The Tiny Seed Literacy Unit

Focus on Informational and Fictional Content Literacy Unit

Tiny Seed Literacy Unit

Tiny Seed Literacy Unit

In my last blog post I discussed how authors are combining fictional and informational content together, the literature selection “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle is a good example of this.  It takes the students on a journey of how a seed must overcome different obstacles before transforming into a plant.  This allows students to infer information from a fictional viewpoint.

 

A Gift for My Newsletter Subscribers – Access to “The Tiny Seed” Mini Literacy Unit

Tiny Seed Reader

Tiny Seed Reader

In this blog post I have also included a link to the mini unit I will be implementing in May related to the literature selection “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle.  This is my way of thanking my newsletter subscribers, Facebook and Google Plus followers for taking the time to read and post responses.  This unit will only be  available on this blog post until April 16th and after that time period only paid members will be able to access it.

 

The Tiny Seed Literacy Unit (Blog Version)

Please Post A Comment About the Unit and Share With Others

 

WHAT IS INLCUDED IN THIS MINI UNIT?

Emergent Reader – Simple Retelling of the Literature Selection

The emergent readers have proven to be invaluable to my teaching, I use them as a base to teach all early reading skills.  I will use the emergent reader “The Tiny Seed Retelling” as a follow-up to reading the literature selection “The Tiny Seed”.  I  project the color version on my Smart Board to use for shared reading.  I like to focus on specific reading strategies during this time (outlined within the unit).  The black and white version I use for my guided reading groups and as a home reading book to keep.

 

Tiny Seed Craft and Writing

Tiny Seed Craft and Writing

Follow-Up Writing and Craft Activity 

I will use the literature selection “The Tiny Seed” along with other books and videos to gather information about seeds and plants.   In the link below is an online version of the book.

 

Online Version of the Book

 

Literacy Centers or Stations

Literacy Center One – Rhyming Matching Game – 32 Rhyming Picture Cards

Rhyming Matching Game

Rhyming Matching Game

Using the rhyming picture cards (32 pairs) and large poster board, I created the matching rhyming activity displayed on the right.  There were three different boards, so if a student completed one board, they would exchange with another individual within their group.  There was also an answer key that outlined the correct pairs, this allowed the students to check their own completed task independently.

 

Litearcy Center Two – Identify and Print Review Game – Group of 6
Draw_-Print-Letter-Sound 2Place a plastic page protector over the printing sheet so it can be reused. This can be a partner or individual game.  Each player is given a printing sheet.  The players are also given a set of alphabet picture cards.  Players draw a picture card and determine which letter represents the beginning sound.  They must print the letter that represents the initial letter sound with an erasible marker.  If they draw a picture of a letter that has already been printed on their printing board, this is placed in the discarded pile to be used after all the cards have been drawn. The game is over once all the letters have been printed.

 

Litearcy Center Three – CVC Practice – 45 CVC Picture Cards – Group of 6Making-Words-Photo

In small baggies I enclose a CVC picture card, along with the word printed on bingo chips.  The students (partners or individuals) select a bag, stretch the sounds heard in the CVC word represented in the picture and place the letters in the correct order that make that word.  After, they print the word they have made.  The object of the game is to make 8 CVC words and print them.  After, I ask them come and read the words to an adult helper or me.  If they can read the words, they receive a sticker.  

 

Literacy Center Four – Alphabet Name and Ordering – Group of 6

Literacy Tiny Seed AlphabetThe students would take a tweezer to pick up a seed (great fine motor activity) and plant the seed on an alphabet letter name they can identify on the game board.  The object of the game is to plant all the seeds to cover the game board.

 

Literacy Center Five  - Planting The Seeds – Sight Word Game – Group of 6

Same as above, only the students would be planting the seeds according to sight words they could say.

 

ENJOY THIS LITERACY MINI THEME!

The Tiny Seed Literacy Unit (Blog Version)

 

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Pre-Kindergarten-Reading-Informational-Content

Focus on Informational Content

In the recent years there has been more concentration on the importance of students being able to read and understand informational content.   This has certainly become evident in recent curriculum changes.  Previously I found it difficult to find resources at a level that my students could understand, however, I am noticing the focus on combining informational content with fictional.  More authors are are combining the two and this approach is appealing for our young learners.

 

Dinosaurs Informational Content Theme

We are just completing our informational unit on “Dinosaurs” and I thought I would share some of the activities that have proven to be valuable to my learners.  I found the books below to be simplistic enough for my learners, yet packed with good information.  These books did not focus on specific dinosaurs but just provided general information.

1.  Every Shape and Size by Colin Walker

This book is a great to read prior to reading the emergent reader “Different Dinosaurs”.

2.  The Dinosaur by Anna Milbourne

3.  More About Dinosaurs – Troll Associates

4.  How Big Were the Dinosaurs?  Bernard Most

 

Dinosaur-Writing-Template-3 2

Dinosaur-Writing-Shape-BookFollow-Up Writing Activity

Each day I read a book to my students and/or we watched a video (YouTube search).   The students would then write a sentence about what they learned in their dinosaur shape book. They were often required to use specific sight word(s) or pattern within their sentences. If you are a member you do have access to this shape book.

 

Follow-Up Reading ActivityDifferent Dinosaurs Reader

In the theme unit you will find two informational content readers that are simplistic enough for your students to read on their own.  I use these for shared and guided reading.  This would be used to help meet your R.I.K. outcomes.

 

Literacy Centers or Stations

Spin-A-Rhyme-Game 2Literacy Center One – Spin, Rhyme and Find  - Group of 6

Students spin a top and match the rhyming picture they landed on, to that found on the game board chart using bingo chips.   The game is over when all the rhyming matches have been marked off.  There are three different game boards so the students can exchange theirs for a different one.

If you are a member, login to your account, go to reading on the main menu and scroll down to “literacy centers” to access this game.

 

Litearcy Center Two – Identify and Print Review Game – Group of 6
Draw_-Print-Letter-Sound 2Place a plastic page protector over the printing sheet so it can be reused. This can be a partner or individual game.  Each player is given a printing sheet.  The players are also given a set of alphabet picture cards.  Players draw a picture card and determine which letter represents the beginning sound.  They must print the letter that represents the initial letter sound with an erasible marker.  If they draw a picture of a letter that has already been printed on their printing board, this is placed in the discarded pile to be used after all the cards have been drawn. The game is over once all the letters have been printed.

