Saturday, September 29, 2012

Favorite September Books in KC!!

Every year I try to find a way to keep track of the books we read in class. I have tried to list the books on chart paper, and I find that I quickly lose 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 like. I am printing book covers and gluing them on a chart. Each row on the chart has five books. At the end of the month, students vote for their favorite book. Each child is given a POST-IT to put under their favorite.

Students also record their favorite on a response sheet.
{booklet download below}

I found putting the covers on a chart has allowed for more conversations with 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 enjoyed.  Listening to these conversations helps me get to know my students better.  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! 

These are my favorite books for September

Student's Response Sheet

Each month we will fill in the sheet below. 
The recording sheet will be added to their reading section of their portfolio. 

Favorite Book Each Month Download

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good Writers write about what they know

I always kick off the year talking about what writers write about. 

Writers writers write about what they know and what they care about. You can see the little posters we made for both. 

When I worked on these little posters I did, I know about first. We talked about the 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 related to the central idea of recess on the right. You can see the x means not recess.

Same lesson different day, but changed the main idea for birthdays. This lesson is also planting the seed of writing topics.

On a different day, we had to Guess The Main Idea? 

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 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. Your picture should be big, bold and bright

We talked about how silly I would look like as a purple stick person.

Guess the Main Idea by KC
I gave students the topics




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 backward question mark.  Her brother had a birthday party over the weekend. The cake is blue with a big on the top (left side), and she made a black birthday hat and a Thomas the Train at the top.  On the right side, she made streamers. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Morning Message & Routines&Rituals

 These are my kids self-portraits that are hanging up high in my classroom.
Class Routines

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 that day. 

I think it's 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 were all the things I want to accomplish each week with my class?

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.

Morning Message 

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. This year I made my format easier. I always start with who is first and who will turn out the lightsI then connect with  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 am using lots of tips from the book Morning Meeting Message.

I love doing Candle Time. I got this great idea from Nellie EdgeThe candle is flameless. On Monday, the kids share one thing from their weekend and on Friday 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 they learned that day!
I blogged about this last, of course, the Queen of Ten is back again. Every ten days she comes for a visit. Her visit is a FAVORITE activity.

This year we made little Queen of Ten books. This week they had to record anything that connected to the number ten. 
The problem of the day connected to the Queen.
We wrote about our experience in our learning journal.

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 blogged about this over the summer. I made a little corner of the room with a 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 a student make predictions and recorded some of their answers. 

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 thought 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. 

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 eight maps. Of course, you don't teach them at the same time. 

The other thing, I learned, was that the goal of 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 aboutThinking 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 the shape

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.

Circle Map

The class struggled with the question What Do We Know About Math? What 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! 
Brace Map-Whole to Part
These are the sight words we are learning this week. 

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 decide on what story they wanted me to write about.
They picked a naughty dog story.
I made pictures on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, I looked at my picture and realized I left out 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! She wrote the word flower.
I made a big deal out of it, and course other kids tried to write too.
The little girl was offering help to others because she was confident in her ability to write. She was extremely proud of herself.

I love that this child did the curly letters which mean scribbles.

This is my anchor chart to remind the students the different
ways to write. I was making my anchor charts big, and the size were becoming unmanageable. So my new thought is to make them small. 

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