We had such a great day today! We are starting our day by making sure our work area is clear of distractions; toys are put away from the workspace, and school supplies should be put in a school box until they are needed. The children did a great job finding the right math book, which is one we have rarely used but they found it and found the pages we needed. They are moving quicker in getting their supplies for the most part, although we do still have a few stragglers. It's important they stop one activity and transition quickly to the next. This is true when we are in school as well, so it's something we work on there too. We learned how to do a math sprint today. We actually did just the first part today because it was some listening to learn the routine, then the work. Math sprints occur more often in the upper grades, but we will be having more as the year goes on. The purpose of the math sprint is to build speed. The children need to think fluently, stay focused, and work quickly and accurately. We will usually do the exact same paper two times in a row. The children are given a specific time limit so they have to start together and end at the same time, although they may not have finished the page. We count to see how many problems they finished at the end of the first sprint, and they try and do better on the second sprint. We will do the sprint we did today again tomorrow. Automaticity and fluent thinking are important for learners in all subject areas. In math, we want them to have strong, basic skills so that is where our sprints will often be found. In reading, we work to have kids read words, especially sight words, quickly, not sounding them out but just knowing them automatically. We work toward that in spelling those words as well, and in learning parts of words that can be used quickly in writing. This is why Orton Gillingham is such a great methodology and why kindergarten is so happy that we are able to implement this year.
We are working in math with the concept of one more, and looking at how it looks with cubes in a staircase, which will help them to visualize this, and will be a good foundation for addition.
In reading, we talked again about the characters from The Tortoise and the Hare. We talked about what the characters were like from what happened in the story. Then, the children wrote an opinion piece about which character they liked best. They know they need to state their opinion and a reason that is related to the story. I have done a lot of modeling in writing so far this year, and they have copied a lot so far. I'm starting to pull back some and encouraging them to stretch out the words and write the sounds they hear. They are really doing a great job. I don't see them looking frustrated, and although they are not writing much yet, they are attempting and getting something down. I put some words up they can copy, for example today they could copy tortoise or hare. Using resources is a good strategy to learn as a beginning reader, but we don't want the children to become overly concerned about conventional spelling of words that they haven't learned yet. For shorter words, they are learning how to finger tap with their "other hand" to hear the sounds.
We talked about leaders again today. We focused on George Washington. We studied the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware river and talked about what we noticed. I was happy to see we have a couple children who are very interested in history! Ask me to tell you what I learned about George Washington!
Reading groups went so well today. The children needed to write about George Washington, do three math papers, and read a book if they finished before groups were done. The times I checked back in with the big room, I found almost every child working, and it was quiet! I'm not going to brag because EVERY teacher knows when you do that, the next day will be crazy! But they were really good! I surprised them with a reward of watching an episode of Charlie and Lola, and we actually ran a little late today doing that, but it was worth it! They seemed to really enjoy it.
One of the kids asked in the morning if we could do a craft. I told them couldn't but if we have a good day today, and a good morning tomorrow, we would be able to get through what we needed to do and we would do a craft in the afternoon. So I'm hoping tomorrow afternoon, we will be making a scarecrow. If you happen to have construction paper, or old scrapbooking paper, your child would love to use it for their scarecrow. If not, no worries! They can use plain paper and color it to make their scarecrow. We will be focusing on following directions and cutting.
Have a great evening!