September 16, 2000
These are pictures of things we've put on the walls since the first day of school. Back to School night is two days from now, but that's not my real motivation for putting things up ... I simply want the room to take shape on it's own, so I put up things that are either student-made or meaningful to them in relation to what we're doing in our classroom.
Here, in no particular
order, are some things we've been doing:
This is my Math Their
Way numberline this year, using
sea animals ... orange crabs for odd numbers, pink
seahorses for even numbers, purple octopi (I think octopuses
sounds better!) for 5's, and blue whales for 10's.
I'm doing a large thematic unit called Under The Sea as my
CCSP (Central Coast Science Project) activity/project this year,
so I thought it would be fun to have a thematic numberline instead of the
old adding machine tape standby.
Chicka Chicka ABC's
I usually make a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom quilt for my front teaching wall at the beginning of each year. It's a simple project and I let the kids write their letters on the pages with markers.
This year I decided to do something a bit different with their pictures. The backgrounds are 8 x 12 construction paper. The stem begins as a 2 x 12 brown rectangle, and they tear the edges, then make black crayon X's down the trunk. Leaves are cut from two folded 9 x 1/2 sheets, and they get a 1 x 3 inch brown paper to make coconuts.
I went back to each child's first week of school alphabet assessment, and wrote each letter that they knew at that time on a self-adhesive colored sticky dot. If they've learned more letters in the past two weeks, it's great ... but those letters aren't going up on their sheets until after Back to School night. I want the parents to be able to compare their child's alphabet recognition with the rest of the class. I've mounted the pages on the storage cabinet right inside my door, so everyone will get to look at them anytime they like.
We did the artwork and added the stickers (the kids put them on themselves, and it was interesting to see the different ways they organized them ... grouped by colors, patterned, straight rows, haphazard/flamboyant, etc. The kids who didn't get many stickers (or any at all) are now VERY motivated to learn their letters and add more stickers. I think this will be a good project for all of them, and at least one other K teacher at my school is going to do it.
Here are a couple more shots, for detail:
As you can see, some children
know a LOT of letters, and some knew few or none. I placed the ones
with the most stickers up high, where little hands couldn't reach them
to "borrow" stickers to transfer to their own charts. Of course,
I'm keeping a separate record, so that missing stickers can be replaced.
The Birthday Cake
By Joy Cowley
begin our year with birthday stories, including The Birthday Cake by Joy
Cowley and my friend Vicki Witcher's wonderful first-day-of-school-and-they're-reading
book which is also called The Birthday Cake. As a follow up project,
we make a giant "wall book" cake, that the kids can read during Literacy
Centers (it's a Read the Room activity). Here's how the cake looks,
at full height and close up for detail. The kids color the papers,
and I put the cake together using bulletin board paper for frosting.
< >< >< >< >< >
For more Birthday theme
ideas, please come visit my Happy
Birthday unit at http://geocities.com/kinderkorner/birthday.html
Literacy Centers Workboard
This is the workboard so many of you have asked me to describe and show pictures of for the past couple years ... kinda dull and disappointing in person, dontcha think?
The color bear groups are my Guided Reading groups, though we don't do much Guided Reading in our classroom (I read with each chid individually 3 or 4 days a week, and feel they learn so much faster than way than by meeting in reading groups).
The question I'm always asked is "What are the rest of the kids doing?"
When we end our morning Story Floor time (opening, shared reading, songs and poems, etc.), each child goes to their seat to do some sort of seatwork. This early in the year it's usually coloring or letter writing or reading and coloring a blackline book for their bookboxes. As soon as a child finished, she puts her finished work in my red work basket, then checks the Work Jobs Board to see what her Literacy Centers are for the day. This picture was taken at the end of week 3 of kindergarten, and each child already has 3 jobs to do, but they aren't required to finish them, as they are all valuable reading and writing practice activities. They don't work with their group most of the time, as they all finish their seatwork at different times.
The only rules for the workboard are you must do only YOUR group's jobs each day, you must do them in order, and you must be kind to one another and use quiet inside voices so Mrs. Smith can listen to your friends read. Does it really go that smoothly at this time of year? Of course not :o) I'm spending my time supervising and assisting with the individual jobs, but in another week or two my kids will be ready for independent work. The best thing about the Work Board is it keeps my kids spread out and on task most of the time, working at their own pace.
You'll find a good description of how to create a Literacy Centers workboard (complete with blackline masters for job cards) in Fountas' and Pinnell's wonderful book called Guided Reading. No teacher should be without a copy of this book.
That's all for tonight.
I have more pictures to add, and hope to have
some time Monday night to get them online.
Have a great week!
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