Teach About Colors

I love to begin the school year teaching about colors! All children have some experience and level of understanding about color so it serves as a great anchor for young learners!

 
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Another reason I love to start the year teaching about colors is because there are so many great books about colors and so many opportunities for building literacy using color knowledge as a scaffold! Here are some of my favorites (with affiliate links) and a couple of my favorite free-to-watch youtube videos.


I started working on these color units last year, but life got in the way and I didn't finish them. Well, I was determined to have them done so I could use them this year! Whew, I'm glad they are done now, 11 units for 11 different colors is a lot of work! Luckily, you can get them for your own use bundled for a limited time with a 50% off savings! Why? Because I want you to have a fun start to the school year too! And $11.00 for 11 colors makes it a sweet deal of $1.00 per color!


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Kindergarten Homework: Yay or Nay

As the trend as-of -late is to offer less homework to increase family time, I agree with the Duke University study that concludes that although students shouldn't be doing hours of nightly homework, they should be doing homework. Dr. Cooper, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience states that homework should be thought of as dietary supplement. If you do not take it you won't have any dietary advantage. If you take too much, it will have ill effects. 

Another reason that I believe quality, flexible, homework should be provided is that it is the only time a parent truly can have a glimpse at what skills are being learned in the classroom, and more importantly how their child is coping with those skills. 

 

Quality Homework

"Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs, thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks...."

That is the goal we used to create our homework packets: to provide quality parent friendly homework that doesn't interrupt family life, but rather enriches it! When we created these packets, we began with the Core Standards, added the timeline for skill practice, and then made each activity fun and engaging.

Teachers, parents, and students alike love the flexibility and ease of these great homework packets. They are easy to prepare, easy to send home, and easy to fit into busy family life. Our goal is to enrich family life, strengthen student skills, and give teachers more "home-time." 


Our homework comes in three levels: Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade. They can also be used as Below Benchmark, At Benchmark, or Above Benchmark for any of the above named grade levels.


These homework packets (as with all of our products), are available at Teacher's Pay Teacher's, or here at our Kiosk store.


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Save 50% by purchasing the entire kindergarten level bundle. This also includes three additional RTI homework packets to use at home, or at school.

I bought and used the preschool set this year - which my kids and parents loved.
Going to K next year, had to buy these
This is incredible!! I love how you’ve incorporated all the subject areas as well as fine motor skills. This will save me a ton of time.
This packet has made my time AFTER school so much less. Thank you, now I can spend time with my own children, and still provide my students with quality homework.

Oral Blending

Oral blending is a precursor to decoding or sounding out words. Developing a strong foundation in blending will help students make a faster and smoother transition when reading words.

Blending should begin well before the phoneme stage. Most students can easily blend the two parts of a compound word together. From that point, present words in smaller and smaller units. Provide opportunities for blending multi-syllable words together, then onsets and rimes. 

After multiple experiences successfully blending the initial or final consonant with the rest of the word, it is time to blend two and three sounds together. For your first phoneme blending experiences, put the sounds in the context of a sentence or story.

My puppy likes to /b/ /ar/ /k/.

He likes it when I /p/ /e/ /t/ him.

He likes to chew on a /b/ /o/ /n/.

He likes to chase the /c/ /a/ /t/.

Another support for oral blending is to provide picture clues. Place a set of three-sound picture cards (or objects) in front of your students. Name the three sounds of one of the pictures and have the students find the correct picture (can you find the /c/ /a/ /t/)? Limit the number of pictures for students who struggle with blending. 

After playing games with pictures or objects, the students are ready to try blending sounds without any clues. A blending game my students always enjoy is Build a Snowman. This game can be played with or without picture cards, so it can be used with students working at different levels. For each correct answer, the students  add another piece to the snowman; “building” a snowman made the game a little more fun for the students and kept them engaged throughout this guided lesson! This game can be found in our Snowman Thematic Unit. It can easily be adapted to any theme. Students can build a flag, build a turkey, Build a Leprechaun, on and on. *Many of our thematic units contain lessons on blending and segmenting.

