WANTS and NEEDS and knowing the difference is a Kindergarten Standard of Learning in Virginia. It's sounds impossible, but it can actually be a really fun unit for kindergartners. They understand the concept of "want," so you really just need to help them think about what they need. I like to teach this unit between Thanksgiving and Winter Break.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
I want to share my favorite vocabulary activity with you! One of the great things about this Vocabulary Graphic Organizer is that it can be used K-5 and across all subject areas. There is a free copy of the organizer later in this post.
This graphic organizer is separated into four parts
1. Unknown Words: I have never seen the word.
2. Familiar Words: I have seen it but I am not sure of the meaning.
3. Recognized Words: I know this word.
4. In-depth Words: I can teach this word to someone.
Before reading, I give each student their own organizer and we go over each quadrant and talk about why we might put a word there. The sentences under the main headings are great to guide this discussion.
I display one word at a time, read it to them, and give them a few moments to write it in the appropriate quadrant. You can display the word on your Promethean Board, dry erase board, or even index cards.
Once everyone’s organizers are complete, it’s time to go over them! There are two formats I like to use to go over the vocabulary words.
1. One way is to use the list of vocabulary words and go through them one at a time. If the word was pollination I might start by saying “Has anyone every heard of this word before? Did anyone mark this as an in depth word?”
2. Another way is to go through the word list by quadrant. I might ask students to look at their In-depth Word list and have them take turns “teaching us” about the word. Next we would look at the Recognized Words and so on. Hopefully by the time we make it to Unknown and Familiar Words we have addressed most of the vocabulary and students will have a better understanding.
In both scenarios the student(s) who marked a word as In-depth can lead our vocabulary discussion and teach us what the word means.
We often google images of vocabulary words to help further our understanding. I freeze my Promethean board when googling images just in case...you never know what will pop up!
I have included TWO free version of the Vocabulary Graphic Organizer: A printable paper and a google slide template!
Click HERE to download your copy. There is a pre and post assessment included. This is helpful if you want to check back in to see if students have moved the words to different quadrants after going over the vocabulary and reading the text.
Click HERE to access the Google slides version. It is View Only so to use it with your students go to File > Make a Copy!
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016
My students love to play games, but I was struggling to keep up with them in terms of differentiation and keeping it fresh. One morning on my way to work, I had a brainstorm: Why can't they help make games to meet their needs?!?
Saturday, November 26, 2016
With each new set of students that we meet each year, one thing has become increasingly evident: oral language needs to be strengthened. This could be for a number of reasons: more screen time, meals on the go, less playtime (recess too), or other changes in a culture. But regardless of the reasons, as teachers we have to support language development. Without oral language skills, comprehension, writing, and math explanations are much more difficult. So what can we do?
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Reading is like riding a bike. You watch little ones beginning to ride a bike, they're wobbling all over the place. But as we practice and practice and practice, we don't even think about peddling anymore. Eventually we can ride with no hands. – G. Reid
Students' reading fluency develops just like bike riding skills. Our little ones start off reading word by word with occasional "falls", but with lots of practice, they gain speed and momentum to glide along and make meaning. The challenge of reading fluently requires several subskills in order for a reading to experience fluency success. What are those skills?
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Are you looking for simple ways to embrace (and survive!) the holiday season without sacrificing the content you are responsible for teaching? My hand is raised! My students have fun each and every holiday season in my classroom, but I never stop teaching. You will not find my students and I watching the Grinch on a Friday afternoon...Read on to find out how you can incorporate the holidays so that your students still have fun, but continue to teach at the same time!
Monday, November 7, 2016
Up-to-date big books can be hard to come by. They are expensive and not a priority in many school's budget. So how can I implement big books in a classroom when I don't have the money to do so?