assistance with the seat belt; do not stay in line while you give your child assistance as it holds up the line.
If you need to pick up your child early from school, you must check-out through the office. The only door you can enter through is the left door of the middle three off Sutton Place. Enter the building and ring the bell for someone to let you in. You will go to the office, and Mrs. Bihn will page me to send your child to the office. I cannot let you take your child from the classroom. This is required to keep your child safe – and we all want that!
Play Time – Children do some of their best learning while they are playing. We play lots of learning games, and we use manipulatives in math and reading. We have iPads, pattern blocks, snap cubes, play do activities, fine motor bins, STEM bins, etc. We have lots of toys for indoor recess too. The most important skills learned through play are sharing, positive communication, following established rules, and turn-taking.
Quick goodbyes – Quick good byes (at home, in the car, or in the cafeteria) will leave drier eyes.
Questions? - Please feel free to email or send a note.
Question! – Ask your child questions each day. Ask what they learned, who they played with, who they sat by for lunch, the choices they’re proud of, and one thing to work on for tomorrow.
Reading – I'm changing up how I teach reading. We'll be using a guided reading series by Tara West. The children will eventually be placed in reading groups (about 4-5 weeks into the year). There are two student texts for each week's learning; there will be some weeks that we only use one text. Each week, we will focus on different concepts, sight words, letters, and word building.
I supplement a lot to the reading series. We have a sight word program, bag books, and Accelerated Reader (all of this is on my weebly site). We also do a lot with letter work and sight word fluency. We share stories, journal, and watch clean YouTube videos and Brain Pop Jr.
Religion – It’s all about relationships! My goal is to help foster personal relationships with God in all of my amazing students. Living a life a “JOY” (Jesus – Others – You) is what I hope all of my students live. There will be lots of opportunities to develop our personal relationships with God and lots of opportunities to serve others! God didn’t create us to be islands; He wants us to be in relationships and use our time and talents to build His Kingdom!
We base our Religion instruction on the Sadlier “We Believe” program. There are 27 units that all last one week.
We pray several times each day. The prayers that the children need to memorize are on my weebly site.
We attend Mass at least once each week. I expect our students to participate as fully as they are able and to behave with reverence. We will use the restroom before and after Mass; not during Mass! I don’t expect perfect behavior, but my expectations are high.
Please take your child to Mass each weekend. Expect your child to sit, stand, and kneel at the appropriate times. Use the bathroom before and after Mass; not during Mass.
We learn about many saints throughout the year. We use the program "Virtues in Practice" so we learn about a virtue each month along with a Saint who exemplifies this virtue. It’s important for the children to know that the saints are cheering them on and always encouraging them!
School Day – The school day begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 2:25 p.m (for KR & K). Please make sure your child arrives to school at least ten minutes before 8:00. We start our day at 7:30 (because of COVID), and if your child isn’t here, your child misses valuable instruction and bonding time with the class. We will line up for the cafeteria by 11:45 for lunch. At 12:30, the lunchtime Recess ends. We dismiss at 2:25.
Sickness – We want the children in school as much as possible! If your child has been vomiting, had diarrhea, or been running a fever, you must keep your child home for 24 hours after the last incident of these symptoms. Please do not medicate your child to mask a fever then send him/her to school! Some of our students have delicate immune systems that we don’t want to compromise. Most important, your child would be miserable at school and unable to enjoy the learning experiences.
Snack Time – We have snack time each day, but I do not provide snacks for the children. You are welcome to send a single-size serving of a dry snack (mini pretzels, goldfish, mini crackers, cheerios, a granola bar, veggie straws, etc.). Junk food, chips, fruit (too messy), yogurt, food with dips, and candy are not allowed.
Social Studies & Science/Health – I have created a yearly plan incorporating all of these learning standards. All units last for one, two, or three weeks. These standards are fit into the year based on the time of year and the reading series concepts. Some quarters are loaded with Science or Social Studies. If your child doesn’t have a grade for one of these subjects, it’s not an oversight; we just didn’t cover any of those learning standards that quarter.
