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.
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.
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.
On top of my workshop I have centers throughout the room that children have the ability to go explore and learn through play. Each student choices a center by taking a clothespin with their name on it and clipping it onto a sign that matches that center. When the student is done with that specific center he or she takes the clothes pin with him to the new center. On the sign are stick dots that display the number of people are allowed at that center. Once every dot is covered, no one else can visit that center.
The centers that are open each day depends on what unit I am on. But overall the centers I have are; Building Center (puzzles, legos, Lincoln Logs and actual wooden building blocks), Creative Playing With Toys (toy kitchen set, puppets, toy dishes), Listening Center (ear phones for listening to themselves read, CD walkman to hear audio books), Library Center (classroom library), Writing Center (whiteboards, writing paper for free writing), Computer Center (with Starfall activities), Art Center (with a paint easel, crayons, markers, and other crafts), and Sand / Water Table Center.
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!