Angela Hammond -- Perry Elementary School

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 10, 2017 | Go to article overview

Angela Hammond -- Perry Elementary School


Byline: Susan Klovstad sklovstad@dailyherald.com

Ten years of Angela Hammond's 11-year teaching career have been at Perry Elementary School in Carpentersville, part of Community Unit District 300.

Recognized as Spotlight Educator for the 2014-15, Hammond will receive her second master's degree in May.

The Daily Herald caught up with Hammond to learn more about the challenges and joys of teaching kindergarten.

Q. For many of your students, kindergarten is the first time they'll find themselves in a structured school setting. How do you help set your students' minds at ease and make their transition as smooth as possible?

Hammond. When students first come to kindergarten it is important to work on school rules and expectations. Also, developing a schedule and routine is important for young learners so they know what to expect within their school day. Supporting the students' social and emotional needs are important. Listening to students' concerns and needs is essential and helps to develop a rapport with the students.

In order for students to learn and participate, they need to trust you and know that you care about them. In the beginning of the year, I learn about each student by sending home a parent questionnaire that shares student interests, previous learning experiences, and ways to connect with the student.

In the classroom, I establish morning meetings where we get to know one another and share ideas and information about one another. From the first day of kindergarten, I tell my students that we are a family and it is my job to help them learn and keep them safe.

Q. How do you balance the necessary learning components of kindergarten with the equally important socialization and play aspects your students need?

Hammond. This is a very tough thing to balance because the expectations for kindergarten has changed drastically in the 10 years I have been teaching. A typical kindergarten student should leave for first grade reading and have a solid foundation in math concepts.

At Perry, the kindergarten team establishes essential learning targets that drive our instruction. As a team, we plan each minute of the day to utilize our resources and to ensure students are receiving the instruction they need to begin building their academic foundation.

We share the essential learning targets with our families as well as with our students. In order to motivate our students, we establish data tracking procedures where students work on learning goals and participate in data conversations.

Students are motivated to achieve goals if they can take ownership in their learning. We also develop weekly learning targets and discuss them at the beginning and end of lessons.

Along with all the academics, it is important for students to develop their social and emotional skills. At Perry, we participate in a program called Second Step. which promotes skills for learning, steps for problem solving, identifying feelings and managing feelings. …

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