Friday, August 31, 2012

Letter of the Week: Rr

I hate minimum days! We were on minimum day schedule all week for parent conferences and I felt like I was hardly able to get anything done... At least my conferences went well! With a four day week coming up next week, I'm feeling a little crunched for time. Luckily Rr is a pretty high frequency letter so even though I couldn't spend as much time on it as I would have liked this week, my students will have many opportunities to see it again. Following a similar line of thought, the Letter of the Week next week will be Tt, another high frequency letter. This way, I figure losing a day for Labor Day won't be so bad.

I've been teaching for two and a half weeks now. During this time, I've lost a few students back to their home schools and continue to gain new students everyday. Just this week I got two new boys added to our classroom. That brings my total count up to a whopping 13 students. "13 for Room 13," I told the kids today. I secretly hope my class size stays where it is because I am able to give each individual child more of my attention, but I would also love to have a full classroom (kinder at our school maxes out at 22). Being the overflow teacher, there's always a chance of having your class turned into a combo class if your class size is too small. Knock on wood!

I continued to have students work on each center activity as a whole group to help them get the routines down for when we transition into centers with table groups. The Rr Art center for the week was a capital Rainbow and a lowercase road. For the capital R I just traced the R and lines and discussed colors of the rainbow with the class. They colored and I had them glue on cotton balls for the clouds. For the lowercase r, I cut out black construction paper rectangles and arcs and had the students glue them onto some more construction paper. They then took a white crayon to draw the dashes of the road and I gave them five bus/car stickers to decorate. I had students put the stickers on their hand and asked if they got x amount of bus stickers how many cars would they get? Here are some student samples.

R is for rainbow/road.

This week I also introduced our Make-a-Book center. Every week I choose one read aloud book and have the students make their own copy for their book box. It's a great way to hit concepts of print, sight words, narrative analysis, and incorporate familiar reading all at the same time. I always ask students to put their hands on their hands if they like the book after a read aloud (they always put their hands on their head haha). I tell the kids, unfortunately I don't have enough copies for everyone to have so why don't we make a copy instead? This week since our Letter of the Week was Rr our focus story was The Little Red Hen. I used the Paul Galdone version. As a class we discussed and defined what characters are and what a summary is. We summarize the story together (of course I ever so gently guide them to the summary that I have waiting for them in my pocket chart already ;D).

The sight word I was targeting this week was the word 'see'. At the beginning of the week we added it to our word wall. After we read over our summary I had students come up and highlight the word 'see' on our pocket chart story. They then work on a page a day and complete their own book. I print the boxed words all mixed up on a strip and have students cut out the words and glue them in the right order. It teaches them word boundaries, that sentences start with a capital letter, and that sentences end with a period. We worked on 'I' and 'a' last week so introducing 'see' this week just made sense. Many students will glue words upside down and out of order the first time. I just help students with these mistakes as I circulate the room. These books will be used as familiar reading so I want to make sure that they are done correctly. Students are encouraged to make those kinds of "errors" in their journals. Here are some student samples. I have some artists in my classroom huh?

Math center activities were the same as last week. I just switched out the theme to align with words that started with our Letter of the Week. (i.e. Rainbow number strips and counting rockets instead of apples). We also graphed R's. Student learn how to sort the R's by color and then graph them. The kinder-friendly definition for a graph that I use is "a graph is something that shows us information".

First year teacher tip #24 - Have your kid-friendly definitions ready ahead of time! I've been caught trying to define a word/concept at the kinder level and found myself struggling to do so when put on the spot.

I was super bummed out we didn't get to journals this week. I managed to squeeze in some interactive writing on the last day of the week and enough time for one independent journal entry. Le sigh. Next week for sure! I hope you enjoy the three day weekend! Happy teaching!

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