Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Guided Reading Series: Centers and Organization, part 3

Today I am going to share some tips for center time.

First, make the centers so that they DON'T END!  They need to be open ended centers so that your students don't ever get the chance to "finish early."  One of my biggest pet peeves is when children say "I'm done!" long before I am ready for them to be done.  During center time, my students are never allowed to say "I'm done."  They are not done until I say they are done!

One of the easiest center examples is library.  Students can read a variety of books during library center.  You may even have some graphic organizers for students to fill out about what they are reading.

Another center I have is the sight word center.  This center is stacked full of activities that students can choose from.  If they finish one, they get out another.  I change it out every so often with new sight words but it is a never ending center.  Students can hunt for words in one of my many Spot and Jot pictures.  They can create sight words from play dough. They can search for sight words in a book they have been reading.  They can play sight word Tic-Tac-Toe.  They can Read and Write the room.  So many choices.

I also have a Superkids center.  We use Superkids as our "reading program" in our school.  While it is not my favorite, it does have some good things about it.  While this center is directed towards Superkids in my school, it could be directed toward Journeys or Harcourt or whatever you might be using.  In this center, students get with a partner and partner read their choice of one of the stories from the basal (it must be a story that we have already read together as a class).  Then they may choose to do a graphic organizer about the story or one of the other activities that I have.  I took photos of the pictures of each story from the basal that we read.  I glued them to index cards and labeled them with the name of the story on the back.  Students can use these cards for sequencing, retelling, or writing (pick a picture and write what is happening in the picture).  I also laminated several of the sorts that came with the series and put them in this center.  These sorts were blackline masters that were supposed to just be extra worksheets for the kids.  Instead, I put them in a center.

Daily 5 also provides some great center ideas so that students can stay focused and working through the entire center time.
They include:
  • Read to Self  (Library Center)
  • Read to Someone (Partner Reading)
  • Work on Writing (Writing Center)
  • Listen to Reading (Listening Center)
  • Word Work  (Spelling, Phonics, Sight Words)
Some other centers that I used include Computer Center and Fluency center.  At the computer center, students get to use the Chrome books.  They LOVE RAZkids, Superkids, and Starfall.  For fluency center, students have fluency folders that they can practice with a partner, sentence strips that they can practice, or fluency games that they can play.  You can check out how I do fluency folders here.  I got the fluency games from The Moffatt Girls and my kiddos love them!  I just laminated them so that they could be used over and over with dry erase markers.

What centers are your favorite?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Confession Time

It has been awhile since I have been here with you guys.  It was quite an end to quite a year.  This year had its ups and downs.  It was just one of those years that you look back on and realize that it is no wonder you are this tired!  My kids were very energetic but they made huge amounts of growth. They worked their little bum bums off and kept me busy.  Now, I am tired.  I have been out of school for two weeks now and have spent the majority of that time just relaxing on the couch and taking naps!  haha

At the end of the school year, my principal informed me that I will be teaching Kindergarten next year.  I have not taught Kindergarten before so this will be a very new experience for me! 

Not gonna lie.... I have always secretly been afraid of Kindergarteners.  This is the third time that she has wanted to put me in Kindergarten.  I escaped it the first two times... guess I couldn't escape anymore.  I used to say that I would actually prefer to teach fifth grade over Kindergarten (because I was honestly that afraid of teaching Kindergarten!!).  I know that it really shouldn't be that different from teaching first grade.  It should be an easy transition, right???  At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Honestly, I just don't know how Kindergarten teachers do it.  Those first two months or so are what scare me the most.  The crying.  The boogers.  The bathroom accidents.  The parents....oh, the parents!  The noise.  The inability to cut, glue, use a pencil, stand in a line, go to the bathroom on their own....to do anything!  How do you survive? 

I am currently halfway between denial and acceptance.  Some moments, I think, I can do this!  I have dealt with the beginning of first grade before.  They need to be retaught a lot of these things anyway.  But then I am honest with myself and I think, NOPE!  No way, no how!  I am not going to make it.  I am going to be tied up in a corner crying by the end of the first week.  Maybe I will become just like that teacher on Billy Madison that eats glue...

Tell me it ain't so!!

But then I try to remind myself of the joys that I will experience in Kindergarten.  I will have an assistant.  Maybe she can do bathroom duty??  No, I am not that mean.  I won't make her suffer it alone. haha

But it would be nice to have another adult in the room to talk to throughout the day.  Someone to help out when I realize that I forgot that one copy or I didn't get all of the papers cut out in time. 

Another positive is how innocent and little they are.  I love little kids.  They say the cutest things and they believe EVERYTHING you tell them! ;-)  I may or may not use this to my advantage....hehe  We can really enjoy the holidays and play time and craft time.  Everything will be brand new to them.  Everything is a new adventure. 

I love to teach reading.  While I do really love to teach children how to read for the first time, there is this notion that all reading teachers should teach Kindergarten. I love teaching all aspects of reading.  But this will be a fun adventure for me.

I am looking forward to learning something new.  As you know, I love to create and I already have my mind whirling with new ideas of activities, centers, lessons, etc.  I am gaining some excitement about the IDEA of teaching Kindergarten. 

Maybe I can be more like Miss Honey instead:

I just have to keep telling myself..... I think I can, I think I can!