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Freebies for the first week of Kindergarten

Hello everyone! It's Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive! I hope everyone is soaking up the last of their summer vacation!!   Today I am sharing a blog series on lesson planning that I did for the first week of school!  Scroll through to see what I will be doing day by day, and grab A TON of freebies to help you with your first week back to school!


I've been wanting to do a series like this for many years.  Every time the beginning of the year comes around, I think about my first year teaching.  I got my position 2 weeks before school started, and to say that I was panicked and stressed is an understatement!  I scoured the Internet for advice and ideas. I gathered everything that I could, and really had no idea what I was doing!

I work at a school where there's only one teacher per grade level, and the pre-k teacher, along with the first grade teacher were newbies right along with me that first year!  I desperately wanted someone to tell me exactly what to teach to get through the first week.  After that week, our regular schedule would start, and I would begin on the curriculum that was given to me (which wasn't much of anything, but that's for another time : ) I felt that if I could make it through that first week, I just might be okay : )

I'm hoping that young teachers out there can find these resources, and that they will help to ease some of those first week nerves and frustrations.  Each day in this blog series, I am going to base the resources off of a common back to school book.  You can read the book to your students, and then do the FREE activities that I have provided.  Today we will be talking about The Kissing Hand.

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I have tried so many different activities in the last 8 years for the first week of school.  I have tried a center set-up, I have tried beautiful art projects that require a lot of work ahead of time on my part, and I have tried activities that require a lot of assistance the day of, as the students complete them.  While I do try to incorporate some of these elements into our day, I am also a lot more realistic now about what we can accomplish, and what will keep more gray hairs from sprouting on my head!

Let's be honest, as the students come in and work, you are working like a mad person to put all of the supplies away.  You are also juggling those last couple of parents who won't stop taking pictures from the doorway, kids that are crying and need reassurance from you, and kids that are suspiciously eyeing the door, ready to run the minute you have your back turned (it's happened before, I suggest wearing comfortable shoes for unexpected mad dashes!)

We run on a mini-day schedule for the first week, so here is what day 1 looks like.

A good mix of activities, assessment, and teaching procedures.  We come in and begin work on a simple coloring page.  Sometimes the ability to open up a brand new box of crayons is all that it takes to give a reluctant child some peace!


Next, we come to the rug, and start to go over our calendar routine, and I introduce our first classroom rule.  Here is a product of mine that you can get off of TPT that gives some visual back-up to the rules.


After that, we start on our routines, we walk around the school, practicing that ever elusive straight line.  We have our bumpers up in front of us, and travel around to the different spots on campus that are important for them to know.  At this time, I show them the bathroom and water fountain (we don't have any in our classroom), and we talk about the procedures for dismissal as well.  I created this free list of procedures to help you try and remember all of those little things that you need to go over with your students at the beginning of the school year.


The first week is a great time to get some assessments done, and begin to plan out some of our small group activities.  On the first day I do an upper case inventory to check out their fine motor skills and letter formation.


I cover some more routines concerning recess and the fire alarm, which just so happens to be conveniently located in our snack area.  After we finish with that, I read them The Kissing Hand, and I do a quick check of their color knowledge.


I teach some more routines, and then we move into math.  I want to get a quick sense for which students have the basics down when it comes to number recognition and counting.


Next up is a quick art project that aligns to The Kissing Hand. 


After the art project is all cleaned up, we talk about dismissal routines, and we pack-up and go!  Every year I plan more activities then I will get to.  Things never go according to plan, but if you have all of your materials organized ahead of time, and are over-prepared, it brings your stress level down, and you can enjoy your new little people, and really start getting to know them!

Here is a quick breakdown of all the resources you can find in this post:

Check out the rest of my Kindergarten week in these blog posts!






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I started using ESGI in my kindergarten classroom in 2008 and I immediately gained:
1.  Instant data on EVERY student's skill level.
2.  User-friendly reports for parents & admins.
3.  Students who begged to be tested! Really! :)
to get started!

And, if you sign up for a FREE 60-day trial (no credit card required), you also automatically qualify for $40 off of your 1st year, but you must enter the code:  KFUN 

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So, let's get started:
and sign up for your FREE trial.
Remember to enter the code KFUN.

Then, enter the names of your students, 
their gender, & home language. 
(YES, ESGI will generate a letter for your parents in English or Spanish!)




What, You Aren't Using ESGI Yet?
You will love all of the built-in tests available on ESGI's website...

...but if you need to use specific assessments, just reproduce them using ESGI's built-in test builder. You can create your own unique tests! They even have built-in fonts and graphics to help you. Visit their site and check out their video tutorials and see how easy it is!

