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September Newsletter

Dear K-214 Families, 

It’s hard to believe that the first month of our school year is already over. We have had a busy month of learning all about each other and about what we do in kindergarten. Here’s a closer look at what we have been up to:

Building Community and Establishing Rules 


At the beginning of each school year, children think of things they really, really want to do in kindergarten. These are their “hopes” for the school year. After sharing our hopes, we talk about how in order to achieve our hopes, we need to create some agreements to help our class have a great school year.

In addition to creating our own set of class agreements, we also discuss how we can live by our school rules: be safe, be kind, be helpful, and be your best. For each rule, our class generated ideas, and drew pictures about how to live by each rule in practice. Some of our ideas included, “I can be safe by wiping up water that I spilled.” “I can be kind by asking someone who’s alone to play with me.” “I can be helpful by cleaning up a book even if I didn’t leave it there,” and, “I can be my best by freezing when I hear the chime.”

Star Name and Word Study

In the first few weeks of school, be began learning about syllables and initial sounds by studying each other’s names. On each child’s star name day, we count the letters in the child’s name, clap the syllables, identify the first letter, and draw a picture of that child. We also interview the child to learn their favorite foods and activities!

We have also begun to learn sight words, and lowercase letters and the sounds that they make. So far, we have learned the letters t, b, f and the sight words like, me, can.


In reading, we have begun to discuss, why people read, how reading can help us, and how we choose and take care of books in our classroom. Before we began having a daily reading time, our class generated a list of reasons why people read. The main points that we emphasized were that reading helps us learn, and that it’s also fun! We also generated a list of ways to take great care of our books so that we can all enjoy them throughout the year. Now, in addition to reading together as a class and enjoying books together on the rug, we are working on choosing books from bins at our tables and reading them in a quiet bubble at our tables each day.


In the first few weeks of school, we focused on exploring all of the manipulatives that we will use in our math games and activities this year so that children could begin to explore their possibilities and make observations. We tried using pattern blocks, unifix cubes, colored tiles, attribute blocks, geoblocks, and dice. Children quickly figured out how to make patterns and geometric arrangements, in addition to imaginative structures and designs.

We have also been learning to keep track of how many days we have been in school using a range of visuals. Each day, we place a sticker inside a ten frame, slide over a bead on our bead string, and add a number to our growing number line to represent how many days of school we have had. These structures are designed to help children build an understanding of groups of 5 and 10, and of how sets of 10 make up 100.

Work Choice 

During work choice, children pick a play area and work with the others in their group. We learn to share, take turns, explain and build upon our ideas, and to listen and ask questions about what other people made when it’s over. In the first few weeks of school, we mostly focus on choices that we can use at a table, such as Legos, play dough, and magnatiles. As we learn more and more about how to use our materials and clean up after ourselves, we begin to open larger choices such as block building, pretend play, and sand. We have recently started building in the block area. Every child has signed up for a slot and will get a turn in the next few weeks.

Upcoming Dates

  • Tuesday, October 16th 8:30-8:50 – Our First Family Visiting Day
    • During this morning, parents will come up to our classroom and do an activity with the children. Please do your best to send a special relative or friend if you cannot make it.
  • October 18th-19th – School Photo Days. We will be taking our class picture on one of these two days. Stay tuned!

As always, please reach out if you have any questions. We’re looking forward to a great October!



K-214 Class Policies

Dear K-214 Parents,


Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year. I am so happy to be meeting all of your children and to be starting an exciting year of learning together. I am writing to give you some basic information about general policies for our classroom. I will be providing an overview of our curriculum on September 17th, when we have our back-to-school night, and will send home materials for parents who are unable to attend. I will be able to answer questions about the non-curricular aspects of kindergarten during that evening as well.


Clothing: Kindergartners are active and busy creating things throughout the school day. Please send your child to school in good clothing for running and getting messy. On hot days, it is best to wear sandals that securely strap on to the feet. Flip flops and crocs can fall off on our way up and down the stairs. Your child will need sneakers every Monday as this is our P.E. day.


Kindergartners also tend to lose things, and many of them have clothing that looks alike! Please label your child’s clothing, particularly his or her winter clothing, and removable items such as sweatshirts.


Finally, I want to suggest that you limit flashy and novel items in your child’s clothing, as kindergartners are easily distracted by one another’s belongings. Shirts with detachable capes and rub-able sequins tend to garner attention in the classroom, as do sunglasses, jewelry, and other accessories.


