I'm excited for chapter 3!! One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of the year is set up my Circle! I usually save this for last. It's so fun to organize my white boards, markers, songs (this year I'll be using Heidi's Songs), books, puppets, etc.
* I linked up using Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten*
1. Establish a gathering place for brain and body breaks.
I call my meeting area the "Circle." The only time it actually becomes a full circle is when we spread out to do games. However, none of my kids have ever called me on this :) This picture was from the beginning of the year. At this point, I didn't have our songs hanging from the easel yet (on a ring, of course for easy access). Our calendar journals are immediately to the left of my green chair. My kids have taken ownership of our calendar journals...which is great when I am absent. The good thing is, the books are at the kids' level so they can help me pick/find books. On the flip side, the books are at the kids level and sometimes there are wandering hands.
2. Developing the concept of "good fit" books.
When I talk about "Good Fit" books, I have done the "shoe" example from The Sisters. However, my kids looked at me like I was crazy. Then they asked to play dress up in my shoes. Instead, I used a friend's car magazine. Flipped through it, read (with obvious difficulty). I asked my kids if they liked how I read. Being courteous KDG'ers some said yes. But then I picked up "Watch Me Throw the Ball" by Mo Willems, and read with fluency and expression. I asked which was better...the car magazine or Piggy & Elephant. Clearly, they loved when I read our Piggy & Elephant book. This is a great segue into choosing good books.
3. Create anchor charts with students.
This has been a great experience with my kids. I waited a couple of months this year to do this. Since this was my first year in KDG, I knew that we needed to experience all types of books before discussing what it's like to be a good reader. We usually make an anchor chart discussing how to read. Again, I use the car magazine as reference. I model for the students how to read: using the pictures, the words or retelling a story from memory. All of my kids were able to feel successful. The kids helped me create the sentences and we shared the pen for beginning sounds and the "I can..." part of the chart. I drew the pictures with their help. Thankfully, no one laughed at my stick figure children :)
The Read to Self chart was definitely more in-depth. This took some honing to make sure we used the kids' language...also to make sure it was legible. I had these posted above the chalkboards in my classroom. Depending upon the nature of the anchor, some I had closer to eye level.
4. Short, repeated intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes.
We started with 1 minute. The kids were so excited to read *like me*
The book boxes were hugely successful. This is one of the few things that has gone well consistently over my last few years teaching with D5. On the left, you'll see our "Star of the Week" chart...after the start of the year, I replaced this with our word wall. To the right, you'll see my rolling cart & book baskets.
I have my book baskets set up and ready to go at the beginning of the year. This picture was taken before I received my class list. What I've found to be the most useful...I purchased 36 (yes 36...my last year in first grade was a big group).
I bought these from Target/Staples: Book Baskets
I bought this at the Container Store: Rolling Cart
To facilitate distribution of the baskets, each table has a captain. The captains pass out the baskets. This year, by the time the baskets were used, the kids knew how to read each others' names. However, next year, I may write the students' names & include a picture on the basket.
This I definitely need help with. I have used the thumb over the heart. However, after a while, it lost meaning with my KDG'ers. I need more practice with checking in & calming signals....time for me to
6. Using the correct model/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors.
I hate to say it, but this is usually the funniest part of this whole D5 process. While it's hard to sometimes remain positive, I have found that using the "offender" as the positive force, then the child often feels ownership over certain behaviors. I mentioned above about my KDG'ers loving to hug....she stopped asking after I had her model the correct behavior. While it's hard to say no to the hug...she took ownership of ignoring me and pretending I was not there. The funny thing too, when the kids model the incorrect behavior, they get so many laughs...that it somewhat deters the students from incorrect behaviors. From time to time, I'll put on a big scene modeling incorrect behaviors. The kids think it's funny that I'm acting more childish than they are. It's worked so far :) Aside from this, we go over our R2S chart every day. Although I'm sure they tire of it...it helps them to focus on reading. They're able to internalize what R2S is all about.
**Any ideas to help me with signals & checking in?**