KinderGals: October 2014

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Peek At My Week-Week 12: Apples and Pumpkins and a little bit about Interactive Writing

Have you ever tried Interactive Writing? If so, you might have said, "never again!" You might have felt like it was a complete train wreck.  If you have had any of those feelings, you are not alone.  So why subject ourselves to the torture? Interactive writing is a fabulous tool to teach many reading and writing concepts. It is used easily to connect reading and writing with science and social studies. AND, it doesn't have to be painful.  After a look at our week, I will talk a little about interactive writing and how to make it work in every classroom. So....keep reading.
Slide1This is a week of getting ready to celebrate! Friday we will finish both Unit 3 in Reader’s Workshop and Small Moments in the I Can Write Unit.
We are loving our new non-fiction books we started last week.
Did you know you can download a copy of these plans with links to the different resources? You can get those here.
I have received many requests to bundle the Guided Reading Units. As of now, only October and November are available. *UPDATE--The units are now available for every month!
So I thought I would share a little bit about interactive writing….Here is the flow map that we made last year.
Here are a few tips on interactive writing:
  • Interactive writing is when the teacher and the children share ideas and the pen.
  • The teacher can decide how much she wants to share the pen by inviting children to write only certain parts of the word and then she finishes the rest of the word.
  • Decide what standard you are going to teach. Now, invite the children to help you with that part and you do the other parts.
  • While one child is coming to write on the chart, the other children should also be writing on a dry erase board, a piece of paper, or something else. This ensure active engagement of everyone!
  • Using sentence strips works great. You can attach them low enough on the easel for the children to easily reach.
So, we have finished the interactive writing, now what?
  • On ANOTHER day, we took the sentences. read them and arranged them in the correct order.
  • Then, we cut between the words.
  • We mixed up the words and then put them back in the correct order, asking ourselves, “Does it make sense?”
After getting them in the correct order, we took turns reading the text.
So how do you differentiate with interactive writing?
I found this information in an old resource by my friend Kim Jordano.  When, I read each of the three stages: emergent, developing, and advanced, I kinda had a “ahhh” moment.
For example, if I am working on punctuation:
  • I can invite my emergent writers to add periods.
  • I can invite my developing writers to add commas and quotation marks.
  • I can invite my advanced writers to add apostrophes.
This allows for us to all participate in the same experience, but yet each child “plugs in” at a level that is just right…not too hard, not too easy!
Be sure and hop over to Deedee’s blog to see what other bloggers are doing this week….

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Guided Reading, Reader’s Workshop and Building Stamina? How does it all fit in?

So I thought I would share with you how we make our small groups work during Reader’s Workshop Time and how it all fits together.Slide5
We start our Reader’s Workshop Time with our 10 minute mini lesson. The mini lesson follows a very specific framework.
  1. Connect “Remember yesterday when we…” This is where I remind the kids what we learned yesterday.
  2. Teach “Today I am going to show you how…” This is where I state the new standard and model what it looks like.
  3. Active Engagement “Now it’s your turn.” Here is where the kids take their turn to practice the new teach.
  4. Link “So remember boys and girls, today and everyday, good readers…” This is where I restate the standard. Then, the kids turn and tell it to their partner on the carpet.
After the mini lesson we move onto independent reading.
  1. Each child has a set of “good fit” self selected books.
  2. These are books that are at their independent reading level (95% accuracy), high interest books they have selected, books that have been previously read in guided reading groups.
  3. The bag should have at least 6 books, but it can have as many as 10-12!
Independent and Partner Reading:
  • Each child settles into their “reading spot” and reads independently.
  • We establish the beginning stamina by watching the child we think will lose interest first.
  • As soon as he is off task, we stop.
  • Then, that is where we set the stamina.
  • We add 15 seconds to the time each day, slowing building their stamina.
  • In the second month of school, we introduce reading with a partner.
  • This person is someone who is at or close to the same level.
  • They read with their partner for 1/2 as long as they read independently. 
Now it is time to get ready for guided reading.
  • We group our kids according to their instructional level (90% accuracy.)
  • On the Group divider page, we use post it notes to identify which children are in each group.
  • Our groups are constantly changing so using a post it note makes it easy to move children around.
Planning for Small Group:
  • This is the page we use to write our guided reading plans.
  • We write our plans as we are finishing up with a group while it is still fresh on our minds where we want to go next with them.
  • We use this 100 box form to make running records a breeze.
Here’s what happens in a small group lesson.
  • First, we take a picture walk and build background information.
  • Then, we practice any new sight words that are used in our text.
Then, we practice a strategy. Here, we are seeing just how many words we know really fast and how that helps us be better readers.
Finally, everyone reads while I “listen in” or take running records.
We use a variety of text for our small groups. I especially love anything by Rigby. Our kids are REALLY successful and feel so confident!
We are also loving our new non-fiction units. I made one for October and just posted November.
Here’s how they work…
  • We take five non-fiction topics that we know we need to cover that month in our science or social studies.
  • For each topic, I wrote a book. The great part is, we have the text at 3 different levels! That way we can use good fit text, and still expose our kids to the same content.
  • Also, we made it where we could teach the same non-fiction feature, practice a writing standard, practice sight words, and select from 2 options for phonics or phonemic awareness practice depending on which is the best fit.
The November unit is on sale today for 20% off!
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Peek at My Week-Week 11 Apples and Pumpkins

