Mrs. Niswander’s Kindergarten





I am a Kinder teacher here at Fitzgerald (the BEST school on earth)! I received my undergraduate degree in Human Development and Psychological Services from Northwestern University, where I played D1 lacrosse. I completed my Master's degree in Education at George Mason University, where I played my graduate year of D1 lacrosse! I married my college sweetheart, who played D1 football at Northwestern!  We are happily in our 3rd year of marriage! 
I love teaching and feel so blessed to be able to work with sweet children and amazing coworkers each day! I am a teacher who believes in empowering, affirming, and loving my students. I believe that children have to feel psychologically and physically safe in my classroom in order to perform beyond the best of their abilities! Learning only happens when children feel psychologically safe and secure, is optimized when their physical needs are met, requires kids’ active engagement in the learning experience fueled by self-motivation! I am a passionate, loving, and energetic teacher.
I am so grateful to be teaching at this amazing school! I love teaching Kindergarten! I love seeing my kids engaged, excited, and self-motivated to learn. I love your child as my own and want them to feel like they can accomplish anything if they set their minds to it! 
I am a teacher who deeply believes in the power of creating a loving community in my classroom. When my kids feel like they are part of a family in our classroom space, they can practice essential social and coping skills that will empower them for the rest of their lives! I want my kids to feel that they are able to reach their dreams. I am also a teacher who knows you are an integral part of your child's education. When you and your family work with your child at home, we can build a powerful bridge between home and our classroom that will set students up for success! I am always here to answer questions and concerns you have! Please reach out to me!

Mrs. Niswander :)

Northwestern Lacrosse




Below is a list of skills your child will learn in Kindergarten this year:
The more you work with your child at home, the stronger bridge we can build between your home and our virtual classroom- this bridge will empower your child to use their academic skills to become whatever they desire to be!  

Math Unit:

Number Sense

Counting sets of numbers 0-20

Counting with one-to-one correspondence (touching each item as they count) 

Writing numbers 0-50 and representing numbers 0-50

Counting orally forwards to 100 by 1's, 5's, and 10's 

Counting orally backwards from 100 down to 0

From route memory, identifying the number that comes "after" or "before" (0-100) without counting

Comparing and order numbers of three sets: 1) ordering numbers from least to greatest, 2) greatest to least, and 4) knowing which group/set/pile has more, fewer or the same

Identifying "Part-Part Whole" up to 10: Students can take a whole number for example 5 and say and write how many combinations to get to 5 (2 and 3 make 5, 5 and 0 make 5 or 4 and 1 make 5)

 Please note I understand you may want to use + or -  when trying to work on "Part Part Whole" with your child, but make sure your child utilizes the  sentence  "___ and ___ make ____ " before you introduce an addition (+) or equals (=) sign. Once your child has mastered this, then you can add in the math symbols. Students need to be fluent with part-part whole problems with numbers 0-5.  When they can say and write all the combinations to 5, then you can start challenging them with  numbers 6-10. 

Identifying coins' names and their worth: a Penny, Nickel, Dime and Quarter

Solving "Single-Step Story" problems: addition and subtraction (total up to 10): 

An example of an "addition single-step story" problem: 
Rita has 2 toys and his mom buys him 3 more. How many toys does she have now?  
Answer: (2 and 3 makes 5) or  (2+3=5) 

An example of a "subtraction single-step story" problem: 
James has 7 skittles  and he gives 4 away to his sister. How many skittles does he have left? 
Answer: (7 take-away 4 makes 3) or  (7-4=3)  

When solving these problems please have your child draw a quick picture such as circles to represent the item in the story problem. Do the same for subtraction problems but when making circles have them cross out the number being taking away. Then, have them write out the number sentence as shown above using: 
     addition story problem:   _______ and _____ makes    
     subtraction story problem:  _______ take-away _____ makes 

Reading Unit:

