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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reading Chant Video

After playing this in class today I promised the kids I would post it on the blog so that they could watch it at home. I like that they are sound blending, they like that the last word is... butt! Anything for learning right? Enjoy!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reading Round Up #1 How to Read 3 Ways

This Friday will be our very first kindergarten reading roundup! I am so excited because I get to teach the first lesson. The idea of reading roundup is based on our reader's workshop. We are planning on teaching a reading mini-lesson to the children but also to all of the parents who are able to come. I think this is a great opportunity for parents to get a sneak peek into what reading looks like for kindergarten and also something that they can take away and do at home to better help their beginning reader.

Our first lesson is called; The 3 Ways to Read a Book, inspired by a lesson at the learning pad.

 Kindergartners often tell me "I can't read" when I ask them to read a book. This lesson hopefully will give them some strategies that they can use even this early in their reading life.

The lesson:

How do you read a book?

You read the pictures, read the words, retell the story

 The teacher will…

Model reading the pictures of a book

Model reading the words

 Model retelling the story.

The children will then practice reading one of the three ways with their parent (or shining star 5th or 6th grade helper)

After a set amount of time we will gather together to talk about how it went and which way they were able to read their book.

In the classroom we will create an anchor chart that shows the three ways to read a book.

Now we are on our way to becoming great readers...yeee-haaw!

Lost Library Cards-No More!

I love the library! The library is an exciting place of wonder for kindergartners. Thousands of books and in their words "all for FREE!" They love going to the library and are taught to do it independently. Just like at the public library they need to bring their library card with them. This card has a barcode on it for them to use when checking out books. It also has their username and password for when they log onto the computers. But little hands and big books don't always go together, not to mention paper cards. So this year I am trying a new system using badge holders. I bout a class set of plastic ID tags form Walmart (much cheaper than the office stores) and I bought a class set of clips. Now when the kids go to the library in the morning by themselves they clip it on their shirt and don't have to worry about losing them among the way. Check it out:

The back has their name, barcode, and computer information.

Here are some of the boys showing off their cards.

Back in the basket when the are done!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Let's Go Buffalo!

Lets Go Buffalo!! Hey... that rhymes! This week we will be practicing our rhyming skills! Keep an eye out for our rhyming homework bags that will be sent home soon!

I think our spirit day worked! Thanks for all who participated. Go Bills!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Writing Day #1

We begain our very first day of writing workshop today and it was a huge success! I was really impressed with the readiness from many of the students!

Today we just began slow and simple. We talked all about our writing journals and how they had nothing in them. The children were very excited to fill them up with great pictures and great stories. I started today with the kid writing model because we are not quite ready for a full worshop mode yet.

The children drew a picture, and many of them were able to work with me to say the sounds and write the letters. Here are some examples of our great work!

 Dominic wrote about a "muddy cat"

Alyssa wrote about the back to school "carnival"

Derek made a "Squrimy Alien"

I was very impressed! Parents you can help your child do this at home in just 2 steps! 1.Ask your child  to draw a picture and  after they are finished they will chose what word(s) they would like to write to describe their picture. 2.Strech out the sounds that you hear in the word together. 

In the beginning (like today) I  say the sounds as they think about the letter that goes with the sound.
For example: When Dominic said "It's a dirty cat" I said "ok what do you hear.... /d/..."  he said "D!"
and then wrote it on his paper. You continue with all of the sounds until the word it complete. This is something everyone can do at home. Obvously they don't  know every sound yet but practice every day and before you know it you will have a new writer at home!

Great job to all my kid writers today! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reading is a Treasure

Reading Workshop has not begun yet but I am really looking forward to a special lesson that I plan to use in the opening days of the workshop. The lesson goes something like this...

Lesson: books are treasures

==> Have children sit in a circle around the perimeter of the group area.

==> Have your favorite book in a pretty box or package. Have the kids guess what treasure they think might be in the box.

==> Open the box and share your favorite book with the children.

==> Share your special memories about the book.

==> Have children get their favorite books they brought from home and set them in front of them.

==> Have the children use their eyes to look around.

==> Ask the children what they notice about all the books sitting around the circle. Discuss reading identities.

==> Have several children share their selections and explain why the book is special.

==> End with a discussion about books being one of the greatest treasures a person can ever own.

==> Send children to their tables to read and share their books with their friends.

(Thanks to thelearningpad for the lesson)


So when I do this lesson with my class this year I thought...What is better to get my point across than an authentic Treasure Chest! This summer I found a box at Hobby Lobby and jazzed it up using a hot glue gun and jewels from the dollar store. I plan on using this box to store all of my favorite books as I read them throughout the year. I always kept them in a special basket but now I think it will be even more special!


While Working On It

After and Ready To Go!

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Day Treat

Tomorrow is the BIG Day! I have prepared a little treat for the kids to take home with them.



 I just taped the paper on the back of the cupcake and folded it over for an instant treat!

Teachers want a copy for yourself? Click HERE to download one for your classroom.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Reading Workshop

I love reading workshop!
 Over the past few years I have slowly implemented it in my classroom but this past year I went full force. I was a bit nervous about how it would look in kindergarten but it really was an amazing success! Every one of my students were reading on or above grade level by the end of they year! This for me was a huge accomplishment because many of the students did not come in to kindergarten with a lot of literacy background knowledge.

We started from scratch and they were amazing workers. I was impressed by how far they came at the end of he year and how driven they were every day!  I started slowly in the beginning of the year and by December we had a full fledged running workshop! Here is a short video from last December in my classroom during  Readers Workshop. We were working on the strategy of Questioning, so you will notice them reading, thinking and sharing some questions they had.

This year I plan to continue Readers Workshop and I am so excited to start! This summer I have been working on some new lessons and activities but mostly refining some of my favorites.

The Learning Pad is probably the BEST resource I have ever come across for teachers beginning their workshop. This teacher is amazing! It is designed for a second grade classroom, but can be easily modified for kindergarten or any grade. The lessons are posted for each day/lesson including the exact mini lesson, the strategy AND even the mentor text that pairs with the lesson!  I can't say enough about how much this site has helped me organize and feel comfortable teaching Reading Workshop.

If you are a teacher beginning this approach or just someone in need of ideas, check out this site. If you are a parent interested in doing more at home or just want to see what reading looks like in our classroom every day check out this website.

I am planning on sharing some details in my next post about a really fun mini lesson that I can't wait to try in my Reading Workshop this year. Stay tuned! And for those of you beginning your school year like me after labor day, good luck and have a great year!