Saturday, October 29, 2016

Literacy time: What does it look like?

Literacy is a big part of a kindergartener's day. We start off the day with community breakfast, followed by brief morning work and then Morning Meeting. After that, we launch right into Literacy time. On Mondays, we do writing during this time, usually focused on "Weekend News" (more about that on another day!). For the rest of the week, we do Shared Reading (where I teach about reading strategies and read aloud a big book, often chorally with the kids) followed by Literacy Workstations. This is one of the kids' favorite times of day! There are ten total workstations, each centered around an aspect of literacy (reading, writing, listening, speaking, phonics and problem solving).

Children visit two stations a day with their partner; by the end of the week, they'll have visited almost all the stations. The kindergarteners are becoming very independent during this time, which allows me to meet with small groups of students to work on reading. The activities at the workstations change frequently, so it's an engaging and fun way for the kids to grow their reading and writing skills. Below is an explanation of some of the stations, as well as photos of the kids in action!

1. Big Book Station
Here, students read and explore the big books that we've read aloud previously in class, as well as looking through new ones.

2. Read to Someone
Partners find a cozy chair (or beanie baby) and pull out books from their book boxes to read together.

3. Art Station
Kids use paper, colored pencils, scissors, staplers and glue sticks to create books and other pieces of artwork.

4. Loose Parts
"Loose parts" are materials that can be moved, combined, and designed in multiple ways, to enhance creativity and imaginative thinking. Right now our Loose Parts stations has clay with cutting, rolling and shaping tools. This will change throughout the year.

5. iPad Station
Our classroom iPad is filled with learning games related to reading, writing, spelling, math and science. This station is also great for learning to take turns, since there is only one tablet and two people. :)

6. Computer Station
This is always a favorite - using Ms. Woods' computer! I set up the internet browser to go to our class blog, and they click on "Websites for Kindergarteners" on the righthand side, then choose any of the learning games there. I regularly add literacy and math games to the link, after teaching the class about how to use them. Right now, we use two book-reading websites (Bookflix and Storyline Online) and

7. Science Station
This table is dedicated to the investigations we're currently doing during science time. Below, students observe, sort and draw leaves. This will change as we explore new topics in science and social studies.

8. Teacher Table
At this station, students work in small groups with me to practice reading, writing and phonics strategies. Below these students are learning to touch underneath the words as they read. They're using "reading phones" that allow them to hear their own voice while others are reading out loud next to them.

Not pictured are two more stations, Word Work and Read to Self. This time is a lot of fun to watch and participate in - if you'd ever like to come for a visit during this time, let me know!

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