Oh my word…this was the longest week EVER! I’m thinking that whole Thanksgiving Break thing is just not quite long enough because this week seems to have been at least 3 weeks in one. I’m not really complaining though knowing there are only 10 more school days till our winter break! That being said, December has definitely arrived in our classroom–check out what we’ve been up to this week:
1. Reindeer Readers Our reading pointers for this month are these cute little reindeer on popsicle sticks. My little friends were thrilled to use these as pointers this week- I really think it actually makes some of them read better (or at least makes them pay more attention to the words/letters on the page). 🙂
2. Christmas also became a part of our daily Phonemic Awareness practice this week. My students are totally obsessed with these- I have a different set for each day of the week (all Christmas/winter related) and they just love decorating the tree, adding reindeer to Santa’s sleigh or whatever else it is that they are doing. It makes saying the sounds in words that much more exciting for the first few minutes of our group time together. You can check these out here and here!
3. Read the Tree Freebie One more Christmas themed activity we did this week was our Read the Tree CVC word practice. Some of my kinder friends (and maybe 1 or 2 of my 1st grade friends) tend to frequently say the sounds in words so well and then completely change all the sounds to make a totally different word when they put it all together. For example- the word bat- they will say the sounds ‘b-a-t’ and then say something like ‘red’. Hm?? Please tell me your friends do this too? So this week I made a really big deal about how we can’t just make up a totally different word that doesn’t follow the sounds we just said- they thought this was too funny because I would say something totally ridiculous like ‘penguin’ after saying the sounds in ‘set’. They clearly thought I sounded very silly, but hadn’t realized yet that they were doing the exact same thing! The best part was each day after I said it initially one little friend would provide a non-example without my prompting. It’s actually really cute to hear their non-examples, but I was like ok, can you give me an example of doing it the right way now?? 🙂
Common Core Alignment:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.2d Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words.1 (This does not include CVCs ending with /l/, /r/, or /x/.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
Basically for this, each friend had their own set of Christmas tree words in front of them (with different vowel sounds) and they used their Reindeer Readers to practice reading the words each day. They got a new page of words each day and it only took about 1-2 minutes so we used this as a warm up before our reading. I have to say by today, I’m feeling pretty good about most of their ability to read the words without making up something totally different! Now, hopefully this sticks with them… You can download your own copy here!
4. One more CVC idea we did this week that only takes a few minutes- and requires minimal materials: I draw some pictures on the board and have my little friends come up and write the word next to the picture using their knowledge of letter sounds. I know you must be super impressed with my artistic talents! 🙂 My little kinder friends actually frequently are amazed by how “I can draw everything so well”-which is yet another reason why I just love teaching little ones!
5. One last thing from the week…I don’t know what happens in your guided reading groups, but even if my little friends are reading at the same level, they still definitely read at different paces. As a result, I have some who finish the stories with time to spare before the others are done. One way I keep that little friend busy while the others are finishing reading the story is by having him/her do a mini reading response on the iPads before we can all have a deeper discussion of the book. I just loved this little reader’s cute drawing of the end of the story! (This drawing was done in a favorite free app of ours: KidsDoodle.)