Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Morning of Literacy

At Chets Creek, our primary school devotes their morning to a 2 1/2 hour literacy block. This includes a Skills Block, Reader's Workshop, and a Writer's Workshop. Our Skills Block is usually around 30 minutes but at the beginning of Kindergarten it is closer to 45 minutes. During this time we work on phonemic awareness, phonics, and vocabulary. This year a group of teachers worked collaboratively to write our own vocabulary unit based on the research of Beck and McKeown (Bringing Words to Life) that deepens the “Star” books (which are narrative books read to every kindergartner). In order to help deepen our understanding we love to act the words out such as "frightened".

In Reader's Workshop we have a 7 - 10 minute mini-lesson which focuses on a reading strategy. During this time of the year, we are working on learning new literacy stations and retellings of our favorite "Star" books that we are reading for our vocabulary unit. This is where children learn the elements of retelling and enjoy acting them out. "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" is one of our favorite stories to retell.

After we are done with our mini-lesson, we have about 10 minutes of silent reading from our individual book bins. During this time, students practice what has been taught in the mini-lesson.

For the last 30 minutes of work time, we work with a group in Literacy Stations. We end our Reader's Workshop with a closing where the students are able to share what strategies he/she used during our work time. The last hour of our morning is spend in Writer's workshop. Once again we have a 7-10 minute mini-lesson followed by independent writing time. At this time of the year, students are learning how to write their own "small moments" from the Lucy Caulkins Writing Series.

When we are finished, we close with our "share chair" which provides an opportunity for students to showcase work that included the writing strategy that was discussed in the mini-lesson. What a great time for the others to learn.

To learn more about our morning of literacy, check out our class blog at

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Day in the Life of a Kindergartener

Each day in our small world we have a very structured routine. We begin with a 2 1/2 hour Literacy Block. This includes a 30 minute Skills Block, a 1 hour Reader's Workshop, and a 1 hour Writer's Workshop. It is the morning where reading and writing become part of eachother. After lunch we have a 1 hour Math Workshop which includes our new Math Counts and Math Investigations. Here at Chets Creek we are fortunate to have a resource 4 out of 5 days during the week (every day except Wed). This includes Art, Music, PE, Media, Character Education, and Science. After resource we have a 15 minutes Science Workshop. Every other Wednesday we have an extra 40 minutes where we are able to complete hands-on activities for Science. At the end of the day, our little ones are tired and are ready for some play. They love our 30 minutes of recess. Before we know it, it is time to pack up and go home. For us as teachers, another day is done and we begin thinking about tomorrow.

This week I will be discussing each part of our day on our class blog. Check it out to learn more about each part of our day.