KinderGals: April 2012

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Watch Out! Spring Fever has hit the kiddos! Someone help me keep them under control!!!!

Well, it's that time of year. The kids energy starts to go up and the teacher energy starts to go down.  At the beginning of the year, we are all on our toes making sure that we keep their behavior in check. But, this time of year is equally important--if we are going to keep our sanity.
There are many behavior systems just like there are many teachers and many kinds of kids. Finding the system that works for you and your kids is key. My focus is to maintain the child's dignity and to find a system that build's intrinsic motivation to display appropriate behavior.
Here's the behavior system that we use in Megan's room.
The Clip Chart
My concern, when Megan was telling me about his system, was what incentive did they have to display acceptable behavior in the morning if they could just move back up the chart in the afternoon? But, it really does work! I think the difference is that it is build in from the very beginning as part of the system and not just some random decision to let them move back up based on some emotional response by me.
The kids are parents learned that as long as they were on "Right On Rhino", everything was good. It was hard at first because all of those over achieving parents wanted their child to be on Marvelous Monkey EVERY day!
Here's what I love about it...
  • When a child is off task at my table, I can give them a verbal reminder of what is expected.
  • If the child decides to not meet that expectation, they clip down. No second reminders!
  • Once they come back to the table, I remind them again of the expectations.
  • It is amazing how quickly they get on task!
  • As they are working, I can easily invite the child to go move his clip up because he is working so hard! I don't mention that he moved his clip down, just reward for acceptable, on task behavior.
Parent Communication
The Oops Note
This form is essential to me being consistent with sending home notes. Since notes were written at the end of the day, I often found myself without the time to write them. This sent mixed messages to the kids---is she or isn't she really going to send home a note.
Classroom Behavior Letter
At the beginning of the year I send home a discipline letter to each parent. This informs the parents of the classroom rules and the clip chart.
Click on each link to download:
Oops note
parent letter
The behavior chart and grid are in this unit:
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

On the Road Again!


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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Persuasive Writing Freebee

Teaching persuasive writing can seem like a challenge, but one thing all kids know how to do is to beg! They plead and beg their parents, teacher, and siblings to get the things they want.  Megan and I are teaching persuasive writing to her kinders. It is a fun unit. There are some great selections of children's literature to help us with these! In these books, the characters write letters to ask for something from someone else. The character always promises to do something for then if they do! Kinders know all about's called BEGGING!
We followed these three steps to write a persuasive piece:
Ask Yourself:
What is something you really want?
Who can you ask for it?
What will you do it they give it to you or do it for you?
We started with this anchor chart.  We asked our kids what they REALLY wanted for our classroom...they picked a pet. Then, I asked them who could we ask for the pet. After identifying possible people, we thought about what we could do to persuade them to purchase that pet. We used this chart to help us think of things we could do. (This took 3 days of mini lessons.) You can get the pieces to make this chart here.
persuasive writing anchor chart pieces
As I was filling in our large chart, each of the kids had their own chart to fill in. This makes sure that they all stay busy the whole time!
We made this fun fish craft to save our "promises" to get a class pet. You can get that page here. Persuasive letter student anchor chart
Now that we have worked through a persuasive piece together, I wanted the kids to develop the skill set to generate their own topic and produce their own piece a writing.   We talked more about the things the kids would want to ask someone for.  Here is the list the kids made of possible things they would want to persuade someone to give them or do for them. I "listened in" while they talked to their partner. I wrote the ideas I heard on the chart. When we came back together, I shared the ideas with the group. Now it's their turn, they each made their own lists. (This took 2 days.)
 Now they are ready to produce their own pieces of writing. During application time, the kids wrote letters to  persuade someone for something!
After a few days we talked about the connection between writing a persuasive piece and writing an opinion. In an opinion piece, you are trying to persuade someone to believe what you are telling them.
We used this chart to help you think about the reasons you would write an opinion piece. We spent an entire week on this chart!
Once we understood the why behind writing an opinion piece, we talked about how a writer must support his opinion by giving reasons and examples.
I used this anchor chart to help us work through the process.
The kids used this piece of paper. We each decided which was best, a bee or a ladybug. The kids circled their choices. Then, they wrote reasons why they thing their insect is the best.  There is also a blank version of this form, one without the bee and the ladybug.
I made these cards so that the kids would have possible ideas of things to choose from. When they are selecting their topic, they are always free to choose their own, but this is a great way to scaffold your struggling writers.
The Persuasive letter student anchor chart and the persuasive writing anchor chart pieces are both free downloads. The remaining items are from the unit, Writing An Opinion.
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