What Are You Teaching? August 14

It feels like FOREVER since I've done a What Are You Teaching? post. It feels good to be back in school! Here we go for week 1 of a brand new school year!

I made a quick visual lesson plan so you can see all of the activities and books I am reading this week to introduce Daily 5 and Writer's Workshop this week. I'll follow with links and ideas.

Morning Work: 
After our morning meeting students go to their seat and complete this morning work.

This is the 5 minutes a day I check their home/school folders, take attendance, and put out fires (aka help fix bad moods). I also use these to introduce the alphabet the first six weeks of school. We introduce the page and then students can work for a few minutes independently (baby steps!). When they are done they raise their hand (great procedure to get in place day 1) and I come by to check their work (include a little praise) and then they get to go to a fine motor station until every is done. I'm going to blog about my fine motor stations later this week, I'm still setting those up!

Read to Self:
This week we are introducing Read to Self by reading wordless books together. This week my job is to convince them that they are already readers! I think our first couple of days last week gave them a good start but I really want to hit it home this week. Here are some affiliate links to the books we will be reading this week. I blogged about how I use these HERE. This is truly one of my favorite lessons to teach in Kindergarten!  

Daily 5 Word Work Station:
We will introduce the simplest of centers this week to get our routine down. I add pictures to our center boxes so students can see exactly what they need to do in the center. I also include a white board and a dry erase marker so they can write the alphabet if they finish early. Here are a couple of examples of the pictures. All of our centers are just gobs and gobs of letter practice. 
 You can get this center HERE along with  some other great letter recognition activities. 

Reading Street: 
Our first story is The Little School Bus. I'm excited about our centers because I spent most of June revamping them. I made new activities to go with each story and some crafts too. We start pretty simply with some letter naming activities for A,B,C,D, and E, a little rhyming activity and a comprehension page to introduce character. Later in the week we will do the school bus activity shown here: 
You can see this unit in my TPT shop HERE.

Writer's Workshop: 
This week we will be introducing the very beginning steps of Writer's Workshop. I will read Look! Look! Look! to get them looking at ME while we are at the rug. It's a great book for that! The next couple of days we read Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Partners to talk about how we sit with our partner and share our story before we go back to our seats. I also read Too Much Noise, one of my all time favorites because it is really good for group participation. 

I am really excited to start our new curriculum Math in Focus. I help pilot it last year and our district just adopted it. It's really nice to get a fresh new box of learning materials and this one is especially good because it's not super overwhelming! 2 Teacher manuals, 2 big books, and some work books. It's very hands on and incorporates a lot of collaborative learning. I can't wait to see where it takes us! 

With any math curriculum you still need that handwriting practice in kindergarten. We will be using Daily Math Review as our warm up (or cool down) in between activities. It includes a lot of writing instruction for the numbers 0-5 in the beginning and then moves on to 6-10 and beyond. It also gives students a chance to count and solve problems in an easy 5 question format. 

Phew.....almost done! 

Unit of Study: Alphabet
Our unit of study will become our social studies/science time once we are all done introducing the alphabet. For now every afternoon we use these activities to help us #1 introduce the alphabet and #2 introduce activities like cutting, gluing, listening to directions, coloring (properly) and writing. 
This week we are completing the pages for C,D,E, and F. 

That is our week! We had 2 1/2 days last week that were mainly just a mix of trying to sit at the rug and taking bathroom breaks. If we can get more than that done this week we will be winning! 

Back to School 2017

Are you ready for back to school? I am! Actually, we already had our first day of school and we are just about in full swing. It was a great first 3 days of school and I know next week will be even better as we begin to build some routines. Here are a few of my favorite things from the first day. 

You are "of-fish-ally" in kindergarten! 
I had a spot ready for every student with a water bottle (super important!), gold fish, coloring page, and this year I added a little pencil box with manipulatives inside. It went great! I was able to answer parent questions, calm nervous kiddos, and keep everyone in their seat while we got our bearings in the first 15 minutes. Everyone enjoyed coloring this page from Creative Lesson Cafe and I am keeping it for their portfolios. Oh, they enjoyed the snack too! You can get the labels for free HERE!

Morning Meeting
I wanted to start the first day off right with a morning meeting so I could get that routine rolling. I liked adding this question to the end of our morning message. We read First Day Jitters first to show that even teachers can feel nervous on the first day. Most of my kiddos said they were happy or excited but a few were honest and said they were sad or nervous. We only had 2 cryer's this year, so most of them really were just happy or excited! 

First Day Name Project
This is my FAVORITE back to school project! My mentor teacher showed me this about 12 years ago when I first started kindergarten and I still love it every year! This was the first year I got to actually take part because (long story) I've shared 2 half day classes with another teacher and she always did this with them but I got to enjoy the fruits of her labor. We went full day this year (no more sharing two groups) so I got to do it this year! It wasn't as easy as I remember! I blame it on a clogged glue bottle but the instructions are pretty simple: 

  • Trace each child's name on black or white paper in pencil. 
  • Prepare small pieces of rainbow construction paper. 
  • Trace the first letter of each child's name with glue and give them a red piece of construction paper. 
  • Students tear tiny pieces to cover the glue. 
  • When students finish their letter I have them raise their hand (good teaching moment on the first day) and I come by and trace the next letter with glue and give them the next color (orange, yellow, green, blue...) 
  • Have some bins with manipulatives ready for them to use if they finish fast! 

I love the result! We hang these in the hallway and they stay there all year. We usually do white paper but went with black this year. I love how they turned out! 

Ok, last but certainly not least...I got this cute "Happy First Day" treat from one of my sweeties. It was SO GOOD at about 3:30 after the first day of school when I was totally exhausted and totally forgot I was on a diet. Oh well....every delicious calorie was worth it! 

What are your favorite activities to do on the first day? There are so many options! Our first day went great, I hope yours does too! 

Here are all of our favorite Back to School Rules and Procedures to introduce in the first few days! 

And some FREEBIE labels too!