Home Toys: Please do not bring toys from home (including Pokeman cards) to school. They tend to get lost and broken, and are very distracting. When home toys show up in the classroom, I put them on a high shelf for a parent to pick up later.


I am aware that this is a change from the policy that many children had in preschool, and that young children often want to bring toys to school as transitional objects. If you feel that this is what is going on with your child, I am more than happy to talk to you about other ways to help your child feel secure and connected to home throughout the school day.


Snack: Snack is shared communally among the children, and is provided by parent volunteers. You will be able to sign up to bring in snack on our class snack google doc (to be shared by 9/7/18). When it is your snack week, you have the choice of dropping off non-perishable snacks for a whole week on Monday, or of sending in a new snack with your child each day. If you want to send in perishable items such as cheese, yogurt, or fresh fruits and vegetables (which we always enjoy and appreciate), please send them in on a day-to-day basis as I do not have a refrigerator in the classroom. When you purchase snack, please pay close attention to serving size, and make sure that there is enough of each item for all 26 children. For example, we need 3-4 boxes of cheddar bunnies to feed the whole class for one day. In general, we ask that families do not send children with an individual  snack. However, if your child has a dietary need that prevents him or her from sharing typical kindergarten snacks with the class, let me know, and I will make an exception.


Birthday Parties: Each month, our class will have one birthday celebration to acknowledge all of the children born in that month. The parents of the birthday children are welcome to attend the celebration. I will schedule each of these celebrations with the birthday families, but for most months, you can expect the celebration to take place on the last Friday of the month at 1:50 P.M.


When several children have a birthday in the same month, I typically suggest that each family bring 1 item to share with the class for the party (e.g. a small, sweet treat, a savory treat, juice boxes or plates and napkins).


Teacher Email: My DOE email is a great way to reach me to ask general questions, let me know about illnesses or other things that have come up for your child, or to bring issues to my attention that merit a phone call or in-person meeting. I typically respond to email at the end of the school day, and check it before school whenever I am able. At times, I am able to check email during a break in the middle of the day, but this is not always possible. If you need to let me know about a last minute change in your child’s dismissal plan, it is best to call the office, as I may not receive your message in time.


I will announce any changes or new policies that come up throughout the year on our class blog. Be sure to refer to the Peck Slip Parent Handbook for information about school wide policies.






Welcome to K-214

Dear Incoming Families,

Welcome to K-214! I am in the midst of getting our classroom ready for an exciting year of learning, play, fun and friendship. Kindergarten is truly a transformative year in children’s development as thinkers, and it is a joy to witness each child’s growth throughout the year. I am so excited to meet each of your children and begin this year together!

Hiking in Minnewaska State Park this summer.

My name is Lesley Younis and I will be your child’s teacher this year. This will be my fourth year teaching at the Peck Slip School, and my seventh year as an early childhood educator in New York City. I am originally from Amherst, Massachusetts and currently live in Hamilton Heights with my husband, Majid. When I am not in the classroom, I love to read, practice yoga, and spend time with family and friends. I am also an avid home cook, and have a particular passion for paleo baking! I spent my summer traveling to Texas, Chicago, Massachusetts, and Upstate New York, and visiting local museums, parks and beaches here in New York City.

I will be sending out information on classroom policies and procedures, as well as a questionnaire to help me get to know each of you, at the start of the school year. If you have any questions or concerns before then, you can email me at I will begin checking my DOE email on Monday, September 3rd. Expect this address to change early in the school year as I will be changing my DOE email to match my married name.

I hope that you and your child enjoy the rest of the summer. I am so looking forward to meeting each of you on the first day of school!




Week of 6-1-2018

Room 214 News and Announcements

June 1, 2018

Dear Room 214 Families,

Here we are at the beginning of June! We are busy writing persuasive letters, collecting and recording data, perfecting our lower case letter writing and getting all ready for our Pet Village.

Here are some important upcoming dates:

Monday, June 4–Literacy Assessment Day

Wednesday, June 6–FIELD TRIP to Southbridge Towers (1-2). Please turn in permission slips asap!

Thursday, June 7–No School for students

Monday, June 11–No School for students

Thursday, June 14–PET VILLAGE 9-9:30

Friday, June 15–No School

Tuesday, June 19th Music Concert


I hope you all have a nice weekend,


Week of 5-18-2018

Room 214 News and Announcements

May 18, 2018

Dear Room 214 Families

It’s time to talk about end of the year regression

It’s a real thing! For those of you who have older kids you’ve probably seen it before, and may remember it being particularly difficult at the end of kindergarten. If this is your first time, I wanted to let you know about the end of the year and how I will be trying to keep everyone comfortable and happy during these last few weeks.

