Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

>Reading Fun…Music Fun…

February 4, 2011

>Over the past few weeks we have been working on our reading skills, but through the use of music. One of the reading components is “phonemic awareness.” Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear sounds in words. We have been using a lot of music to help with this skill. We sing a lot of various songs and then we change sounds to change the words. The songs turn into silly songs. You may have hear your child singing “Mr. Snowman,” Rainy Weather,” etc. These songs have helped us work through the idea of changing words without seeing them. For example, in the song “Mr. Snowman” (sang to the tune This Old Man) we sang Mr. Snowman only sings /y/ songs; therefore, he sings yick-yack-yaddy-yack. In addition, Mr. Snowman may only sing /v/ songs; therefore, he sings vick-vack-viddy-vack. Using music allows me to teach reading skills in an unique and fun way!

Lyrics to Mr. Snowman (to the tune of This Old Man)

Mr. Snowman

Sings /k/ songs

He sings /k/ songs all day long

With a kick-kack-kiddy-kack

Sing his silly song

He wants you to sing along!

>Short Vowel Fun…

January 10, 2011

>We have been working hard on learning our sounds of all the letters. We have learned many songs to help us. Last week and this week we have been working with a song by Miles and Tanny McGregor. Mr. McGregor is a retired art teacher from Holly Hill Elementary and Mrs. McGregor is one of our curriculum supervisors at the board of education office. Mrs. McGregor also taugh 3rd Grade at Holly Hill. We used their “Short Vowel Song” to review the sounds of the vowels. We also paired it with the sign of each letter in Sign Language. We also added a few other moves to have the song be for not just the singers in the class, but kids who like to move. I hope you enjoy (AM class will have a different video posted next week)…


>We’re Off Sledding…

January 5, 2011


This week we have been reading winter stories relating to snow and snowmen. At the beginning of the week we read “Snowballs” by Lois Ehlert. The story is about a snow family. Next, we made snowmen, snow girls, snow dads, snow moms, etc. We discussed labeling and how this helps people understand our pictures. Therefore, we labeled our snow person. We will continue our discussion of winter by reading “When It Starts to Snow.” This book is about a child who goes around and asks various animals what they do when it snows. We will use this concept with our writing about what we do when it snows. This is where your pictures you have sent in will help! If you have not sent in your pictures, please do so when you have them. You can email them to me if you wish and I will take care of getting them printed!

Check out our fun snow people…


>Reading Fun…

December 16, 2010


We are having a blast this week reading various gingerbread books. We are working on predicting what is happening and also sequencing the events in the story. We have read “The Gingerbread Man” and the “Gingerbread Baby.” We took a survey today and the children decided “The Gingerbread Man” was their favorite. We have two other books we will be reading, which I think will turn out to be their favorites. One is “The Gingerbread Cowboy” and the other is “The Gingerbread Girl.” I am really excited about reading these books. The children are loving listening to them and they are doing a great job sequencing.

We are also working on sight words. A sight word is a word the children read within 3 seconds. If they are unable to read the word within the allotted time, then it is not considered a sight word. The best way to practice these words at home are on flash cards. You can also have your child write the word with crayons, markers, and even in the snow. The words we have learned thus far are: see, said, I’m, I, and, the.
Happy Reading!

>me as a learner…

July 26, 2010


I just returned from my vacation in Florida with my wife, Shannon, and mother-in-law, Sharon, and did I learn and reflect a lot. We had a fantastic time laying around on the beach, walking on the beach, swimming, a lot of leisure reading, and other relaxing things. One interesting parts to the story is we are all educators; therefore, a lot of our conversations as we laid around was on the topic of education. Shannon teaches 5th grade, Sharon is a Speech-Language Pathologist and then there is me, the Kindergarten teacher…this ended up being a wide spectrum of views on various topics.

The first thing I learned was patience with Shannon spending a week and half with her mother in a 2 bedroom condo. The second thing I learned and reflected upon was the idea of a team. Shannon reminds me of where children need to be by 5th grade (on a daily basis) and her frustrations with how far children have gotten and some who still have difficulty reading, writing, or working on math. Sharon then brings up the point of communication disorders and the special education side to our discussion. The constant variable in our discussions was we need to keep children at the center and continue to focus on their individual needs. We came to understand, which we all knew and reaffirmed, was it takes a team to work with each child and to have children become successful. One saying which comes to mind is “Rome was not built in a day” and I also think Rome was not built by one person. We talked about the team of teachers (general education teacher and special education teachers even if the child is not identified) and adults and other children who could be apart of this team to help children succeed. We all agreed family plays a key role in helping children succeed. We see kids for approximately 35 hours a week (in my case I only see kids for about 14 hours a week), but they are home 128 hours week (I did not subtract sleeping from this total); therefore, family plays a huge role in your child’s education. We all agreed it is our job to educate your child and to provide interventions for further instruction or enhanced instruction, but you can help provide a link from home to school with various things because you are part of the team. Helping provide a link from home to school can include playing simple games, reading to your child aloud, talking with them, running around in a park, etc. The three of us agreed we want to provide a team approach and work together because you know your child best (especially in my case since I may be their first teacher and W-T will be their first school). I look forward to knowing them and learning about who they are as the year moves forward! I am looking forward to working with each “team” to help provide the best education for your child! One of my goals is to provide the best education and experience for your child to help them become lifelong learners.

