Friday, June 29, 2012

Chapter 7: Ideas & Content

Click above picture to go to Mrs. Wills Kindergarten: In Pictures and In Words book study.

This is my favorite part of reading educational books. Give me the how-to’s and examples, so I can try it out and apply it in my classroom. Except, I'm on summer break, and do not have access to what is in my classroom. However, I do have books that are here at home. Chapter 7 has been enlightening for me, as I have not really focused on paying attention to a series of pictures for different reasons. Using my new "eyes", I did spy some of these techniques in Kevin Henkes books . I think his books show using small separate scenes to show different actions, passage of time, movement through different places, and details in a list.

For example, in Lily’s Plastic Purple Purse, we see Lily going through a passage of time showing different emotions as she thinks about her teacher taking away her purple purse. Then we see her growing smaller after she reads a note from her teacher. This shows a progression of time, as she begins to fill badly and begins to shrink in each box. I wish I could hear my students' responses to why they think Kevin Henkes drew her that way.


Another example of using separate scenes on a page in this book shows Lily putting herself in the “uncooperative chair”. This also shows a passage of time and emotion that happens.



Using small separate scenes in a variety of ways seems to be a technique Kevin Henkes uses often in his books. Hmm... I do like looking at my books with different eyes!! Look at these other pages I found him using the same strategy in his other books:








Another book using this technique is Mouse TV by Matt Novak. The Clever School Teacher bookstore also has it! Click on the book cover to go there.


Here is a page showing different ideas of action or comedy:

I have used this book to create a classbook by having my students write compose about what they can do instead of watching tv. This would be a great opportunity for students to drite (draw & write) their ideas in small separate scenes to show what they can do instead of watching tv. Below is something you may want to use in your classroom. The first page can be used to combine the pages into a classbook. The second page can be used for individual responses in a reading response or writing journal. I think this book would be a way to show using illustrations as a list.

Google Documents link


Finally, a “backstory” are the illustrations that may have character and actions that are not mentioned in the text. This automatically made me think of Jan Brett’s stories- especially her troll and gingerbread baby books. She adds lots of details to the sides of her pages, usually giving clues to who is coming next in the story or showing what is happening in the troll’s homes.

I wish I had some student examples. I am getting some great ideas about the beginning of the school year!

On a different note, I am hoping to post something exciting this Sunday! I have been working on putting it together these past weeks. Check back Sunday to check it out, especially if you would like to start your year using brain-related research! Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

Now that I put a deadline on it... I will have to get it accomplished, even if I have a girls' night out tonight and a wedding tomorrow! I think Katie Wood Ray mentioned that she works better with a deadline. I think I do too!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 3



1. Establish a gathering place for brain and body breaks. 
I just call it our meeting area. I've also called it "the carpet". I do like the idea of giving it a name. Perhaps, my new students will help think of a name for our meeting area.

2. Developing the concept of "good fit" books.
 The shoe concept is a great visual for teaching "good fit" books. I also like Tammy's (from Live Love Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten) suggestion to use Goldilocks and the 3 Bears concept too. Click on her linky party link above to go to her site. If you haven't been there yet, you're missing out. She has some great freebie visuals on this concept.
 
3. Create anchor charts with students. How will these be visual in the room? Where will you store them? What about small spaces?
After creating an anchor chart, I usually hang them on the whiteboard or up on our lights. Sometimes I create them on the computer and display them on the tv screen for students to reference during the time they may need them. Some anchor charts I send home with my students when we are done with them. Some anchor charts are put on hangers and put in my poetry/chart center. In the past, I have taken pictures of my math charts and put them into a classbook. If I did this with my all my charts, then I would have a reference of what I have done in the past. 

Here's a picture of my poetry stand. It is like a clothes hanging stand. I do not have a side view... sorry! It shows where we display the main poem or anchor chart we are using at the moment. Behind it, is a wooden bar that holds all my charts. I have them categorized. My students know they may use the charts at the front, near the hanging place for the chart. This is where I keep my student of the day charts, poems, and anchor charts. Separating the front from the back is a bunch of empty hangers waiting to house  a chart. At the back, I keep all other poems and charts for the year, waiting to be introduced.

