The Kindergarten All-Stars is changing up the way we do workshop for this coming school year. The new way will provide students with more choice and more flexibility to learn on their own pace.
Those three choices that each group gets are based on three categories:
- Main workstations tubs (5 tubs) or Computers
- Extension tubs – Write the Room materials, Phonics Games, sight word lessons & flash cards, book bags
- Room Activities – These are centers that rarely change but students can go to around the room. Examples: classroom library, magnetic letters, poetry journals, journal writing, and pocket chart area
Student can go back and forth between one of the three choices. When they finish with one thing they can go onto to the next choice. If they do something and finish it, they can go back and do it again later after they finish something else. The main tubs are based on students needs and abilities.
The Kindergarten All-Stars are having fun with our fall theme. To support the skills we’ve been learning in class, we’ve been enjoying fall related literacy centers. We’ve been working on rhyming words, initial sounds, color words / sight words, and differentiating between letters and words.
We also read the story “The Falling Leaves” and enjoyed making leaf rubbings with completting a sentence starter with sight words we’ve neen working on so far in the past few weeks.
One part of my reading block through the past 4 years has been that of literacy workshop. It is a block of time for my students to work together in small groups to work on important literacy skills, work on social skills, and problem solving. This time allows for me to work closely with students that needs help on deficient skills and work with my students on guided reading.
Students are given a group and they follow a schedule that shows what center they are on. Each center has a card that matches the schedule. The students find the center based on the schedule and the clothespin shows the student what part of the schedule they are on. When the timer goes off students find the center that has the card that matches the next card.
For the first few weeks of school our focus will be on letter recognition. Students will work on matching letters at the pocket chart, playing with magnetic letters (building words if possible), putting together letter puzzles, and finally coloring a back to school book.
In the past 10 years or so there has been a steady increase in expectations in what students are required to learn in kindergarten. With the increase in expectations of our students; it makes it even more difficult to find activities that are not only engaging, age appropriate for young learners, but also align to state and national standards. Below are some examples of centers I do during my workshop / guided reading time.
There are many different centers that are shown here. On the computers the Kindergarteners have been using a website called abcmouse.com, which is an amazing website free to all public school teachers. It has a whole plethora of supplemental activities that range from early literacy, math, and even science. You can create a login for all students and place them at different levels based on their academic needs. It’s a great program for RtI.
First graders have been using the website raz-kids.com. This website is an interactive fluency / reading comprehension website that ties into the guided reading program I used last year called Reading A-Z.
One of the biggest changes in Kindergarten is the requirement of learning sight words or words used most often in children’s literature. Now most schools and school districts require that by the end of kindergarten children are able to read with success, at least 20 sight words by the end of the year. Examples of the most commonly used sight words are; a, my, the, see, I, go, can, he, she, look, like, and love.
The centers above show how we can encourage students to actively recognize sight words and how they are used in sentence formation, and how to spell them. I have sight word stamps that I pre select for students and they are to put them into the correct order to form a sentence. I also have alphabet letter stamps stamps where they can make the words. Finally our reading program provides sentences for students to partner read, I allow them to use highlighters to find the sight word of the week.
A few more examples of my centers include sequencing cards. They are a set of 4 pictures that show a simple story. The students practice putting the pictures in the correct order in which they would happen. Students can flip over the cards to see if they correctly completely the activity.
The last center is called “Write Around the Room” which is a class favorite! They get to put on silly fake sunglasses with the lenses popped out and they are spying for words in the room that begin with a certain letter that we are learning.
Every week we have a new literacy skill that we focusing on in Literacy workshop. This week our mini lessons are based on sequencing. I took four big pictures that went in order and had the whole class work together to put the pictures in the right order. Then as a whole class we told the story.
After this activity I put in the learning to sequence picture card game into out literacy workshop. I had students work with me one on one putting the four pictures in order. They turned the pictures over to make sure they were correct.
After students checked their work they turned the pictures back over and they told a story in their own words of what is happening in the pictures. Then students practiced reading stories on their own and answering sequencing questions.
Now that our Kindergartners have a solid foundation in letter sounds (m, a ,s, t, p, i, g), we have been working on rhyming words and words that belong in the same word family. We’ve been using interactive activities from starfall.com ‘s learn to read section.
Students were provided with magnetic whiteboards and given opportunities to write any -at words that they could remember. As an extension activity students cut and created -at words based on pictures that they saw.