We have a great podcast on the topic of blending and segmenting, be sure to check it out to get more tips and ideas to teach your students to blend.


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All of our products can also be found at TPT.

All of our products can also be found at TPT.

Working With Word Families

Teaching a child to rhyme is phonological awareness. Teaching a child to connect auditory rhymes to the written word is phonics. Both are essential skills when teaching a young child to read and both can be taught through word families!

Rhyming is an important literacy skill. Children become familiar with rhymes through songs and rhyming books. As students begin to match, generate, and produce rhymes, they are able to focus more on the sounds within words.

While most students develop the ability to rhyme through games, songs, and books, some students struggle with rhyming. Approaching rhymes through word families can be beneficial for those students. Teaching word families can also get struggling readers on-track quickly as they become familiar with patterns that are within similar words. Sounding out each word provides decoding practice. Furthermore, when students recognize the pattern of a phonogram, the number of words they can read increases significantly.

Whether you use a commercial product, purchased games, or just write a word family list on the board, you can reinforces the skill of word families. Have your students read or decode each word individually, then read through the entire list quickly. Help students notice not only that the middle and end sounds are the same, but also that the letters for those sounds are the same.

Word families are a simple way to reinforce rhyming and practice decoding. Pick a different word family every day and have some reading fun! I love to use these adorable anchor charts as the jumping point for a word family introduction followed by making the interactive little book. The next day, I will practice that same word family with a worksheet or an interactive writing activity using whiteboards. 

These pages can be stapled together to make a cute interactive little book for kids to read again and again.

These pages can be stapled together to make a cute interactive little book for kids to read again and again.

These anchor charts can be made to any size that fits your needs. I have found the students use them regularly.

These anchor charts can be made to any size that fits your needs. I have found the students use them regularly.

 
 

Want to learn more? Click here to listen to our podcast episode all about rhyming!


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All of Kindergarten Kiosk's products can also be found at Teachers Pay Teachers.

All of Kindergarten Kiosk's products can also be found at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Helping Early Learners Conquer Those Pesky Vowels

When young children have mastered the alphabet letter names and know more than half of the letter sounds, hooray! But with that sigh of relief comes the reteaching and reteaching of those pesky vowels!

Vowels are most easily mastered if the reteaching is thorough and strategic. To begin this strategic teaching, review the alphabet letter that represents the vowel and the sound-card that you are using in your classroom or homeschool setting. If you don’t have defined sound-card you can check out ours in the product section below.

There are many great videos that are great and kids love them. Heidi's Songs is one of my favorites! She has been remastering all of her videos so if you think you know them, be sure to look again!


When revisiting the vowels, I recommend spending at least two days on each vowel for review. Because this is a review and all sounds have been previously introduced, be sure to talk about both the long and short sounds of the vowel.

Provide a visual and auditory (sound song) link for A E I O and U. There are many available, my favorite is Have Fun Teaching, my students LOVE it!

I also love the Talking Words Factory, kids really get the "glue" concept that is presented in this video.

 

Be sure to add further supports. Using hand cues to teach short vowel sounds adds a kinesthetic link. Teach your students these signs as each vowel is reviewed, then continue to use this cues as vowels are continually reviewed (I love how these signs actually match the mouth formation we will discuss below). 

Teach children the linguistic characteristics of these vowels. I found that even though I was scared to take linguistics as an undergrad, and then terrified of advanced linguistics as part of my masters program, I loved these courses! I found the knowledge I gained to be crucial in regards to the effective teaching of reading. Here are the characteristics that one must know to better teach those pesky vowels.


The /a/ sound /æ/

The vowel is a jaw vowel made with the voice on. (Have students feel the sound made by touching their throat).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The /e/ sound /ɛ/

This vowel is a tongue vowel (it rises ever so slightly) made with the voice on. (Have students feel their mouth widen and tongue lift as they feel the sound made in their throat).

*The /a/ and /e/ are often confused by young children. Calling attention to tongue placement helps demonstrate differences.

