We started working with the /g/ today In Orton Gillingham. We try to have an object that we share with the children as we introduce the letter, but since we are online, I am using a variety of things. It gave me a good reason to show the kids one of my favorite videos of all time. Please enjoy this very persistent, and naughty, goat.
Orton Gillingham is going well for the kids. They are learning the routines, learning to manage their materials and get them out and put them away quickly, and seem to enjoy it. We need to move a little quicker through it and balance it with our Benchmark and our shortened Language Arts block, so I'll be tweaking our schedule a little to fit it all in. I know we are talking about that as a team on Monday during our reading meeting.
Have a great weekend!
Today we worked on finishing our My Calm Down books. This book can be put in their Calm Down Kit to use when the children are working through strong feelings. We talked about how these strong feelings aren't always negative, that sometimes you need to calm down when you become too excited. We worked with Zen Doodling today. The children drew a shape or thing with a thick marker if they had one, then used a thin marker to make different patterns or designs in different parts of the drawing. I showed examples of the kinds of patterns or designs they could use. An important part of Zen Doodling to be very deliberate and work slowly, focusing on the lines you are drawing. I put quiet music on as the children were working. We went through this step-by-step, but one thing that is becoming more difficult is that the children begin working before I am done with directions or have modeled it. A few children drew pictures instead of a design with one big shape or thing such as a flower or fish. Some children colored in their pictures instead of doodling. I'm breaking down tasks into smaller parts to get children to listen to the directions and following them, but it's more difficult online than it is in person to get them to stop what they are doing and listen.
We wrote opinions today. We wrote a beginning sentence together, then they were to write at least one more sentence that tells their reason for their opinion. We will be working more on learning how to spell or write the sounds they hear, but I am giving them more opportunities to do this, and hope that if you are helping them, please help them by encouraging them to stretch out the word and to write the sounds they hear instead of focusing on spelling the word correctly by telling them.
We went to the Benchmark website today. Yesterday I logged in as almost every child and added Benchmark, Clever and See Saw to their favorites. I'm going to be brave tomorrow and try and get them to open a second window and toggle to Benchmark and back to Zoom. We will do this in the afternoon at the end of the day so if they accidentally close out of Zoom, you won't have to log them back on. I try and be very aware of your work situation from home so that you don't have to keep stopping what you are doing to come help, so hopefully we can learn this quickly. If you have time over the weekend, you might want to work with them on toggling between the sites. The other sites you might use are Benchmark, our Google classroom, and Clever. On Clever you could show them Tumblebooks so they could go there to hear stories read to them. Clever will already have the passwords saved so the kids won't have to find all these different passwords for the sites.
Have a nice evening!
We had a bumpy morning today! Orton Gillingham took a little longer because we added a new part in, and many children, as well as myself, had internet issues with freezing and one big drop in service. This happened in all the kindergarten classes today, so I am going to blame it on a flash sale or something on Amazon Prime!
We started to encode today in Orton Gillingham. I gave the children a three letter word to tap out and to write. In Orton Gillingham, they have the children tap with their "other hand" and write at the same time. They tap out the sounds in the word with the opposite hand they use to write. They start tapping with their pinky as they do in math for counting. Right now we are just finger tapping three letter words. As we get into longer words with more syllables, we will also be pounding out the syllables. It's important the children learn these routines now and do them with fidelity so they are a reliable strategy. We also practiced arm tapping our red words.
In Benchmark, we are finishing up our first unit. We will have a few days in between to do an end of unit test, and to do a few other reading and writing activities.
In math, we continued to work with counting to ten, writing the numeral ten, and showing ten in different configurations to learn to understand that the quantity has remained the same even though the arrangement of counters has changed. Some of the children are finishing a picture of a charm bracelet to share tomorrow. The bracelet should have ten charms in a circle. I suggested the charms be something they like.