If you are a member, login to your account, go to reading on the main menu and scroll down to “literacy centers” to access the picture cards in both color, black and white.  You will also find more picture cards under heading “Alphabet Program” (alphabet pictures).

 

CVCGame 2Litearcy Center Three – CVC Practice – 45 CVC Picture Cards – Group of 6

I work with this group of students, assisting them in hearing sounds within CVC words.  I draw a picture card and students are to print the CVC word represented on their individual dry erase boards.  Some of my students can print the entire word and others only the initial sound.

If you are a member, login to your account, go to reading on the main menu and scroll down to “Literacy Centers” to access the CVC picture cards.

 

Literacy Center Four – Alphabet Name and Ordering – Group of 6Dinosaur-Alphabet-Game

I still have a few students who do not know all the letter names.  In this activity I partner students who know their letter names with those who do not.  I found alphabet letters stickers, gems and tweezers at Dollarama.  I placed the alphabet stickers on the gems (enough for 3 sets).  The object of the game is to pick up the gem using the tweezer (great fine-motor activity), say the letter name and place all the gems in the correct alphabet order. They can do this with or without the alphabet dinosaur board provided in the link below.

 

Dinosaur Letter Board

 

Searching-for-Sight-Word-JewelsLiteracy Center Five  – Dig, Say and Print Focus Sight Words

Same as above, only the students dig for sight words, say and place them on their sight word sheet.  Game is over once all the sight words have been dug.  You can also have the student dig and print, using the printing sheet in the link below:

 

Sight Word Printing Sheet

 

Math Centers or Stations

Calendar, count days on calendar, count how many days they have been in school, add this many straws to the 10′s cup.  Count to 100 and by 10′s to 100.

 

Math Number Animated Videos

Introduce Math Tubs

Math Center One – Estimating, Measuring Length and Height

I have a set of erasible paddle boards that I use all the time.  The students will be estimating the length and height of our dinosaur figurines (how many snap cubes long or tall).  They will write their estimation on their paddle boards.  After, they will measure the figurine to see how close their estimation was.  If you do not have dinosaur figurines, you can use the paper templates below:

 

Measuring Templates

 

Math Center Two – Measuring VolumeVolume

1.  Students estimate how many small dinosaur figurines or rice it will take to fill different containers (can be any small manipulatives or even dinosaur fruit snacks).  After, they confirm their estimation by counting how many will fill the container.

 

2.  How many scoops of rice will it take to fill different containers?

 

Math Center Three – Measuring Weight

Constant – Heavier object (decorative rock)

The students will estimate how many small manipulatives it will take to balance the constant (heavier object) using a pan scale.

 

Math Center Four – Numeral  Identification and Printing Review

My students still need practice with identifying ten frames and numeral printing so I will include this Center throughout the duration of the year.  These templates are found in the Dinosaur theme and Math program.  Numeral printing sheets include ten frames for 1-10 and 1-20 (this will vary depending on your math outcomes).  According to the “Common Core Standards” the students are required to identify and print numerals 1-20.  The students draw a ten frame card.  I have placed the dotted numeral printing sheets in a plastic cover sheet so they can erase these after.  The student must print the numeral that represents the ten frame they selected.  They will continue drawing the cards until they have printed all the numerals.

 

Math Center Five – Decomposing Sets of NumbersCrack the Egg Math

I painted lima beans on one side and left the other side white.  Different amounts of beans were placed in plastic Easter eggs.  The students spill the eggs (beans) and can print the amount, make an addition sentence or subtraction sentence similar to what is displayed in the photograph.  The templates to play this game is found in the Math Program.

 

Planning Resources for Next Year

In preparing additional resources, I would like to base these on some of your favorite literature selections.  Could you please post them below.  I would really appreciate your assistance in this planning.

 

PLEASE POST YOUR FAVORITE LITERATURE SELECTIONS BELOW (BOTH FICTIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL)

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Literature Based Programming

Many Pre-Kindergarten teachers align their programming based on themes or literature selections. I try to incorporate both into my planning.  In planning for next year, I am attempting to organize the literature selections I want to use.  I based these selections on the skills I want to teach both academically and socially.  I thought I would share my tentative planning in order to possibly help trigger some ideas.  This is for the first half of the year and is also the sequence in which I plan to introduce the alphabet letters.  This sequence has worked very successfully for me.  I concentrated on the letters my students would see and hear the most readily. This sequence also gave me greater flexibility to start my guided writing groups sooner.  I also tried to align this with the printing sequence suggested by our O.T.  (starting with dive down letters).

In my last blog post I outlined the five major components in teaching reading:  phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary building, comprehension and fluency.  In the first half of the year a great deal of my focus is on phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary building and understanding the reading process (what a word is).

In the later half of the year I focus more on writing, comprehension and fluency.

Note:  I will post the literature selections I plan to use for the later half of the year in the next blog posting.


lion_and_the_mouse 2Friendship and All About Me ThemeLion-Laughs

The Lion and the Mouse – Aesop Fables – Letter “Ll”

The book “The Lion and the Mouse” is an Aesop fable book but there are different versions of it.  This is a wonderful book to read in relation to the importance of being a good friend.  I will also introduce the letter “Ll” and its related sound in conjunction with reading the book and emergent reader “Lion Laughs”.

Concept – Letter “Ll” heard in “lion” and its corresponding sound.

Note:  Another book that could be used in “Library Lion” by Kevin Hawkes.  It introduces proper behavior that should be followed when going to the libary or listening to a story (uses humour).

 

Hands-Not-For-HittingHands are Not for Hitting – Martine Agassi – Letter “Hh”MyHelpingHandsReader

The book “Hands are Not for Hitting” is great  to use at the beginning of the year to establish rules and virtures of being a good friend.

Concept – I will also introduce the letter “Hh” and its related sound (heard at the beginning of “hands) in conjunction with reading this book and emergent reader “My Helping Hands”.

 

Rainbow-FishRainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister – Letters “Rr and Ff”Rainbow-Fish

I use this book to help my students understand the concept of sharing.

