Kindergarten News

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We enjoyed learning about Matthew, our Star Student last week!  We enjoyed 
learning all about Nina, our Star Student this week!  Happy birthday to 
Will (3/9)!  Congratulations to Eleanor as she lost another tooth!  
Congratulations to Nina for as she lost a tooth today!

We have a couple of important events that I would like to inform you about 
so that you might mark your calendar!  First, you will have the 
opportunity to view our class performance reflecting our work with the NW 
Children’s Theatre on Friday, April 14th from 9:30-9:50 in the gym!  Our 
work will be based on the book Let’s Go For a Drive!, by Mo Willems.  Mrs. 
Ford’s class will perform from 8:30-8:50, and Mrs. Kincaid’s class will 
perform from 9:00-9:20.  You are welcome to come for all of the 
performances.

Second, the kindergarten classes will be going to the zoo on May 31st!  I 
have brought many classes on this field trip as a kindergarten teacher.  I 
also chaperoned this field trip as a parent when 
my now third grader was in kindergarten.  As you know, the zoo is a very 
busy place and I feel that the more chaperones we have, the better!  If 
you haven’t already, please submit your background check through PPS in 
advance in order to chaperone.

Here is what we have been up to lately:

READING

-	When, then, are, like, sight word review
-	Word work (v,w,y sounds)
-	Read Aloud:  Farfallina & Marcel (focus:  predicting)
-	Using initial sounds & pictures
-	Readers can notice consonant clusters to help solve unknown words
-	Partner reading:  readers get their mouths ready for blends and 
digraphs

-	Many students have been bringing in story books from home to read 
with the class.  A few brave students have brought in books to read aloud 
to our class!  If your child has a book that they would like to read 
aloud, please allow them to bring it to class to share!  We have 
had a lot of fun with Mo Willems books lately.

WRITING

-	Change and grow writing project (Check out our bulletin board!)
-	What are some new things you have learned to do? (Check it out 
inside our classroom!)
-	How-to writing
-	Handwriting workbooks
-	Will’s birthday book

MATH 
-	100th day of school math activities
-	3-D shapes 
-	Students have been working on reading and solving story problems.  
They are working on showing their thinking with pictures, numbers, and 
words. 
-	Students created their own story problems about sharks, 
seals, and whales.  Students learned how to brainstorm and create a rough 
draft.  They then created their final product.  Come check them out in our 
classroom!
-	Skills:  listening for key elements of word problems, solving word 
problems, solving story problems using a variety of strategies, sharing 
strategies and solutions, counting groups of 10’s and 1’s

SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUDIES 

Let’s Find Out:  Do You Hear the Weather?
Objective: Children differentiate between different kinds of weather 
and imitate the sounds of each.
Skills:  Listening, following directions
Vocabulary:  cirrus, cumulus, stratus, whoosh, wispy

Let’s Find Out:  A Little Chick Hatches!
Objective:  Children are able to identify and sequence the steps in 
the chicken’s life cycle, as well as describe the properties of an egg.
Skills:  scientific exploration
Vocabulary:  dozen, hatches, incubate, peck, life cycle

-	Students have been keeping a journal about what they have been 
learning about guppies.  Ask them what they have learned about a guppies 
habitat,body parts, and what they need to survive!

-	St. Patrick’s Day:  A leprechaun came to our classroom while we 
were at lunch!  Students participated in various fun activities, and 
listened to St. Patrick’s Day themed read alouds.

Have a nice weekend!

~ Mrs. L


March 3, 2017

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We enjoyed learning all about Logan, our Star Student this week!  Happy 
birthday to Benji (February 28th) and Dr. Seuss (March 2)!

We will be celebrating the 100th day of school in kindergarten on Monday 
with a variety of activities throughout the day.  If your child hasn’t 
sent in their 100s collection yet, please send it in on Monday!

READING

This week kindergartners focused on figuring out the changing words in 
patterns as they read.  Students noticed how punctuation can change the 
way we express ourselves when we read aloud.  We also tried something new 
with literacy center rotations two days a week.  This went really well!  
Students were able to 1) write in their science journals about what 
guppies need to live 2) do a letter sort activity (recognizing letters 
with different font types) 3) practice writing the letters Y and Z in 
their handwriting workbooks 4) write sentences using sight words from our 
word wall and dry erase boards 5)  Meet with the teacher in a small group 
to work on reading skills and strategies that match individual rates and 
levels of learning. 

Read Aloud:  See How We Grow by Katacha Diaz, Dr. Seuss books

Comprehension Skill:  Cause & Effect

We enjoyed reading with our 4th grade buddies!

WRITING

Students continued to work on their how-to writing.  We acted out some new 
stories and asked, “Can I follow this?”  If the how-to directions were not 
clear, we talked about what needed to be added to student writing to make 
it clear.
  
~ Benji’s birthday book

Students wrote about what they were like as babies, and what they are like 
now.  We talked about the different things that they can do now that they 
couldn’t do as babies.  Students predicted what they will be like when 
they are 20.  We will continue with this activity next week.  Thanks for 
the photos!

MATH

~ 3-D shapes

~ Story Problems (interpreting visual information, counting quantities of 
10, exploring the process of addition and subtraction, learning to 
represent one’s thinking with pictures and numbers, sharing strategies and 
solutions with classmates)

SOCIAL STUDIES/SCIENCE/ART

~ My Habitat Book (mountains, rainforest, arctic, desert)

~ Science Spin:  A Storm is Coming
Students read to learn how observing animals’ behavior can help predict 
when it will rain.  We also observed how weather changes.  During our 
observation, the weather changed from cloudy, to sunny, then rainy, then 
rainy and sunny!

