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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Teaching Reading Strategies with the Super Reader League

The Super Reader League is a great way to create excitement and engagement while teaching your kids all of the Reading Strategies. This blog post shares how we build up to our first visit from the SRL. You can also read all about the things the SRL sends the kids for each of the "powers".
At the beginning of the year we carefully craft our read aloud time.  We make sure that we read books that have great illustrations that will support effective retelling.  Books with rhythm and rhyme work well too.  Begin a collection of these books.  If you have multiple copies of the book, great. Collect all of them.  Once you have a collection that contains enough books for each child to receive one, you are ready to "wrap" up a special gift.  Place the books inside gift bags, one for each child.
Invite the kids to open up their gift! They are so excited because these are the books that you have carefully selected! These are the books that they can easily retell.
Once each child has their gift opened, quickly make a line and parade throughout the school. As we marched through the school, we chanted..."We are readers! We are readers!" After the parade, invite the kids to place this book inside their special book box.  This is when we introduce the idea of each child having their own box of books for independent reading time.
When we get back to the room, we find a special box has been delivered to our room! Create a fun box with a special label that identifies the sender as the Super Reader League. With care and anticipation, open the box! Here's what you will find in the box:
Letter From the Super Reader League
In the box you will find a letter from the Super Reader League.  The letter always congratulates the kids on how well they are doing. Then, it introduces the "power" that is to be highlighted. 
The Gift
The SRL always sends some sort of "gift". In our first box celebrating book lover power, the SRL sent bookmarks.  The kids added the bookmarks to their book boxes to remind them to always love their books.
Super Power Strip
The next thing in the box is the super power strip.  The kids will each get one of these for each power. When they get the first power, we also include a metal ring for each child. This ring will hold all of the power strips.  These power strips remind kids of each of the super powers and how to use them to be good readers.  These are also kept in their book boxes.
Super Reader League Powers Anchor Chart
To make the anchor chart begin with a blank piece of poster board.  Glue the title to the top of the chart. Each time the class gets a new box from the SRL, the card for that power is included. Add the cards to the chart. We use velcro dots. This way we can reuse them next year!  There are 12 powers in all. These are the first 6.
Super Power Chants
For each of the powers we wrote a jingle using a familiar tune.  Invite the kids to add the chant to their poetry notebook. They also keep this notebook in their book boxes.
Super Power Craftivity
For each power, the kids also receive a craft activity. Here are a few from the first 6 powers.  For book lovers power, the kids made these fun crowns.  After cutting out the crown, the kids cut out and past the habits of book lovers around the band.
For picture power, the kids make this fun retelling craft.  After cutting out the camera, add the strip to retell Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  As they slide the strip through the camera, they retell the story.

For partner power, we made these fun partner necklaces. Invite the kids to cut out their own dog tags and each partnership to cut out one medallion. The kids string beads in a pattern stopping half way to add the medallion and the dog tag. Finish the pattern.
Find your book buddy. Match your medallion and your will receive partner power!
For sight word power, we made these fun SRL paper bag puppets. We added our sight words to our capes!
This is an example of the box for partner power. All of the things you see in the picture are placed in the box from the Super Reader League. How fun to open the box and find all of the goodies inside!
All of these items are found in the Super Reader League Unit 1.  Be sure and watch for Unit 2. It will have the other 6 powers.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Pumpkin Patch Bakery

We love adding seasonal bakeries to our home living area. We already have a kitchen, so why not put it to use.  During the fall our kids love cooking up a little magic in the Pumpkin Bakery. Here's all the fun, and learning, that happens!
First, we made a sign to identify the area for the bakery.  Signage is very important to develop literacy.  Some of the first words kids learn to read are environmental print.  It is amazing to watch kids begin to use these words in their writing because these words have meaning to them!
Next, we set up the shelf. We have really loved having this shelf in the home living area. It gives us a place to set up the thematic items needed for the bakery or whatever we are setting up.  Each of the items has a label. This helps kids learn to sort and organize the area. 
One item that works well in a bakery---pans! We picked up several different shapes and sizes of pans at The Dollar Tree. I cut some felt to fit inside of the pans. Then, I used hot glue to attach the felt.
We added orange pompoms to make "pumpkin filling".
We added both strips and larger pieces of felt to make the crust.
I picked up a few "fall" potholders at the Dollar Tree. Now it's time to get ready to put our creations in the oven.
Set the oven and pop in the items.
And here you go...a pumpkin pie! Want to bring in literacy? How about using the pictures you take and create sequencing cards. Or, have the kids write the steps!
We added some other items to the bakery.  We cut some doughnut shapes out of felt. Then, we cut some "frosting" out of orange to make pumpkin spice doughnuts.
We also added some rectangular pans for making pumpkin bread.
And we added some muffin tins for pumpkin muffins!
What's the best part? Eating! You can find all of our signage and other props to create a pumpkin patch and a hayride in this unit.
You can read more about the pumpkin patch in this blog post: 