Kids sense when a big change is about to happen and we have started having conversations about how our time in kindergarten is coming to a close in the next few weeks. You may notice your child is more reluctant to come to school in the morning and separate from you, they may be crying more or having small tantrums. You might feel they are forgetting things they knew a few weeks ago in terms of reading, writing, and math. I am definitely seeing all of these things in class now. It is hard and it is frustrating, but it is completely normal.

In class I am sticking to the regular routine as much as I can so kids know what to expect and am also increasing the amount of time they have to run around upstairs during snack time and increasing their work choice time. When it’s time for lessons and independent work I am still holding them to the same expectations as the rest of the year. As the days go by we will read, talk and write about how we are feeling as we end of our time together. What we enjoyed and what we are looking forward to in the future.

If you are sensing a change in your kiddo right now, it may be especially important to stick to a normal routine (or give a big heads up if there’s going to be a change) and take some time to talk to them about how they are feeling about the end of K, the summer, and next year. I think it’s very important to acknowledge how your child is feeling, but letting them know that they still have a job at school and need to follow the agreements so that everyone can stay safe and keep learning.

Please let me know if you have any questions or other concerns about anything I’ve just written. I’m also attaching two articles from Rebecca about end of the year regression.


Reading—We are continuing to practice how to sound out words and ask ourselves if they make sense.

Writing—This week we wrote new “how-to” books. Kids will get to finish them up next week and we’ll publish our “how to care for a pet books.”

Word Study—We are practicing our sight words and sounding out words and writing down all the sounds we hear.

Math—We continued to work on teen numbers. The kids seem to really get it! They can talk about them as “10 and” (i.e. 15 is 10 and 5). I’m attaching 10 and bingo to the website.

SEL—We’ve been doing a lot of read alouds about characters who move from other countries to live in the United States.

Content Study—we met a therapy bunny today! And learned about the ASPCA in the process.


  • I will send out one last Scholastic book order form next week. This will be a great chance to stock up on some books to read with your child over the summer. I will highlight some books and sets that are appropriate for readers of this age (i.e. they can read them!)
  • Please take a look at the remaining snack schedule for this year:
May 21 (5)Clark Malvern
May 28 (4)Gabriel Ivanovic
June 4 (4)Asher Kilroe
June 11 (3)Gabriel Ivanovic
June 18 (5)Amalia
June 25 (2)Kai Winbush

Upcoming dates:

Friday, May 25th—May Birthday Celebration 2:00-2:30 (I will email parents of May birthday kids)

Monday, May 28th—NO School Happy Memorial Day

Thursday, June 14th—SAVE THE DATE Pet Village Presentation 9:00-9:30

Tuesday, June 19th—Kindergarten Music Concert 8:45-9:35




Week of 5-11-2018

Room 214 News and Announcements

May 11, 2018

Dear Room 214 Families,

We had a very busy week that flew by. In the last eight schools days we have been on three field trips and the kids have started to build a “living museum” for you so you can come to learn about pets on June 14 (see below for details).

We are also in our final push for reading and math work. I will begin assessments next Wednesday. Thank you for staying on top of the sight words at home and continuing to read with your child.

Have a good weekend,



Reading—We are practicing sounding out words we don’t know and thinking about what makes sense if we’ve sounded out something that’s not quite right…

Writing—We are busy writing how-to care for pet books!

Math—This week we learned another teen number game. I will teach one more next week and then will put both games up on the website for you to play at home.

Word Study—We are doing a lot of work around putting together and taking apart CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant) and changing those words. For example: make the word van. How can you change the word van into the word can? We are focusing on beginning, middle and end sounds.

Pet Study—This week we learned about animal hospitals, pet groomers and pet stores. We are busy writing about how to care for pets and making things for our “Pet Village”

Kids hard at work constructing things for our Pet Village

Learning about cat check-ups from the vet

Meeting Heather from Paws on Pine to learn about dog walkers


Please continue to check your child’s hair for lice/nits and continue to comb out your child’s hair if they have had lice/nits these past few weeks.

Please also continue to send us your empty boxes and containers. Thank you!