Concept – I also use it to introduce the letters “Rr and Ff” (heard in “rainbow” and “fish”)  in conjunction with the emergent reader “Rainbow Fish Retelling” which is a simple retelling of the book.

 

The Nose BookThe Nose Book – Dr. Seuss – Al Perkins – Letter “Nn”NosesReader

I use this book and the emergent reader “Noses” to help my students appreciate individual differences.

Concept – Rhyme and the letter “Nn” for “nose” and its corresponding sound introduced in the printable emergent reader “Noses”.

 

Queens-Feet-BookThe Queen’s Feet – Sarah Ellis – Letter “Qq”QueensFeetReader

I use this book to introduce the concept of self-control.

Concept – Letter “Qq” for “queen” and its corresponding sound is introduced within context of the the reader, which is a simple retelling of the book.

 

pete-the-catColors, Fall, Apples, Trees, Halloween and Pumpkins Themes

I try to maintain this sequence, however, it may change depending on what activities that are occuring within the school.

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes – Eric Litwin – Letter “Cc and Kk”Pete-Cat-Reader

The book “Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes” would be used to introduce colors and color words. I use the simple retelling emergent reader “Pete the Cat’s Shoes” to reinforce colors, color words and introduce the letters “Cc and “Kk” and their corresponding sounds.  The students are required to color the shoes according to the text.  Note:  I also introduce the letter “Kk” because it also makes the same sound as “Cc”.

 

ten-applesTen Apples on Top – Dr. Seuss – Letters “Aa” and “Tt”Ape-Apples-Emergent-Reader(1)

I use this book to introduce the concept of numbers and phonological awareness.  The follow-up emergent reader “Apes Apples” is used to introduce the two sounds of “Aa” and also sound of “Tt”.  The students are required to draw the correct amount of apples indicated in the text.

 

 How Many Seeds In A Pumpkin? – Margaret McNamara -  Letters “Pp and Ss”Pumpkin-Patch-Book 2
Seeds-PumpkinsI will use the book “How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin” to further our counting experiences.  The emergent reader “Down at the Pumpkin Patch” introduces the letters “Pp and Ss” for “pumpkin and stars” within the story context.  The students are also required to draw the correct amount of pumpkins inidicated in the text in the interactive version of the reader “Down at the Pumpkin Patch”.

 

mouse paint 2Mouse Paint – Ellen Stoll – Letter “Mm”

I use the book “Mouse Paint” to introduce colors, color mixing and color words.  The emergent reader “Mouse in the Monster Parade” is used as follow-up to introducing the letter “Mm” sound, as well as, the students are required to color the monsters according to the text.Mouse-Parade-Clip

 

green eggs ham 2Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss  - Letter “Ee”

Dr. Suess books are great to use for phonological awareness activities as they use rhyme and play on words.  The emergent reader “Enormous Eggs” would be used to further the concept of colors (students FunnyEnormousEggs(1) 2must color the eggs according to the text) and introduces the two sounds of “Ee” for “eggs” and “enormous”.

 

Pets, Animal Adventures and Seasons (Focus on Winter)

During this time we talk about pets and how to care for them, go on animal adventures, talk about the seasons with focus on winter and how animals adapt to this season.Under-Umbrella-Emergent-Reader 2

The - Umbrella - BookThe Umbrella – Dieter Schubert – Letter “Uu” 

This is a beautifully illustrated wordless book that really inspires children to use their imagination. The story is told through the pictures of the little dog’s adventure throughout one day of being swept up into the air while holding onto an umbrella. Beautiful landscapes with jungle, sky, ocean, and many animals and birds.  This book could be used for days to create endless stories, talk about adventures, seasons and different parts of the world.Unicorn'sUmbrellas

Concepts - I will use the follow-up emergent reader “Under the Umbrella” or “Unicorn’s Umbrella” to introduce “Uu” sound.

Note:  I like using the interactive versions of the readers.  I use the version where the students cut and paste the pictures or color them as indicated.  This adds a comprehension component to the reading process.

 

Help Me, Mr. Mutt!  Expert Answers for Dogs With People Problems – Janet Stevens – Letter “Dd”Taking-Care-Dog

Help Me Mr. MuttThe book “Help Me, Mr. Mutt!  Expert Answers for Dogs With People Problems” is written from the dog’s persepective.  It is a funny book that lays the foundation for a discussion on how a dog should be properly looked after.  The activities related to this book and emergent reader could be used to meet your informational content outcomes. This is quite a lengthy book; I am planning to only read a few pages each day and really concentrate on developing reading comprehension strategies.

Concepts - Letter “Dd” for “dog” and steps that need to be addressed to care for a dogs and other pets.  This would be introduced through reading the book and emergent reader “Taking Care Of A Dog.”

 

IguanaonIceReader

Wanna Iguana

I Wanna Iguana – Karen Kaufmann – Letter “Ii”

The book “I Wanna Iguana” makes use of persuasion through letter writing.  It follows a similar format to the book “Help Me, Mr. Mutt”!  This is something that can be further developed in class activities.BestPetReader

Concepts:  Letter “Ii” for iguana.  I will also do further research about iguanas and also discuss use of persuasion.  I will use either emergent reader “Iguana On Ice” or “The Best Pet” that concentrate on developing reading strategies.

 

downloadGood Night Gorilla – Peggy Rathman – Letters “Gg and Zz” Zoo Escape

This is another funny book where animals take on human characteristics.

Concepts – Letter “Gg” for gorilla and “Zz” for zoo and zebra  will be introduced within using the emergent reader and we will also do further research on gorillas.  The emergent “Zoo Escape” is a simple retelling of the book.  I use all emergent readers during my guided reading groups.

 

Christmas 

brown bearBrown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – Eric Carle – Letter “Bb”brown bear see

This is not Christmas book but I use it as a base for introducing the emergent reader, “What Does Brown Bear See?”  The reader is another version of the book but with a Christmas focus.   I also use the same repetition of text in my Christmas writing activities.

Concepts:  The letter “Bb” for bear and I also do activities related to using our five senses.

 

Ocean Animals – Informational Content

The focus in this theme will be on retrieving information.  The emergent readers also allow students to read informational content.

