Sunday, September 27, 2015

Where have all the fairy tales gone? FLASH FREEBIE!

At my previous school, we didn't read a single fairy tale all year long - it just wasn't part of the curriculum. Kids had already done the fairy tale thing. They should all know them by heart coming in to kinder....right?


Every year it stumps me when we introduce a new fairy tale. Only a handful of kids know what we are talking about. And the ones that know - they really have the whole story down pat.  Which is great, I am thrilled for those children.

But what REALLY excites me is the thrill of reading these "common" stories to the children who haven't heard them. Watching those little guys and gals discover the story, and retell it to friends - that is priceless.

It is also SUPER important. It allows us, in the early days of Kindergarten, to establish that we are all learners AND teachers, to practice ways to read books, and to foster a LOVE of literacy.

It's our hook. Here's how we did it:

Fairy Tale Detectives

We invited all our little friends to see what happened in Ms. W's room (HUGE thanks to her for setting it up on a Monday). Some knew, three bears, yada, yada. Others made absolutely hilarious comments. But EVERYONE, absolutely each child wanted to a. know what happened, b. talk about it, and c. bought it.

Hook Centers

Throw one or two centers into your normal rotation that has to do with the topic at hand. I would love if I had the time/resources/energy to create centers that matched every unit we cover, but I don't. That takes time. And honestly the kids don't need it as much as I want them to. They need the one or two special centers that provides the motivation to work hard. 

Grab them as a FLASH FREEBIE now until Wednesday in my TPT store!

Time to Talk 


Here's where you observe. Give all the kids time to experience one unifying event before the centers start.  For us it was working in groups on retelling with our puppets. Everyone got 10 minutes to share the story with friends. I observed, sometimes facilitated kind conversation and sharing. It's another opportunity for buy in, movement, and integrating some positive social interaction support. 

Now You Own It!

Last component to our little unit is add in the close read. This week we had two stories as anchor texts, so we did two close reads. Each time it is just a sentence or two that is easy to memorize.  We read it whole group, color the page, and then the kiddos add it to their binder. When they are finished, they can read it again, ask for help, read to a friend, so on as we (the teachers) repeat a mantra such as, "Now YOU are READERS! You can DO IT! Look at you READING!"

Does everyone ACTUALLY read the words, of course not. Is everyone totally hooked - nope. But it sure is a start!

It took us until Christmas last year to get a student hooked on school. Until then he was disengaged, reckless, wild. Then we did our Gingerbread Man hunt. It was all my little friend could talk, write, and read about. Was was still the same child as he was in August, but there was SO much more interest in everything he did. He STILL talks about it in first grade.

If every child in our classroom has a moment like that - even if it takes all year...well that would just be perfect. :o)

What works well for your fairy tale unit? I would love to hear how you incorporate fairy tales!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Back at it! Five for Friday September 18, 2015

Whoo! Alright we got this. It's been two full weeks....three? I don't even know, but I finally have the energy and enough pictures to do a Five for Friday! 

A Kindergarten MYSTERY!

We became detectives on Monday to figure out what happened in Mrs. W's room as our introduction to our fairy tale unit! There was some very hilarious comments as to what was going on. 

- "I see a tortilla plate!"

-"Hey! You can't use party streamers to block off a crime scene!"

-"No blankets on the floor!"


Darn kid, thats supposed to be a surprise in MARCH!! Oh, what I would give to be a K teacher in March right now...


After we introduced Goldilocks on Monday, we read Three Little Pigs on Wednesday and Thursday. We read to versions and then worked on some little puppet friends so we could retell the story! I am so proud of my lil ones for working so hard on the 3 ways to read a book - they knew exactly why we were retelling the story!

Everyone worked in a group of 4 taking turns retelling the story. I don't know who loved it more, me or them. So, SO fun!

We also did Goldilocks write the room centers! And my friends rocked it!

Alright, my centers have been a mess. I have to admit I was being a bit of a Debbie Downer this week because things just weren't working. My sweet friend Kara suggested I try centers in partners rather than fours. I have been putting this off because my room is so small, I was worried I wouldn't have enough space. 

I tried it anyway and ohemgee it saved my week. 

Look at that! What a sweetie, so smart! She was working in treasure chests - a center with kinetic sand and hidden letters. I am trying to do more sensory centers this year, and this one is a hit! I am thinking of always having it out, just changing the learning target. 

Day three in school EVER for this little guy and he's got it goin' on! Anyone else use these pattern books? The kids don't need much explanation on them and they cover lots of pattering, sorting, and counting!

So... I am lovin' my focus wall! I really paired down my calendar and have everything we need for the day posted. The kids are now coming in looking at what we are learning each day - own it kids, own it! The letter and number anchor charts are from Lavina Pop  and are absolutely PERFECT! They have great visuals and come in color and black and white. We use the blackline copies for center work and staple each sequence of letters we learn together so the kiddos can take their own books home to practice. Anyone else in love with their focus wall? Suggestions for additions?

My husband and I started off our week in St. Louis last weekly for the lovely wedding our our friends Zach and Kayla. Such fun to relax and catch up with our college friends that are spread all across the country. We only have one more wedding this season out of five! 

That about wraps up my week, how was yours?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What Worked Well Wednesday on Kinder Tribe

Happy hump day! 

Today I am blogging over at Kinder Tribe on the procedures and routines that have worked well in my classroom over the last week! Head on over to read more!

Have a fantastic rest of your week!!