A Place To Gather!
In my classroom, we are very fortunate to have 3 different areas that we gather. The main gathering area is our circle carpet. I was fortunate enough to
steal receive a great circle carpet three years ago. This makes for a great gathering area. We start our day together on this carpet for our morning meeting, we do writing here, we do calender here and it's also where our Smart-board is located. This is our home. And no it doesn't have a cutsie name, it's just the circle carpet. Another bonus, is that the carpet has the alphabet around the circle so we can review letters by sitting on specific letters or sounds, etc. We also have a reading carpet which is where we do our shared reading, read alouds, and phonics lessons. My most favorite gathering place is our classroom library. It has a pink carpet with Christmas lights all around and a palm tree to sit under. It's cozy and fun and can be very relaxing. This is where we sit if we have a guest reader and this is where we sit when we read to our reading buddy, Bear the dog! I love having places to come together throughout the day for various reasons, but I especially love our morning and afternoon meetings when you can really see my students being a family.
Good Fit Books!
Reading what the sisters say about good fit books and reading all of your wonderful posts really has me in a quandary! I am a firm believer in the necessity of books that our students can read correctly and successfully. However, I also am in the camp that they can be just as successful picking books that interest them even if they can just look at the pictures. I really like when I hear them making up stories to go with the pictures. I think in the beginning we will learn about good fit books with an emphasis on books that interest us and work towards books we can read successfully. And as we do introduce good fit books, we will be using the Sisters shoe lesson. I think that is FABULOUS! It takes a very abstract idea and makes it concrete for our kinders! Currently, one of my literacy stations is the library. The students go to the library and pick any book they want and read it. They can even read to one of 100 puppets and stuffed animals. I like seeing them pick books they want to read to their stuffed pals and I know that they are benefiting from their time with the books.
I have a teacher in my building who uses anchor charts and I was interested but never got on board. Then I started seeing them on Pinterest and pinned them. (Is anyone else guilty of pinning a bazillion great ideas and never using them?! Each week I find 5 of my pins and actually make it or do it...) I think having a permanent reminder is a huge key to success. I want to include photographs of my students doing the Daily 5 on the anchor charts as an extra reminder! I also saw a pin where the teacher took a photograph of her anchor charts and had 8x10 pictures printed. She stored them all in a binder for her students reference. I started this last year with a number chart we created each day. It's a great (can be expensive) tool! I will definitely be using anchor charts in my room this year!
Repeated Intervals and Book BAGS!
Book bags are another one of the Sisters ideas that I've been using for years. Each child has their own book bag at their seat. In that bag are the books we read in guided reading, their library books, sight word books and these amazing books that i make on my computer that uses each child as a character. These are great for the kids because they can read all of the books in the bag and be successful. This helps build confidence and stamina. I will work more explicitly on stamina this year. I plan to use my Kagan timer app on my iPad to build up their stamina! TRUE STORY: Last year I had a little girl fall and hit her head on the bathtub at her house and she suffered a sever concussion so her mom brought her to school to let me know what was going on. The little girl cried because she couldn't read her books in her book bag. So....I let her take it home for the 3 days. TRUE STORY: The past two years, my students have begged to take their book bags to field day! So...I let them! We love book bags!
I have the BEST signal for when I want my class to stop and listen. I use a wireless doorbell. The chime plugs into an outlet and you carry the doorbell with you. No matter where you are, you can ring the bell. When the bell rings, we stop, get quiet and listen to the teacher. We practice and practice and practice this. It works so well. I highly reccommend this tool! When I want the students to clean up and gather on the carpet, I use music. I have an iPod touch with a remote so I can turn the music on from anywhere. This past year I used the theme song from the Price Is Right. I have also used the music from Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade, Star Wars and Vivaldi! Again, we practice, practice, practice. And it works so well because I don't have to yell "CLEAN UP!" I just hit play!
I read on another great blog where the teacher commented that her kindergartners were better at walking in the hallway than the older kids. PREACH!!! It's the same for our students because we repeat, repeat and repeat the procedures and we PRACTICE. And if someone isn't doing it right, we stop and model and do it again. This makes a HUGE different. I am glad to know that I've been using one of the Sisters ideas all along. I am not afraid to stop the class, model and practice what they're doing wrong, and start again. We have spent many days traipsing all over the building to get our hallway procedures down pat.
I made some Daily 5 Signs for a sparkly monster theme and some monster awards! They are free in my TPT store! Click on the picture to visit my store and get your freebies! And don't forget my 100 follower giveaway ends Friday! Be sure to enter!