Monday, September 30, 2013

Guided Reading Items

I have been trying to align my pocket chart and guided reading books with our sight word for the week. Since it's virtually impossible to find exactly what you need for the unit you're studying I had to create my own. To be honest, I like doing that because I can get exactly what I want. I have made 2 sets recently to go along with fall and apples. Both sets include a full page version for your classroom library, a 2-per page version to use for individual student books, pocket chart clip art and individual student practice pages for the sight words. You can grab them at my TPT store. My kids really like using them each week and I can tell they are really learning to recognize and read the words in context of print. I hope you can use them!


Balancing Act Part 2

My last post was a long one explaining how I am incorporating Balanced Literacy into my day in the first couple of weeks. Now that we have worked out the kinks we are moving up to the next level- dual rotations and individual practice. Ok, here goes. My colleague and I have been trying to wrap our heads around how to fit it all in during the day in a way that isn't overwhelming or frustrating and here is what we came up with. First, here is an overview of our day. (You'll notice that the rotations are broken up into 2 times of the day. That was for scheduling purposes)

8-8:30- unpack, announcements, morning work
8:30-8:45- calendar, morning meeting
8:45-9:00- phonics
9:00-10:30- Balanced Literacy Block (rotation 1)
***9:00-9:15- Shared Reading (pocket chart, big books, etc... focusing on a reading skill)
      9:15-9:45- Whole group writing
      9:45-10:30- Workshop rotations (T works with one group on a skill and aide assists the other 3 groups doing independent work from our work tubs: sight word activity, predictable reader, letter writing, etc... I put specific tasks that I want the students to complete for practice for the week in my work tubs. When students finish they have an assigned area to go to for early finisher activities: computer, promethean board, pocket chart, etc...)
10:35-11:05- lunch
11:05-11:30- bathroom/interactive read aloud (book for a skill with specific questions I want to          address or a book from our unit of study)
11:30-12:30- Related Arts and recess
12:30-1:15- RTI group/Balanced Literacy (rotation 2)
**** aide takes RTI group to another room to work on letters, sounds, reading, etc... remaining students rotate through the work jobs in groups of  2 or 3. Each student has a task to do for that day. As they are working I am pulling strategy groups to the back table for guided reading
1:15-1:45- Math and math workshops (whole group math on Monday, workshops T-TH)
1:45-2:10- Free centers

I use a work job board to let students know what they are to do for the day. If there is an activity that requires them to write or respond (ex. write the room or listen to reading) I have the sheet in a colored box and that work job card on the board has a coordinating colored dot so they know which box they need to pull from. There are 12 work job cards and they are rotated daily. It might take 2-3 weeks for all students to rotate through the jobs, but that's ok. The purpose is that they are doing meaningful work and practicing their reading and writing. It's ok if they don't get to every job every week as long as they are working with a purpose.  Having them organized and set up in a neat way has really helped me stay focused and helps the kids know exactly what they are supposed to do. My work job cards are available on my TPT site. You can grab them here.

That's Part 2. I'll take pictures of my work job board and rotation schedule and post them tomorrow so you can see how I make it work. Part 3 will focus on guided reading and writing. I hope you found this useful. If so, let me know. I'd love to know how you're fitting it all in!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Balancing Act....Literally

We're rocking and rolling here at the Perch. I have an amazing class this year and we have been able to get going on things pretty well. This year we are implementing Balanced Literacy across the board with Fountas and Pinnell. It's not such a big deal in kindergarten since we've always done the workshop type centers, but it's going to be a little different this year. I'm going to blog about the transition to guided reading, which will officially begin in January. For now we are working on establishing the routine of workshop so the students know what the expectation is and learn how to work independently without interrupting me while I'm working with a group. It is something that is methodical and laborsome, but SO meaningful once they get it. SLOW and STEADY....that's the point....There's truth in that phrase.
So, here's Phase 1: Practice Makes Perfect.

The first 2 weeks of school:
Practice and Planning:
We work on procedures, rules and behavior expectations. We do everything whole group or in 2 small groups, each with its own teacher. We are working on using materials properly, cleaning up, cutting, tracing, gluing, knowing where to find materials in the room, following teacher directions, working with others, etc....The purpose of these first critical weeks is to set the tone and teach the fundamentals. Teaching them to cut, clue and replace caps on markers is of the utmost importance since they will be using those materials independently during workshop time. When you're working with a group you don't have time to stop and tell them where to find an extra glue stick or how to put the cap on a marker. My advice here- have a place in your room (mine is a large drawer) where all your extra materials are and have it organized. That way they know where to go and can easily find what they need without disturbing you to ask. 

Before I put any activities in workshop I teach it whole group. Week 2 of school we started using a HFW sheet to help us learn our sight words. I taught them step by step how to trace, color, cut, glue, and write the words. We did this whole group and my aide and I monitored and corrected students as they worked. Doing this and showing them what the expectation would be made it easy the next week when it was in the independent tub for Word Work. I did that with each of my activities. Everything whole group and step by painstaking step to teach the expectation.

