I'm having trouble with my curruiculum. My school has no set curriculum, and as a first year teacher, this is extremely overwhelming. Not only that, but I did my student teaching in 5th grade, so my knowledge about kindergarten is very little. I'm confused about the order in which I teach skills. They give us benchmarks for the year, but I still can't quite figure out how to map it throughout the year. Do I teach reading with a letter a week? When do I start doing word families? When do I start sight words? Can they write in journals? if so, when do i start that? These are the things I'm confused about. It's a private school and they don't even provide text books, so I dont even have a series to help me out with the skills. Also with Math. How long do I wait to teach adding, subtracting, etc??? What skills do I start with? So many skills are based on other skills and I don't want to confuse my students. I just wish I had something to guide me! Also, what are some things I need to have prepared for the first day of school. Should I have something to give my parents? When do I start giving homework? So many teachers I talk to say, "oh dont worry, you'll learn as the year goes", but to me thats not being prepared enough. aaaaaaahhhhhh!!!! Someone please help! I need some kind of guidence or materials to inform me on these things! I apologize for the rambling, but as a first year teacher in a school that doesn't help with curriculum a whole lot, I feel like I'm sinking quickly...and the year hasn't even started!!!

Is there another kindergarten teacher for help? Maybe a mentor? Collaboration is key, I think you will need to work with other teachers from kindergarten who have been in your school for a while.

Google some websites made by kindergarten teachers. Some of them provide a curriculum map that you could look at. Maybe look at some of the school websites in your district as some of their kindergarten teachers may have a website or they may provide a curriuculum map of some sort.

I agree with the above posters. Talk with other kindergarten teachers or teachers in the other grades who have taught kindergarten there before and check out kindergarten websites. For you question about homework, I like to start right away. I send out homework starting the second week of school. I send home homework packs on monday and they return on Friday. For math, I believe that every math program begins with patterning (ab, abb, aab, aabb, abc, etc.). Begin with patterns, number identification, recognition, concept of numbers, counting. I don't begin adding/subtracting till sometime around March when students have a strong foundation in the concepts of numbers. However, some students may be ready for adding/subtracting by december. I met with my parents the day before school began and what I did was I gave them a copy of my ABC's to kindergarten that I created. There are a lot of ABC's to kindergarten on the internet. I used those to help guide me when I came up with my ABC's to Kindergarten. I also showed my parents an example of my homework pack. I also told my parents my classroom rules and my behavior plan and that they need to look out for a stamp on their child's hand. This means their child's name was on the happy frog at the end of the day. I begin journals early. I begin them second week of school. They practice writing their name for a while. Then I introduce the sight words. I give cards related to our theme that they can use to help them to write in their journal. Hope this helps.

When I student taught in Kinder the teacher started journals at the beginning. She gave them a white sheet of paper and they drew whatever they wanted. Then she and I would go around the room and have the kids tell us what they drew and we would write it on the paper with the date. For example: "playing with my cat" 9/1/06 As the year progressed, she gave them paper with handwriting lines at the bottom. The students wrote a few words to describe their picture. Then at the end of the year they were expected to try and write a complete sentence. Good luck! I hope this helps.

Also, check out Math Their Way's website. They'll give you great ideas of how to set up and teach your morning calendar. Also, they give ideas for lessons and math tubs.

I can't imagine trying to teach the first year without some sort of curriculum to follow. How frustrating? I teach in Texas so it's probably a little different. We introduce everything in our Kinder curriculum before January because the kids take the Stanford test then. I just finished our "curriculum map" which lays out all the objectives and when we teach them. If you want to pm me with your e-mail address, I would be glad to send you a copy of what we do. I agree with the others, there are so many website resources out there. That "littlegiraffes" website Kinderkids mentioned is my all-time favorite teacher resource.

What a great website! To the OP, you've gotten some great advice! I agree that the internet is our friend these days. I don't know what teachers did without it! Definitely hook up with another teacher who can give you a pacing guide. Once you get a general idea of what kindergarteners need to know and get an idea of what order to teach it in, things will become much clearer when you meet your students. Spend some time assessing them at the beginning of the year to see where you need to start.