Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kindergarteners Writing At Home

Last week we started having kindergarteners write at home, as part of our homework assignments. I believe writing at home, several times a week, helps students grow as writers. In half time kindergarten, we don't have as much time to sit and write as the full day kindergarten students. Writing at home, to help make up for lost time, is incredibly helpful as kids develop as writers. Over the past few years, I have observed, that having one on one support, in the home environment, has made a HUGE impact on confidence and ability of our kindergarten students.

Here are some examples of the writing kids have turned in this week.

"I had fun in the snow week."

"I built Legos in my room."

"I made 2 baskets at basketball today."

Kids should write at home, at least 3 times during the week.  As your child writes, try to encourage him/her to say the word slowly and write the sounds they hear.  In class, we use our letter sound cards for support.  Often times, kids will ask, "What does an 'm' look like?"  They may know the sound, but they are not able to recognize the letter.  Proper spelling is not as important as being able to sound out a word, the best they can, and writing the sounds they hear.  Sight words, on the other hand, ARE important to spell correctly.

I will send home 3 writing papers at the beginning of each week.  They need to be turned in at the end of each week.  (The first week, the papers were delayed in coming home because the printshop was backed up after the snow storm.)  Don't worry if your child hasn't turned any papers in yet.  Just turn them in as they go.

The goals of sending writing home as a homework assignment are to have consistent practice,  receive one on one support if your child needs it, and learn to enjoy the writing process.  If this isn't fun, FEEL FREE TO WRITE SOMETHING THAT IS FUN.  Have your child draw a picture and write a sentence to send to Grandma.  Write a mini-book and illustrate it.  Take photos on a walk around the neighborhood, glue the pictures into a book, and write about it.  It is important to keep writing fun!  If your child enjoys writing on their "homework sheet" and it makes them feel like a big kid, keep it up!  If your child would rather do their chores, brush their teeth, or pick up their room, please change up the assignment and do something your child enjoys.  You can send their assignment to school, or just write a note.  It's up to you!

Happy writing!
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Peek Into Kindergarten

Between the Holidays, returning back to school, and our week off during the snow storm, blogging has gotten away from me. I've been sharing lots of ideas for literacy in the home on one of my other blogs. (Love, Laughter, and Literacy) Finding time to take pictures in the classroom and keep you up to date on the happenings in kindergarten, hasn't been quite as easy. (Especially because we haven't been in the classroom.)

Here's a sneak peak into a few things we've got going on right now.

We made snowball snowmen, which was a great activity for small motor development. The kids tore the snowballs and really had to use their hand muscles and fingers to make the balls.

We are deep into our Jan Brett unit of study. Jan Brett has a great website, if you haven't seen it. It is http://www.janbrett.com/. There are wonderful games, activities, printables, and videos on her site. We have been learning about how Jan Brett gets ideas for her books, finds new inspiration, researches her topics, uses borders and details in her illustrations, and uses interesting words in her books. We learned a really big, new word, too. Onomatopoeia is a word that means sound words. Kids might write, "Drip, drip, drip. The snow was melting." One of the boys in our morning class wrote about his power going out during the storm. He wrote, "We were watching T.V. Pop! The power went out."

We have moved into a new unit in math. This unit focuses on the larger "teen" numbers. We are learning that 15, for example, is made up of 10 and 5 ones.

In our literacy block, we are learning to determine importance in our text. We have looked at non-fiction books to see how text features are used to emphasize important words or phrases.

Continuing with our investigation into how to think like authors and illustrators, we are looking at books like Owl Moon, to see how illustrators make choices. We decided that the illustrator wanted to make the woods seem REALLY big and imposing, in this picture. The characters in the book look so small in comparison.

Of course, we've had lots of stories to tell about our week off from school and the big storm.

Kindergarten is a pretty great place to be!

Happy Wednesday!
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