Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kindergarten Readers and Writers

I was all smiles on Tuesday after spending 40 minutes in Laurie Thomson and Julia Lewis' classroom. This co-teaching duo runs a well oiled machine just 9 short weeks into Kindergarten.

When I entered, students were just getting back to their meeting area for the Closing Session of Readers' Workshop. Three students were preparing to share and it was evident that the teachers had pre-selected students during their Work Period. The students placed their independent reading text under the document camera, read one page, and shared the reading strategy they had tried that day. The first student demonstrated how she pointed to the words as she read; the second student demonstrated how he pointed to the words and looked at the pictures to figure out a difficult word; the third student demonstrated how she pointed at the words, and when she got to a difficult word she got her mouth ready and sounded out the first letter of the word, then she looked at her picture clues. I could tell through this sharing that students are being taught purposeful reading mini-lessons, are reading daily and applying their mini-lesson strategies, and have the opportunity to share. The teachers are using this Closing Session effectively to scaffold student learning.

Furthermore, I stayed through the Writers' Workshop mini-lesson and into the Work Period. The focus was on using word wall snap words in your writing. The teachers modeled with a think aloud and wrote under the document camera for students to watch. As Miss Lewis wrote, she would stop and sound out a word, or at times look on the word wall. Students practiced by turning and talking to a partner about which snap words they could incorporate in their writing today.
The transition from Opening to Work Period was smooth and quick. Students got to work right away on their writing as the teachers individually conferred with students. As I walked around and conferred with students, it was clear that these writers are writing daily and excited to share their stories with others. I was surprised that I could read so many papers without assistance, and with others, I simply asked the student to read their story to me. They did a masterful job.

I enjoyed my visit to Room 122 and can't wait to return.


dayle timmons said...

It is amazing what kindergarten students can do in such a short time with teachers who have embedded rituals and routines so purposefully into their practice. This was an outstanding example of kindergartners understanding and being able to explain reading strategies so early in the year! Wow! Cant wait to visist this classroom again! Thank you Laurie and Julia for making your owrk so transparent!

Miss Lewis and Miss Thomson said...

We enjoyed having you visit our classroom! We are so proud of how well our students use their strategies during their work period. They enjoyed being able to share their hard work with you!

Ashley Russell said...

I too have been able to stop by this classroom. Suzanne your snapshot demonstrates what these two teachers do on a daily basis. The students are always engaged and the rituals and routines are evident. Keep up the good work ladies!
-Ashley Russell :)

Melanie Holtsman said...

It is amazing to me what we are doing with kindergarten as I watch what my two five year olds are learning to do each day. Thirteen years ago, my oldest child was only coloring and doing art projects every day in kindergarten. I wish she could have had this superior education we are giving kids now. Thanks for highlighting the work that our most primary teachers are doing!

Debby Cothern said...

This classroom is a great example for others. Laurie and Julia work so well together and their students are the lucky ones. It is amazing what their five year olds can do. Thanks for always sharing with others ladies.