Sunday, September 25, 2011

Three Billy Goats Gruff - A Retelling

Being able to retell a book that has been heard several times is a key indicator in a child's readiness to read. The above video is a retelling by "J" of the Norwegian folktale, "The Three Billy Goats Gruff". He confidently tells the story with his own special flare. The details that children include during a retelling serve as a determining factor into seeing if a child may be an emergent reader. From the findings of E. Sulzby, (Professor of Education at the University of Michigan and is best known for her pioneering work in emergent literacy) (1985), states that children eventually move from pointing and labeling pictures in a book, to "reading" a story through the illustrations, to telling the story using book language, and finally to reading conventionally using the text of a story. Enjoy this very well done retelling of Norwegian folktale "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." (It may have to buffer.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Writer's Workshop - Peer Sharing

Our writing folders were jammed packed with all kinds of stories. There were stories about dog walks, visits to grandma's, pool parties, and trips to Orlando. Who knew that kindergarten children had so many "small moments" in their lives to share? On Friday, students cleaned out their folders of all the stories that have been accumulating over the past few weeks and put them into their writing portfolios. These beginning pieces are a wonderful foundation and visual reminder of a child's writing and reading progression. From drawing pictures, labeling beginning sounds, then beginning and ending sounds and finally to writing sentences are all steps in the process. Being able to read the writing back is also very important. Our writers are beginning to feel the power of words and of telling a story that comes from their every day life. The pictures show student's excitement from sharing their works with a writing partner.

Friday, September 23, 2011

We Know Where the Wild Things Are

This week the children created their own "Max" from the book "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak. Having an art project go along with a book makes it more meaningful for our kindergarteners. This is always a popular book from our "Star Book" collection of classics. These projects are two-fold - they have the students cutting, pasting and creating which are wonderful kindergarten skills. As they were completed, they went up on the board for all to admire.

PTA Popcorn Party

Our class was gifted a popcorn party from the CCE PTA for 100% participation from our class. Thank you parents for joining the PTA. They do so much for us. For instance, at the beginning of the year every child in the school received a school tee shirt. The PTA replaces the mulch in our playgrounds, buys books for our classrooms, and sponsors numerous other activities and events. All we know is that the Mall-ard class is 100% happy that we have such great parents who joined our PTA. And, as you can see, the children really enjoyed their popcorn!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book in a Bag - Daily Routine

This week we started kindergarten homework. A major part of the homework is reading a book a night and logging it in their Book Log. Every day the children will have the chance to pick a book from their personal book bins that he/she wants to take home that night. They take the one they already read out and exchange it for a new one to take home. It could be a leveled book or "Star Book." A Star Book is a book that has been read aloud several times in the classroom. These may include The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Caps for Sale, Where the Wild Things Are, and miscellaneous fairy tales. They can picture walk through these books and orally retell the story as they are paging through it. The students are very excited to bring home the books they read in school. It is also a great way for families to share the reading together.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Environmental Print Is All Around Us

Environmental print is the print that is all around us. We find it on road signs (STOP), stores (Publix), cereal boxes (Lucky Charms), and snacks (Chips Ahoy). These are often the first words that children recognize and can read without realizing it: McDonalds, Target, Burger King, and Chick-fil-A. Everyday in class, we are celebrating these words. The "print" that the students brought in is changed out everyday on the chart. By changing the logo, wrapper or sign on our "I Can Read" sentence strip holder, they are adding to their lists of words they can read. By reading this chart, students are not only becoming reacquainted with the environmental print but also the sight words "I", "can" and "read". This is such a fun activity for the class and they surprise themselves when they can "read" these words with confidence.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kindergarten Open House