Jenny Jellyfih

Jenny Jellyfish A Tale of Wiggly Jellies – Suzanne Tate – Letter “Jj”Jellyfish Jiggle

The book “Jenny Jellyfish” is both fictional and informational.  The students will enjoy hearing the story and learning facts about jellyfish.  The follow-up reader “Jellyfish Jiggles” will also support the book and would be used to introduce the letter “Jj” for jellyfish within its story context.

 

booksAn Octopus Is Amazing – Patricia Lauber – Letter “Oo”Ollie Octopus

The book “An Octopus Is Amazing” is an information book about the octopus.  The emergent reader “Exploring the Sea With Ollie Octopus” would be used as a follow-up to introduce other sea creatures and the letter “Oo” for octopus within its story context.

 

Humphrey 2

Humphrey the Lost Whale – Wendy Toluda – Letter “Ww” Whale Watching

“Humphrey the Lost Whale” is a true story about a whale that got lost.  The students will learn a great deal about whales by listening to the book along with the related video found in the link below.  They will also enjoy reading the emergent reader “Whale Watching” which is a funny and fictional story about what happens to a boy when he goes whale watching.  It introduces the letter “Ww” and its related sound within its story context.

 

Humphrey the Whale Video

 

Valentines, Friendship and Kindness and Final Letters

Focus on WritingFriendshipBook

This is when I begin to focus more effort on conventional writing (letters used to represent words, not scribbles).  The majority of the students have developed the ability to hear sounds (phonemic awareness) and associate these with the correct letters (phonics).   They have also gained greater control over their pencil skills in forming letters correctly.  It is now time for them to apply what they have learned about letters and their related sounds to writing.  I often forego guided reading groups for guided writing groups because of time restraints.  At this point, they still need considerable assistance in applying what they have learned about letters and sounds.  I also place more focus on sight word recognition.  I usually start each writing assignment with a number of patterned writing templates they can use where focus is on specific sight words.

Valentine_Mice-Book
I continue to use the emergent readers during shared reading time (projected on my Smart Board) which I use to introduce new reading skills (example, sound of “sh”) but now the students have the ability to read the color copied versions more independently.Valentine Mice

Final Letters

Franklins Valentines BooksValentine Mice –  Bethany Roberts – Letter “Vv”

Letters “Vv, Xx, Yy and sometimes Qq” are the final letters introduced in the Alphabet Program.  During Valentines week I read “Valentine Mice” by Bethany Roberts and “Franklin’s Valentines” by Paulette Bourgeois.  I introduce the letters “Vv” for valentines and “Xx” for fox used in the follow-up emergent readers “Valentine Mice” and “Fox Play Rhymes”.Fox Plays Rhymes

 

Transportation

Yak-Back-BookWhat Can You Stack On The Back Of A Yak? – Alison Green – Letter “Yy”

“What Can You Stack on the Back of a Yak?” is a brand new published book that I decided to order to entertain my students.  It will integrate well into the mini Transportation theme and rhyme focus in the Literacy Centers.  It will also serve as a good foundation to reading the emergent reader “The Yippety Yaks”.

 

What Other Books Are Used?Yippety-Yaks-Reader

These are the main books I plan to use for an integrated literature based learning classroom that are related to the skills I want to focus on.  I use many other books but they are not directly related to my main focus.  This helps me ensure that I have these books readily available to me.   I do not necessarily own all these books but will have easy access to them.

 

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Five Components of Teaching Reading

Pre-Kindergarten Reading

Five Components of Reading

I recently attended a session by Dawn Reithaug, who has assisted with reading intervention programs within different school districts.  I found this session provided reassurance as to what I am doing correctly and what areas of improvement can be made.  Even after 32 years of teaching, I still get excited about how I can improve.  She identified five components of reading that need to be explicitly and systematically taught:  phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension strategies.  In this blog post I wanted to expand on these areas and provide a few samples of how I incorporate these.

 

Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

What Is It?

It is the ability to identify and manipulate sounds in words.  In a more recent blog post I presented a video that explains this, as well as, teaching strategies that I have implemented successfully to address this area.

 

Video Explaining What It Is and Teaching Instruction Ideas

 

Phonics and Spelling

What Is It?

It is the ability to associate letters and groups of letters with sounds and blending these together to read words. Again, this is also an area that she identified as requiring explicit and systematic teaching instruction.   The “Kinderplans Alphabet Program” was solely developed to address this area of teaching. The importance of introducing a phonics sound and applying this skill within written context was also stressed.  This confirmed what I have always felt was lacking in many phonics programs.

 

More information about the Kinderplans phonics program can be found in the link below:

 

Explicit and Systematic Phonics Program

 

My Alphabet Sound Wall – Importance of Using Strong Visuals

Alphabet-Wall

Alphabet-Wall

Many teachers post generic alphabet letter picture posters within their classroom but they are rarely used and hold little meaning for the students.  My students use ours continously to support their learning. The pictures are associated with the sounds related to the characters found within the emergent readers and songs we have sung.  More and more research points to the importance of using visuals for teaching and I can attest to this level of importance.  Connecting specific letters to a certain sound is a complex task for these young learners and using visuals provides additional support.

 

Outstanding Site for Information and Assessment Materials

The site in the link below provides outstanding information and assessment materials that are used widely by different schools.   Picture assessment cards can be found but if you are a member of the Kinderplans site you have assess to many more picture cards.

 

Oustanding Informational and Assessment Materials

Fluency

 What Is It?

Pre-Kindergarten Emergent Readers

Ocean Theme Emergent Readers
Used for Developing Reading Fluency

It is the ability to decode and recognize words with speed, accuarcy and proper expression to facilitate comprehension.

 

How This Applies to Pre-Kindergarten

This is a difficult to implement in Pre-K since many of the students are not truly reading yet, however, there are still strategies that can be incorporated that can set the stage:

1.  Modeling fluent reading to your students.

2.  Having your students do repeated oral reading at the emergent level is the key to success for students at the Pre-K level.  They are not necessarily decoding the words yet but they are being continusouly exposed to print and the reading process.  The emergent readers have proven to be invaluable to my class.  I get so many requests from my students to read these to the entire class that I had to compile a chart outlining on what days they are scheduled to read.  They must practice prior to their turn, so they can read fluently to their classmates.  I modeled what fluent reading looks like.

