Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Classroom Cubbies

One crafty classroom project that I worked on over the summer break was fixing up my classroom cubbies! I have a cubby shelf that I use in the classroom where I pass out papers that need to go home with students. I was putting sticker labels on the bottom of each cubby space so that kids would know which one was theirs. One problem with this is that some of the labels would fall off, while others would leave a residue if I took them off. The other problem was that you couldn't see the labels once there were papers in the cubbies. I saw this great idea on pinterest that solved both problems (photo links back to pinterest so you can see who created it!)...

And here's what I ended up making... I covered up the yucky edges with duct tape and then collage-pauged numbers onto binder clips for the labels.  I only put up to 20 so far (wishful thinking!) but may add more once I find out how many students I'll have this year.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Guided Reading Book Study--Chapter Two

Chapter Two of the Guided Reading book is all about assessment and grouping.  For Kindergarten, she recommends doing Letter ID and Name writing for all students at the beginning of the year, which I already do.  For the students who do really well,  she then recommends doing a word list assessment and running records (which I do) and dictated sentences (haven't done, great idea) and writing samples (which I do for writing workshop).  This at least inspires me to get my assessment binder organized and prepared for back to school!

She also talks about how to analyze running record errors, which I know how to do, but do not tend to do regularly.  I'd like to do more of this this school year AND use that information to support what I work on in reading groups.

She suggest that the running record info can guide the focus of reading groups and could address any of the following:  risk taking, self-monitoring, decoding, fluency, oral retell, and comprehension.  Helpful!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Guided Reading Book Study CHAPTER ONE

    This summer I decided to join in on a book study of the book Guided Reading that is being hosted by teacher bloggers from freebielicious!  I am already behind, but still want to enjoy the book study!  

    I currently teach Kindergarten and love the way that I run centers.  I allow students to choose which centers they go to, but always have at least one required center per day which is usually the phonics center.   They can head on over to the snack center when they get hungry, which eliminates the need for me to schedule this in  later.  I also require students to come to the guided reading center when invited.   I'm hoping to get ideas to help this time run more smoothly and to strengthen what I do during guided reading time!  

     I just finished reading chapter one, which is all about preparing for guided reading, and here are some of my thoughts:
  • She suggests a method for teaching centers that involves working with one group of students at a time.  Though I like this idea of teaching in small group, many of my centers only have space for 3 students, which would mean that I'd have to teach it anywhere from 6-8 times, so I'll have to think about how to make that work....
  • Love the idea of having a signal to show kids that they many not interrupt guided reading (maybe a stop sign) and to share about that at a class meeting.  Maybe I will make a list of what types of things would constitute emergencies and post that as well.  Good advice to not acknowledge students who decide to interrupt--just keep on teaching!  (I'm not good at that!)  And I like her suggestion to take notes and analyze the reasons behind interruptions that do occur.  
  • I already do many of the center ideas that she lists, but I love the idea of the word wall center where students can practice spelling words with different materials.  
  • I like the idea of allowing kids to keep class library books, in addition to guided reading books, in their little book bags.
  • I already mark the clock so that I'll know when center time is ending, but may also use her idea of using a timer to keep me on track when working with guided reading groups.
  • I like the idea of using bins to organize guided reading group materials and I plan to use this new organizer from Lakeshore for that: 
  • I like how she mentions the importance of teaching kids to use a whisper voice during centers and the idea of having one student be the whisper monitor!  I'll have to talk to parent volunteers and support staff about doing the same.  Only exception would be using a soft voice when addressing a small group.  
  • Last of all, I like her "observation chairs" idea for students who are disruptive during guided reading time.  I did something like this last year, but like the idea of planning ahead for it and maybe even teaching kids ahead of time how to handle it if they get invited there.  
Lots of good ideas!  Now I'll check out ideas from other teachers before reading the next chapter!