 
4. Short, repeated intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes. (How are you going to keep track of stamina? What will you use for book boxes? What are you going to put in those book boxes on the 1st day of school? 
I haven't officially kept track of stamina with my students. At the beginning of the year, we discuss and work our way up to 15 minutes, then as they matured and learned to read, they were capable of reading for longer periods of time. Last year, I purchased white book boxes from IKEA for each of my students with the intention of following Daily 5's recommendation of book boxes. Then my class quickly grew from 18 to 32 students. So, I did away with the book boxes and used ziplock bags instead. I have had chair covers in previous years be their "book boxes". In addition to book boxes, I also have group blue baskets of books. I use a "DEAR" (Drop Everything And Read) concept, following a 4 Blocks "Self-Selected Reading" for Daily5 Read to Self. At the beginning of the year, I gather books from my personal stash, Harcourt resources, and the library. There is a variety of books, ranging from easy readers, magazines, and picture books that I place in the baskets. I do not put any chapter books in kindergarten, until I see a need for it. My kindergartners make many easy readers at the beginning of the year. Those are the first books that are placed in their book box or ziplocks (which are kept in the group blue baskets). I do like having group baskets. Even though some children are not reading words, they can read pictures. After a reading group, I usually put our guided reading books into the group baskets. After reading a book to my class, I put copies into each group basket. My students love to reread these books.

5. Calm Signals and check in procedures. Do you already have a signal? How will you handle check ins? 

I use music for transitions. Dr. Jean has some great ones. I also play the xylophone or sing a tune to get their attention for a quick moment when needed. When I first start off teaching Daily5 concepts to my students, I am usually monitoring and checking in with my students. I start weening off after I have helped them learn "ask 3 before me", use anchor/direction charts, and how to get my attention for a problem that hasn't been solved. I discuss with my students they may interrupt me for an emergency. If they have a problem and the other ways did not help, they may stand by me and I may be able to answer them. We role play different situations and discuss ways to solve these problems. So besides that, I don't have calm signals or check in procedures, unless it was something discussed with one particular child needing that extra support. I am looking forward to reading what others do in this area!

6. Using the correct model/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors.  I do not keep track of inappropriate behavior, unless I need to for RTI. Instead, I have to think about why the child is misbehaving: attention? work too hard? work too easy? enough or too much choice? social issues? Then we discuss ways to solve our problems or I adjust materials available to my students. If a child needs attention, then usually I have them on some type of positive behavior plan. Sometimes, I may pair a child with a partner.



On a different note, I just spent 3 days in a Got Mimio? workshop. I am excited about being able to do more with my Mimio software! I don't have the interactive part just yet, but I hope to get some updated technology in my classroom soon! They have a great piece where students record themselves to demonstrate their understanding. I think this could be used for small groups to work in creating anchor charts for Daily 5. Just wondering how you would tie in using an interactive whiteboard with Daily 5?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Make Ten freebie

I've posted on my TPT store a free math card game: Make Ten. It is great for practice of Common Core standards K.OA.3 and K.OA.4. Have students play and then write their findings of what makes ten on a recording sheet. Here's a recording sheet in my Fancy Nancy unit that I adjusted to make it free.

Google Doc Link


I'm looking forward to the weekend.Having some delicious food with some friends tonight and later hubbie & I will be going to a painting class together! It should be fun! Enjoy your weekend!

Still Reading...


Phew... didn't think I was going to make it, but I finished Chapters 4-6 last night. When I first saw this book's cover a few months ago, I didn't think much of it. To be honest, I thought to myself, I know drawing is part of the communication process, especially in kindergarten, so what would this book teach me? Then I saw that Mrs. Wills was going to do a summer book study on it. Hmm... I've not done a blog summer book study before. Then my school district informed us that they will be purchasing one of these books for each school. Hmm... what is the big deal about this book??

