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literacy

balanced-literacy-part-1-reading

 Oral language is a critical part of the FDK program.  Oral language is integrated into every aspect of the program to ensure children have a solid base for communicating their thoughts and ideas, develop comprehension skills, building social skills, and developing a good foundation for literacy. 

Early on in September we begin expose children to letters and the associated sounds.  Each board has different programs, but I follow the Jolly Phonics program.  I collect assessment data late September/October to identify their oral language skills (OLA), letter and sound recognition, as well as DRA for SK.  This will give me a good baseline to see where I need to plan, who needs further support in either small or large group. 

Literacy blocks should include a combination of read aloud-supporting literacy strategies like retell, making connections, building comprehension, and gaining word knowledge; shared reading-emphasizing concepts of print like left to right, word by word reading http://www.eworkshop.on.ca/edu/core.cfm?p=modView.cfm&navID=modView&L=1&modID=8&c=2&CFID=11025755&CFTOKEN=e54e83faef4b802e-0E4CA749-1CC4-BC29-7C7D49BB15698087&jsessionid=f0307be8216bbe5ec1613b546519116024d1

independent reading where children have an opportunity to explore books of various genres either in the reading centres, during transition times, or in various centres. 

A focus on letters and sounds is integrated into the literacy block so students can acquire these skills to develop a strong foundation for reading and writing.

The picture below shows a variety of books with some ideas on how they could fit into a reading block with a teaching focus.

There is a look at at variety of reading strategies that can be integrated into the literacy block. In the read alouds we are modelling for the students and building on their comprehension.  Graphic organizers like a Go-Chart gives a visual of Charcters, Setting, Plot, Events, and ending. 

  Other ideas to include are the retell glove, working on schema, predicting, confirming, thinking about beginning, middle, end; asking what is your favourite part, sequencing, or comparing characters gets the children talking about books. 

In essence, we want to move children along to become independent readers.  This is a sample of ideas to include in a literacy block around reading.  Responding to reading about their favourite part, connections, etc. also solidifies their learning and comprehension skills.  Writing will be the next blog focusing on the literacy block.

Our snow inquiry started from reading a book called Sadie and the Snowman.  We used the story over 5 days to focus on retell.  Day 1-discussed the pictures and read the story.  Day 2- Discussed Characters, Day 3- Setting and a KWL chart was created connecting our own experiences with snow , Day 4 focused on the events, and  Day 5 we reviewed all story elements and recreated the scenes with cutouts in large group. 

This story not only began the discussion of snow, but hot and cold, the fridge vs the freezer, experimenting with different ice cubes wrapped in various materials like newspapers, foil, paper, and with salt (Which melts faster?) and we tried attaching ice cubes to string using salt.  Throughout these experiments children learned new vocabulary, used a thermometer to record temperature, and they observed water changing from a liquid to a solid, they recorded time and charted change. 

Throughout this approximate 6 week inquiry on snow, the children communicated their learning in written and visual form to include in their documentation books.  It allowed us to explore many new things and the children had so much fun.

book-list-of-great-read-alouds

On the site there is a great list of read alouds http://1000moments.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/List-of-books-in-200-format-FINAL.pdf suggested by teachers.  There is a picture of the book and a comment about what it can be used for.  There is a whole range of books that can help you begin your planning for the new year. Also, if you have a book you can submit the information to be added to the list!  http://earlylearningcentral.ca/?page_id=424 .  You can also access this information under the tab across the top called “Resources”.

kindergarten-videos

Here is a link to some video resources on : Flow of the Day, Inquiry, Observation & Documentation, Play-based Learning, Self-regulation, the Learning Environment, Literacy Throughout the Day and Numeracy Throughout the Day.   http://www.edugains.ca/newsite/fulldaykinder/videoa.html

leaf-art

A fun fall activity that I did with my students late in the month of September was a leaf activity. The ideas ties in with our community and observing the world around them in nature. Children were responsible to collect leaves of any size, shape, and colour from around their neighbourhoods.  We displayed them on our light table and placed paper and crayons for the children to create leaf rubbings.  It really sparked some discussions around why leave change colours, what kind of trees they came from etc.  So I added some books to the centre about leave, and their colours.  It was a great conversation and it allowed me to work with children and show them how answers can be found by reading in a book.

Later, I read the book:  The Leaf Man by Lois Elhert.  This book was selected to spark/inspire a creation of a leaf person.  Children collected other outdoor materials like-rocks, sticks, flowers, pine cones to add.  On Dollar Store cookie sheets students placed their materials and created a person.  I took a picture of them and their design.  After I asked them questions and I recorded the children’s thought about their leaf person.  Some told me about what they used, some gave them names and told me be about family.  I typed up the information and posted the picture along with the write-up on construction paper and hung it around our classroom.  The children loved seeing themselves in the classroom and loved talking about what they created.  It was so cute and this simple activity sparked so much discussion building on their oral language skills!

adding-literacy-to-science

Each morning this week the children have checked our butterfly eggs as soon as they walk into the classroom.

This morning, before the morning bell rang, we added a few non-fiction books about butterflies to the center.  During play time, we took note that almost half of class went to the centre during play time and looked through the books.  At one time, 4 children looked through one of the books together and discussed how the pictures of the eggs and caterpillars looked like the ones in our container.  Several children made predictions about what they thought our butterflies would look like compared to the books.

It has been wonderful to see how the children are enjoying this real-life science center.

adding-literacy-to-dramatic-play

Beside our dramatic play centre, I placed one of our smaller tables, near the windows with my signs for the flower shop.  In the centre of the table, I put a basket of pencils and markers and some blank paper.  When I introduced the centre to the children, I told them the flower shop needed help.  I explained that we needed more signs and pictures of flowers for customers to see.  I also told them we were running out of order forms for when customers called in to the store for deliveries, and asked if they could help make some of these to help.

It was amazing to see what the children created!  We had beautiful pictures, sale signs, and unique order forms.  One child even made a price list of flowers.  She drew flowers on one half of the paper and numbers on the other!

It never amazes me what children can create, if given enough time and opportunity.

shaving-cream-letters

Our Kindergarten Literacy centre became a little messy today…..I brought in a few cans of shaving cream.  I bought the unscented kind.  As a literacy station, I set up 4 chairs at a table.  I had plastic letters as models for the children to see.  I had each child put on an art smock so their clothing did not get ruined.  I gave each child a medium sized mound of shaving cream (egg-sized) on the table in front of them.  Then, I told the children to use their hands to spread it around and then use their fingers to create the letters.

The children loved it!  They wrote their names in it too!  Next time, I can have them write their sight words in the shaving cream.