Thursday, January 30, 2014

"The Mitten" is just the right fit bulletin board

In Reader's Workshop, we have been reading a few of our favorite books by Jan Brett including "The Mitten" and "The Hat".  This bulletin board represents "The Mitten" and some of the activities the students have done to compliment the book. For instance, students made their mitten paper bag and orally retold the story with animal story cards; retold the story via Reader's Theater with animal masks and practiced sight words using the book as a reference. So many children could relate to this book, especially this month, with all of the cold weather lately in Florida 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Writing Checklist - Making our Writing Better

 Today we worked on our Writing Checklists. This is basically a rubric that encompasses all of the writing lessons (Lucy Calkins' Writing Units) taught so far. Checklists are a daily part of our life. For instance, when we drive our car we use a mental checklist: "Do I have my keys?", "Is the garage door open?", "Is the driveway clear to back up?"  Students were told the story of "The Miracle on the Hudson" and how Captain Sullenberger went through a checklist to help him safely land the plane. 
The pictures on this checklist help to determine if the narrative story they wrote meets the rubric expectations. Below is one narrative whereby Ayden used her checklist to make sure her writing was the best it could be. Ayden later added the "Elaboration" part of the checklist to include how she felt when she saw that the "Not yet" section was checked. Making our writing easier for our readers is our #1 goal!
Page 1 - One day I wentto my cousin Emma's house. This is where I got the trampoline. It was big.
Page 2 - I got into the pick up truck and watched the guys carry the trampoline.
Page 3 - Finally I got it to Poppie's house.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Magic Pencil in Writer's Workshop

Writer's Workshop has been "magical" ever since the children learned about how special their pencils are. These pencils help writers become better at reading and writing their work. One side is for reading (the eraser side) and the other side is for writing (the lead side). (Lucy Calkins Writing Unit) Students are rereading their writing for the shear fun of using the eraser side to tap out the words and then flipping it over to write with it. How can a simple black pencil make so many kids happy?  Just call it magical!!            

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Penguins on Parade

 Maybe seeing some of these cute penguins will warm you up . Our hand art for his month was our "hand penguins". The children traced their hands, added the nose, stomach, eyes and a little snow and there you have it. We are saving the hand art each month to make an end of the year booklet to give parents as a Kindergarten keepsake. These just turned out adorable!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Reader's Workshop and "The Mitten"

Jan Brett is the author and illustrator of "The Mitten" (retelling) of this Ukrainian folktale. It is one of our favorite books to share with the class after the long winter break.  The weather was so cold our first week back that the book "The Mitten" was a perfect fit for Reader's Workshop. The story is about a boy named Nicki who wanted snow white mittens. His grandmother did not think it was a good idea because if he lost them in the snow they would be too hard to find. She gave into his request and as the story goes he lost one of them. It was eventually found by a stream of woodland animals that made the mitten their home. One by one the animals moved into the mitten to keep warm. When a bear lumbered by and snuggled into the mitten it held fast until a field mouse tickled his nose and made him sneeze. The animals went flying along with the mitten which flew back into Nicki's arms. 
The following are some of the fun activities that we did with "The Mitten."
Reading our sentence strips and learning sight and color words.


Students decorated their own mitten book with all of the colors in the above chart. This book is now in their book bin as another book to read.


After rereading the book, students were invited to sequence the animal's arrival in the mitten, how they got there, and why the other animals make room for them.
Students drew, cut out and glued their own mitten onto a paper bag. The cards are for them to sequence their own retelling of the story and place them in the bag.
Finally, in Reader's Theater, children had lots of fun retelling the story they now know so well.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Back to Work with Word Families



 This is our first week back from our winter break. After so many days off, we started the week with a lot of review. During Skills Block, we went over the short "a" word family including: "ap", "at", "ab" and "at". Then students were invited to play the above game with a partner. On one block was single letters and the other block contained the word family. Students rolled the cubes and then wrote the word down on white boards. After this step, they only circled real words. This was a wonderful opportunity to get their thinking kick-started and back into school mode -- they also had a lot of fun playing this game!