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Dinosaurs!


Rawr!!!! It's a dinosaur!  Nothing gets little ones excited quite like a unit on dinosaurs.
We studied dinosaurs for two weeks and then we flipped the classroom for our DINO DIG DAY!  
Our students rotated through 5 stations and got to see what it was like to be a paleontologist.
So FUN!

  
To build excitement before we started the unit I brought in this huge egg and told the students that my dog found it in our backyard.  We talked about the size and appearance of the egg and I had them make inferences about what they thought was inside it.  

You can see some of their thinking below.
After they recorded their inference I gave them three clues about what was inside the egg and had them write their new inference.  We tied this to reading.  As we learn more about a topic or character our inference can change.  

 

 

After recess we came back to THIS!  RAWR!!!!!! 
This is how they learned that our next unit of study was going to be dinosaurs.
They were twelve kinds of excited.  NOTE: Do this part at the end of the day because it's really hard to bring them down from the excitement.  


On the first day of our dinosaur study we started with our schema and recorded the information we already know about dinosaurs.  Throughout the study we added our new learning to the chart.

Following are a few of the activities that we did during our dinosaur study.


 



 














This unit is packed full of close reading articles about dinosaurs, comprehension activities, craft projects and 5 dinosaur stations with all of the directions and printables for Dino Dig Day! 
You can check out the unit by clicking on the cover below.





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10 Questions Answered about Math Workshop (FREE File)

Do you have questions about how we plan and structure our math workshop? We often get asked about this so  I wanted to take a few minutes to see if I can answer the top 10 questions we get about math workshop.
Kindergarten Math Workshop!  See how we build math fluency and number sense through everyday math workshop!

1.  How do you organize the curriculum?
We like to use binders...ALL the BINDERS!   Each unit fits nicely in a small 1" binder.
2.  What does a typical lesson look like?
Each day:
  • Fluency practice (5 mins) *more on this later in the post.
  • New concept introduction mini-lesson (5 mins)
  • Whole group explore (10 mins)
  • Student application (5-10 mins)
  • Share (5 mins)

3.  Is it aligned to the standards?
Yes, we have gone to great length to be certain the skills included in the CCSS and the TEKS have been covered.  Each unit contains approximately 20 days of instruction.  

You can find the curriculum map and binder spine by clicking HERE.

4. How do you display your math vocabulary wall?
As each word is taught, it is added to our math word wall.  These words are discussed at length before they go on the wall.  We don't want this wall (just like our sight word wall) to turn into wallpaper.  

5.  How do you address fluency?
Each day we start with a fluency warm up.  This is a five-minute activity that varies each day.  I keep a basket of fluency cards handy.

We like to use a spinner from time to time so we add a bit of "game" to our practice.  Sometimes a spinner turns a routine into "the best game EVER!"  You can grab this spinner for FREE at the end of this post.
6.  How do you pick partners?
I like to put my students into partners where students can support each other.   So I take my high students and couple them with my on grade level students, then I taper the partners down from there.  I usually do not change partners unless that partnership becomes dysfunctional (do you know what I mean?)  Most of the time I have students work in pairs.  In this way, each student has plenty of practice opportunity. Occasionally, students will work in a group of 3.


7.   Do the units have to be taught in order?
Each unit builds upon the previous unit.  However, these units can be taught out of order.

8.  How do you fit it all in?
One of the time killers is the transition time.  We have created math tool kits to help combat this.  It has saved so much time!
Each toolkit contains ALL of the work mats and "math talk cards" for the entire year.  I will repeat... THE ENTIRE YEAR.  However, we will add manipulatives to the zippered pouch.  Typically, we need Unifix cubes for a series of lessons (example:  Unit 6... Lessons 5-11).  So before the class begins, I add these to the zippered pouch.  Once we have finished lesson 11, the students remove these manipulatives and we are ready for the next lesson.