Well I am left thinking that I haven't shared with my students enough about illustrations. Even though we do it daily, I take it for granted. I really enjoyed Chapter 6. It got me thinking about how I teach writing with illustrations, and how I can make the process better. Here is one book where I focus on using stick figures:


With my students, we talk about individual characteristics. For example, one of my redheaded students would say that he has red hair and "angel kisses" (freckles). Another would say she always wear a bow or headband in her hair. Another would say he loves soccer. After discussing our individual characteristics, each child would draw a stick kid self portrait to put into a classbook called Mrs. Brinn's Stick Kids. It makes for a cute classbook. Below is a sheet you may want to use:
(I used HelloFirstie font from Hello Literacy.)



Sometimes we would do an author/illustrator study. One of the first books we look at are those by Lois Ehlert and her collage type of style. We make our own leaf characters out of fall leaves, acorns, and seeds. Lois Ehlert also uses labels in her books and adds extra information at the back of her books. At the end of the year, we revisit collage through Eric Carle books. Throughout the year, we learn about nonfiction with Gail Gibbons and how she makes animals look real through her illustrations, rather than using real photos. So, how is that different from what Chapter 6 is telling me?

Well, to quote from page 78, "Students need the opportunity to study the decisions of illustrators, not simply be told about them. Teachers also need the opportunity to study with their students, because adults always learn more from children when a study is based on noticing. Children just notice more than we do. It's that simple."

So, I guess I am a culprit of telling! Not that I do not acknowledge when my students recognize or notice something. I just didn't think about taking it a step further. In Chapter 6, Katie Wood Ray tells us how to gather a bunch of books with interesting illustrations. After modeling how to look at illustrations, children need time to explore and find interesting pictures. I loved the examples given in the book, especially when she discussed the "zooming in" technique with the book about mud. I have not seen this book, and now am interested in seeing it for myself! In addition, it is also important to discuss why an illustrator chose a particular technique and how would we can use that in our own composings.

How might you explain to students that illustrating is composing? This seems to be synonmous with using pictures to read a story. At the beginning of the year, I model for my students how to use our eagle eyes to look at the pictures to tell the story. We practice looking at books and noticing what is happening, making up our own stories without using the text.

How might your attitude towards writing affect your students' willingness to write?  I think my attitude has a lot in what my students show me. If I am excited about something, it peaks their interest. If I am not excited about something, then they are less likely to be interested.

How might you help your students build stamina in writing? I model and discuss how to use colors, add details, and add background scenery. At the beginning of the year, I have each student be the Star Student of the Day. The class draws that star student and adds details through colors and background scenery (placing the person inside or outside). We talk about putting them at the beach or on a playground. What are some things we would find in those locations, and draw some of those details. Some students attempt labeling these pictures with beginning sounds, words, or even sentences. This is a multi-level activity, great for differentiating for those student needs. These drawings are combined into a classbook for the star student to take home. The process of this activity originated from my Four Blocks training. Here is aFour Blocks kindergarten text:




What language might you use with your students to talk about reading like a writer, both as a writer of pictures and words? Besides using the illustrator's name, I am not familiar with this. When reading the examples in the book, I get a better idea of what I am missing, because I did not discuss why an illustrator chose that type of technique. So I will need to practice and improve in this area. I believe it would also depend on what techniques my students are drawn to.

Name several books (not previously mentioned in this text) that you would gather for your classroom's units of study on illustration. I think I would still use the previous books that I mentioned earlier, and also David Catrow's books. There's something that I just adore about his illustrations!










I look forward to learning about other books out there with great illustrations, as I love books! In case you want to read more, here's a link to Mrs. Wills linky party (just click picture below):




Happy Friday!
 




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daily 5: Chapter 2



Click on above picture to go to the Kindergarten Daily5 Linky Party: the host this week, Kindergarten Smiles.

1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way? Even though I trust my students, I know that they depend on me to set those boundaries. Some years, I can be more flexible while other years less so. Some children need more guidance and modeling for social interactions in a classroom setting. One thing I do that has helped me is to observe and watch, rather than jump to conclusions. For example, if my class sounds too noisy, I will observe and deduct what is going on. If learning is taking place, I move on. If someone is off task, then that is who I will need to interact with.

