Friday, June 29, 2012

Special Person of the Week!

This post is going to share with you how I do the Special Person of the Week in my class.

Word Work
I always spend a significant amount of time talking about the Special Person's name. 
We make a list of all the things we notice about that person's name. 
We also compare their name to another classmate's name.

Used To
When I used to make the Special Person book I would have the students each draw a picture of the Special Person.  The Special Person's name is written at the top, and then students would write a compliment, on the bottom. 

I would have lots of conversations about that person but when the students went to write their compliment they were all the same...I like you. You're nice
They struggled with writing compliments.


At Back to School Night, I give everyone a date of when their child is the Special Person. 

(letter to parents)

Each week, a child will be our “Special Person of the Week”. On Friday, your  child will be given  a questionnaire to complete and return to school on Monday. Along with the completed form, they will bring five photos of special times in their lives to be hung on the “Special Person” bulletin board. Parents or other family members can be guest readers during the child’s week. Guest readers will read a favorite book to the class at the start of the day. If this time does not work with your schedule, we can always find another time during the week.

I put a limit to how many pictures to send in because one year I was getting over forty pictures from families !! You can find the questions and book template at the bottom of this post.
There is a second page with a few more questions
Making the Class Book
I have the Special Person sit in a chair, and we share their pictures. We then read all the questions and answers together. The group sits and listens. 

After, I call out each page and pass them out. Each child makes a page for the book.

I am always surprised that the students remember the answers. If they forget they, find the Special Person and ask.

 It can be tricky for kindergarteners to figure out where to put the words on their page, but with repeated practice, they get it!  

I think this book is something that if a child were to read it years from now they would have a book full of childhood memories! 
Students are so proud and excited to take home their books and READ them!! 
I have the Special Person draw their face in the box. 
At the top of the page,  I put the first letter of the Special Person for Mary.

 I recently took a course on Thinking Maps. If you ever have the opportunity to take a course/class, I strongly recommend it! So I am going to add a Bubble Thinking map about the Special Person. I think this will be a great way to help kindergarteners learn about adjectives in an appropriate way!

Lastly, I make a class Voice Thread of the book. 
At the end of the week, I post it to our class blog.

 If you come up with a question that I don't have on my list I would love to hear from you!! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

In Pictures and Words Chapter 1-6


I am really excited to take part in Deedee's  book group In Pictures and Words by Katie Wood Ray. I read the book when it first came out and I was lucky to see Katie Wood Ray talk about this book.  I love Katie Wood Ray!!!!!!! After listening to Katie present I did take away so many things BUT I didn't do a full blown illustrations study which I had wanted  to do!! So now, with rereading this book  I am ready to start an illustration study with my students in September!!! Thank you Deedee

How might I explain to students that illustrating is composing?
I love how Katie wrote
Composers of words share many of the same understanding about meaning making with composers of pictures, so choosing to teach  into illustrations doesn't necessarily mean that time for teaching writing is sacrificed. If teachers are willing to make a composing connection and show children how an illustrator's decisions about pictures are a lot like a writer's decisions about words, she forms  a bridge of understanding that nurtures children as both illustrators and writers.

 When I attended Katie's workshop she put up Mo Willem's book City Dog Country Frog and we spent along time looking at the illustrations and talking about what we noticed on the different pages.   I had read that book a few times before her workshop and there were so many things that I had never noticed!!  Since taking Katie's workshop I have slooowed down and spend a lot more time noticing and talking about the illustrations with my students. 
Fall Goal~Follow The Predictable framework for an illustration Study
How might my attitude towards writing affect my students willingness to write?
I start writing workshop on the first day of school. We start making books right away. I believe that my attitude and expectations for students make them confident and excited about writing. I do have some students who spend a great deal of time illustrating and can be hesitant to write but I know in time it will click! I just remind myself that writing is a process.
How might I help build stamina in their writing?
Teaching what the word stamina means with reading and writing in a kindergarten friendly way.
The following are ideas from the book that I liked
~Sharing samples of students exhibiting good stamina in their work
~Do a lot more lessons on the date-stamp and how that helps you  keep track of how long you have worked on that story
~Find stories of illustrators and how long they work on books
~Model what good stamina looks like by returning to a book over and over again during mini-lesson time 
~When conferencing with students talk about work stamina
Hopefully from doing the illustration unit of study students will build stamina with their illustrations.

What language might I use with students talk about reading like a writer, both as a writer of words and pictures?
 I love how Katie wrote
I believe the ability to read as a writer and understand all texts as being the product of another writer's decision making is one of the most important  habits of mind teachers can helps students develop.  
I think the language we use with kids is so important. While reading this book I love to star sentences of how Katie said it . I often write down favorite sentences  and when I go to teach that lesson I'll hide it under my easel to use. When working with children I try to always be clear about why we are reading a book and what we can learn from it. I do a lot more think alouds now then when I first started teaching! 
So simply said by Katie
Lead discussions with children about what they notice in books in ways that will help them grown as writers and illustrators

Some Books I plan on using!
At Katie's workshop she shared The Boss Baby.

I forgot to put this book on. Happy by Mies Van Hout 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Word Wall Alphabet PIctures

I made a word wall last summer that I found easy to use. I don't have a lot of wall space so I wanted to make it smaller. I wish I had some pictures of the words I put on this year, but I forgot to take some. 

I love the little crowns at the top of my word wall. You can find a lot more examples on the Kid Writing link below. The kids get to wear them during writing time. The king of ing, the star of are and the wiz of is. It comes from the wonderful writing workshop book called
You can get to the author's site by clicking here

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

math and art labels

I can't help but start to think about room arrangement and labeling for the fall!!!  Below are some of the math and art labels I have been working on. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Favortie Fonts Linky Party

Here are my favorite fonts!! I LOVE LOVE finding new fonts. Once I get my report cards stuffed I can't wait to go to Teachery Tibits and see everyone's favorite fonts!
  My Favorite Fonts

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Word Book for Writing Workshop

I am working on my list of things to do for the fall! I just made this Word Book for my students writing workshop folders.  My goal is to use this little booklet as another resource for spelling and documenting words students are learning and using in their writing. I am hoping when students use a word in their writing I will highlight the word. I took the words from many of the kindergarten sight word lists. I also added some first-grade words too. At the end of the alphabet pages, I added a color page and days of the week.  There is also room to write words in.

For a Copy click Here

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writing Workshop Topic Booklets

I created this little booklet to use for the fall. The sheet is very simple, at the top, it has Things I know and Care About. The students draw in the box a topic idea and write the word or words on the line.  

 In the past,  I have had students do this sheet during the year. This year,   I thought it might be interesting to do it each month and see what topics students are selecting and how they develop over the year. 

 For example, when a student keeps writing the same topic at writing time, we can look in their booklets for a different idea. I think it would be a great tool to use during mini-lessons too.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memory Book Example

Here is an example of one student memory book. 

The books are spiral-bound together. 

You can see below on the left side is a child's memory. 
Each child picked one memory. 
On the right side, we did an art project to go with that memory. 

Next year I plan to do a few pages each month and file them away. I did not have the kids do a lot of painting and art projects, but I would love to do more of that next year. 

So below is what Brooke's memory book looks like. 

I did have some pages with photo's but could not share them because we do not post names and photo's together.

My boys came to visit

(Thank you Laura for sharing this idea)

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