Saturday, September 29, 2012

Favorite September Books in KC!!


Every year I try find a way to keep track of the books we read in class. I have tried listing the books on chart paper and I fine that I easily loose track and I get tired of writing all those titles. Last year I listed the books we read on Shelfari. I loved keeping track on Shelfari but I didn't necessarily connect it to the class. So, I finally came up with an idea I love!!I am taking book covers and making them little. I put five in a row on a sheet of paper and print them out. I decided to glue the covers on paper with spaces between each rows. At the end of the month you can see the names on Post-it's under students favorite September book.

I have a few reasons why I want to keep track of the books we read. The major reason is because books drive all that we do! Books are important. We don't just read them but each book we read teaches us something important.  I want my students to realize that. I found putting the covers on a chart has allowed for more conversations among the kids.  I keep seeing kids go over and talk about the different books and seeing the cover helps them remember. I was surprised by some of the books students talked about. Listening to these conversations helps me get to know my students better too.  I want anyone who comes into my classroom to think WOW they read a lot of books in this class. I think voting each month gives us a ritual and adds excitement to our book work. 
We took the top five and voted one more time! The winners Bark George and Little Pea!


We counted how many books which was easy because one of the boys in my class counted the first row 5 and quickly counted by 5's all the way down the chart. I do plan to add numbers to this chart.  Not only is this an easy way to keep track but it's a great way to incorporate math into the lesson. 

These are my favorite books for September
 Student's Response Sheet
Each month we will fill in the sheet below. This will be added to their reading section of their portfolio. You can find a sheet below for September and October.

Click here for Sheet  



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good Writers write about what they know

I always kick off the year talking about what writers write about. Good writers write about what they know and what they care about. You can see the little posters we made for both. This way if someone says to me they don't know what to write about, they can get an idea from our poster. You can get the template below.

 During Daily 5 time we are working at Read to Self and Work on Writing. One of the writing choices last week was to fill in one of theses templates or work on their stories. The kids did a great job doing this. They did not have to write the word unless they wanted to try.
Anchor chart I plan to add to the bottom that is why there is some white space  

When I worked on these little posters I did I know about first. We talked about different interest we have. I shared conversations I heard kids having that told me they knew a lot about something. For example one day at Choice Time a child was looking at a shark book and another child started to share all of these facts they knew about sharks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Writing Workshop Main Idea

I am going to share a few different things I am teaching that connects to writing workshop. This is the first time I have taught many lessons using the word MAIN IDEA. I do think, that no matter how many different mini-lessons you do, a lot of students struggle to keep the main idea. They will be writing a book about a birthday and in the middle of the story you come to a page that says, "I love my cat." My class LOVED the lesson below. 
 I told the class I would show them pictures and we would put the pictures connected to the main idea of recess on the left and pictures not connected to the main idea of recess on the right. You can see the x means not recess.
Same lesson different day but changed main idea to birthday. 
I am also planting the seed of writing topics!!


On a different day we had to Guess The Main Idea? I picked topics I knew the students would know about. I didn't know if having students create their own Guess the Main idea sheet would be too difficult. I did do a lesson on making your pictures detailed. You can see the quick anchor chart below
 The Three B's BIG Bold and bright


 

You can see I made a stick person on the left, and told them that being in kindergarten you need to have the 3 B's. Your picture should be big, bold and bright. You can see that I made myself with details. We talked about how silly I would look as a stick purple person!!!

Guess the Main Idea by KC
I gave students the topics



student samples

Basketball

Halloween

Recess
The Beach
At choice time yesterday a little girl came up to me and gave me this circle map she made!!If you look in the center you can see a backwards question mark.  Her brother had a birthday party over the weekend. The cake is blue with a big three on the top (left side), She made a black birthday hat and a Thomas the Train at the top.  On the right side she made streamers. At Daily 5 time during Work on Writing this became a writing choice for kids.
 Next Step
To take one of the Main Idea circle maps and write a story. This story will have parts that do not belong! The students will have to help me figure out which parts of the book have to do with my topics, main idea.

Writing Workshop


I am going to share some of the mini lessons I did with my kindergartner's this week. Writing workshop was exciting this week! I had a few kids trying to sound out words independently and it made the other kids in the class think, I have to try that out! Of course I had could hear a few Mrs. Clancy I'm done, Mrs.Clancy what do I do next?  But for 11 days in school I'm thrilled at how well my group is approaching drawing and writing and the procedures of writing time.

I find that no matter what I say and do there will always be a few kids who struggle with keeping their book on the same subject. They start out with a story about the beach and in the middle of the story they have a page that says, "I love my cat". When I see kids doing of course I help them get back on track but I know it's inevitable...this is Kindergarten!! So when I came across this lesson I loved it.
For this lesson I made two circle maps. The circle map on the left says Recess and the circle map on the right says recess with an x on top meaning not at recess. During meeting time I told the class that we would be putting all the things that connect with recess on the recess Circle Map and all the pictures that do not connect to Recess goes on the right map.  The kids loved this because it was so easy.I introduced the word main ideas. I made comments saying things like, "Yes the slide does connect with the main idea of recess". So, this is planting the seed of connecting things to the main idea of your story. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Morning Message & Routines&Rituals


 These are my kids self-portraits that hanging up high.
It's my favorite thing to look at when I come in my class!
 
