At least once a year I encounter someone who doesn't know me and asks what I do for a living. When I say that I teach kindergarten I get one of two reactions: 1. "I could never do that. Kids these days are so spoiled!" or 2. "Oh, that age is so sweet. You must have so much fun!"
Well, today is the last day of school. Yes, some kids are spoiled. Weren't some of us? And yes, some are sweet. And oh, yes, yes, we have some fun. But I thought you might like to get a glimpse of what we are expected to teach these curious little minds. The Priority Academic Student Skills or PASS are what the state of Oklahoma has decided that each child must know in order to be ready for the next grade level. Each level builds on the skills of the previous year, and hopefully by high school graduation night you have produced a well-educated citizen, ready to face the world. More on that subject later.
I've included only a few skills from each subject. If you want to see all sixteen pages of requirements for kindergarten you can link to the Oklahoma State Department of Education and also take a look at the PASS for any grade level.
Kindergarten programs should:
- Provide an environment designed for the age group served and implemented with attention to the needs and differences of the individual children.
- Provide units or themes of interest which integrate and teach all areas of the core curriculum (e.g., language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts).
- Provide an environment arranged in learning centers or learning areas (e.g., art center, science center, reading center, dramatic play center, block center). Each center will have a variety of activities for the children. This arrangement allows for a wide range of developmental interests and abilities within the same classroom.
- Provide a balance of classroom activities that are teacher-directed and child-initiated. These activities may be active or quiet, performed individually or in large and small groups.
- Provide a learning process which is active; one in which children interact with each other and materials while engaging in cooperative hands-on learning with day-to-day life experiences.
- Provide curriculum which builds upon what children already know and are able to do to enable them to connect new concepts and skills.
- Provide opportunities for exposure to a wide variety of information and literacy experiences and the use of technology through daily activities in the classroom and/or media center.
These Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) are intended to be a minimum curriculum for children attending kindergarten in Oklahoma. Teachers trained in early childhood curriculum theories will provide an enriched curriculum including the following skills and many others.
Remember that I have removed most of the specific requirements listed for each standard because I don't want you to be overwhelmed!! LOL This is just a list of the basics we cover:
Reading/Literature: The student will apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, appreciate and respond to a wide variety of text and literature.
Standard 1: Print Awareness - The student will understand the characteristics of written language.
1. Demonstrate correct book orientation by holding book correctly (right side up) and indicating where to begin (e.g., front to back, top to bottom, left to right).
2. Identify the front cover, back cover, title page of a book and title and author.
3. Follow words from left to right and from top to bottom on the printed page.
4. Understand that printed materials provide information.
5. Recognize that sentences in print are made up of separate words.
6. Distinguish letters from words.
7. Recognize and name all capital and lowercase letters of the alphabet.
Standard 2: Phonological/Phonemic Awareness - The student will demonstrate the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate large parts of spoken language (e.g., words, syllables, onsets, and rimes) and individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.
1. Identify and produce simple rhyming pairs.
2. Identify and count syllables in spoken words.
3. Distinguish onset (beginning sound(s)) and rimes in one-syllable words.
Example: Onset - /b/ in bat
Example: Rime – at in bat
4. Recognize ending sounds in spoken words.
Example: /t/ in bat
5. Recognize the same sounds in different words.
Example: /b/ in ball, big, and bun
Example: /p/ in tap, rip, and mop
6. Begin to blend phonemes to form a word.
Example: /b/ /a/ /t/ = bat
7. Begin to segment phonemes of one syllable words.
Example: bat = /b/ /a/ /t/
Standard 3: Phonics/Decoding - The student will demonstrate the ability to apply sound-symbol relationships.
Standard 4: Vocabulary - The student will develop and expand knowledge of words and word meanings to increase their vocabulary.
Standard 5: Fluency - The student will demonstrate the ability to identify words in text.
Standard 6: Comprehension - The student will associate meaning and understanding with reading.
Standard 7: Literature - The student will read to construct meaning and respond to a wide variety of literary forms.
Standard 8: Research and Information - The student will conduct research and organize information.
Writing/Grammar/Usage and Mechanics: The student will express ideas effectively in written modes for a variety of purposes and audiences.
Standard 1: Writing Process - The student will use the writing process to write coherently.
