Sunday, September 30, 2007

Writer's Workshop

What is Writer's Workshop all about? Each day we learn new ways to become not only a good reader but also a good writer. Writer's Workshop is taught in a similiar fashion to Reader's Workshop. The children come down to the floor for a 7- 10 minute mini-lesson. During this time, they are taught a writing strategy. At the beginning of the year we work on the rituals and routines of the workshop such as where our writing supplies are kept and how to put our work in our writing folder. Other lessons include how to decide what to write about, how to draw our picture at the top of our page and add words to the bottom of the page, and how to begin sounding out our words when writing our story. Right now we are working on writing small moments in our lives which is out of the Lucy Caulkins writing series. The students are thinking about events in their own lives and how to write about them. After the mini-lesson, students return to their seats to for independent writing time.

During this time I am able to conference with students about their work one on one or in small groups. We end our workshop with "share chair" which is a time to showcase students' work that aligned with the mini-lesson from that day. We are also learning how to give compliments to our friends and recognizing their work. Look this week for some examples of our great authors to be posted on the blog.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Literacy Stations

Each day after our silent reading the students participate in our Literacy Stations. Each station is a reading station. The students work in groups of 3-4 depending on how many students are in the class. Although the children are actually reading, or practicing reading skills, they feel like they are playing because the reading activities are fun. What a better way for children to learn that they can love reading. Over the last few weeks we have been learning our new stations and practicing them daily. Here are a few stations that we have already begun: Partner Reading, Mrs. KK's favorites (she is our Media Specialist), Science books, Genre Library, Math Books, Reader's Response, Big Books, and Star Books. Our favorite is character reading - especially with the The Three Billy Goats Gruff puppets.

This week we will begin our Read the Room and Book of the Month station as well.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Open House

Last night we had our Open House. It was great to see everyone here with their families. Here is what the kids had to say about the evening:

Carter - I showed my dad around the room. I like showing my mom the good morning song.
Connerly - I showed my mom the math stuff. I like the cookies.
Amy - I showed my dad my books.
Cameron - I showed my mom my books.
Faith - I showed my dad where the scissors were. I like singing our song.
Hannah - I showed my dad the big books.
Zachary - I showed my mom and dad the genre library and the science books. I like reading my books.
Dylan - I showed my dad picture story on the wall.
Lauren - I showed my mom the big books. Showing my mom the morning song.
Julia - I showed my brother Mrs. KK's favorites - a reading station. I sang the song all the way home.
Gema - I showed my mommy where I sit.
Haliey - I showed my mommy my writing folder.
Payton - I showed them my books. It was fun singing our song.
Mia - I showed my mom the math books and showing my mom around the room.
Jasani - I showed my dad my pattern and my work outside. I like showing my parents all around the room.
Alex - I showed my mom all the star student stuff. It was fun doing the good morning song.

Please write a post and tell us what you learned about our class during Open House.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reader's Workshop

What is Reader's Workshop all about?

Each day we have a one hour Reader's Workshop. During this time, we begin with a 10 minute mini-lesson where the children come to the floor and I teach them a reading strategy. At the beginning of the year, many of our mini-lessons revolve around the rituals and routines of our workshop such as "What Good Reader's Do" or " How to Read a Book". During this time we also start introducing our Literary Stations. (You will be able to learn more about them soon.) After our mini-lesson, the students return to their seats with his/her own book bin and read for about 10 minutes quietly.

At the beginning of Kindergarten the book bins contain books that are simple ABC books, books from home, nursery rhyme notebooks, and maybe a favorite book from the room. We will also add in our favorite read alouds throughout the next couple weeks. Although most children at this time are unable to read, they mimic reading practices by what has been modeled for them such as predicting what the book will be about, pointing to the words, looking at beginning sounds, and looking at the pictures.

As the year progresses the books will become books that are "just right" for them individually. After independent reading, the students work in Literacy Stations. Once again they are reading during this time. The last 10 minutes of our workshop is our closing. Here they are able to discuss what they learned from our mini-lesson that day and how they applied that during their reading time. The closing is very important to our workshop because it provides students the opportunity to discuss their own learning and how that impacts what we are doing in the classroom. Ask your child each day what he/she did in Reader's Workshop. You will be amazed!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Nursery Rhymes

The best part of my job is teaching kids that learning can be fun. In our Nursery Rhyme unit that is just what we do. What the kids don't realize is that not only are they learning the rhyme but they are working on phonological awareness at the same time. This unit has activities which focus on letters, sounds, rhyming, syllables, vocabulary, and comprehension in a shared reading experience. This week the kids were surprised to find that someone (we think it was Chester Raccoon) had come into our class and cut our Hickory Dickory Dock rhyme into pieces. It took us a few minutes but we were able to put the rhyme back together again. At the end of the week we are able to do a fun craft with that rhyme. By the end of the unit we will have a nursery rhyme book of our own.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Getting to know you...

One of my favorite stories when I was a little girl was The Story of Ferdinand by Munroe Leaf. Post a comment and tell me what your favorite book is?

Skills Block

Skills Block is how we begin every morning. After singing our Good Morning song, we sing our Hip Hop Alphabet song to work on our letters and sounds. During this time of our day we work on phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling and vocabulary.

At the beginning of the year we work on a unit called Star Names. Each day we begin with activities based on our "Star Student". Each child in the class has the opportunity to be the "star student" throughout the first couple weeks of school. Using his/her name, we complete fun activites such as comparing their names to other children, finding words that begin with the same sounds, make noticings about his/her name, and sing songs with his/her name included. At the end of our whole group, the students draw a picture of the star student and write his/her name on top. We put these drawings together as a keepsake book. It is a time that makes all our children feel like they are a star in our small world.