3.  Teaching high frequency words within context of print.  This should be exercised with considerable caution.  The blog posting below addresses the concerns I have in this area.

 

Sight Word Teaching

Vocabulary

It seems more and more students enter our classrooms with language deficiencies.  It is very difficult for a classroom teacher to replace enriching experiences that a home can provide.  In the link below you will find the document “A Review of the Current Research on Vocabulary Instruction” by NRTAC.

 

Current Research on Vocabulary Instruction

 

Choice of Literature Selections Serves Platform for Vocabulary DevelopmentFunnyEnormousEggs(1) 2

In a Pre-K classroom, the bulk of vocabulary development would be provided through the literature selections we choose to read, field trips and online videos. I have read that 5 – 7 new words should be introduced daily. To be honest, I try to feature one new vocabulary word a day for the purpose of retention.  Last week, the feature word was “enormous” which was introduced when reading the emergent reader “Funny Enormous Eggs”.  The students made personal connection with the word and illustrated it.

 

Reading Comprehension 

This is such a huge topic and it would be difficult to cover this in one blog post.  I would recommend reading the book “Reading With Meaning” by Debbie Miller, it goes in depth on how classroom teachers can implement comprehension strategies effectively in the primary grades.  I have very briefly outlined some strategies below:

1.  Idenitying purpose for reading and making personal connections to previous experiences related to the topic.images 2

2.  Asking who, what, when, where, why and how questions.

3.  Summarizing what was read.

 

Again, it is important for classroom teachers to model the thinking process.

 

As always, I hope you found these ideas helpful!

 

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Valentine’s Theme Suggestions

I absolutely love this time of year because many of my students are ready to begin the writing process and implement what they have learned about letters/sounds and a few high frequency words.  This gives me a really good idea Writing-Progression-pre-kas to where each student is at.  Students in the early years develop their writing in stages.  Understsanding this progression helps us understand at what stage our students are at and what to expect from them.  More importantly, to appreciate where they are developmentally and celebrate their efforts and accomplishments.  The picture on the left outlines this progression.


Evolution of A Child’s Writing

In the link below you will find a more detailed description of this process.

 

Child’s Writing Stages

 

Valetnine-Book-Photo 2Valentine Writing Project

During the month of February we focus on the importance of friendship and write about it.  Each day they are at school, my students will be choosing a different friend to write about.  This will be written in their heart-shaped writing book (a sample page displayed on the left).  If you are a member, the templates to complete this project is provided for you in the Valentines theme unit.

 

Preparing for Writing Success and Independence

Modeling any activity you wish your students to complete prior to assigning it, is the key to success.  Together as a class we would brainstorm for ideas and I would model the writing process.  I would also model how I would plan what to draw.  We would also brainstorm for possible high frequency words that could be used and I would ensure these are readily available for the students to use as a reference.

 

Letter Formation and Picture Guide

Alphabet-Formation-Picture-Writing-GuideIn observing my students I also learned that they need a letter formation guide with a picture clue of what sound that letter makes because they forget when required to transfer this to a writing situation.  I frequently saw them referring to our wall where the letters are posted alphabetically with the picture that is related to that sound (the characters found in the alphabet readers and animated song video).  I realized they needed something that they could place beside them for a quicker reference.  A photograph of this guide is displayed on the right.  If you are a member, login to your account and access this printing and sound guide from the link “Alphabet Program” and the “Alphabet Pictures”.

 

Student Names and Pictures

Writing Center

Writing Center

I also supply each writer with a list of class names with their picture posted beside it.  This allows for greater independence.

 

Another Writing Activity

The templates below could be placed in your “Writing Center” where the students would be writing to each other.

 

Writing Center Valentine Cards

 

Valentine Fabulous Freebies

valentineanimalcraft

Children will enjoy creating heart-shaped animals in relation to the Valentines theme.  This activity will allow the students to let their creativity flow.  Provide them with a heart-shaped template provided for the body and allow them to create a animal shaped face to attach to the body. The photograph to the left is an example of what they can create. If you are a member, you will have access to these templates.

 

Heart Shape Template

 

paintbynumberChildren will enjoy improving their fine-motor skills and extending their learning of number recognition, color and word recognition to complete this activity.  There are two versions of this activity.  The first version requires them to identify colors in order to complete the activity.  The second version requires them to identify the color words in order to complete the activity.

 

Valentine Bear – Color Recognition Activity

 

Valentine Bear – Color Word Recognition Activity

 


Valentine Card for Students
In the link below you will find a card I created for my students.  Copy, fold and sign.

 

Valentine Card for Students

 

Valentine Mouse Maze
After reading the emergent reader “Valentine Mice” as a shared reading experience,  the maze worksheet below would be a great follow-up.  The children will help the mouse find the cheese.

 

Valentine Maze

 

For more ideas click on the link below:

 

Valentine Theme Ideas 

 

YOUR FEEDBACK IS REALLY APPRECIATED

In planning for the future, I would really like to know what forms of technology are you are implementing most within your classroom (Desktop Computers, iPads, other tablets, Smart Board).  You will need to fill in the captcha information first and then I must approve your response.  I do apologize for this but I constantly get spammers writing automated responses and this is the only way I can prevent this.

 

Please Comment About What Forms of Technology You Are Using Within the Classroom!!!  This Helps Me With Future Plans.

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Math Numbers Lessons

I have posted some ideas that can assist you in tackling the common core outcomes in relation to the strand “Counting and Cardinality”.  The activity sheets for these activities are found in the “Math Focus Program” which is included in the membership.

 

K.CC.A.1

I can count to 100 by ones and tens


Counting by Tens

Math Counting to 100 and Positive Behaviors

Award

Award

This activity worked really worked well for me.  I combined earning positive behavior points with counting to 100.  I attach plastic cups to hooks on the wall and mark these off with tens numerals.  Each time I notice somebody practicing positive behavior they take an award and place it in the proper ten cup.  We count how many awards there are at the end of each day and together we ensure there are only 10 per cup.  We practice counting by ones and tens to see how many we have accumulated. We have a celebration once 100 awards have been accumulated. The awards I use are found in the link below.  The amount is also marked off on the hundreds chart.

 

Positive Behavior Awards

 

100-ChartK.CC.A.2

I can count forward starting at any number. 

