Sunday, February 19, 2017

Writing Can Teach Reading!

Linda: Many, many years (maybe centuries!) ago I began my teaching career in Westboro, MA, as part of a kindergarten team.  There was a teacher on the first grade team who was using student writing to reinforce her reading program.  OMG, everyone thought she was crazy! Comments included:  How could children write if they can’t read???  They won't know how to spell the words if they couldn’t read.  Writing would just be a waste of time - concentrate on reading and eventually they will write.  

Lisa:  So glad that attitude has changed!  Now, about 40 years later we begin writing in kindergarten during the first week of school.  There are many ways we incorporate writing into our program and we’ll be discussing what we do in the next few blog posts so be sure to follow us for notifications of future posts! And be sure to follow our store, KinderLit, on Teachers Pay Teachers!
How We Start 
We begin by giving meaning to the writing process with class stories.  Before the children arrive, we have a story of just one or two sentences on large paper clipped to our writing easel.  Newsprint paper comes in 24” by 36” sheets - perfect for these stories!  Several letters are missing with the lines for placeholders.  
The children help us determine what letters are needed for the word to make sense and we let a child use a marker to write a missing letter.

Here are two tips to keep all the students involved and keep their attention on the writing: 
  1. The child who writes the letter gets to push our Easy Button that we purchased at Staples.  The voice says, “That was easy!”  and the students love hearing him!
  2. When there is a word with a double letter, the children can shout “Jackpot!”  We then circle the double letters and they need to name the letters before the circle is completed.  The children love watching for those words! 
The stories progress from just one missing letter to missing sight words, ending letters, and blends.  We talk about how many stories, sentences, and words are on each paper.  All the basic concepts of print are reinforced with these stories including punctuation.  
Here's a sample from a few weeks' later: 

Here is a great resource for teaching about writing in kindergarten.  In the back of the book there are specific directions for building your own easel which is large enough for the 24” by 36” paper.  
Click on the cover to read more about this book!
Linky Party!
If you are a seller on TpT, link any of your writing products below!  Be sure to click on the other links to see what’s available for you!  If you are a buyer, check out these great products! 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Volunteering in Kindergarten!

Fun in Kindergarten

Linda:  I’m so lucky!  Not only did I get to spend 35 years as a teacher in kindergarten but now I get to spend time volunteering in my granddaughter’s kindergarten classroom!  I started out the year just assessing the children one-on-one for letter recognition but now I monitor a literacy station during their Center time.  

Check out these photos from Lindsay’s school!
Lindsay’s teacher was able to sign up for ESGI so here’s Lindsay being assessed on beginning sounds on an iPad.  Love ESGI!  Have you tried it yet?  Save 400 hours during the school year with Click! Click! Done! 

Last week the school sponsored a Book Fair.  This pocket chart was outside the fair and each teacher filled out a request for books for the classroom. 

One of the stations I supervised was shaving cream spelling!  The weekly phonics sound was /sh/ so what could be better than writing the words in shaving cream!

When I taught in Phoenix, we have fire drills every month.  But here in Georgia the schools have “bad weather” drills!

Love this sign! 

My time at Lindsay’s school makes me realize how much I miss the children and all the classroom activities.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Color Mixing STEM Activity and Freebie!

Color Mixing STEM Activity and Freebie! 
By this time of the year our students can name all their colors.  So now we are working on reading color words.  One of our stations is this fun activity for mixing colors to create new colors!  

Steve Spangler Science has these packets of color tablets which easily mix in water and the mixing trays.  Click on the photos to go to his store.  We use the 16-oz. water bottles to create red, blue, and yellow water and have the children try to create as many different colors as they can. 

Some children will figure out that if they count the number of drops they add to their trays, they can create many more colors!  Others just like to freely experiment! 

Notice that the students work on old cookie trays (check out yard sales for cheap ones!) and that the full bottles of colored water are kept in a large tub in the center of the table.  Only the teacher can pour from them!  
Once the children are finished, they pour their work into our classroom sink.  For classrooms with no sinks, provide a large container for the children to pour their water into.

This station is the most popular one of the entire school year!  The children use this worksheet at their next station to write about their “experiments” with color.  We put out a stack of these worksheets since many children will complete 3 or 4 at the station! 

Spreading a Little Love Around! 
We are joining in the Teachers Pay Teachers sale this Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 7 & 8.  At checkout use the code LOVETpT and receive 28% off everything in our store!  

Be sure to check out our newest products and all the products on your Wish List!  
Another Update!

Have you purchased our KinderLit book, Off I Go, Wheels and All in the past?  If so, be sure to go back to your Purchases page and upload the latest version.  We have added a no-prep journal with three different versions for beginner writers and more experienced writers.