One of my favorite books to read to the students in October is Hallowiener by Dave Pilkey because of my own little sausage dog, Scout. By October, my students can connect my love for the book to my own dog. As a result, they're very excited and extra engaged in the already hilarious and captivating picture book.

I always tie our current book to our weekly writing for Writers Workshop. Personally, I like to use the same book for the week when writing about it because the students are able to soak up more information from the text. (Note* We do read other books during the way - I just shift our writing focus to the one title per week.)

My writing block is first thing in the morning and it goes by ever-so quickly, so I like to "chunk" our days to ensure the lesson flows during the week. We always start with our mentor text selection on Monday. Afterward, we have a whole group retell and partner talk discussion.

The next day, we start with a quick oral retell of our story and start our anchor chart. (The anchor chart styles vary - teacher lead, skill focus, interactive, etc.) For this particular book, our focus was on the "dislikes" in a text, so I quickly script the students dislikes as shared. (Students provide beginning sounds to words) As each dislike was shared, we paused as a class and tied our book feelings to our own feelings to make text-to-self connections.

On day three, I modeled the writing expectation for the students. I like to switch up my format between anchor chart paper at the carpet and using student writing paper. For this lesson, I decided to use actual writing paper and project my thinking/writing on the screen. I modeled for the students how to go back to the anchor chart for help coming up with an idea. Then, I model counting the words in my sentence, sounding out the words, using finger spaces, capital letter, and an end mark. I have the students mention what they notice in my sentence - like: "I see a period at the end" or "I notice finger spaces" Once the expectation has been established, the students tell me one by one as I pass out paper what their topic will be using our anchor chart.

Day four, the students wrap up their writing by adding extra sentences, revising, reading their writing to me, and adding their craft piece! At the end of the block, we sit on the carpet and a few students will share their writing piece.

You can grab this FREE writing template in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop by clicking this link! Happy Halloween and Happy Writing! 

Fall Comparison Centers

With Fall right around the corner, I decided to structure some new comparing number centers around some of my favorite Fall attributes. Not only will the kiddos practice math concepts, but they will form associations of some colors and objects that represent the crisp Autumn season.

Over the next three months, my kinders are going to be comparing numbers to 5, 10, and finally to 20 in November. For some students, comparing numbers is very tricky to grasp mostly because of the interchangeable vocabulary. For this reason, I've decided to pull out all the fun and most engaging pieces for my students to use while practice comparisons and learning key phrases.

My engaging collection includes (but is not limited to) playdoh, giant dice, dry erase/chalkboard dice, mini dice, a deck of cards, number spinners, Target $1 Spot erasers, building blocks, expo markers, and potentionally sunflower seeds to look like pumpkin seeds. I use these type of tools for my students to feel excited about the learning process because once they're hooked - our learning soars!

For September, I will add the acorn/basket mat to our bi-weekly rotations. We are comparing numbers to 5 and some will be ready to compare to 10+.

There are two different options for this mat. You can use a deck of cards (pictured above) or practice rolling two dice and having the students compare the numbers in a similar fashion.  Students will work in pairs to share a deck of cards and counters. (Apples erasers are from Target last year) Students will take turn flipping two cards over and comparing the numbers orally. As I'm walking by, I expect to hear, "4 is greater than 3" or "3 is less than 4". Using this mat, students are comparing, using academic vocabulary, writing numbers, costing, and representing. 

During October,  I will pull the candy corn mat. The concept is identical, but I plan on switching my pieces out to keep my students excited about the resource. This time, I'll replace my Apple "counters" for some playdoh cans and switch out my cards for some oversized dice. 

Another suggestion, if you purchased the chalkboard or dry erase dice from Target last summer. You could easily toss those in with numbers to 12 and let students compare even higher than 10 since you're inputting the numbers of your choice. Chalkboard/dry erase dice make it easy to meet the needs of all your students. 

In November, my kindergarten students will represent and compare numbers up to 20. I plan on using my pumpkin mat for this. As of now, I'm pretty sold on the idea of letting the kids use expo markers to draw in little seeds to represent the numbers. (Another fun way - dry beans or sunflower seeds)

Again, I've used the came concept and skill type to ensure the success of my students. I've only switched up the pieces and the way the mat looks to keep their engagement level going strong. For November, I will use the spinner within the resource (not pictured), chalkboard dice, and a double deck of cards to help my students practice comparing numbers to 20. 

I think this center will be a great addition to my classroom. It's engaging, fun, and will keep my students accountable. You can view this center and purchase it by visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers Shop!