 

 

The /i/ sound /ɪ/

This vowel is a tongue vowel (it rises ever so slightly) made with the voice on. (Have students feel the sound made by touching their throat and feel the tongue placement).

 

 

 

 

 

The /o/ sound /ɔ/

This vowel sound is a jaw vowel made with the voice on. (Have students feel the sound made by touching their throat and place hand under chin to feel the jaw drop).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The u sound /ʌ/

This vowel sound is a jaw vowel made with the voice on. (Have students feel the sound made by touching their throat, call attention to the differences between the o and u jaw placements).

 

 

 

 

 


Using mouth cards and hand signals as mentioned above help children learn the correct mouth placement as they practice and practice voicing vowel sounds. The differences become clear as students feel the changes that happen within their own mouth. Make sure to pass out mirrors so students will be able to visually see the differences. 

Be patient. It takes a lot of listening and voicing practice to conquer these separate and distinct (pesky) vowel sounds. And remember that with all phonemic awareness practice, English Language Learners will get it, don't give up on them! But it will take added patience and practice as some of these sounds are not even made in their native tongue. Your patience and continued practice will pay off. As with all pre-reading skills, if added emphasis is placed on oral-phonemic practice until mastered, the transference to the written word will be very easy.

As you spend a week or two reviewing vowel sounds, you might want to check out our new vowel practice early learning essential. This packet also contains the sign language hand cards, mouth placement cards, vowel sound cards, and a vowel song poster and pocket chart cards. With the great low price of $4.00, you will be on your way to vowel sound victory.


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All Kindergarten Kiosk Products are also available on Teachers Pay Teachers!

All Kindergarten Kiosk Products are also available on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Here are some of our other great vowel practice products:

The Perfect Kindergarten and Preschool Assessments

Are you Looking for the Perfect Assessments?

I use the assessments below in my classroom. I have used and perfected these assessments for over 15 years, and I truly believe them to be the perfect kindergarten and Pre-K assessment packets. And yes, they are strategically linked to Core Standards.

A few years ago I found ESGI and it completely transformed the administration and data collection of these assessments. Before ESGI, I ran a copy of the assessments for each student, had an organized assessment binder for both math and reading, and then spent hours transferring the data to a spreadsheet that automatically color-coded the students to red, yellow and green. This took me HOURS of time! But ESGI has changed all of that, it is literally Click Click Done!

Now, I test my students on the iPad or my computer using my tried and true authentic assessments, have immediate data results and all of the tools necessary to utilize this data to improve student learning. I can even access built-in RTI and SLO data at the touch of a button.

I have partnered with ESGI and my perfect assessments are available both traditional paper or with ESGI, digitally with no extra cost to you. If you want to try ESGI using a free 60 day trial. Remember to enter the promo code B7227. You will find all of the paper assessments below already loaded on ESGI.

All of these assessments are also available on TPT.


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Bringing Color into the Life of a Child

School must be so much more than worksheets and assessments, it must be an opportunity for students to flourish and grow in many areas. A place to become empowered to take risks, fail often, and try again. 

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Education has become a race of sorts. We watch children closely to see who will read first, who will solve the most complicated sum, or who will write the most perfectly punctuated story. But, as we early childhood educators know, it's like assessing children for their first word or their first step. These things happen when the particular child is developmentally ready, and comparing children to each other in their milestones only puts stress on children and the adults who love them. All children have different interests, have different needs, and excel at different things. Children learn at their own pace and develop at their own levels. It is up to us as teachers and parents to provide a rich amount of experiences and opportunities.

Honestly, when the signups come for summer workbooks from the office, I quickly throw them away. I don't want to be part of the worksheet problem. Rather, I spend the year advancing the arts and sciences in my classroom as a tool for exploration and learning. One of my favorite end of the year activities to launch my students into summer is reading Bridget's Beret. This beautiful story encourages creativity and is a great way to encourage children to spend summer free time in creative pursuits, rather than worksheets. 

 
 

The video below is a great reminder to encourage children to be the highly creative, beautiful, soulful beings they were born to become.  

