For Elementary School Teachers

Updated on May 12, 2010
S.K. asks from Lakeside, CA
7 answers

I have 3 children in my daycare that are not at all challenged by preschool work and would easily sail through any PreK and K level workbook. They all have good long attention spans, enjoy writing practice, listen well in public, and they can follow directions without any trouble. They will all be with me for the next school year even though 2 of them are turning 5 this summer missing the deadline for school by just a few days.

I am wanting to know what areas I should work on next year that would help them the most in school. Specifically, what would you love for every child coming to your class to know before they get there?

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answers from San Francisco on

Wow! If we could hear this question more often... ;) I am a kindergarten teacher and I would love for my students to know how to write their names, raise their hands, listen while not only the teacher is talking, but while a classmate is speaking, use scissors, have had experience using glue sticks, crayons and paper. It is also a plus when the students come in knowing their letters so that we can work on letter sounds. The state puts so many expectations on these little guys and what we had to learn in kindergarten versus what they need to know exiting now, is quite different.

If you are teaching them ways to be respectful, good listeners, that is so important. With each passing year it becomes harder to work with the academics because of increasing behavior issues. :(

At this point and time, I would also encourage hands on experiences that elicit exploration and discovery versus traditional workbooks. Comprehension is also important. I have noticed that many students can decode very well and "read" but when asked during assessments about what they read with open ended questions, they are unable to do so. Hope this helps you. :)

Good luck!!

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm not a teacher, but my sister is. She has taught as an assistant in K. One of the big goals for the teacher was getting the kids to write their full first and last name. Not nicknames. The teacher said that until they can write their full first name, they can't just write their nicknames on their papers. Some other things that I think are important: using regular size pencils not the fat toddler ones; using safety scissors and glue.

Also at our school the teacher's don't stay and have lunch with the kids. There are only 2 aides to watch over all the kids having lunch. They also don't get any help with buying their lunches and making healthy choices. The ladies serving the food suggest things, but even if the kids do pick it up, the healthy stuff usually ends up in the trash. So I would think teaching them how to pick out what they want for lunch, carrying their lunch to the table, opening snacks/milk by themselves would be helpful too.


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answers from Los Angeles on

I am a Speech-Language Therapist and I work in the schools, often finding that I get a ton of referrals from Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers each year since the kids are often so unprepared for listening, talking and following directions. Speaking in complete sentences, not 1-2 words, when answering questions or making a comment is a common goal I have for kids that age. How well do they speak and converse? You can provide a language-rich environment, asking questions during storytime, discussing stories and events in their own lives, encouraging comments, predictions, developing social skills for them to start to talk to each other. You can present lessons on themes like transportation or a story, and have the kids raise their hands, practice sitting to attend for periods of time and answering questions, participating in a group setting. These are great skills for language development and will help them dramatically in reading and writing when they start school.

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answers from Kansas City on

you could start with the sight words, make sure they know the simple things like what silverware are fruits, veges etc. start money that is a few things that my son did in K.

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answers from Kansas City on

In addition to the suggestions Aimee made it would be helpful for the kids to be able to empty their own backpack and hang it up, zip their coat and hang it up, tie their own shoes, and know their address and phone number. Think in terms of self-help skills.

The social aspect and being a part of a group is very important. It is surprising how many kids do not know how to take turns, wait patiently for a drink at the drinking fountain, or even stand in line.

Check out This is an excellent resource for building reading skills. There are sight word lists, rhyming games, handwriting pages, etc.

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answers from St. Louis on

request both the preK screening guidelines & the KG prospectus from your school district. By combining both of these, you should get a good feel for your next benchmarks. Good Luck!

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answers from San Diego on

Field trip time!!! :) :) :)

As in for you. Every district is VERY different, so to find out what's going on/ needed/ helpful... the best thing you can do is go talk with your local K teachers.

At my son's K, the *END* of year goal was for all the students to know
- 5 colors
- 3 shapes
- 20 numbers (at this highly rated public k-6 school, only number recognition was required as addition & subtraction was not taught until grade 3)
- the alphabet (visually, not writing)
- write their own name

At my niece's K, 3 districts over, in order to gain ENTRY into K, students had to be able to
- count and write up to 100
- be reading single syllable words, and sounding out multiple syllable words (parents were given a 200 sight word list)

by end of year the goals were
- 2 digit addition and subtraction
- reading fluently
- be able to write for at least 10 minutes

As you can see RADICALLY different requirements in 2 districts in the same state. My son was already reading fluently and doing multiplication and division, so he was quite literally bored to tears in K. His school wouldn't catch up to his preschool in scope and sequence until grades 3 & 4. (Big part of why we decided to homeschool). My niece did play based preschool (and has uninvolved parents) and so didn't even know her colors, much less reading... so spent her first 2 years in special ed, even though she's not developmentally or mentally disabled in any way (all kids who didn't meet grade standards in her district were automatically sent to special ed, so the school wouldn't lose it's no child left behind money).

The next added benefit to a field trip to your local school is that you get a head start in forming relationships with the teachers and front office staff.

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