Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the foundation of the TK curriculum. SEL is at the heart of everything we do in my classroom. When students develop confidence in themselves and empathy for others, they’ll be ready to explore the world, absorb what they discover along the way, and tackle tough problems with creativity and tenacity.

According to, “There is a growing body of research that provides evidence that emotional regulation is critical to academic success.” Regurgitating facts and formulas can be impressive, but are not effective job skills. Employers need workers who can think creatively and collaborate with others for a common purpose. Those are the skills that take time (years!) to develop and sharpen, but we rarely allow all the practice needed to become proficient.

Here is a link to that body of research. You can read the data for yourself. Let’s rethink education and focus on developing the whole child.

December Busy-ness

After a well-deserved month off-track, we certainly packed December with learning and laughter. The December birthdays were combined with the November dates for a rollicking party. There are plenty of photos on our Shutterfly Site to prove it. Thank you to our terrific volunteers! I couldn’t do it without you.

Speaking of volunteers, Miss Starla made it back from her injury. No one was happier than I to see her smiling face and capable hands at our door. She also bought everyone a knit hat to stay warm on chilly recess days.

We celebrated the Hour of Code with many experiences related to computer programming. Be sure to check out our videos called Hour of Code, We Love Bee-bots, and Ozobots in TK. Just click on the Class Video tab and scroll down to find those titles.

We read and compared several versions of the story of the Gingerbread Man. The students also got really good at retelling the story. They used puppets, small animals, and flannel board characters. They even got to act it out in small groups.

We were surprised when The Gingerbread Man showed up in our classroom. He was very interested in what we were doing, but one day he suddenly disappeared! It didn’t take long before we started receiving texts and photo clues from him. So we became detectives and set out to search for him. You can check out the video of this adventure here.

Other special guests brought us beautiful music. Mr. Seifert, his guitar, and his fourth graders came by to sing holiday songs with us. It was a bit intimidating because we didn’t know many of the words and they were so big, but it was still a good time. Another treat was when Athena’s mom played her harp for us. It was enchanting! You can view a short video of it here. She promised to come again, too.

Wishing blessings and peace to you and your families.

Mrs. P.

Noisy or Quiet?

Do you expect a classroom to be noisy or quiet? Do you expect students to be sitting politely and waiting for the teacher to direct the instruction? If you visit my classroom, and I hope you do, you will find out very quickly that my classroom is a noisy and active place most of the time. It may look messy and be louder than you are accustomed to, but that is learning in action!

In my roles as teacher, employee, boss, daughter, wife, mom, gramma, or friend, I realized that I don’t have all the answers and needed to ask questions, lots of questions. Shouldn’t we expect students to have the same need? Of, course! So I structure every lesson to include many opportunities for students to talk. By encouraging my students to practice putting words together to communicate their ideas, they are building strong relationships with me and their classmates. When my students feel safe and connected and valued, they are then free to explore deeper and make better learning connections. They practice collaborative strategies and learn to negotiate with and listen to others just like they will have to do in their future careers.

So now you know a bit about why my classroom is a noisy place. Learning thrives when relationships develop. I hope you’ll stop by soon and practice learning with us.

I found these resources recently. I’d like to know what you think, so please leave a comment, too.
Atlanta Speech School
Thirty Million Word Initiative

The Promise from Atlanta Speech School on Vimeo.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear TK Families,

I hope you have been able to fill this off-track break with fun adventures and maybe a bit of relaxing.  After just a few more days at home,  I bet we will all be ready to get back into the school routine on Monday. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday.

Mrs. P


Farewell, My Dear Friends

June 2015

Dear Kindergartners,

I am so very proud of you! You have worked hard and learned so much in Kindergarten. It is hard to believe that our year together is ending. How did the days go so quickly?

We will always have happy memories of our online projects, iPads, field trips, Big Buddies, gardening, and so much more. Of course, you can always look on my blog to find links to our photos and VoiceThreads to enjoy again and again.

I have truly loved being your teacher. I hope that you will invite me to your high school and college graduations. It would be an honor to celebrate with you. Now, I must remind you of three important things to do in your life: Travel to faraway places. Live by the sea. Make the world more beautiful.


Mrs. Catherine Petuya

Thanks for Coming!

iphoneJune 017We had a full classroom during our Open House on Thursday evening. I always love this time of year when the students have gained so much confidence and knowledge that they can now teach others. I think several parents were amazed that Kindergartners know about algorithms and computer programming. It certainly looked like everyone was having fun with all the activities. What did you think of the cole slaw made from our very own garden? I saw several students go back for seconds! Check out our Twitter feed for pictures and tweets from the evening.

Getting Ready for First Grade

In order to set your children up for a smooth transition to first grade, I have planned a few events:

Homework will now be provided on Friday and due on the following Friday.

We will have lunch in the cafeteria on Friday, June 12th at 10:40 AM. The cost is $2.50. Send it in an envelope with your child’s name on it. Please read over the green information page that was sent home last week and help your child plan their meal choices in advance. (It was also emailed to you.) Our time in the MP room is very limited.

We will visit a first grade classroom and bathroom in June. We will also use the big playground structure and practice the rules. If you would like to join us, please respond to this post.

Don’t forget that our promotion ceremony will be on Thursday, June 25th from 9:00 – 10:00 AM.

Be a Guest Blogger!

blogDear Families and Blog Visitors,

I know many of you would love to help out in class, but are unable to do so.  Well, how about a way to be a virtual classroom helper through the internet?  I would like to offer you the opportunity to be one of our guest bloggers.  You pick a topic that interests you and share some fun facts about it.  Photos help us learn better, so include a picture or a link to an educational website.  I can help with those items.  It’s not scary.  This offers you the chance to be a 21st Century Learner right along with us.

Please let me know if this idea excites you!

Mrs. P 😀