Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weekly Reading Folders in Kindergarten

Hi everyone!

My students bring home reading folders once a week. I typically send them home on Monday. The parents take out the activities in the folder and the student returns the folder the next day. The folder contains a list of our kindergarten sight words (this sheet stays in all year),  an emergent reader or book we read in class (either shared reading or guided reading group) and a poem or small game that reviews key concepts (rhyming, sight words, alphabet recognition, etc.) The parents really enjoy the folders because it gives them something specific to review with their child.

I decided to make a weekly update form to place in the folder. I realized that although I was sending these activities home every week and parents were looking through the folders with their children, they may appreciate some tips about how to review the sight words, readers, etc.

The clip art is from Scrappin Doodles.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sight Word Parking Lot

About ten years ago I went to a district workshop about phonemic awareness. At the workshop, we also discussed sight word vocabulary and the presenter showed us a really clever game to review sight word vocabulary. It is called Sight Word Parking Lot and it is a great game to use for small group work or during your literacy stations, daily five work work, etc.

You can easily make one with a piece of paper and a marker. You make parking spaces on the sheet and write a different sight word in each parking spot. Then, you give each child in the small group a matchbox car. On each turn, you say a sight word and they drive their car into that parking space. Easy and fun!

Here is a picture of the board with a car:

I made five boards with ten words on each board. I used fifty of the most common sight words for kindergarten. You can make your own, too. I suggest laminating the boards.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Using First Names During Writing Workshop

As I have discussed in  a previous post, our first names can be really useful learning tools in every subject area. They are especially great to use in the beginning of the year. I went to a workshop years ago, and the presenter told us how to make an alphabet name chart for our students. I thought that this was a great idea and I make one every year.

You basically make a grid, one square per letter. Then, you type in the first names of all of your students in the proper letter square on the chart (first letter of first name).  I give each student an alphabet chart to keep in their writing folders and they stay in the folders for the entire year. We use first names to write letters to our friends,  include them in the stories we write, make lists, to label illustrations, etc. My first grade colleagues place the students' first names on the word wall, too. There are so many possibilities!

I made a few versions of the grid. The first grid is a blank pdf version (you would have to write in the names), the second is my model with names already in it, and the third is a word doc that you can alter. Enjoy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

How Many Syllables? Great Game for Common Core

One of the games I love to play with my students is "How Many Syllables?" It is very easy and fun. It is also perfect for the reading/foundational skills for the Common Core ( RF.K.2). 

I show the class pictures and we identify the number of syllables in each word. Sometimes I use a pocket chart and sometimes I use it as a word work activity during literacy stations.

Once the children understand the concept of syllables, the games goes rather quickly. Many children learn to count syllables by either tapping or clapping. I once went to a workshop and the presenter taught us a really cool way to present it to children. She told us to place our hand flat under our chin. Go ahead...try it. Now say a word like "telephone." Count how many times your chin hits or taps your hand (the times your jaw drops). That's the correct number of syllables!

I love this game because it reviews an important concept and it is really quick and easy. It is also great when you need a five minute transition activity.  My old set was getting rather worn, or as I like to say in my classroom "well-loved." So, I made new picture cards. There are number cards from 1-3 because I only made pictures with 1, 2, or 3 syllables. I plan on laminating them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

At-Home Reading Program

I am really fortunate to have very supportive families in my classroom. So at this point of the school year, I send home an optional at-home reading program. This year, almost every family decided to participate!

For the program, the children receive special reading journals. The students choose a book from a special bin and bring both the book and journal home in a Ziploc bag. I glue a list of comprehension questions to the inside of the journal and the children are required to answer one question about the book they read.

When they return the journal I usually write a short comment back to them. Then, they pick a new book to bring home. Here are the letters and forms I use:

Friday, February 3, 2012

No More Letter of the Week

When I moved from first grade to kindergarten, this was one of the first books I purchased. I absolutely love the title and the entire philosophy of the book. If you are not familiar with the book or "program", I really encourage you to read the book. Rather than focusing on just one letter per week, each student in the class becomes a letter expert.

Typically, you will explore about two to three letters per week. The child brings home a sheet (provided in the book) describing their letter assignment. They are asked to bring in small items from home that start with their letter the next day. Gradually,you create an alphabet wall and each child is responsible for teaching the class about the letter. Each letter also has a poem to go along with it. Then, you revisit the wall on a weekly basis, chant the poems, and review the letters and sounds.

After the wall is complete and each child has been assigned a letter, I have them make letter expert books. The students think of three words that start with their letter and illustrate each page. Once all of the books have been completed, we place all of them in a basket in front of the wall.

 Here is what the wall looks like before you begin:

My board is now complete, so I will post another picture later. It's great to see the finished product!

Here is a copy of the letter expert book: