Nov 15, 2014

Five for Fraturday ~ A Special Visitor!

So it was a short week, only 3 days, but we got a lot accomplished.  Plus we had an extra special visitor! I am linking up a 'lil late, as usual, with Kacey at Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday Fraturday.

It was really nice to have Monday and Tuesday off for the holiday this past week...but that made it a 'lil crazy to fit everything in with only 3 days of instruction. Here is some of what kept us busy this week.

This was our focus wall for this week.  A little bare I know.  With only three days we scaled back on new concepts for the week.

This was our poem for the week.  I use all of the poetry units from Deedee Wills at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.  One of my kiddos favorite times of the day is Poetry.  The first day of the week we read our poem together and put a copy of it into our poetry journal.  The next day we search for all of our sight words and "highlight" them.  We use plastic pieces that I cut up from a binder divider for our highlighting.  This week we also counted the number of words in sentences and talked about -ay words.  It is a great time for building phonemic awareness. By Friday most of my kiddos can recite the poem by memory and they take turns coming up to lead the class in a reading of the poem.  It is great for building speaking and listening skills too!

One thing my kiddos are really rocking this year are their sight words.  One of the new tools I use for sight words this year are ball words from Marsha McGuire at A Differentiated Kindergarten.  My kiddos just love these.  They ask to practice their ball words any time they finish activities early. 

I keep them on these hooks in my library so they can go over and practice at any time.  One of the things I love about them is that each student can work at their own pace.  We review in class a few times a week during guided reading time with my aide after they finish their regular work.  They also practice at home each night.  They are so excited every Friday to have me test them, to see if they can move up to a new level.  I have a few students still on Dolch list one and I have one that is already on Dolch list 10, and everything in between.  

I use this system to chart their progress.  They get a star on the chart each time they master a level.   It has become pretty competitive for many of them...but in a really good way.  I see them motivating and pushing each other to keep practicing and  improving. 

I am working hard on finishing up all my report cards this weekend, ugh!.  We have our parent teacher conferences starting Monday.  In preparation for that, we did benchmark testing last week, thank goodness for ESGI.  It makes assessing all of my kiddos so much easier.  I plan on doing a whole post about the benefits of this awesome program this week so stay tuned. 

Then I did  DRA testing this week. What do you use to access the reading level of your students?  Do you like what you use? 

I really do not like administering all of these tests, but I will admit the information gained is very useful. It gives me a clear picture of exactly where each of my littles is at and then I know how I can best differentiate my instruction to meet the needs of all of my students. 

Usually there are really not many surprises.  Lets face it I can pretty much tell you where each kiddo is performing just by carefully observing them each day during our guided reading and math time.  However, every once in a while you get a pleasant surprise.  I had several kiddos do better than I expected and one who blew me away.  I knew this child was ahead of my other kiddos, but they tested DRA level 10. In our district they need to be a level 4 to move to first grade, can you see my problem  

So, I need help!!! How do I keep meeting the needs of this exceptional child and pushing them to their full potential. I will admit I have never had one this far ahead of the rest before and I am a little nervous. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

This week we finished up our unit on bats.  We had some fun bat centers this week.

These two are fantastic freebies from the wonderful Cara Carrol at the First Grade Parade.  A rhyming activity and finding the ending and beginning sounds of the CVC words.

We also did a write the room activity with bat vocabulary.  Write the room is one of my kiddos favorite things to do.

In math we practiced putting our numbers 1-20 in order on the pocket chart as well as filling 10 frames with the correct numbers of pumpkins.  These 3 activities are all from Going Batty! a great mini unit from Mr. Greg at Smedley's Smorgasbord of Kindergarten.  

We also finished up our Bat Books. The idea for these can be found in Bats Math and Literacy activities from Deanna Jump and Mrs. Jump's Class.

We discussed what we wanted to write for each page together first. We put the sentences on our smart board and the students then write them in their books and draw their illustration to match. I want my students to work on spelling phonetically so we discuss what sounds they hear and we write those.  I have a super smartie that usually knows how to spell the words already and tells us what comes

Now for our special visitor of the week.  You were probably thinking...where is the  Well, we had our trimester award assembly on Friday afternoon.  In preparation for our visitor our Superintendent/Principal came in first thing on Friday and read a Pete the Cat book to my kiddos. 

They loved it.  Just hold on...although we love a good story Mr. Rosa was NOT the special visitor.  He just wanted to be sure all the kids knew who Pete the Cat was.  Well my class knew, however, I am pretty sure many of our 6-8th grade students did not.  Well, you have probably guessed by now, but at our assembly Pete THE Cat made a surprise appearance.  

My kiddos were over the moon excited.  They all wanted to say Hi and get a high five. What was even better, he brought each child a book of their very own. Not Pete books, but a book none the less.  It was a fantastic way to end this crazy, busy week.

I would love to hear all about your week. Leave me a comment, but be sure your not a no-reply blogger so I can write you back. Then head back over to Doodle Bugs, to see what everyone else did this week. Make it a great week!



  1. Pete the Cat?! I can only imagine how excited your kiddos were to see this character. As for your level 10 reader (wow!)... I'm not sure what reading instruction looks exactly like at your school, but in the past I had a high reader and one thing I did was work with the first grade teacher to allow this student to attend her guided reading group 2 times a week. This way the student was still able to read with a group at his own level. It seemed to work well. I hope that your report cards are just about finished and that you have a great week of conferences. Don't forget your coffee! HaHa

  2. Sounds like a fun week! I'm sure your kids were super excited about meeting Pete! I like your weekly poem...I used to use one, but now can't seem to ft it in the day. How long do you spend on your poem each day? What kind if skills do you teach? Thx!

  3. Oh my goodness I LOVE how Pete the Cat visited your room!!! My kiddos would freak!! How fun is that. I love your poetry schedule and how you use the poems. I do a lot of poetry but I want to get better about highlighting the words, doing it more often, and incorporating more phonics lessons into poetry. It is a great opportunity for that!
    I am not sure how literacy is in your classroom, but do you do the Daily 5 at all or any version of it (we often tweak things to make them our own, especially in kinder!) I know that has allowed me to reach my very high students as well as my very "low" (I hate that term... but for lack of a better one right now) students. The book is awesome!
    Happy weekend!

    1. I do a mixed version of daily 5 and literacy centers. I then pull groups during that time. I have 4 groups based upon ability levels and I see everyone, everyday. The students work with partners while I see my groups. This is the way I currently try to meet everyone's needs. I may just have to make her her own separate group. Thanks for your comment and suggestion.


  4. WHAT a week you had!! WHAT?! Pete the Cat came to visit? How awesome. He is a huge star! I love all of your ideas that you used. Those ball words are adorable! The kids would love them. Thank you for sharing! :)
    Have a great week!