Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Large Group Literacy: Winter Holidays Around the World

For Holidays Around the World, I sequence the holidays to be taught in the following order:
Advent, St. Nicholas Day, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Noche Buena, Christmas, Kwanzaa.

Advent Chain 
Many advent celebrations focus on counting down to Christmas.  This activity makes an advent chain using thin slips of paper.  Each student writes their name on a slip and we staple them into circles, looping them to make a paper chain.  At the end of each day, we remove a chain.  If we can read the student's name then they make take their chain home with them that day.

All I Want For Christmas Is...
Another language chart helping students to communicate preferences using complete sentences.  When I had a teacher website in one county, I would also type up this list for parents to know what their children were saying that they wanted for Christmas at school.

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bell retelling
Old Lady is BACK!  Remember those predictions and use whatever props work for you and your budget.

The Snowman Movie to Book Comparison
This is saved for the last day before Christmas Break.  We "read" The Snowman earlier that day.  There are no words in the book so have your students offer what they gather, strengthen their inferential abilities!  Later, we watch The Snowman and students offer what they saw that was the same and what was different.  "Why did they add Santa to the movie?  He wasn't in the book...."

Again, this is the time of year for Parent Conferences so my Large Group Literacy activities will vary to what I need for work samples or what my para would like guide the lesson with. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Emotional Journaling: Suprise

Time to start expanding on those basic feelings and learning further how to identify and express things.  First emotion for expansion: SURPRISE!

Page 2:
We opened up our journal page on Surprise and all of the underlying feelings within it by writing "surprise" however we wanted. 
My daughter wanted a heart exclamation point.  I went large, all caps, across most of the top of the page. 

We then put four sticky notes on our paper and wrote out the underlying emotions on each of them: Startled, Confused, Amazed, and Excited.  You can use color pencils, markers, or crayons to connect each of these emotions to a color of our choosing.  Beneath the sticky-notes, we wrote the two connecting emotions to each of those.

Once we finished with that, we each selected a word from the tops of the sticky notes to look up in the dictionary to share with the others.  The eldest chose to write the definition beneath each of the words on the sticky notes.  The children were tickled how the definitions in their dictionaries varied and how many included the base emotion "surprise" or the supporting emotions within them. 
We finished by making faces for each emotion on the top-side of the sticky note.

The children struggled to think of how to draw some of the faces so I prompted them to make the face that they would when they would feel that way.  It helped them a lot to then realize what they could do to draw the face.

Feel free to link up in the comments.  What faces will you make?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Large Group Literacy: Snow Animals

There Was An Cold Lady Who Swallowed a Some Snow retelling
Didn't we just read an old lady?  Repetition is OKAY!Don't forget to give some time for student predictions of what will happen with the old lady THIS time.  And, of course, make your props from whatever works for you.

Mitten Versus Glove Graph
Would you prefer to wear mittens or gloves in the snowy weather?  Write their name on post-its to stick under their preference.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear Big Book Reading
If you did the Brown Bear, Brown Bear activities, pull off of that prior experience to allow students to make predictions of animals that will appear in this book.  Remember to demonstrate tracking print to students.  

About this time of year, I'm starting to wrap up for Parent Conferences so my Large Group Literacy activities will vary to what I need for work samples or what my para would like guide the lesson with. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Emotional Journaling: Fear

After reviewing the responses of the children, I noticed that one of them was uncertain of something that they could identify connecting their life experiences to that emotion.  Was this trying to seem brave?  Was this because of a lack of understanding of what fear means?  We can find out which this is by clarifying what fear is.

Page 2:
We wrote the letters for fear down the side of our paper to make an acrostic poem.  We wrote out things that we do when we feel fear for each letter.  This took a lot of time and thought for each of us, I think the letter E was the most difficult one for me to think of something for.

We all shared our words for each letter as we wrote them out to help give others ideas of words that they can use and help them to reflect if that is something that occurs when they feel fear.  We would have short discussions on why we used some of the words.  I picked 'embarrassed" (which I spelled wrong in my own journal, OH NO!) because something I am afraid of is Howard the Duck.  Not everyone is afraid of Howard the Duck so I would feel...  That allows them to internally reflect on things that they're afraid of but might not be willing to share because of embarrassment and that it is okay to be afraid and still speak up about it.
This led into our next prompt, what we can do to be brave!  What can you do to help calm down when you feel fear?  What can others do to help you when you feel fear?
My daughter wrote screaming for help which led us into another conversation about speaking up when we encounter fear.  I used my fear of Howard the Duck again for this talking about if I went to a party and people were watching Howard the Duck, no one would know how that makes me feel but if I speak up and say "Hey, Howard the Duck really freaks me out.  Could we watch something else?" that it lets people know and others can be understanding of how I am feeling.  By speaking up, we can have our fears addressed and receive assistance from others in working through it.
What if we are frozen by fear?  How can we calm down enough to even begin to speak?
We discussed one of the Conscious Discipline calm down techniques of S.T.A.R. and practiced doing it three times.

