No TK Curriculum? No Problem! (FREE Pacing Guide & Assessments!)

 

Here is a free TK (Transitional Kindergarten) Pacing Guide, (AKA curriculum map,) and some great TK assessments that you can access FREE through ESGI software!  This curriculum map is aligned with Benchmark Ready to Advance TK curriculum, but also includes lots of Heidi’s own ideas and references to HeidiSongs products.  If you saw our post on on July 28, 2017, you already know that we have partnered with Benchmark and licensed many of our videos for inclusion in their curriculum for TK, Kindergarten, and first grade.  So this is the next step in planning, for me!

 

Since the implementation of Transitional Kindergarten just a few years ago, I have heard from many teachers that are struggling along with no curriculum at all, and almost no guidance.  The CA Pre-K standards are there, but I think that most teachers agree that TK should be somewhere in between Pre-K and Kindergarten.  The question is: where?  And I think that the only way to answer that question is to meet your students.  Some will be ready to go farther than others.  It all depends on the individual readiness of the child, the experiences each child has had at home and previous preschool or homeschool or home learning opportunities.

 

And so, this pacing guide/curriculum map is provided as a kind of GPS that you can start off with, and then adjust as needed… gently!  And that is the beauty of TK, isn’t it?  TK is designed to be an extra year to let those little ones grow into Kindergarten at their own pace, without the pressure or demands of anyone saying, “Everyone MUST learn 50 sight words, no matter what!” etc.!

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I aligned this TK pacing guide/curriculum map to Benchmark Ready to Advance TK curriculum.  I have been going through their online information with a fine tooth comb, and I have to say that I am quite impressed with how their TK program was designed!  I love that they have integrated math, science, social studies, fine motor skills, writing, phonemic awareness, and EVERYTHING right into their ELA program!  Granted, I haven’t actually started USING it yet, so we’ll see how it goes.  Now my curriculum map doesn’t include notes on anything except for ELA (English Language Arts), math, and a book making project (“Singable Book”) or other suggested art project.  I always like to have my kids making a book of their own!  Below is a movie of one of our Singable Books that I have my kids make.  It’s our Shape Song Book.  🙂

 

Below are the basic categories that I broke the pacing guide down into.  I chose these because they help me know what to put on my focus wall each week without having to dig through the teacher’s manuals!  And having the art projects listed on my guide like this helps me get everything prepped in plenty of time.

 

These concepts go on my focus wall:  (Note that there is not always a NEW concept for every week.)

Letter of the Week

Number of the Week

Color of the Week

Shape of the Week

High Frequency Word or Sight Word of the Week (or HFWs of the Month, as Benchmark does it!)

These concepts are for my lesson plans, not for my focus wall:

Writing/Fine Motor Skills

Language Arts Skills

Math Concepts

 

Now, the Benchmark Ready to Advance Curriculum has all of the assessments that you will ever need.  BUT… if you do not have that curriculum, or even if you do, and just want to save some time, you really MUST give ESGI a try!  Sign up for a free 60 day trial!  You don’t even need to put in a credit card!  My amazing teacher friend Palma Lindsay from KFundamentals has created a whole set of TK assessments, based on her many years of experience as a TK teacher.  (Check her TpT store here, also.) So you could use this pacing guide to know what to teach, and then use her assessments on ESGI.  I know you won’t be disappointed!

 

For those of you that teach Kindergarten, I have created a whole set of HeidiSongs tests on ESGI as well!  Would you like to see if your students have mastered all of the songs on Sing and Spell the Sight Words, Volume One?  Click over to ESGI Software.com and call a few of your students over to your computer or tablet.  Do a quick spot check.  Check a few high, average, and lower achievers and see how they are doing.  Does it look like they are getting it?  Great!  Go on to the next DVD, Sing and Spell Vol. 2!  If not, check to see which words they need to work on the MOST by clicking on the ESGI Item Analysis Graphs.  Play those songs the most for a week and check again.  It’s as simple as that!  ESGI really makes it super easy to teach for MASTERY.

Not only that, but if you are familiar with EGSI, you already know that can also create quick and easy parent letters in English and Spanish that explain what the child needs to work on and what he already knows, plus a set of customized flashcards.  Even if you work with a school population that you think the parents may not even read that letter or touch those flash cards, those cards are incredibly valuable in the classroom to differentiate learning in a very quick and easy way!  Just click here to see how I do it.

After a free trial on ESGI, if you decide to sign up, you can get $40 off your first year subscription with the promo code HeidiSongs.  It’s normally $199, so that’s a great deal!  My principal finds it so valuable that she purchases it for all of the staff members that would like it every year.  That’s really saying something, isn’t it? 🙂

AND…I’ve also just created a new Facebook group for us to chat about how we are using ESGI, and to answer questions and collaborate.  It’s at this link right here!  Feel free to join in!

ESGI Facebook Group Cover
 

Besides that, if you also enjoy Facebook groups, a few weeks ago, I created a new HeidiSongs & Friends Facebook group, so that everyone could post questions, and not just me!  People always seem to enjoy the “Question from a Friend” questions that I post, but I feel bad that I am the only one that can post them on my regular HeidiSongs fan page.  So that’s why I created the group page as well.  Join us there, too!

 

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Heidi Butkus

About Heidi Butkus

Heidi Butkus has been teaching in California public schools since 1985. She has somehow managed to stay in Kindergarten all of those years, with the exception of five years in first grade, and also taught a parent participation preschool for a short while! Combining a strong knowledge of brain research with practical experience, Heidi has created a wealth of fun and engaging teaching techniques that work well with diverse populations. She has presented at conferences nationwide, and is the owner and founder of HeidiSongs.com. Heidi has also created fourteen original CD's and DVD's for teaching beginning reading and math skills, three musical plays designed especially for young performers, and has written some picture books and many other teaching resources. Heidi's multimedia workshops are filled with fun and motivational educational activities that have been classroom tested and revised for effectiveness with all types of learners.
  1. LOVE this post, and thank you for the shout out! TK was, & will always be, my favorite! This pacing guide and info will help so many teachers. TK is not just “kindergarten light,” it’s so much more! Thank you, Heidi! <3

  2. I cannot begin to express to you how grateful I am for this resource. Though our little school is not in a place to purchase ESGI right now, we are certainly thankful for your pacing guide. I have it printed, and ready to place in the hands of our TK teacher.

    Love and hugs from Dallas,
    Deborah
    (@billsmama on Twitter)

    • Hi, Deborah!
      Well, I am so glad to hear that it has helped you! It did take a VERY long time to put together, but I needed it for myself as well. Please know that I have free pacing guides for grade Kinder, first, and second grades as well on our website, and they are all of the same quality because I made them and used them myself.
      Tell the TK teacher that she can access ESGI for 60 days free and take a good look at the assessments. This will help her make her own, even if she cannot purchase it for the school year.
      Blessings!
      Heidi

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