Rainbow Fish Literacy Lesson Plans


Rainbow Fish LiteracyThis mini-theme is based on the literacy selection “Rainbow Fish” written by Marcus Pfister.  Other similar selections written by this author could also be used for instructional purposes.  This lesson plan is part of a nine-week program (or longer) to meet the majority of the kindergarten and pre-kindergarten curriculum outcomes.  A balanced literacy approach is used within the Kinderplans teaching resources.  This approach has proven to be the most effective model used in teaching today.

 

Modeled Reading

All alphabet letters/sounds and sight words begin with using  popular literature selections for modeled reading.  In this set of lesson plans, the teacher would use Rainbow Fish written by Marcus Pfister and other similar literature selections written by this author.

 

Shared Reading Follow-Up

The companion emergent reader “Rainbow Fish Retelling” would be used as a follow-up to model the reading process and to introduce the following:

 

Alphabet Letters:  Rr for “rainbow” and Ff for “fish”

 

Pre Primer Sight Words:  see, the, you

 

Rainbow Fish Reader Black and WhiteRainbow Fish Reader Colour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alphabet and Rhyming Literacy Center Games and Activities

The games outlined below are follow-up activities that are used to reinforce what has been taught using the emergent reader as an introduction to the focus skills.  A collage of the activities/games are provided in the photograph below.

 

Spin and Print

Playing partners spin and print the letter of the focus initial letter sound represented in the picture they landed on.

 

Draw and Print

Students draw a picture card and print the letter of the focus initial letter sound displayed in the picture collage below.

 

Picture Mnemonic Printing Activity

Students will be involved with focus letter picture mnemonic printing activities as displayed in the photograph below.

 

Phonemic Awareness, Phonological Awareness and Rhyming Activities

Rhyming, phonemic and phonological awareness activities are always addressed within the units.  These lesson plans based on the book “Rainbow Fish” include suggestions and activities in relation to developing these skills.

Rainbow Fish Literacy Games

 

Sight Word Literacy Center Games and Activities for 

Spin and Print

Playing partners spin and print the focus sight words (see, the you).

 

Roll and Print

In this game focus sight words are printed on a blank die.  Students roll the die and print the focus sight word on the templates provided.

 

Roll, Move and Say

Playing partners take turns rolling a die and moving their game players accordingly on the game board provided.  They must say the sight word that they landed on.

 

Draw and Say

Playing partners take turns drawing a word card and saying the word displayed.  They get to keep the card if it is read correctly.

Rainbow Fish Sight Word Games

 

Writing Activity

All lesson plan themes include a follow-up writing and craft activity. The students would complete the craft/writing activity displayed below. The writing template is meant to be a shape book for your young learners to print a sentence about what they have learned about ocean animals.  The fish template was sponge-painted and thick aluminum foil was used for the scales.

 

Rainbow Fish Writing Craft 

Where Can I Access These Resources?

You can access the resources from the link below

 

Rainbow Fish Literacy Lesson Plans

 

 

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The Day It Rained Hearts Literacy Lesson Plan

The “Alphabet and Sight Word” curriculum is being revised.  It has had a few revisions over the years, this new revision will allow users a more step-by-step

The Day It Rained Valentine Hearts Literacyprocess that can be easily implemented.  It follows a balanced literacy approach for introducing the alphabet letters and their related sounds and all the pre-primer sight words.  This is a brief preview of what is included in the new revised program.

 

Modeled Reading

All alphabet letters/sounds and sight words begin with using a popular literacy selection used for modeled reading.  In this set of lesson plans, the selection “The Day It Rained Hearts” by Felicia is used.

 

Shared Reading Follow-Up

The companion emergent reader “It Rained Valentine Hearts” would be used as a follow-up to model the reading process and to introduce the following:

 

Alphabet Letters:  Uu and Vv

 

Sight Words:  it, down, yellow, the

Rained Hearts ReaderRained Valentine Hearts Reader Color

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alphabet and Rhyming Literacy Center Games and Activities

Spin and Print

Playing partners spin and print the letter of the focus initial letter sound represented in the picture they landed on.

