Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tech Survey Freebie

In my classroom this year, we will be using a variety of technology tools to communicate with parents.  In order to determine the level of technology access among my families, I will ask parents to complete this survey.  Click on the image below to get this freebie from Mrs. Price's Kindergators.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Flipped Reading Block Book Study Chapters 3 and 4

Chapters 3 and 4 of The Flipped Reading Block reinforced my belief that consistent modeling of reading behaviors is essential even with the implementation of blended learning. One of my biggest takeaways from this chapter was the following quote by the author. 
What a simple, but powerful way to characterize the differences in the types of readers that we work with everyday.
If students are practicing a specific strategy or skill at home this translates to more time for reinforcement or "we do" instruction at school.  I like to think of it as providing the necessary background knowledge for a specific concept. The author discusses using the same text for a flipped lesson and then repurposing it for something else in the classroom.  The idea of giving students multiple interactions with one text is not only practical but good practice.  
As a kindergarten teacher I am thinking about a simple reading task,where you might capture an image of a book page like Pete the Cat. Then you would ask the student to draw the setting of the book or identify the characters.
 In my classroom we do turn and talks at various points in the day. However, this type of activity is deliberate and modeled from the beginning of the year. I use a Whole Brain Teaching signal where I clap twice and the say "Teach", in response the students clap twice and say "Okay". At that point they turn to their partner and start their discussion. In this video, a first grade teacher uses this strategy as well as many others. 

 One aspect of flipped learning that I love is the potential for differentiation.  At the kindergarten level, most students in the same GR group have similar types of reading behaviors. Flipping a lesson would be a great way to differentiate within that group. Running records can help to identify strategies that students can practice at home. You could snap a photo of a book page and direct them to apply the strategy that needs to be reinforced. 
Currently, I do not have a book club set up in my classroom.  However, when I taught 3rd grade, one of my small reading groups functioned as a literature circle. We met multiple times a week and focused on a specific strategy. Every member of the circle had role that defined how they would help their classmates to interact with the text. Retrospectively, how much more engaging would that group have been if I had flipped some of their lessons. I can even imagine some of those students designing their own activities to do at home. 
Head on over to Maggie's Kinder Corner, Kristen's Kindergarten and Mrs. Price's Kindergators to read their thoughts about Chapters 3 and 4. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Flipped Reading Block Book Study-Chapters 1 and 2

I am so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such awesome teachers for this book study.  

Head on over to their blogs to read their ideas of how flipping can make a difference in their kindergarten classroom.In my classroom, flipped learning has primarily taken the form of home-to-school projects.  For these projects, parents and students were responsible for finding information about a topic.  After a specified period of time, students brought their projects back in and presented the results to their classmates.  This is an example of a country project where students researched the country of China and put their information in the form of a poster.
The posters that were returned were amazing and students were able to articulate what they learned in the research process. 
Throughout the years, I’ve encountered parents who desperately want to help their child at home, but may not know where to start.  Flipped lessons in the form of videos can prove especially helpful for these parents. They can watch the video as many times as they need to help them understand strategies to use with their child.  Even as a teacher, I was unfamiliar with certain math strategies that my son needed to know.  However, after watching a video I was able to help my son with the specific method that he was taught by his teacher.
I want to implement blending learning using technology, however I know that access to the internet will hinder some parents from participating.  I plan on using a technology survey at the beginning of the year to  determine how many of my students could participate.

One of the ways to get around limited access may be for parents to use a flash drive and send it back and forth to school. Teachers could load it with the flipped lessons and parents could access it without any type of internet connection.
You could also give parents a list of local places that have free wifi.  In my area, McDonalds, Publix and the library provide free internet access.
Also if parents have a smartphone, you could send the video via Seesaw or email, that way parents would only need a data plan to see the video. Here is the link to an article from ISTE about other methods of overcoming technology issues.  

As a kindergarten teacher, I would like to do a lesson for parents teaching them how to help their child with reading at home. In my classroom, we use the Beanie Baby strategies and I think a video explaining them would be beneficial for parents. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Flipped Learning Book Study

I'm so excited to co-host my first book study on flipped learning with my kindergarten teacher friends!
The book study begins on July 13th, but first head on over to Mrs. Price's Kindergators to win a free copy of the book. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Word Work Wednesday Linky

Thank you to my bloggy friend Maggie from Maggie’s Kinder Corner for inviting me to link up for Word Work Wednesday. In my kindergarten classroom we spend a lot of time working on words. Last year, I implemented the Daily five and my students loved it.  Word work was one of the rotations and my students could choose from a variety of tasks. Letter stamps were definitely the most popular tub in our word work area.   One of my favorite activities is the skinny book(sorry don’t have a pic). This is a picture of a skinny book from Nellie Edge’s website.
In guided reading I use a journal where students record their word work at the end of our lesson.  I select a word from their GR book(usually a sight word) and write the letters on round stickers. The letters are not in order, so students have to peel them off and put them in the correct order. 

I also write sentences on construction paper and cut them up while my students read it.  Then they have to put the words in the correct order, glue them down, and draw a picture for the sentence. 

Click on the picture at the top of my post to go to Maggie’s blog. Check out her Word Work resources, grab her freebie and don't forget to link up!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Teaching with Intention Chapter 5

I think I already said this about some of the previous chapters, but I think Chapter 5 is my favorite! Debbie Miller gives us such powerful examples of think alouds and the discussion that occurs with students. This week From Kindergarten with Love and Mr. Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard are hosting.  Check out their blogs to read what they thought of this chapter. 

First of all, I love the idea of keeping a notebook to jot down the ideas of your students.  At times I forgot something that struck me as powerful from the day before.  Not only does she write these down, she refers to these statements in subsequent lessons. The simple act of writing it down sends a message to students that their voices are important and are being heard.  This is a practice that I want to become a natural part of our time together on the carpet.

Her intentional planning included books that her students could read, but also ones that were more difficult.  For the latter, Valerie knew that her students could use various text features for support. It is evident in the way Debbie Miller describes this activity that Valerie knew her students reading habits and was adept at matching texts that reflected the type of interactions she wanted her students to have.

For me this was the most significant part of the chapter.  The way that she describes her think aloud for the mental file folders was amazing.  I saw that exchange as an example of the type of discussions that we need to have with our students.  I have no doubt that when these same students came across new information they will have that type of internal conversation as they attempt to make meaning of it.  I love how she likens the file folder to the processes that occur when you take in new information and then accommodate for your misconceptions.  Here are a couple of examples of the file folder visual aid that other teachers have used.