Category: Kindergarten


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We are cruising along in Kindergarten.  At the beginning of March we transitioned into READING BOOKS!  This is such a big deal.  Learning to read is such a monumental life experience when you think about just everything you need to do at once to be able to read.  For the last several months we’ve been “practicing” getting ready to read by labeling, word by word matching, learning letters and sounds, putting sounds together, learning word parts, building simple words, and finishing sentence starters.  We’re reading basic patterned books and still working on those word by word matching skills, but we’re getting there.

IMG_0413One thing we’ve had to work on is keeping our eyes on the text unless we need to check the picture for help with a word.  Many friends memorize the pattern and only look at the picture, but when a page changes the pattern of the text then students have difficulties.  We’ve had to really work on even if we think we know the pattern making sure we are correct by looking carefully at words.

IMG_0417We’ve even transitioned from finishing a sentence Ms. Acuff has written to students actively participating in the Interactive Writing and writing the stories themselves.  They practice words on their white boards while another student adds the word to our chart.  I help with more difficult words I know they don’t know.

We still do the cut up sentence portion of the lesson, but instead of students copying the cut up sentence, they then write their OWN sentence about the story we wrote together.  Most of the kids are doing a great job of using parts they know (ee, ou, ow, oa) and applying them into their writing.  Some IMG_0416students still need a little more support and structure with the writing as this is very new for us.

I’m starting to notice students writing in capital letters as they are more comfortable with those than lower case letters and we’ve had to work on when we use capital letters and also working on letter reversals.  These are common and we just keep practicing the correct way to write them.  We’re also working on different punctuation–periods, exclamation points, IMG_0415and question marks–when do we use them and how do we make them?

We are seeing lots of great things in Kindergarten and are overjoyed with how well students are applying their phonics knowledge every day.

Whack-A-Word

img_0371I came across this awesome ipad app called Whack-A-Word and thought it was the cutest thing ever.  I don’t have ipad for all of my kiddos so I tweaked what I saw on the app and created my own using sheets for ABCs, blends and digraphs, and Jolly Phonics.  (If you want any of my materials, let me know!)  My teammate also found some stuff on Teachers Pay Teachers, but we created our own to match with what we wanted.

I took a pool noodle and cut them into about 2 inch wide slices and inserted jumbo craft sticks into a slit I made with scissors.  img_0372

The kids LOVED THIS!!! “Ms. Acuff, why haven’t we played this before?  This game is AWESOME!”  The way it works is you tell them something to find and they have to locate it and “whack the word” or in this case–the sound.  “Whack the sound that says ch-ch-ch.”  This has been a great way to reinforce letter identification and word parts for the Kindergarten kiddos who have needed some extra practice without it being so “skill and drill” with them.img_0373

Bad Zeus!

img_0261Ms. Acuff loves to write stories about her dogs Zeus and Hercules.  She read us Bad Zeus about when Zeus steals food from around the house–like pizza, pop-tarts, bagels, cookies, and more.  We like when she reads aloud to us.  She shows us where to start, which way to go, where to go at the end of a line, and models fluent reading.  These are all things we’ll be doing very soon when we start reading books at group with her.

img_0259When she was finished reading to us, we had to write a sentence about the story.  We decided we wanted to write The dog is bad.  The sentence seems simple, but it gave us lots of opportunities to use sounds we know to build words like dog and bad.  We each got a spacer to put in between our words.  We looked at our old writing to see how much easier it was to read our sentence today with those nice big spaces.

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When we were finished writing Ms. Acuff did a conference with us to talk about things we did really well and things we could work on next time–like starting our sentence with a capital letter.

img_0251Kindergartners continue to work on labeling pictures but now we add in letters/sounds we know in the word.  We are starting to know more and more letters and sounds so we don’t let Ms. Acuff do very much work anymore.  In fact, she often says, “I don’t even have a job anymore because you are doing so much on your own.”

img_0253We continue to cut up our sentences and put them back together.  She has us write our sentence underneath our cut up.  It’s still a little tricky getting spaces between our words.  Sometimes we use spaces and sometimes Ms. Acuff draws a line for each word we need so we know where to put words.  We’re making a lot of progress.  Most of us know almost ALL of our upper and lower case letters and lower case sounds.  Kindergarten is fun.

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img_0247In Kindergarten we are getting better and better at matching our words.  We still aren’t ready to write our own words and sentences yet, but we can make up sentences.

Ms. Acuff still has us label pictures and finish a sentence she started about the picture.  She then writes our sentences on a sentence strip.  She cuts it up, mixes it up, and then we have to put it back together.  She has us searching through words and looking at the beginning of the word to make sure we are right.  She has us re-read our story over and over again.  Once we have practiced our sentence and matched it then we can glue it into our writing journals.  We love using glue sticks!

img_0248After we glue our sentence into our journal then we have to write that sentence below it.  Ms. Acuff says this is the time where we can practice letter formation and spacing between words.  Making sure there are spaces between our words is still really tricky.  We need lots of reminders, but we’re getting better at remembering.  When we are finished writing our sentence then we can draw and label a picture in our journal that goes along with the story we wrote.  We love using the smelly markers.  We usually leave with lots of dots on our noses from smelling every color we use.  Ms. Acuff HATES the licorice smelly marker and we always try to make her smell it and then giggle when she says, “YUCK!  No licorice!”

img_0238We are learning a lot about the way words work in Kindergarten.  Just like the big 1st-graders, we have also been labeling pictures.  We each get to draw the line of what we want to label and Ms. Acuff shows us how to write the words by stretching and articulating the sounds in the word for us.  We help say the sounds and letters we know.

img_0237We aren’t writing sentences by ourselves yet, but we write them together!  Ms. Acuff starts the sentence for us and we finish the sentence by writing something we see in our picture we labeled.  We work as a whole group to stretch out the word and write the sounds we hear.  We might not get ALL the letters in the word yet, but that’s OK!  Our goal is to hear MULTIPLE sounds in a word.

img_0239We think we’re doing a pretty good job because WE ARE!  We even learned a period goes at the end of a SENTENCE not every single word.  This has been a challenging new skill, but we’re catching on.  We also are working on letter formation and making sure our letters go the correct way.  There sure is a lot to learn in Kindergarten!