Week 3: Workshop Begins
My workshops consist of 4 groups: 1 teacher led and 3 independent. I work with my literacy group and my aide monitors and assists students to make sure they are on task and doing the work correctly. This gives her a chance to pull students who may need additional support and work with them one on one. My group for the first 2 weeks of workshop is assessments. I'm testing students on the basics so that I will have information to use when grouping my students. At this point we are in heterogeneous groups. Eventually we will be in strategic groups, which will become guided reading groups.

First week of workshop students are only doing one thing. They have one task and then they are finished. We only stay in workshop about 20-25 minutes depending on the day. The second week I set up the centers chart to show them where they go when they finish. Each group has 2 assignments: the "have to" and the "now what". Once they are finished with the mandatory work and it is checked they rotate to their early finisher activity. Right now it's Promethean Board, Starfall on computers, Big Books, or pocket chart. I will open more activities as the year progresses.

This week we did week 2 of workshop. Next week I will be in week 3 and will start doing 2 rotations. I will meet with all groups once a week to work on a skill while my strategic group will work with me every day. Next week we will have a predictable book (In the fall I see...). Even though we are not working on guided reading yet we will be working on tracking print and reading words we know. Again, the basics, so that when we get to guided reading they are used to it and familiar with it so we can jump into our leveled readers and dig into the meat of our lessons. My strategic group will be doing the predictable sentence "In the fall I can see..." to teach those fundamental reading and writing skills. They will be dictating, tracking print, cutting and putting the sentence back together, finding sight words, etc...I want to get them familiar with sentence structure and tracking in a more meaningful way.

LONG post, I know, but the next ones will be shorter. This was 4 weeks worth of workshop rolled into one post. I hope you find it useful. I'll be posting my schedule and some pictures of my chart and other things to help you see how I'm doing it. This isn't a perfect system but it works for me!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Pumpkin Time

Since fall is in the air and pumpkin time is going to be here before we know it I've decided to post my "Cute Kindergarten Math and ELA" unit on here. Here's the description:

Super cute pumpkin unit for kindergarten. This unit includes activities for reading, science and math. Skills covered in this unit include number and quantity to 10, ordinal numbers, sequencing events in a story, story retelling, reading, upper/lower case recognition, scientific inquiry. Aligned with Common Core standards for K5.

Included in this unit:
Upper/lower case letter match pumpkins (print out on cardstock then cut between the letters to make a puzzle)
Number word/numeral match pumpkins (print out on cardstock then cut between the number/word to make a puzzle)
Number/Quantity match cards (print out on cardstock then cut between the number/dots to make a puzzle)
Printable poem “The Five Little Pumpkins”
“The Five Little Pumpkins” cut apart poem
Pumpkin terms word search
Ordinal number match up
Ordinal number following directions activity
Number word match up
Numeral/Quantity matching activity
Poster for “Parts of a Pumpkin”
Pumpkin Investigation recording sheet

I hope you find it useful! My kiddos loved this one last year. Can't wait to use it again.

Emergent Reader Bundle

I've been working really hard trying to get a handle on the new CCSS and balanced literacy and, I'm happy to say, that it's finally coming together! I've been working on creating emergent readers to use during our interactive read aloud times and during balanced literacy workshops. I think I've finally found a way to merge the two seamlessly while giving students the practice they need to read and write the sight words and work on foundational reading skills. I've created pocket chart stories that have our word of the week. We read it aloud every day doing different activities with it. I then give each student a one page sheet to complete during word work time where they are reading the story and tracing the sight words on the sheet to get the practice of letter formation. It has been really successful so far and I'm excited to create more! I've got one bundle pack that I'm using next week and I just uploaded it to my TPT store. There are 2 versions of the story "In The Fall": a large version to use for a class book and a 2-per page version to print for individual student books. I've also included the clip art to use to create your own pocket charts or flipcharts as well as the word work sheet. You can grab it at my TPT store!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

27, 28, 29, 20-10...

Well this year is off to a grand start! I had 29 students until yesterday. Yes, 29! You've heard the phrase "Herding Cats"? Well, we definitely were! Our enrollment was crazy high this year and we had that many kinders in our classes. Luckily we were able to add a new class to get our numbers down to 24, which is way more manageable! So, now that we're kind of in our holding pattern and in the air, it's time to get back to blogging. I hope to do updates a couple of times a week focusing on what we're doing in kindergarten and new technology tips I stumble across. So, for today's entry, I'm going to show you my class rules. Simple, yet effective. I decided to tie behavior to life skills this year. Rather than give students a list of do's and don'ts, I am teaching them to apply life skills to behavior. Our rules are simple: Be respectful, be responsible, be a friend, be your best. 4 simple life skills that I can apply to any situation. Students aren't sitting quietly? "Are you being respectful and responsible?", Students are calling ugly names- "You're not being respectful or being a friend". So far it seems to be having a positive impact on behaviors. I used my Silhouette Cameo and created a vinyl wall art to showcase these rules. I love how it turned out!!