Saturday, September 8, 2012

Letter of the Week: Tt

And just like that another week has gone by. I've taught for a little over three weeks now and everyday I love my students more and more. In grad school, one of my professors showed us an activity called unfortunately/fortunately. It might have been called fortunately/unfortunately, but I personally subscribe to the bad-news-first-then-good-news-after school of thought so let's just go with it. You tell your partner one thing that is going not so well and one thing that is going well about your day, week, whatever. I thought I would engage in this activity today. So unfortunately, I'm still a little frustrated with the lack of continuity across subject matter in my curriculum. Fortunately, I'm really starting to get into the hang of getting my lesson plans done much more efficiently! The great thing about kinder is that once you have your routines in place then all you have to do is fill in the activities with new letters or themes, etc. Building the structure that works best for you however, is the hard part. My schedule very closely resembles the schedule that I used when I was student teaching. Roughly speaking, this is what our day looks like.

This week our LOTW was Tt and for the LOTW Art center activity we made Trees and tigers. If you saw my kiddos working this week you would not believe me if I told you just two weeks ago they had trouble cutting and following basic directions. I can't believe how far my students have come! In that sense, they are really letting me know that they are getting ready to start center rotations pretty soon. I'm a little torn because in two week my students will have a two-week vacation for their fall break. Ugh! Hopefully they will still be able to get into the groove of our classroom routines quickly upon return.

T is for tree/tiger.

Our Make-a-Book this week was based on the read aloud of The End by David Larochelle. It's a story that starts at the end and works its way to the beginning of the story. My students loved this book! I think it would have been an excellent book for teaching sequencing as well or even introducing the word 'because'. I wanted to hit characters, summary, and fiction one more week so after the read aloud I had students name characters from the story which I listed on our Smartboard. We then picked our three favorite characters for our Make-a-Book. Our sight word this week was 'the'. Students complete one page a day and have to cut out jumbled up words to make their sentences, illustrate their page, and then read to a teacher before they put the completed book in their book box for familiar reading at the end of the week.

For math this week, I started to feel some pressure to start following the pacing guide as I have to do benchmark math testing next week. My district uses enVision, which I'm not the biggest fan of, but being a first year teacher I'm not going to deny the value of having lessons that are all spelled out for you already. I like to use teacher manuals more as a resource than the beef of my curriculum though. Anyway, according to the pacing guide I'm behind four topics in math so, against my first year teacher zeal, I went ahead and taught Topic 1: Sorting and Classifying. Target math vocab/concepts this week were: same (alike), different, and the sorting rule.

I just realized I haven't been posting up my lesson plans like I used to... I do keep electronic copies of all of my plans so please email me if you would like them. I'm more than happy to share.

First year teacher tip #162 - This one might be specific to kinder, but I found that what really helped motivate my students to work diligently was telling them that when the big hand was on X then that meant time was up. I noticed students looking up at the clock and finishing their work at a pace that was much more conducive for center rotations than what I had previously observed one week ago.

Next week our LOTW will be Ee and for math we will cover Topic 2: One to Five. Happy teaching!

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