Who: Tara Koch
Position: Kindergarten teacher
School: Pinewoods Elementary School
Principal: Dr. Denise Carlin
Hailing from Michigan, Kindergarten teacher, Tara Koch has found her niche teaching at Pinewoods Elementary.
Koch attended Central Michigan University, whose teacher certification program for undergraduate students included a stint student teaching in Australia. Koch was placed with a host family and taught at Perth Grammer School for two and a half months.
“It was a wonderful experience and to this day I still keep in touch with the teachers I worked with. In my class, one of the skills that we work on is basic sentence writing. I thought it would be a great to have my students communicate with the class in Australia and we decided to become pen pals.”
“I have the children draw a picture of themselves and then write a simple sentence to accompny the drawing. They write a bit about a personal interest. Right now we are awaiting a response from the class in Perth,” said Koch.
The teacher explained that today, Kindergarten students are involved in skill training such as understanding simple sentence structure, use of capital letters, periods and use of tools for spacing their letters.
Emphasis is also placed on the working with the alphabet, specifically on letter recognition and formation of both upper and lower case letters, which is part of the daily routine.
Koch reports that the students do well with the simple writing tasks and work toward attaining goals set for entry to first grade.
“ Kindergarten students also work on many social and academic goals, preparing them for the next term. We will continue to work on improving penmanship and sentence structure and to help them enjoy and to become strong readers. Each quarter we set goals that must be attained. We plan to be in Unit 17 of the ‘Read Well’ program by the end of the year.”
“Some of the skills that the students should be able to exhibit are decoding words, working through the word phonetically and having a good amount of words that they can recognize on sight,” Koch said.
When asked about the benefits of trainng for students before their entry into Kindergarten, Koch says that she sees the benefits in those students who attend such programs. They are better able to pick up the skills and material presented at every juncture of the curriculum.
However, Koch noted that eventually, all of the students are able to accomplish the goals set for the year.
Incoming kindergarten students must be age five to enter the class.
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