Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Student Organization

Kindergarten students value organization more than you'd think 5-year-olds can.
When you give them the tools for success and highlight their importance, they can manage keeping track of a lot. Check out some of the things my kiddos use daily.

1. Daily Binder

This goes back and forth between school and home each day.  Inside, students have their agenda for daily communication between myself and parents.  They also have a copy of our schedule, a calendar for specials rotations, homework helpers (alphabet chart, writing rubric, how to draw a person chart) as well as several progress monitoring pages.  The photo above only shows one graph, but students actually have six different progress monitoring sheets: name writing, lowercase alphabet recognition, uppercase alphabet recognition, letter sounds, sight words and numeral recognition.  As different standards are introduced, I can add more.  (Teachers: this is time consuming. But it's worth it.  The kids say "Okay! I only need this many more to get to the top!" and really become invested in reaching their goal.  Parents: you'll have an updated graph for the end of August tomorrow.  Some of you had a second graph today.)

2.  Writing Folder
Oh, look! Some of the same tools they have for use at home are also in their writing folders. Consistency is key!! Students have a copy of the Fundations alphabet chart, a matching Personal Word Wall which includes the Fundations images (click HERE to get a copy of the one I made), my four-star writing rubric,  a "Things I Can Write About" idea chart students completed at home, as well as a miniature "How To Write a True Story" anchor chart.  They also have green dots and pink dots on the pockets to separate the writing they're still working on (green) from the writing they've completed (pink).

3. Tool Bags
Oh my goodness.  I am probably most excited about these, as are the kiddos.
Each student has a tool bag which includes all the tools they'll need throughout the day for word work and math.  Tool bag contents: two wikki-stix , a piece of yarn, a small tub of play-doh, a dry-erase marker, an eraser (a dry-erase eraser that I ripped off of the styrofoam block and cut in half to save space... but I heard that dryer sheets make excellent dry-erase markers), laminated Elkonin boxes, a laminated reading wand, two laminated ten-frames and twenty small counters (cute little erasers) for counting. 

These bags are amazing.   They allow the kids quick, easy, hands-on practice with letters and numbers.  Kids can bring them to small group or one-on-one meetings and you can tailor the lesson specifically at their level.  I wish I had made these years ago.   The counters can also be used to form letters, and the ten-frames can also be used to practice writing numbers.  (Parents: Instead of continuing to trace and write numerals on paper, we're saving copies by making the numerals with play-doh, writing our numerals in the ten frames and counting out real objects instead of drawing them.  In case you were wondering why we 'stopped' at 4.)

4. Bag of Books
I'll go into more detail about these in another post, because only a couple of kids have a bag of books right now.  Most of the students aren't yet reading on a Level A. But once these go home, students are responsible for taking them home and bringing them back every day.

Kids will surprise you.  Give them responsibility, and they'll rise to meet your expectations.

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