In the  “Math Focus Curriculum Program” you will find a 100′s chart.  I use this for a number of math activities.  This can be used to help meet the curriclum outcomes.  A student can randomly come forward and select a number.  Together, practice counting forward from the number selected.

K.CC.A. 3

I can write numbers 0-20 and show the correct amount of objects for these numbers.

K.CC.B. 4

I know a number represents an amount of objects.

K.CC.B. 4aa

When I count, I know each number I say represents one oject.

 

Introduction of These Concepts 

Sample Page Printing Booklet

Sample Page Printing Booklet

 

Printing Practice

I use the ten frames to introduce printing numerals in relation to one-to-one correspondence, using the printing booklet found in the “Math Focus Curriculum Program”.  The students practice printing the numeral on the dotted lines first and then without the dotted lines.  They draw the correct amount of circles representing that numeral. A sample page is found in the photgraph on the left.

 

Follow-up Math Station – Numberal Identification Printing Center

Numeral Identification Printing Center

Numeral Identification Printing Center

This is one of the math stations used within the “Math Focus Curriculum Program”.    The students draw a ten frame card and print the numeral on the dotted printing sheet provided (can be placed in a plastic cover so they can be reused).  They continue to draw the cards until they have printed all the numerals.

 

Crack the Egg Game

Crack the Egg Game

K.CC.B. 4b

I know the last number I say is the number objects, even if I arrange them differently.

 

Crack the Egg Game

I spray painted lima beans on one side red and left the opposite side plain.  The students shake a container representing the focus number for that day. They draw the different ways that number can be represented according to how the lima beans were distributed (displayed in the photograph).  I also incorporate addition within this activity.

 

K.CC.B. 4c and 5

I know when I count the number gets bigger.  I can count 20 things.

Activities for these outcomes can be incorporated through your daily activities such as clapping, jumping and calendar.

Greater-Less-Equal-Activity

Greater-Less-Equal-Activity

 

K.CC.B. 6

I can tell if a group has great than, less than or an equal amount.

K.CC.B. 7

I can compare two printed numerals between 1-10

 

Ten Frames Activity to Help Meet These Outcomes.

Student pairs take turns drawing a ten frame dotted math card.  If they draw a card with a greater amount, they print the number on their dotted printing sheet.  If they draw an equal amount, no number is printed.  The game continues until both number sheets are completed

 

FABULOUS FREEBIES – ANIMATED VIDEOS AND FOLLOW-UP SHEETS TO HELP MEET THESE OUTCOMES

In the link below you will find you will find animated videos and sheets that also be used to address these learning outcomes.

 

Animated Numbers Video and Sheets

FOCUS MATH PROGRAM

Included in your membership is the “Focus Math Program”, more information can be found in the link below:

Focus Math Program

 

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Pre-Kindergarten Reading Skills

Research has proven that phonological awareness, phonemic awareness and phonics play a crucial role in children learning to read but the terms can be confusing.   The video below is an excellent source of information in explaining the differences.

 

Pre-Reading Skills Video

 

In this blog post I wanted to address a few mini-lessons that I have implemented that target these early reading skills.

Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness Warmup

Phonemic Awareness Warmup

One of the learning outcomes in many Pre-K programs is for students to print letters they hear at the beginning of words.  However, many of my students arrive not being able to  distinguish the difference in hearing these sounds. Many do not understand the concept of what a beginning sound is.  During the first weeks of school,  I focus on phonemic awareness activities that will assist them in hearing sounds within words prior to introducing any alphabet letters representing these sounds.  I focus on the initial sound first.

1)  I have a puppet that I named “Slow Speaking Sam”.  Sam says the sounds within words (usually one syllable words) very slowly and the students must guess the word said.  If they can’t guess the word, it is said faster.

2)  I have three students come forward and assign each of them a phoneme sound they are to represent.  We blend the sounds together to say the word that represents these sounds.  We clap or stretch the sounds using an elastic band.   We also discuss the first, middle and last sound heard.  This activity has been invaluable in terms of my students understanding the concept of what a beginning sound is.  When the majority of my students are able to hear beginning sounds; I begin introducing the letters of the alphabet that represent these sounds (phonics).  We extend this activity to deleting and adding sounds.  Using the students to represent sounds assists visual learners with this skill devleopment.

 

Phonological Awareness

Rhyming

1)  I read plenty of rhyming books and have students complete the rhyming partner words.

2)  As a dismissal activity, I will often say a word and they must tell me a rhyming partner (bear and hair).

3)  This is a fun whole group Smart Board rhyming activity. I will project the dog outline (colored version) on my Smart Board for the students to circle the parts of the dog that associate with the rhyme.  If you do not have a projectable white board, use the black and white version copied on paper.

Rhyming Activitiy  I rhyme with "pail" I am thinking of the dog's (tail)

Rhyming Activitiy
I rhyme with “pail” I am thinking of the dog’s (tail)

I rhyme with “hear” I am thinking about the dog’s (ear)

I rhyme with “pail” I am thinking about the dog’s (tail)

I rhyme with “rose” I am thinking about the dog’s (nose)

I rhyme with “pie” I am thinking about the dog’s (eye)

I rhyme with “rung” I am thinking about the dog’s (tongue)

I rhyme with “straw” I am thinking about the dog’s (paw)

I rhyme with “purr” I am thinking of the dog’s (fur)

 

Color Picture of a Dog for Rhyming

 

Black and White Dog for Rhyming

 

Spinning Rhyming Game

Spinning Rhyming Game

Some Rhyming Litearcy Center Games

Literacy Centers are time for my students to practice the skills I have taught during instruction time.  Outlined below are two rhyming games that my students play at the Literacy Centers.  As a member of the site, you will have access to more.

 

Spin a Rhyme

Roll-A-Rhyme-Food-Game

Roll-A-Rhyme-Food-Game

Playing partners take a turn spinning a top and must determine what rhyming picture partner matches the one where the top landed.  The matching rhyming picture is marked off on the game board chart. The game continues until all the rhyming partners are found.

 

Roll A Rhyme Food Game 

This game is found in the “Nutrition Theme”.  Playing partners take a turn rolling a die and they must move their game player accordingly around the food game board.  They must find the matching rhyming picture on the game board chart and mark this off (could use a bingo chip).