The third thing I learned was take time and enjoy life. I was able to read leisure books along with professional books and have some great discussions. As I write this post I think about the times I have read to my niece and nephew and the discuss the book (it is always fun to listen to a child’s perspective).

I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer vacation!

If you are interested here are some of the books I read: Little Bee (this was one of my favorites) by Chris Cleave, The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, The Art of Racing in the Rain (a perfect book for anyone who has a pet…its sad, but FANTASTIC) by Garth Stein, and House Rules by Jodi Picoult.

As with me the rest of this summer will be continuing to learn!


June 16, 2010

>I have started to create a page for the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) assessment. I have had many questions regarding the assessment and what it looks like and how it is given. On the left side of this page your will see a link to another page “DIBELS.” I have started to describe the assessment and will include video of what the assessment looks like. I want to caution you though, when you view the video it is not exactly the way the assessment is given. We are under strict guidelines on what to say and the vocabulary we use; therefore, to keep the assessment valid I cannot use the exact language. I have included just a rough idea of how it is given and what it would look like. I hope this helps and check back often. I will be updating the page with more information about all the tests and more videos!

>Word Search Fun…

March 16, 2010


As I think back to my childhood one of my favorite things to do was word searches and I continue to love them. This is a great inexpensive way to help your child learn. This activity also can be used for all levels of children. Children who may not be able to read all the of the bigger words can use this as a way to find letters and groups of letters; whereas, the children who can read most of the words can look for the whole words in the puzzles. This activity is great for siblings to do together and for you to do with your children. There are many word search books you can purchase at the grocery store or book store. You can also find them on the internet for FREE! We have completed some in the classroom and the children LOVE them! Enjoy…

>Reading Fun…

March 11, 2010

>As I was observing Mrs. Duncan today during reading it amazed me how much the children have learned! It was great to observe and it gave me time to reflect upon the year. It seems like yesterday we walked through the door for the first time and we started our study of letters and sounds. We have come from identify just beginning sounds to identifying beginning, middle, and ending sounds. Many children are beginning to blend words together and can read simple books. Furthermore, the children are thinking about their reading and telling me what happened in the story. I also noticed an area where we need further practice. The children are getting confused with the letter q. The letter at times has a hook and does not and the children need to be able to identify both. You may want to practice this letter at home along with the letter p. This will help them distinguish the two letters. Keep up the great reading…it is great to have your children reading to you and you reading to them!

>All I can say is "Wow"…

February 25, 2010

>When I think about this past week, the only word which comes to mind is “Wow!” We had a fantastic week of learning. We skyped with our friends from Amelia and Kansas City and talked about the olympic medals. The thinking which occurred from looking at the graph was amazing. John used the graph and realized there were only 3 more bronze than silver. Gracie stated “altogether there were 28.” Riley mentioned “we have come in third the most.” We also heard some great thinking from our friends.

In addition to skyping, we worked on the topic of Winter and Spring. We listed similarities and differences from these two seasons. We also wrote a sentence about winter and spring. We are hoping Spring comes early or at least the sun! We worked on making words and blending sounds together to read words…I must say we have a great group of readers. Keep on practice your letter naming and reading at home!

Today in math we worked on 2-D and 3-D shapes. Many of the children have the beginning understanding of 2-D is flat and 3-D has sides. In the PM we made 3-D shapes with marshmallows and toothpicks. The AM class will get to do this activity on Monday. I look forward to listening to their conversations about their learning.

It was a FANTASTIC week!

>Snow Days…Delays…What you can do at home…

February 17, 2010

>The weather is still holding us from school or at least the AM class. We have had numerous snow days and delays; therefore, we have lost a lot of learning time at school. There are a few fun things you can do at home with your children to encourage learning. One of the best things to do with your child is to sit and read to them. This helps improve vocabulary and it helps them hear fluent readers. If it is a book they can read, then you can “buddy” read with them. Also, you can check out magazines, newspapers, and books and look for words your child may know. You can also practice the alphabet and sounds! A fun website you should check out is there are a lot of games, stories, and activities you can do.

One of the exciting things to do in math is just work with various numbers. We use a lot of “ten frames” in our class. A ten frame is a rectangle divided into 10 equal squares. The kids then roll two dice and use bears to fill in the ten frame with the respective number. This really helps children begin to develop adding and subtracting skills. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a fantastic website with web activities for the children. Here is one on ten frames:

I would love to know what you think about the websites…also if you did anything fun over the snow days and delays, share them with me!