~ Rainbow Art , March Calendars

Let’s Find Out:  Who Was Dr. Seuss?
Students learned important literacy vocabulary:  author, characters, 
cover, fiction, illustrator, spine, titles

~ Vision & Hearing Screenings

Happy Friday!

~ Mrs. L



February 23, 2017

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Thank you to those of you who have sent in your beautiful baby pictures 
and current pictures of your children!  Please keep them coming if you 
haven’t had a chance to send yours in yet.  We are getting reading to 
start our fun activity next week.

The kindergarten team will be out for a planning day tomorrow.  I believe 
this is the third or fourth time we have had to reschedule due to the 
snow!  Hopefully the weather forecast is incorrect for tomorrow.

We enjoyed learning about Kylie, our Star Student last week!  We enjoyed 
learning about Liesl, our Star Student this week!  Happy birthday to Ella 
(2/18), and Caleb (2/21)!  Congratulations to Nora for her recent tooth 
loss – yes two teeth, and Logan, who lost a tooth recently as well.

Here are some of the things we have been working on lately:

READING

Students are beginning to tackle more challenging books.  We are also 
focusing on looking for patterns and noticing the changing words in 
patterns as we read.  Students are practicing using reading mats to stack 
their books in order from easiest to hardest during independent reading 
time.  Students then “read back” the books from hardest to easiest.  The 
class continues to recognize sight words when reading and to blend 
sounds to read words. 
 
We met Patricia Polacco, listened to her wonderful story telling, and even 
got a chance to make a wish by touching a piece of rock from the story 
Meteor!  

WRITING

How-to Writing:  Students have been thinking about and writing about 
things that they can do really well.  They are practicing writing to teach 
others.  We have had some very brave students share their writing, while 
another student acts out the steps.  Then we talk about if the directions 
make sense and are we able to follow the steps.  If not, we know what we 
have to fix.  This has been very fun and we will continue to do this as 
students complete their work.

We continue to work in our Handwriting Without Tears workbooks.  Students 
are encouraged to print neatly and use lowercase letters in their writing.  
We continue to focus on using a capital letter at the beginning of 
sentences, and punctuation at the end.  We are also talking a lot about 
the importance of leaving spaces between words so that our writing is 
readable.  

-	Ella and Caleb’s birthday books.

MATH

~ Writing numbers from 0-20 both in order, and out of order. 
~ Using tally marks to count
~ Math workplaces
~ Counting using number lines, number patterns

SOCIAL STUDIES/SCIENCE 

-	Decorating Valentine’s Day bags

-	Valentine’s Day celebration (Thank you to those of you who were 
able to come!)

-	Let’s Find Out:  Our First President

-	Choice Time

-	Patricia Polacco inspired art

-	Let’s Find Out:  Who’s Habitat is That?
Students learned about four different habitats, organisms, and 
environments.

~ Mrs. L


February 10, 2017

Dear Kindergarten Families,

I have been busy working with students on assessments and completing 
report cards for second quarter.  Report Cards went home with students in 
folders today.  As a reminder, we will have our Valentine card exchange on 
February 14th in the afternoon from 12:30-1:30.  If your children choose 
to make cards, they should make one for each child in the class.  Please 
feel free to join us, just remember to sign in at the office!  Also, the 
Lunar New Year Family Festival is tonight from 6:15-8:00 pm!

We enjoyed learning about our Star Students (Ellie, Gracyn, and Joel)!  
Happy birthday to Cole (2/6) and Eleanor (2/9)!  Congratulations to Kylie, 
Nina, Shawn and Nora – they each recently lost a tooth!

Here are some of the things we have been working on in kindergarten:

READING

~ Author’s Study:  Patricia Polacco
After reading the story For the Love of Autumn students made their own cat 
creations using pastels.  We will display their art for Patricia Polacco 
to enjoy during her upcoming visit to our school!

~ Sight words:  they, of, you, see

~ Comprehension:  Compare and Contrast

~ Informational Text

~ Phonics:  /S/, /B/, /M/, /R/, word sorts

~ guided blending practice, vowel sound practice

~We are excited that we will be working with an artist in residence from 
the NW Children’s Theatre for a week in April.  We hope to have a student 
performance for parents on Friday 4/14, although this hasn’t been 
confirmed just yet.  More details to come!  Our class will be performing a 
skit based on the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.  We have been 
reading books to see which one we would like to focus on for our 
performance!

WRITING

~ On the weekend
~ Joel’s birthday book
~ Eleanor’s birthday book
~ Editing old work from 1st quarter
~ Your child took home their 1st quarter writing today!

MATH

~ Time, weight, temperature, length (measurement)
~ 1st quarter skill review
~ Using scales to weigh items
SOCIAL STUDIES/SCIENCE
Science Spin:  Star Builder, architecture, cool jobs
Friends of Trees:  Paper making project (in-class field trip) Thank you to 
Will’s mom for helping with this project!
Lunar New Year:  Paper lantern craft and booklets, read alouds, singing 
Gung Hay Fat Choy and interpreting the meaning of the song.
Have a wonderful weekend!  Thank you for all that you do as parents to 
support your child’s learning each day.
 
Sincerely, 

Mrs. L


January 20, 2017

Dear Kindergarten Families,

With only two and a half days of school this week we were busy bees trying 
to fit everything into our schedule!  We are working on our 
characteristics of a successful learner after missing so many days in the 
classroom.

The library is looking for parent volunteers!  They are very flexible 
about time.  You can email Deborah Crews at dcrews@pps.net for details or 
to schedule a time.