Feel free to link up in the comments.  How do you handle fear?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Large Group Literacy: Thanksgiving

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie retelling
Our favorite old lady!  Now we can add some predictions in as well.  We've seen the old lady and the books make a book bag, the old lady and the fly died, what will happen to this old lady?
Again, make your props from whatever works for you.

Writing Up a Thanksgiving Feast
This is one of my FAVORITE class lists and each year I always forget to take a picture of it.
On chart paper, I make a giant plate, cup, fork, spoon, knife, and napkin.  All of these objects are labeled.  Then, the students suggest what they would like to eat (or drink) for Thanksgiving.  I try to match the color of the food to the words they offer and organize them on the plate and in the glass where they fit.  Rolls are brown, salad is green, tomatoes and cucumbers and other salad fixing get written on top of the salad in their color.  Mashed potatoes are gray, gravy is brown and written on top of the mashed potatoes word.  The students have fun filling up the plate and cup with words and colors.

Thankful Tree
Students draw or write on a leaf what they are thankful for and we post them to a tree cutout placed outside of our classroom.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Emotional Journaling: The Base Emotions

Some people have emotional intelligence.  They understand how they feel, how they react when they feel certain ways, and have the words to tell others how to best comfort them in those situations.  They understand how emotions can stir reactions in other and better support others in those moments.
Most children are building their emotional knowledge.  Some only get an understanding of the base emotions: happy, sad, angry, etc.  What are we doing to help children become successful in their understanding of emotions?  To learn more than just being happy or sad?  To help them understand how to calm down and channel their anger in a constructive way?

I have begun working on Guided Journals with the children of my home.  You can follow along by writing your own journal or making your own blog post discussing these points.

Page 1:
I printed copies of Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions for each of the kids to put on their first page.  We took color pencils and colored each emotion of the innermost wheel with colors that we connected to those emotions.  ONLY COLOR THOSE INNER EMOTIONS.  Save the rest for later.
My daughter shared that she selected the colors for each piece based on characters in Inside Out.  
On the back of the page, we listed down the side those emotions in any order of our choosing.  Then we wrote what makes us feel that way next to each emotions.
Beneath that section, we wrote a way that others could help us to feel happy again or things that we could do for ourselves to feel happy.

As you can see, there is no focus on accurate spelling.  The idea is to be comfortable with identifying your feelings, connecting experiences to those feelings, and demonstrating an understanding of those feelings.  The more we write, the more improvement in spelling and grammar will naturally occur. 

Feel free to link up in the comments.  How are you feeling?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Large Group Literacy: Forest Animals

My unit on forest animals depends on how the week falls.  Usually I do a full five days and focus on Brown Bear Brown Bear during LGL.  This past year was a four day week so I did the following activities:

Forest Animals List
Students try to name as many animals as they can think of to be added to chart paper by the teacher.

Owl Babies Big Book Reading
Big Books are wonderful opportunities to demonstrate tracking print to students.  The repetitive statement by the youngest owlet will have them participating in the reading process.

Tree Observational Drawings
Using paper on clipboards, students will walk around the school and draw what they observe of the trees on campus.

Retelling of Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear poem
I enjoy celebrating the end of our time learning about forest animals with a Teddy Bear Picnic.  So with our teddy bears that we brought in, we act out the Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear poem.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear Picture Walk
Go through each page of the book from cover to end.  Allow students to take turns suggesting what they believe is happening on each page.  I recommend no more than three suggestions per page or students begin to get off track in the activity.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear Big Book Reading
Since yesterday we guessed what was happening on each page, today we read it!  What will the words tell us is happening this time?
Again, pointing to each word and tracking print demonstration for students.

Brown Bear retelling using props
There are many prop options for retelling; flannel board, puppets, different colored smocks for students to wear labeled with each animals' name.  Buy something, make something, create something new.. One year I was in a rush and wrote the animals' names on their matching color of construction paper for students to hold.  Whatever works for you, your students, and your budget.

Favorite Brown Bear Animal
This activity focuses on writing.  You can either make it a graph for students to write their name under the animal of choice OR you can give each student a sheet of paper to draw the animal themselves.  This gives you a whole group project that can be displayed in your hallway or on a bulletin board AND gives you an excellent work sample for "shows an appreciation for both books an reading" and other Language and Literacy indicators.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear/Bear Hunt Comparison Chart
This activity focuses on characters, setting, and plot of stories.  I make the chart on the board: Title, Characters, Setting, Plot.  I explain to the students what each word means before we attempt to fill in those sections for Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  Title, the name of the book.  Characters, WHO was in the story.  Setting, WHERE did the story happen.  Plot, WHAT happened.  Then I read Bear Hunt (you can replace for any other bear-focused title, I recommend a short tale).  We then go back to our chart and fill in for Bear Hunt to compare similarities and differences between the two books.