Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Daily 5 Rotations

I was a HUGE fan of traditional literacy centers for years. I still think they are wonderful but have really grown to LOVE the Daily 5 this past couple of years.  I've implemented this approach very slowly each year adding new bits and pieces of the approach as my particular classroom needs would allow. 
The only real problem I kept running in to was just HOW to get the Daily 5 / CAFE up and running at the beginning of the school year.
For a couple of years I found myself introducing the components very slowly  by lots of practice and "I" anchor charts. That was good and I didn't overwhelm my kids, however I needed to keep them busy while I was working with groups. So as a result I would end up rotating kids through literacy centers until I was ready to begin letting them make their own choices about their daily literacy activities. 
For me the result was always the same...."ok" engagment levels and kids fussing becuase they really wanted to work on another activity when I assigned them someplace else.  As soon as I was comfortable to begin letting them make choices this always improved.
Don't ask me WHY I didn't just jump in at the beginning of the year with the program. I really don't have an answer other than I was just becoming familiar with Daily 5/CAFE and was working at my comfort level. 
However this year is a MUCH different story! This year Daily 5 has just worked for me from the very beginning. I really didn't introduce anything differently ....I just jumped right on in and my kids are benefitting from this.  Yay!
So now we are in the midst of week 5 of Kindergarten.  The whirlwind known as the beginning of the year is settling and we are becoming quite engaged in our literacy choices.  I'm even beginning to be able to work with strategy groups and individual readers. So exciting!!
Today I'm sharing our Daily 5 and Cafe board. I'm also including some of our literacy choices that we are able to choose from this week.  At this time I'm able to have three large group lessons and two rounds of Daily 5. I'm hoping to add another round of Daily 5 when we get a little quicker at clean up and choice making. 
Enjoy....I hope you find something useful! =)
Our Daily 5 Board
Inside the frames on our board I write what some of the choices are. For instance with "read to someone" they can choose to read to each other from their book tubs or the apple charts and apple big books located in our group area. 
Our CAFE Board
We are obviously just getting started with this. So far several stategies have been introduced.  We have spent a lot of time discussing popcorn words and using our picture clues. Below is one of our books we can choose for "Read to Self" which allows the reader to focus on these two strategies.
Letter Work   Word Work    Name Work
Located near our word wall/name wall is our light table where the kids can paint their popcorn words.

In this same general area is our table with playdoh letter stampers for stamping popcorn words.
I like to include name work as part of our word work choices.  This week the kids can find their name card and add a self portrait to it to go on our name tree. They are also able to practice spelling their name with letter magnets. 
Reading to Someone / Reading to Myself / Listening to Reading
As mentioned above we have several apple charts and big books for "reading to someone."  My former "charts and big book center" from my literacy center days has worked out great as an option when working on "read to someone." On our stage (not pictured) we have a reading area where the kids can work on "read to myself" and an additional  CD player is also located here for "listen to reading."
Working on Writing

Although the picture is blurry you can get the general idea. For now my beginning writers are using our thematic word books and word lists located in our writing center to help them finish a page for a class book.  "I  am a ___________ apple."

More ....Working on Writing / Read to Myself
In our science center we have a real sunflower!! We are working on writing by drawing/writing our observations of the sunflower and I have several sunflower books for them to use for "reading to myself" once they are finished with their observations. 
For now a quick scan of the room allows me to check off what choices the children make in order to ensure that they are getting to everything (weekly for now and hopefully daily soon.)  We also have a partner reading time during the day (using our familiar book tubs) and an additional writing time. 
For now I'm feeling good about how Daily 5 is working in my room. I would love to hear how it is working for some of you that are trying it as well!  Have a great week!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Math Stations for 0-5

Week four of Kindergarten for us! Now that all of the procedures, rules and expectations have been taught we are really ready for some learning fun! I've slowly introduced my math stations and just a bit of small group math.  For the time being I've mainly had free exploration of manipulatives and some sorting and counting puzzles as activities in my stations.  The major focus in my room this past week was getting our Daily 5 literacy choices up and running so I needed a bit of help from one of my colleagues for some math station ideas to get our new math week rolling.  Mrs. B was more than willing to share her math stations from this past week....she was sooo excited about how well her math station time was working in her class!! I was just as thrilled that she was willing to share! =) 
So here is a peek at some of her math stations from this past week which focus on 0-5.  These are the first round of stations for her room this year and as I mentioned she was thrilled with how well they did with them.  =)

Play doh number mats from

Number cards and counters

A self checking counting activity. I LOVE activities that they can self check!

Counting grids and simple yet so effective. =)

I love the pattern block number mats. Again from

Last but not favorite! It's just a simple counting cup activity but since Mrs. B didn't have enough large tweezers she put in plastic forks for them to practice scooping / counting the small fish with.  I believe her kiddos have had a lot of fun with this one! 

I'd like to thank Mrs. B again for sharing her math station ideas. Easy peasy yet a great way to get the little ones started with their math station rotations! I'm looking forward to sharing next week how my Daily 5 rotations are going. We are off to a great start!  Have a great week!
                                                                                                                     Mrs. M

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Student Binders and Name Work

We made it through our second full week....which in my opinion went very well. Especially considering I had a nasty fever / sore throat during the first full week of school. 

Getting sick during the first full week of school is




Ever......for any Kindergarten teacher.  I'm thankful it wasn't the first day of school though! That is not something I ever want to experience.

Many of my poor kiddos had it too and are still recovering this week. :(    Let's hope we have it out of our systems now and can get on with some amazing learning fun! 

Now that we are back on track we are beginning to get really busy during our literacy block.  I try to incorporate as much of The Daily 5 / Cafe as possible.  I, like many teachers, have my own spin on it but it works for me.  As part of our "word work" I like to also include "name work."  This is particularly helpful at the beginning of the school year.  So starting this week it will be a new choice when working on word work!  

Here is a picture of our name work area/post office center. For now it is very basic. I begin to include more and more materials as the year progresses.

Later in the year I create an "address" book for my kids using their pictures/names and mailbox number. For now we are using the name tree to help us with the spelling of our names.

This week while working on name work the kids are asked to practice spelling their names with various magnetic letters.  They are also able to create a bingo dotter name page. 

They are thrilled any time they get to use the bingo dotters!

I also wanted to share the student binders I'm using with my kids this year.  Over the years I've used student folders and even purchased student planners.  Both of these left me at the end of the day finding student papers all over the room and parents often wouldn't get important notes or information.  UUUGGGHHH.

This summer I put together a class set of binders. Each binder includes the following:

A copy of my class information packet.  Helpful for parents if they have any questions about general items of information in my room throughout the year. 

A copy of my behavior system

Their monthly behavior calendar.  I put these in the very front of the binder so they are easy to mark at the end of the school day. 

A copy of our popcorn words.  This is located in a tabbed homework section of the binder.  Very helpful as a homework resource since it stays in the binder the entire year. 

I also include an alphabet/sound chart as a homework resource.

Located right behind the behavior calendar is a pocket for notes and lunch money. 

So far so good with the binders! I love not finding papers all over the room and everything seems to be making it home to the parents. :)  I can't wait to see how these hold up for an entire school year!

Wish me luck that they do....they took FOREVER to put together.

Have a great week!
                                                                                              Mrs. M

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