Each set of partners has a toolkit.  So for a class of 24, you would only need 12 kits.  They take time to put together, but my kits lasted through 3 classrooms without fail.  Read more about Math Toolkits HERE.  
9.  Do you do math centers too?
My schedule did not allow for me to do math centers right after the workshop, so we did these centers later in the day.  During the center time, we are reviewing many skills in the attempt to overlearn various concepts.   But I do include the same skills we practiced in math workshop.  We have created a series of math centers that align to our curriculum perfectly.  You can see those HERE.
10.   Do you have homework too?
I'm not a big fan of lots of homework, but sometimes parents request a resource to help their child.  These pages can be used as extra practice in the classroom or as homework depending on your school culture.  These pages are also part of THIS unit.
BONUS Question:   Do you teach math in a  small group setting?
We sure do!  Some students need to revisit skills or they need to be taught in a smaller setting.  Some students are ready to go beyond the skills taught in the mini-lesson.  I am happy to report that Deedee Wills and I are working on these mini-lessons and activities RIGHT NOW!  They will be available in May 2017!

In the meantime, these are the math resources we currently have available.






Be a Guided Reading Expert! (FREE Download too!)

Are you wanting to master guided reading, but feel a wee bit overwhelmed?  I get it!  Guided Reading is just one more thing you have on your plate.. or do you?  Are you currently conducting guided reading lessons in your classroom?  I am sometimes surprised to hear that some emergent classrooms do not.  Don't worry... we've got this!

Guided Reading in Kindergarten

What is Guided Reading?

Let's start with the various balanced literacy approaches.

Read-Aloud

Read-alouds are when the teacher does the reading work and the students do the thinking work.  This is done as part of a whole group instructional time.   The text that is selected is above the students' reading level.  This is an opportunity to work on reading comprehension skills.  The teacher models fluent reading and guides the students towards a deeper understanding of the text.  We use our Close Reading/Guiding Readers units for read-aloud instruction.

Shared Reading

This is also done as a whole group activity.  The text is usually selected on grade level, but can also be slightly above grade level.  The teacher and the students read the text together.   This is an opportunity to work on early reading skills and comprehension.

Guided Reading

Yay!   We made it to guided reading.  Guided reading is done as part of a small group (4-6 students). The text is selected based on the students' instructional reading level.   The students read the book independently while the teacher supports the students and coaches them towards success.   This is where true differentiation takes place!

How do I know what their instructional level is?

Students' instructional level is determined by a few things.  We start the year off by looking at what the students know.  If they do not know any sounds or have little understanding of print, an AA level text is perfect for them.

As the year progresses, we use running records to help focus our instruction.
Guided Reading in Kindergarten


Organizing for Guided Reading

I like to keep my sets in binders by level.
Guided Reading in Kindergarten
Inside I have all the materials I am going to need to use.  
Guided Reading in Kindergarten
Sound boxes are a great way to segment words.
Guided Reading in Kindergarten
Students then can transfer this skill to sounds when they are ready.
I also keep all of the sorting activities in the binder.  When they are at your fingertips, you are ready to teach in a flash! 
Guided Reading in Kindergarten
I also keep all of the books in the binder.
Guided Reading in Kindergarten
And the lesson plans that are needed to teach the lesson.  Click HERE to find the FREE lesson plan template.   This is Day 1 with a book.
Guided Reading in Kindergarten
Here is Day 2.  I use the same book over two instructional days.
Guided Reading in Kindergarten

What else goes in these binders?

All of the books!!!!
Guided Reading in Kindergarten
 Each binder has 3 fiction and 3 informational texts.
Guided Reading in Kindergarten

Guided Reading in Kindergarten
We also keep the writing we do at our small group table in this binder.
Guided Reading in Kindergarten
You can read more about the 2 Day Guided Reading Plan over on Deedee's blog by clicking HERE.  It also includes a free webinar.  See!   You are practically an expert already!

You can see all of our Leveled Text sets HERE and HERE

Guided Reading in Kindergarten.  Lesson plans, word work, running records, books and MORE!

Want to try a book out for FREE?

Simply add your email in the box below.  You will be sent a link with the lesson plans and the book!   
*HINT:  Be sure to check your spam/junk folder... sadly, sometimes it ends up there.  ALSO, some school districts block emails, so if your school email does not work, try another email address.


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