Just a reminder that I will meet with three of our four reading groups tomorrow afternoon. I sent out e-mails to families who have children in those groups and the time they are meeting. I am looking at this reading group time online as a gift because in the classroom, sometimes it's harder to get uninterrupted longer group times, so I'm happy to get started with these groups!
Have a nice evening!
Today we started reading groups. Most days I will meet with 2 - 3 reading groups. I will meet with them for 20-25 minutes. The kids who are not in the reading group will stay online and work on classwork. Most of it will be tasks that have directions that are easy to follow so they can work independently. I also have some coloring/art type activities for them to do because this is a good way for the children to take a break and feel calm. If they are in a reading group, they may not finish all the work, but they can work on it the following day. The children who are in reading group will be reading mostly Benchmark books, but will also read some other books from Epic or that I am sharing on screen. They will also do some word work with me in the group which may be practicing red words, doing sound sorts, writing words or writing a response to their reading. Today went really well. I kept the reading group time short and we just worked on getting in to the break out room, reading together, and going back to the main room. The kids who remained in the Zoom room worked really well and were focused on their work for the most part. I have a second computer set up to monitor that room, so I can see what is going on and if anyone needs help.
I will be sending out more information next week about the Benchmark website where you can go to read with your child and play a few games if you like.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day with a collection of photographs that we analyzed and discussed. We looked for ways the pictures were the same to find out what they were showing. We found that these photographs all showed leaders.
We learned about leaders at home and leaders at school. The tricky part is that we have not been at school, and the children do not know many of the leaders at our school, so we read a short book about what principals do. I asked the children about what other leaders they know and they mentioned me, several super heroes, Paw Patrol characters and Star Wars characters! I was happy to make their list! It was mentioned, finally, that a dad is a leader, but they did not mention a president, a mom, or police officer. We will continue to talk about what a leader is and who leaders are in our community and in our country. We will also talk about how they can be leaders throughout the year by making good choices, helping others and leading by example.
In reading, we read a realistic fiction book about rules. We focused on key events in the story. This is still a rather tricky for the kids to identify. We are working to identify something specific that happened. We work on this throughout the school year. We also reviewed talking and thinking bubbles, which were throughout the book. Then, the children wrote a key detail from the book with me, then wrote one on their own.
We are starting reading groups. Today I introduced them to their groups and we worked on going to break-out rooms. Today I asked them to talk in their breakout room to find out what their friends' favorite desserts are, and to remember their name so they could tell the whole group what dessert was someone from their group's favorite. This encourages them to listen to what others are saying, and will help them learn the names of other children in the groups. Some children will change groups as time goes on, based on what they need to learn in reading and writing. Please don't be worried if this occurs, especially initially because I am going off the MAP-RF data and the data I collected on letters, sounds and words. Some children weren't as comfortable taking risks as others, so some children may get moved. I don't normally name groups because I don't want the children thinking some groups are smarter than others or groups just getting a reputation, but for online I will be naming them to make it faster to get them to breakout rooms. Our groups are named for characters from Toy Story, so we have the Hamms, the Potato Heads, the Slinky Dogs, and Rex's group. The children are so excited to start reading groups, and so am I! It will be a great way for them to get to know each other better in addition to reading instruction.
Have a nice evening!
We started our day thinking about ants again! We watched this short video and talked about what we noticed and about the message. Ask me to tell you what happens in the video that shows "we're stronger when we work together."
We looked at our National Geographic Ants book once again to identify the text features. Then we finished comparing the two texts, Hey, LIttle Ant and Ants. We will in the chart below to organize our thinking.
Have a nice evening!
We had a very busy, productive day! We started our day by studying this photograph, rehearsing what we noticed with our study buddy stuffie, then sharing with the class. Ask me to tell you what I notice about this ant.
We read two texts today about ants. We will be comparing them more tomorrow, but we took time and noticed and talked about the text features in the non-fiction book. Ask me to tell you which book is non-fiction.
