Saturday, August 24, 2013

First Two Days of School in Kindergarten

My first week of school is complete! I am always glad to have the first couple of days under my belt because they are by far the most exhausting! I tried to document everything we did the first two days of school. You may have to excuse some of the pictures... I took most of them in a rush! Of course I planned to do way more than I actually did! But, that always seems to happen :)
Day 1:
 I had coloring sheets out on the tables. We let parents walk their children into school the first 2 days so I knew I would be distracted.
 All of the children were busy coloring while I talked to parents and asked them to say their goodbyes :)
As they finished coloring, I walked around and put a sticker on each paper. Then, I asked them to try to find their name on the mailboxes and put their coloring sheet inside. They did wonderfully at this! 
 We gathered at the carpet and read Officer Buckle and Gloria. The kids loved this book!! and it is a perfect introduction to discussing rules.
I wasn't quite planning on introducing the behavior chart just yet, but I had a little one who definitely needed to see this already. So we gathered at the clip chart and went over each 'color'. 
Then, it was time for a school tour! Before we left we went over hallway rules and we practiced lining up in number order. While we were in the hallway we worked on keeping our feet close to side of the hallway.
Then, we read 'The Day A Monster Came To School' and again, talked about the rules of our classroom. When we were finished I introduced the 4 centers that they would be working on.
2. The first page in their Rules Book
3. Exploring Unifix Cubes
4. Exploring links
After I sat at the 'Spin and Graph' center for a couple of minutes I was able to leave them to complete the center independently while I walked around. I had the bell set for 15 minutes (if I saw the kids getting restless then I would ring the bell a tad early!)
When the bell rang, we played a quick game of Simon Says. For instance, Simon says stand up. Simon says push your chair in. Simon says point to your next center. I always ended with that so I could make sure they all knew where they were going when I said 'switch'. 
We ended up only finishing 2 centers before it was time for the park.
We are lucky enough to go to the playground everyday for 30 minutes. Then we go straight to lunch for 30 minutes.
After lunch we have an awkward 15 minutes in the classroom before specials. Usually during this time I am going to try to squeeze in calendar math (we will see if that's possible), but today we continued our centers.
They were loving the Spin and Graph!!
Then it was time for their first special. They have one special everyday for 30 minutes. Today it was music!
When we returned to class we gathered at the carpet and read Manners at School
Then we worked on the cover of our Rules Book whole group. 
If students finished super fast, I directed them to the back table where they could play with the math manipulatives that they used at their centers earlier.
While they were doing this, I called over students one at a time to take their first day of school photos! 
Then, we gathered on the carpet to play a little 'getting to know you' game! This activity is in Alisha's Kickin' It in Kinder Unit.
Students wold roll the dice and answer the questions that they rolled. It was adorable! I was expecting some of the kids to be too shy to answer...but they all couldn't wait for their turn!! 
Then, believe it or not, it was time to go home! I turned the TV on while I passed out folders and tagged all the kids with their dismissal clips.
Day 2:
The second day was very similar to the first day, but not as hectic! I actually finished everything I planned! haha
Again, we started the day with a coloring sheet. This totally helps get the day started! I had parents handing me school supplies and wanting to know how their child was doing, etc. So I was handling different tasks while the children were busy coloring.
Today as they finished I showed them where the 'hand in box' is. I showed them how to highlight their name with a highlighter before handing in their paper. This helps catch all of the 'no name' papers!  
If you would like to grab the little 'stop' sign, you can grab it for free HERE
Then, we gathered at the carpet and read Splat the Cat. Such a cute book!
Now it was time for morning centers
2. The second page of our rules books
3. Write the Room (this was my center for the day)
4. Introduced one of their free play activities (we usually have free play the last 30 minutes of the day)
After centers were complete we headed to the park and then to lunch. When we returned we did calendar math.
Then we headed to specials. After specials I will normally do math, writing, then free play. BUT we aren't starting our math or writing until next week. Instead we played 'I Have, Who Has' whole group. 
The first round I really had to help them to remember to say I have ___, Who has ___? They were kind of just shouting out I HAVE IT!! But, the second go round they did beautifully! 
Then we did our first page of our memory book, had snack, packed up, and headed home!!
Some other centers we did throughout the week:
 a monster ABC game
 word work: magnetic letters
 practiced our cutting skills
and played a monster roll and dot game!