We enjoyed learning all about Ella, our Star Student this week!  Also, 
happy birthday to Joel (1/21)!

READING

~ Independent reading
~ Partner reading
~ Short /i/
~ Written response, comprehension

WRITING

~ On the weekend I…
~ Reading/Writing comprehension work
~ Spaces, lowercase letters, punctuation, word wall words
~ words me, she, this
Read Aloud:  Fly Guy Presents:  The White House, Snowmen at Night, The 
Snow Lambs

MATH

~ Calendar math (money, counting by 10s, counting on, weather, days in 
school, days in school this month , ten-frame dot card numeral 
recognition, days of the week, the date, etc.)
~ Winter math assessments (We had a substitute on Thursday so that I could 
work individually with your children).  
~ Math Story Problems (representing math story problems with a number 
sentence, pictures, and words)

SOCIAL STUDIES/SCIENCE

Let’s Find Out:  Arctic Giants!
Objective:  Children will be able to describe the Arctic habitat and the 
adaptations of some animals that live there.
Science Standard:  organisms and environments
Vocabulary:  Arctic, Arctic hares, Arctic foxes, camouflage, enormous, 
ermine, musk ox, orca, polar bears, prey, tusks, walruses

Let’s Find Out:  We Have a New President
Objective:  Children will be able to name the new president and describe 
the jobs that the president does.
Social Studies Standard:  civics
Vocabulary:  Air Force One, country, laws, leader, president, rules, 
speeches, voted, White House

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Read Alouds:  Martin’s Big Words The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 
I Have a Dream Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
 
Portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Students will finish their artwork on Monday and add some words to their 
art to express what they have learned about Martin’s dream.
Song About Martin by “Miss Jackie” Weissman (Ask your child to sing it for 
you!)

Have a wonderful weekend!

~ Mrs. L



January 12, 2018
* Check out the Winter Activities on the sidebar!

  
January 8, 2017

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It was a joy to be back at school with your children this week!  It had 
been
too long, and we had many tasks to complete that we had started prior to
Winter Break.  The children enjoyed bringing home their gifts to share 
with
family.

We completed Eleanor’s Star Student activities this week.  We also enjoyed
learning all about Elia, our Star Star Student this week.  We also enjoyed
making birthday books for Sophia (12/28) and Shawn (1/2)!  

On Friday we had fun wearing our pajamas to school.  Thank you to Konnie
(Yohannes) for donating popcorn and apple juice for our class celebration.  
We
watched the video, The Snowy Day, based on the children’s book by
Ezra Jack Keats.

We had the opportunity to meet with our 4th grade reading buddies Friday
morning.  The students loved going up to the second floor!  

READING

This week we focused on getting back into our routines.  Students 
practiced
building stamina for reading independently.  We have been reading books 
and
practicing recognizing our word wall words in “a snap.”  Students have 
been
building up their collection of “good fit books” for their independent 
reading
book bags.  Students also practiced reading with partners.  Students are
making gains and it is wonderful to watch their skills develop over time.  
I
will begin winter assessments this week.

Read Alouds:  The Mitten and The Hat by Jan Brett, Winter is the Warmest 
Season

We talked about foreshadowing, as well as sequencing of events.  We had a
wonderful and engaging conversation about things that make us feel warm in 
the
winter.  We integrated this into our Science Curriculum and how snow can 
help
to keep us warm.

WRITING

This week we made birthday books for Sophia and Shawn!  We also wrote 
about
Winter Break.  Some students are still working on completing this project. 
We
are focusing on using our lowercase letters, proper spacing, punctuation, 
and
spelling word wall words correctly.   Students are also working on adding 
more
words to make their writing more rich and descriptive.
  
We added the following words to our word wall:  is, my, like, we, for, he

MATH

~ Counting books
~ Winter measurement activity
~ Growing patterns
~ Coin recognition and value, addition, calendar pattern
~ Graphing the weather
~ Counting on

SCIENCE

Science Spin:  Snug in the Snow
Focus – Ice & Snow, Structure & property of matter
Students learned how the Inuit can use snow to keep warm by building 
Igloos.
  
Students began a sequencing activity for building a snowman.  They will
continue that activity next week by adding writing to their pictures to
describe what is happening.  

Happy New Year!

~ Mrs. LaTocha



December 5, 2016

Here is a quick snapshot of last week at school!

We enjoyed learning more about Cole, our star student!  Thank you to those 
of you who have volunteered to help out at Writer’s Workshop and to prep 
materials for the kindergarten team!

READING

~ Readers use punctuation to figure out how to read.
~ Rhyming words.
~Reading CVC words/short vowel /a/, decodable readers
~5th graders Kendall, Nora and Ella shared a read aloud with our class.
~ Read Alouds:  Various gingerbread man storybooks 
~ Sight words:  saw, have
~ Readers talk about books.
~ Readers change their voices to show they understand the book.
~ Moving along with individualized reading instruction.

WRITING

~ Personal Narratives
~Frog jump capital H
~ Story Elements:  character, setting
~ Writers learned to use vowel charts to help with the middle of words.  
~ Adding details 
~ On the weekend…
~ Writing readable stories using word walls (Increasing students’ sight 
word knowledge)

MATH 

~ Workplaces
~ Counting book
~ We brought a bunch of cake kits that had been donated for our cake drive 
out to the bulletin board in the hallway.  We worked to count all of the 
boxes of cake mix, frosting, and money.  We then added stamps to our ten 
frames and practiced counting by 10s.  We also added tally marks to our 
tally charts and practiced counting by 1s and 5s.  We are getting really 
close to our goal.  Thank you for all of your generous donations!
~Describe the location of one object relative to another object using 
words such as in, out, over, under, above, below, beside, between, next 
to, across from, behind, below.
~Recognize when additional information is required to solve a problem.