 

AlliterationJj-Emergent-Reader

The books below, written by Margaret Atwood are good examples of ones that make use of alliteration.

1.  Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut

2.  Bashful Bob And Doleful Dorinda

Many of the emergent readers also make use of alliteration.  The animated alphabet song video makes use of alliteration to introduce letters and their corresponding sounds.

 

Animated Alphabet Song Video Uses Alliteration

 

Syllables Syllable-Page

I generally do not work on syllabication until my students have a good understanding of what a word is and how it is made up of different sounds (not to confuse them).  We look at words within context of the emergent reader and discuss short and long words.  I then introduce how longer words can be broken down into parts. We practice clapping, hopping and chanting their names and different words found within the emergent readers according to syllables heard.  Example, we would look at one of the pages found within the reader “Exploring the Sea With Ollie Octopus” and discuss the number of parts or syllables we would hear in each of these words.

 

Phonics

The “Alphabet Program” which is included in the Kinderplans membership package is a complete and effective phonics program.  It teaches the alphabet letters and related sounds in a meaningful and systematic sequence.  The emergent readers found in the link below are the ones used to teach early reading skills and alphabet letter sounds.

 

Alphabet Readers

 

Phonics Literacy Centers

The Literacy Center activties are meant for the students to further practice what they have learned about letters and their related sounds.  I have included two games (there are many more) that would be used for this purpose.

 

SprinningBoarGame 2Letter Specific Games

Once the students are introduced to specific sounds, they play games that allow them an opportunity to practice what they learned about these sounds.  For example, the game displayed on the left was played after my students were introduced to the letter “Ll” and its corresponding sound.  Playing partners take turns spinning the top, if they land on a picture that represents the letter “Ll” sound they must print it.  The game continues until the printing chart is completed. This is a game that was played at the beginning of the year.

 

Review GamesAlphabetSoundGame

My students need continuous review of letters and their related sounds.  In the members area you will find many alphabet review games, largely because this is what my students require.  The game displayed on the right is one we will be playing this month.  Students will be rolling a die and moving around the ocean floor accordingly.  The must print the letter on the dotted lines CVCGame 2sheet that represents the sound of the picture they landed on.  The object of the game to have all the letters printed.

 

CVC Games

As a member of the site you will have access to 40 CVC picture cards which will allow you to create your own games.  On the left you can view one game that can be played.  Each student takes a turn drawing a word card and they must determine which picture represents that word card and place it on the picture board accordingly.  For my more advanced students, they print the CVC words instead.

 

I hope you found some of these ideas helpful!

 

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Kindergarten Common Lesson Plans RI.K

Reading Informational Text

The big push in many curriclums is for students to read, extract and understand informational content   The goal through all the grades is to have students exposed to 50% fiction and 50% non-fiction.  I believe this is a positive direction as we become more inindated with information through the internet.  It is increasingly important for our learners to have the ability to quickly retrieve and understand informational content when they are required to do so.

Read Aloud

Read Aloud

 

Problems or Challenges

I recently attended a workshop where this issue was addressed.  Many teachers expressed  the difficulty they experienced in finding material that was at the reading level of their students.  Often the usage of vocabulary and amount of print was above their students reading ability.

 

Informational-Emergent-Reader

Informational-Emergent-Reader

How Can This Apply to Kindergarten? 

It made the Kindergarten teachers attending the workshop evaluate how we can weave content reading into our programs, especially since many of our students don’t even read yet.  I re-evaluated how I use my own program and confirmed that many of the readers are content based.  I had the materials but needed to adjust delivery slightly. In this blog post I am going to outline my plan that will address the usage of informational content at the Kindergarten level.

 

Materials

-Sticky notes

-Read aloud:  “Looking After Dogs and Puppies” by Katherine Starke and Ushborne Books.

-Shared reading:  “Taking Care of a Dog” emergent reader follow-up found in the “Pets” theme unit.

 

Information Graph

Information Graph

 Math- Graphing

Prior to reading about caring for a dog, I want to find out how many students already own a dog as they can also be a source of good information.  I will give each student a sticky note and they will print their name and post it under the correct graph heading.  After, we will discuss our findings.

 

Should I Get A Dog?

The plan for this lesson is to help a student(s) who are not dog owners to decide if they would like one for a pet.  Explain how it is important to research all the responsibilities of becoming a pet owner prior to making a decision.

 

Read Aloud

I chose to read the book “Looking After Dogs and Puppies” by Katherine Starke and Ushborne books.  The book has a great deal of print (too much for little ones attention) but I will choose a few pages and read only the captions related to the pictures.  After, we will discuss what is involved in looking after a dog and print this on chart paper.

 

Shared Reading

I will explain that we will be reading together a book that further outlines how to take care of a dog (printable emergent reader found in the “Pets” theme) and project it on the Smart Board to read as a shared reading experience. After, we will discuss if there was additional information in this selection about caring for a dog. This will be added to our list outlined on chart paper. This is a patterned emergent reader that many students can read on their own once it has been read through several times. The question “Should I get a dog?” will be discussed further and decisions would be made based on the information we retrieved.

Sound Sorting Literacy Center

Sound Sorting Literacy Center

 

Further Development of the Reader

I also use the readers to introduce key reading skills.  In this reader the letter “Dd” and its corresponding sound would be introduced.  Sight words “to, be and you” could also be introduced and CVC pattern of the word “dog”.

 

Guided Reading

I also have the students read the reader to me during guided reading where we will discuss it further.

 

Guided Drawing

Guided Drawing

Follow-Up Writing

The children would draw a picture of one important piece of information they learned about caring for a dog and write about it.  At this point, some of the students would be able to print the word “dog”.  The teacher could scribe their thoughts below.

 

Guided Drawing of a Dog

I use the site below for many of my guided drawing projects.

 

Drawing a Dog 

 

Here is another template of a simple dog outline:

 

Simple Dog Outline

 

Rhyming Activity

Rhyming Activitiy  I rhyme with "pail" I am thinking of the dog's (tail)

Rhyming Activitiy
I rhyme with “pail” I am thinking of the dog’s (tail)

This is a fun whole group rhyming activity. I will project the dog outline (colored version) on my Smart Board for the students to circle the parts of the dog that associate with the rhyme.  If you do not have a projectable white board, use the black and white version copied on paper.