National Geographic has really great non-fiction books for all age levels, but in the past ten years has really done a great job of publishing books for the youngest readers and learners. This Level 1 book is really at first or second grade reading level for most kids, but the interest level is great for kindergarten. We read part of it, stopping along the way to talk and study pictures and text features, then read the rest later. We also listened for verbs in the captions on one page. Ask me to listen as you read the captions, and I"ll name the verbs.
We also read the book Hey, LIttle Ant. This book is a good book to talk about with your kinder. It has a good lesson. I will be sending it as part of our Wednesday Work and will share it as Read to Me, Talk to Me book, like we would do in the classroom if kids were borrowing books. You will have questions to use to guide your discussion with your child and a short "project" to do after, if you choose to. It's not a requirement, but we hope with Read to Me, Talk to Me that families will read the book a couple of times over the week and use the questions that are supplied to guide your discussion. When we are in the classroom, children bring their projects from the book to school and we hang them on a bulletin board, but if you just want to take a picture and send it in, I'll share it with the class. You have a week to do these projects, and as I said, I will include it with your Wednesday Work.
We added another sound in Orton Gillingham today. We began to work with the short sound of a, which is why we were talking about ants! We will continue to work through our drills tomorrow with a, but we studied this picture to find words that started with a, or had short a in them. Ask me to name at least five things in the picture that start with or have short a in them.
We had a lesson on calm-down strategies. We talked about ten different ways to calm down, and learned about them. One thing we did was listen to music. A great way to deal with stress, sadness, or just a good alternative to time-out is to put on headphones and listen to music. I think for me what works best is to listen to calming music. We listened to excerpts from different pieces to determine if the music made us calm, or riled us up. The kids did a really great job of identifying which, until the last piece! It's such a treat for me to get to see their faces up close and watch them respond and move to the music. We also talked about movement, and one thing I told them that I had read a lot about was hula hooping to relieve stress. If your child doesn't already have a hula hoop, for some kids this can be very calming, once they have learned to hula hoop. There are even weighted hula hoops that are supposed to be even better for relieving stress. I'll be supplying a list of these strategies for the Calm-Down Kit we are working on tomorrow that you can choose to print out. We also watched some Nature Relaxation videos. I'll post some of these in our Google classroom in the next day or two. I'm not sure if you are able to see what I post in there from YouTube, so please let me know if I post things in there you cannot access. Here is an example of a Nature Relaxation video.
Have a nice evening!
We started our week with a Social/Emotional Learning lesson that focused on frustration. We studied these four photographs and talked about how they were they same and what feeling that showed. We talked about how the faces of the children, and the adult in one picture, looked and how their whole bodies even looked when they were feeling frustrated. Ask me to tell you about the word frustrated.
Here's a short video we watched to understand the word frustrated more.
We talked about one thing we can do to help us when we feel frustrated. We got the "stress heart" out of our supply bag and talked about how squeezing that is a good way to relieve some stress. This week, we will be creating a Calm Down Kit. The children will need a shoe box or medium size gift or paper bag to decorate. They will also need things to decorate the box or bag with, such as construction paper, scrap pieces of wrapping paper, cotton balls, markers, magazines, etc. to decorate the box or bag. They do not need all those supplies, just some things to decorate it to make it special. These items will be used Wednesday afternoon to make a container to hold our Calm Down Kit Items. This kit will be something your child can use when they are feeling stressed, frustrated, mad, "wound up" with excitement, or sad. There will be other items in there, and a few things I would like you to print out to include, that can be used to calm down. I need a calm down kid too!
In OG, we practiced our auditory drill as well as added the word like as a red word. We used the bumpy board and began to learn the drill for that, as well as reviewed the arm tapping to learn a new word. The kids are doing a great job learning these routines. I know space can be an issue, but having their materials for these exercises at their desk is important so we can move through them quickly.
In Benchmark reading, we reviewed the text features side bar, caption and chapter title or heading. We wrote a caption together to go with two pictures.
