It is that time of year when we are all thinking about back to school. At my school, we do something a little different for kindergarten at the beginning of the year. When kindergarten students register and even start the year, they are not assigned a classroom teacher. Yep, that's right not assigned a teacher. Instead all the students are grouped together in one class. We take the first few days to get to know the students, assess them, and take into account any other information that will help make the decision of which class the student will fit best in.
The first piece of information we use is a parent information sheet. We send this home the week before school starts to all the parents who have registered their child. We ask that parents bring the form on "Unpack your Backpack" Night. The front side of the form is basic information like name, if the child goes by a nickname, and how they will be getting home from school. The back side of the form asks questions like "Is your child right or left handed?" or "Can your child tie his/her shoes?".
If you click on the images below, you can download this information sheet for free. :)
Once school starts, we assess the students on some basic skills like letters, sounds, numbers, colors, etc. We are only able to do this with the help of our wonderful reading teacher. She is amazing and helps us out the first two days. We teach and she pulls students out one at a time to assess. (I should also mention that during the first couple days our Speech Pathologist and ELL teacher come to screen students as well.)
After the assessments are done, the other kindergarten teacher and I sit down with all the information we have gathered and place students into the two classes. We try to have the classes evenly matched with abilities, behaviors, and special needs. One thing though is that we keep all the ELL kids in one class to help accommodate the ELL teacher's schedule. This year all the ELL students will be in my classroom. By the second week of school, each student is assigned a teacher and we send home a note explaining that.
This practice is common in our district, but I don't think many others do this. How are kindergarten students placed in classes in your school? I would love to hear!