 

Draw and Print

Students draw a picture card and print the letter of the focus initial letter sound represented in the picture.

 

Picture Mnemonic Printing Activity

Students will be involved with focus letter picture mnemonic printing activities as displayed in the photograph.

 

Phonemic Awareness, Phonological Awareness and Rhyming Activities

Rhyming, phonemic and phonological awareness activities are always addressed within the units.  This unit includes suggestions and activities in relation to developing these skills.

Alphabet Games Valentine Hearts

Sight Word Literacy Center Games and Activities

Spin and Print

Playing partners spin and print the sight word.

 

Roll and Print

In this game focus sight words are printed on a blank die.  Students roll the die and print the focus sight word on the templates provided.

 

Roll, Move and Say

Playing partners take turns rolling a die and moving their game players accordingly and must say the word landed on.

 

Draw and Say

Playing partners take turns drawing a word and saying the word displayed.  They get to keep the card if it is read correctly.

Sight Word Games Valentine Games

 

Writing Activity

All lesson plan units include a follow-up writing activity.

Rained Hearts Writng Activity

Simple Follow-up Crafts

In this craft activity the students would cut the frame and color the hearts according the words displayed on them.

Day It Rained Hearts Craft

Where Can I Access These Resources?

You can access the resources from the link below

 

The The It Rained Hearts Literacy Lesson Plans Unit

 

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Phonics Sounds Ordering Guide

Importance of Phonics

Research has proven that phonics needs to be taught within our classrooms.  There are different approaches to teaching phonics, which are outlined in the link below:

 

Different Approaches to Teaching Phonics and Findings

 

Kinderplans Phonics Program

The Kinderplans phonics program uses a combination of these approaches.  The video below provides an informative description of the program.

 

Ordering of Teaching Phonics

How should different phonics sounds be introduced in terms of ordering?  I have often been perplexed by this myself.  Below is a guide that will provide assistance with planning.  I have also provided visuals that I use when I go beyond teaching just the consonants and vowels.  The Kinderplans alphabet program provides effective visuals for teaching the consonants and vowels.Letter Ff

 

Consonants 

Single consonants are the easiest to learn.  Consonants can be divided into three categories:

 

Stretchable Consonants

These are the easiest for the learners to remember and hear.  When you say the letter name you can hear its corresponding sound be stretching the end.

l, f, m, n, r, s, v, z

Plosive ConsonantsLetter Bb

You can hear the sound in these letter names as well but air flow does not allow you to stretch the sounds.

b, d, j, k, p, t and q

Tricky Consonants

The consonants below are trickier because you cannot hear the sound within the letter name.

c, g, h, w, x and y

VowelsLetter Hh

Short vowels are taught first because phonics rules often determine if a long vowel sound is made.

 

Consonant Digraphs

The next group of sounds to be taught are the vowel digraphs.  These are consonants that come together to make a special sound.    The most common digraphs are outlined below:

sh, ch, wh, th

Consonant Blends

This is when two are more consonants are blended together.  Some common consonant blends are outlined below:sh and magic e

bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fr, tr, fl, gl, gr, pl, pr, sl, sm, sp, st

 

Final “e”

The next group, are the final “e” words.  This is when the long vowel sound is taught in relation to the “e” being placed in the final position of the word.

make, pine, kite, cone

 

Vowel Digraphs

This is when two vowels are together in a word.  These together can make a long vowel sound heard by the first vowel, but this does not always occur.

boat, read, pay, feet, Vowel Digraphs

 

Vowel Diphthong

Is a combination of two adjacent sounds within one syllable.  Examples of vowel diphthongs are outlined below:

out, soil, toy, haul

 

R-Controllers

The letter “r” controls the sounds the vowel is going to make.

teacher, shark, star, birdr-controllers

 

Fabulous Freebies – Phonics Visuals

In the link below are visuals that I use to teach other phonics sounds once my learners have master the consonant and vowels sounds.