Technology – We visit the Tech Lab usually twice each week. Our MAP tests are taken on desktop computers with a mouse (NO finger swiping!). In the classroom, we use the SmartBoard for all subjects. We watch clean YouTube videos, Brain Pop Jr., DVDs, and Netflix (my account) that extend our learning. We have a Chrome book for AR testing as well as mini iPads that all students get to use.
Toys - Bringing toys to school is discouraged because they distract the children from learning. Keep trading cards and stuffed animals at home. If your child brings a toy (3ds, iPad, etc.) for the bus ride, it must stay in his/her backpack. I am not responsible for lost, broken, or stolen property.
Unexcused Absences – When your child is absent from school the absence is automatically considered “unexcused”. You will be contacted by the school for repeated unexcused absences.
If your child is sick enough to go to the doctor, please send a doctor’s excuse.
If your child is absent but does not go to the doctor, please send a note explaining the absence.
Unfinished Work – We have lots of unfinished work. We don’t always have time to color! Please don’t worry when you see this! I will let you know when I need for assignments to be completed at home and returned to school the next day along with a reason why.
Volunteers – We love our volunteers! I'm not sure how and when volunteers can help in the building, but I will keep you posted. Traditionally, volunteers who help out during lunchtime, with pick up duty at the end of the day, and being a greeter are always in demand. When signing up for classroom events, please feel free to sign up for several events! We need the help!
Everyone entering the school must register at the front office desk and pick up a badge. If you come for lunch duty, please head to the cafeteria to meet us there and say good bye as we line up after Recess. On the days when we have inside Recess, please say goodbye as we line up to return to the room. Thank you for understanding that your “quick goodbye” helps the children to focus their attention on our directions.
Water Bottles – I encourage you to send a water bottle each day with your child. Please make sure that it is plain water, it has an attached lid, and that it has a “coolie” (to help with condensation- it’s not good when your child’s work area is soaked). The water bottle should go home each day to be washed and re-filled.
Writing – We start the year focusing on correctly printing our names and reviewing a few letters each day (sound & letter formation). Each week, we focus on one or two letters. We write daily; usually in our monthly journals. Sometimes we have three or four journals at one time! The progression is letters make words and words make sentences. My aide and I make sure to give each child a mini-conference about their writing each day. We encourage our students to “sound it out” (using the Phonics Dance jingles), and we praise them for a willingness to try – this can be quite uncomfortable for some of the students. By the end of the year, a student should be able to write a sentence all on their own that makes sense, starts with a capital, doesn’t have a capital in a “strange” place like the middle of a word, finger-spacing is used between words, and it ends with a punctuation mark. It’s exciting to see how many students try to write two or three (or more!) sentences about a topic by the end of the year!
eXit - Parents and family members may exit and enter via the main school entry only. Please make sure to check in at the office to get a badge. We are required to send you back to the office if you do not have one. Remember, this is one way we protect your child and all of the children. Please be patient with us!
eXperiences – Children come to school with all sorts of experiences. Some can read, some have never been away from family. Please don’t worry if your child is “behind” or “ahead” at this point.
You – What you do this year is so important to your child’s success in Kindergarten! You can help make your child feel successful this year by reading each night with him/her. This encourages your child to become a good reader by showing that you believe reading is important and enjoyable. Talk to your child about the school day. Set routines and expectations for homework, and expect your child to make good choices at school. Check your child’s Take Home Binder and clean out the backpack each day. Try to give your child some space to figure out how to handle situations independently, but be close enough to give an assist when needed. Helping you child develop good habits and a positive attitude about self and school is very important!
Zzzzzzz - Make sure that your child gets plenty of rest. Expect your child to be tired after school; we work really hard! Having a consistent bedtime routine is more important than a set bedtime. Most children require 10-12 hours of sleep each night. Know what your child needs.
Little ones often need to develop stamina to get through an entire day of school. At the start of the year and at the end of the year, it’s more common to occasionally have a student doze off in the afternoon. I’ll let you know if your child does this. When dozing off becomes a pattern, it’s up to you to modify your child’s routines at home to make sure he/she is getting enough rest.