Saturday, October 13, 2012

From Apples to pumpkins...

We have had a wonderful time learning about apples. Here is a recap before we move on to pumpkins and then to bats and spiders!

 We started our unit by building an Apples have, are, make chart. We added to it everyday.
We learned about the life cycle of apples. We watched a movie on Johnny Appleseed and talked about how important it would be for johnny to carry seeds, because a tree would be WAY too heavy. 
We learned about the parts of an apple. The kids cracked up at calling the white part of the apple "flesh". 
We made an Apple Glyph for the whole kindergarten! The kids LOVED seeing it on the wall. And we graphed what color apple we liked the best after we tasted apples. I forgot to take a picture but it is a grade level graph and is hanging in the hall. 
 
After learning all week we had an apple celebration where we tasted a lot of things made from apples. We had apple pie, apple chips, apple butter, apple jelly, apple cereal... you get the idea. LOTS of things are made with apples. 


 We also made applesauce in the classroom. It smelled SOOO good. I have a special baby crockpot for the classroom. We make LOTS of things in my room. 

 Now we are moving to pumpkins and then on to bats and spiders. I can NOT wait to get to spiders and bats and all the creepy things of the night!! We will add some science of the moon and stars too!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Have I mentioned how much writing has changed for me???

I am so excited!! This is one happy writing teacher. It's very hard for me to think about how a year ago I dreaded writing workshop with my kids! I (gasp) hated it! So if you read this often enough you know about my summer at the LR Writing Project's summer institute. OMG... talk about rocking my world! And I am SOOO glad that it did. See I walked in to my new school with the attitude that we all were story composers! Not a word had to be on a page... hello one of my MOST FAVORITE books is Tuesday by David Wiesner. And there are only like 3 words and a few times!! So I love my budding authors! I wanted to share how I am running writing workshop now that I have a new found understanding and teaching method. And I honestly wish that I could say that on Monday we do this and Tuesday is this but I don't even plan that way for writing workshop. Here is what I do....

In a week we have a mini lesson journal where we practice our mini lesson. These are usually single page prompts... my homage to the districts required one page one prompt directive. The first nine weeks have been about details in our pictures and labels.  Why so long? Well I realized that so many of these kiddos needed nothing more than time to get their minds wrapped around the idea that they could do it on their own. There are usually 3-4 pages in our journal. We do interactive writing every morning and we revisit these too in the afternoon when we pick out parts that we want to look at (think editing lessons or counting words and sentences). We practice some days on white boards and other days we work on collaborative works that will become classbooks. But everyday we write our own books. That is everyday the children can work on a past work from their writers notebook or they can start a new one. I don't have a set order of things, although we usually do a mini lesson on Monday (unless there is an assembly). And usually later in the week we work on a collaborative book- although we did that today after our mini lesson on writing sentences using a sentence frame.

Today as I met with students about their writing, I was blown away with the group of kiddos who decided, quite on their own mind you, to give me not one but TWO sentences!! Of course I have kids who didn't get the sentence part down at all... or struggled with the whole idea of sentences. I have some who can stretch words and get sounds and others who... well are still in random letter stage but they are making an attempt!

Here are some pictures from last week where the children were working on their books. You will see all kinds of stages of writing here.
(you can't really see it but the top of this one says "I see a sub."

Here are some whiteboard shots from earlier in September from a mini lesson:
( those are bats hanging from the top of the board!!! LOVE this kid!)
(look at my little over achievers!! LOL!! Lots of rebus sentences all patterned after one of our small group readers - The Toys)

I will take some pictures tomorrow of the pages we did today. I hope that you guys get excited about teaching writing too!!