Monday, September 28, 2009

Ways to Read a Book

During our whole group instruction we have been learning all about the different ways to read a book.
  • Read and tell about the pictures
  • Read the words
  • Retell the story

By teaching the students the three ways to read, more children can feel like real successful readers even if they have a limited amount of decoding skills and sight word recognition.

Read the Pictures
This week the students are practicing the skill of reading the pictures as they "read" our first decodable reader "I Am Picking Apples." The book has no words but has many picture clues that help tell a story. The students are looking at the pictures to see what is happening. Later in the week we are going to make sentences to match the pictures.

Read the Words
This is primarily what most adults think of as reading, At this point in the year I expect the students to begin finding sight words in the books and use picture clues to help with content words. During station time, the students are allowed to use pointers to locate sight words within the sentences in the big books we share. Our new activity that students have started doing is using small sticky notes to underline sight words or words that begin with our target letter.

Retelling a story
This is the last way that students can read a book. During this reading session, the students will tell what happened in the story after reading it more than once. They may pick a few pages to focus on to show a sequence of events. In the case of reading a non fiction book, a student might choose to tell one or two facts they learned from the book.

When your child is reading nightly, ask your child which way they are going to read the book. When students get in the habit of using all 3 ways or reading, they will become more successful readers and will build their reading stamina, and they will be more willing to choose more challenging books.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Homemade Playdough

Playdough was one of my favorite things to play with as a kid. Kids these days are no different than me. We use quite a bit of playdough in the classroom for different reasons. The only problem is having large enough quantities of playdough without it drying out quickly. If you buy the Play-Doh brand, the price can add up pretty fast.

This year I am trying very hard to limit the amount of money I spend on the classroom without sacrificing student learning. I used a recipe from Family to make a large batch of playdough. I made about 8 lbs of playdough for about $2.00, and I got all the colors I actually wanted.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Open House

I want to thank all the families that came to Open House this Thursday evening. I hope everyone enjoyed their time exploring the classroom and seeing the children's work samples.

If you signed up for a conference date during the month of October, I will be sending you a notice in your child's folder. The notice will be sent home a few days prior to the conference. Please complete the questions on the conference notice so that I can cater the conference to your needs.

Thanks again for all your continued support this year!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making observations

This week as part of our science curriculum we have been learning about the importance of using our eyes for observations. The students learned that when we observe the world around us, we can better understand how things work. My dad brought in a chrysalis from our back yard butterfly garden. Throughout the week the students learned the proper way to use magnifying glasses as they watched the chrysalis and began recording in their science journals.

Just this morning something amazing happened...the butterfly emerged from it's chrysalis! Boy were the kids excited! All day long they used the magnifying glasses to see if the butterfly would flap it's wings. We also let all of the other kindergarten classes observe as well. This afternoon I took the butterfly home to release it back to it's natural habitat.

Low and behold...we have another catepillar on another bush in the garden. I'm sure the kids will be even more excited to see the caterpillar make the chrysalis. Lets hope it doesn't make it on the weekend. He he he :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Homework Folders

On Tuesday all the children will be going home with a bright yellow homework folder. Inside the folder you should find:
  • All About Homework page that explains my homework policies and guidelines in more detail
  • September homework calendar
  • September reading log
  • Worksheets and recording sheets for ALL activities listed for September.
  • Any leveled/decodable readers that can be used for daily reading

All children who complete all the activities and daily reading for September will get to visit the Treasure Box!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Fun Website

I just found a new fun and interactive website to use either in the classroom or at home. It's called Literactive. The best part is, all the materials are free to use, as long as you register. Be sure to check out the guided reading books. The students can actually click on each word to hear how it is supposed to sound. Too cool!