2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? (would love for you to share some examples!) Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room? I think I give choice to my students in different parts of the day- such as with independent practice or even with partners. When we share with our partners with Kagan’s Stand-Up, Hand-Up, Pair-Up, my students can choose their partners, unless at the end they need help finding a partner. They may pick which centers to go to, as I do not have a literacy center chart. I have had charts and more structure in previous years, but it took more work and not enough time with certain reading groups. I needed more flexibility. So I arranged it that whatever they choose they stay in that area during the duration around 15-20 minutes. Then I play a transitional song to gather for a mini lesson and then off they go to their 2nd choice for 15-20 minutes. 


Now, my students do use a chart to help themselves make good choices. Mrs. Bainbridge has so much information on her site. I took her My Weekly Check sheet and made enough +2 for students in my class. In case the direct link to her checklist does not work, or you need more information about it, here is the link to her blogpost. I glued each checklist on one side of green construction paper and a weekly book tracker on the back side. Click here for direct link to google docs for my weekly reading sheet. This is where my students keep track of a couple titles they read per day. I had these 2 sided sheets laminated, so that my students clean them at the end of the week and reuse them. I have had my set for the past 3 years now! This is a great way to help my students see the choices they have made and allows me to quickly glance and see what they are doing.



During math centers, they may pick which games and partners they would like to play with. In math, they may choose how they get to a solution- I try to pick open ended questions with various answers.  Sometimes, when we are working on writing, they may choose their topic.

I have slacked off using an agenda in my classroom. It was beneficial to have one, but lately my classes have been great at knowing our schedule… my routine charts help with that. If our schedule changes from the norm, then I post it up, mostly for me to remember the changes!

3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable? Having classroom community meetings, class celebrations, and Kagan’s cooperative structures help in developing a sense of community. I'm working on a packet for the beginning of the year that addresses this. Here are 2 books that I believe to be wonderful assets in building a responsive classroom community. Click on the pictures to go to the Amazon site.



4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child? Based upon my observations, it seems that it is uncommon for kindergarteners to come to school with ownshership in their learning. They are most likely only 5 years old, some even 4 years old. Developmentally, they are working on independence. When they come to school, I think it is my responsibility to help them learn to take ownership for their learning. It is a process and does not happen overnight. First off, I know that I tell my students that when we make a boo-boo (mistake), it is okay, because that is meaning that we are learning. I tell my students I make boos-boos all the time and I am still learning. I also work with them to discover what their strengths are and what some possible weaknesses are. I tell them that I love to read, but I still do not know how to snap. They love to show me how well they can snap. I love it when my little ones tell me it's okay, because we're learning. We also work on metacognition, thinking about our own thinking. 


I'm thinking about one of my young boys from this past class. He was an active boy who had a difficult time focusing for more than a few minutes. He needed postive reinforcement often, as he adored attention. He was on a daily behavior plan for most of our school year. He gradually became more independent, as he took ownership in his learning. A big turning point was around spring, when he worked on his wolf book for over 2 weeks! When we met about his writing, he shared with me all the thoughts and details that went into it. I was so impressed because he used a nonfiction book that was too hard for him to read. However he used the pictures and key words to help him make his own book. This particular child took ownership in his learning... I had no part in him choosing his topic and researching it. He was given choices and this is what he wanted to do for those two weeks during my "Daily3". He wanted to write!