My hope is that all classrooms will be thought of as think-tanks. A place for joyful consideration where everyone is celebrated for their own accomplishments. A place where standardized assessment scores are not the driving force for academic placement. Where academic excellence is obtained by a high level of thematic and cross-curricular teaching.


I have found that by teaching thematically I can allow learners to explore, create, and discover at their own levels. I can integrate across subjects, meeting academic goals for the year in a fun and personalized way for children. If you would like to try teaching thematically, we have a few units to help you get started.

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Three Billy Goats: Reader's Theater or Partner Play

Call them what you will, Reader's Theater, Partner Plays, or simply, what it is, reading for fluency and comprehension. No matter the name or the purpose, young children love to read, practice, rehearse and perform! Students love these books and their headband costumes!


Here is example text from our Billy Goat Partner Play. 


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Or get it here at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Or get it here at Teachers Pay Teachers.


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Setting Up A Writing Center

You can create a space in your classroom for students to experience and practice newly acquired writing skills independently by making a writing center.  A writing center is a great spot to foster interest and provide independent opportunities.

I have found my favorite way to set up my writing center is by creating the space as a permanent fixture with activities that change, yet stay the same. For example, I might always have the Monday activity as labeling. Tuesday may always be writing a list. Wednesday, may be writing the room for sight words. Thursday might be writing the room for alphabet letters. Friday might be using the vocabulary word wall to write a story. These are just some examples, I also use QR activities, CVC and sight word activities as well as many other fun and engaging writing activities. 

Below is an example of my current writing center that is ready to go for the week. 


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Interactive Writing and Structured Writing

kindergarten writing

Interactive or structured writing is when the teacher guides group writing. All children participate in the composing and even construct various aspects of the writing. Students experience writing for a purpose and with meaning.  

One way to initiate interactive writing is through response to literature that offers a topic for discussion. For example after reading the Little Red Hen, you can write about why it is important to help others. As you share the pen with the students, work at their level of independence. Making a list such as this is a great way to teach and model writing.

EXAMPLES OF INTERACTIVE WRITING

Here are some other ways to include interactive writing during your writing times.

  • Class made books        
  • Story analysis        
  • Class letter            
  • Names
  • Rewriting nursery rhymes and poems    
  • Student generated sentences
  • Schedules
  • Story maps
  • Sentence strips
  • Have/Can/Are activities

Structured Writing is an effective method of modeling, reinforcing, and providing practice in the use of conventions of print.  Through structure writing, children can practice basic grammatical and spelling conventions, practice using sight words, and spelling.

In Structured Writing, teachers provide a model for the children to copy directly onto paper.  Modeling begins with very simple developmental tasks that increase in difficulty.  Progression includes: Single letter formation, fill in the blank sentences such as I like ______. I can ride a ______, and then onto full word and sentence formation. Then the progression moves on to copying poems,

EXAMPLES OF STRUCTURE WRITING

Following are some examples of structure writing activities.

  • Writing alphabet letters
  • Class-Made book reproductions                              
  • Fill in the blank sentences
  • Copying Sentences
  • Copying Poetry
  • Making Cards
  • Reconstructing and copying sentences
  • Tracing sentences
  • Filling out forms
  • Labeling (tracing or copying)

Here are some of my favorite writing products.

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Reading Strategies That Work

reading-strategies-kindergarten

Students will read more quickly and effectively when given appropriate strategies for reading and instructed on how to match those strategies to reading situations.

There are many important strategies to learn concerning the multifaceted nature of reading. By providing visual representations of the strategies and encouraging students to talk about and practice them, students will develop flexibility of reasoning, gain reading confidence, and internalize the ability to control reading experiences.

I have witnessed my students gain reading independence as they are guided with thoughtful strategies.

Our Reading Strategy set focuses on strategies that will enhance student reading during guided reading experiences. The colorful/child friendly strategy posters included in this set are: 

  • Sit in reading position. 
  • Point at the word your voice is saying.
  • Look at the pictures for clues. 
  • Does it look right?
  • Does it sound right?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Reread and Think
  • Hop through the word sound by sound.
  • Think about word families.
  • Look for chunks you know.