Upcoming dates:

Wednesday, May 16—Math Assessment Day

Friday, June 1—Literacy Assessment Day

Thursday, June 14—FINAL FAMILY FRIDAY Pet Village Day 9:00-9:30


Week of 4-20-18

Room 214 News and Announcement

April 20, 2018

Dear Room 214 Families,

Thanks to everyone who was able to come to Family Friday this morning to help out with making the 3-D pets! I will be sending out a sign up in the coming weeks for any parents who are free and would like to come help monitor kids painting their pets during work choice.

I don’t know how it’s already nearing the end of April! In the last week or two I have seen huge growth in kids’ reading, writing, and math abilities. It’s my intention to reassess for reading and sight words soon.

I hope you all have a good weekend!


Reading—In reading we practiced book shopping again. We are also working on reading independently for at least ten minutes every day. If you borrowed books from me during parent teacher conferences can you please send them back so I can swap out books? If you have sent them back, I will try to get new ones back to you by Monday.

Word Study—There were a lot of things added to our schedule this week (Family Friday, library, a visit from a math coach, a pet interview…) We honestly only got to word study twice and reviewed our letters and practicing making short words on the white board.

Writing—Your kids did amazing work this week! Everyone made a how-to book and they are really good. They will be on display at the end-of-year celebration on June 14 (more details to come). Kids are really starting to write strong sentences

Math—This week we continued to make combinations of 8 and used the ideas of order and opposites to help us stay organized as we attempted to find all the possible combinations of 8.


Using order

Using opposites


SEL—We continue our working treating each other with kindness and respect and ONLY using words that make other people feel good. This past week saw the introduction of chess and sewing into our work choice (per the kids request!). This has really changed up the usual patterns of play and groupings of kids and many kids have gotten a chance to engage with others which is great. I am checking in frequently with groups to see if kids are treating each other with kindness and respect.

Pet Study—we interviewed Maggie about what it’s like to take care of Gus. We also continued talking about how pets can care for people.


Lice–Please keep checking your child’s hair.  I have not heard of any more cases in our class. If you do find something please let me know asap. As of now, there will not be any professionals coming in to check heads.

Supplies—Please continue to send in boxes and empty containers of any kind. We are gearing up to start building supplies for our pet study!

Upcoming dates:

Monday, May 7—Field Trip to Petco in Union Square. I will send out permission slips on Monday! At that time you can indicate your interest in being a chaperone (preference will be given to those who did not get to come on the Museum of Natural History trip). Please note there will be two more pet related trips before that May 7th date (both in the neighborhood). We will have those dates confirmed soon.



Week of 4-13-2018

Room 214 News and Announcements

April 13, 2018

Dear Room 214 Families,

Just a quick newsletter today:


Reading-We reorganized our books and all kids book shopped for just-right books. Books will start coming home again on Monday. Thank you for your patience as we worked through fixing that routine.

Writing-This week kicked off our “how-to” writing unit. We read a book about how to make huge bubbles. Then we followed the steps and see how it works on Monday (the directions said to let the solution sit for 2-3 days).

Word Study-We reviewed letter sounds and digraphs.

Math-We began more work on finding different combinations of 6. The kids did great work. I will get some photos and more details up in next week’s letter.

SEL-We spent a lot of time this week revisiting the idea that we are all the same in some ways, but are different in other ways. We discussed only talking about people’s differences in a way that makes them feel comfortable and happy. We also spent a lot of time practicing saying compliments to one another. After work choice (and other points of the day) students shared out other things that people said to them that made them feel happy. We’ll continue this work through the rest of the year.

Content Study-This week we started to learn about how animals can care for humans. We talked about service dogs and met a real service dog, Domino, and his owner Annmarie!

Upcoming dates

Friday, April 20–8:50-9:15 Family Friday. Please come learn about the ways that animals can help people! We will also begin building our 3-D pets with your help. If you are able to make it, please bring 1-2 newspapers with you. We’ll need them to make the animals. Please let me know if you won’t be able to attend so I can plan accordingly. Thank you!

Week of 3-28-2018

Room 214 News and Announcements

March 28, 2018

Dear Room 214 Families,

I’m so sorry for not getting a letter out these past few weeks. We have been very busy in here! I hope you all have a wonderful break! Please be sure to keep up with reading, sight word practice and math games at home. When we get back we’ll be in the home stretch! I have been busy re-assessing kids and, if I haven’t already, I will be sharing updated information with you throughout April.

See you all on April 9!