Let's Get To Testing:

Your students will beg you to test them so they can watch their data circles fill up and turn green! 
You can test on a desktop, a laptop, or even an iPad. 

My in-coming students LOVED testing with ESGI.
The teacher asks the question seen on the screen and then clicks "yes" or "no" based on the student's answer. Easy, breezy, lemon squeezy!


And Then There Is The Data:

Incredible data on each and every skill tested.


This is why I LOVE the bar graphs:
If you click on the grey part you see the names of the students who did not get that question correct! Can you spell RTI??? There it is for you!

ESGI also tracks each individual student's progress. The grey circles turn green as each student masters the skills on each test. Your students LOVE to see their circles turn green, so they will often beg you to test them! 


Click the chart for more info. 

Then, There Are The Flashcards:

Individualized flashcards for each student!
I called them "skill cards" because I stored each child's cards in a sandwich-sized ziplock bag to use as a reference as to which skills each child needed to work on. 

And Then, There Are The Parent Letters:

These are so much better than any report card, so I just stapled the parent letter to the front of the report card because it was easier to understand. 
They come in English or Spanish!
And there is so much more!
If your school or district decides to provide this for multiple teachers, there are even more discounts. Get started with the code KFUN, and contact ESGI for further multi-teacher discounts. 
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Book Study: Chapter 7 - Comprehension Strategies with a Freebie!

Hi guys! It's Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive, wrapping up our book study on Jan Richardson's newest guided reading book! I read the first version of this book almost 5 years ago, and I'm happy that I purchased and read this new addition.  As has been mentioned before, I love that it is spiral bound, and can easily sit on my desk as I teach small groups.  There is so much information in this book that it can be overwhelming! Having the book beside me as I teach will help me recall and utilize all of the important steps in a guided reading lesson.


Chapter 7 is all about comprehension.  Guided reading means nothing, if the students don't understand what they are reading.  In this chapter, Jan Richardson provides 12 comprehension strategies to use with the students.  For each comprehension strategy, she provides 1-3 lesson plans on how to teach that particular strategy.  Not all lesson plans are geared toward our little people, but I would argue that they could all be modified to fit our needs.

After reading this chapter, I felt overwhelmed again.  This book is packed with so much information, that it is hard to digest!  To make the comprehension piece a little easier, (and because I'm a very visual person) I put together this comprehension sheet for us to use.  My idea, is that you can laminate it, and keep it at your desk or in your guided reading binder. When you come to the comprehension section of the lesson, you can glance at this sheet to decide which strategy you would like to use to check for understanding.  As the students become more familiar with the strategies, you can even have them choose how they would like to share their learning!



If you would like a copy of this chart you can find it in the link below:


I hope you find this helpful, and thank you for following along with us on this book study.  Use the image below to pin this to Pinterest, if you would like to come back to this series at a later time.


Kinder Tribe Book Study: Chapter 5 The Transitional Reader

Hello Kinder Tribe friends. Heather here from Learning with Mrs. Langley and I am back to review the next chapter in Jan Richardson's The Next Step in Guided Reading. 
This chapter is FULL of ideas for the transitional reader from kindergarten through middle school. Transitional readers are tricky because they all need something different! Some struggle with comprehension while others need work with fluency. Let's dive right in! 

Assessing students is probably the part I struggle with the most so I really focused in on this part of the chapter. I love the materials that Richardson has available in the Appendix to assess students word knowledge inventory and then additional materials for the reading conference. You don't have to create anything or find anything online because it's all right there in the book. 

Work Knowledge Inventory- This is given as a whole class (or with kinders just your high kiddos). It is a carefully designed list of words for students to spell. 

Reading Conference- The reading conference should consist of a running record where the teacher makes notes of self monitoring, rereading, decoding, self correcting, and fluency. The conference should also include an oral retell (checking for comprehension).  

Richardson provides the guided reading plan for transitional readers on page 313 of the book. Unlike the reading plan for early readers (discussed in chapter 4) the transitional reading plan includes 3 days of instruction rather than just 2. The third day includes a writing prompt with planning and writing time. She points out that the writing piece has two goals, extending and assessing comprehension and improving writing skills. So important! 

If you haven't already I encourage you to go through and watch all of the videos. I have watched most of them but not all so I have some time set aside this week to go back and watch the videos I missed. I will be taking some notes! 

