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.
As Halloween is just around the corner we have started several Halloween math centers with topics that we’ve been learning throughout the past few weeks. We’ve worked on number recognition with an “I See” Halloween Book. Students counted the Halloween pictures wrote the number and copied the sentence. They loved making these books because these words were easily recognizable to them!
We listened to the poem 5 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate and then students make their own pumpkins sitting on a gate with play-doh and matching number cards.
At the beginning of the year we learned about making patterns and as a refresher and spiral review, students made and completed Halloween shape patterns.
Yesterday we learned about ten-frames and how to count and add to ten using candy corn as our counters. Students were able to manipulate the candy corn on the smart board to get other classmates to guess the number.
Today we worked on decomposing the number four. We used green triangle pattern blocks to be used as jack-o-lantern teeth. We put those teeth in different positions on the pumpkin and created addition sentences. Students learned that no matter how often the position of the teeth changed, the whole group always remained 4.
We have been learning quite a bit in math this past month! In Kindergarten we’ve been learning how to measure using standard / non-standard units. First grade we have been working on Geometry learning about symmetry, congruence, and making bigger shapes using smaller shapes.
As a spiral review our K-1 All-Stars have also been completing centers reviewing their addition and subtraction facts. Kindergarteners were allowed to use counting bears to help them with the concepts.
Sight words have been a huge focus during literacy workshop this year. We have been looking for more ways to make sight words more fun and interactive and I found letter beads. So as a center, Kindergarteners got to create their own sight work necklaces during their workshop time!