Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Alphafriend Sound Practice


As reading groups are getting underway - I'm starting to meet with kids to work on letter recognition and sound practice. I noticed some wandering eyes during group when I was just using the set of flashcards that come with my kit. I use Houghton Mifflin for Kindergarten and decided to make these "ABC" books so everyone in my small group can practice the letters and sounds with them in their own hands. I stapled the pages as 8 1/2 x 11 sized books and am using it is a choral reading warm-up/chant during guided groups. 

I have them read the "a a a" or "b b b" as the sound. For the alpfafriend I say it's object (apple/bear/cat) rather than the full name. 

Example: 
A is for apple,  /a/a/a/
B is for bear,  /b/b/b/

This is pretty specific to using the HM program, but in case you can use it - CLICK HERE for the freebie on google docs.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Guided Reading

Today I'm working on my Guided Reading lesson planning template. I have linked up with The Teacher's Cauldron's linky party where you can check out other people's planning pages. Click the red button below to go there and link up.


So, here's a picture of the basic template that I use when planning my guided reading groups. I list the student's names in the left column with the time that I see their group. In the daily boxes I'll include specifics such as what leveled reader book we're working on or sight words to re-teach. Usually in the first weeks of school my groups are all warming up with abc flashcards and elkonian boxes. You'll notice that I don't pull groups on Wednesdays - it's a late start day and I do a whole group reading lesson, and then pull kids to test them for the easy CBM, or they see a Title One teacher for a focus group on phoneme segmentation or something that is needs based. I love using a built in day to assess - because I get so much information that helps guide my teaching. 

My Planning Template: 

If you want to grab this planning page CLICK HERE- it is editable in PowerPoint. The font for the title is Pea Katrina, and the other font used for the rest of it is Pea Hollee from Kevin and Amanda.


Daily Warm-Up: Phonemic Awareness Practice

I like to use Elkonian boxes (or sound boxes) to help kids learn to segment words as a daily warm-up during guided reading. Students start with a 3 box template and place 3 BINGO chips (one over each square) on top. Then I say a CVC word like cat, hot, man, etc. and for each sound in the word, they pull a BINGO chip down into a separate square to represent the sound. When students are proficient at segmenting 3-sound words, I'll up it to 4 phonemes (flip, slide, crane, etc.).

Lines of Print: Phonics Practice


Another quick warm-up I do is having students quickly read letters (or you can change this to sight word strips) in a mixed up order. They each get a different strip of lines of print (the image above would be for 3 students). You cue them to start reading and they read the letters/words rapidly -  you listen in and correct as needed - then they pass the strip round-robin style to the next student and read the next one. The strips are all different so each kid is practicing on his or her own. My students love this "game" that we play - it goes super fast and ends up being kind of hot-potato style - kids want to read their words super fast and get rid of their strip. 

I don't ONLY do letter/word work in isolation, but I do find that it is necessary for my students. I make sure that this kind of practice accompanies other reading work that is comprehension driven and less "skill in isolation." I think the key is to balance your literacy program to give doses of the Big 5. 

Leveled Readers: Comprehension Practice

I use my Houghton Mifflin adopted guided reading books. They consist of Leveled Readers and Phonics Library books. The LRs have rich vocabulary and great pictures. The PL books have controlled text that focuses on the phonics skill of the week. I alternate between them depending on what my students need. If they are weak in Phonics, I'll use the PL books more. If they need more comprehension I'll use the LRs.

Read Alouds: Fluency and Vocabulary

When I read aloud to my students I often begin by showing picture cards to highlight vocabulary that is new, tricky, or interesting. I try to pre-teach vocabulary as often as possible. I also highlight vocabulary words when I'm reading by discussing them as I read out loud. I model using good fluency when I read aloud to my students. I point out text features using big-books and model how to change my voice depending on punctuation marks. I link my fluency model to my students reading when they are in small guided groups.

Flexible Grouping: Assess and Adjust

I test my students often to see how they are doing with their reading skills. Based on how they improve or stall, I form my guided reading groups. Students might float from a lower group to a higher group or vice-versa depending on the rate of their learning. Sometimes based on other skills, like their ability to retell with details, they will be moved from group to group. I encourage all of my students to do their personal best. I like to have movement so that kids don't really know which group is which (high/low) and I'll often use the same book for different groups - but just work on different skills depending on the groups' needs. I try hard not to trap my kids in a particular group because I frequently test and adjust.






Friday, September 14, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core

The Grade K Workbook
Here in Oregon, Kinder teachers have been working hard at implementing the Kindergarten Common Core standards. This new book is full of activities and cute picture cards (they look like they were designed by a KG teacher, not a textbook company) that you can use throughout the day. They have a free sample that you can download too! Check out the free sample for yourself by clicking HERE!

Next week in my class we're going to do a pictorial input chart that helps children label the parts of a book. We're also going to work on our math skills - counting objects, recognizing 2D shapes, and gaining number sense.