Last night was Open House for Kindergarten. We thought it would be a good idea for parents to see the day in pictures. We created a slide show of "The Day in the Life of a Kindergartener". The day starts out with Calendar Math. We talk about the name of the day, the date, abd how many days until a certain birthday or event. Each day is counted and put on a counting strip in groups of ten. The day is also marked by a straw and bundled in groups of ten as time progresses. Next is the "Good Morning Song" followed by the "Class Promise". The "Morning Message" is printed on the board each day. This is where we find out the highlights of our day and what is planned. The children find letters and letter sounds, sight words, and fill in missing letters. Writer's Workshop, Reader's Workshop, Math and Science round out the day. A few days a week they go to P.E., Music, Art and/or the Library. We also have Developmental Centers where children have the opportunity to work on puzzles, Play-doh, blocks and Legos. The thirty-six students we have grown so much in the eighteen days we have been in school and we are enjoying every minute watching them learn and grow.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Humpty Dumpty Sits On Our Wall

An important part of the first nine weeks of Kindergarten is our Nursery Rhyme unit.
When children hear and repeat these rhymes, they are becoming aware of identifying and manipulating sounds in language (phonemic awareness). Research in the past decade has shown that phonemic awareness is a predictor of success in learning to read. Once children have some degree of phonemic awareness and letter knowledge they can begin to decode the letter/sound correspondences that make up our written language. Nursery rhymes provide opportunities to hear rhyme, blend and substitute sounds.
In these pictures, students drew, cut out, water colored and decorated their own Humpty Dumpty's. Now they are sitting up on our wall...we hope they don't have a great fall too soon!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Reader's Workshop - Independent Reading

Each day we have Reader's Workshop. This hour long workshop is divided into several parts. First is a mini lesson. This is a ten to fifteen minute block of instructional time that teaches a specific reading skill or strategy. The students go back and practice what was learned and then come back to share their discoveries such as what they learned, wondered or noticed. This week we practiced "Independent Reading". This requires children to "read" books from their book bin for ten minutes. "Star Books" which students have heard several times and can "read" by themselves are in their bins. For now the Star Books are "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and "Caps for Sale". These books will expand to "Where the Wild Things Are", "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", "Harry the Dirty Dog", and "Corduroy". Also in their boxes are their nursery rhyme poem folders, favorite books from home, and Level A beginning readers. This ten minute block of time will be lengthened as stamina increases.
It is important to note that research supports the fact that during primary and elementary grades, even a small amount of independent reading helps increase students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary growth, spelling facility, understanding of grammar, and knowledge of the world. (Bernice E. Cullinan, New York University). So you can see why giving students this independent reading time is very important.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Homework - Beginning Sounds

The next step after kindergarten students begin recognizing specific letters of the alphabet, is working on beginning sounds. Learning the beginning sounds of letters is one of the first steps in learning to read. This week's homework assignment was for children to look around their house for small objects that begin with the same sound as their name. A paper bag was provided for the students to put these objects in. Today we started to share the bags that have come in so far and tomorrow we will finish. In this picture we have a car, keys, crown, comb, crayon, colored pencil, cards, cookies, a cat, and keys. Do you know what sound this kindergarten student's name starts with? :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Literacy Stations in Reader's Workshop

After ten minutes of independent reading, we open what is called "Literacy Stations". During this time, children have the opportunity to explore the books, charts and writing all around them. The stations that are now open are "Read the Room" where students use pointers and point to the words. "Write the Room" includes writing whatever they see on clipboards. This includes student's names, the alphabet, and color words. "Magnetic Letters" are used on cookie sheets for name practice. "Star Names" are cut up names (in envelopes) and students put the name in the correct order. "Big Books" are used for reading and pointing and ABC puzzles are a wonderful letter reinforcement activity. The children look forward to this time to explore the classroom and learn so much doing these hands-on activities. We will be introducing more Literacy Stations as the weeks progress to reinforce and challenge new learning.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Caps for Sale - A Retelling

All it takes is a couple of sentence strips, a tree drawn on the board, a peddler, and some monkeys to retell one of our favorite books "Caps for Sale" by Esphyr Slobodkina. After reading the book a few times, students had the chance to make the book come alive in Reader's Theater. Our peddler placed the caps very carefully on top of his head and yelled, "Caps, caps for sale...50 cents a cap!" After re-enacting the book, children now feel comfortable "reading" it by paging through and telling the story. This is a very important step in the reading progression and a precursor to actual reading.