Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom Welcome to my Classroom!

How I planned my day:

I was lucky to teach an Early Bird / Late Bird program where half of the students came to school at 8:00 AM and stayed until noon while the 2nd half came at 10:00 AM and stayed until 2:00.   

During the overlap time, we did our whole group calendar, literature, our special classes (like computer lab, science lab, library, P.E., and music), and one additional 25 minute activity which could be a followup activity to anything we were doing that week.

The Academic Block:

That was the time when I had only half of my class of 24. Having a group of 12 really allowed me to  teach efficiently to 3 groups of 4 students. It was a 2 hour block of time.

Whole Group Time:

We always started with a whole group intro to the day. Whatever I was going to teach during my small group time was introduced during my 25 min. whole group time. For instance, if I was teaching about the letter C, I might read the book Corduroy.  Then, I would introduce the independent table work and front load the students with any content they will need prior to their small group lesson. 

For example:  
(Remember, I was doing this with only 12 students and I might do only 1 of the following activities.)

~We might look at photos of things that begin with hard /C/.
~We might share our "mystery item" that we brought from home that begins with the hard sound /C/.
(Students give 3 clues about the item & the class guesses.)
~ We might brainstorm more words that begin with hard /C/. 
~We might use words that begin with /C/ to finish the sentence "I like ______." The teacher writes the sentence the child says and the child comes up to sign it.
~We might watch a quick video or Brain Pop Jr. about the letter C.
~We might watch one of Heidi's videos (from about the letter C.
~We might do a Close Reading Lesson.
~We might do a Smart Board lesson.
~We might write in our journals (and with only 12 students,  I could check each journal.)
~I could teach the "signal word of the day" which might be: The teacher says, "C," and the students reply, "Says /c/ like Catina Cat," as they make a claw motion (Zoo Phonics style) with their hand. This signal word, and their reply, will signal the time for them to move to their tables to begin their independent work. 
Sample Whole Group Activities
After our whole group time, I would say the signal word, students responded with the proper reply, and they would move to their tables. That's when I would circulate to check for names on their work. I would rub a dot of scented lip balm on the top of their hand if they wrote their name neatly. Then I started calling groups for small group lessons. 

What Independent work might look like:

Students might find photos of things that begin with hard /c/ on their tables. They would choose 3 photos, draw a picture of each one on their paper, and label it. (The photos are labeled.)  Then, they might trace all of the uppercase and lowercase Cs on the dotted alliteration chant. 

You can do this on blank paper using pictures found in magazines or old workbooks or you can use the 26 templates and pictures included in my Picture Dictionary Set

You can find the dotted chants by clicking HERE.
Click the image to see the Picture Dictionary Set which includes all 26 letters and 3 pictures for each letter.
If they still haven't been called up to meet with me in a small group, they may go to any classroom center. (Centers were labeled with the maximum number of students who can play there at a time.) 
If you have a volunteer in your classroom, have them assist at the tables, supervise centers, and check work before students to to a center. 

What Small Group Lessons might look like:

Meeting with a small group.
I would call up 3 small groups to my horseshoe table during this 90 minute block. I would spend 20-25 minutes with each group. A sample small group lesson might look like this:
~Review the formation and sound for the letters C and c.
~Students are given a page with lots of pictures on it and a set of 10 Unifix cubes.
~Students place one cube on each picture that begins with hard /C/. When done, they count their cubes and link them together again.
~Students use dry-erase pens to trace and write the letters C and c on a laminated card.
~Students use a bingo marker (you can get these at The Dollar Store) to dot the letter C.
~Students use a push-pin to poke the dots on the letters C and c. Find the set by clicking HERE.
You would use all of these activities for one letter: "C"
When I was done teaching all 3 groups, I would help individual students. 

If you have a full-day class of 20-32 students (or a half-day class of 24 or more, you will have to modify and meet with larger groups at small-group time. Sign up 6th grade students to assist in your classroom during their recess time and try to get volunteers to help supervise students at independent and center time. 

How many students do you have and do they attend full-day or half-day K?


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