October 6, 2000
There are LOTS
of pictures this week, so this page may take a couple minutes to load :o)
Pocket charts are my favorite tool for teaching reading! I have 7 rolling garment/laundry racks, with two charts hung back-to-back on each, and I also staple sentence strips to my walls for non-interactive activities like our monthly Good Morning song. Pocket charts are one of the most popular literacy centers in my classroom, and are also great for large and small group instruction.
are some of the charts we're currently using:
Apple Happy & Jack O' Happy
The children have individual books of these poems for their book boxes, and I've enlarged the artwork to make a big book for each month's poem, too.
I make my Happy Poem sentence strips in alternating colors. Apple Happy is green and red, and Jack O' Happy is black and orange. I make a second set of strips for each poem, laminate them, then cut them into individual words for matching activities.
I store the matching words
in a one-gallon zip-lock freezer baggie, stapled to the pocket chart.
The kids enjoy matching the text in the pocket chart and/or rebuilding
the sentences on the floor, and also take individual word cards to their
work area during Writer's Workshop.
October Good Morning Song
have a different song for each month of the year. I staple the Good
Morning song directly to the teaching wall/bulletin board I use during
Opening, Calendar, and Shared Reading/Writing.
October Word Bank
This is the top half of our October Word Bank pocket chart. There are two cards for each word -- one has a picture and one has the word only. The one without the picture goes in front of the picture card. I use several colors for the words, to make them easier to match. I have two sentence frames at the top, with some extra high-frequency words on Post Its so we can insert them as desired for reading.
I use this chart for whole group, small group, and individual instruction on Concepts About Print, language development/vocabulary, onset and rime lessons, discrete phonics, Modeled Writing and Shared Writing, and many other activities. The KinderKids use it as an interactive Pocket Chart Literacy Center during our Reading Block. During Writer's Workshop, the children use the chart for reference, and they may take the non-picture word to their work area in order to copy it.
In these photos, 3 first graders are doing Independent Writing during our after school tutoring program. They are writing on "green bar" computer paper with colored markers, which are much easier to write with than a pencil, and a lot more motivating. You can see how involved they get in their writing -- I actually had to stop them after 30 minutes to get ready to go home.
One of the boys was in
my kindergarten class last year, and was very excited to see the familar
words and activities again, and was proud of how much "more" he could do
now than a year ago. I never worry about my students using the same
materials two years in a row (if I teach a combo class or loop up with
my KinderKids), because each child does each multi-level activity at their
current ability level.
An Original Story by Victoria Smith
I made this one into a
big book, too.
The book and pocket chart story go great with my
Good Apple Behavior Chart
Farm Theme Pocket Charts
We're just finishing up our Down on the Farm Thematic Unit, and beginning my other Fall Thematic Units, including Welcome to the Pumpkin Patch and The Leaves are Falling Down.
Here are some of the pocket
charts I use while we're learning about the farm:
Lives on a Farm?
An original story by Victoria Smith
I use this chart to teach tracking, left to right progression, and one-to-one correspondance. The barn-shaped Ellison represents the word farm, and I use the animal Ellisons as a Rebus for the animal words.
I also have an 8 1/2" x 11" blackline master for this book, with the full sentence for each line printed on the individual pages (all words, no Rebus icons). The students glue the corresponding Ellison shape onto each page. For Kindergarten, the sentence frame for the book is "A (animal name) lives on a farm." For First Grade, the sentence frame includes color words, so it reads "A (color) (animal name) lives on a farm." The cover of the book is shown below:
An original story by Vicki Witcher
This is one of Vicki Witcher's wonderful emergent reader stories for Fall. I have the blackline master to make the student books, and I enlarged the artwork to make a Big Book, which I do for almost all of the student blackline books we use. I was in a hurry when I made this pocket chart set, and didn't color the artwork.
Having many of our stories in several forms -- small books, big books, pocket charts, song & poetry cards, poetry journals, etc. -- gives the children multiple opportunities to work with familiar text while learning Concepts About Print and learning high frequency words and other words. Research shows that multiple readings lead to fluency and increased comprehension.
I'm working with Vicki
Witcher to make her emergent reader blackline sets available to KinderKorner
subscribers and website visitors. As soon as they're ready, I'll
be posting the info to the KinderKorner newsletter and will also put the
info on the website. I'm no longer able to answer individual notes
asking about when Vicki's books will be ready, but promise I'll let everyone
know the moment they are :o)
Our Fall Farm Veggies
Two weekends ago, my family and I visited Avila Valley Barn, just outside San Luis Obispo, California. We took lots of pictures and I made a new online emergent reader called I Went to the Farm (click on the title to see this fun book your students can read online).
we were there, I bought an assortment of Fall vegetables that we could
keep in the classroom until Thanksgiving. My students are having
lots of fun touching, weighing, comparing, graphing, and exploring the
veggies on our Science Table. Here are a few pictures of our veggies,
all of which can sit around for several weeks without spoiling:
These are a few of the
many hearty edible veggies and decorative gourds we've been exploring.