What was your aha! moment in this chapter? This will sound silly but mine was the fact that word study is still included in the transitional reader lesson plan. I thought that by now I could skip those and focus more on comprehension but the word lists included in the chapter were very helpful for me to see that those are things I need to work. They will be very helpful when working with my high groups this year. 

If you would like to pin this post for later here you go!  

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Catch Me, If You Can! Live, From Vegas!

& Turn EVERY Child Into A Writer!

I'm so excited to be coming to you LIVE from the ESGI booth in Las Vegas! But wait, there is more...

For anyone who can't attend SDE's "I Teach K!" conference, you can catch my mini session live on Facebook! 
I'll be going live at 4:40 PM 
on Tuesday, July 11. 
So, tune in and find out how you can 
make writing FUN and easy for your
kindergarten and struggling 1st grade students!


I'll also be presenting all day on 
Wednesday, July 12
and 
Thursday, July 13
at SDE's I Teach K!
So catch me, if you can, at one of my sessions:
You can register by CLICKING HERE.

July 12:
9:00 AM-  Bring Inquiry-Based Learning Into Your K     
                 Classroom
10:45-  Emergent Reading: Climb Aboard The Literacy Train!
1:30-  Don't Wait! Early Intervention Strategies for Your 
           Littlest  Learners
3:15-  From Re-Telling Stories to Writing: Instant Success!

July 13:
9:00 AM-  Close Reading & the Idea of Digging Deeper.
10:45-  Integrating Curriculum: Teaching Smarter, Not Harder
1:30-  Developing Writing Skills in Kindergarten

So, whether you will be in Vegas, or not, 
I hope you can catch me at one of  my 
SDE sessions or 
at ESGI's Facebook Live!


Kinder Tribe Book Study:Chapter 4 The Early Reader

Hey there Kinder Tribe! It's Jill from Chevron and Centers. I am excited to share chapter 4 of The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading with you!! I also had the previous version of this book. I love this one! The layout is very teacher friendly and is a great guide for your small group instruction.
We all know how important guided reading is with our kinders.  Let's take a look at what to do with your early readers- those children who are reading on level D-I. I love how Amanda shared the guided reading lesson plan last week. This layout is discussed in this chapter as well. I love how this format can be used with any reader.
Day One:
Sight Word review
Introduce new book
Read book with prompting
Discuss/Teach
New Sight word
Word study

Day Two:
Sight Word review
Reread book
Discuss/Teach
Reteach sight word
Guided Writing

Most of our kinder kiddos are reading on levels A-C. When we begin guided reading groups that is where the majority of our kids fall. We do have those kids that come in ready to read and quickly move to level D and beyond. Early readers know letters and sounds and are reading and writing sight words. 
Through our guided reading instruction Richardson tells us we want to help them learn how to:
  • monitor their reading for meaning and structure
  • reread  for meaning
  • use a variety of strategies to solve words
  • apply phonetic principles they have learned
  • retell what they have read
 Richardson points out that the ultimate goal of a guided reading lesson is comprehension. This past school year I had a very high class. I had 85% of my class reading on level E or higher at the end of kindergarten.  I teach in a Title 1 school and this is a rare thing! I was excited about what I could do with my kids but also worried about how to move them. I'm not going to lie it wasn't easy ha! Following the lesson plan format discussed in this book is a game changer though!
 I needed to add  higher level text and I found this set on TPT from A Teachable Teacher. She also has another pack that are leveled passages from J-O that I purchased as well for my super high readers.
I loved these and so did my kids. Children that are reading at levels E-I need to build fluency and comprehension. These passages are perfect for small group instruction. Here is a sample below. 
These passages lend themselves to Richardson's lesson plan format for guided reading. I enjoyed the fact that the passages were not so long that we didn't have time to get to the word building part of the lesson. The comprehension questions at the end were a great way to start that part of the lesson. They were also a good way to lead into guided writing.
Another topic discussed in this chapter is running records. Richardson suggests doing formal running records 3 times a year beginning, middle and end. We use Fountas and Pinnell. Kindergarten is required to do a formal benchmark test in January, March and May. Of course if you have readers coming into the year you would assess them then. I do weekly assessments with my kids at small group. I have a binder that has a section for each child. I jot my notes down on sticky notes. This lets me know quickly what strategies we need to focus on to with each child/small group. 

Thanks for stopping by to read about chapter 4 in our book study! Head on over to our facebook page and let us know if you have any question!


Kinder Tribe Book Study: The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading Chapter 3

Hello Kinder Tribe!  Amanda here with you today from Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten.  Like my other Kinder Tribe members, I am so excited about this book study.  I owned the previous version and it totally transformed my guided reading lessons three years ago.  I was amazed at the progress my students were able to make using this lesson plan format found in Chapter 3!


