1. Establish a gathering place for brain and body breaks.
|This is our R-U-G that we do A LOT of different activities on. The most|
important thing we do is have our "rug time" which is our meeting time.
I got this amazing rug from Lakeshore a few years ago and it just happens to be divided into 24 even, little sections (knock on wood, this has been enough for each child to have their own spot so far!). I had never thought about calling it anything but what it is-- "the rug". Only, I do have to say, I don't think I have ever said it that way, I always spell it (just trying to get some additional literacy practice in!): "Okay kinders, meet me down at the R-U-G for rug time!" They figure out pretty quick what R-U-G is! When they come to the rug, the students know they have to find their "apartment" (most of my population lives in apartments, so that is what I use to explain their own space).
We do lots of activities at the rug like our movement and brain breaks, as well as have our class meetings and do our read alouds.
My students love rug time because they know it is going to be a combination of sitting and moving fun (oh, and, unbeknownst to them, lots of learning!).
I don't think I am going to change what I call our meeting area...besides, even if I wanted to, my rug area is my R-U-G and that would be a pretty hard habit to break. If it "ain't broke, why fix it?", right?
2. Developing the concept of "good fit" books
Okay, after reading Tammy's post over at Live, Love, Laugh in Kindergarten, why would I even attempt to create or even discuss anything in regards to "good fit" books? She has nailed it and even provided the most visually appealing freebies to go along with her post. Awesome, Tammy, and thanks for sharing.
One point I do want to contemplate is when is it realistic to introduce this method and have a majority of your class actually be able to put it in motion? Let's face it, many kindergarten children are not truly reading even by the middle of the year and, if they are reading, it is "reading pictures" or "retelling stories" and they do not need to really be choosing a good fit book for that. Lets have a discussion in the comment section about this...when is it appropriate to introduct this concept in kindergarten?
My feeling about Anchor Charts is that they should only be created and displayed about THE MOST IMPORTANT concepts you want students to follow and learn:
- Make sure you don't display too many; if you do, they all get lost and become invisible.
- Make them WITH the children (at least brainstorm the information with them!).
- Only put the most important information on them. Again, too much info becomes invisible.
- Use picture clues when possible.
- Make it visually appealing.
- I use actual enlarged pictures from the photocopier when I can, showing the expectation. (You will see an example of this during the next chapter which I happen to be hosting :) ).
- Hang them in a place for all to see and refer to, obviously.
- Here is an example of a simple anchor chart that explains the concept through pictures and minimal words, which is perfect for kindergarten-aged children:
The more YOU refer to it, the more likely the students will begin to refer to it on their own and then, eventually, begin to internalize the concept.
4. Book Boxes
I always have my book boxes up and ready to go on the first day of school, but, honestly, I never use them until school REALLY gets into the swing (and we all know that can take awhile). I have to say, once they are introduced, they LOVE having their very own book box. They feel ownership over it and become very protective of "their" books. This is how I plan on doing my book boxes this year:
|This book box is from the blog Kindergarten, Kindergarten.|
Click on the picture for more classroom organizing ideas.
I will discuss how I introduce book boxes and utilize them throughout the year during the next chapter, so, be sure to stop by next week for the all-important chapter about Read to Self (yes, kinders REALLY are capable!). Until then....