We are moving right along! This weeks finds us working on small moments during Writer’s Workshop and working on reading strategies in Reader’s Workshop.
Just a little note about reading groups….I am showing a few resources that I am using for guided reading that are available. But, we are meeting with groups everyday, it is just that some of the resources are 6 packs from our leveled library. I get asked, “Which are your favorite leveled library resources?” Well, I love the Rigby books. I have found my kids to be very successful and gain a great amount of confidence using them.Slide2
I recently updated the Apples and Pumpkins Math Game Pack, The Apples and Pumpkins Literacy Game Pack, The Fall Math Game Pack, The Fall Literacy Game Pack, and the Pumpkin Glyph.
Be sure and hop over to my friend Deedee’s blog to take a peek at her week.
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Peek at my Week---Down on the Farm

Slide1This week we are moving onto “What is a Setting?” in Reader’s Workshop.  Just a heads up….here’s what we have planned…In our 8th month of school, nearly at the end of the year, we come back to characters and settings. That is when the learning gets even deeper! This month we are just laying story foundation with characters and settings.
In Writer’s Workshop we are moving onto small moments. This week we are modeling how to come up with 3 small moments from the same big idea. So just what does that mean? Well, if you go to the farm, that is the big idea. The small moments might be feeding the cows, riding the tractor, eating watermelon…While we are teaching kinders, small moments is a writing genre that will serve them well as they develop as writers. This is where they become more descriptive in their writing. It is where the writer is able to make you feel like you, as the reader, are right in that moment.
We are finishing up our short vowel sorts in Sound Off. Next week we are moving onto the long vowels.
So we are in our 10th week. And I have to say that Megan’s kids are “killin’ it”! They are so independent in their centers. We have introduced a variety of types of centers and a variety of  skills so now the centers are very familiar to them. So now it’s time for fluency practice.
In our science time we are going to talk about the life cycles of chicks, the different coverings of animals, and the difference between wild and tame animals. 
Our kids are lovin’ our Science Experiment Fridays. These experiments are simple and easy to prep. They really aren’t rocket science! Just simple experiments where the kids can experience the scientific process and have exposure to non fiction text.
This week we are finishing up Unit 2: Counting in our small groups. Megan told me the other night, that ALL of her kids were proficient on these skills. Why? Well, we think it is that repeated practice. Seeing  the same standard cluster over a period of time, practicing it in different formats, moving from concrete to abstract, having time to develop deeper understanding. Whatever it is….we are thrilled with their progress.
On the other hand, our centers aren’t teaching anything new. Instead they allow for repeated practice of already mastered standards. It is a time to develop that fluency---automaticity with mental image.
Now head on over to Deedee’s blog to take a peek at her week!peek at my week button
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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Down on the Farm/Christopher Columbus Week 9 Peek at My Week

