Well it has been a long journey fellow readers but the Bowen’s have moved from Kenai, Alaska back to their home state of Michigan. Of course I am still teaching kindergarten so the All-Stars legacy continues to live on!
I have moved to a school that has reopened after 3 years of being closed. It is an international baccalaureate elementary school. It is super exciting as we are learning how to be global citizens, inquirers, and all classes will have 30 minutes of Spanish instructions everyday. I only had a week and a half but I able to set up the new room on time!
The first day of school parents got to come at the end of the half day and join the students in a scavenger hunt looking for important places in the classroom.
For the second day of school students got to have their first experience at exploration centers. In exploration centers students get to move freely throughout the room and choose activities that they investigate different learning skills. In extension centers students can choose from the classroom library, art center, math manipulative tubs, block center, writing center, science center, community center, and computers.
For art center students work on first day of kindergarten headbands. Writing center had students tracing lines and drawing pictures on whiteboards with dry erase markers. In the science center students did a sorting science tools folder game. In the community center students sorted pictures into their correct beginning sound on a pocket chart. Finally at the blocks center, students put together puzzles foam letter puzzles and got to build with wooden blocks.
For a read aloud today we read the story, The Night Before Kindergarten and made It’s the First Day of School, I feel… art activity. This activity can be found here.
What a busy day it has been today for our Kindergarten All-Stars! We had many fun activities for our Halloween party. First we started with a pumpkin carving, students got to dig into the pumpkin with their hands and count seeds.
Then we worked on Halloween art centers. Along with the centers parents donated Halloween snacks and volunteered to help out in the classroom. The centers were, paper bag puppets, paper plate masks, hanging ghosts, and lollipop ghosts.
Finally we had a school-wide costume parade where all classes K-2 showcased their costumes both teachers and students.
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.
In Kindergarten we are still at split groups until Monday and we have been spending lots of time learning procedures and how to act in school. Today we talked about how nervous we were at the first day of school and compared our feelings to the boys feelings in the book Kindergarten Rocks! We also talked about how at the end of the day, we were no longer scared just like Dexter in the story. We made our first self portraits and we will save them until the end of the year. Then we can go back and look and see how our writing and drawing has changed since the beginning of the year.
For morning centers we worked on using math manipulatives. Mr. Bowen All-Stars got to explore different ways to use the connecting cubes. Some students made patterns while others separated by color.
As part of our Daily 5 routines that we’ve implemented we’ve been putting extra emphasis on word work. We have been building words using onset and rime, reading our decodable books, finding our sight words and writing them on sticky notes. We’ve also been building high frequency word sentences by sight word fish!
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.
This week we’ve been learning about the letter i and vowel sounds in words. We started off by learning the song by Raffi Apples and Bananas. For those that aren’t familiar with that song, it takes the words “I like to eat, eat, eat, Apples and Bananas” and changes them based on each long vowel sound.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKEUAzzn-Ig]
Then after we’ve practiced the new letter i, we worked on building words with short /i/ vowel sounds with magnetic letters and writing them on dry erase boards.
Later on this week we then worked on word short /i/ word families such as -ip and ig and we did a sorting activity sorting pictures into groups of short /i/ words and not short /i/ words.
As part of our Welcome to School unit, our math workshop centers focused on a few of our basic math skills that we’ve been learning on the first few weeks of school.
We’ve been working on counting with 1:1 correspondence, number recognition from 1 to 10, sorting by size, shape, and color, and writing numbers from 1 to 10. We filled up our fish bowls matching the written number with the correct number of fish. Students made pictures and designs by sorting with shapes. Students also worked on putting pictures of numbered frogs in correct order.