Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reading Workshop & Stations: A Combination for Success!

Well, I'm not really sure how people have full days at work and then go home to children.... because leaving work and coming home to a needy puppy is exhausting! He wants to play all the time! And then when it's bedtime, he runs around and sleeps... next to his bed. Weirdo.

Despite not having many papers going home in daily binders, we have been doing lots of work in class! It's mostly hands-on or in journals. We have a journal or folder for pretty much everything these days... a morning journal, a writing folder, a reading response journal, a sorting journal.... and these kiddos are keeping up with it really well! The desk fairy may have to come around soon and leave some prizes for all the organized students in our room.

Students got their partners for reading/writing workshop last week. Partners are meant to help kids achieve their best and point out something they may not have seen otherwise. Unless there are problems with partnerships, most of the partners we currently have will remain the same for several months.

Now we can divide our reading time between the mini-lesson, independent reading (back to back), partner reading (elbow-elbow, knee-knee) and writing in our reading response journals. I am really impressed by how much students are picking up the reading strategies in readers' workshop. They are genuinely eager to try and notice whatever we've talked about: character's feelings, patterns across pages, small details in pictures, finding words we know, etc, etc. 

Reading response journals currently consist of students writing the title of the book and drawing a picture of one of the following: the characters, the problem in the story, the solution/ending, or their favorite part.  Of course, since we're practicing stretching out words and labeling in writing, I expect students will add some words in their response notebooks as well.

TRUE, not all of the students are at this point yet.

However, all students are able to discuss their favorite part and do their best to draw the picture. It's all about getting into the routine and having that discussion with partners about the stories, trying to recall the important parts together.  Soon, similar work will be sent home with children.

And, HOORAY! Last week a schedule change was approved for kindergarten classes, so we now have a phonemic awareness/word work block and a specified time when literacy stations are permitted. It just goes to show, it never hurts to ask!  However, stations will be done when students finish their previously assigned work, and we only have time for one per day. Which means not all students will go to a station every day!

While some students are at stations, other students are working on their sort for the day (which we do first whole-group and then students complete, check and glue in their journals).  Sorts so far have been basic concepts, rhyming and letters of varied fonts.  

Here are the stations we've opened so far (in the order we've introduced them and made "I Can" lists, showing what we are able to do at each station).

1. Big Books: Students can apply the same reading strategies taught during reading workshop.  Students can read the pictures, read the words or go on a letter hunt with their partner.

2. SMARTboardRight now, students will get familiar with the use of the SMARTboard using the Starfall website.  Once students get the hang of how to use it and have a little more letter and letter sound knowledge, we'll transition into various phonemic awareness sorts: rhyming, beginning sounds, word families, etc.

3. Leap PadsLeap pads are great at helping young readers gain concept of print. As students click each word in a book, the leap pad will (a) read the word aloud, (b) sound the word out or (c) spell the word, depending on what the student has selected it to do.  This works on letter recognition, letter-sound knowledge, concept of word and directionality... and gets a read-aloud in!  Most of the leap pad books I have also rhyme as an added bonus. ;)  When David saw them, he was like "What are these things? They look like they're ancient." Hmph. After he played with one he admitted "These are actually pretty cool." The kids agree.

4. StampingSince we've been working on hearing rhymes, the stamping station is currently focused on finding rhyming pairs.  Students can stamp a picture, the words "rhymes with," then a different picture that sounds the same at the end. Kids just LOVE stamps. 

5. LibraryTypically my library has 4 baskets of leveled books and about 10 baskets of favorite character books (i.e., Clifford, Fly Guy, Elephant and Piggie, etc.). This year, I have put out (gasp!) about 75% of my personal book collection. (Those of you know how obsessed I am with my books will know how shocking this is.) The thing is, I couldn't bring myself to keep buying childrens' books and only making use of them during read-alouds. Now our classroom library has books from level AA-S in addition to all those character and author tubs from before. This class has shown more care and excitement about books than any class I've had yet!

We still have several more stations to open up, including but not limited to: listening, pocket chart, abc magnets, science and writing.  I really need to get the pocket chart up and running with a student name/picture matching activity. I didn't realize how many kids still don't know their peers' names until recess, when kids say "he pushed me" or "that girl just threw some rocks" and the response to my asking "who?" is always a blank stare and a pointed finger.

We've been doing a lot of counting and writing numbers in math. Typically I will call out a number and students will count that many objects and/or write the numeral on a whiteboard. The past two days we've been playing games with dice and counting. Yesterday students rolled a single die and moved their counter the corresponding amount of times. Today students rolled two dice and were able to move their counter one space if the space had the corresponding numeral for the number rolled. (For instance, if I rolled a "3," then I had to see a number "3" on the next space or I wouldn't be able to move to it.) This works on counting and numeral recognition. Of course, this also works on the ever-challenging task of getting students acclimated to sharing and working together! I've been hearing an awful lot of "she's cheating" and "he isn't playing right!"

While students were playing these games with partners, Mrs. Dean and I were able to pull small groups of students to work on numeral formation and counting with one-to-one correspondence.

Counting with bingo dot markers is always a student favorite. Kids ask to use these ALL YEAR. You should order some to have at home. Seriously. HERE'S a set of really cool glitter ones on Amazon. ;)

I told myself I would do a traveling journal this year with our class mascot, Owly, after seeing Cameron's class do this last year.  I got the ball rolling on that last week! Students get to take the stuffed owl home for five days, write about what they did with him or where they took him, and glue a photo of them with Owly in the journal before returning it to class. At the end of the year, we'll have an entire book to look back on!

I can't wait to see and read about where Owly's adventures take him!

1 comment:

  1. Oh kindergarten. Your kids and classroom look adorable!!! And sometimes, when I'm really tired, I sleep next to my bed too...