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.
We are becoming stronger and stronger independent readers in Daniel’s K-1 All-Stars. Today we read another book from our Read On Your Own series of books called In the Van.
In this story the text is easy for emergent readers to decode. Students learned about how to find the problem and solution and used both the text and inferencing from the pictures. We filled out a story map labeling the characters, problem, solution, and setting of the story. Then as a class we brainstormed a few ideas for writing our own stories with a problem and solution.
For phonics we have been working on learning words that begin with the letter v. All students were provided with magnetic letters ‘v’, ‘a’, and ‘n’. They were encouraged to figure if they could make a word with those letters. Once everyone created the word van they were also provided with the letters f, p, t, c. Students made words using those letters and wrote them down in a list.
In our reading program we’ve been learning about the weather and seasons. As we work towards becoming independent readers we’ve begun to read decodable books that focus on the skills we’ve been learning during our phonics time.
Our book this week focused on different types of weather found in spring called “What Is It?”. Our students first spent time practicing the book during the “read to others” portion of the day, and then got the option to practice independently reading the story.
We then discussed the story and the main character, Lin. Students discussed what type of weather Lin liked, and what weather Lin didn’t like. They used their inferencing skills to use the pictures to help them come to their conclusions. Then students illustrated their findings showing which weather Lin liked and did not like.
We’ve been learning the letter S and the /s/ sound. One of our centers available for literacy workshop today was a cutting and gluing activity. Students cut out various pictures of key words and glued them onto construction sorting them based on if the words started with the /s/ sound or not.
In honor of the letter Q we had a Q U wedding today. Kids were allowed to dress up and everyone participated in the ceremony. We had the bride (letter Q), the groom (letter U), and the class were separated into the two families. The kids had a great time and enjoyed the ceremony. After the ceremony we had cupcakes other treats. The students were asked to bring presents that start with q. They brought things like q tips, quilts, and quarters.
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.
Forgive the title, it is a call and response that we use in my classroom. Well it has happened my friends! The start of the new year has come. Currently our SFA theme is Welcome Back to School! Which we have been working on getting back into routines, how we get along at school, learning who is in our class, and talking about feelings. Not to mention we’ve been doing benchmark assessments to gauge where our Kinders and 1st Graders are at. Currently they’ve been assessed in Reading A-Z’s Guided Reading levels, and sight word fluency.
In Math we’re going over numbers and quantities up to 12. Our very first day we covered the number 1 and what the quantity is. Students are to cut out the individual pieces and glue them onto a web chart that represents the number.
Matching up with our theme of Welcome Back to School, we read Franklin Goes to school and created our own My First Day of School book. On each page students colored or drew pictures that described their first day of school and what their school is like. It works perfect for the first week or so of school. This is something that we didn’t complete in one day, we’ve been working on it for the past few days.
To download an electronic copy of the First Day of School click here.
As stated before for Literacy Workshop, student’s have been taking benchmark tests in Guided Reading and sight words. While certain students are being assessed, the remainder of the students got a taste of Literacy centers. Students reviewed initial sounds by matching pictures that go with the beginning letter sounds. At the magnetic whiteboard center, students got to explore with letters and forming simple words if they were able to.
As we continue with the next few days of school I will display more of our activities and our classroom work!
Well my friends here is another year year under my belt in the magical world of Kindergarten. This up-coming year I will be returning to the village of Shaktoolik, Alaska. While this site is primarily used as a communication tool for parents and families for my new class and resource page for teachers; I encourage all of my friends who are interested in keeping up with my career to continue to visit. There will be plenty of goodies and pictures to check out in the near future!
So say goodbye to 2012-2013
There has been so much that has happened in the past few weeks, it’s hard to put it all into one post but I shall try. The past two weeks has featured special days and activities, not only in the school but in the classroom. Yesterday was the last day for all of my Kindergartners, and the last day of teaching in the monstrosity known as “the POD”. The POD being one big room separated into three classes by box plywood walls and no doors. This means there is noise CONSTANTLY. Very very challenging environment to say the least!
The end of year has been very bittersweet. This year has provided some of the biggest challenges I think any teacher should have to face in their career. However I will say that because of everything that I’ve had to face; I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. I’d like to think I am a much better teacher now than when I was when I first entered in this year. It is also very sad because I really became close with quite a few of my students especially at the very end of the year. The very last day it was very sad and I had quite a bit of crying. But it ended with lots of hugs and smiles once they got their Kindergarten Diplomas!
Final academic days
Before I get to the Kindergarten Promotion Ceremony, I’d like to share all of the fun we had in our last few what I like to call “normal days” of school. Through the whole year we’ve been doing Workshop / Centers where students interact with hands on activities that reinforce previous skills taught. Last week we had our final workshop days which included a massive farewell to all the centers we’ve used this year. Students were able to use the blocks, ANY folder game that we’ve ever used, any math center we’ve ever used, computers. Below are some pictures that features the excitement!
The next week (this last week of school) has been pretty much clean up and fun activities. We’ve had a few school wide activities that were pretty enjoyable and interesting. We had a science day which featured several different centers focusing on various concepts. One center children tested out the result sound waves had on different items. Children learned that sounds are just vibrations heard by our ears.
Other centers included students testing out the floating properties of certain items, how electricity words, ecosystems, and a miniature planetarium where students could watch different slides in the dark of up planets in our solar system up close.
Kindergarten Promotion Ceremony
Teaching Kindergarten also means that you and your little ones get to participate in the time honored tradition of the “graduation” into 1st grade. Since Kindergarten has changed quite a bit over the years, it’s no longer as different from the rest of school as it used to be 10 years ago. However it is still fun tradition to keep and have your little ones participate in. Since the other Kindergarten teacher left about a month and a half early, the planning and implementation of the ceremony fell completely to me. I had taught Kindergarten the previous year but the promotion ceremony was added onto the high school graduation (since the school was K-12) and I didn’t really have to plan for anything.
This year I made sure to send out notices to all parents asking for volunteers, decorations and food. I sent out the information out at about the end of April. If you want an example of what my communications looked like, take a look here:
The responses I received were overwhelming. I used the Volunteer Sign Up slips to have updated numbers for all parents and called each one by one just to confirm what they were bringing. If parents were bringing decorations, I had the students bring the decorations the day before the actual ceremony so I had time to set everything up before the actual ceremony. Here is how the decorating turned out:
The day of the actual ceremony, EVERY SINGLE PARENT or family showed up. Which in my school is almost completely unheard of. It definitely helped that I was extra diligent in calling parents and sending out two separate reminders about the ceremony. Families brought a huge spread of food and all the food was set up in the POD common area. The ceremony went off without a hitch. I had all the Kindergarteners walk in a line and had them stand in front of the blue wall. They performed three of our special songs we learned in Kindergarten, and I spoke very briefly about what they had learned this year. Then I sat them all down in the front two rows and handed out a few awards, followed by the actual “Kindergarten Diploma”. The Kindergarten Diploma was quite possibly my favorite thing that I made. The name has been crossed out to keep from being sued lol.
For those of you who have been wondering what kind of centers I use for literacy workshop here are some photo examples. Each literacy center I try each try to address several different skills in one day. First for sight words and sentence structure, students got to build various sentences using color coded cards. Also students practiced saying sight words and covering them up using markers and spelling them.
With phonics and writing students got to build CVC words a write a sentence using the words they built. Students also practiced writing short vowel words on workmats with dry erase markers as well match pictures with the written word.
Let’s not forget my computer center which is definitely the classroom favorite. I paid for a classroom subscription to starfall.com, and they have TONS of activities that include reading comprehension, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and even math for K-1!