In math we looked for hidden partners in seven, practiced adding on one more, and showed the magnitude of numbers using the Rekenrek and moving our arms and bodies like we were going up and down on a rollercoaster. We practiced writing the number 7.
We ended our day by reading a beautiful book called Layla's Happiness, by Mariahadessa E'Kere Tallie. This beautiful book is about what makes her happy. We read the book, then listened to identify verbs on some of the pages. Then we wrote an "I like" sentence that included a verb that told something we like to do.
We had a great day, and I'm happy to say after several hours on the phone, a new gateway, paying Comcast more money for internet, and getting more holes in my wall, I think my internet is good now. Tomorrow I try out two computers online. Cross your fingers for smooth sailing!
Have a nice evening!
Today we read an information book about school rules. We did a preview of the text first and looked at text features. I went through the text features to show the students what they were and to get them familiar with the name of them. We talked about the table of contents, bold print, headings, captions and labels. We also looked quickly at the glossary and index, but we will focus on the first set of text features for now. We also talked about how information books usually, but certainly not always, have photographs. We reviewed school rules, but the book was about school rules in school, so we talked about our online rules. We made a web to organize the rules we shared.
We practiced our red word am and did arm tapping. In Orton Gillingham, they use arm tapping for several reasons. First, usually the children will have the word written on paper that they will hold in their ""other" hand, not the hand they use to write. They take the hand they write with and cross their mid-line and tap from shoulder to hand saying each letter to spell the word, then they sweep their hand down their arm and say the word. We practiced this today with am as well as can for extra practice learning the drill. As more words and letters are added to our drills, and the children are more familiar, the drills will be faster.
In math, we looked at counters in different formations to understand that just because they are moved around or farther apart, their quantity remains the same. This is a conservation task, but we also showed how many with math fingers so the children didn't recount. We are also working with subitizing so the children can look at a group of counters or dots and not have to count each one. Research shows that usually the children can see three or four easily, but then their number sense helps them to know the quantity with larger groups. Today we were spacing the counters out in parts of a work mat which is building that foundation for recognizing quantity without counting even when we are using quantities greater than four.
Have a nice evening!
Today for a social emotional lesson, we learned about the "golden rule." We read a beautiful book called The Golden Rule, by Ilene Cooper. This beautiful book shares that the golden rule is part of all religions in one form or another. Ask me to tell you the golden rule. The book also discusses how important it is to think about how others feel, in fact the grandfather tells his grandson to use his imagination to think about how others feel. We learned about the word empathy too. Ask me to tell you about empathy. Below is a read aloud of the book, and the video we watched to learn more about empathy.
We also looked at two of the texts we read last week in Benchmark for reading. We looked at what made the texts the same and what was different about them. We also did a guided writing to tell one way the two texts are similar. Here's our chart of our work.
In math, we finished up our mid-module math testing. As we have been going through our lessons, I have been able to check for understanding without having to do this long test that is usually done 1:1.
We worked on a couple of Orton-Gillingham routines that will be part of our weekly instruction. We worked with the sand trays to practice the letter sound, as well as letter formation. We use the pointer finger to trace the letter, as we say "c says /k/." Orton-Gillingham focuses on using the senses to learn, so using tactile, auditory and visual will help these sounds become more automatic so they can be easily used during reading and writing.
We also went over the red word routine. The children do not have the bumpy boards yet, but we went through using a red crayon to write on a paper on top of the bumpy board. We also did arm tapping, which is done using the opposite writing arm outstretched, with the writing hand crossing the midline of the body and starting at the shoulder and tapping down the arm while saying the letters of the red word. After tapping, the children say the word as they move their hand from shoulder to hand while saying the red word. We will be working hard to make these routines quick, so having supplies ready will be important. I'll let you know more this week about what you will be picking up and what to do with it so your child has easy access to it.
Have a nice evening!