Learning about the voyage of Christopher Columbus is included in our Social Studies curriculum.  After the Peek at My Week, I shared a few things we did to make the day extra fun. UPDATE: If you already own this unit, I recently (August 2016) made revisions to make it easier for the teacher! Be sure you go to your "my purchases" section on tpt to get the updates!
New Unit for Reader’s Workshop this week! Now, we are going to get deep! We spent the first two months really working on the who, what, where, when and how of reader’s workshop, and now everything is running smoothly and we are ready to start Digging Deeper!
In Writer’s Workshop we are giving all the things we have learned so far a name….Personal Narratives. Next week we will introduce the rubric and have the children evaluate their own writing! Crazy, right?
Most of our centers this week are around either Farm (which we will be doing next week as well) or Christopher Columbus.
I added Deedee’s Listening Unit to our centers this week. Love these!
I took advantage of two long plane trips this week to do a little revision…I totally revised the literacy game pack. If you already have it, go to your my purchases and you can get the update there.  I did add 2 editable pages for the sight word game so that you could pick your own words.
I also revised the Farm Math Game pack and added another game. Again, if you already have it, you can get that new game by going to your my purchases section and downloading the updated version.
Here is some of our Christopher Columbus fun from last year…Making the Sphere Circle Map out of our globes.
This is the unit where I do our sink and float standards. Coke Floats!!! A big hit!
They loved making their Christopher Columbus’. We made the dolls in one of our centers. Then, in small group I worked on the labeling in their non fiction books. I grabbed the bubble map from someone’s blog. I can’t believe I forgot to note who’s blog. Is it yours?
Now head on over to Deedee’s blog and see what other teachers are doing this week.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lots of Blogger Inspiration in Ripley

When I entered Ripley Elementary their school theme was clear! ANTS! Before I retired I set my classroom up using a picnic theme so I felt right at home!
The art teacher is painting ant tunnels on the hallway wall. The kids can earn ants for demonstrating ANT behavior.
One teacher, Denise,  had this displayed outside of her room. When I asked her where she found the idea, she saw it on a blog, but wasn’t sure which one. So I did a little digging and guess what? It’s a freebee. You can get it here from my good friend Erica!
Cheryl was doing a unit on Apples, and I knew right off where that labeling activity came from! It is all over pinterest! So where did it come from? From Rachelle, over at What the Teacher Wants! She is soooo smart!  You can get it here.  Loved Cheryl’s season trees and the bubble map. Before she started her apple unit, she put an apple in the bag and stapled it shut. The kids passed it around the circle to see if they could guess what it was! Such a fun idea.
Cheryl shared this book with me, as a matter of fact, she GAVE it to me!!!!  It is a great little story about generating ideas for writing and how to create a story.  Loved the pencil idea so I asked, “Where did you get that, Cheryl?” After she told me where, I asked “that person” if they had it on their blog. She told me it wasn’t hers but she knew who it did belong to….Lindsey, over at The Teacher’s Wife. You can get it here! It’s a freebee, too!
Don’t you just love that quilt? In the spring Cheryl’s class makes a quilt. They picked their fabric, sewed it on the machine and enter it into a quilt show. They won a blue ribbon!
Loved the environmental print alphabet in Denise’s room and the scientific process charts in Cheryl’s room. Denise made her abc chart. Cheryl found the charts online, once again from a blogger, Deanna! You can get it here, free!
Loved these cards that Cheryl uses for her daily Math Talks.
I don’t know how many of you saw Dr. Jean’s post, “Be Wary” but it is a must read! It is a good reminder of what kindergarten is all about and that they are many ways to teach children. You have to read it! So when I saw this display in Cheryl’s room, my heart melted. Her class from last year planted sunflowers and the kids in her room this year enjoyed learning all about them! There was an entire wall with non-fiction information, photographs, and art work to show their learning. LOVE IT!
As I close this post, I just wanted to say thank you to all of those wonderful bloggers that I have met over the last few years. They are truly a group of amazing women who take time away from their family to share ideas with other teachers and give us all a little glimpse into their classrooms.  Many of them have become “life” friends. They have taught me so many things about teaching, friendship, life, and technology! Love you guys! Feel free to shout out some of your favorite bloggers in the comment section!
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