Monday, September 23, 2013

Write on!

Today, I took a deep breath and introduced Work on Writing. My students cheered when I turned over and introduced a new choice. They were so excited to learn what this choice would entail and begin working. I, on the other hand, was a bit apprehensive and nervous to how my students would handle WOW. It is a big deal for a 5 year old to start putting thoughts to paper and forming a sentence. So I put on my big girl panties and dove in head first and boy did my students prove me wrong today!

We had so much fun talking about why Work on Writing was so important. They named some of their favorite authors and of course Dr. Seuss was on the top of the list. Many said they wanted to be famous just like him. This led to a great discussion of how Dr. Seuss became a famous writer and all the time and effort he took to practice writing. Now all of my students want to be famous just like Dr. Seuss. They were ready to put the pen to the paper and start writing! But where would I start them? And how could I help them become successful?

Thanks to my fabulous teammates, we decided starting our children off with SIMPLE writing prompts would be the way to go. This gave them some direction and allowed their thoughts to start flowing. Eventually, they will not need this.
So they had the choice of:
 I love....
My mom....
My dad....

We brainstormed lots of ideas and things we could write about. And boy were they ready to go. I was still way nervous to let them go. But we kept going and I let my students choose the speed. I showed them where the materials where, where to find their special Daily 5 journal and reviewed our working spots in the room. One by one, my students got their materials, chose a spot and opened their journals to start. I was FLOORED! I thought for sure SOMEONE would yell out they didn't know how to write. PHEW, maybe all those anchor charts and modeling and building confidence really worked this year!

The noise level was not appropriate work time and I was not going to allow that to continue so I quickly gave my signal and my students came back to the carpet. We talked about all of the awesome things I noticed and some things to work on. They were then begging to go back and finish. So what kind of teacher would I be if I didn't allow them to?

We gave the signal and my students went to work. We practiced a total of 3 times this morning and they built their stamina to an amazing 7 minutes! I was so proud of every one of them. Some did a great job writing a sentence and using spaces and some need some extra guidance but overall they did fabulous. I cannot wait to see how their writing grows throughout the year!

Did you try something new today? What have had to put your big girl or big boy panties on for?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Anchoring our Learning!

Who LOVES anchor charts?! I am all about a great anchor chart that my students will actually use! I just began my Reader's Workshop anchor chart product on Tpt. This product will be updated throughout the year as I introduce new concepts and as I hear from my teacher friends, YOU, ideas that you have! I love hearing new ideas because it may JUST be what my own students NEED. It is all about working together to best serve our students, right?!

Here is a quick picture of one of the anchor charts that is included in this product.

GREAT news, my WHOLE store is on sale for 20% off!! WOOT WOOT. Sale ends on the 24th.  Love celebrating new products. Do you have something specific that you would like added? Let me know!

Click here for my newest product! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Enjoy the Journey!

The beginning of kindergarten is always a busy time of the year. Often, I find myself thinking where these sweet babies need to end up instead of where they have just been. This week, I came across a quote that I just have not able to shake. I do not remember it verbatim. but in so many words.."Stop thinking of kindergarten as almost first graders but instead just been preschoolers." I think as teachers, we get so caught up in the end result instead of enjoying the journey to get there. We are always planning with the end in mind. We know the ultimate goal. We know what their expectations are in first grade. But is this really a worry or stress to place onto our sweet children? If we constantly are stressing them out about first grade, will they even be able to enjoy where they are? This is not to stay, we take it so slow and not worry about if they will be ready. Instead, we need to step back and realize they are still babies. Many are 5 or just turned 6 years old. They are still very egocentric. For many this is their first experience in a school environment particular a full day of school. Most of our children are used to snacking, using the bathroom, and napping at times that are convenient to them. This is all very DEVELOPMENTAL! We CANNOT RUSH this process.

So I challenge to you to step back and enjoy the process. Our children WILL learn. We have the tools to teach them. We are all equipped with the knowledge to teach them while still being age appropriate. There will be days when an accident happens, they won't sit still, they will blurt out, they will share everything about their families, they will dig for gold, they will get so excited over the little things, they will make you special food in the dramatic play area, they will draw you pictures and write you notes. Allow them to be kindergartners because after all they are!