Friday, November 22, 2013

Kinder-Kafe: The "Schema" of things through collaborative compr...

Kinder-Kafe: The "Schema" of things through collaborative compr...: ELACCKKRL3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings and major events in a story. So often we gather our students around...


The "Schema" of things through collaborative comprehension

ELACCKKRL3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings and major events in a story.

So often we gather our students around our chair for a story. We read the text and then to make sure we've exposed them to story elements we proceed with basic recall and ask those questions that most always prompts choral responses. " Who was in the story?" " Where did it take place?"  "What happened in the story?". You know the routine.  Pretty boring huh? While reading several books about Thanksgiving this week (and we all know they are usually chapter books with limited kid friendly illustrations) our discussions became increasingly meaningful. As a result, I began to link text to self and text to text to create mental images with real life applications for my students to grasp the concepts of such an important part of our history. During student conferences in their follow up writing workshops, it was interesting to notice the details in their illustrations. As I listened to my students read their work, ( mostly retell a story) I was amazed at the details they included without really realizing they were indeed nailing RL1,2, and 3 of the reading standards.Then, that "Aha" moment hit ME! Now, all I had to do was bring to their attention what they ALREADY knew! Again, my students had taken the lead and it was my job to follow their interest.Through collaborative conversations(Yay! An opportunity to practice another language standard.) they illustrated vocabulary words we had recorded from "Close Reading" sessions during the week .Bingo! Clearly, they began to identify story elements for character, setting and events! It was amazing to hear their vocabulary and see the details in their drawings as they shared and justified the placement of their work on the display chart. While there was no formal independent practice other than their illustrations, I felt confident my students created cognitive structure to show "schema" as defined by Mandler & Johnson(1977). Their recognition, recall,and relating to the parts of the story supported internal representation of central narrative
 elements in literature.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Write on!

I always wonder if the anchor charts intorduced during mini lessons really have a lasting impact.  Humbly, I brag on my budding writers as they brought affirmation this week to our lessons . As a wrap up with reminders, just before the work session of our writing started, several students chimed, "you gotta think it, then talk it, and then you can write it out!" I even heard "cause you gotta make sense and know what you mean when you put it on your paper!" Woo- hoo! That was music to my ears and the best part was seeing it in action during our work/conference session.  I attached a photo below of our chart . This is the chart we use daily and the one I shared during our teacher session for those that didn't get a chance to copy this idea.  Hope you find this helpful. Until next time.... Keep thinking, talking, and writing!

(I credit Lucy Caulkins with this three step process)


Are you in the WRITE zone?

All students CAN write. Common core appears scarey on the surface, however, with "close" reading and analysis of the standard, we find key words that scaffold the tasks. Notice all Kindergarten writing standards clearly state "with a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose......." In addition, the language standards along with several reading standards state " with prompting and support"......
With that in mind and a clear understanding of the tasks, the expectations for not only the student but for us as educators become clearer and are indeed scaffolded to assist students at their Zone of Proximal Development. (Don't you just love Vygotsky?)
To help ease the frustration levels and ensure that all students work at the ZPD, I use a goal chart ( ideas combined from other sources and years of grade level brainstorming) to provide a visual, as well as a starting point for emergent writiers. The students actually help me list the goals on the chart during a mini lesson. The goals change as we progress during the year. Post it notes are effective as they are usually accessible in our supplies, inexpensive, easy to manipulate on the chart, and require no prior fancy or fluffy preparations for the writing lessons (I am all about "NO FLUFF").
My class videos, unstaged or rehearsed, of the goal setting sessions are available for your veiwing upon request. I havent gained YOU TUBE confidence!
Remember, each child has a place for success in writing and celebrations should take place often at their "ZONE"!

Happy Writing,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I can produce and expand a complete sentence



I can produce and expand a

complete sentence!

Sounds simple enough huh? While reviewing my students' writing this week, I was reminded to practice what I "teach". Meaning that I stress "listening" to your students and promoting language skills to my intern teachers, and at professional development workshops for my colleagues. It was obvious I was taking simple language skills for granted and I must allow "Vygotsky's" presence to surface even if we backed up several steps. The common error was poor oral sentence structure, thus their writing mirrored this stage. I used a simple tree map to guide their thinking and building sentences orally. This was much longer than a mini lesson, however I felt it important to strengthen their language if I ever intended to "expand", as the standard states, complete sentences. Day 1 also included students writing ONE sentence using the "can" column. To reinforce the language, the ticket to get started was "tell me your sentence". Ah ha! I quickly identified those with misconceptions and formed a small writing group for this session. Day 2, we revisited the map in small groups. Each student had a map, filled in a few choices from the class map, ( not really original independent writing I know, but necessary) ORALLY made a sentence, and then wrote a sentence or sentences using the map, on their paper. Yes I felt like I was pulling teeth, but I smiled as I saw the light "come on" for several students as they realized they had actually produced a complete sentence! whew....expanding will come AFTER Thanksgiving!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Making connections with text to text

We are working on connecting text to text. Attached is a simple organizer I made with space for writing to help students record their answers. Hope you find it helpful.


Monday, February 13, 2012

I love you to Pieces!

This project was a test of fitting the pieces together! Trying to be creative and SIMPLE, we(my awesome co-teacher, Christina Beck and I) finally decided to make magnetic frames for valentines day. On first attempt we sprayed the puzzle pieces pink, red and white. The students glued them on the outer part of a heart shape from the Ellison Die cuts. While they were really attractive with the various "love shades" for this time of year it somehow just didn't fit together as I had envisioned as we could see the tag board. To make it simple...  you know....our original plan, I sprayed the finished frames red. Why didn't we think of that to begin with????? A quick photo from my phone camera in grayscale filled the frames. Some of the girls posed and made hearts with their hands for a "lovely" touch! Add magnetic tape to the back. Place in an envelope with a handmade card that says" I love you to pieces!"  Happy Valentines Day! Dont you just love kindergarten?