Monday, 30 November 2015

Update... Goodbye Kindergarten

It's the 1st of December... Happy summer!

So yesterday we found out what grades we're on next year.

Sadly, no more Kindergarten for me :(

Next year I will be teaching a Years 1/2 composite class. It was a bit of a surprise, definitely not expected (I was gearing up for another year in kindy), but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I think it will work well with my implementation of Daily 5 as the students placed in a composite class are typically independent workers and generally above average in terms of academic achievement.

You may have noticed my blog name has changed. Can't be Curls in Kindy anymore! So I am now Curls in the Classroom. That'll teach me not to be so organised and plan ahead for the following year.

And it looks like I'll be changing rooms next year, so you can ignore all the whingeing about my classroom from the previous post.

Christmas is currently going up in my room, come back soon to check out all our wonderful Chrissy creations!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

How Will Daily 5 Look in my Classroom?

Hello and welcome back!

Since my last post I've had a zwillion thoughts zooming around my brain, thinking about how I'm going to implement Daily 5 and what it's going to look like in action. Not only have I been thinking about re-structuring my morning session, I've also been mentally redesigning my learning space to optimize it for Daily 5 and group work as well as thinking about different ways I could use my parent helpers during literacy/Daily 5 time.

Ok, let's break it down...

Restructuring My Literacy Session

I currently run my Best Start influenced literacy groups four days a week (Tues-Fri) first thing in the morning. I try to stick to an hour (9:40 - 10:40), but I usually end up going over time. My rotation consists of four groups and four activities, usually covering sight words, phonics and writing. Toward the beginning of the year when their reading levels are lower (and the readers are shorter), guided reading with me is one rotation. As the students advance through the reading levels I have four rotating activities and call out a few kids at a time to read to me. I try to have parent helpers on the rotating activities during this time. It is a system that currently works... but I want to make it better.

Last week I came across the most magical blog post on Pinterest. It was written by Tara West at and Oh. Em. Jee. She is like the Queen and Santa and the Tooth Fairy rolled into one. Go to her blog and you'll see why. In this past week I have been reading heaps of her posts - so many great ideas and resources... I geeked out a bit. Seriously, go there.
But, I digress.
So, I read her post about how she structures her guided reading and Daily 5 and it was like she had written the post just for me! I was particularly drawn to her structure  as there are similarities between it and my current literacy group set up, so implementing her style of Daily 5 won't be as big a stretch for me than if I were to follow the text book to the letter.

You can read Tara's Kindergarten Guided Reading post here.

Redesigning My Learning Space

I've been in my current classroom for two years now. I am finally getting used to it, and really starting to think about maximising it for group work and the Daily 5.

One of the not-awesome aspects of my classroom is that I don't have a store room. I have two massive cupboards and that's it. One cupboard is against the northern wall, right in the middle of the room, and the other one is against the southern wall closer to the back. I don't even get symmetry. There is also an upright piano that is way old and way out of tune that for the past term I have used as a shelf for our classroom shop (KEJmart... like Kmart! I thought that was a clever name), prior to that it was a junk storage shelf. It will cost the school too much to remove, so it stays. I am thinking of turning it into part of my Writing Centre for next year... stay tuned!

One thing I was excited about when I moved into my classroom was the sink and shelf storage at the back of the room. Prior to that I was in a classroom with no running water, so after art lessons I had to march my kindies to the toilet block so they could rinse their brushes in the sink there. Fun times. Other than that the only other fixed features in my room are my SMARTBoard (front wall, right in the middle) with a small whiteboard next to it, and a little covered outdoor alcove that I sometimes use for painting.

Currently my thoughts for my classroom redesign involves:

  • turning my piano/area into a Writing Centre
  • Moving my desk against the front wall and creating a guided reading table near it
  • Adding another bookcase to my ever-expanding class library
Next year I'll post some before & after photos of the room so you can see for yourself. For now you'll just have to use the power of your imagination.

Parent Helpers

Currently in my literacy groups I try to have parent helpers at some of the rotations. At the beginning of the year I asked for two helpers each day literacy groups operates, so that there would be three adults supporting the students' learning. Well. Usually I get one each day, on Fridays I sometimes get three to four, and then some days no one shows up and depending on what else is going on in the school I'll scrap literacy groups all together and to some whole-class activities.

I am considering moving away from having the parents working with the groups next year - I mean, part of Daily 5 is about the students being self-directed and taking responsibility for their own learning. I am thinking of having the parents withdraw students one at a time to read to them and practice sight words outside, then it's covering the Read to Someone round of Daily 5. Still workshopping that idea but it's a start.

If you have a system for parent helpers during literacy groups that works for you I would love to hear it. Pop your idea in the comments section below and I'll be eternally grateful.

Thanks for visiting!

Don't forget to check out Tara's blog:


See you next time,

Sunday, 22 November 2015

My First Post

Hello Internet,

My name is Emily and I am a Kindy teacher, currently teaching at a wonderful school on Sydney's northern beaches. I'm super excited (and a lil bit nervous) about entering the blogosphere.

I decided to create a blog to document my experiences in implementing aspects of The Daily 5 in my classroom next year.

I felt like The Daily 5 was everywhere I looked on Pinterest, so I bought the book and did some research to see what all the fuss was about. I was definitely intrigued. I had initially planned to implement it at the beginning of the 2015 school year, but [confession], I didn't fully commit. Partly due to my existing literacy groups structure, partly because I didn't know anyone who was doing it to ask for pointers, partly because I felt unprepared... but also because no one was watching me!

I have to admit, I am terrible at sticking to self-imposed routines/deadlines/etc. And that's where you come in. I'm hoping that documenting my journey online will make me a little bit more accountable and give me a little bit more encouragement to go go go!

So, thanks in advance!

See you next time,