We get to practice our one-to-one word matching by using Ms. Acuff’s big pointer.  She reads the sentences and we have to point along with her making sure we touch each word as she reads.  When she gets to the end of the line we have to go back to the next line and keep up with her.  She makes us practice this a lot!  She says this is getting us ready to read books.

ABCs and More in Kindergarten

img_0236Whew!  There is a lot of learning going on in Kindergarten.  We are working on learning our ABCs (both upper and lower case letters) and writing our names (first names right now and then last names as well when we learn our first names).  We are learning the letters in our names and how letters work.  We get to use a witch finger or a zombie finger to point to the letters and help us learn matching letters and words one-to-one.  We use white boards and markers to learn and find letters and learn proper letter formation.

Kdg Interactive Writing

IMG_8057My Kindergarten kiddos are rocking and rolling!  I’m loving the progress they have made from the beginning of the year.  We have been working on a 4 day process.

Day 1 we read a new story.  Lately I’ve been using book builder books where I get to put in a name.  I’ve been using their classroom teacher’s name, which they find funny.  Mrs. Byers has been swimming, running, jumping, eating treats, and doing all kinds of fun things in our silly stories.   We do word work with each of our stories.  We highlight these high frequency words in our book.  We’ve been working on building and writing words such as: the, in, on, see, up, can.  These are words we need to know to be ready for 1st grade.

Day 2 we re-read our silly story for practice.  This gives me a chance to see what reading strategies they are using.  Do they have word by word matching?  Do they use multiple strategies when stuck?  Do they follow the correct direction? (They do!!)  Then I have a picture that we label.  This gives them a chance to see how words look.  We work on what letter sounds they hear in the word, specifically the beginning.  They get to locate something in the picture, draw the line, and then I label it.  We have a lot of fun finding all the new things.

Day 3 we look at our picture we labeled.  We come up with a story from our picture we labeled.  Each student gets to come up with a sentence of their own.  We write our story as a group.  They each get a white board and they practice writing the words in the story.  If they know the word they get to write it on our group story.  If they don’t know the word then I get to write it.  I often have them help me with the initial sound in the word as that is something they are able to do.  They get to put in the punctuation in our story, too.  Everyone gets lots of opportunities to write on our group story.

Day 4 we re-read our group story.  We practice rereading and word by word matching.  Then they come up with their own story that they write in their personal journal.  They can pick the same sentence they said yesterday, but they have to do it independently.  I’m looking for spacing between words, punctuation at the end, and getting multiple sounds in an unknown word or the whole word for high frequency words.  They get to draw a picture at the end and I get to conference with kiddos.  I check mark each correct sound they got in the words and then show them “how it looks in a book’ and write it the correct way for them to see.

That’s our whole week!  Then we start all over with a new book and picture the next week!  We definitely work hard!

IMG_5840IMG_5841My K, 1, and 2 groups are continuing to work on Interactive Writing.  We’ve been so busy!  Learning about concepts about print to help with foundational building is super important.  We’ve been doing a lot of labeling, word building, letter finding, letter sorting, letter forming, poetry reading, and group and individual writing.  Wow!  What a mouthful, right?

After several weeks of poetry interactive writing and foundational skill building, we are ready to get our hands on some books and transition away from poetry.

We will keep working on letter sounds, formation, concepts about print, and word building.  Check back in with us 🙂

IMG_0271Today was my last day working with my Kindergarten group and I am so sad!  Just look at these adorable faces.  I will truly miss working with them.  I have really enjoyed watching them grow from not even being able  to point word by IMG_1624word to being able to produce several sounds in writing words.

Within the classrooms my kiddos have been working on a farm unit so we’ve been reading and writing about farm animals.  This last couple of weeks we’ve been working on sheep.

I read some mentor texts about sheep and our group poem was Mary Had a Little Lamb.  We had lots of practice with 1:1 matching to make sure it’s solid before the end of the school year.

After we read our mentor texts and our group poem we created our own group story.  Each student gets to contribute a sentence to the story and then they really enjoy when they get to put a word they know how to write on the group story.

IMG_1625Once our group story is finished they each get to pick a sentence from the story they want to cut apart and put back together.  Typically they choose their own sentence.  I’ve noticed they are MUCH faster and need significantly less support putting the sentence back together than when we first did it.

Lastly they were given sheep by me to color/decorate.  After they had finished creating their sheep then they had to write a descriptive sentence about it.  We’ve really been working on saying words slowly and writing the sounds we hear.  I am seeing A LOT more sounds being written down on the paper and the kiddos know most of their ABC’s which is really helping.

After they finished their own sheep story then they meet with me and I check all the sounds they got correct in their story and then I write how “it looks in a book” so they can see how the words look in comparison to just sounds.

These last 3 months have been A LOT of hard work and I’m really proud of the growth each of my kiddos have made!