5. Stamina! How are you going to build stamina with reading? independent work? Will you use a timer? Will you set goals? The Daily5 book has been a great influence on me for helping my students build stamina and having them set their own literacy goals. On the very first day of kindergarten, I discuss with my students on ways we can read. This is telling on what they believe and about their own metacognition. Some believe they can read and they can. Some believe they can read and they don’t seem to know where to start. This is when I introduce my Reading Buddies. The first one I share is a stuffed eagle. The “eagle eye” strategy is using pictures to figure out the words. However I scaffold it down and tell them to use the pictures to tell the story. I model for them how we use our “eagle eyes”. Then they pick a book (rebus readers) and practice telling stories and then make a switch for a new book. We do this for 5 minutes, sitting in a circle together. I sit with them and model the behavior. Mrs. Bainbridge has free reading strategy posters to use with beanie babies. They are fabulous and a great way to introduce each reading strategy to children. Deanna Jump also has a great reading packet on TPT: Guided Reading 101. What I love about her packet is that she has similar reading strategies with some quick printables to send home to parents to practice the same strategies at home. Besides reading strategies, Deanna Jump has other useful ideas in her packet. I got it near the end of last school year, and used it for segmentation and word ladders with my 10th Planet software. I plan to use more of her packet this year.

I use timers. I invested in a Kagan CD of timers. However there are free timers online. Here are a couple:

http://www.timeme.com/

During morning meetings, my students and I set a daily goal to help make our classroom a better place. For the first day, I suggest that they try to make a friend. We discuss how we can make new friends. As our week progresses, my students and I learn what we need to do to make our classroom a better place and our daily goal may change to deal with voice level or walking in the classroom… depending on what we need to focus on. I am required to post and review our academic goals as well. Deanna Jump has a great set of common core standards posters that I use. They are kid friendly with cute pictures to go with each one. By January, my students are ready to make their own literacy goals. I meet with each student to take a running record of their reading and discuss their literacy goal. This is where I offer suggestions to my students who need help. For example, some students will choose to work on their handwriting. So I suggest the computer center where there is a program that illustrates and have them practice particular letters or I have them go to the abc center to practice. Some students choose to use a reading strategy, such as "Tryin Lion". Some students choose to work on their sight words. This is a great way to differentiate independent practice. Here’s a sheet I use to keep track of my students goals:




As we continue reading, reflect on what your biggest challenges are going to be when you implement the Daily 5. Keep in mind what changes you are going to have to make and what you are still questioning about using the Daily 5 in your class (if you are not doing so already). 

I think my biggest challenge is to find time! I hope that I am using my time wisely with my students. The other thing I am wondering about is if I will be able to implement goal setting earlier with my students this year, as I will be doing more scales and rubrics with my class. I think this will facilitate better understanding of what learning is taking place and help develop metacognition with my young children.

While I am working with my students in small groups, I wear a crown which reminds my students that I am busy with a group and do they really need to see me. It really makes them take a second to stop and think if they are having an emergency. One time, one little boy noticed something, and called out to me, "It's an emergency... look!" as he was pointing to a poor peace plant slumping down in its pot. I just had to smile at that.

I am looking forward to reading what everyone else has to say about Chapter 2. I plan on doing that tomorrow, as I am off to spend time out and about with my friends! Have a wonderful Wednesday!



Friday, June 15, 2012

FREEBIE FRIDAY!!

During the summer, I usually do some fun things... like go to the beach, visit with friends, try out new restaurants, read books, craft in my messy room... but I also work on projects for the upcoming school year. I need to redo some games, since they are over 10 years old. This one is called Make 5. It is basically played like "War". Partners sit facing each other. One partner passes out all the cards between the two. Then the other partner goes first by putting one card down. The first partner puts down a card. If the two cards make 5, then that partner takes the pair. They keep continuing the game until all sets of 5 are made. Usually I have the one with the most cards be the winner. However, I learned from Kim Adsit about spinners, which determines if the winner is the one with the most or least sets. This game is great for students to play during math centers. I store each card set in a ziplock bag labeled with its name. I will be working on Make 10 as well, but that is for later in the year or for those who need differentiation. Maybe for next week's Freebie Friday? I think I will need to make a list!!





This Make 5 game is on Teachers Pay Teachers for free. Click on any of the pictures of the math game to go to my TPT store. If you are not a member of TPT yet, it's free to join!

