Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I've been going through some of my old teaching boxes from my elementary teaching days. I found so many things about beginning literacy that I'd forgotten that I did and I wanted to share some of them.
This is Mr. Alphabet :). He helped my Kindergartners learn their beginning, middle and ending sounds. I would feed the items from the letter of the week into his mouth and (in his funny voice) would "spit" them out and ask them if the items started with, ended with or had the sound in the middle of the object. It was so much fun! It was great RTI as well. One of my parents made him for me out of a trash can. (How creative was that parent?)
Next, I had parents take home bags with a specific letter marked on them and had them fill the bags with items that began, ended and had the letter in the middle of the objects. I also had them put two or three items that did not to make that sound for Mr. Alphabet spit them out :). He would swallow and make "yummy" sound if the items corresponded with the letter sounds.
I would just store the items in bags and keep them in boxes in the cabinet.
This is the Kindergarten Star News. I started doing this in 1998 and stopped in 2007 when I went into teaching at the high school level. I know some of you have actually downloaded my optional cover from my TPT store and have made it your own. I'm a firm believer in taking things and making them suit my style of teaching. I'm also a firm believer in - if it's not an original idea, don't change it around and claim it's yours and sell it. Some of the ideas I use have been around forever! I just took them and changed them for my needs in the classroom.
Okay... this is two of the covers I actually made for my books. (Yes, my name used to be Nash but it's now Cummings for those of you who don't know me personally!)

I used to line 11x14 paper and make copies of it until I found this paper in a catalog somewhere. It had the perfect amount of lines and space for illustrations.
Students told a "story" each morning (usually the Star Student chosen for the math calendar). After they finished telling me their story, I underlined three words in red for them to illustrate at the top. Later, I would underline sight words in blue for recognition practice. The stories are funny and amazing! I plan to publish them in a book! :)

The name Kindergarten Star News is totally something I came up with... I guess from my Journalism background. I would display them in the room once the students illustrated them. I put past years books in the library for current students to look at them.  I hope this gives you some ideas for your own classroom!