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Friday, August 23rd, 2019


We had a great first week with our class of 11 energetic, engaged students.
This week has been all about getting to know each other and establishing routines that will support our learning through the entire year.

At BFS we use Responsive Classroom,“an evidence-based approach to teaching and discipline that focuses on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness. The approach helps elementary and middle school educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging classrooms and school communities where students develop strong social and academic skills and every student can thrive. Independent research has found that the Responsive Classroom approach is associated with higher academic achievement in math and reading, improved school climate, and higher-quality instruction. It has been described by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as one of the most ‘well-designed evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs’.” (from the Responsive Classroom website:

The goals for our first week have been to:

  • Experience a collaborative and inclusive learning environment.
  • Make personal connections by working with a variety of classmates and learning and practicing each others’ names.
  • Practice essential academic routines (such as independent reading and sustained writing) and daily routines (transitions, lunch, recess, bathroom, and so on).
  • Explore some key academic supplies (books, math manipulatives, writing supplies, etc.)
  • Generate learning goals or ‘hopes and dreams’ for the year.
  • Create and display their work.
  • Brainstorm and develop a list of possible classroom rules.


Learning about our school: On the first day of school, Paddington Bear (stuffed animal plush toy) went missing from our classroom while we were at lunch. He decided to explore the school on his own and left us ‘scavenger hunt’ clues at each place he visited. The children enjoyed a lot trying to find him, and in the process learned about many of the different areas of the school and met many of the important people who support them in their learning at school, such as the office staff, the nurse and the librarian.

During the course of the week the children were also introduced to some very important elements of academic learning, such as:

  • Choosing ‘just right’ books for independent reading each day to keep in our reading boxes.
  • Using a reading mat on a daily basis at our reading spot to help us keep track of which books we are going to read and which ones we have already read.
  • Putting our ideas on paper using drawings and words.
  • Being active participants in class meetings.
  • Being good listeners in group read-alouds. (Mo Willem’s books about Gerald and Piggie have been very popular this week.)
  • Listening to and responding to books read.
  • Become familiar with math manipulatives available in the classroom.
  • Learn how to use and care for other classroom supplies


Class rules are most effective when they are developed by the class, so this week we worked together to generate rules that will help our class function well at school.

Kindergarten-age children have very clear ideas about what is fair, and especially of the things children should NOT be doing at school. Below is a complete list of ideas the children came up with in just one brainstorming session. As they generated the ideas, I wrote them down, grouping them by similar/related ideas. Then we looked together to see if we could come up with rules that were more general and would cover all the other things listed and that would state in a positive way what we want for our classroom. This is what we came up with.
No pushing

No hitting

No kicking

No punching

No touching people

No body slamming

Don’t step on people’s hands or poke them.

Don’t throw things.

Don’t sit on people.

Keep your hands and body to yourself.
No talking when the teacher is talking

No talking when others are talking

Don’t lie down (during a meeting).

Be a good listener.
No running in the classroom

No throwing toys

No throwing books

Be safe.
No cutting the line

Don’t break your friend’s things

Don’t write on others’ papers

Be kind.
No screaming

Don’t rip papers.

Don’t erase what the teacher writes on the whiteboard

Be quiet in the hall.

Don’t take anything from anybody.

Don’t act crazy.

No shouting in class.

Eat only your own snacks.

Only share snacks when it is a special occasion and you have enough for everyone.

Don’t spill on your friends.

Be respectful.


  • Please be sure the snack you are sending in the morning is a healthy snack. J
  • As a general rule, we ask the children not share with other children food that they bring for morning snack time. Birthdays, or other special occasions, are of course an exception, so on those occasions, please be sure to bring enough for everyone.
  • If you would like your child to celebrate his or her birthday at school, please send a snack that we can share at morning snack time. (No goodie bags, please.) There is no expectation that you have to send a birthday snack on your child’s birthday, only if you wish to. At this point I am not aware of any food allergies of anyone in the class.
  • On P.E. days, please be sure to send your child to school dressed in his/her P.E. uniform.
  • If you have not yet done so, please send a family photo. A computer print-out is fine. Please do not send anything that you are concerned might be damaged or that you want returned.
  • At the end of every week I will post a newsletter to the blog that highlights some things we have been working on at school in the past week, as well as calling attention to things that are coming up. Additionally every week Ms. Stephanie will post to Bloomz a few photos that highlight some of what we have experienced in the past week.


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Sat 7 Sep: Chuseok Holiday Begins

Thu 26 Sep: Parent Teacher Conferences (evening)
Fri 27 Sep: Parent Teacher Conferences (NO SCHOOL)

Keep 1 extra set of clothes (including socks and underwear) in a ziplock bag in your child’s backpack all year in case of any wet clothing (seasonally appropriate).

Please send 1 labeled toothbrush, 1 plastic toothbrush cup, and 1 tube of toothpaste labeled with your child’s name.

Also, please send a small and quick healthy snack for morning time.

  • 1 filled water bottle (taken home daily)
  • 1 pack of washable markers
  • 1 pack of Dry-Erase Expo Markers
  • 1 pair of school scissors


Dear K-5 Families, 

Welcome to K-5 at Busan Foreign School! I am excited to be joining BFS as your child’s Kindergarten teacher this coming school year. 

I am very much looking forward to working with your child this coming school year. I want to foster a love of learning in your child. My goal is to provide the most enriching and nurturing environment that I can. 

I just moved to Korea from China, where I have been teaching at the International School of Beijing for the past fifteen years. I taught Kindergarten for most of my time in Beijing, but also taught Grade 1 there. Before Beijing I lived and taught in San Jose, California; Vancouver, Canada; Singapore; and St. Paul, Minnesota. I am originally from Minnesota, where as a child I lived on a dairy farm which supplied milk to a local cheese-maker. My interests, in addition to education, include cooking, computers, books, music, and swimming. 

My teaching assistant is Ms. Im. She is a native of Busan and is a graduate of BFS. She is also very much looking forward to working with our class. 

I will be involving your child in many different learning experiences aimed at developing language, reading, writing, and mathematical skills. In addition your child will work regularly with other teachers at BFS in library/media arts, performing arts, technology, and visual arts. It promises to be a stimulating and fun-filled year! 

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me: 

School E-Mail: 

The student information form attached will help me get acquainted with your child and will help me understand your child’s individual needs and personality. Please complete the form at your earliest convenience and return it to me in your child’s take-home folder. 

Ms. Im and I are looking forward to a wonderful year together with you and your child! 


Mark Ehrke

Mr. Ehrke’s email:

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