Standard 2: Grammar/Usage and Mechanics - The student will demonstrate appropriate practices in writing by applying standard English conventions.
1. Spelling: Demonstrate the process of representing language by means of a writing system.
a. Recognize that letters have different sounds
b. Recognize and record some beginning and ending sounds in words.
c. Generate temporary spelling using letters, particularly to represent initial and ending consonant sounds.
2. Handwriting: Demonstrate appropriate handwriting in the writing process.
a. Trace, copy and generate letters. Children may still be reversing some letters.
b. Print his/her first and last name.
Oral Language/Listening and Speaking: The student will demonstrate thinking skills in listening and speaking.
Standard 1: Listening - The student will listen for information and for pleasure.
Standard 2: Speaking - The student will express ideas or opinions in group or individual settings.
Standard 3: Group Interaction - The student will use effective communication strategies in pair and small group context.
Visual Literacy: The student will interpret, evaluate, and compose visual messages.
Standard 1: Interpret Meaning - The student will interpret and evaluate various ways visual image-makers including graphic artists, illustrators, and news photographers represent meaning.
Standard 1: Patterns - The student will sort and classify objects and analyze simple patterns.
1. Sort and group objects into a set and explain verbally what the objects have in common (e.g., color, size, shape).
2. Explain verbally and extend simple patterns (e.g., ).
Standard 2: Number Sense - The student will understand the relationship between numbers and quantities.
1. Compare a group or set to another group, set or numerical quantity and verbally explain which has more, less or equivalent quantities.
2. Pair and count objects using one-to-one correspondence (e.g., one napkin for each child at snack time).
3. Count forward to twenty and backward from ten.
4. Count objects in a set one-by-one from one through ten.
5. Identify and create sets of objects zero through ten.
6. Identify and write numerals zero through ten, in and out of sequence. Children may still be reversing some numerals.
Standard 3: Geometry and Spatial Sense - The student will identify common geometric shapes and explore the relationship of objects in the environment.
Standard 4: Measurement - The student will explore the concepts of nonstandard and standard measurement.
Standard 5: Data Analysis - The student will collect and analyze data in a group setting.
Large Motor Skill Development
Standard 1: The student will participate in activities that involve large motor skills.
Small Motor Skill Development
Standard 1: The student will participate in activities that involve small motor skills.
Health Enhancing Activity Development
Standard 1: The student will participate in health-enhancing activities for the development of lifetime health and fitness.
Science Processes and Inquiry
Process Standard 1: The student will investigate and experiment with objects to discover information.
Standard 1: The student will investigate and describe objects that can be sorted in terms of physical properties.
Standard 2: The student will observe and investigate plants and animals.
Standard 3: The student will investigate and observe the basic concepts of the Earth.
SOCIAL AND PERSONAL SKILLS
Standard 1: The student will participate in activities to develop the skills necessary for work and interacting with others.
Standard 2: The student will participate in activities to develop the skills necessary for caring for oneself
Standard 1: The student will exhibit traits of good citizenship.
Standard 2: The student will recognize patriotic symbols and activities.
Standard 3: The student will explain the importance of individual responsibility.
Standard 1: The student will demonstrate knowledge of basic geographic concepts.
Standard 2: The student will discuss how children in various communities and cultures are alike and different.
Standard 1: The student will understand that history relates to events and people of other times and places.
Standard 1: The student will identify basic economic concepts.
Standard 2: The student will explore various careers and the concept of employment (e.g., school personnel, community helpers).
Standard 1: Language of Visual Art - The student will identify visual art terms.
Standard 2: Visual Art History and Culture - The student will recognize the development of visual art from a historical and cultural perspective.
Standard 3: Visual Art Expression - The student will observe, select, and utilize a variety of ideas and subject matter in creating original works of visual art.
Standard 4: Visual Art Appreciation - The student will appreciate visual art as a vehicle of human expression.
Standard 1: Language of Music - The student will read, notate and interpret music.
Standard 2: Music History and Culture - The student will recognize the development of music from an historical and cultural perspective.
Standard 3: Music Expression - The student will perform, imitate, compose a variety of music within specific guidelines.
Standard 4: Music Appreciation - The student will learn to appreciate music and expand their listening beyond music currently familiar to the student.
Can I rest now?