Thanks to my sweet friend Caitlin at Kindergarten Smiles for hosting ch. 2 of the Daily 5 Book Study for Kindergarten!
She posted some great reflection questions.
She posted some great reflection questions.
Here are my thoughts:
1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way?
When it comes to stations (literacy and math)- yes! I have learned that you have to trust your kiddos if you ever plan on accomplishing anything in small group or conferences! It's a hard thing to get used to...especially if you are all about control like me. I remember my very first year teaching when I was so afraid to take my eyes off of my students who were at various stations around the room. Looking back on it now, I'm sure the kids at the table with me thought I was nuts because I was listening and talking to them but I was constantly scanning the rest of the room at the same time. I'm sure I looked ultra paranoid. :) Yep, there is a picture of me and my "wandering eyes" during a guided reading lesson....
Luckily, I've learned to relax a little and trust my students to stay engaged, on-task, and productive. Am I able to stay out of their way? Definitely. Station time is the only time of the day when I am not on my feet. I feel super lazy during out literacy block because I plop myself in my rolling chair at my guided table and literally do not get up until the block is over. They do their work and I get to meet with all of my kiddos during small group daily. How do you build this trust? I think it goes right back to modeling and practicing. Plus, trust and respect go hand in hand. We treat each other as family in my room and these things usually just come naturally. That's not always the case for every child-of course! You always have those kiddos that require a little extra relationship-building time. I reply heavily on the other students in the room the keep those special friends on task!
2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room?
My daily schedule is posted in the room and we go over it pretty often at the beginning of the year. Usually the kids get the hang of it pretty quick and are able to read it on their own using the pictures for help. At this point, I keep our schedule posted but most of my kids have internalized our daily routine and we do not need to go over it as a class anymore. In my classroom, I have found that it is best if we all move together from station to station during our literacy block. Every child has a "literacy map" that they use to help them know when to go where. They all visit every station daily, as well as guided small group with me, in the order that appears on their literacy map. My students are provided with many choices of activities at each station and have the option to work independently or collaboratively with their station members. I know that the the Sisters encourage letting students choose their own station order but this way has worked well for me thus far.
This is how I manage my literacy block in my classroom:
3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?
As I said in my ch. 1 reflection, I am all about anchor charts! I love creating charts together with my kids about becoming a classroom family. (Sorry I don't have any pics of our charts to post for you...I'll take some this year for sure!) I use a lot of team building strategies and analogies too. I compare us to a train a lot...you know, the part about how the cars are all connected. If one car falls off the track it will pull the other ones down too....so we have to all work together to keep everyone on the track! Believe me, no one wants to be the train car that falls off the track! And if that happens, thank heavens for the other "cars" that will pull that person right back up again. :)
4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child?
I agree with the Sisters that students need to be given explanations on why they are being asked to complete certain things. I think it is very important for children to understand the importance in even small tasks. I try my best to shy away from "busy work" so my kids learn quick that if I ask them to do something, there is a meaningful purpose behind it. I want them to take this approach in everything they do as well. If they are going to take the time to do something- whether it be a creative writing piece or a word work activity- they need to think about what they are gaining from the experience and put forth their best effort. This is one reason why I love having "I Can' statements in my station areas. They serve as reminders of learning goals and help keep my kids on track.
5. Stamina! How are you going to build stamina with reading? independent work? Will you use a timer? Will you set goals?
Ok. Confession. I really never think about stamina when it comes to my kid's reading or work! I just kind of do what feels right if that makes sense. Obviously, we start out with a smaller chunk of time for each station in the beginning and build up as the weeks go by. I can't really pin it down to an exact amount of time or framework...I just go with the flow. I do not use a timer but do try and keep an eye on my classroom clock so I don't lose track of time. Having my guided groups really helps me because when we finish our activity it is usually about time for the class to rotate. I always meet with my lowest level of learners first. I tend to work a little longer with them because I am usually trying to do some remediation and introduce new skills at the same time. It usually works out, though, because the rest of the kiddos seem to enjoy a little extra time to get themselves going in their first station. (We start literacy stations first thing and I promise you some of my littles aren't even awake yet! The extra minutes help them get their brains going...that's my theory and I'm stickin' to it!)
Next week we are heading back to Tammy's blog for ch. 3!
Don't forget to check out the Pinterest board for great ideas:
Also, stop by and see what wonderful ideas are being shared at the Primary Daily 5 book studies HERE and HERE.