Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Letter Writing

Over the past few days, we have read several books about gardens.  The story The Gardener is written in the form of letters.  The little girl writes letters to her mother, father, and grandmother, while she is helping at her uncle's shop.  The kids were really fascinated by the format of the book.  Several kids commented on the way the letters actually tell the story. 

Sometime, over the next week and a half, I'd love it if you could have your child write and mail a letter to someone.  Letter writing is a fun and exciting way for kids to communicate, especially if they receive a letter in return! I told the kids that they can bring the letter in to read to the class first, if they would like.

Happy writing!

Monday, April 25, 2011

My New Literacy Blog

I have a new blog I'd like to share with you!

Love, Laughter, and Literacy is my new literacy blog. It's not just about practicing sight words and learning phonics rules. It's about connecting our life experiences to our literacy lives. Most of you know I'm passionate about early childhood literacy. This is my way of connecting my home life to my professional life, and sharing it with you along the way.

Simple things like planting a garden or baking cookies contribute to literacy development in our children.

I hope you'll come join us as we experience life like every day is a field trip!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's the Little Things

I always find that it's the little things that inspire big writing.

Miss Smith shared some donated cabbage plants with our classroom. The kids were so excited to see real-live-plants in the room. We talked about the things plants need to grow and then invited kids to write poems.

Oh my! The poems were beautiful.

The kids got to take the cabbage plants home. We hope you are able to plant them in your yard and watch them grow!
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Here's a really interesting video posted by Children's Hospital on Autism Spectrum Disorder. 1 out of every 150 kids will be diagnosed with ASD.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sensory Images and Poetry

We have been writing poetry in kindergarten.  We don't write the rhyming kind of poems. Those are much too challenging for kindergartners.  We write free verse poems and just write our thoughts and ideas.  To help get our thoughts going, we try to engage our senses.  We talk about things we feel, see, smell, touch, and taste.  Last week, we were able to engage all of our senses as we made rolled sugar cookies in class. 

I have to say, I think the tasting part was our favorite!  During our writing time, we used the sensory chart we had created to help us brainstorm a class poem.  Here is our rough draft.

When we are writing poetry, we talk about the difference between a phrase and a sentence.  We decide where to put capitals and punctuation.  We also make changes in our poems as we re-read.  Writing poems as a whole class is always interesting.  You never quite know what you are going to get, or the direction a class will take a poem.   I will be sharing more of our poetry work in the coming weeks!

Happy writing!
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mental Images

This week we have been diving into our work with mental images and poetry.  So, why am I showing you pictures of math manipulatives and workmats?

We read a story this week about a dream city.  The city had beautiful patterned walls and three buildings.  All of the buildings were different.  I asked the kids to close their eyes and picture what this city might look like.  Then, we built the city we had imagined.  As I'm sure you can guess, all of the walls and buildings were different.  No two cities were alike.

This lead us into the conversation that our mental images are different because our experiences are different.

What are mental images and why do we teach this in kindergarten?

Mental images are the pictures we paint in our minds.  If we are reading a story without pictures in the book, we sometimes picture what is happening in the story.  It's like a movie taking place in our brains.  As we hear stories, and make pictures in our brains, we are making connections.  The images we create are also linked to our memories, deepening those connections.  Creating mental images helps reading comprehension, enhances our memories, and lets us really appreciate the texts we read. 

Your kids will hear the term "mental images" throughout their reading curriculum in school.  As you are reading to your kids at home, ask them to describe their mental images.  Have them paint the pictures they are seeing in their mind.  Create, make connections, and comprehend!  It's what reading is all about!