SOCIAL STUDIES/SCIENCE

Let’s find out:  Get Ready for Winter Chipmunk!
Science Standards:  animals and seasons
Objective:  Describe how a chipmunk prepares for hibernation.
Rainbow of Me – artwork hanging in classroom 
Practice sight words
~ Compost City puppet show performed by METRO
Students learned how to compost yard waste and fruit and vegetable scraps.  
To learn more about composting visit www.oregonmetro.gov/compost

OTHER

Watercolor/resist paintings
Choice Time

Have a great week!

~ Mrs. LaTocha


November 22, 2016

Dear Kindergarten Families,

I hope this message finds you well and that you are looking forward to 
some quality family time over Thanksgiving Break.  The Thankful Turkeys 
that your children brought back to school are a wonderful reminder of all 
that we have to be thankful for each day.  

We enjoyed learning all about Charlie, our Star Student last week.  
Congratulations to Payton and Logan for their recent tooth loss!  Happy 
birthday to Bailey on the 17th!

Thank you to Pat (Bailey) and Helen (Will) for the work you do to support 
the kindergarten teachers in the preparation of materials each week.  
Thank you to Nicola (Nina) and Hope (Joel) for the work you have done with 
our class for our art project/school auction.  Hope and Nicola shared the 
stories, Larry Gets Lost in Portland and Portland ABC with the class.  
They facilitated a class discussion about what makes Portland home, and 
all of the wonderful things our city has to offer.  Children then worked 
in small groups to contribute to our art project.  I know we will have an 
amazing piece of art for the auction!

I want to let you know that I will be out of the classroom on November 
30th.  As a member of our school Equity/Care team I will be working with 
colleagues to prepare professional learning opportunities for our staff 
that take place during our late-openings.  

READING

-	Added “as”, “at”, and “can” to our word wall.  We also added “the 
kind of –ing.”
-	Rhyming words word sort
-	Readers don’t let longer words slow them down (every word gets one 
tap)
-	We started our reading groups last week!  Students worked on 
various skills.  Some students worked to identify sight words in the text, 
follow patterns, and use their reading fingers.  Students also worked to 
make a connection between the consonant sound /t/ and pictures associated 
with the word to make an educated guess.  Other students worked to make 
predictions or summarize what they read.  All students are practicing the 
routine of getting out their book bags, meeting with their group, and then 
putting materials away.
-	Brown Bear, Brown Bear books (Students practiced reading their 
books using their reading fingers, colored in the books, and then read 
them to a fifth grader!)
-       Hunting for "snap" words
-	We read lots of books together to include books about Diwali, 
Thanksgiving, and books from our surprise book bin.

WRITING 

-	Letter M, Mystery Letters (review of Frog Jump Capitals)
-	On the weekend I…
-	Reread and touch each word
-	Using tools
-	Lowercase letters
-	Spaces
-	Bailey’s birthday book

MATH

-	Let’s Make 10 (addition number sentences and ten frames)
-	Beat You to Ten (comparing quantities, reading numbers to 10, 
adding two or more quantities)
-	Bucket of Frogs (counting & sorting using 10 frames)
-	Butterfly Race (count pictures in a set, read numerals to 10, 
identify the ordinal positions of objects, compose and decompose numbers 
from 2 to 10)
-	Hungry Caterpillars (recognizing and naming shapes – triangle, 
trapezoid, rhombus, hexagon, exploring relationships between various 2-
dimensional shapes, combining shapes to make other shapes, solving spatial 
problems)
-	Counting to 100
-	Counting by 2s, 5s, 10s
-	Numeral writing and 1:1 correspondence 

SOCIAL STUDIES/SCIENCE

-	Choosing a class tree for observation
-	Leaf journals 
-	Leaf observations (Many students have brought in leaves or 
pinecones from home for student observation during choice time!)
-	Let’s Find Out:  I Hear a Big Wild Turkey! (characteristics of a 
wild turkey, vocabulary: flock, snood, wattle)
-	Diwali:  Students learned about the holiday and traditions.  
Students learned Diwali songs, painted beautiful diyas, and made rangolis. 
 
OTHER
-       Assembly: Dance performance
-	Completed our take-home November calendar
-	How to draw a turkey
-	Choices:  creation station, dry erase lowercase letters, Boggle 
Jr. , Art, science observations, Thanksgiving poem, Thanksgiving booklet, 
Turkey coloring page
-	Turkey poem/Art

Phew!  Enjoy your Thanksgiving and safe travels to those of you who will 
be on the road for the holiday.

~ Mrs. LaTocha





November 9, 2016

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It is a pleasure to have the time to sit 
down with you this week and 
discuss the individual strengths and 
goals for your child.  I appreciate 
the time you are taking out of your busy 
schedules to meet with me. 
 
We continue to read the wonderful books 
donated to our class by your 
families and the PTA.  Thank you for this 
wonderful gift!  Thank you to 
the parents who donated food, materials, 
and time for our class Harvest 
Festival.  The children had a great time!  
Last week we enjoyed learning 
all about Campbell, our Star Student!  
Congratulations to Charlie for 
loosing another tooth over the weekend .

I am still looking for a parent volunteer 
who is available every Wednesday 
from 1:05-1:50 to help us during our 
Technology special.  Please send me 
an email if you are interested.  Thank 
you to those of you who have helped 
out with material preparation for the 
kindergarten team.  We are so 
appreciative of this support!  There is a 
sign-up on our class website for 
Wednesdays from 10-2.  In addition, you 
will find that I have posted a new 
volunteer sign up for Writer’s Workshop 
on our class website.  This will 
be on most Mondays, Wednesdays, and 
Fridays from 10-10:30.  There is a 
description of what you will be assisting 
with on the link.
  
