The first weeks of kindergarten go by pretty fast, especially since every activity takes so long. By the time you know it, you are already handing out progress reports for the first grading period! That is currently where I am in my life as a teacher!
In our school district, we use Wilson Fundations as the phonics program, though Fundations is a whole language program teaching many other reading skills. It is amazing how my students learn the difference between vowels and consonants early in the year! Also, I enjoy that the students have a keyword (the picture) to help them remember the letters and their corresponding sounds. I have seen the impact that the fidelity to the program has on students...in just a few short weeks my students will be able to read.
|Wilson Fundations |
Week 1: Letter t (top)
Week 2: Letters b (bat) and f (fun)
Reader's Workshop: Anchor Charts
During the first 20 days of school, all of the teachers at our campus create charts for Reader's Workshop as we establish routines and procedures. These are consistent in each grade level though each teacher adds their flare! My charts just happen to be colorful and have visual aids for students to remember what the text says. (This is also a great time to model a list in writing.)
|First 20 Days Charts for Reader's Workshop|
We keep these rituals and routines consistent through the school so as the students move through the grade levels, they are more proficient thus reducing the teaching time for them. In addition, many students move for year to year in our location, mobility rates in the area usually range from 18-25%, so this allows those students to know our procedures.
WritingThe first few days of writing, we talk about stories. I talk about the people we draw are the characters we see in the books we read. I emphasized the setting, where the story takes place, from the beginning of the year, as the students had a difficult time picking up that concept last year. It is now week 4 and the students know what the setting of a story is already! Yeehaw!
After the first couple of days, I started to get frustrated that the students were drawing characters that resembled marshmallows. Because of this, I did a directed draw. I modeled using the document camera and I showed the students the process I go through to draw a character. I focused on how characters can be changed to resemble boys vs. girls and adults vs. children, etc. This is a sample (1/4) of the illustrations from my kindergarteners.
The following day, the students applied the skill of drawing a person as they drew their families. Look the illustration on the bottom right, this student is still drawing a "marshmallow man" so he may need some additional support as the weeks continue. I love the variety of how the students see themselves and others. Look closely at the characters. Could you rate them by their complexity? Which picture is the most detailed (look at the features)? Which picture is the least detailed? Then, between the other two pictures, look at the characters faces. It is interesting to analyze these student samples. I look forward to sharing more as we progress.