This set also includes strategy cards that you can use in your classroom to remind students of the strategies as you learn them. Also included are posters that you can use to teach each strategy. Print the posters on large paper if possible and display them where the class can see them. If you are using them in a whole group lesson you can print smaller versions. Each poster is followed by a lesson plan that will help you teach each reading strategy.

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Great for guided reading groups thanks
Great for around my reading table
My students have become readers!

Or click here to find this product in our Teacher's Pay Teachers Store.


 
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Teachers: Supporting Each Other

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My former colleague Mary Spiker is currently living the dream. She has just won the honor of Idaho Teacher of the Year and has been spending this week in Washington with the other 49 winners as guests of the White House. She has been posting amazing experiences on her Facebook page and I've been eagerly following her on this adventure. I received a message from her yesterday that really touched me and made me reflect on how important colleagues are in our professional life. This is her message: 

I just want you to know I am currently enjoying Washington Week” as Idaho Teacher of the Year. Today I spent the day at ASCD where we each had to share about a colleague who inspired us to become the teachers that we are today. We had to get it down to 30 seconds and then they filmed us talking about that person. ASCD will make a mash-up of all the stories shared. I spoke of YOU! Here is what I said... remember I only had 30 seconds which I had to condense down from five pages.
”I still remember the day I walked into Kathy’s classroom. I was swept away by the different opportunities provided. Her children didn’t just learn about science, math, and writing - they BECAME scientists, mathematicians, and writers. I wanted to be a child in her classroom! Her love for her students, teaching, and learning was evident in everything she did. I actually told her “I ASPIRE TO BE YOU!” To this day I reflect on the things I witnessed and as a result I am creating the researchers, writers, and scientist of tomorrow.” Thank you!

I have had many many colleagues along the way during my quarter century as a teacher. I have learned something important from each one of them. Thank you Mary for your kind words, and more importantly, thank you for giving me the opportunity to reflect on the many teachers who have crossed my path. We are in this together and together we can always achieve more! May we all spend more time lifting one another and less time circling the wagons and shooting within. Thank you to all of my dear colleagues who have lifted me up, and represent, Mary Spiker.

Integrating Music in Elementary Classrooms

Much of what young children do as play - singing, drawing, dancing - are natural forms of art. These activities engage all the senses and help wire the brain for successful learning.
— David A. Sousa in How the Brain Learns
 
 

Integrating music into the elementary school curriculum occurs at varying degrees. At the very basic level students perform or respond to a piece of music. This is the kind of music integration that occurs in the classroom when we sing welcome songs as our students enter the classroom or play a simple melody when it's time to clean up. At a higher level of integration a piece of music can be used to teach a concept from the core curriculum. These kinds of integrations occur when we sing the ABCs, a counting song, or a simple melody to help children remember their math facts. The highest levels of integration ask students to learn music content alongside core content, learning music vocabulary, concepts, and skills in tandem with other academic concepts.

Here are some ways to integrate music in your classroom:

  • Listen to a piece of classical music. While listening, have students imagine a character that the music might describe. What does that character look like? What does he/she want? Write a story based on the character you imagined based on the music.
  • Add sound effects to a Shared Reading lesson. Use sticky notes to add cues in the reading to tell students when the sound effects should occur. For example, if the story includes a rain storm, have a student turn over a rain stick during the story when cued.
  • Create a soundscape with body percussion to accompany a science concept the class is learning about. Such as this soundscape for a rain forest:
  • Create rhythmic ostinatos to accompany a poem, shared reading, or guided reading. A rhythmic ostinato is a repeated rhythmic pattern created with voices or instruments. You can use a chart such as this one to help guide students as they perform the ostinato. In the first video, a rhythmic ostinato is being created by the cups. In the second video the students are chanting a rhythmic ostinato.
  • Teach nursery rhymes to develop phonemic awareness and then have students chant the nursery rhyme clapping once to the rhythm and once to the beat.
  •  Practice syllabication (and phonemic awareness) while learning rhythm through lessons such as this one by Jeri Crosby or these videos by Preschool Prodigies:

Want an easy way to integrate music into your preschool, kindergarten, or 1st grade curriculum? Try this Orchestrated Reader's Theater script! It includes Foley effects and Leitmotifs (sound effects and small melodies) that your students can include in their performance. You can buy it here or at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Using Questions To Extend a Shared Writing Lesson

During Shared Writing the teacher guides children to compose messages using a combination of writing. For beginning writers to understand what writing is and to cognize the connection between spoken and written language, the teacher must continually model the writing process by using the think aloud strategy - that is to verbalize the writing process as it is being executed. In subsequent sessions the teacher gradually solicits the student’s assistance as they begin to identify sounds and name letters in words; the teacher acknowledges and writes the letters in the correct placement.  This daily modeling and interaction builds confidence and encourages students to become independent writers.  The 6+1 Traits® Of Writing should be modeled continually, and it’s specific vocabulary: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions and presentation (NREL, 2008, p. 1) should be used when modeling writing strategies to the students. For example a teacher may say, “Molly, I really like the word choice you used”.


EXAMPLES OF SHARED WRITING

  • Morning Message
  • Daily News
  • Chit-Chat
  • Summaries
  • Lists
  • Charts
  • Schematic Organizers
  • Group Stories

QUESTIONING THAT EXTENDS THE LEARNING DURING SHARED WRITING

The following are examples of questions a teacher might ask students to extend the learning during a shared writing experience.

Concepts of Print

  • Where did we start writing? Which way did we go?
  • What did we put at the beginning and end of the sentence?
  • What did we leave between each word?
  • Find a favorite letter.  What is it?
  • How many words are in this sentence?
  • Should I use a uppercase letter in this word?

Phonological Awareness

  • What sound did you hear at the beginning(or end) of ___?
  • Name another word that begins with the same sound as ____?
  • Tell me a word that rhymes with ____?
  • When I say __ __ __, tell me the sounds you hear.
  • How many syllables are in the word _____?

Phonics

  • What sound and letter does ____ begin with?
  • What sound and letter does ____ end with?
  • Find a word with the same beginning sound as _____?
  • Find a word that belongs to the _____ word family.
  • Let’s make a list of other words that begin with, end with, or rhyme with ______?
  • Do you see a vowel in the word _____?
  • What is the vowel in the word ______?

High Frequency Words

  • Find the word _____.
  • How did we spell _____?
  • Circle the sight word _______.
  • I need to write the word ____. 
  • Can you point to that word on the word wall? Or, can you spell that word?

Click here to learn more about Shared Writing by listening to our podcast:

 
 

Kindergarten Graduation or End-of-the-Year Program Songs: Free Posters

Whether you are planning a graduation like I am, a celebration, or simply want some great end of the year songs to celebrate your classroom community, here are some great choices for you!

This song, All We're Meant To Be, is written by Steven Vogel and can be found here. The children enjoy singing its thoughtful melody as it washes the brains with endorphins. Both the words and the melody are touching. In the words of Cooper, one of my kinders, "This song is beautiful, it makes tears in my eyes."

Several years ago I ran across a treasure! Her name is Nancy Stewart. If you are an early childhood educator and have not yet been introduced to her fabulous, age-appropriate music, I am happy that I can introduce her to you! This great song, We Are Singing With The Children of the World, is always a class favorite. You can download the sheet music, vocal performance and instrumental versions of this song

I am sure that you will quickly fall in love with not only this song, but all of Nancy's age-appropriate music.

The next little ditty, Kindergarten Graduates is an original song to the tune of Twinkle Little Star. Making up songs that are personal to your classroom and/or students is easy if you hook the words to an original tune. Did you know that you can sing almost any song to the tune of Oscar Meyer Weiner? You can and it is great fun! My students love singing favorite songs to familiar tunes. For example, try singing Mary Had a Little Lamb to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

 

I absolutely love the Russian folksong, May There Always Be Sunshine! I especially love the version by Jim Gill. His singing is so appropriate for young children, and he always brings his songs to the next level. Dr. Jean also has many tools that can be used with this song. I love making a class book using this song as a base to culminate our kindergarten year!