I rhyme with “hear” I am thinking about the dog’s (ear)

I rhyme with “pail” I am thinking about the dog’s (tail)

I rhyme with “rose” I am thinking about the dog’s (nose)

I rhyme with “pie” I am thinking about the dog’s (eye)

I rhyme with “rung” I am thinking about the dog’s (tongue)

I rhyme with “straw” I am thinking about the dog’s (paw)

I rhyme with “purr” I am thinking of the dog’s (fur)

 

Color Picture of a Dog for Rhyming

 

Black and White Dog for Rhyming

 

Follow-up Literacy Center Activities

View the link below to view follow-up “Literacy Center” activities.

 

Litearcy Center Activities

 

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Halloween Literacy Activity

What’s In The Cave?

Halloween Emergent Reader and Activities

Halloween Emergent Reader and Activities 

In our classroom we have a large black box that has become a cave.  You can also use sheets draped over chairs. The students crawl through the cave with a flashlight to find a lazy lizard, a fat bat, a clever snake, a friendly frog, a shy spider, a gentle bird and a busy beetle.  The pictures found in the link below can be used for this.  We use plastic ones. Each time they find one of these, they mark it off on the sheet provided in the link below.

First, I will read the book What’s in the Cave?  This book is now out of print but I have created a retelling of it in the link below.  I will project the book on the Smart Board for the students to view and model the reading process to them. I will also download the Smart Board activity on the classroom computers so the students can drag the animals mentioned in the text to the cave.  After, they can draw a picture of a monster they might see in the cave (using the drawing tools).

Each student will receive a black and white version of the book to read to their parents. During guided reading time I will take a small group of students with me to read the book again.  They will also draw a picture of a monster that they might find in the cave.  After, this group will explore the cave and look for the animals mentioned in the book and mark these off on the sheet.  The other students are doing a craft with my assistant, on the computers or visiting the other Halloween stations.

 

What’s In the Cave Color Version

 

What’s In the Cave Black and White Version

 

Follow-up Smart Board Activity

Go to the web page found in the link below to download the follow-up Smart Board activity.  You will find it at the bottom of the page where it says “Halloween Theme”.

 

Smart Board Follow-up Activity

 

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Pre-K Math – Counting and Cardinality

 Math and Literacy Integration

Emergent-Reader-Ape-Counts-Apples

Emergent-Reader-Ape-Counts-Apples

This week I was able to integrate Language Arts, Math and Music.  I find this integration so critical in helping meet the outcomes.  In reading the emergent reader “Ape Counts Apples” the students learned the following when we worked through the reader during shared (projected on the Smart Board) and guided reading:

1.  Identify the letters “Tt” and “Aa” and their corresponding sounds which were introduced in context from reading the reader together.

2.  The letter “Aa” is special because it makes two sounds like in the words “ape” and “apples”.  It is called a vowel.

3.  The difference between a word and a number.

4.  Left to right progression when reading and what a word is.  Most of my students can circle words correctly and track them this way.  We are working towards tracking words without the use of circles.Emergent-Reader-Apes-Apples

5.  Identifying numbers 1-10.

6.  During guided reading, I was able to see what students were able to display one-to-one number correspondence association by drawing the correct amount of apples indicated in the text.  Many of my students were not able to read all the numbers but they could draw the correct amount when told.  We will obviously need to work more on number recognition.

7.  We watched an informational video about apes, since many students would not necessarily be familiar with them.

 

Sometimes we don’t realize how much we accomplish in a day.  When I reflect back on how much we learned just from this single activity; I feel a greater sense of accomplishment.  It is important that we do this reflection each day.

 

Follow-up Literacy Center Activities

There are 5 – 6 students per group that rotate.

Center One

Practice printing the letters “Tt” and “Aa’.

 

Literacy Sound Sorting

Literacy Sound Sorting

Center Two – Sensory Bins Sound Sorting

Objects that begin with the sounds “Rr, Ff, Tt and Aa” are placed in the dry rice and soy beans sensory bins.  Students dig and sort the objects accordingly.  If you are a member, you can use the picture cards found under the headings “Alphabet Program” and “Alphabet Pictures” instead.

 

Literacy Sound Game

Spin and Print Sounds

Center Three – Spin and Print

Each partner takes a turn spinning a top and printing the letter “t” or “a” according to the picture they landed on.

 

Literacy-Letter-Matching-Game

Literacy-Letter-Matching-Game

Center Four – Letter Match

Partners take turns drawing a picture/letter card and matching it to the letters found in the pocket charts.  They must also say the name of the letter if they know it. The picture cards are related to the characters they will be introduced to when using the emergent readers and in the song video below.  These picture cards can be found in the member’s area under “Reading” and “Literacy Centers”.

 

Alphabet Song Video

 

Fabulous Math Freebies

In each newsletter I provide a fabulous freebie.  In the link below you will find a link to some math freebies.

 

Math Freebies 

 

Article About Teaching Sight Words

During this time of year, I do not focus on teaching sight words because my students are not ready for this yet.  They are being exposed to them during our shared and guided reading but I would not expect them to memorize them.  I read an article written by a K-12 Language Arts specialist on this topic and I totally agree with her point of view.

 

Common Core Reading Foundational Standards – Where Do Dolch Sight Words Fit In?

 

Your Comments Appreciated – Win Free Theme Unit!

One or two individuals will be chosen to win access to the “Apples and Numbers”  theme unit just for posting a comment on how you teach sight words or if you feel it is even appropriate in kindergarten.  I am also intersted in hearing your thoughts even if Apples-Naumber-Theme-Pageyou already have access to the theme unit.   There are so many different opinions and expectations in terms of which ones should be taught, how many or even if it is appropriate to teach them at the kindergarten level.

 

Post your comment and e-mail me your name and e-mail address after, letting me know that you are interested in accessing the “Apples and Numbers” theme.  I will contact you if you were chosen.  Thanks for posting!  E-mail sent to:

 

webmaster@kinderplans.com

 

What Are Your Thoughts About Teaching Sight Words?  Win Access to the “Apples and Numbers Theme Unit” Just for Posting Your Thoughts!

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