Are There Differences Between Kindergarten & 1st Grade?

Do you remember when you were in kindergarten and first grade? Did you have any favorite activities in kindergarten and first grade? Now there are many more differences and we were curious about what they are.

We had chats with Mrs. Delany and Ms Powers about the differences between Kindergarten and 1st grade. These teachers have experience in teaching both grades, so they gave us really good answers. Our first question is: What are the differences between K and 1?

Mrs. Delany answered: The kids learn where all the important places are in the building, such as the nurses office, the cafeteria, and the specials. We teach them numbers, spelling, writing, behavior, and reading.

Image of the classroom sign outside Ms Powers' room.Ms Powers answered: They learn to be more independant; it’s their first year with the Go Binder; they need to sort out their homework and notes; the kids write themselves notes; and they have a lot more responsibility. 1st graders start to read and write in small groups. Kids learn to master reading and they read with a buddy. Ms Powers’ class studies for math, reading, writing, and spelling for homework. They get homework every night. They start to think about reading and writing. They learn why numbers are important. Finally, they learn to count to 100. The kids learn to not get shy around adults or on stage.

The second question to Mrs. Delany is: What are the +s and -s of a full day? Mrs. Delany shared: They have more time to practice what they’re learning and they don’t need to rush out of the door at 12:00. Kids and parents like the full day because students get more work done, and get to be part of the school. Ms Powers answered this question too, she shared: (Except it’s 1st grade, not a full day), They get a solid foundation of skills, and they think about reading. The kids start to learn about numbers. The students start to think about writing, and start to write persuasive, expository, and narrative essays. Those are the +s and -s of first grade and kindergarten.

The next question is: Is kindergarten and first grade hard or easy to teach? Image of classroom sign outside of Mrs. Delaney's room. Mrs. Delany said: I have to teach good citizenship to them, as well as how to line up, how to behave, how to hold a pencil, and how to read and write. For Ms Powers, its a passion for her. She also, like all teachers, loves it. It feels like a non-job. Although its a great job, she  has to work around the clock. She also has to get ready for school, as she has kids herself. The teachers feel like its both “hard and easy”.

The 2nd to last question is: Are they getting used to 1st grade and kindergarten? Ms Powers said “They’re getting used to how the classroom works. They know that if they don’t get their work done, they stay in for recess. Image of rug in library whose design is of the world.She says that if she walked away for a whole day, they wouldn’t know she was gone. Mrs. Delaney gave us her answer. They’re getting to know the teachers. They also know the specials, (P. E, library, technology, art, and music.) and the kids know their schedules. They’re getting used to riding the bus and recess. Students gets into routines for learning. They both think their getting used to 1st grade.

The last question is: Are they ready for 1st and 2nd grade? Ms Powers gave us: She thinks not right now, but probably by the end of the school year. They need to do a good job, or they come in over the summer. Mrs. Delaney gave us this: They have a lot to learn.

There are many differences between these grades, but these are what we did. Ms Powers and Mrs. Delaney gave us great answers. I hope you know the differences between 1st grade and kindergarten!

Reported by Matt, Robert, and Sam

Reading Buddies

A 5th grade boy reads to a younger student.What are Reading Buddies? Good question! Reading Buddies is a program where the older classes meet up with either a kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade class. The younger kids are paired up with an older kid (or maybe two!) and they read together and play educational games each time they meet throughout the year. We alternate meeting in either the older kids’ or the younger kids’ classroom. Reading Buddies are fun for the students because they get to develop relationships outside of their classroom.

We will never forget the time, as kindergartners, we got our first reading buddies! We were doing our work when the teacher said “It looks like our buddies are here!”. We all turned our heads toward the door, and there they were, walking in the room with books in their hands. We were super excited to work with the older kids. We felt very special working with and learning from the 5th graders. It made us feel more mature to be working with the bigger kids; we felt bigger too.

We chatted with some 5th graders to see what their perspective was about Reading Buddies. What do you like about Reading Buddies? Calvin said, he likes to hang out with kindergartners and read to them. Getting to know kindergartners and making a new friend is what William likes. Addie likes watching the younger students learn to read. What’s fun about the program, to Mackenzie, is learning about what genres of books interest little kids.