Another song that I love to do with my students is  I Like School. I always begin school with this song, and so it is always fun to pull it out in the spring of the year and revisit it! It makes a great program song because the kids LOVE it!

This song, I am a Promise, by The Bill Gaither Trio, is a inspirational song that speaks to promise and potential. You can get the sheet music for free here. I adapted the words to match the song to a school setting with school objectives. 

 

The song I Can Change the World by Jeff Johnson is a motivational song that demonstrates the promise of a brighter future through song.

The song Goodbye Kindergarten is an original song I wrote to the tune of Billy Boy as recorded by Singlish. This song is special to me because it not only notes the end of a kindergarten year, but I wrote it the year I left a school where I had taught for 20 years.

You can increase the learning for each of these songs by adding physicality to them. One easy way to do so is through sign language. My go-to sign language resource is Signing Savvy. I also like Baby Sign Language, which simplifies the process. If you get really serious about teaching sign language, you can also invest in Signing Time, a program that builds language and vocabulary through song.


I love to make this portfolio page or poster as we learn the Jack Johnson song we are singing at graduation. 

If you want to join in the fun, you can purchase the clip art here or at our TPT store. Use the code hats in our store for $2.00 off!

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This Craftivity and Graduation Essentials Include:

A “Graduation Me” Craftivity and bulletin board display ideas

Graduation Invitation (Two Size Choices and Style Choice)

Graduation Program Covers (Black and White)

Graduation Program Covers (Full Color)

Graduation Diplomas (Black and White)

Graduation Diplomas (Full Color)

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Download these free song posters here! Or you can find them at our TPT store.

 
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Best Digital Kindergarten Assessment

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Have you been wanting to try ESGI, the best digital assessment tool around, but the cost has held you back, or perhaps you wanted to really try it out before purchase? Well wait no longer! ESGI is now offering a deal not to miss!

All teachers who register for a free trial account between now and April 10th, and who use the promo code B7227,  will receive an EXTENDED FREE TRIAL through August 31, 2017! That's right! FIVE MONTHS FREE for ALL teachers who have always WONDERED about ESGI but for some reason, have never tried it out! And then when you are in LOVE with ESGI, your price of purchase will be the discounted price of only $159.

Wait there's more! 

All teachers who register for an ESGI trail during this campaign will be entered to win a "Pot of Gold" mystery grand prize from ESGI.  Announcement coming on April 11th, the day after the campaign has ended. What can that prize be?? The folks at ESGI are amazingly generous so I would guess it to be something as fabulous as March itself!


Speaking of March

Amazing Paint Sticks Great For Young Children

I received a set of 6 paint Kwikstix Thin Stix from The Pencil Grip Company to review. I liked them so much, that I just ordered a large set for my classroom, from amazon! These thin sticks are able to reach the small spaces that my regular size Kwickstix couldn't reach. I love these stick! They are easy to use, vibrant colors, and not messy at all! Perfect for young children. 


I have these paint sticks available to my students for all projects; they are just that easy to use. Just look at these adorable projects!

The Cat and the Hat

The Cat and the Hat

March came in like a lion

March came in like a lion

Guided or Scaffold Writing

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Guided writing is a time when the teacher provides guidance, mini-lessons, and scaffolded support to move students within their zone of proximal development (ZPD). This type of writing is based on the works of Vygotsky (1979). Children are encouraged to solve their own problems with teacher assistance. 


The Steps For Scaffold Writing
A Method to Support Emergent Writing


  •  A simple line is used to materialize each word. This technique is based on the theories of Vygotsky and Elkoin. It helps children learn to plan their writing and visualize words and sentences. Thisapproach has been field-tested and has shown amazing results.


• Have the student state the sentence to be written. (Keep the sentence to 3-5-word minimum during this early stage of guided writing).


