Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
- Make a word card for each child for the writing folder of sight words from the DRA 2. When the child identifies the word, punch a hole beside the word on the card and hold the child responsible for spelling it correctly. How easy is that!
- Four strategies from Mosaic of Thought can be taught in kindergarten - activating schema, creating mental images, questioning, and inferring... and why... and how. (Loved this!)
- Dr. Seuss's ABC book can be sung to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." The strategy that she explains with this book is one that I will be trying as we return from the Winter holiday with that very small group of my students who still don't have the letters and sounds. I'll let you know how it works!
- I loved her explanation of the difference between steady beat and rhythm and how they relate to reading. I guess I knew this at some level but her explanation made it so clear.
- When lining up use snapping and counting backwards as a calming segue. Great technique that actually reinforces a math skill.
So, now that I have finished the book, I guess I can say that it was really worth reading. I think the beginning that was a turn-off for me was really just a reminder that these are 5 year olds. Most of the children that come to me have had good, strong pre-kindergarten experiences. Some even come in knowing their letters and sounds and how to write their names, but for those other students who do not have the opportunity of a rich literacy background, Susan Kempton's words are a warning- do not skimp on the foundation. As I reflect on that, I have been thinking about ways to build working with play dough, cutting with scissors, and building with leggos for those students that do seem to still need more fine motor development or ways to build reading and writing into our afternoon "choice" centers...
The holiday break really gives us time to think about our students and to reflect on our practice. Professional reading stimulates those thoughts. Thank you, Susan Kempton, for helping me think about my teaching...
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Just for fun and enjoyment, take a look at the Principal's blog this week which is a weekly message to the faculty where she "elfed herself!" You'll love it! Happy, happy holidays!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
On another day children and teachers came dressed in pajamas and had hot chocolate while they heard the story of the Polar Express and recieved the gift of a bell to hang around their neck. Other classes made gingerbread houses or gingerbread boys as they read The Gingerbread Boy. Classes made a gift fortheir families, added a card during Writers' Workshop and decorated a bag as holiday wrapping paper. They sang and read poems and stories -all with a holiday theme, much like Kindergarten classes everywhere. They created memories. I know my own tree is filled with those precious holiday school crafts and frames. My personal favorites were always the ornaments that came with the child's picture and I touched them fondly and smiled as I hung each one this year now that my kids are grown. You can see some of my favorites below.
One of my new favorite holiday activities this year was found in Cheryl Dillard's classroom. On the last 12 days before the holiday, she hangs a holiday bag for each child with his/her name on it. If the child has a "white" day (which means they don't loose any clips for poor choices) then she adds a small treat to the bag (a piece of candy such as a candy Kiss or miniature candy cane, a small trinket such as a rubber ball, holiday sticker, etc). On the last day each child gets to take home their holiday treat bag!
Finally, school is out for 2007. Children are sent home with visions of sugerplums dancing in the head and teachers are home for a rest! Of course, it is also a time of reflection and planning for the new year... 2008 - here we come!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
All About Inuits
Table of Contents
Inuits Look Like.........1
Where Inuits Live......2
What Inuits Do...........3
Inuits Look Like P. 1
They have mukluks.
They have snow goggles.
They have parkas.
They had clothes.
Where Inuits Live P. 2
Inuit igloos are made out of ice.
The Artic is where they live.
Snow in on the ground.
What Inuits Do P. 3
They ride on umiaks
They throw harpoons.
They hunt for animals.
They hunt for food.
They have harpoons.
They play games.
They live in igloos.
They hunt for animals.
This report is a good example of a kindergartner reporting information on a particular topic. It meets the kindergarten standard for Reports. It begins by naming the topic (Inuits) in the title. It includes an organizational structure with a Table of Contents and then writing for each of the three "chapters" (What Inuits wear, where they live, and what they do) related to the Chapter Titles and a closing of Fun Facts. The report includes facts anspecific information with content appropriate vocabulary. It maintains a focus and stays on topic without any extraneous information. The writing is accompanied by illustrations that even include labels. The author closes the paper with "fun facts" that include most of the information that has been previously stated.
This report also meets the Language and Conventions Standard for Kindergarten. The author uses a variety of sentences. The vocabulary is outstanding and demonstrates much of the language that was presented during this unit. Many of these words with pictures were available on a Word Wall for this unit. The author also spells many sight words correctly. Other words are spelled phonetically. The piece demonstrates beginning knowledge of spacing. It also demonstrates directionality and is readable by adults.
The next was a holiday poem that stressed color words. (Words for this poem can be found in the widget to the left, "Video streams/ Shared Reading.") This poem was introduced to teach the students to use intonation with punctuation which is a part of fluency. We comprehend text better when we use intonation with punctuation so we know how the author intended for the text to sound. Randi and Elizabeth used "echo reading" (I read a line, then you read a line) to teach the poem, but will move to choral reading (we all read together) and then to students reading parts as the week continues.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Haley Alvarado and Meredy Mackiewicz chose a child off an "Angel Tree" that was the same age as their kindergartners. The class discussed how the holidays are celebrated in different families and why the holidays might be difficult for some families. The children helped decide what the gift should be for their Angel Child. What a wonderful holiday tradition when teachers use this teachable moment to teach what has been called the "gimme" generation, empathy and that each of us has a responsibility to the greater good. That really is what the "holiday spirit" is all about.
Not only will each teacher have this voice thread to present to her class in the Principal's voice, but so will families, as the voice thread goes on the web site. It becomes a communication tool for all of our stake holders so that they begin to understand some of our instructional emphasis. The other thing that it does is present something new and interesting to the faculty to lift the level of our work. Before the day was over, at least one teacher had two of her students prepare voice threads to stories they had written and had sent it on to the principal. The school is a-buzz with ideas of how this new piece of technology can be used in instruction. I have thought of a number of ways it can be used with kindergartners... so just stay tuned...
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
1.Draw a window for each brother or sister that you have. If you do not have any brothers or sisters, do not draw any windows.
2.If you live with your mom and dad, draw a red door. If you live with just your mom or just your dad, draw a green door.
3.If your whole family lives in Jacksonville, draw a tree right next to your house. If anyone in your family lives in another state, draw a tree far away from your house.
4.If your family speaks another language, write a 2 on the front door. If your family speaks English only, write a 1 on the front door.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Why is all this important? Because the caring, the fun, and the rigor of the agenda are all models for the way each coach will conduct her/his own Teacher Meetings. It feels professional. There is a feeling of group cohesiveness and accountability. You just can't imagine letting the Team down. This is the foundation for our culture that frees us to be all that we can be, that encourages us to expand creative thoughts and to try new things, and that puts a smile on our face as we walk into the building every day! It is this environment that is the greatest of holiday gifts! It doesn't get any better than this!