Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Teach K!

Well, I'm starting to think about going back to school. I actually feel pretty lucky given that I have a whole month left before I have to go back. Other teachers in the bloggy world are already back in school - sheesh!

I'd like to share some of my favorite ideas that I learned from the I Teach K! conference in Las Vegas, NV. I will credit the presenter as the source, and share how I could use the idea in Kindergarten.

Helping English Learners

Source: Vanessa Levin

I got so much information from Vanessa's presentation I was super excited! Her presentation was my favorite of all the ones I attended. First, she stresses that when interacting with ELLs you need to make sure your body language is appropriate (expressions match what you're saying, eye contact is culturally appropriate, your are friendly, you speak clearly not too slow, and you avoid using slang). 

I am certainly going to play one of her games that works on positional words. It is played like this. In a pocket chart put several different pictures (whatever you want). Hide a picture of a cat behind one of the other pictures and ask students, "Where is the cat?" They will say something like: "Is it behind the bird?" Then you'll prompt them to be more specific - and they'll have to say something like, "Is it behind the blue bird next to the scissors?" The game goes on and on until the students find the cat. They can work on positional words (above, near, next to, below, behind, etc) playing this fun game. 

Word of the Day: Print a vocabulary card with a picture and attach it to the board. Discuss it in the morning each day. If kids can use it correctly throughout the day - they can ring the teacher bell.

Interactive Writing

Source: Kim Adsit

Interactive writing is when the teacher and student share the pen to write lists, sentences, or whatever they want. Here is an example of interactive writing done by Kim Jordano's class (this is a different Kim). Swing by Kim's class - check out her blog. Basically you brainstorm words with the class that are on a topic and use the lesson to focus on phonics patterns, sounding out words (alphabetic principle). 

Kim Adsit shared many tricks for interactive writing. One that stuck with me is to use a large chart pad. Fold the top-most piece of paper up in half and clip it up. Kids will only be writing on the bottom 1/2 of a paper. On the folded piece of paper the teacher can model letter formation and any examples necessary to complete the lesson. Also, make a hollowed-out frame using something like a piece of cardboard. Wherever you want students to write, hold the frame in place and students will write inside the box. This helps with letter sizing so there are no gigantic letters that stretch up and down the whole page. 

Have a plan! Here are some of Kim Adsit's suggestions for what to do for interactive writing: 
List word families (think of rhyming words: cat, rat, hat, bat)
List favorite read aloud vocabulary words (characters, setting, etc.), 
Make labels to identify things in stories like the Gingerbread Man.
Write "how-to" steps (make a snowflake, make a card, etc.)

Vocabulary Word Walls 

Source: Rick DuVall, Ph.D. -  for a free printable click here.

To increase student vocabulary create a large poster that is sectioned off into ABC parts. Read a story more than one time. Then the teacher & students find interesting high-level vocabulary words from the story and write them on the chart. You could do this in 2 ways - just do it as a class on an over-sized poster, or have students record words on their own worksheet. Make time every day to work on vocabulary learning - it tends to take a back-seat to phonics, but make it important again.

Math Music & Movement

Source: Jack Hartmann 

Fun filled songs abound on Jack Hartmann's math cd called: Every 1 Counts . Click on the link under the pic to go to his website. My favorite songs are the Rock n' Roll Birthday Song and the Country Line Count. He encourages kids to move and dance while learning numbers, and calendar math (days of the week, etc.) He also teams up with HarryKindergarten to make videos of his songs. Check out him on YouTube.

Reading Activities

Source: Patricia Pavelka

One idea I got from Patricia was retelling stories. She recommends having Kindergarteners use an empty paper grocery sack to have students design "story scene." She encourages having kids draw the setting from a story on the blank side of the grocery bag. To help struggling students, supply them with one "prop" such as a pre-made bridge to glue onto the setting scene for the Three Billy Goats Gruff, pre-made houses for the 3 Pigs, etc. Then, students draw the story characters on their own and use them to retell the story with a friend. The props can be stored inside of the bag along with the book that is being retold.


  1. I Teach K looks so fabulous (and so much fun!) - it's on the bucket list. I am your follower number 101 - congratulations on cracking 100!

    rubber boots and elf shoes

  2. Thanks so much. Would you be willing to share the first idea by Vanessa in a download? Thanks

  3. Hi Yvonnee,
    Can you tell me what you're looking for in regard to a download? I'm not sure what you have in mind. If you're hoping for clipart or those pictures- I don't own any rights to them so I can't post anything like that. Hopefully you can find some pictures that would work. My school district provides picture cards from our reading program that would work. Maybe you could laminate magazine pictures..? Let me know if I could be of more help.


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