Make flashcards and practice helping your child identify AND write "Sight Words" (words your child should be able to easily read and write) and "CVC" (3 letter words make up of a Consonant, Vowel, Consonant- easy for your child to sound out using their body- see my YouTube Video) 

Sight Words to work on with your child: 

CVC words to work on with your child: 
(a CVC word is a 3 letter word that consists ofConsonant,Vowel, Consonant) 
How to teach your child to sound-out a CVC word: it is easy for your child to sound out these words using their body!
see my YouTube Video below


Read to your child: you can read poems, nursery rhymes, fiction,  and non-fiction books to help your child build their vocabulary and sight words.

Vocabulary: w
hen reading to your child, discuss the meanings of various words and see if they can come up with a sentence that uses that word. 


before reading to your child, ask them: to make a prediction of what they think will happen in the story by using clues on the front cover (ask them how they came up with that prediction), who the main character will be, what kind of story it will be (happy, sad, exciting, boring)

while reading to your child, ask them: what they think will happen next, what they think will happen at the end, how the character is feeling, if they have ever felt like the character does

after reading to your child, ask them: who were the characters, where was the setting, what happened at the beginning, what happened in the middle, what happened at the end, did they like this story (and why did they like it or not like it)

Identifying rhyming words: read your child a story or poem and ask them to try to listen to which words rhyme and words that do not rhyme. Rhyming can be difficult for Kindergarteners, if your child struggles, there are great Rhyming videos on YouTube that can help your child learn about rhyming. 
                                      •Easy starting rhymes: "hat and bat" "chair and bear" "cat and lap" "bell and tell" "king and ring" 

Please note that NOT all rhyming words have the same ending, it very important that your child can hear the rhyme before looking at the word (A picture sort is great for this)


Writing Unit:

Handwriting: work with your child on practicing writing the alphabet/letters, their first and last name, and easy sight words correctly on lined paper and neatly  (only use upper case letters at the start of a sentence, not in the middle of a word or their name, write left to right and have them practice spaces in between words) 

Narrative and Descriptive Writing: have your child generate creative ideas they can write and draw about. They can write about their favorite memories/experiences, favorite things to do, or they can completely make up their own story!  After you child writes their story (1-5 sentence(s)), have them draw a detailed picture of what they wrote about. PLEASE make sure their picture matches their words. As they are drawing, have them label the descriptive words they said in their writing. (For example, if they wrote about a big red truck in their story and then drew a picture of it, have them write 'big red truck' next to the truck in their picture) 

Science Unit:

Help your child identify living and non-living things: understand the differences between living organisms and nonliving objects. Key concepts include:

 a) all things can be classified as living or nonliving

 b) living organisms have certain characteristics that distinguish them from nonliving objects including growth, movement, response to the environment, having offspring, and the need for food, air, and water. 

 Basic Needs of Living Things: 

understand basic needs and life processes of plants and animals. Key concepts include 

a) animals need adequate food, water, shelter, air, and space to survive; 

b) plants need nutrients, water, air, light, and a place to grow to survive. 

c) plants and animals change as they grow, have varied life cycles, and eventually die; and 

d) offspring of plants and animals are similar but not identical to their parents or to one another

Changes over Time:

 understand that change occurs over time and rates may be fast or slow. Key concepts include 

a) natural and human-made things may change over time; and

 b) changes can be observed and measured.

Social Studies Unit:

 Help your child identify "Community Helpers": when you are out with your child, point out different types of jobs in your community. You can discuss with your child what the person's job is and what they do in their job. They should be able to match simple descriptions of work that people do and name that job such as cashier, teacher, athlete, grocery store helper, police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors etc.

Help your child identify the importance of making choices: people make choices because they cannot have everything they want.  Explain to your child about people work to earn money to buy the things they want.

Help your child identify their own wants and needs: a "want" is something you DO NOT need to survive and a "need" is something you DO need to survive/that you cannot live without (water, food, shelter, clothes).