Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hard Work and Practice

It takes hard work and practice to master a new skill.  We've been talking about the hard work and practice that we're putting into our new skills, mainly reading, writing, and counting to 100.

This afternoon we put our hard work and practice into our guided reading lessons.  As we're now all working on leveled texts (rather than simply decodable texts) there are words that pop up in readers that are too difficult for our young readers to sound out with the phonics they already know. This requires the use of our reading strategies.  The biggest reading strategies at this beginning stage of reading include: "Get Your Mouth Ready", "Stretch", and "Picture Clues".  If kids get to a word they don't know they first get their mouths ready to make the first sound as written in the word.  Then they stretch all the sounds to see if they can sound out and blend the word.  If the word is still a mystery kids are encouraged to examine the pictures and see what would make sense.  What matches the beginning sound and the picture?

As we inquire about how we express ourselves we've really delved into stories and sharing them in our journals this week.  We had a little challenge today to get us back into the writing mode - the person with the most letters in their journal after our writing time earned a sucker.  It was amazing what the kids came up with to make lots of letters and win the challenge.  We have all level of writers in our classroom - kids who are writing random letters, kids who are writing letters with an intention of representation, kids who are sounding out words and writing corresponding letters, and kids who are writing sentences.  It was so fun to hear them sharing their stories - some made up, some dreams, and some real.  Each child tried their hardest and every one earned a sucker.

I wish I had a picture or a video of the kids expressions of excitement when we were working with the 100 chart today.  We talked about finding different patterns on the chart.  The pattern we found today was how there are 1's in the 1's column all the way down, same with 2's and 3's.  After counting to 100 by 10's and 1's a few times as a group and marking the pattern on the 100 chart everyone got their own 100 chart to color the pattern we found.

Peter and the Wolf was requested again today to get our wiggles out.  I love how it represents a story through language and music.  Everyone becomes very creative and dramatic as they dance and act out the story.  It is such a blast to watch!

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