## Posts

Showing posts from September, 2009

### Discovering Patterns

Our class has been working on a mathematics unit called Pattern Trains and Hopscotch Paths. We have explored questions like these: What makes a pattern a pattern? How do patterns give us information so that we can predict what comes next? Being able to recognize a pattern is an important tool in math. The children will continue to have many opportunities to copy, create, and extend patterns using materials such as pattern blocks, color tiles, and interlocking cubes. The above picture came from a lesson called Pattern Snakes. Students used paper pattern block cut outs to create their own pattern snakes. Children are also learning how to name their patterns: ABAB, ABCABC, ABBABB, etc. It is important for students to noticing patterns all around them because it can help in all subject areas: reading, writing, and science. Discovering patterns is a fun and exciting way for children to observe the world around them!

### More Than One Way to Retell a Story

During Reader's Workshop, we revisited one of the classes' favorite star books, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This classic fairy tale has been retold several times and in several different ways. The first few times it was read, we paged through the story using elaborate, almost exaggerated tones -PAPA BEAR, Mama Bear, and wee little squeaky baby bear voices. Then we brought out the puppets and children had the chance to perform and watch a Reader's Theater presentation (see below post). Another time, a glove finger puppet was added while reading the tale. After a few lessons on beginning, middle and end of the story, students were invited to draw what happened at those different times. Paper was cut in the shape of a house and students drew the beginning, middle and end of the story. The above picture shows the bears and Goldilocks first; the middle picture has the broken chair, the three bowls of porridge and her sleeping in the bed; and the third shows Goldilocks ready…

### Literacy Work Stations: Growing Independence

During the past week, we have introduced Literacy Work Stations as an integral component of our hour long Reader's Workshop. Literacy Work Stations allow students time for independent practice of previously taught mini lessons. Literacy stations also allow children to be actively engaged while we work with small groups. Included in our list of activities (so far) are: Read the Room (go around the room and read charts with a pointer); Write the Room (paper, clipboard, and marker - students write words they see around the classroom); ABC puzzles, classroom library, Star names (previously cut up star names are used); and beginning sounds center. The students rotate to a different station a few days a week. The focus is on practice and purpose that is linked to our teaching. We want to provide students with meaningful literacy practice activities during this time. For our emergent readers, these work stations will allow children to develop phonological awareness (the ability to isolat…

### "Ropin' In Kindergarten Writers" Bulletin Board

Our first official bulletin board, "Ropin' In Kindergarten Writers", proudly displays the first "written" works of some of our Kindergarten students. In Writer's Workshop, students are learning how to tell a "small moment" (personal narrative) story by first, planning their story and then illustrating it through pictures. When the children are finished, they are able to staple it and then have created their own book. We make anything in their lives a small moment story. For example, in the first set of pictures, Lauren went in the Jeep to go to Target; shopped for clothes; and then went out of the store with her cart. In the second writing sample, Chatfield was at the beach and saw a live conch in the puddles of water; walked up a sand hill; and then, when leaving the beach, told his dad to "Hurry up!" The third story is from Mackenzie. She was in the back yard; then played hide and seek; finally, another friend came over and they playe…

### Caps For Sale: A Reader's Theater Production

A favorite "Star Book" from our collection includes this timeless classic, "Caps For Sale." The children love hearing this story over and over and are now great at re-enacting the story. With a few minor props and lots of imagination, the students had a wonderful time retelling this story. And now presenting...Caps For Sale!
Retelling of Caps For Sale on Vimeo.

### Kindergarten - Settling Into Week Two

Wow!! Our second week of Kindergarten was loaded with work and fun. We don't have a minute to spare in our Skills Block. We start out with phonics, phonemic awareness, shared reading (morning message and nursery rhymes), and star names activities. Students learn most skills via singing and dancing. It's a great way to start off the day. After Skills block, we go right into Writer's Workshop. Children are learning what good writer's do. Did you know that good writers say, "When you think you're done, you've only just begun?" This is the answer we give children when they say that they're done with their "writing." Of course they are not writing, but they are learning the art of telling a story through pictures. Eventually, they will label their picture, for example, (s) for sun, and (f) for flower. This will grow into letter strings and magically, on one glorious day, they will write their first sentence. Today, we were busy painting self-…

### Star Names-- Where Everyone Shines Brightly

Another bright spot in our morning Skills Block is a segment called, "Star Names." Each morning a child's name is picked out of a bucket and his/her name is the focus of our activity. The name of the child is written on a sentence strip. The name is written largely on the board and students have the opportunity to notice attic (b,d,f, etc.), basement (g,j,p, etc.), and letters on the line (a,c,e, etc.). They stand and move as each letter is called out. For example, for Victor (a star this week) arms were in the air for "V" and on their hips for "i", "c", "t", "o", and "r". Then another sentence strip with his name was cut into separate letters. These letters were mixed up and Victor had to put his name back in order. Then he mixed it up and called on a friend to put his name back correctly. Next, students are asked to look at the previous names on the chart and asked what they noticed about the other names and t…

### Nursery Rhymes: Having Fun With Rhyme and Rhythm

A wonderful way that children learn about rhyme and rhythm is by revisiting nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes are something that the students are familiar with and when the rhymes are put to music and dance, it adds a special twist to the morning Skills Block. Nursery rhymes have wonderful vocabulary and a storyline that children love to listen to. Rhythm and rhyme are also important elements in emergent readers. These rhymes emphasize phonological awareness, beginning comprehension skills, and shared reading. We started last week with "Humpty Dumpty." At the end of the week, students were invited to make their own Humpty creation. The art projects will be made into a book so the children will have their own nursery rhyme book. The CD that we use everyday and that the children love to sing and dance to is by Jack Hartmann and it's called, "Rhymin' to the Beat." Our study of Nursery Rhymes wouldn't be the same with it!