I hope everyone had a wonderful first week of school!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Guided Reading: Wrap Up!!

I have been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to share my thoughts on the last couple of chapters in the Freebielicious summer book study! I did finish reading The Next Step in Guided Reading and really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to using a lot of it in my classroom this year--especially the Pre-A and Emergent reading suggestions.
Some of my favorites already shared their thoughts on Chapters 5 and 6 and you can read those below:
Chapter 5 HERE at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits and HERE at Fun in First Grade. 
Chapter 6 HERE at First Grade Blue Skies
In Chapter 5, Jan Richardson suggests having students use a personal word wall. Keep in mind, this chapter discusses students that are 'transitional readers'. So this is for kids that are already reading and they are now concentrating on vocabulary and fluency. This is not something that I have done in class before, but would be interested in trying it out. My class word wall is placed on my biggest bulletin board in the back of the room for all to see and use. My students have had problems in the past locating specific words on the wall (but these are typically my 'lower' students). But, I wouldn't mind trying this out!! It couldn't hurt, right?! ;)
You can grab the word wall by clicking on the image above. I think they would work great glued inside a manilla folder.
During a transitional reading group, you will want to spend the first 3-4 minutes discussing the book. Point out important images or new concepts. Then you will want to move on to discussing new vocabulary words. If the word is defined in the text, then don't tell them the definition. If it is not defined in the text, then give them a simple definition, connect it to the text and to their background knowledge. Lastly, which is my favorite thing to do, have the students turn and talk to each other about the definition. I always clap my hands two times and say 'teach'. Then, the kids clap their hands two times and say 'okay!' I love it!!! For the next 10-15 minutes students will read the book independently. During this time, you will conference individually with students. You can work on fluency, comprehension, characters, etc. Keep track of who you met with since you may not work one-on-one with everyone. For the last 1-2 minutes of the reading group, you can choose a strategy that you want to work on with all of your students. They may beed to do a word study where you focus on digraphs or even the silent e rule! 
On the second day (or when the book is finished being read) of a transitional reading group you will spend 15-20 minutes doing a guided writing portion. Their writing should be a response to the book they read. It is great to use the 'Five Finger Retell'. You can grab your copy below.
Alright, if you are still with me, let's move on to Chapter 6: Fluent Guided Reading Lessons :) 
Spend the first 3 to 4 minutes of this group doing the same as you would with your transitional readers: preview the book and discuss new vocabulary. Keep in mind that you will not tell students the definition if the text provides it. (I use this same exact idea when I do whole group vocabulary).
For the next minute, introduce and demonstrate the focus strategy. This way the students will know exactly what their goal will be. They will spend the next 10 minutes reading silently to themselves. No round robin reading <----totally guilty of this! While the students are reading, you will meet with individuals to discuss vocabulary or comprehension.
When students are done reading, you will come together again for a 5 minute discussion/teaching point. You can ask students about challenging words and you can even add new words onto their 'new word list'. This list can be kept in their guided writing journals for access during guided reading groups. Click below for your 'New Word List' copy.
If you still have time, you can start your guided writing portion. If not, you can save your guided writing portion for the following day. During this time, students will write a response to the text with a comprehensive focus. 

Some options for guided writing with a fictional text:
-Character Analysis: Students will choose one character and write about their traits using examples from the text.
-I Poem: Students select a character from the story and write a poem from the character's point of view (I am ____, I wonder ____, I see ____, etc)
-Alternate Ending: Students will write a paragraph describing a different way the text could have ended.

Some options for guided writing with an informational text:
-Chapter Summaries: Each student selects one chapter from the
table of contents and writes a paragraph that describes the most
important information she/he learned in that chapter
-Compare/Contrast: If the text structure is description, students
could select two topics and write a paragraph that compares
the ideas and one that contrasts them. They could compare and
contrast two animals, two landforms, etc. (whatever matches the information in the text).
-Main Idea/Details: Students will write a paragraph that uses details and examples from the text to describe the main idea. 

Believe it or not, I am working on my Guided Reading Pack: Part 2. This pack will be useful for Emergent Readers :)