Here is what we have been working on 
lately:

READING

-	Add “as, “at” to word wall
-	Introduce “the king of –ing” and 
“can”
-	Point & read everything we can
-	Rereading makes readers stronger
-	Using the alphabet chart to 
remind us of letter sounds
-	Reading  “good –fit” books   
         
WRITING

-	Helping students stretch stories 
across multiple pages
-	Using spacers
-	Getting ideas for stories and 
practicing storytelling
-	Stretching and writing words
-	Using more lowercase letters in 
our writing
-	Weekend News
-	If I were President… (hanging 
outside our classroom)

MATH

-	Instant recognition of quantities 
to 5
-	Seeing quantities in relationship 
to 5 and to 10
-	Counting with tally marks
-	Matching sets and numerals
-	Recognizing numerals to 10
-	Making predictions
-	Understanding how some of the 
common shapes are formed
-	Patterns & positional words
-	Numeral writing assessment

SOCIAL STUDIES/SCIENCE/OTHER

-	Read Aloud:  How are you peeling!
-	Pumpkin “feelings” activity
-	November Calendar, sight words, 
tree art
-	Let’s Find Out:  Rotten Science
-	Video Clip:  A Pumpkin Grows	
-       Guest Speaker:  Talk about trees

On Election Day we reviewed what we had 
previously learned.  We read some 
of the book, So You Want to Be President.  
We talked about what a 
president does for work.  The students 
had some great ideas about taking 
care of the environment, and taking care 
of people to make sure they have 
the things that they need (food, shelter, 
employment, jobs, and 
healthcare).  The children also talked a 
lot about being nice and kind to 
others.  Students then wrote about what 
they would do if they were 
President.

-	The class voted on our new school 
mascot.  We are now the Forest 
Park Foxes!

~ Mrs. LaTocha




October 30, 2016

Hello Families,

Last week was a very busy week at school!  
Thank you to the large group of
parents and grandparents who chaperoned 
our field trip to the pumpkin 
patch. 
Even though it was wet and muddy, we made 
the best of it.  We did cut it a
little short by leaving our lunches at 
school to eat upon return.  Another 
big
thank-you to so many of you (as well as 
the PTA) for donating the 
wonderful
books from the book fair for our class 
collection.  We have been keeping 
them
in a big box with a lid on it, and 
pulling one out at a time to introduce 
to
the class.  This has been very enjoyable.  
Finally, thank you to Courtney 
Q.
(Campbell) and Konnie (Yohannes) for 
volunteering your time as room 
parents
this year.  Looking forward to seeing 
many of you for our classroom
celebration on Monday morning.

We enjoyed learning more about Caleb, our 
star student this week! 
Congratulations to Charlie – he lost a 
tooth!  We enjoyed celebrating 
Liesl’s
birthday this week!

*Tip:  Please check your child’s head 
regularly for lice.

READING

*review of old sight words
*new sight words “no” and “go”
*apples & bananas song (vowel sounds)
*partner read, old favorites
*word sorts
*assessments
*We read many books from our book box, as 
well as non-fiction books about
pumpkins and farms.

WRITING

*stretching out words to write even more 
sounds
*October writing samples
*partner share – “who”, “what”, “why”
*On the weekend…
*Liesl’s birthday book
*using a sound spelling chart to support 
kid writing

MATH

*matching ten frame number cards to 
numerals
*skip counting
*counting to 100
*making tally marks with Popsicle sticks
*counting by 5s, counting on
*numeral recognition/sequencing to 10, 
pumpkins

SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUIDES

*class discussion/poster rules and 
expectation for the field trip
*Pumpkin patch field trip!
*life cycle of a pumpkin
*choice time

Have a great week!

~ Mrs. LaTocha



October 21, 2016

Hello Families,

Thanks so much to those of you who 
volunteered to chaperone our upcoming 
field trip.  As long as your background 
check has cleared, you should be 
all set.  I will send more information 
home in purple folders next week 
with all of the chaperoning details!  

If you are interested in signing up to 
assist the kindergarten teachers 
with our weekly preparation of student 
materials, you can now sign up 
following the link on our class website!  
Please let me know if you have 
any questions.  I am also looking for one 
parent volunteer who could 
commit to helping out each week during 
our Technology instruction.  This 
would be the same person for the entire 
year.  We have Technology on 
Wednesdays from 1:05-1:50 (but not this 
week as we will be on our field 
trip).  Send me an email if you are 
interested!

We enjoyed learning all about Benji, our 
star student this week!  The 
children all enjoyed making me some 
thoughtful birthday cards.  This was a 
student-initiated activity. As one 
student observed another child’s work 
he commented, “She sure put a lot of love 
into that!”  Congratulations to 
Kylie - she lost a tooth this week!

READING 

~ Readers use exact character words
~ Reading lines of dialogue with feeling
~ Using transitional words when 
connecting pages and details in stories
~ Students met with their fourth grade 
reading buddies for the first time 
this Friday.  The fourth graders were so 
kind to the kindergartners.  The 
fourth grade buddies asked a few 
questions to get to know their kinder 
buddies.  Afterward, they had time to 
share a few books together.