 

Phonics Visuals

 

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Rhyming Activities

I have noticed that children are arriving in our classrooms with limited exposure to the concept of rhyme.  Exposure to nursery rhymes and rhyming books are becoming more limited in the home environment.  This makes the literacy journey even more challenging for these learners.  I have been spending a significant amount of time providing this exposure to my learners.  Below you will find activities that I have been employing to assist them.

 

Rhyming Books

Rhyming Books

My Favorite Rhyming Books

These are a few of my favorite rhyming books.  Allowing students to hear rhyme within literature selections is a significant step forward in developing the learner’s ability to distinguish rhyme.

1.  Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson – great to use with the Fall theme

2.  Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson – great to use for Halloween

3.  Sheep in a Jeep – by Nancy E. Shaw

4.  I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More – by Karen Beaumont

5.  Silly Sally – by Audrey Wood

6.  Llama Llama Red Pajama – by Anna Dewdney

7.  Llama Llama Misses Mama – by Anna Dewdney

8.  Rhyming Dust Bunnies – by Jan Thomas

9.  Jamberry – by Bruce Degan

10. Giraffes Can’t Dance – by Giles Anderae

11. There’s a Bear on My Chair – by Ross Collins

 

Rhyming Game

Spin-A-Rhyme Board Game

Rhyming Dictation

I have been working with small groups to develop their ability to hear rhyming words.  I dictate words that rhyme and those that don’t.  The students must acknowledge if the words rhyme or not by telling me “yes” or “no”.  I also dictate three words and the students must tell me which two rhyme.  In the link below you will find some examples that I have used.

 

Spin-A-Rhyme Board Game

This is a game I play in a small group setting.  I place a the spinner board in a paper plate and attach a spinner.  We discuss the pictures first.  Each student is given a small picture game card and bingo chips.  Each player takes a turn to initiate the spinner.  Each student decides which picture rhymes on their game card and places a bingo chip on the corresponding picture.  This is done as a group initially.  After, they play with partners.

 

Rhyming Matching Board Game 

This is another game I play in a small group initially. I copied and placed the rhyming pictures on poster board marked off with a grid. The students drew a card and placed the picture beside the rhyming match. (example:  clown and crown, ball and doll).

Rhyming Matching Game

Rhyming Matching Game

 

Word Work

Each day we print on our erasable whiteboards.  I introduce a word family and have the students only change the initial letter. They learn that this not only changes what the word says but also that all the words rhyme (examples:  cat, bat, mat, sat, etc.)

 

Rhyming Mini Unit – Special Deal Until End of November

This mini-unit is not offered as an individual purchase but is only available to members that purchase a membership.  For the month of October and November, I have decided to offer this as a single purchase (if you are an existing member, you will already be able to access this under the heading Literacy Centers).

Rhyming Mini Unit

Rhyming Mini Unit

 

More Information on the Rhyming Mini Unit

 

Fabulous Freebies!

Each blog post I l also try to include some fabulous freebies.  In the link below you will also find some free rhyming resources.

 

Free Rhyming Resources

 

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Phonological Awareness Activities

Significant Correlation Between Learning to Read and Phonological AwarenessPhonological Awareness Pyramid

I am now teaching grade one and have come to realize the importance that phonological awareness plays in relation to children being able to read.  The students who are unable to identify rhyming matching words are the ones struggling with learning to read.  As a result, my focus for the month of January is to have these students exposed to more rhyming read alouds.

 

What Is Phonological Awareness?

I have posted the video below previously but this is for the benefit of the readers that have not seen it. It does a terrific job of explaining phonemic and phonological awareness.

Rhyming Read Aloud

Rhyming Read Aloud

 

Pre-Reading Skills Video

 

Focus on Rhyming Activities

The Read Aloud 

For every theme I did, I always tried to ensure that my read alouds included a rhyming book.  If you using the “Alphabet Program” the theme for January is “Ocean”.  I have listed some “Ocean” read alouds that make use of rhyme.  Having our learners listen to rhyme and word play is one of the best methods of exposing them to phonological awareness activities such as rhyming.

