Friday, January 11, 2008

Wake Up to a Good Morning Skills Block!

The Skills Block is my favorite time of the day. It is the time when students learn the majority of the "nuts and bolts" of reading and writing skills. We start at 8:55 a.m. with what I call "morning work." It can range from writing the next letter in the alphabet in a composition book including labeling pictures, to color word songs, to circling letters/blends in a poem book. I use this time as a warm up. Children are called to the floor via the "Good Morning Song" by Greg and Steve. Then we start our charts: 1st is the blend chart, then the letter combination chart. The follow up is the "Morning Message." This is where the children get to apply what they have chanted in the charts. They start to notice blends which they can circle and/or fill in the blank. This is a great place to introduce and practice new skills such as writing the days of the week, punctuation, capitalization, vocabulary words, synonyms, and word family words. The heart of the Skills Block is the morning message. This is where phonics and phonemic awareness is practiced.

After that, I may introduce skills such as beginning, middle and ending sounds on mini charts, blend ladders, word families, and/or short and long vowels. We usually end with a hands-on activity which is linked back to a specific part of the skills block. In between these activities we sing songs with movement which may include color word songs, nursery rhymes, and/or just classroom favorites. The children love getting up and moving to the songs they learn during this time.

What I love about Skills Block is that you can make it your own and each day there are plenty of opportunities to review old skills and learn new ones. After Skills Block is Reader's Workshop...this also starts with a song...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We love the songs! It is a means of learning that has really worked for both my girls. Thanks for that. When I say we...I mean Jeff and I too, by the way. We are song to more then you may ever know!
Tonight Megan and I had a girls night alone. She enjoyed finding blends, word families, punctuation, ect. while I caught up on some reading through magazines and the mail. It was fun.
~Julie W.