WRITING

~ Frog jump capitals
~ On the weekend…
~ Publishing celebration/sharing stories 
whole group
~ Sharing writing with a partner, asking 
“who” “what” “why” questions to 
extract more information and expand our 
writing.  I am sure the children 
will be able to tell you all about moving 
Mrs. LaTocha’s washer, dryer, 
couch, and chair into her house (for 
example)!
~ Going back to old pieces of writing and 
adding more details
~ Word work:  word sort animals/not 
animals, sounding out words the best 
we can
~ Sight words:  and, to, a

MATH

~ Observing & describing
~ Sorting by likenesses & differences
~ Counting & Comparing
~ Predicting

SOCIAL STUDIES/SCIENCE

~ Tree vocabulary 
~ Read Aloud:  Duck for President by 
Doreen Cronin
~ We watched a video about elections and 
voting.  We read Let’s Find Out:  
A Duck Can’t Be President!  We focused on 
building our vocabulary with 
words such as:  President, candidates, 
polling, election, vote, political 
parties, debate, ballot, etc.  Students 
had the opportunity to vote for 
their favorite book, choosing between one 
fiction, and one non-fiction 
title.  We then charted our results 
whole-group using tally marks.  
Reading Objective:  Learn how people vote 
for President.
Social Studies Standard:  civics
~ Earthquake Drill 
~ Read Aloud:  We Shake in a Quake
~ We talked a lot about earthquakes and 
how to stay safe (at a 
developmentally appropriate level).  Your 
children may have questions 
about earthquakes, or they may want to 
come up with a safety plan for your 
family.
Choices:  manipulatives, apple art with 
pastels, creation station, Lincoln 
Logs, blocks, dollhouse, math workplaces, 
stick puppets

It is such a delight to spend each week 
with your incredible children. 
Have a nice weekend!

~ Mrs. L



October 13, 2016

Dear Kindergarten Families,

We had a wonderful, short week of school!  
I am sorry to have been absent 
from school on Monday.  My family 
discovered late Sunday that we would 
finally be able to move into our house on 
Monday.  What a relief!
  
We celebrated Charlie’s birthday (10/9) 
this week.  We also enjoyed 
learning more about Bailey, our Star 
Student. 

Look for information regarding our 
upcoming field trip to Plumper Pumpkin 
Patch on Monday (purple folders).  Also, 
if you have not yet signed up for a Fall 
Conference, please 
check the schedule on our class website 
and email me a time that will work 
for you.

Here is what we have been working on this 
week:

READING

~ Readers practiced how to get their own 
old favorite storybooks to read. 
  
At home, try the following:

How to Make an Old Favorite:
1.	Find a storybook and a person you 
love.
2.	Ask, “Will you read this to me, 
please?”
3.	Say, “Read it again,” every time 
it is over.
4.	Listen really closely.
5.	You read it!

~ Goldilocks sequencing activity
~ Three Billy Goats Gruff written 
response:  characters, setting, events
~ Sight words:  am, I, the, little

WRITING

~ On the weekend I…
~ Charlie’s birthday book
~ Use classroom rituals & routines to 
work independently
~ Visualizing, telling, writing, and 
drawing stories from own life
~ Sharing ideas & writing with peers
~ Segmenting words to write what we hear

MATH

~ Calendar math
~ Math work places
~ Creating and interpreting a graph
~ Exploring probability
~ counting and comparing quantities
* Ask your child about the game, Which 
Bug Will Win?

SCIENCE

~ Apple sorting by variety
~ Apple graphing by color
~ Science observations (miniature 
pumpkins, Indian corn, gourds).  We 
talked about how scientists make 
observations about what they are studying 
and draw what they really see.
 
Happy rainy three-day weekend!

~ Mrs. L


October 7, 2016

Dear Kindergarten Families,

Hello, and happy Friday!  You will notice 
that your child has a homework 
assignment in their folder due on Monday 
.  Please bring an apple to 
school.  Bring it in a bag and label the 
bag with the variety.  This might 
be the perfect excuse to check out the 
Apple Festival at the Portland 
Nursery this weekend.

*You will find a link on our class 
website for fall conferences.  If you 
haven't already signed up, you can send 
me an email and I will place you 
on the schedule!

*If anyone is interested in lending a 
hand to the kindergarten team, you 
will see a bin outside of Mrs.Fords room 
that often has photocopy projects 
in it.  Also, we have set some copying 
projects out on Mrs. Kincaid's 
table just outside her classroom.  You 
will see a sticky note with 
directions on each stack.  If you have a 
few minutes Monday morning, you 
can just grab a stack and leave it the 
finished box outside Mrs. Ford's 
room.  Thanks in advance!

Here is a summary of our week:

STAR STUDENT:  Ayden, we enjoyed learning 
more about you.  Thank you for 
sharing.

READING/WRITING/ART

~ We watched a wonderful performance of 
Hansel & Gretel performed by the 
Portland Opera.  
~ October calendars
~ We read the story Leaf Man, by Lois 
Ehlert.  Students then made their 
own leaf men.  Please check out their 
creations on our bulletin board!
~ Practice see-saw reading with a 
partner, checking for understanding, 
reading to learn more.
~ Readers work hard to make the words 
they read match the page they are 
reading (making more meaning from books 
by following the actions closely).
~ Students practiced correcting 
misunderstandings when reading.
~ Writing, Weekend News
~ Free Choice writing, sounding out the 
words the best we can and moving 
on.
~ Word work, sounding out words to spell.
~ Handwriting:  Frog jump capitals

SCIENCE

Science Spin:  Super Senses!
Assembly:  Dental Care
Let’s Find Out:  Apples!