Have a super weekend!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily 5 Introduction



I spent my morning lost in Daily 5 resources online. Click on the above picture to loose yourself in Daily 5 ideas. Tammy at Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten is hosting this Daily 5 linky party, and  I am so happy to have found it! After spending hours looking and reflecting about how I use Daily5 in my classroom, I decided to join in on the fun! I do not have my Daily5 book with me, as it is in my classroom. I read it a few years ago, and this would be a great time for me to revisit it as I have not grown the past 2 years from a Daily3... not quite enough time in my literacy block to do it all everyday!! All five components are included into my daily literacy block, but my students choose two to participate in. We all start with the read to self part.

Here are my responses to Chapter 1 Questions:
1. How do I teach new behaviors? Lots of modeling and practice. I pretell with my students, we practice examples and nonexamples, and then we try the real deal. I also post up procedures or anchor charts. The one below shows a morning routine chart where I had drawn the pictures. Now I make the procedure charts with my students pictures. My charts are clipped on the magnetic board, and I switch my charts as needed. If it is read to self time, then that chart is out. If it is packing up time, then that chart is showing.



2. How do I teach expectations? I have high expectations. I positively reinforce those who try their personal best. For example, if a shy child raises his/her hand and offers an idea, then I reward that child for showing courage and participation with a sticker for their bucket or even a letter towards our class compliment party. The letters that make out FRIENDS, as seen in the picture above, shows one way I use positive reinforcement. I am currently working on a packet for the beginning of the school year on how I establish my classroom routines, write routine and procdeure charts, implement positive behavior through bucket filling, start community meetings, and other brain research strategies.

3. How do I monitor student behavior? At the beginning of a school year, I monitor my students’ behavior. I use the “filling buckets” concept, community meetings, and other positive reinforcements to help monitor their behavior. Later on, they monitor their own and each others behavior. At that point, I believe my students could run the classroom without me!


4. What do I do when a student is not exhibiting desired behavior? Reteach! If one child is not following our procedures, depending on the desired behavior, I will do different things. For example, if a child is not reading to self, I would redirect. If I have to remind, I will reteach the procedures to just the individual or small group who needs it. If it is still an issue, I take away choice and let that child know he/she can choose the place to read when I see that they can follow our routine of reading to self. If a child is not following our morning routine, I will ask parents for help by reviewing those procedures at home. I send home pictures of their child showing each task. That child reviews at home by putting those actions in order.

5. Whose classroom is it? It is our classroom. However, I take ownership of my resources... such as books. I do not put all my books out at once. I put out different book buckets out at different times of the year. I teach my students my expectations, and when they show that they can follow through, I put more out. If not, then I do not put as much out.I do the same with my games and other manipulatives. I expect students to treat things with respect, so that they last longer, especially since I invested in those items with my own money.

6. Locus of control? Kindergarteners want to be like the big kids. So I treat them like the big kids, with a bit more patience as they try to gain independence. Through our classroom community meetings and discussions, we discuss trying our personal best, having strengths and weaknesses, and making mistakes is just learning. They learn "I statements" and move to making better choices and becoming independent learners. I used to have literacy center charts, but I typically do not like to have them, because I rather have my students choose where they want to go for their learning goals. This allows me the flexibility to call my reading groups and meet with them less or more, as needed, rather than an assigned amount of time.

7. Where are supplies stored? My classroom units and supplies are busting at the seams from the cabinets and storage closet. However, I have different areas of supplies. I have staplers and tape near my teacher table, so I can quickly grab when needed or my students can easily access if needed. At the writing center, there are different papers, writing utensils, stamping supplies, dictionaries, word rings, etc. for my students. At the art center, I keep our class supply of glue, scissors, and pencils. Depending on the art project, then those particular art supplies are out for student use. At each group, there are baskets of crayons and pencils. They have individual crayon boxes, but we rarely use them, as I rely on community supplies. They use their crayon boxes for visiting other classrooms, special occasions, and at the end of the school year. I have books everywhere! Baskets are at different centers. The classroom library has labeled baskets of popular books, easy readers, class-made books, student-made books, leveled readers, etc. The abc/word work center has a big basket of abc books. The math center has a basket of math books. The science center has books about the theme such as butterfly books. Our listening centers have different books on tapes and CDs, usually based upon a theme or skill we are working on. For other supplies, such as games and manipulatives, I take out and vary them throughout the year. This sparks interest throughout the schoolyear. The areas of my classroom are labeled. However, I am thinking of making four different main areas in my classroom, which has all the Daily5 components in each one. When I went to one of Kim Adsit's workshop, Differentiated Instruction for the Little Guy, I found out how she organized her classroom. She has four main areas in her classroom, where children go during the literacy block. They have different jobs and choices to participate in. I think this will allow me to have my students rotate each day through the different areas for independent practice. They will still have choices to work with at each area.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Common Core Linky Party