We also wondered what their favorite books to read with a buddy are. Calvin enjoys reading fairy tales with his buddy. William replied, Are You My Mummy? a Halloween version of Are You My Mother? Reading whatever the kindergartners choose is Addie’s favorite. What Mackenzie loves to read isPiggy and Gerald  by Mo Willems.

We thought it would be interesting to ask what they would like to change about this program. Calvin would like to A kindergarten girl reads with her buddy.increase the amount of time we get to read with our buddies per year. William thought everything about this program is perfect, and there is nothing to change. It’s fun for everyone, and you should not change anything, is what Addie answered. From Mackenzie’s perspective, it all works out and there is nothing to be changed. You could see from the very beginning 5th grade and the kindergartners both love this program.

Then we wanted to see how different the 5th grade perspective was from the teachers’. We asked Mr. Wadness why he does reading buddies. He does it because he wants to give students the opportunity to be a teacher to the younger students. He likes to see the kindergartners look up to the 5th graders when they work together. He also loves watching relationships begin to develop between the 5th graders and kindergartners, and they almost become like brothers and sisters.

Then we asked him how long he has been doing this program. Surprisingly, in his 22 years of teaching, this year is only his second year! Last year he and his class were Reading Buddies with Mrs. Bedell-Healy’s and Mrs. Brannelly’s class. This year with just Mrs. Brannelly’s class. He only participated in the program last year, because in prior years, all of the kindergarten classes were already with buddies

We also wondered what he finds interesting about Reading Buddies. He likes to see the older and younger students bond. He likes to see them read together and build with K’nex. He likes when the students see their buddy in the hallway, they wave and say “Hi”, or give them high fives!

2 buddies reading together.After that we wanted to know what he thinks the students like when they get together to read. He thinks the students like to be a little bit like a brother or sister to each other. He believes it makes them feel good to read and teach each other. He notices that the students like to make stories together and color together. He likes to see the relationships between the older and younger kids continue to grow. He notices that Reading Buddies is a special time for the fifth graders because they feel very responsible.

Then we decided to ask him if there was something he would like to change about Reading Buddies. He said “No”. Why? He and his students had such a great time last year with their Buddies. Although, he did a program in his last school called Special Friends, in which he and his students received a buddy and they went on field trips, read, colored, and played games. He does wish that he, his students, and their buddies could go on field trips together, but unfortunately, there is not enough time. We thought Mr. Wadness’ answers were very interesting, especially compared to the students’.

Reading Buddies helps older and younger students get to know each other and bond. It helps the kindergartners understand what it’s like to be a 5th grader. It also helps them to get used to 5th graders and not be nervous around them. Out of all the activities that are happening throughout the school, Reading Buddies is by far our favorite.

Reported by Kyle, Rico, Will A., and Drew

Pumpkins in a library?

Who has ever heard of that! 

The kindergarteners started to grow pumpkins 104 days ago on September 25th. Right now the pumpkins have male flowers and have large green leaves! The vines are fuzzy and 48in long, and they are growing into each other.  The flowers are a pale yellow and and you can see the veins and moistness in the petals.

Over the last few weeks we have been interviewing kindergarten students from each class.  They had really interesting things to say for each question. The first question that we asked was “What steps did you take to be a grow pumpkins?” The most popular things were water and seeds. A couple of  students said vines, dirt and water. One student that was absent said that “Mrs. Chase just brought them in.” 

“The second question was “Do you like being a scientist?” The almost all of the answers were “yes” but their reasons were because “it is fun”, “learn new things,” and “you get to figure things out.” One kid seemed like he got up on the wrong side of the bed, because he did not want to answer any questions. 

“How big do you think your pumpkin is going to get?” was the third question.The assortment of answers were cute. They ranged from as small as “3 inches” to as large as “big as the school!”

As of right now there are no female buds. We think it is because the library is too cold, so it is hard for the pumpkins to grow. The Kindergarteners seem to have faith in their pumpkins. We don’t know if the pumpkins will grow, but we do know it took a lot of hard work to get this far.

Reported by:  Griffin, Aryana, Lucy, Andrew, and Jude