Five for Friday 012414

Hi everyone! Wow... it's been a long time. I kind of took a break from the blogging world, but I'm back and ready to share some of the things happening in our room! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!

Anyone else out there do DIBELS? Many of the school districts in our state use this as a benchmark measure for reading. We just completed (well, almost) our Winter round of DIBELS. I have mixed feelings about this assessment. It's intended to be used as a PREDICTOR of a student's reading ability. Each section of the test is timed (1 minute each) and students need to segment words orally, read randomized alphabet letters, and read nonsense words as quick as they can. For me, DIBELS is a test where I get MORE information from giving the test, rather than looking at the results. It's blatantly obvious who is not participating during phonics time... I know a lot of teachers in our district dislike the results from DIBELS because the timing really throws kids off (and even if they know all of their letters, maybe they just move like slugs... I have a few like that!). Other teachers like DIBELS because it's familiar and pretty easy to administer and you get instant results. If anyone out there does DIBELS too, I'd love to hear what you think!

2. MLK Day

Last week we celebrated Martin Luther King with our TLC project. I'm seeing more and more of these around the interwebs nowadays! I love my TLC projects! We do about 2 each month and the kids are really getting good at it! If you haven't seen or heard about TLC projects, check out their website! I think I'll probably get a few more of her books this summer.

3. Writing How-To's
Last week we began our new writing unit on How-To's. Our district just purchased Lucy Calkins' new writing curriculum resources, so we've been trucking along according to our district's pacing guide. We decided to slow down a bit on this unit because our writing was not looking spectacular... but so far I'm very pleased with the kids' work! We started the unit by making Dirt Cups together. I recorded each step on the chart as we did it together.
The materials
4. Choice Centers
I feel like I've posted about this before, but I really love that I have a set time every day for Choice Centers. I think it's so important for kindergarteners to have time to just play with each other! I've already seen a lot of growth in their social skills. This week I introduced a few card games and board games for them to play. I got this game from a teacher friend and I'm really loving it! It's a super basic board game--roll the die and move your piece--but after each turn you get to draw a card. There are 4 types of cards and as the teacher, I just choose one based on the group that's playing. There are letters and three levels of sight words to choose from. If the student correctly reads the word or sound, they get a bonus roll. I love board games because the kids think it's SO FUN and there are so many different skills needed to play. They practice reading and subitizing on the die, they have to use their 1-1 correspondence when moving their piece around, they read sight words or sounds, and they have to strategize about which path to take. I'd highly recommend Erudition if you're looking for educational board games for your classroom! I've been teaching a group of 4 kids each day and they are just BEGGING to play more! I'm hoping they'll be able to just play on their own soon!

5. Go Fish!
Another game I'm really liking (and so are the kids) is Go Fish! I have an Alphabet Go Fish that they really love (I taught them how to play in small groups first) but it was getting too easy for a majority of my kids, so I wanted to find a good Sight Word Go Fish... no luck.

My mom found these awesome blank playing cards on Amazon, so we got those and just wrote the words on them.

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into my last few weeks! We're having lots of fun ;) Now you can check out other classrooms over at Doodle Bug's Link Party!