Marlana at Lil' Country Kindergarten is having a Common Core Linky Party. Click on the picture above to go to her post and linky party.

For my teammates and myself, during the past school year, we have had a challenging time of starting the kindergarten common core with little direction and support. For everyone else, last year's focus seemed to be on Marzano's teacher evaluation system. Well, since 1st grade will be starting common core this school year, there is some direction and support. Around spring break, our administration bought our team this book:

Now our county is buying a copy for each school. This book has kindergarten set up in 6 units. These units are: Colorful Rhythm & Rhyme, Sequencing Stories 1, 2, 3, Exploring the Neighborhood, America: Symbols & Celebrations, The Great Big World, and Wonders of Nature: Living Things. It is somewhat broad, and gives flexibility. Most units do coincide with what we are doing already. For example, we usually start our school year with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Nursery Rhymes. These are all mentioned in the first unit. The newness is the terminology for us to learn. For example, my students and I interacted with poetry, but I did not discuss "stanza" with them.

I also received a curriculum map from my county this summer, and it does follow this particular book's kindergarten units. I am not sure if I am allowed to post my county's curriculum map, as it is not on our county website. However, I am working on a more specific one for my school year. The format was from a first grade teacher who blogs, but I do not remember her name. If you happen to know, please let me know so I can give her credit. You may notice that I highlighted 2 added skills to the writing part, as they are other skills I would like to focus on at the beginning of the year. I am still in the process of working on the rest of my school year. Please know that this is just my compilation of resources given to me through my county. Click here for direct link to Google document.




One great site I discovered online is Utah's Jordan School District. Looking at the kindergarten section, I see that the 6 units are the same as the Common Core Curriculum Maps book above. This site has an abundance of resources.

Happy common core planning!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Favorite Fonts

Teachery Tidbits is having a Favorite Fonts Linky Party!



My all time favorite font is called Kindergarten. See below for a sample of it. I wrote my fonts in my Mimio software and saved as a picture to upload here on my blog. Hmm... makes me wonder if I should start writing in my Mimio to blog?? I have wondered how other people got such cute fonts on their own blogs!




When browsing the other favorite favorite font links, I fell in love with these free ones by Hello Literacy!! I am particularly fond of her D'Nealie and Firstie ones. They make me happy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Reading

Summer has started!! Besides taking time to relax and enjoy my family and friends more, I do plan to read some educational books. Not sure about the fun books just yet. A parent did buy me one, so I may start with that one. Click on the book images to go to the online Amazon bookstore.


A couple of weeks ago, I went to a county workshop that Irene Fountas did. What a spectacular speaker! I brought one of my Guided Reading books for her to sign, but it did not seem appropriate. She shared some great information. I bought this book to help me with making sure I hit those key literacy skills in each guided level for my reading groups.


I have not had 6 Traits Writing training, so I plan to read this book to help me start applying it in my kindergarten classroom.

My county is also citing many writing lessons from this particular book for kindergarten to use. This also looks like a great resource for applying 6 Traits into my writing workshop.
Another book that my county suggests is one that Deedee Wills is hosting as a book study on her blog.

I am still reading this one and hope to get more organized with it. I have found it useful when creating more independent math games for my students. 

I also plan to revisit my Kagan book, and think of ways to create more cooperative learning activities in my classroom. This book is a great resource in helping me to apply Kagan's cooperative learning structures easily into my literacy block. It has over 500 pages!



What's on your summer reading list??