Struggling with K Literacy

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by DrivingPigeon, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Sep 14, 2008

    Sorry, this turned out to be really long...Thank you everyone who reads it and helps me out!

    I feel like literacy isn't going the way I would like it to go in my classroom. We have a literacy curriculum (Storytown), which contains SO many components. I talked to the other K teachers to narrow down which ones are really necessary to teach. I've decided to follow the phonemic awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, and comprehension (read aloud/shared reading) components.

    I started following the curriculum this past week, and I really don't find it fun. It moves along quickly, and the children are just sitting most of the time. I'm trying to make it fun, but I'm a little bored with it already. The teacher book offers ideas for literacy centers, but I find them redundant, too simple, and not open-ended enough for the higher thinkers to take to the next level. For example, one center involved sorting six different pictures between which ones started with S, and which ones started with M. There were only SIX pictures. With multiple children at each center, this activity would probably take a whole 2 minutes, and they wouldn't really be able to work independently. Another center required them to write the letter "I" and draw a picture of something they could do. However, this was also an activity that we did during our high-frequency word time. So they're supposed to do it twice? They whipped through it the first time, and I feel like they really got it.

    I just feel like there are SO many important things to do with literacy that I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know if I'm doing it right, and I have absolutely no direction. I just typed up the important components of literacy instruction and here's what I came up with:

    -Phonics
    -High-Frequency/word wall words
    -Reading (Shared reading, Instruction/strategies)
    -Writing (Handwriting, Instruction/strategies, Shared writing, Journaling/independent writing)

    Am I leaving anything important out? Now that I know what I want to teach I have to figure out how to do it. I have a set time in my schedule for each area, but I just don't know how to start. For example, where do I even start with writing? Some of them can't recognize their letters, but others are writing sentences. Which strategies to I teach first?

    Like this post, my mind is all over the place. I'm a language arts minor, but I seriously feel like I never even went to school! I feel like I was taught what to teach, but I don't know when to teach what and how to teach it! I just feel like a horrible teacher that doesn't know what she's doing! :help:
     
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  3. MissB

    MissB Companion

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    Sep 14, 2008

    jmeacham.com has some great lessons for writing workshop.

    I would start by telling the kids a quick story (something fun you did this weekend). Then model drawing the picture and adding some words (either by labeling your picture or by writing a short sentence). Then let the kids go to draw their story. Eventually they will begin writing if you model it every time.

    It sounds like you know what the important aspects of a balanced literacy program are. Definitely the phonemic awareness and phonics are extremely important. I would start with some rhyming activities, as that is the easiest PA skill to learn.

    jmeacham.com has TONS of ideas for literacy centers, so I would go right there and get some ideas.

    I think EVERYONE feels like that when they first begin teaching. It's like, "ok, I talked it up at my interview, now I have to actually do it!"

    I'm sure you are overwhelmed, but remember to take your time. You have them until June (though it does fly by!). Just relax and trust your instincts. You went to school, you KNOW what you are doing!
     
  4. Rachel0624

    Rachel0624 Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2008

    For writers workshop we started using "Thinking, Drawing, Writing" it really focuses on oral storytelling for 2 weeks and then there are detailed drawing lessons to help the students draw their stories. After Christmas we will be using Lucy Calkins but we felt that the first program fit very well for beginning of K

    We also use readers workshop with mini lessons. Growing Readers by Kathy Collins helps alot. Some mini lessons that I have been doing lately have dealt with concepts of print issues and how to care of books.

    I also set aside 10-15 min for phonemic awareness, and another 15-20 min for shared reading.

    Finally we have Lit. centers 3 times a week (which is where I go guided reading, handwriting,etc.)

    I hope this helps
     
  5. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Sep 17, 2008

    I don't teach K but I use the K storytown program with my prek SPE students but watered down. I've noticed that it doesn't flow well from activity to activity. You might be singing "If you're happy and you know it" and then you're clapping out word syllables to reading this book to discussing this letter and sound. There just isn't the flow I was expecting.
     
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Sep 18, 2008

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed this. It's just difficult to transition from one to the next.
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Sep 18, 2008

    I thought about making notes to myself in the manual... do all this first, then do that, and leave out this. LOTS of great stuff in the kit, but a LOT of stuff - period. I'm glad I can do my watered down version. I don't know how all the K teachers do it.
     
  8. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Sep 18, 2008

    Yeah, I just think it's too repetitive. For example, the high-frequency word this week is "a". There were 4 or 5 activities this week that involved the children writing a ______ and drawing a picture of something. Ninety-five percent of them got it the first time. And then some things are so difficult, like writing M in the box on the left if the word begins with M, or the box on the right if the word ends with M. It's also very worksheet-based. They need to move a little bit more. The phonics section needs to be more fun.
     

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