12/25/11

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a wonderful day today!  Merry Christmas!

12/22/11

I am the Grinch..

I am very ready for a holiday break!  The kids are OFF THE WALL.  I am SUPER jealous of those of you who are already off.  But come tomorrow at 3:30 I will join you! 

Today we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  I just love this story.  I was so amazed at how many did not know this story!   I even had Max join us today.  He sat with the students who seemed to be listening the best.  (which worked VERY well by the way!  I will keep that idea in the back of my pocket!)

We also did a story response to the movie.  If you give a grouch a grin I would... and they drew what they would give a grouch.  This was in a mailbox magazine (1998-99).  The kids LOVED it and they had some really cute ideas too!

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Now tomorrow is Gingerbread houses... please pray I can have patience!

12/15/11

Reindeer Text talk- Day 2

Day 2 of our non-fiction text talk went pretty good!  Today we discussed how the reindeer live and change. 

Did you know that reindeer adapt to the cold weather and their hooves change if it is snowy and icy?  Interesting!

Also that they can run very fast, like 50 miles per hour!  WOW!

Of course one of my students said they had to run fast to pull the sleigh but that is okay!  That was my giggle of the day!

I asked at the end why the author didn't include the parts about Santa and they all had ideas that were creative like:

The author must celebrate Hanukkah instead.
The author must not have had time to write about Santa.
The editor must have cut the part from the story.
AND
Santa asked him not to include it since his reindeer are special and he didn't want to hurt the other reindeer's feeling!


Gotta love kindergarten!

12/14/11

Non-Fiction Reindeer Text Talk

Have you heard about text talks?  Basically, it is using the ideas from Questioning the Author QtA and having the students lead their own thoughts and ideas about text.  It is interesting and we are working on it a lot in my district. 

So I did a non-fiction text talk using this book:
Notice the sticky, that is my questions about the book that I ask as I read.
We first made a schema chart getting to know what they already know about reindeer.
Of course, they said things like: Reindeer fly, reindeer help Santa, reindeer have black noses except Rudolf.

This is a two day lesson so we are going to continue it tomorrow.  The BIG IDEA of this book is that reindeer are real life animals that do more than help Santa.  So tomorrow my plan is to finish discussing reindeer and going back to my schema chart and saying, "did this author mention this in the book?"  This way they learn that not all authors or books give the same facts or the same information.

The idea that kids can learn that we have to go BACK to text to find answers will only help them in the future.  Plus, sometimes we need to put our schema aside and gain new knowledge about topics.  I am hoping that that is a success.

If you are interested in doing a reindeer text talk and you just happen to have this book, email me and I will send you my lesson! 

12/8/11

Making the most out of the writing center

So many years this center was a thorn in my side.  Students are at such different levels that it makes finding the right thing for them very difficult. 

FINALLY, the light bulb goes off and here is my super writing trick.  As I am introducing sight words, I incorporate them into the writing center.   

Here is what the center looks like:
I have enough of these sheets on the table for all the kids to see.  Typically, I have no more than 4 kids at a center.  This week the focus words were Look at...

Here is one students work.

Look at the candy cane.

Look at the wreath.

Look at the tree.

Look at the candle.

Present.  Look at the present.
So, I know what you are thinking, I can't draw like that!  Well, if you can't do it how can your kids?  So I draw between 10 and 12 pictures on the papers so they have plenty to choose from.   By you drawing the pictures, they see how to draw it themselves (for the most part).  And you know, that is a fine motor activity right there!

Here is my next book:


The best part of all is that students who are higher can write MORE and students who are lower can draw and label pictures.  But I have to say, all students in my class are writing.  It makes writing a risk, without it being too scary!  Also, it gives them a little reader they can take home.  A lot of times when I see students finished copies, I send them to read it in the office where the office ladies or our principal makes them feel SUPER special!


I hope you find this as helpful as I find it!  Let me know!