I'm hoping to use this book to enhance my teaching and to help my students reach every standard.

P.S. Bloggers - if you go here: you can get this book free in a giveaway!





Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ahh! First Day Jitters are Done!

Today is just a quick post to say, Ahhh! I made it through my first day! I'll leave you with some highlights from my day:

  • The kids were sweet, they spoke WAY more English than I'm used to. They even got some of my jokes and a cutie even made a joke! I love these kids already. 
  • I taught my first ELD lesson - day 1: using the sentence frames - "Hello. What is your name?" "My name is __." and "What grade are you in?" "I'm in Kindergarten." Oh, boy - speaking in complete sentences will be a challenge for these friends, but we're starting off already!
  • I was asked by the same little friend probably 30 times if it was time to go home. He wasn't quite used to the whole "school" thing. But he survived.
  • I got cookies from a co-worker! YUM!
  • My son said, "Bye mom!" as I left him with the nanny in the morning - it made for a happy departure from home - not a tear-jerker like I was expecting.
  • My crafts turned out super cute, and I WAY over planned some writing/literacy lessons- so I'll have some things already prepped for next week.
  • Nobody got lost going home.
  • One of my kids *almost* knows all the abcs (uppercase!) - this is a major shocker. I usually expect 5 letters (that's the average-ish) start that my kiddos usually begin with.
  • Some of my kids could write their names! I'm excited about this - like SUPER excited because this too is pretty rare!
  • I had no criers!
  • The kids met the Mayor of Portland and were super cute for the photo-op, especially it being the first 30 minutes into their first day of school.
  • I got all of my assessments done! Yahoo!
  • I was supported by a teacher's aide almost all day after planning on being on my own - so this was a great surprise and joy for me!
I can't wait to start tomorrow with my next 1/4 of the class. If you don't know - my district does what we call gradual entry so for 4 days 1/4 of the class comes per day. The small group allows for 1-1 testing for letters, numbers, counting, etc. Also, it provides less anxiety for the kids to meet me in a small group and tour the school, practice routines like lining up, and all that.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Class Tour: Part 2 - Picture Overload! :)

Well, summer vacation is at an end and I've been back to school for just a week. Many of my blogging friends have been in session for a while, but I've still yet to meet my new group of Kinders. I'll have 25 of them this year - down quite a bit from last year's overflowing class of 33. My prayers were answered and they added another teacher so there will be 4 sections of K this year. I'm almost ready to go - so brace yourself for some pictures. 

First of all, my room is at the end of the hall. The main hall - the hall that everyone walks down and can see first. So the pressure is always on to have a cute bulletin board. I did the scrunchy butcher paper border and crafted a big monkey. I used some pre-made little monkeys a team mate had, and paired them with bananas that I had. It's kind of plain, but I like it. 


Close up of the monkey I crafted from construction paper.

This is the coloring page I'll be using for the first day.

 I plan on reading The Kissing Hand in the afternoon and doing some activities with the book.

The Chester Puppet can be downloaded here. If the link stops working - please contact me!
I pre-cut the head and tail of the Chester "puppet" so my kinders can focus on coloring. I'm not sure I want to do scissors on the first day.
Finished product. I'll help kids fill in the blanks.


This is a worksheet we'll complete - it's from the Big Book of Skill Builders. (I LOVE this resource)

Here is a second activity page we'll work on.


I made this oversized (11X17) worksheet for my students to fill out and color. The scalloped box is from Michelle at the 3am Teacher. 

A book my friend gave me to read aloud.

 I'll be doing some other centers too: playdoh on laminated construction paper mats and/or abc mats that I bought on Teacher's Notebook from 1plus1plus1equals1.

I'll also be doing this little craft with my students to hang up for open house. I credit Deanna Jump with the torn paper hair, my teammates (team O.K) with the t-shirt template, and the common core standards for making me focus on beginning sounds the first day of school.

Now, on to the classroom tour that I'm excited to share. #1 because I toned things down a lot, and #2 because I'm excited to be done!


View from my door (looking in to the left of my room)
View of the choice time board.
Cubbies and my new curtains (shower curtain that I hemmed).
View to the right from my door/My guided reading table
My book storage for guided reading (labels courtesy of Miss Kindergarten)



View from my door to the right (sink/counters/teacher desk).



Student mailboxes, supply storage, birthday wall
Table groups




More table groups (blank board for Alphafriend cards).

Inside recess bins (not labeled yet), rack/tubs from IKEA.

Calendar for Bridges in Mathematics

More table groups 

Carpet area

Classroom library/word wall

Teacher desk with a curtain I velcroed in place

View from the carpet area

View from the other angle. Notice the number spots for lining up on my floor. 


I don't know what to put up on my boards yet.

Uppercase alphabet

Math work station choice board, dismissal clipboards, bus signs


Kelso Wheel - for problem solving behaviors



My new curtains - I sewed them and hung a rod. :-)
 Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear what you think about my set-up.