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Typical Kindergarten Day

School days in Kindergarten are the best days! Kindergarten days involve a fine blend of instruction, structured play, child-centered activities, and developmentally appropriate curriculum. There is a strong sense of classroom community and excitement in these rooms. You may see a cozy reading area, welcoming whole group rug, and child sized tools and manipulatives to facilitate student learning. The average kindergarten class in Durham is approximately 20 students with a certified teacher and teacher assistant. Like many districts in North Carolina, Durham Public Schools has full-day Kindergarten programs.

Here are some components of a typical kindergarten day.

Arrival Time - First thing in the morning you will see an arrival time. During this time students may sign in, select their lunch, unpack, answer Today’s Question, and then engage in a morning activity. Some examples of morning activities might be independent reading, journals, checking on science experiments, or math activities. During this time the teacher may be greeting students and families, switching homework readers, answering questions, or taking attendance.

Morning Meeting – During this time students may be singing a welcoming morning song, reading and identifying important features in a morning message, discussing character education traits, and sharing important events in their lives.

Calendar Time – During calendar time, teachers are integrating areas of math, science, reading, writing, and social studies. Teachers may choose this time to discuss weather, days of the week, months of the year, pattering, odd and even numbers, money, place value, and temperature.

Word Work – This is a time for students to learn how letters and words work. Students will focus on specific concepts in areas such as early language skills, phonics, phonemic awareness, spelling patterns, and high frequency words.

Literacy Centers – While students move through centers, they have the chance to practice using skills and concepts that they have learned in other settings. They may move through centers such as listening, browsing box, writing, pocket chart, or ABC center.

Guided Reading – Guided Reading is the teacher’s time to work with small groups of students on targeted, specific skills. During this time, students will be reading small books on their level, increasing their vocabulary, learning reading strategies, and participating in mini-lessons appropriate to their level.

Interactive and Shared Writing – In both these types of writing, students and the teacher create a message together. In interactive writing, the students and teacher “share the pen”, while in shared writing the teachers serves as the scribe for the message. Both of these are times for teachers to help students learn about writing craft, conventions, and purpose.

Writing Workshop – During writing workshop, students take the lessons they learned during interactive and shared writing and apply them to their own work. They may be writing booklets, journal entries, stories, personal narratives, poetry, or non-fiction texts. Students will have the opportunity to revise and publish their work to share with the class.

Math Investigations – Kindergarten math is built on the idea of students exploring and constructing their own mathematical knowledge. They will be using manipulatives such as pattern blocks, unifix cubes, geoboards, Judy clocks, pattern tiles, and geoshapes.

Read Alouds – In Kindergarten, you will see many read alouds throughout the day. These are key for building students' concepts about print, fluency, vocabulary, and love of reading. You may see fiction, non-fiction, and poetry all used as read alouds during different points of the day.

Science – Science is a time for discovery and exploration. Students will be learning about weather, animals, properties of everyday objects, tools, and measurement. Teachers will create hands-on experiments and activities that inspire students to build understanding through scientific inquiry.

Social Studies – Social Studies is often integrated into the other areas of the day. You may see students reading a book about citizenship or graphing favorite Thanksgiving Foods. The Kindergarten Social Studies Curriculum allows for opportunities to learn about communities, holidays, families, citizenship, and basic economics.

Recess – Recess is an important time for students to build gross motor skills. They will be exploring with their new peers in a stimulating playground environment. Some teachers encourage the use of balls, chalk, jump ropes, and other playground toys to continue this development. As weather permits, teachers will try to take their students outside as much as possible. Remember to dress your child in layered, comfortable play clothes.

Lunch – Lunch time is generally between 11 and 1 for most Kindergartners. The students will generally eat in the cafeteria with their teacher or teacher assistant. They will have the option of bringing their own lunch from home or eating the school’s lunch. The school lunch menu can always be found on the Durham Schools website.

Specials – Students will visit specials once a day. All students will attend Physical Education, Art, and Music. Most schools offer technology and media, as well. Some schools offer additional specials as well. Check with your school or teacher for a complete specials schedule.

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