Q&A with Kristen
I’ve had several questions e-mailed to me the last couple of days and I thought that I would post them for all of you to read, in the event that you were wondering the same thing! 🙂
Q: OK, so can you give me a “for instance” on your binders. You have gone through calendar, the kids go back to their seats with their binders and they sit down and do what with them. I am a visual learner and I am having a hard time “visualizing” what they do with, lets say the money page or the color page. Thanks for your time!
When the children go back to their seats, I have them all open to the “calendar page”. I have a set of the same pages on my visual presenter and so I fill out the page and then the students copy what I do. On the money page, the children circle the money that corresponds to the money we posted during our calendar time…a penny for each day we’ve been in school and then any coins we have traded in the pennies for. Same for the base ten blocks pages. On the color and shape pages, I use Dr. Jean’s color and shape songs and the children point to the letters in the words as we sing them together (with the CD player!). I plan on making a new page for the colors in the future that have the animals in the color song, so the children can see them as well. On the shape page, the children trace the shapes with their finger as the shapes are sung about.
Eventually, the children can do all of these things independently (about November-ish) and I just remind them to turn the pages and help get the songs started.
Q: How do you get the kids to do the stations? I mean, it would take a lot of time to teach the kids how to use all these different stations, and I wouldn’t think that it would be possible to teach all of them on one day…but how do you get the whole thing set up so that every child (I have 27) has something to do at the same time from the very beginning?
I introduce math stations one at a time, over a 2 week period. I only need two weeks because I have 24 children to place in 14 stations (give or take a few depending upon the theme that month). During our math time the two weeks I introduce this, we spend 20 or so of them exploring the big tubs of manipulatives that I have (links, unifix cubes, pattern blocks, etc.) and then we spend 10-15 more learning about how to use a new tub. For example, when I showed my students how to use the Math Overhead Work Station, I called them all over to sit near the overhead and then I placed the various materials on the overhead, demonstrated how to use them, and showed how to clean them up and put everything away.
The next day, we do the same thing, except introducing a new station…until 2 weeks have gone by and then we take one day to quickly review what we do at each station and then off they go! My assistant and I walk around constantly, answering questions, praising correct use of the materials, and then we clean up.
Do you teach a letter of the week?
What do you do with your predictable charts? Does this take a week and do you have the students write their sentence and illustrate it or what do you have them do?
What do your literacy centers look like? How often do you change them? Do they go along with your read aloud for the week?
Thinking about purchasing your math centers for the year-how long do you keep these centers and how do you manage them?
Did you have a predictable chart for Mouse Paint?
What were your activities for all subj. areas with this book? Know what you did for science but didn’t post the rest.
A: I do not teach a letter of the week. This year we are trying out the Phonemic Awareness strand of Open Court and they do teach a letter a day, but I do no specifically focus on one other than during that time.
Please feel free to search my blog under “Literacy Work Stations” for information and pictures pertaining to them.
I keep my Math Work Stations running for approximately one month, but if the children are bored with them, I have several “back-up” tubs that I can use or I will just switch the activities out a week or so earlier. I might also skip a day here and there…for example, when we learn about apples, I might take a day where we graph, sort, and talk about the apples for our Math lesson instead of using the Math Work Stations. Or they could be used for two out of the four weeks in a month, saving the other two weeks for more open ended lessons. I also begin each day with a mini-lesson from “Developing Number Concepts” book #1 by Kathy Richardson…the new one! 🙂
I did have a Predictable Chart for Mouse Paint…”The mouse is…” and the children gave me one of the colors in the book to finish the sentence. At this point in the year, my Math Work Stations do not tie into my Literacy theme…they will in the future, but not right now.
I hope these help some of you! 😉 Let me know if you have anymore questions and I’ll be glad to post them. Make sure you take my poll below! 🙂