Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I Am A Pizza

I love creating lessons where I can teach yet let my kids be little.  So much of our day is filled with work that has to be done.  Therefore, when I am given the opportunity to create freely, I take advantage.  Last week, I created a series of lessons which went along with our reading series theme, food and menu writing.  I used I Am A Pizza as our focal point because who doesn't love pizza.  We were able to echo read from our song cards which helped with total engagement and participation.

Afterwards, I pretended to order a pizza but the students quickly noted that I got my order all wrong.  I forgot to tell the size and what kind of pizza I wanted.

Over the next two days, we made our menu together. (Please, ignore my misspelling of broccoli).  I created a sentence frame for them to use when ordering their pizzas.  I handed them phones so that they could place their orders.  They loved it! As I walked around the room, I could hear kids talking and see lots of happy children learning.

Finally, came the best part!

Using 24"x24" yellow and brown construction paper, I had prepped pizza wedges that I stapled at the top and cut a rounded neck.

Students recited their order and went to work making their pizza.

They had a blast making their pizzas and loved wearing them.  In fact, many wore them outside to play and as we marched out at the end of the day.  All in all, I think it was a successful lesson.

Happy Teaching!

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Year of Writing - Revisited

I have been documenting my student's growth as writers using a monthly journal for years.  I originally wrote about it here.

Today I would like to share why I love this.
As teachers, we know the importance of keeping a record of our students' learning and growth.  In the past, I used to collect random samples of students' writing.  What I found was that sometimes I would have a lot on one student but very little on another.  Other times, I did not have a current sample of their writing to share at progress monitoring meetings. Bad, I know.

That all changed when I began making a monthly writing journal; what I call A Year of Kindergarten Writing.  What I found was that I had monthly samples collected all in one spot.  I could share these easily at Parent Conferences and with other teachers.  I could use these to document learning.  More importantly, at the end of the year, it served as a keepsake for families of their child's learning.

In preparation for the upcoming school year, I have revised and updated this document.  For a limited time, this is a freebie for my Facebook Fans.  Hop on over and grab your copy.

From my classroom to yours, 
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mentor Texts to Teach Punctuation

As the end of the year nears for us, I am trying to make sure that my students are as prepared as possible for first grade.

One area which we continue to need to work on is punctuation.  I love to use the Piggie and Elephant series by Mo Willems. At this point of the year, many can read the books and understand how witty Mo Willems is as the author of these characters.

First, I read I am Going!.  I like to use this book because several of the same words or phrases appear throughout the book but change meaning due to the punctuation.  This helps to show how important punctuation is to meaning.

Afterwards, I created simple anchor charts to meet our standard; recognize and name the punctuation.

Students wrote their own Piggie and Elephant stories; trying to use each type of punctuation.  Here is a sample. Can you tell which Piggie and Elephant book it is modeled after?

                Gerald want to go play? Yes?                             Gerald. There's a bird in your head!                  Gerald. Now there's a nest.

We will continue to work on this skill for the next few weeks.  My hope is that children see how punctuation plays an important role in reading and writing as well as text meaning.

In the past, I've used these books as well.  I like them because they are easy enough to be read by beginning readers.

If you'd like to see more of our classroom happenings, check out my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram. I tend to post there more frequently.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Snack

We made our first snack of the school year.  This was a perfect opportunity to introduce "How to" writing which is part of the Common Core standards. 

To make your own, you'll need:
graham cracker sticks
Alpha bit cereal (I found it at Target)

Here is what our chart looked like in the beginning.  Unfortunately, there are no photos of the end product.
Along the way, the students used descriptive language to tell me what to write.  For example, put 2 grapes on the coconut tree.  Or add 3 apples on top of the tree trunk.

It was a wonderfully delicious snack and a perfect way to end the second week of school.

What are you doing to teach how to writing?  Share your ideas.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Writing Through My Son's Eyes

This summer I have spent a lot of time learning from my five year old who is about to begin kindergarten.  As a teacher, I have witnessed how children learn, but it is so different as a mother.  When I see him at work, I look at it through two lenses; the proud momma and the teacher who is thinking, "Oh. Interesting."

Nothing has amazed me more as to see him discover writing.  We spent a lot of time on the road this summer.  With nothing more than a notebook and a mechanical pencil, he would spend some of that time writing; actually drawing pictures but I never called it that.

I was the subject of many of his drawings.  

Then, he began adding "text" to his drawing.  
Here is a sample.  
He began by drawing the jellyfish and then, drew the eye.  I wondered, why an eye.  He asked me for help to draw the heart.  Then, he read his story.  My heart melted.  My baby had independently written his first story.

This led me to wonder.  Do I allow enough time for my students to draw into writing?   Probably, not.  My team and I are usually focused at getting words on the paper and sentences.  Then, at one point of the year, we complain about how our kids can't draw.  Duh!  We didn't really allow time for this.  So, this school year, I hope to step back a little.  I will spend more time teaching my students how to draw and how to use those drawings to tell a story.