Reading—We have been reading non-fiction books about pets. Before we read about a new pet, we think about what we already know and what we wonder. After we read, we are writing down new information we learned.

We are charting as a whole class, but kids are also free to write their own ideas on their paper.

Writing—We spent the week publishing our stories. You should notice your child using spaces between words (more often than not!) and writing down a lot more letters they hear in each word they sound out. When we get back we will start a new nonfiction writing unit on “how-to” books.

Word Study—We have now reviewed all the words on the sight word list through March 26 (the list is in the resources section of this webpage). We continue to work on building words, lower-case letter formation and simple sentence writing. We have also studied the “ch” and “sh” digraphs.

Math—In math we continue to play partner games, practicing “counting on” instead of “counting all” to save time, and we’ve done some work solving addition story problems and learning to show our math thinking on paper.

Content Study—We’re deep into our pet study now! We’re learning about different pets and how to care for them, we’re exploring why people get pets and what makes a pet perfect for some people, but not for other. When we come back from the break we’ll be meeting with two service dogs. I will have more information for you soon about our upcoming trips to the dog groomer, the animal hospital and Petco.

Interviewing second graders about their pet chinchilla

SEL—we continue to talk about Rock Brain and Superflex. We’ve done a lot of role-playing and practiced language we can use to be flexible in a variety of situations.


Scholastic Book orders are due tomorrow! If you are interested in buying some “just-right” books for your child, these boxed sets would be a great fit for more kids.

*Please start to save boxes and any cylindrical containers (without rough edges). After break we will be building things for our Pet Expo and it would be great to have some materials all ready to go. Thank you!

Upcoming Dates

-Friday, March 30—NO SCHOOL

-Monday, April 9—Back to school

-Tuesday, April 17 Family Volunteer Time 1:50-2:40

-Friday, April 20 Family Friday 8:50-9:15)

-Friday, April 27 April Birthday Celebration ( I will email families closer to the date)




3-9-2018 Newsletter

Room 214 News and Announcements

March 9, 2018

Dear Room 214 Families,

We had a big week in Room 214! We began our 2nd content study: Pets! We also shifted around our schedule so we could do more of our academic work during the morning when our brains are the freshest. This is a move to help slowly get kids ready for first grade. Don’t worry, we will still have plenty of time for work choice and play (in fact, it’s easier sometimes to give more time to play when it’s in the afternoon more often). Conferences are coming up next Thursday, March 15. If you have not already done so, please sign up using this link and code:

Entry Code: Z2X1226906


I hope you all have a nice weekend,



Reading—In reading we are challenging ourselves as a class to increase the number of minutes we are able to focus on our independent reading. We’re up to 6 uninterrupted minutes. Kids are also shopping for new “just-right” books once a week. A new book should be coming home every night.

Writing—We’ve been talking a lot about how to make sure that we can actually read our own writing (and that others can read our writing too!).These are the writing moves we are concentrating on:

Word Study—words this week were: this, then, they. We are working hard on building cvc words (encoding) and read them (decoding).

Math—This week partnerships were given a bag with different objects. Their task was to show on paper what they had in their bag, in a clear enough way, so others could read the paper and know without looking in the bag. We talked about how to represent objects on paper and how to clearly record information.

SEL—this week we went back and talked about what are “big deal” incidents that you may ask a teacher’s help in solving, what are “little deal” incidents” that you can solve on your own with a friend and what are things you can just “ignore.” Take a look:

We also learned about Superflex and Rockbrain. Superflex is able to compromise! We began to work on the language of compromise—more to follow.

Content Study—We began our Pet Study this week! We read a few books about pets, recorded what we already know about pets and what we hope to learn.


Scholastic book orders are back! (finally!!). If you’d like to order go here:

And click where it says “First Time Parents” to create your account. Our Class code is: PKPFC. There should be a section that says “Teacher’s Desk” where I’ve added recommendations. These are mostly of books we’ve read in class that would be fun and useful for your child to experience again and again at home. Scholastic book orders are completely optional! Please let me know if you have questions. Online orders are due Thursday, March 29th.

Upcoming Dates:

Wednesday, March 14th—reports go home for families to read

Thursday, March 15th –1/2 day for kids, dismissal at 11:40

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Tuesday, March 20th—family volunteer time 1:50-2:40. Please email if you plan to attend!

Thursday, March 23rd—March birthdays. If your child has a birthday in March you should have received an email from me about the celebration!

Thursday, March 29th–Scholastic book orders due ONLINE