I have been placing a daily emphasis on fiction and non-fiction texts with my kindergarteners and first graders. After we had some experiences working with various texts in the classroom I asked the children to help me make an anchor chart comparing the two types of texts. The first graders had more ideas to offer mainly because they have more school experience but the kinders were able to add to the conversation. This is one of our first efforts together.
Our anchor chart comparing fiction and non-fiction text features.
I could tell they still needed support to understand and to compare types of text. I began copying the covers of the books we were reading in class and placing them on the appropriate sides of the chart. This simple idea has been so helpful to the children. Now after I read a book the children ask me to put the book cover up. My question to them is “What side and why?” They are able to talk about text features, the author’s purpose and whether the book has a beginning, middle and end. I really love this idea and I plan on growing this area throughout the year.
I introduced the idea of a hybrid text to them this week. Books like The Magic School Bus and similar books that include elements of fiction and non-fiction are considered by some authors to be hybrid. So that begs the question do we start a new area in the middle of our anchor chart…well we will see what the littles think. They use the chart during their daily conversations about books in the classroom. It is always a great moment for teachers when students connect with learning! When I asked one of the little girls how they knew something about a book she looked at me like I was a silly goose and said , “I used the chart!”
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All the best,
I know I’m not the only one who is exhausted the first week the students are back in class! It is a given for teachers. We put so much of ourselves into getting the classroom ready, planning and other school things. You think we would prepare ourselves better…eat more wheaties or whatever it takes to get through the first week without feeling like a limp french fry. I’m an “On” kinda of person. You would never know I was tired in front of the kids. I dance, sing, make faces what ever it takes to keep them interested and focused. I’m only falling asleep on the couch when I get home.
I have been trying to find my footing in my class of kinders and first graders. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself you would not believe the amazing amount of growth that children make from the first day of kindergarten to the beginning of first grade. It is incredible. When I moved up to first grade I thought I had moved to independence heaven. I mean really it was awesome!!! So it has been a shock as it always is when we start at the beginning again. This year has been interesting in its own way. I have to keep reminding myself that for half of my littles it is their first rodeo so to speak.
As always I love the sweet spirit of those little kinders. It seemed that today was the first day I was able to relax and enjoy the kinders. I also love the enthusiasm of the first graders. We did a shared learning activity and the kinders and the first graders worked together. The first graders were wonderful teachers and the kindergarteners surprised me with their ability to cooperate with a learning partner. Today I could see that I’m a lucky teacher this year. I’m sure we will have some bumps in the road but overall the year looks bright. I can’t wait to see how much each group learns.
I just got back from Open House for my 28th year of teaching. Who would have thought there would have been that many? My Mom taught and was an administrator for 30 years. When I started this journey I was sure that I would never be in the classroom for that long. Well here I am looking forward to a new year. This year I am teaching a Kindergarten/First Grade Multi-Age class. I have taught Kindergarten or First Grade for all of my 28 years. I have looped, taught a First Grade with 29 children in it, taught very poor children and taught children from affluent backgrounds.
It is easy to make judgements about folks just by what you see. Sometimes it is hard to look past the physical things and see into the heart of the matter. Open House is mostly a meeting of minds and hearts. Parents or other care givers are looking at the teacher to see if that person has an open heart. They wonder if this person can love my child and teach my child. This is the one constant in the minds of parents. My husband and I wondered the same thing year after year at Open House and Back to School Night. We would wonder if the teacher could see into the heart of our child and help our child learn. We would wonder if the teacher could love our child. When a teacher and a parent connect at during the first meeting at Open House one of the major barriers to educating that child has been removed.
I talk to people and let them know that I am excited about teaching their child. I hug the children and I hug the parents. I let them know they should tell me their concerns and to always ask questions if they need to. School years have their ups and downs mainly because they mimic real life but one thing is for sure we can always get through it together. I tell the parents we will work together and we will help each other.
I can’t do it any other way because the most important person in all of this is the child. I have had my ups and downs with parents just like any other teacher. During the 28 years I have had many more ups than downs because I simply refuse to accept the downs as permanent I keep working at parent relationships throughout the year. I phone, I write and I always have a positive before I give any concerns. When the hearts and minds of parents and teachers can connect the children are the winners. The first meeting whether at Open House or some other time is critical. Make the most of it so you can be the teacher that connects with parents and children. A child’s educational success depends on it. Game on!