Let's dive in to Chapter 3, The Emergent Reader:  Levels A-C.  When I really get my guided reading groups up and running, I have a couple of groups still in Pre-A and then the rest of my groups fall into this category.

The Emergent Reader lesson spans across two days with each lesson being approximately 20 minutes.  The lessons are fast paced which helps keep your students' attention and you are able to get through quite a bit in a short amount of time.



I love how in the book Jan Richardson has such an easy to follow lesson plan for these lessons.  There is an example one filled out on page 94 or a blank copy on page 309.

Sight Word Review (1-2 minutes) - I use whiteboards and dry erase markers for this because my students LOVED using whiteboards.  You could also use scrap paper and markers.  Choose familiar sight words and always review the most recent sight word you taught.  I also try to find words that the students will encounter in our new book that are familiar words to review.

Book Introduction (3-5 minutes) - When introducing the new book, here are the steps you can follow:
1.  Provide a synopsis - Sometimes I even write out exactly what I am going to say so I don't forget
2.  Preview and predict - Have students make predictions about the illustrations and draw their attention to important information.  You do NOT need to discuss every page.
3.  Introduce new vocabulary - If you have to introduce more than 5 words, then the book is too difficult for that group.
4.  Practice new language structures - You can turn to a specific page and read a sentence to the group and have them practice it with you.
5.  Encourage cross-checking - I love that Richardson included a chart to help you provide students just what they need for this (check it out on page 74)

Reading with Prompting (8-10 minutes)- During this part of the lesson, the students are going to individually read the book while you confer with students.  My students know that if they finish reading the book they need to go back and keep rereading it until I am finished with my conferring.  Once again, Richardson provides us with the language for prompting.  You can find a chart on page 76, but she also includes it on her blank lesson plan.

Discussion Prompt (2-3 minutes) - Engage the students in a meaningful conversation about the story.  I know that some of our books have simple story lines so sometimes we can use the text and characters to make personal connections.

Teaching Point (1-2 minutes) - On the lesson plan page, there are options for you to choose from for this part of the lesson.  This teaching should be QUICK and CLEAR.  She provides with a chart of activities on page 77 that matches a goal with a demonstration.  I am so thankful that she has provided us with all these little "nuggets" of information.  It makes planning for my groups so much easier.

Teach One Sight Word (2-3 minutes) - For this part of the lesson, you will want to choose a sight word from the book that is new to the students.  My students love this part of the lesson because they get to do some of their favorite activities.
1.  What's Missing?
2.  Mix & Fix
3.  Table Writing
4.  Write It
You can read about those here.

Word Study (3-4 minutes) - For this, you can choose activities such as picture sorting, making words, or sound boxes.  Many times I would have students do their Words Their Way sorts with me during this time.



As you can see, many of the activities in Day 2 are the same or similar as Day 1.  Let's go through the new activities for Day 2.

Sight Word Review (1-2 minutes) - This is the same as Day 1 except you want to review the new word you taught on Day 1 with the other review words.

Reread Book with Prompting (8-10 minutes) - Today students will work on reading the book with fluency.  You can use those prompts from Day 1 again to differentiate for your students.

Discussion Prompt (2-3 minutes) - This is the same as Day 1, but you would want to have a new discussion about the book.

Teaching Point (1-2 minutes) - Once again, this is the same as Day 1.

Reteach Sight Word (2-3 minutes) - Follow the same procedures as on Day 1.

Guided Writing (5-8 minutes) - For this, you want to choose a sentence that is an appropriate length for your students.
Level A sentence should be 3-5 words
Level B sentence should be 5-7 words
Level C sentence should be 7-10 words

Then follow these steps for the activity:
1.  Draw a line for each word
2.  Confer, scaffold, and teach - allow the students to work at their own pace
3.  Focus on spelling - prompt students to say the words as they write them

Once you are finished with these two days, you will want to reflect on the book and take a look at what your next steps should be.

Was this book too hard, too easy, or just right for the students?  What should the next focus be for this group?  Which students do I need to take a closer look at?  What will our next book be?

I can not stress enough how much this format changed my teaching and how successful my students were because of it.  When I started this format (three years ago this winter), I have 3/4 of my class below grade level on their Fountas & Pinnell benchmark.  By the end of that year, with my change in instruction, almost all of my students made the kindergarten benchmark.  It was amazing and still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

Hop on over to our Facebook group and let me know what questions you have about Chapter 3!