 

1.  Gizmo the Octopus by Mark Hooper

Spinning Rhyming Game

Spinning Rhyming Game

2.  Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck  ***

3.  Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae

4.  The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson

5.  Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood

6.  The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

 

Spin-A-Rhyme Board Game

I also included phonological awareness activities in my literacy centers.  The game displayed above is one my students really enjoyed. Partner players take a turn spinning a top and must place a bingo chip on the rhyming picture match.  (Example:  the top landed on a picture of a rake and a bingo chip was placed on the picture of a snake).

Rhyming Matching Game

Rhyming Matching Game

 

Rhyming Matching Board Game 

This is another game I had at my literacy centers. I copied and placed the rhyming pictures on poster board marked off with a grid.  The students drew a card and placed the picture beside the rhyming match. (example:  clown and crown, ball and doll).

 

Word Work

Each day we print on our erasable whiteboards.  I introduce a word family and have the students only change the initial letter. They learn that this not only changes what the word says but also that all the words rhyme (examples:  cat, bat, mat, sat, etc.)

 

Rhyming Mini Unit – Special Deal Until End of January!Rhyming Mini Unit

This mini-unit is not offered as an individual purchase but is only available to members that purchase a membership.  For the month of January only, I have decided to offer this as a single purchase (if you are an existing member, you will already be able to access this under the heading Literacy Centers).

 

More Information on the Rhyming Mini Unit

 

Fabulous Freebies!

Each blog post I l also try to include some fabulous freebies.  In the link below you will also find some free rhyming resources.

 

Free Rhyming Resources

 

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Working With Struggling Readers

The Logics of English

The Logics of English

I just read the book “The Logic of English” written by Denise Eide.  This is a great resource for teachers in terms of assisting you with integrating phonics instruction into your program. I intend to use this resource to strengthen my phonics instruction within my grade one class. She advocates that all students should be taught reading within a systematic phonics program and this would result in improving the nation’s reading scores and reduce the amount of struggling readers. This is debatable but I do believe that phonics instruction is important and should be integrated into a balanced literacy framework.  I learned to read and started my teaching career based on phonics programs that included rules, worksheets and where most of the phonics instruction was taught in isolation of text. This became obsolete once the “whole language approach” emerged.  Experienced teachers such as myself remained teaching phonics in conjunction with using a “whole language approach.”  In 2000 the “International Reading Panel” tried to settle the wars between the two opposing philosophies and out of this was born a “balanced literacy” approach to learning.  I feel that all classrooms today should be using this framework to guide their reading and writing instruction.

 

The link below from John Hopkins School of Education outlines the reasons some children struggle with reading and possible intervention programs.  It does note that these students do benefit from a systematic phonics program. However, most of these programs are meant to be used within a small learning group setting.

 

Reasons Students Struggle With Reading and Intervention Suggestions

 

How I Tackled My Dilemma in Teaching Phonics

I have always believed that phonics instruction is very important but I struggled for many years on how to incorporate it effectively.  Teaching in isolation of text seemed very disjointed and not that meaningful to my learners.  When I started incorporating phonics instruction within my reading selections, I started to enjoy teaching phonics and it just flowed naturally.

 

Zoo Escape Reader

Zoo Escape Reader

Example of Phonics Instruction For Hard “Gg” Sound

I introduce the letter “Gg” and its related sound through reading the book “Good Night Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann.  This is followed by reading the reader “Zoo Escape” as a shared and guided reading instruction (based on a balanced literacy model).

At the beginning of the Kindergarten year I only teach the hard “Gg” sound and later the soft “Gg” sound.