On November 1, I'll put the dried Indian corn in a pan of water, and dozens
of corn seedlings will sprout from the cob -- it's always very exciting
for the kinderkids! The veggies seen here include an acorn squash,
a butternut squash, a turban squash, a spaghetti squash, a miniature pumpkin,
three gourds and an ear of decorative dried corn.
This is the bottom of
an upside down Turban squash. It looks best when viewed upside down
:o) There's a stem on the other side, so the kids were able to tell
which side was the "real" top. We have several families in our school
neighborhood where the men wear turbans, so the kids were very interested
in seeing this large veggie up close. The squash is 11 inches across
and weighs several pounds (our plastic balance scale -- the teeter totter
kind -- isn't able to support this veggie king).
We have no idea what kind
of squash this is, but would love to hear from anyone who knows.
It's big, bumpy, and sort of a greyish-blue-green color, and very unusual.
It's smooth and cool like a pumpkin, and we think it may be some sort of
pumpkin cousin :o) We'll probably cut it open when we make a Jack-o-Lantern
later this month, so we can see what's inside. The little pumpkin
is a candy cup, about 2 1/2 inches tall ... I put it in the picture for
size comparison. Please write to us if you know what this mystery
veggie is ... I got it at Avila Barn, but didn't see a sign telling me
what it was.
This is a Hubbard Squash, and it's huge! It measures over 22 inches long, from the tip of the stem to the end of the unusual (and non-characteristic) bulbous outgrowth on the opposite end. The outside feels like a pumpkin on the smooth areas, but there are many scars and scaly-feeling areas, which we think were mostly caused by the squash lying on the dirt or against the vine and leaves as it grew.
My grandmother, who was born in 1898, used to tell me about when she moved to Cambridge, Minnesota, when she was 15 years old, to be the assistant cook in the Cambridge Hotel. One day they brought her a Hubbard Squash to cook, and she had never seen one before and was afraid to admit she didn't know what to do with it. She spent more than an hour peeling it with a paring knife, and ended up with blisters on her fingers from the pressure required to remove the shell/rind/skin of the squash, which she then boiled.
If I recall correctly,
you're supposed to poke holes in this and bake it, much the same way as
you'd cook an acorn squash or spaghetti squash. I think we're going
to keep this one around as long as it doesn't start getting squishy, unless
the cafeteria staff offers to cook it for us. Any suggestions?
For more fun Fall, Farm, and Harvest activities, visit these units:
Down on the Farm
Welcome to the Pumpkin Patch
Leaves are Falling Down
More Fun Farm Books
Down on Grandpa's Farm
This one is super easy to make! For the cover, I used an Ellison barn on a blue background, with cut paper hills and torn paper grass. The inside pages are white, with an Ellison animal and two words of text per page ... the animal's color and name. I wrote the color words in the corresponding colors, to make it even easier for the KinderKids. This book remains popular throughout the year.
sample inside page ... add as many pages as you like
Cover and Inside Page
super easy Big Book made on 12" x 18" construction paper. I used
Ellison shapes for the cover, and enlarged a blackline ABC book that I
run off for each student. They keep their ABC Farm books (photocopied
pages they can color if they wish, stapled inside a laminated construction
paper cover) in their book boxes, and use them for writing all year long.
At this time of year, they use them for basic frame writing ...
I see a _____. I like the _____. I saw a _____ on the farm.
Spider Workjob Mats
We use these in my Along Came A Spider unit, and have an extra set in my Spider Discovery Pack traveling homework bag. There are 10 workmats in each set, with spider rings from the dollar store used as counters (kinda hard to see in this picture, but the right number of spiders are on each web).
I drew spider webs with
a wide black marker on 9" x 12" construction paper, using orange paper
for odd numbers and yellow paper for even numbers (KinderKids and First
Graders can never get enough pattern practice!).
October Homework Calendar
The October homework calendar
uses the same Spider Handprint as the October Quilt,
shown in last week's pictures.
Happy Birthday Kamron!
mom brought cupcakes to celebrate Kamron's 5th birthday.
Everyone loved his cool Spider t-shirt.
Picture Pages Index
KinderKorner Home Page
Victoria's Thematic Units Index
by Victoria Smith, 2000
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