Archive for October, 2010

In several classrooms, students were working at literacy stations creating wanted posters. They were learning about personality traits and physical traits. Right now they’re making wanted posters about themselves, using traits. Down the road, they’ll make wanted posters about characters in books they’re reading, as they examine and analyze character traits.

One thing I love about visiting Stehlik is the “transparency of their teaching.” I always know exactly what their objectives are because these are posted clearly in each teacher’s room. This helps kids know what’s expected of them, too.

Learning objectives are posted in simple language for students to see.

A student's notes about character traits (personality vs. physical traits) from whole group.

Wanted poster made by a 5th grader, describing her traits.

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Last week I had the privilege of working with the awesome teachers at Stehlik Intermediate in Aldine ISD in my hometown, Houston. They were teaching students about character traits. In the next few posts, I’ll show you some of the wonderful work they were doing!

A special education teacher teachers about character traits by mapping these on the board with her class.

She reads aloud an adapted version of Anne of Green Gables from Scholastic.

This book has excellent support for characters in the front matter.

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Last year, a teacher I met told me about how her class works with high frequency words during whole group and chooses students to be “Sight Word Masters.” Periodically, a sight word is chosen and placed on the word wall, and connections are made to this word in songs or poems during shared reading. Then a child is chosen to be the “Sight Word Master” for that word. The teacher adds this child’s photo beside the word on the word wall and says, “By all the powers invested in me as your kindergarten teacher, I now pronounce (or dub) you the master of the word _______.” Kids love this part! If the student has become the master of the word, he gets to wear a visor with that word on it for the rest of the day. As the class leaves and/or enters the room, all the students have to spell that word.
A special thanks to Gretchen Longfellow of Brookston, IN for sharing this idea and her photos with me.



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A reader recently sent me this question, and I’d love if some of you could post a few lines on how you got started with stations in your kindergarten classrooms. I’ll follow up with comments, too. (I’m asking for your help because I just found out that all my website email from the past 6 weeks went to a spam folder, and there were 64 messages that I hadn’t received including the one below!) Thanks for helping me! 
From a teacher in NC– Hi! Our Kindergarten team is currently reading your book about Literacy Work Stations.  We are going to implement these into our schedule. I would like to know how and how many to introduce in K at a time.  Also when is it appropiate to introduce the work stations since some Kinders are getting adjusted to school.  Thanks, Joye

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Today at a training on literacy work stations, a teacher told me about a poem she thought I might like. When kids aren’t taking home a backpack of worksheets every day, here’s a response to share with parents! It’s by Donna Whyte:
You ask, “What’s in my backpack?”
When I come home each day.
I wonder what you hope is there.
If it’s empty, is that okay?
I tell you about my busy day,
How the teacher watches over me.
We sing, we laugh, we share, we learn-
That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
You ask, “What’s in my backpack?”
I say, “Today it’s empty.”
I see the disappointment
As you look down at me.
School is much more than “things”
That you can see and touch.
It’s all of my life lessons,
And that means so very much.
For if you really want to know
What I do each day,
It won’t be on a paper;
You’ll know by what I say.
When you open the zipper wide.
What you are looking for today
Is all on my inside.
Ask me about my hands and ears,
My nose and my eyes.
Ask me what we talked about,
And if I remember why.
Each day we do so many things,
So many books to read.
Sure is nice my teacher knows
Exactly what we need.
That backpack on my back today
Carries back and forth my stuff.
If you want to know what I learned,
Listening to me will be enough.
My teacher wants to plant a seed,
Get my “love of learning” to sprout.
She wants it to last a lifetime-
That’s what school is all about.
It’s in my head and in my heart
That learning will take place.
“Childhood should be a journey…
Don’t look at it as a race.”

Last two lines of poem adapted from slogan by Bob Johnson and printed with permission from SDE/Crystal Springs Books ~ Ten Sharon Road ~ PO Box 577~ Peterborough, NH 03458 ~ 1-800-924-9621 ~ All Rights Reserved.

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