In the meantime, I have my copy of In Pictures and In Words and the wonderful book study hosted by Mrs. Wills for more ideas and book recommendations.
How do you teach writing in kindergarten?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Today was a busy day.

We started off the morning with a visit.  We had VIPs. Well, almost!  Maybe VIGPs.  

Then, we completed our bulletin board about whales.  I had intended to hang our whales like the ones from this kindergarten classroom but it turns out that our Fire Marshall wants nothing hanging overhead.  So, I  created this board instead.  It was inspired from here.

Finally, for those teachers who use HeidiSongs, my little one, a more reluctant writer, wrote this during writing time.

Just goes to show you that inspiration can come from anywhere.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How Rude! Teaching Grammar in Writing

My students love to write about their friends.  What five year old doesn't!  But, we have a little problem. Problem? Yes, problem.

Here's what our worked may have looked like.

Did you notice?  My students lacked manners in their writing. They talk about themselves first and then, mention their friend.

So, this week, we worked on changing our bad habits.  To begin, we read Manners at School. I wanted them to understand, the word, manners.  Then, I quickly created this anchor chart to help explain what to do instead.

Friends First Anchor Chart

I talked about how I liked my friend a lot and to show that I did, I would write her name first.  Here was the biggie. I also told them that it was bad manners to use the word me.  After much thought, the kids decided that I could use the word I.   

Since I have many English Language Learners, we practiced orally using the phrase ______ and I.  I had different kids come up and we just practiced the vocabulary.  Then, I sent them off to write. I watched and reminded them Friends First.  Almost all of them could do it. 

Here is what their worked may have looked like afterwards. 

There is still work to do but we are moving in the right direction.  Teaching grammar to young writers is important.  To help me, I love using this resource.  
Happy Teaching and Learning!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dr. Seuss - Author Study Week 1

It has been a fun filled week of celebrating reading!

Here are some highlights.

First off, The Lorax.  I wanted my students to read the book and view the classic Lorax movie.  Call me old fashioned but I think the book is always better than the movie.

Although, I saw many Lorax inspired ideas, I couldn't find the "right" one to fit my students' needs.  I created a very simple Lorax themed writing paper for them to use with stickers I found at Michaels.  Together, we came up with suggestions to help our environment.

Yesterday, we read and cooked Green Eggs and Ham.  This was a perfect opportunity to practice How to writing. Amazingly, I managed to facilitate this while cooking green eggs and ham.

Our finished writing!

Next week, more Dr. Seuss!

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three Part Stories

Did you attend the Kindergarten Teacher Expo this weekend? I did and loved every minute of it! What an easy, affordable way to learn from other teachers!  I'm sure you went away from the Expo with lots of new learning and insight that you couldn't wait to share with your students.  I know I did!

After watching, Crystal from Kreative in Kinder, I knew exactly how I was going to change my approach towards teaching story writing to my students. I launched my lesson by telling them that I was going to show them how to write Three Part Stories.  I modeled what I wanted them to try.

And then, I let them have at it. I reminded them that it might be a little challenging but that I wanted them to take a risk and give it a try.

For their first attempt, I was so pleased with their results.

The kids felt the need to write.  So, I provided PostIts.

They were very happy and willing to use this tool.

There is still plenty to teach about the mechanics of writing.  

But, I see stories forming.
So thank you, Crystal!  
My students and I thank you!

Kreative in Kinder
I can't wait to learn more from you about writing.  
 Be sure to check out her blog!  :)

Were you inspired by the Expo?  Share your stories and insights.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Trees. Everywhere!

Lettering Delights graphic

We have trees displayed in many places in our room.  
Tree maps have become a rich part of our learning experience.
Here are a few that we made this week.

First up, MLK.
We read several books which helped us learn about the life of MLK. I was inspired by many, such as this, and this wonderful resource. The kids loved the new word that they learned; equality.  The ideas presented on this tree map are all student generated.  It came from their learning.

Here is our completed bulletin board.

Next. Penguins!
These arctic animals made an appearance during our English Language Development class.
I love this time because the students are a mixed group from every kindergarten class.   I teach the highest level of English speakers.  As a  result, my goal is to move them towards English fluency in all areas; listening, speaking, reading and writing.  

Here are some samples of the writing.

I am so proud of the writing that they produced with guidance and support from the use of the tree map.   

We can do it! Yes, we can! 

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Do you Fold?

Have you used foldables in your classroom?  Recently, some of my students created these foldables during our study about Friends.  Here is how we created them.

Here are some uses for this activity. 

We used the graphic organizer above to help us organize our thoughts.  Since the kids were writing about a friend and needed to present it to their classmates, we practiced the vocabulary and the sentences many, many times as we made the Foldable.

Happy Teaching and Learning!