• Repeat the sentence back to student, count the words to the sentence on your fingers, and then draw a line for each word as you say each word.


• Point to the lines as you repeat the sentence once again; next have the student do the same.


• Remember during scaffolding you are helping a student segment a word, identifying sounds as naturally spoken.


• Never isolate sounds! This would make this activity a phonics lesson rather than an authentic writing experience. Rather, state the word whole or ever so slightly rubber band the word. Never repeat the word in an exaggerated fashion. Keep the integrity of the word at all times.


• Ask student: “What is the first word in your sentence?” After student responds, repeat the student’s word back to him, such as “My.” “What is the first sound you hear in my?”

• Child will reply /m/*. Great, do you know what letter makes that sound? Okay, write that letter. (Pointing to the appropriate line.) If the student does not know what letter makes the /m/ sound, draw his attention to the alphabet chart and tell him that the /m/ is made by m. Ask him to write that letter.


• *If the student cannot hear any sounds independently, assist him in hearing the beginning sounds of the word, show the letter that makes the sound on the chart, and ask him to write that letter. Follow this process for each word always assuming that the student will hear the sound himself. At these beginning stages, concentrate on one three word sentences during guided writing and assure that the student is getting additional practice in sound/symbol relationships. Also, give struggling students more practice using structure or model writing experiences.


• After the student has identified the /m/ sound ask him if he hears any other sounds in the word my. (If the student hears /ï/, have him write it in the appropriate space. If he does not hear it, simply go to the next word. At the early stages of scaffold writing it is acceptable for the child to write the word my as mi or even m. Later as writing skills develop and sight words have been introduced, move to spelling high frequency words displayed on the word wall with conventional spelling.


• Continue this process until the sentence is complete. As the student develops, encourage him to write additional sentences. Always move student to the next level keeping within the zone of his proximal development.

Click here to learn more about Guided Writing by listening to the podcast.

 
 

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Using Writing Prompts

One of the best ways to satisfy the need for writing daily is by using writing prompts. Using prompts is an easy way to keep students engaged and excited about writing. They help prevent writer’s block, inspire creative and independent thinking, and give students a level of comfort when asked to take risks.

Keep writing prompts simple and open to interpretation, sometimes a simple title will suffice. Some examples of such prompts are:

  • My first day of School
  • Bugs
  • My Classroom
  • What I like About My Friends
  • My Best Birthday

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Good writing resource. Cannot wait to use with my Kinders next year!
Really helpful to start a new school year! These are great :)
Thanks! I’m looking for ways to support my beginning writers and readers.
Love this resource :)
I use this a lot.

Or Find it Here on TPT

Or Find it Here on TPT

Independant Writing and Writer's Conference

The last semester of the kindergarten year should be spent developing independence, moving from guided writing to independent writing.

Independent writing is the end goal of modeled, shared, structured, interactive, and scaffold or guided writing. As students learn the tools of self-expression and gain confidence in their mastery of writing conventions, they will become independent writers, and love the process. To optimize this move to independence, provide students with purposeful anchor charts.

During the last semester of the year it is time to turn students loose as independent writers using the resources provided at the writing center as well as using peer resources. At this time the students will begin to attend writers’ conferences with a greater purpose.


WRITERS CONFERENCE

At writer's conference, the teacher becomes available in a defined area to call students over to work at individual levels, scaffolding students to greater writing success. (Always encouraging them to do more.) Daily writing conferences are not necessary, but it is important to call students over at least two to three times a week to keep students moving within their ZPD. On days that a child does not visit the teacher, I assign students to read their writings to a peer for a peer review.

As one sentence becomes easy for a student to produce, a second sentence should be added.  As before, you must scaffold the students to the next level continually pushing them within their zone of proximal development.

Remember that to scaffold a student to greater heights, continual instruction must occur. Also during independent writing, allow students opportunities to read their work to others. Provide opportunities for an author’s chair during whole group times.

Eventually students will be working so independently that they will have their sentences written completely on their own.  As students move into independent writing they will drop the lines themselves. Voila’!  Independent writers emerge!