As we move into our final few weeks of kindergarten I have planned fluency word work stations for my students. I want them to continue to have daily practice with letter names and sounds, sight words and rhyming words.
This week students are playing:
Build a Sight Word: I put five paper bags in a tub with magnetic letters to build all of the words written on the outside of the bag. Students can work with a partner to build the words together or work independently.
Rhyming Go Fish: I found these wonderful picture cards at our local teacher store and then made up the game. Students begin with one card, if another player has a match they ask for it otherwise he/she picks a new card from the pile. The object is to collect as many matches as they can.
Printing Practice: Students practice printing using directional models with shaving cream.
Roll A Letter: Students write target letters on bottom of game sheet. They roll a letter die and if one of their letters comes up then they write it on the next row. If wild comes up then the roller chooses what letter they will write.
Pocket Chart Sort: Students sort picture cards into alphabet pockets using the beginning sound.
It is so nice to be back in the room full time teaching and working with the students. We all miss Mr. Tardif, our student teacher, but we are also enjoying being back to our familiar routines.
I have had to change all of the math stations as they had been in the tubs too long and immediately noticed a change in how independent and focused the students became. This weeks math stations are:
1. Flower Petal Counting: Students pick a number between 1 and 5 for the first box and between 4 and 6 in the second box. They count out the petals and then add on to the first number to determine the sum. Numbers are printed and petals glued.
2. Bump: Students roll a die and place a cube on the matching dot number on the board. If a partner rolls the same number they can bump the partner off and take the spot. Once a player has two cubes stacked on the same number then he/she cannot be bumped. In this game the dot numbers on the game board are not traditional patterns.
3. Foam Patterns: This centre was donated by a parent last year. Students love the colourful, soft foam pieces and picture problems.
4. Water Measurement: This new centre is very popular. Students have to figure out if the different shaped containers hold the same amount of water.
5. Shaving Cream Printing Practice (new): We did this whole group last week to practice letter sound fluency very successfully. I made a letter sound and students printed the letter in shaving cream. Then I made it a work station for number printing. The students follow the printing model for direction and shape. After they have printed the target numbers they can doodle for the final few minutes. Oops I ran out of shaving cream today so had to substitute this great shape building kit instead.
6. Two for Ten: Students lay 10 cards face up. they take turns finding two cards with a sum of ten. As soon as two cards are identified the player takes the card and replaces them with 2 new choices. There should always be 10 cards to choose from. Players can work cooperatively or competitively (this game is from Power of Ten).
7. Ducks in the Pond: Students take turns rolling a foam die and add ducklings to the pond. When the sand timer runs out they count how many ducklings are in the pond and begin again.
8. Board Game: This is a quick pathway game where students move animals around the board. It can be played in 8 to 10 minutes.
9. Puzzle: I love to include a puzzle because it is so satisfying to add that last piece and have a sense of accomplishment. Students use lots of strategies and work together to complete the puzzle.
If you have not used the framework described in Debbie Diller's book Math Work Stations, I highly recommend it. Students continuously work with previously introduced math concepts as they rotate through nine different math stations (one a day).
Some of the math centres like Bump and Two for Ten are wonderful whole group games that can be played while the students are eating lunch or snack. They can also be introduced quickly during guided math in small groups of four. Once students have played the game a few times it easily becomes a math learning centre.
Last year my good friend Margie and I decided to work together to pilot the Daily Five. We did it on our own time and thoroughly enjoyed the growth together. We visited each other's classrooms, shared stories and made changes to our approach after lots of professional conversations (while walking a local trail of course).
This year our hardworking and innovative Professional Development Committee created an opportunity for teachers who are ready to make a shift in their practice. They provide two full release days for each partner which can be taken in half day blocks.
A colleague asked if I would be interested and of course I agreed!! She would like to move from whole group to small group teaching and is also interested in taking her kindergarten class outdoors once weekly.
With these two learning goals in mind we planned two observational visits to my room so that she could observe small group during exploration time and Kindergarten Daily Five.
She had already introduced the five strands of the Daily Five but students had all done each strand as a whole group and she was stuck. She wanted to move to five small groups but wanted some direction and a model. After her observation in my room, she would go back to her classroom, then return for a debrief after work. After two visits and lots of practice in between I visited her room to observe, support and give feedback.
It was so helpful to be there and help make on the spot changes to help with flow, timing, teacher role and observe her nurture student independence. She later confided that if I had not been there she probably would have tried it a couple of times and then abandoned the idea. Now we will keep working together to support the changes that she is implementing. It was such a success and is my very favourite approach to shifting practice.
What is your favourite approach to professional development?
Last year I did all five strands of the Daily Five Framework with my Kinders, however because we are off site two or three mornings a week we are only doing four strands this year.
Each rotation is ten minutes in length. I ring a chime to signal the end of the rotation and students return to the group area for a check-in or brain break leaving their station set up for the next group.
Students choose which strand to do first. I keep the organization very simple so that it goes fast and the bulk of time is spent on the activity. I use magnetic discs to help students self track their choices.
Students work in pairs except for Read to Self.
Read With Someone
I love listening to my students read to each other. They sit side by side reading books of choice or at a listening station.
Three In A Row This week's teacher centre
Word Wall Bingo This week's teacher centre.
Work on Words
In the spring I offer four stations: alphabet fluency, sight word fluency, rhyming fluency and building words.
Each week I teach a new work on words station. For example, our new game this week is Word Wall Bingo. I created a bingo sheet with twenty words chosen from our class word wall. The players choose five to circle, then the leader calls out a word wall word and if it is circled you cross it off. The first player to cross off five words is the winner.
Read To Self
Each student has their own bag of books which includes one practice book and four choice books. Each day the students must choose read to self as one strand. We swap our four books on Fridays and student meet with me for a reading conference to exchange their practice book.
Listen To Reading
Students listen to another student read - it might be a read around the room activity, read a pocket chart poem or the word wall. We have a special hand pointer for this ever popular activity. This is the last strand that I introduce as students must be self managers to walk around the room and not disturb their peers.
This is where I select who works with me and introduce a new activity or do either enrichment or interventions.
How do you run your Daily Five Framework in Kindergarten?
I teach Kindergarten at Departure Bay Elementary in Nanaimo, British Columbia. I love my job and am passionate about providing a play based program for my kinders. I graduated in 2009 from the University of Victoria with a Masters in Early Childhood.