As the first week of school wrapped up, we continued to learn about following rules / expectations and participated in getting to know each other activities. We read the story No David! by David Shannon. The students paired up and practiced looking for the rules that David was breaking as we read the story. After the story, students made David Popsicle stick puppets and retold the story using the puppets. You can find the No David! puppets here.
The next day we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Marin Jr. and talked about how letters make up words, and the most important word we know is our name! Students wrote their name in boxes, cut them up and put them back in the correct order. They counted the number of letters in their name and wrote the number.
Then we continued to get to know each other by sharing how many letters are in our name, and saying our favorite color. Then we graphed how many letters are in our name to as a little math extension!
Finally, one thing I’ve been really trying to teach my students this year is proper use of shared materials and not wasting. Students have been learning how to making good use of glue sticks and not wasting bottled glue. They have been taught the phrase “just a dot, not a lot”. I gave them a worksheet copied on card-stock where they glued on the dots of the worksheet, trying not to overuse the glue. To find out more about this idea go here.
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 read the story Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and talked about how letters and the alphabet help us read words and sentences. We talked about one of the most important words we should know, and that’s our name! We practiced writing our names and making them by cutting out the letters and gluing them back in order. We also counted the number of letters in our name.
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.