 

Importance of Follow-up Activities – Word Work

Literacy Center Games

Literacy Center Games

Literacy Center Games

It is obvious that just introducing the letter is not enough for the students to fully internalize the concept. Follow-up activities are crucial in fully grasping how this sound works in conjunction to printing and reading.  The literacy center games are meant to be used for this purpose.  The link below outlines the process in which I go through for my students to fully grasp the concept of learning new letters and their related sounds.

 

 Follow-up Activities 

 

Dictation – Extending Word Work

“When writing by hand, the movement involved leave a motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain which helps us recognize letters.  This implies a connection between reading and writing, and suggests that the sensorimotor system plays a role in the process of visual recognition during reading.”

Word Dictation

Word Dictation

 

Anne Mangen Univeristy of Stavanger, Norway

 

The above statement supports the idea that students do not internalize the connection to the letter and sound until they are able to print that letter. This has also been my experience. For this reason, each day I have a short dictation period where my students print on their erasable whiteboards.  I will dictate words and they must print the initial letter that represents that word.  By the end of the year, most students can print the entire word (usually CVC words). This is part of my word work and phonics instruction and is a very important one.

 

Extending the Concept To “Soft Gg” – Later In The Year

When doing the fairy tale theme we read different versions of the book “The Gingerbread Man”.  This is followed-up by looking at the letter “Gg” and introducing the other sound it makes.  The reader “Gingerbread Man Perseveres” is used as a shared and guided reading follow-up.

Gingerbread Man Perseveres Reader

Gingerbread Man Perseveres Reader

 

Spelling Rule

You may introduce the following spelling rule as outlined in the book “The Logic of English.”

Gg may soften to /j/ when followed by e, i, or y.  Otherwise it says /g/.

 

Summary

Phonics instruction is important especially for those students who are not strong visual learners.  These students are auditory learners and need phonics instruction.  For me, I like to teach phonics in conjunction with the stories that I am reading and incorporating into my word work blocks.  For kinesthetic learners, printing the letter(s) in conjunction with learning the phonograms is an important step in internalizing how they are used in representing sound units within writing and reading.

The book “The Logic of English” will provide you with all the different phonograms that we use in the English language.  It also provides you with all the different spelling rules that can be applied when learning to spell English words.  It is a great book to read to provide guidance on how you can approach your phonics lessons and spelling instruction. I would tend to stick with teaching the consonants and the two vowel sounds (long and short) initially at the pre-k level.

 

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Is Teaching Printing Still Important?

Is Teaching Printing and Handwriting Still Important In This Digital Age?

Teaching Printing

Teaching Printing

Increasingly more students are arriving in our classrooms never having the opportunity to hold a pencil, coloring and cutting with scissors and fine-motor skills are lagging.  I have certainly noticed a significant decline since I started teaching 34 years ago. This blog post is meant to address some of these concerns.  How often do you hear, “children do not need to know how to print because they will just learn to type.”  Research has been done in this area and supports the importance of still learning to print

 

Importance of Learning to Print – Correlates to Learning to Read

A 2012 study showed that young children who attempted to write letters on a blank piece of paper demonstrated similar brain functionality used by adults when reading and writing.  Children who only traced letters or shapes with dotted lines, or those who typed the letter on the computer showed no such effect.  Their brain functionality for activating the same skill level was much weaker.

 

Printing and Writing Results In Better Retention

The video below discusses how printing/writing results in better retention.

 

Handwriting Versus Typing

Handwriting Versus Typing

Teaching Printing In Relation to Learning Letters and Sounds

The research above confirms the importance of teaching printing in conjunction with learning letters and sounds.  There is such a huge connection between learning letters and sounds and printing the letter.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the importance of learning to print should not be overlooked even in this digital age.  I believe even more research is going to become available showing the same outcomes.  Below I have posted a few printing “Literacy Centers” ideas.

 

Literacy Games That Promote Fine-Motor and Letter Learning

The game displayed below was one of my student’s favorite Literacy Center games. I place the picture circle graph in a paper plate so the top would not roll off.  The students must twist the spinner (great for fine-motor) and print the letter represented by the picture the spinner lands on.

