First Day

Today, I honestly felt like I was herding sheep. It was an exhausting first day, but much better than last year's! I can't wait for them to get used to the routine... Good luck tomorrow kinder teachers, we are all in the same boat! :)


Orientation AND Open House

Our school has Open House BEFORE the first day of school, so students can meet their teachers and check out their classroom. At "my" school, there are only 2.5 kindergarten teachers. Lucky for us, we have a lot of say in how we conduct our classrooms, so we (I) decided the mornings of Open House each year should be dedicated to a Kindergarten Orientation. At Orientation, we go through all of our classroom policies, in hopes to clarify confusion regarding homework and behavior expectations. It really does work! I use a Powerpoint presentation so I remember ALL I have to say.

I have the parents sign-in so I can send home a "Thank You" for attending.

At the Open House, I have a cute jar filled with Hershey's kisses and the parents/children have to estimate how many kisses in the jar. The person closest gets to keep the whole thing! I also give out these mints...


Mission Accomplished

Here are pictures of the new, smaller room!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Divine Design

Do you remember when I told you I was moving? Well, the movers come Thursday to take my stuff out of Room 3 and lug it all the way down to Room 21. I had to make a map to show them where I want (most of) everything. I felt like Candice Olson (I modeled my own kitchen after the "Fashion-Forward Kitchen Update"). Anyway, here is what I came up with...


Welcome Letter to Parents

Here is my Welcome Letter. I call it my "syllabus". It is included in the manila Welcome Packets, shown here.

"Dearest Parents,

Welcome! I am very excited about meeting each and every one of you. I’m looking forward to teaching your child and providing meaningful experiences to develop a lifelong love for learning. I truly want their first year of elementary school to be a positive experience. This letter will explain how I run my classroom and what one should expect this year. It will probably be a good idea to keep this letter at home so you may refer back to it if necessary. If you ever have any questions, you may email me ( or call me at school. It is best to email me, since I am able to check messages from home.

Our school is currently undergoing renovation. Therefore, we will begin the school year in room 21. Approximately 6-8 weeks later, upon completion of our beautiful new classroom, we will move to room 3 permanently.

This class is the only full-day kindergarten at this school. We are very lucky to have Mrs. Bragg as a kindergarten aide.


The playground is unlocked, in the morning, at 8:40am. Please bring your child to the playground dot, labeled “21”. Children are brought inside at 9:00am and the tardy bell rings at 9:10am. Those students dropped off after 9:10am, must be taken to the office in order to be admitted to class.


Students are to be picked up, in-person, at 3:21 pm from our dot (#21). If you are running late, you may find your child waiting in the office. Please be courteous and pick up your child on time.

Daily Schedule

I try to follow the class schedule as closely as possible. The following schedule pertains to Mondays-Thursdays. Fridays will have a slightly different schedule, due to computers, show-and-tell, and “free choice” centers.

Pledge/Entry Task 9:00-9:10

Calendar 9:10-9:40

Reading/L.A. 9:40-10:30

Break 10:00-10:10

Writing Workshop 10:30-11:00

Lunch 11:00-11:30

Reading Centers 11:30-12:25

Specials 12:35-1:25

Math 1:25-2:00

Math Centers 2:00-2:35

Recess/Snack 2:35-2:45

Science/Social Studies 2:45-3:15

Dismissal 3:21


Every two months, I will send home the “Snack Schedule Calendar.” If you see your child’s name on a particular day, I ask that you please send a snack for the entire class with your child that day. It is not required though. We have about 26 students. It is easiest for me, if snacks are individually wrapped. Popular items include animal crackers, chips, fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, fruit, crackers, pretzels, etc. I try to avoid anything with peanut oil or chocolate due to those students with allergies. Snacks will be eaten during afternoon recess.


In our classroom, we will be following the “Star Rules.” They allow learning to take place in a safe and productive environment, while emphasizing respect. The rules are as follows:

S – Share with others.

T – Talk when the teacher says it’s okay.

A – Always keep your hands, feet, and other objects to yourself.

R – Respect others by listening, caring, and sharing.