MATH

~ Exploring triangles & squares
~ Rotating and matching shapes
~ Creating & extending patterns
~ Making observations



September 30, 2016

Hello Families,

I hope this message finds you well.  It 
has been a joy getting to know all 
of your fabulous children over the last 
month.  We celebrated three 
birthdays in September.  Happy birthday 
to Elia (9/5), Matthew (9/6), and 
Ayden (9/26)!   Congratulations to 
Sophia, who lost a tooth at school 
today!  Also, a big thank you to Benji 
and his family for the wonderful 
plants to beautify our classroom!

You will notice that I have added a link 
on our class website with a list 
of questions for you to choose from to 
ask your child about their day at 
school.  I would suggest choosing one or 
two questions a day to try to 
elicit a conversation about school.  I 
know firsthand how hard it can be 
to get your kindergartener to tell you 
about their day!  In other news, we 
will be partnering with Ms. Bannon’s 
fourth grade class for reading 
buddies this school year.

Regarding volunteers in the classroom, I 
am so thankful to all of you that 
have expressed some flexibility in your 
schedule to get into the classroom 
and volunteer.  Due to the large 
response, various time availability, and 
subjects of interest; I am not sure that 
I will be able to please everyone 
but I will do my best.  I am still 
working to figure out where the 
greatest need will be and then I will 
have a weekly sign up for families.  
I will try to have various times of the 
day throughout the week so 
hopefully more people will have the 
opportunity to come in and lend a 
hand.  Our class is still working 
collectively on listening to listening 
signals and responding right away so that 
we don’t waste our learning 
time.  We should be ready for volunteers 
soon, but we are not quite there 
yet.

One reminder:  Please allow your child to 
do their own jobs in the morning 
(put lunchbox in bin, put snack & water 
in cubby, place folder in bin).  
This will foster independence and help to 
build confidence.  It will also 
help me at the end of the day when 
students are expected to do the same 
thing in reverse.

Here is what we have been working on in 
kindergarten this week:

READER’S WORKSHOP

~ Rereading helps readers learn from 
words in books, too
~ Readers sound like teachers when they 
read learn-about-the-world books
~ Readers can read stories they have 
heard numerous times (energizing 
students around old favorite storybook 
reading)
~ We started our Words Their Way word 
work this week.  Our focus was not 
on the skills, but rather, learning the 
routine.  Day 1) cut Day 2) 
individual sorting practice Day 3) 
partner sort Day 4) glue/word study 
notebook 5) game/activity
~ Read Alouds:  The Three Billy Goats 
Gruff (various versions), Goldilocks 
(various versions) The Carrot Seed, and 
more!
~ Finishing assessments
~modeling/practicing partner reading 
(looks like, sounds like)

WRITER’S WORKSHOP

~ Weekend news
~ Be Kind
~ Chalkboards (wet, dry, try), 
handwriting
~ Frog jump capitals
~ Writing even hard-to-write ideas 
(empowering early writers)

MATH/SCIENCE

Science Spin:  Gliding in the Dark (bats) 
Did you gather the information from the 
words or the picture?
~ Math workplaces
~ Numeral writing

OTHER

Lock down/fire drill (students practiced 
staying safe if there is a danger 
in the building).  You should all be 
proud, the class did an amazing job!
Choice (puzzles, doll house, dramatic 
play, art, blocks, manipulatives, 
books, barn…)

Enjoy your weekend!

~ Mrs. LaTocha




September 23rd, 2016

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It is hard to believe that today was our 
16th day of school!  The children 
are busy working on learning the rules 
and expectations at school.  We are 
practicing good listening and talking a 
lot about what different work 
times should look like and sound like.   

Reminders to help your child have a 
successful day at school:

•	Check your child’s purple folder 
each day for important 
messages/papers from school.
•	Send your child to school on time 
(arriving between 7:45-8:00) and 
say good-bye by 8:00 a.m.
•	If your child arrives after 8:10 
they will need to stop by the 
office for a tardy note.
•	If you need an item delivered to 
your child at school you will 
need to check in at the office.
•	Please send your child with a 
jacket, water bottle, and easy to 
open/no mess snack each day.
•	Library books are due every 
Tuesday.
•	Have your child wear sneakers on 
Monday and Thursday for P.E.

Here is what we have been working on this 
week in kindergarten: 

READING

•	Readers read a book from cover to 
cover (concepts of print)
•	Readers reread (concepts of 
print, reading behaviors)
•	Readers reread a book by putting 
all of the pages together 
(supporting language development by 
having students talk about what they 
read)
•	Sight words:  I, am
•	Building stamina (independent 
reading, partner reading)
•	Read Alouds:  Three Billy Goats 
Gruff, Move Over Rover, Stories by 
Dr. Seuss

WRITING

•	Handwriting:  curves & circles, 
big curve and little curve, 
vertical, horizontal, diagonal
•	Carrying on independently as 
writers (problem solving)
•	Creating a class list of writing 
topics
•	Writers call to mind what they 
want to say, then put that onto the 
page
•	Stretching out words to write 
them (supporting student in getting 
words on their papers)

MATH

•	Counting by 1’s and 10’s
•	Unifix cube pattern building
•	Polydrons
•	Geoboards & Geobands (shapes)
•	Naming shapes
•	Comparing sizes
•	Graphing & comparing quantities
•	Recognizing the attributes of 
various shapes

SCIENCE/HEALTH

•	Let’s Find Out:  Stay Healthy at 
School
•	Read Aloud:  Germs Make Me Sick

Enjoy your weekend.  Perhaps I will see 
you Saturday night at the Forest 
Park Elementary Kindergarten and New 
Family Social!

~ Mrs. LaTocha



September 16, 2016

* PICTURE DAY IS MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH!
* SITE COUNCIL IS LOOKING FOR KINDER 
FAMILIES WITH OLDER SIBLINGS IN OUR 
SCHOOL TO SUPPORT NEW FAMILIES.  PLEASE 
LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE INTERESTED 
:-).

