January 5, 2015

Martin Luther King's Legacy for Kindergartners

A Lesson in Life

This was first posted for a blog hop...and now I'm linking with Comprehension Connection for a Thematic Thursday!  I was so excited she decided her Thematic Thursday would be about Martin Luther King, Jr.  In Virginia, Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the famous people kindergarten students need to know about.  Unfortunately, it's a hard subject to teach kindergartners.  I hope this Thematic Thursday post makes it a little easier.

Dr. King’s LegacyDr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a perfect example of a great American. He is also part of the Virginia's Standards of Learning. Here are a few ideas for sharing this American with our earliest learners.

This is one of the hardest lessons to teach kindergarten students.  You see, kids don’t see color.  There are many examples of this, as each teacher can attest, but kids see people.  They know who is nice and who isn’t, but they don’t categorize by color.  As part of the Kindergarten Social Studies curriculum in Virginia, this lesson poses a hard decision.  You have to teach about color to then teach why we shouldn't look at color.

I typically start by telling students about a terrible time in the United States, a time when people looked only at the color of your skin.  I explain it didn't matter how nice you were or how much you helped people or how nice you treated other people…it was a sad, sad, time when everyone was judged on the color of their skin.  Then, I tell about a man named Martin Luther King, who decided these laws that segregated or separated people by their skin weren't fair.  It is also important for students to understand Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted to change the laws by peaceful means.  We've even had our own Peace March.  The kindergarten students in our school made posters about peace and love and fairness and walked quietly in a line throughout the halls and around the cafeteria silently.  It sounds so simple and so easy, but it turned out to be a little moving.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a perfect example of a great American. He is also part of the Virginia's Standards of Learning. Here are a few ideas for sharing this American with our earliest learners.
There are many wonderful stories about Martin Luther King.  Most are artfully written so that the text can be discussed on many levels. One of my favorites has always been Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo.  The illustrations are beautiful and unique to kindergartners.   I wrote a little poem years ago to try and make this BIG person and event in history understandable to our smallest learners.  The poem is introduced as the shared reading and is in the Art Center, Poetry Center, and Pocket Chart Center in following weeks.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a perfect example of a great American. He is also part of the Virginia's Standards of Learning. Here are a few ideas for sharing this American with our earliest learners.

In honor of Dr. King’s birthday, I have created a pack about Martin Luther King and his legacy.  I am including a FREEBIE for this hop (9 pages).  If you'd like the FREEBIE, CLICK HERE.
If you would like the full packet (37 pages), please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store, CLICK HERE.

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January CVC...Important Practice for Early Readers

Let’s start 2015 off with a bang.  What else could be more of a bang than making sure our earliest readers and writers are using what they know and what they hear to write cvc words correctly.  I typically teach students to write cvc words using a stoplight.  For a complete explanation of Stoplight Writing, CLICK HERE!  It is imperative that students are using these skills consistently and correctly.

As a Center

This January CVC center is perfect for an ABC Center or a Writing Center.  I originally created the center to be used as a center that was printed in color and laminated.  Students get a board and the letters appropriate for that board.  Each student gets a different board to ensure students are doing their own work.  Each student uses the cards to spell the words and a dry erase marker to write the words.  The students work is checked before they clean up the center.  This center can be used for 5 weeks, as each week the students choose a different board. 

If dry erase markers and reusable letter tiles aren’t for you, you can use this center as a cut and glue.  Each week the sheets are copied and put in the center for students to complete and turn in for checking.
CVC words can be very important to early learners. The better students can read and write CVC words, they easier reading will be.

As an Assessment

If you need an assessment for report card data, using this as a cut and glue assessment is an easy way for the students to demonstrate understanding.

If you would like the January cvc FREEBIE, CLICK HERE!

If you would like to look at the full Spotlight Writing Set on Teachers Pay Teachers, CLICK HERE!

January 2, 2015

2015...Can you believe it?

What does 2015 have in store?

2015 shows a lot of promise...and it's only 2 days in.  Let's see...what can happen?

My Baby Graduates

Yes, my baby is about to graduate from high school.  I tease that Austin is the king of 1 syllable (yeh, huh?, hmmm?, K), the occasional 2 syllables (ok, u-huh, maybe) and the shoulder shrug.  I guess he isn't much different from most 17-year-old boys.  I am more than proud to say he has fantastic grades and got an 800 on his Math SATs.  (For those who aren't familiar with SATs, an 800 is a perfect score.)  Yep, it's all from his dad.  As I have mentioned before we are a soccer family, so like his brother, he would like to play soccer in college.  We're waiting to see where that will be.

Adventures in Literacy Land

I am so excited to say I've been asked to be a contributor to the blog Adventures in Literacy Land.  I did a guest blog in November on my 4 Non-Negotiables for Reading.  They might not know what they are in for...this blogging thing is still new and I'm muddling my way through it.  You should hop on over and check out all the great ladies there.  I'm being "introduced as a contributor" on the 5th.

...and My First Blog Hop

I'm going to be doing my first blog hop with Adventures in Literacy Land...if the other ladies can teach this old dog new tricks.  Look for the hop early next week...here's the official announcement graphic...

Getting Published

To steal a quote from my friend, Lara...here's a goal, not a resolution - I'd like to publish an article on my own.  I had the privilege to publish an article on Concept of Word with Beth Estill, a colleague from Virginia Beach, but I'd like to do it on my own.

Finally...a FREEBIE.

Here's my first FREEBIE of the school year.  I'm including a Winter ABCs.  I know, I know, I love ABC Charts.  You can use them for so many things.

  1. Sort by SYLLABLE.

  2. Sort by PART OF SPEECH.

  3. Write words by distinguishing between CONSONANTS AND VOWELS.


  5. Choose 10 NOUNS and add an ADJECTIVE.

  6. Write SENTENCES using Christmas words.

  7. Use Christmas words to show POSITION WORDS.

  8.  Make a few copies and post them on your writing board or put them in a WRITING CENTER as TOPICS.

  9. Ask students to use as many words in a STORY as they can.

  10. Allow students to use the Word List to fill a blank 4-SQUARE to plan for a story.

  11. 11.Use it to sort for COMPOUND WORDS.

  12. Use it to sort for LONG AND SHORT VOWELS.

  13. Choose 2 words and write a MATH WORD PROBLEM.

  14. Choose 2 words and make a CAUSE AND EFFECT statement.

  15. Use the list to DICTIONARY SKILLS and find the guide words for words on the list.

If you'd like the Winter ABCs FREEBIE, CLICK HERE!

Here's to a great 2015!