If a child chooses to break a rule, I will “move their clothespin.” On the wall, I will have four categories: “E” for excellent, “G” for good, “N” for needs improvement, and “U” for unacceptable. Each day your child will begin with their clothespin on “good.” The clothespin will be moved down if he or she breaks one of the star rules. Clothespins may also be moved up if your child shows exceptional behavior. If a child moves down to “N,” he or she will sit out from recess partially, for five minutes. If a child moves down again to “U,” I will call the parent or send a “Tough Day” Notice home, explaining which infraction was made and the student will lose all ten minutes of recess.


Please look in your child’s backpack every day for handouts or letters. Often times, children forget what papers they were given. Homework packets will be given on Monday for that week. Homework packets will be due on Friday. Homework packets will include our classroom newsletter, homework for that week, and the snack calendar (if applicable). Homework typically consists of 1-2 nightly review worksheet(s) and fifteen minutes spent reading with your child. Your assistance with your child’s homework is necessary. Directions are often too hard for the kindergartner to read; therefore your help is needed. A manila envelope will be sent home with the homework packets containing one or two reading books that can be used towards your nightly reading minutes. Please practice reading these books with your child.


All work that is completed as homework will count towards a student’s letter or effort grade. Neatness, accuracy, understanding of the concept, and completing work in a timely manner will be a part of the grading process. Some work will have one of the following marks:

Advanced (exceeds grade level standards) [Star] = Outstanding

Proficient (meets grade level standards) [Smiley face] = Good

Approaching grade level standards :).k. = O.K.

Below grade level standards Oops = Keep trying

Star Student of the Week

Each week I will select a “Star Student of the Week.” When your child has been selected, I will send home a packet for you to complete with your child. The packet will be displayed on a bulletin board, so pictures or drawings are encouraged (they will be returned)! The Star Student of the Week may sit in the designated chair, have special jobs, and have time to share with the class each day about what makes them special! A trophy will also be placed at his or her seat to keep at school for all to see.


The first couple of weeks of school are a period of adjustment for kindergarten children. Leaving home, getting to know new friends, and learning about the classroom and school are very big steps. This adjustment can be made easier if parents postpone visiting the classroom until after the first two weeks of school. Once the adjustment period is complete, I welcome parents in our room and love having the extra hands, especially on Fridays. Please let me know if you are able to volunteer! Most of the time, I need assistance with assembling papers/homework packets, which may be done at home as well. I have attached a “Help Wanted” form for your convenience.


Please see the attached letter for a list of supplies your child will need. I ask that children bring a change of clothes in a plastic bag to keep in their backpacks. Accidents do happen, especially in new environments!


Birthday party invitations may not be sent to school unless there is one for every student or every student of their same gender (i.e. “girls only” or “boys only”). Simplicity is best for in-class celebrations. If you would like, you may send a simple snack that day for your child to share with classmates, keeping in mind we have about 26 students. Please no punch or cake.

Thank you!

I am eager to start the year and get-to-know your child!


Mrs. Payne & Mrs. Bragg"


Welcome Handouts

Every year I make manila envelopes for each student containing a massive amount of forms for the parents to complete. These forms help the parents get to know me, the rules, procedures, and the forms give me a lot of information. I read every form and take note of allergies, trnsportation to and from school, which children have NOT been to preschool, and which parents want to help. :)
The forms are...
Welcome Letter (Syllabus)
Help Wanted - Volunteer Sign Up
Allergy Information
Child Pick Up Info
Snack Calendar
Questionnaire for Kinder Parents
School Supplies List
Below is the Questionnaire.

Magnetic Fridge Letter Fun

I got a master of the alphabet arch and made 25+ copies on large paper. Then, LUCKILY, I found 25+ sets of magnetic fridge letters at Target's One Spot. The children can practice alphabetical order and letter recognition.
I labeled ziploc bags and put a set in each bag. The children will grab an alphabet arch mat and their set of letters to take back to their desks.


Orientation Information

Here are the PowerPoint slides I show during Orientation. Orientation is different from Open House. Open House is much more casual as families walk around the classroom and I simply greet them.