Happy Friday!  Thanks so much to those of 
you who were able to come to 
Back to School Night/Curriculum Night.  
It was such a pleasure to spend 
time with you and share a bit of our 
kindergarten experience with you.  If 
you were unable to attend last night, I 
sent home a folder full of 
information with your child today.  
Please fill out the yellow permission 
slip and the pink volunteer survey.  Both 
can be returned in your child’s 
folder.  

A couple reminders – please remember to 
send a healthy snack (quick, no 
mess, easy to open independently) and a 
water bottle to school with your 
child each day. We have decided as a 
class to have snack in the morning 
instead of the afternoon.  We then have 
lunch around 11:00 and if students 
have food left over they can eat during 
quiet time.   If you have a change 
in your pick up routine for the day you 
can send a note in your child’s 
folder.  If it is short notice, please 
call the office.  I am looking 
forward to a wonderful school year!

Here is what we have been up to this 
week:

READING WORKSHOP

-	Readers Read the World (reading 
environmental print)
-	Readers Read Books to Learn about 
the World (conveying the 
        expectations of private reading 
time)
-	Readers Read by Themselves and 
with Others (being a proficient 
        partner to launch and lift 
children’s partner reading work)
-	Focus on Non-fiction

Read Alouds:  The Carrot Seed (Ask your 
child to tell you this 
story, or even to act it out!), The Three 
Billy Goats Gruff,CREAK! Said 
the Bed, The Beetle Alphabet Book,  It’s 
Hard to Be Five, That’s Good, 
That’s Bad!

WRITING WORKSHOP

-	We Are All Writers:  Putting 
Ideas on Paper with Pictures and 
        Words
-	Writers Know that “When We Are 
Done, We Have Just Begun.” (Helping 
        students get ideas onto paper)
-	Notes to parents
-	Left hand, right hand
-	Pencil grip
-	Music for writing instruction
-	Building Mat Man (big line, 
little line, big curve, little curve)
-	Positional words (behind, beside, 
through, between, bottom, 
        middle, top, on)
MATH

-	Patterns				
-	Counting days in school
-	Shapes, attributes, names, 
sorting	
-	Exploring materials:  pattern 
blocks, unifix cubes, polydrons, 
        geoboards & geobands
-	Colors
-	Days of the Week

OTHER

-	Rules, Routines
-	Kelso’s Choices
-	Self-Portraits


September 9, 2016

Dear Kindergarten Families,

It has been such a joy working with your 
children and getting to know them 
over the last few days!  Prior to working 
at Forest Park Elementary I 
taught both kindergarten and second grade 
for several years.  I moved to 
New York and lived and taught there for 
the last two years before deciding 
to return to Oregon permanently!  I have 
a Master of Arts in Teaching and 
a BA in Anthropology.  Prior to teaching, 
I was employed as a field 
archaeologist and also worked for the 
Smithsonian Institution's National 
Museum of the American Indian in 
Washington D.C.  My husband works at OHSU 
in the field of medical research.  We 
have two daughters, Nina (5, 
kindergarten) and Amara (8, 3rd grade)!  

Our kindergarten curriculum supports 
national, state, and district 
standards.  Our school is implementing 
new literacy curriculum this year 
developed by Lucy Calkins.  We will also 
begin using a program called 
Words Their Way, and Handwriting Without 
Tears.  Our literacy program 
fosters the development of strong 
literacy skills utilizing a combination 
of strategies to include direct 
instruction in phonemic awareness and 
phonics, reading comprehension and 
fluency, and an individualized reading 
program designed to meet the rate and 
level of each student.  Our yearlong 
writing plan follows a writing workshop 
model and focuses on personal 
narrative and expository - informational 
writing, and opinion.  Lessons 
build sequentially as students develop 
stamina and new skills.  New skills 
are introduced throughout the year and 
students routinely conference 1:1 
with the teacher.  Students practice 
speaking and listening during journal 
share.  Skills are taught directly 
through shared writing experiences 
(interactive writing) and our handwriting 
curriculum.

Our math curriculum includes a hands-on 
approach to math called Bridges, 
calendar math (number corner), and a 
variety of other 
resources designed to meet our learning 
objectives and the individual 
needs of students.  Topics we will 
explore will include, but are not 
limited to:  patterns, geometry, numeral 
writing and recognition, 
developing number sense, exploring data, 
measurement, counting and the 
number system.  Science is taught through 
scientific inquiry.  Students 
will compare the structures and functions 
of similar animals (goldfish and 
guppies, red worms and earthworms, and 
pillbugs and sowbugs).  Students 
will also learn about parts and functions 
of trees.  

I will also be teaching art lessons that 
will be integrated with other 
areas of the curriculum. In addition we 
will be practicing critical social 
and school-readiness skills throughout 
each day.  Our specials schedule is 
as follows:  

Monday - PE
Tuesday - Media, Music
Wednesday - Technology
Thursday - PE, Mandarin/Counseling 
(alternating weeks)
Friday - Music

Throughout the school year students are 
assessed as student needs change.  
These assessments help to inform our 
instruction and meet student needs.  
This information will be shared with you 
at conference time and through 
report cards. 

Please remember to send your child with a 
snack each day!  Also, please 
check and empty purple folders each night 
and send them back to school in 
the morning.  If you have a message for 
me, please leave it in the purple 
folder.  

I look forward to seeing many of you at 
Back to School Night/Curriculum 
Night on September 15th (parents only) at 
6:30!

Enjoy your weekend!

~ Mrs. LaTocha