Sunday, June 23, 2013

Interactive Large Group Time... A Linky Party

Welcome to the third week of Applicious Teacher's summer linky party series! This week is whole group discussion, something that is extremely interactive when you teach Pre-K because, let's face it, it has to be to keep the attention of 20 4- and 5-year olds!

Every morning, we start our day with calendar time which obviously involved the kiddos helping me to update the calendar by moving the "Yesterday", "Today", and "Tomorrow" circles after the days of the week and by adding more numbers to the calendar. If it's a new month, we'll switch out the month cards which I let our Star of the Week do. It's super easy since they're up there with velcro. Then, I use one of my Wet-Erase markers to write the date (with the kiddos help of course) where it says "Today's date". Then, depending on the day, we'll sing either a "Days of the Week" song or a "Months of the Year" song. Finally, because they've been sitting for 10 minutes or so by this point, I have them stand and we do our Pledge of Allegiance, reminding them of course to look at the flag (not me and not their neighbor) and to keep their right hand on their heart. This is great left vs. right practice!!

Now, that may not sound very interactive but stick with me. Here's where the interaction comes in...
Click the picture to find the set!


This is the Calendar Binder I use with my kiddos. I know, I know... super plain on the front. Believe it or not, I meant for it to look like that. The first day of school, the kiddos get to decorate the front of their binder and make it their own. The spine says "________'s Group Time Book". Not sure if you can tell or not but I put a piece of packaging tape over the blank so, when I write their names on it with a Sharpie, I can use fingernail polish remover at the end of the year to remove the names without having to redo the spine labels! And  now for the insides...

The first page is a calendar page that is basically a miniature version of the one on the wall. The kiddos trace the word July when we talk about the month then trace the number up through the current day. As you can tell by the hideous shine on the right side of the page, I have it in a sheet protector so the kids can reuse the same page each day in July. I also have different pages for each month where, as the months progress through the year, less of the month and less numbers are provided so they have to learn to fill in the rest on their own. By the end of the year, The page is blank so they can fill it out on their own.

The second page requires the kids to circle the day of the week, write the days in the blank for yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and write out the date, all while we're talking about it as a group. Plus, there's a space on the bottom to circle the weather.

I also have a set of letter practice pages that, like the calendar pages, increase in difficulty as they kids progress. They start out with solid black letters to track with wipe-off markers. The other pages have letters that are gray, made of dots, and/or are missing letters so they can fill in the blanks.

Like the letter pages, there is a set of number writing practice pages that progress in difficulty using dotted, gray, and missing numbers.

I also plan to utilize this binders for assessments by having the kiddos bring them to small groups with them and calling out a letter/number to which they either trace or color the correct number/letter.

I also have pages in the binder to practice tally marks (kids make a tally mark for each day in school, one per box, and total them up in the total column showing that 4 groups of 25 make 100), counting to 100 (a chart where children color in or write in a number for each day of school to keep track of the days up to 100), and name writing (children practice writing their name each month and this serves as an assessment throughout the year). Because these pages require the kids to write on them with pencils/markers, I taped the edge of the paper and hole punched them to make sure they would stay put in their binders for an extended period of time.

Finally, at the end of the binder, there is a sheet protector with an Alphabet Bok and a Numbers book. These will obviously only be in here while they are learning their letters and numbers. The Alphabet Books were given to me by another teacher so no source is available (sorry). However, the Number book is available in my store and was created to accompany the number posters we have on our way. It's a great way for my kiddos to practice the multiple ways numbers can be represented and also provides them with an interactive book that they can take home when it's complete!

To find the book and posters, head over here:

The binder set can be found here:
Once we're finished with our calendar time, we typically have some sort of discussion question or activity that leads into our science or art activity for the morning. I really love my anchor chart display. There will be more on that tomorrow so make sure to stop back!

Also, be sure to check out the rest of the whole group instruction ideas over at the Applicious Teacher!

Katie Poyzer

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