The one thing we know about kindergartens is that they love rituals and routines. I know as an adult I do too! Last year I had Mystery Monday and I would do the Mystery Bag. I would hear from parents how their child would get excited coming to school. I think its helpful too, for kids to anticipate something that will happen that day.

So this year I decided to incorporate this into the morning message each day . I thought to myself what are all the things I want to accomplish each week with my class? You can see below what I came up with. I find it's helping me with my thinking/planning each week too. I know as the year goes on the kids will come up with ideas to connect with each day. For example on Friday, they could write a joke during Daily 5 time.

I changed the format of my morning message too. I found that I was spending so much time last year trying to come up with stuff to write, that some days I would skip it. So, this year I made my format easier. I always start with who is first and who will turn out the lights. I then connect with a questions and always end with Let's get busy! Eventually, Let's get busy! changes to what we are doing for example I might write Let's get singing! I used to change each sentence with a different colored marker and I stopped doing that. I used the structure from the book Morning Meeting Message .
This has helped me make it so much easier!!!!!!!
I love doing Candle Time. I got this great idea from Nellie Edge. The candle is pretend. On Monday's the kids share one thing from their weekend and on Friday's they share one favorite thing about school. I love to hear what the kids enjoyed during the week.

In our Classroom Learning Journal I record what the kids say that day!
I blogged about this last year but of course the Queen of Ten is back again. Every ten days she comes for a visit! This is a FAVORITE FAVORITE activity!

This year we made little Queen of Ten books. This week they had to record anything that connected to the number ten  
This was our problem of the day connected to the Queen!
Interactive writing in our Learning journal. We learned THE this week.
Like literacy I am trying to make math visible in my classroom! You can see that my problem of the day is hanging in the meeting area. I have laminated them in hopes of using them next year! I will blog about some of the problems. This is the first year that I am doing Problem of the Day so I am flying by the seat of my pants!!! I am not sure if that's the expression but you know what I mean!
I blogged about this over the summer. I made a little corner of the room with a b.board for some of the routines I would like to incorporate into Science.  We kicked off Wonder of the Week by reading the book Why is The Sky Blue.  I had student make a predictions and recorded some of their answers. At Back to School Night I asked parents to let me know if their child says a Wonder Question  I got an email the next day Hadley asked...Why is the moon out during the day? I have my question for next week!
Funny Friday
These are the books I read this week. The kids couldn't stop laughing! While I was reading, I could see all the smiles and giggles and I was thinking...this is what kindergarten is all about!  
Last year I was writing each title and it was taking forever!! This year I am trying this, will see if it works. I hope to incorporate this into math. I have the books in groups of five. If you have a routine or ritual that you love I would love to hear from you!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thinking Maps Thursday

Over the summer I took a Thinking Maps class and I loved it! I wish I had taken the class ten years ago! One of the big AH HA moments I got out of the class was learning two important things about using Thinking Maps.  The first thing is that starting in kindergarten whenever possible you want to use all 8 maps. Of course you don't teach them at the same time. The other thing I learned was that the goal  in the class is for students to create maps independently. So, thinking kindergarten I am doing a ton of modeling with Thinking Maps  knowing eventually, my students will do this independently! Below are some of the ways I have incorporated Thinking maps in the classroom. To learn more about thinking maps click here. 

Tree Map-The tables in my class are labeled with shapes. I just had each child decorate a little square that you can see below the shape. The names are tacked in the wall so I can easily move them.

On Thursdays in my class it is always going to be Thinking Maps Thursday. I am trying to make my morning messages simple. This week we went apple picking so the message connected to that.


 The class really struggled with the question What Do We Know About Math? You can see around the circle map is the frame of reference . The frame of reference is how do we know this about math.
The Number of the Day routine 


 Bubble Map- At math time the students are sorting buttons. One of the lessons in this investigation has students describe a button. The Bubble map was perfect to have students use adjectives to describe the button.
Double Bubble- Comparing two buttons
 
 Bubble Bag- On Monday we always do the Bubble Bag. It's Mystery Monday! If you click on the picture you can see the clues.
 
Brace Map- Whole to Part. These are the sight words we are learning this week. I love Heidi Songs and use all of her songs to teach my class sight words!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Writing Workshop In Kindergarten

Today I am going to share some of the steps I have started to get my kids thinking about stories and beginning writing. On the First few days of schools I talked about how we will be reading lots of books and making lots of books.
Week One~
I modeled aloud all the different things I could write about.
I let the kids decided on what story they wanted me to write about.
They picked a naughty dog story.
I made pictures on Tuesday's.
On Wednesday I looked over my picture and realized I left our some important details in my drawings!
I matched kids up with a partner to share stories.


At the end of the week I showed students the different kinds of ways to write in kindergarten.
Curly writing, letters and book writing.
 They could practice on the rug the different ways of writing.

Right away a little girl did this!
I made a big deal out of it and of course other kids tried to write too.
The little girl was offering help to others because she knew how to write!!
She was extremely confident and proud of herself.

I love that this child did the curly letters(which means scribbles).


This is my anchor chart to remind student's the different ways to write. We went apple picking so it connected to something we did this week. I was making my anchor charts big(chart paper size) and realized that because of the size sometime it became unmanageable. So my new thought is to make them small. We did start writing stories but I am going to wait until next week to share!

Interactive Writing: This is a page in our Learning Journal.
different ways to write