Spinning Alphabet Board Game

Spinning Alphabet Board Game

Roll, Count, Move and Print Game

This is a great game to assist in letter learning and printing and also incorporates math. Students roll a die and move their game player accordingly. They must print the letter that represents the sound of the picture they landed on.

Literacy Center Game

Literacy Center Game

Draw and Print

As a member of the Kinderplans site you have access to 156 alphabet picture cards.  The students would draw a picture card and print the letter represented.

 

Draw and Print

Draw and Print

CVC Word Printing

As a member of the site you will have access to 45 CVC picture cards.  Students can make words as displayed in the photograph below.

 

Making CVC Words

Making CVC Words

More Literacy Center Ideas

In the link below you can find more Literacy Center ideas.

 

>More Literacy Center Ideas

 

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Teaching Ideas for the New School Year

 

Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

Many of you will be entering the new school year and the excitement of meeting your little learners is mounting.  They will all enter with a wide range of skills and abilities.  With the curriculum expectations becoming more rigorous, we tend to omit the basics. When I started teaching kindergarten, I was so eager on getting these little ones learning the alphabet and start the process of writing and reading early.  I learned very quickly that the majority of my students didn’t understand the concept of what a beginning sound was nor could they hear it.  I had to take a step back and start with the basics.  This is where phonemic instruction comes into play.  The video in the link below does a fantastic job of explaining phonemic and phonological awareness.

 

Important Pre-Reading Skills

 

The graphic organizer displayed above was from the URL below.  Great Job!!!

 

Graphic Organizer and More Information on Phonemic Awareness

 

Importance of Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and segment sounds.  We know that a student’s skills in phonemic awareness is a good predictor of later reading success or difficulty.  Since research has proven this time and time again, as a Pre-K or kindergarten teacher, this is a great place to start your literacy instruction.  I have outlined some fun and engaging activities below that can be used for segmentation and blending.

 

Slow Speaking Sam

Guessing the Word

Slow Speaking Sam Puppet

I have a puppet called “Slow Speaking Sam”.  He says sounds of words very, very slowly. My little ones have fun trying to figure out the word he is saying.  Together we blend the sounds to say the entire word.

 

Assigning Each Child A Sound

Sound Segmenting

Sound Segmenting

I have three students (to begin with) and assign them each a sound.  They each say their sound and the rest of the students must guess what the word is when you put all the sounds together (blending).

 

Money in the Bank and Taken Out

Move the Sound

Move the Sound

I show a CVC picture card (45 pictures on the Kinderplans site). Each child is given a cupful of pennies or whatever you have available.  The students move the pennies into the bank representing each sound heard.  After, they blend the sounds together to say the entire word while removing the pennies.  After the game, the students can count how many pennies they collected.

 

Money in the Bank Templates

 

Squeeze the Sound

Squeeze the Sound

Squeeze the Sound

Again, I show a CVC picture card.  The students must squeeze the ball each time a sound is heard. They blend the sounds together to say the entire word, while dropping the ball to the ground (do not want a ball that bounces). This is also great for developing fine-motor strength too!

 

Stretch the Sound

Stretching Sounds

Stretching Sounds

The students stretch each sound using a slinky or elastic band. These can bought at a Dollar store (love those stores).

 

Using Your Imagination

These are just a few examples but you get the idea of the possibilities.  The activities should involve some sort of movement in order to be effective.

 

When Do I Start Introducing the Alphabet Letters?

I only concentrate on phonemic awareness activities for the first week or so of the school year.  I still continue to do these throughout the year but I introduce the relationship to a letter.

 

Meeting Your Curriculum Outcomes

If the Kinderplans Alphabet program were to be followed the majority of your curriculum outcomes would be met.  The only area that is not covered is poetry.  I am working towards adding these to the collection of resources found on the site.

Alphabet Program

Alphabet Program

 

If you have poems that you use in your class to share, I would really appreciate them sent to me or post a comment below.