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Easy Steps to Set Up a Pumpkin Patch Dramatic Play Center

Fall and pumpkins go together like peanut butter and jelly! It just wouldn't seem right go not talk about pumpkins in October in kindergarten.  We decided to set up a pumpkin patch in our dramatic play area. We used labels and signs to develop early literacy skills through environmental print. This blog post shares the things we added to the area to create a literacy rich pumpkin patch.
The pumpkin patch is open!  We made these signs, "open" and "closed", so that the kids could let the customers know when the patch is open. Creating signs, environmental print, is a great way to teach print concepts to young kids.  Many of the first words kids learn to read are "open", "exit", "McDonalds", etc! Why? Because they are all around! 
Next, we set up the dress up area.  Last month we had an apple orchard in the dramatic play area. We kept the flannel shirts from the apple orchard and added new aprons and bags with a "pumpkin patch" label. Both the bags and the aprons came from The Dollar Tree.
We also kept the wagon and wheelbarrow from the apple orchard.  These are toys from home, that belong to my grandkids.  Guilty as charged! How many of you bring your kids things to school?
Next, we made some name tags for all of the jobs for the pumpkin patch. We made tags for bakers, customers, pumpkin pickers, farmers, etc. I found the fall ribbon at The Dollar Tree. We added a label to attach to the container. This helps kids find what they need and it also helps them to clean up.
We also set up an office area. This areas has the order pads, price tags, pens, paper and other items needed to operate the pumpkin patch.
We picked up these scarecrows and rakes at The Dollar Tree. I already had the basket.  We made a few labels to designate where the items would be stored.
We made a sign for designating the area of the dramatic play center dedicated to the pumpkin patch. We also included a sign with the price of the pumpkins.
We picked up these pumpkins and gourds at The Dollar Tree. I wanted a few different sizes of pumpkins, so I made some from 2 inch pompoms. I used brown foam to cut stems. I attached them to the pompoms with hot glue.
And here are the large pumpkins, also from the Dollar Tree. If you want to create your own pumpkins, go for it! The kids will love making paper bag pumpkins. Simply invite the kids to paint bags orange. Once they are dry, the kids can cut or tear newspaper to stuff the bags.  Bunch the bag at the top and add a rubber band.  Paint the stem brown!
 Last area set up...the "pay here" station.  As the kids are making purchases, they visit this area of the dramatic play center.
To begin play, the kids spread the pumpkins around on the floor to create a pumpkin patch. We plan to add some brown vines made from bulletin board paper, but we are currently out!
Now, it's time to visit the patch. The kids select the pumpkins they would like to purchase and add them to their wagon or wheelbarrow.
When it is clean up time, the kids sort the pumpkins by size and return them to the correct containers. What a great math skill!
Another activity in the pumpkin patch is for the kids to collect leaves and acorns. I picked up some leaves at the Dollar Tree.  They come in a package with a pretty good number of leaves.  I bought 3 different kinds.
The kids spread the leaves around the area.
Using the rakes, the kids can rake up the leaves.  Consider having the kids count how many leaves they raked. Or, they could sort the leaves by their color and compare how many of each color they collected. So many possibilities!
Have fun creating a great learning environment for your kids! Create signs, labels, and collect items! You can get the labels, signs, and other resources in this Pumpkin Patch Dramatic Play unit! It also contains printables to create a pumpkin bakery and a hayride!



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