 

Alphabet Program Explained

I just recently posted a video on the site that explains the program.  Hop over to view it.

 

Alphabet Program Explained

 

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Pre-K Guided Writing

Fairy Tale Theme for April-May

Fairy Tale Theme for April-May

Importance of Guided Writing Within Your Classroom

During the later part of the Kindergarten school year (February-June) I started pulling small groups of students to work with me on writing short sentences that  follow a pattern.  This writing is so important as it allows them practice what they have learned about letters and sounds and use of basic sight words.   I offer assistance in helping break down the words so they can hear the sounds.  I am now teaching grade one and I really noticed a difference with students that came into my classroom with this foundation.  I have outlined some writing samples from the Fairy Tale theme I used during the months of April-May.

 

Story Writing

It is such an exciting time of year when the majority of the students can apply what they have learned about letters and sounds through their story writing.  For their first story writing experience,  I have them follow a patterned story so all the students can experience success.  They choose their own setting, ending and different characters that would follow the patterned series of events as outlined in the emergent reader “Gingerbread Man Perseveres” from the Fairy Tale theme.

 

Alphabet-Printing-Formation-Picture-Guide

Setting the Stage for Success

My students always have an alphabet chart handy that they can refer to.  It is not uncommon for them to forget proper letter formation and what the letter looks like that is related to a specific sound.  My students use the chart and alphabet wall pictures regularly. The pictures on the chart are related to the alphabet sight word readers and songs that were used to teach the the alphabet.  The students have taught me the importance of using strong visuals; it results in greater retention and more meaningful learning.

 

 If you are a member of the site, login to your account and go to “Alphabet Program – Alphabet Pictures” to access this chart.

Writing story starter found within the theme unit.

 

Illustrating – Simple How to Draw Resources

Illustrating the story can be challenging for some students.   The best “How to Draw” sites I have found are in the links below.

 

Great How to Draw Site

 

Another Great How to Draw Site

 

settingWriting and Differentiated Instruction

Choosing a Setting

The students first task was to choose a setting.  I tried to encourage them to choose a setting that was related to their level of interest.  An example of a setting can be found in the photograph on the left (this girl chose a castle because the was really into princesses).  I provided a patterned story starter that allowed for differentiation.

 

Series of Events

The page on the right was taken from the setting displayed.  All her characters will be related to a castle setting (a fairy helper with a pretty princess).  The students were to complete a series of events using the story starter below:Story One

 

Run, run, as fast as you can

You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.

I had to run away from…..

 

Series of Events TwoWriting 1

In the photograph on the left, this author chose “Cat Land” to be her setting.  All her characters will be different types of cats.  In this picture it is a “baby rainbow cat”.

 

Series of Events ThreeWriting 3

The story on the right is (a powerful unicorn).  The setting chosen for this story is “Unicorn Land”.

 

Series of Events Four 

Story 4The author in this story is really into bobcats (Bobcat Land) so all his characters will be bobcats with different features.

 

Ending the Stories

Each story will provide a similar ending to the emergent reader “Gingerbread Man Perseveres”.  The author will provide an ending that shows what happens to Gingerbread Man when he perseveres and escapes from all the characters that chased him in the story.

 

Parent Day

At the end of May we had a parent day.  I had my students pick their favourite page from their story. I scanned the page and displayed it on the Smart Board for them to read to their parents.  I also incorporated drama into this theme where the students reenacted the emergent readers related to this theme.  What a great way to show off all they have learned!

 

In Conclusion

I have taught many different grades;  kindergarten and grade one are one of the most exciting in terms of witnessing growth.  In Kindergarten I was working with the students in hearing beginning sounds and  by the end many of them could hear the beginning, middle and end of a word and print the letter that represents these sounds.  Their printing was initially scribbling and at the end their thoughts were expressed by using letters.  Initially, they did not know the difference between a word and letter but now they can track and read words.  This is why I love teaching!!!

 

More Ideas Related to the Fairy Tale Theme

 

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January Lesson Plans

January is the month to bring warmth into your classroom. Since January is a cold and snowy where I live, the “Ocean” theme is meant to bring dreams of warmer weather.  We discuss the ocean creatures, sandy beaches and sun. In planning for this theme I use a balanced literacy model to assist me.  The model is viewed on the right.

Balanced Literacy Model

Balanced Literacy Model

 

Read Alouds

Since the focus letters related to this theme are Oo for “octopus”, Jj for “jellyfish” or Ww for “whales”, my literature selections are related to gathering information on these sea animals. These are the books that could be used:  “An Octopus is Amazing” by Patricia Lauber,  “Jenny Jellyfish a Tale of Wiggly Jellies” by Suzanne Tate and  “Whales” by Gail Gibbons.

Ocean Emergent Reader

Ocean Emergent Reader

 

Shared Reading as A Whole Class

The emergent reader “Exploring the Sea With Ollie Octopus”, would be used to introduce the sea animals octopus, jellyfish and whale. The letters “Oo, Jj, and Ww” and their related sounds would be introduced within a meaningful context.  I project the reader on my Smart Board and model the reading process, as well,  I work on a variety of reading skills related to the reader.  This is done in a whole group setting.

Guided Reading

Guided Reading

 

Guided Reading in Small Group Setting

I copy off the black and white version of the reader for each of my students.  We work on a variety of skills that the reader offers within a small group setting.  I always use the interactive version of the reader.  The students are to cut and paste the correct sea creature that corresponds to the text and color the pictures.  This keeps each student busy while I am working with an individual.

 

Word Work – Rotating Literacy Centers

I usually run my Literacy Centers for 20 minutes to 45 minutes on a rotating system.  The activities allow the students to practice the skills focused on during shared and guided reading.  I generally have four rotating centers with 5-6 students in each group.

 

Oo, Jj, Ww, Rr, Ff Focus Letter Game

Oo, Jj, Ww, Rr, Ff Focus Letter Game

Center One – Practice Printing

The students practice printing the focus letter that has been introduced.  It is at this center they work on their printing booklet.

 

Center Two – Focus Letter Sound Game

Spin and Rhyme

Spin and Rhyme Game

Playing partners take turns rolling a die and moving their game players accordingly.  If they land on the focus sound(s), they must print the letter.  This game focuses on letters Oo, Jj, Ww, Rr and Ff.

 

Center Three – Rhyming Game

Letter Naming and Matching Game

Letter Naming and Matching Game

Playing partners take turns spinning the top.  They must find the matching rhyming picture of where the top landed and mark this off.

 

Center Four – Letter Naming and Matching Game

Focus Sight Word Game

Ocean Sight Word Game

Playing partners draw a letter card and must say the name of letter (if they know it) and place it on the correct matching fish.

 

MORE CENTERS

Focus Sight Words Game

Focus sight words are printed on the game board. Playing partners take turns rolling a die and move their game player accordingly.  They must read the sight word that they landed on.

 

Alphabet Review Game All Letters

Alphabet Review Game

Alphabet Review Game – All the Letters of the Alphabet

In this game the playing partners are required to print all the letters of the alphabet.

 

CVC Game

CVC Game

CVC Game 

Playing parnters take turns drawing a CVC word.  They must match it to the corresponding picture.

 

Writing Activities

We will be watching videos, reading books and gathering information about the octopus, jellyfish and whales which are featured in the emergent reader.  All our writing activities will reflect on the information we gathered.

 

This Month’s Fabulous Freebies

In the link below you will find the connect the dots sea creature activities.  The students can connect the dots, color and print a sentence about these sea creatures.

 

Dot to Dot Ocean Creatures Connect the Dots and Writing

 

Ocean Creatures Word Identification Legend

 

More Information on the Ocean Theme

In the link below you will find more information on the “Ocean Theme” unit.

 

Ocean Theme Unit

 

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