La rentrée 2015

*UPDATE Sept 21/15 - You can now find the new products featured in my post in my store! Click HERE for the Gédéon va à l'école comprehension activities, or HERE for the Alphabet sorts.*

A peek at my first week of 2015 en maternelle! Lots of great ideas that you can implement right now!


We are over halfway through our first full week! And it has been SUCH A GOOD ONE. I must admit, I was feeling a little discouraged last Friday after school. Because, Kindergarten is HARD in September. I missed my old students who knew the routine and were so well trained, it had been hot and HUMID for days (aka humidex of 30+C and no AC), and the sillies were out in full force on Friday (probably mostly due to sheer exhaustion on the part of my sweet 4 & 5 year olds). I somehow always forget just how hard September in Kindergarten really is... #realtalk

But, guys!!! Hang in there! At the risk of jinxing myself, this week has been AMAZING. We are really settling into our routine, and I feel like I have actually been TEACHING! Hallelujah! Granted, teaching things like "how to take a book out of your book basket without damaging it", "how to sit at the tapis", and "how to properly turn the pages in a book", but teaching all the same :) Check out all the things we have been working on this week!

1. Writer's Workshop
I use Deedee Wills & Deanna Jump's Writer's Workshop units and I LOVE them. We started on the second day of school, and it was rough going haha. I think our stamina the first day was about 3 minutes. Today, we worked on our stories for 11 minutes! ELEVEN!! One sweetpea even wrote me a real "sentence"! LEF1DG = Le chien fait un dégat, in case you didn't know ;) We also had a super successful share time for the first time. Apparently practice really does make perfect, haha.


Two choices of paper are available now - blank white paper, and paper with a couple of lines if they are feeling brave!



I let my students choose where they work, and so far, so good! Sometimes a few friends need to be moved to a new spot to help them remember not to distract their neighbours, but overall we are making good choices and staying focused! They are honestly blowing my mind with the creative, imaginative stories they are sharing. At this point of course, their stories are essentially drawings with maybe a couple of letters here and there. But they can ALL use their drawings and their voices to share their stories (instead of just naming/labelling the parts!) and I am just so proud!!!

2. Reader's Workshop
We started our Reader's Workshop this week. Monday was our first day, where we learned how to sit and listen to the mini lesson.


We learned how to be Book Lovers instead of Book Bullies, by correctly and carefully choosing books from our book bins, holding books, and properly turning the pages. We are also building our Read-to-Self stamina!



We have also practiced finding a quiet space to read - my students also choose where they would like to sit for reading. Bath mats are popular! :)
I use Blasting Off With Reader's Workshop during this part of our day.

3. Reading comprehension
We have also been diving into our reading comprehension strategies! This is an area of struggle at our school - many of our students can decode like no one's business, but have trouble understanding what they are reading. I decided this year that I will be really concentrating on these strategies during whole-group time by doing close reads and activities linked to comprehension. This week, our book is Gédéon va à l'école, by Laura Wall. So far, we have made predictions, practiced retelling the story, and made connections. I am actually blown away by what they were able to do their very first times! At this point in the year, their responses are very much communicated through their drawings, but we do a shared writing exercise before their individual one, and as the year progresses, they will be adding words and more details. I have created the resources used in the following photos, but they aren't up in my store yet - I want to test the whole week's worth of activities first to make sure they are all kinder-appropriate. Check back next week for a more detailed blog post, and I will let you know when it is up in my store! :)

We learned about making predictions on Monday...
She thought that Gédéon would poop on the floor... that's why we can't have animals at school. Ha!!!
We practiced putting key events in order and then retelling the story on Tuesday...


After we discussed the events together, we glued the pictures in order in our journals individually. Then each student retold the story to a partner.




Today, we learned about making connections and thought about a time that we had fun playing with a pet (or friend).

Just look at that goose! :)



Their goose drawings get me every time haha

Tomorrow we will be talking about the problem and solution, and then on Friday we will write our opinions.

4. Alphabet
We have been working hard on our letters and sounds! We have learned and practiced 6 letters so far. We learn an action for each one, make a circle map of things that start with that letter (I forgot to take pictures!), and play a sorting game to practice listening for and hearing sounds. After we play as a class, students do an individual sort in their notebooks. For our first round of the alphabet, they are doing pretty well! Some of them are getting REALLY good at saying words and listening for beginning sounds. These sound sorts should be up in my store either this weekend or next :)



We have also been working on our directed drawings! These are my FAVOURITE! I just love seeing their drawing skills take off. On the back side of these sheets is a tracing sheet for the letter we learned that day.


My favourite is the jardin... the day before we had learned to draw vaches for Vv, and that little sweetie put a vache in his garden!!! My directed drawing unit is up in my store - you can grab it by clicking on either picture above, or right HERE.


5. Math
Our math workshop is in full swing! I also use Deedee & Deanna's math workshop units and translate the worksheets for my students. They are seriously amazing! Tuesday, we did our very first math journal entries. We have been using prompts from my September Daily Math Journal pack for Maternelle. They did great! Math journals are my favourite way to start off our math block (they only take 7-10 minutes, if that). You can read all about my love affair with math journals and why I think they are so important HERE. I also have a September pack for Grade 1, which you can find HERE.

Day 1
Day 2 - already improving! Although we still need to work on numeral formation haha
I love how some kids wrote how many all together... some kids filled their page with numbers and math symbols haha (I did not teach him those!), and some just drew, depending on what they already know about math!


Can we please all just take a minute to appreciate the MOUSTACHES this little sweetie drew?!?!?! Seriously. I LOVE Kindergarden!

We have of course also been playing lots, and having a great time with Mme Angel's book Rouge, rouge, qu'est-ce qui est rouge?. What have you and your little munchkins been up to?? Let me know what you are most proud of in the comments! I just love this age because they show sooo much progress so quickly, and there is ALWAYS something to celebrate and be proud of!

Thanks for reading! :)

4 comments:

  1. Ouf. Quelle semaine! Ils ont travaillé fort tes copains! :)

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  2. Hi Andrea,
    I love reading your blog and seeing what you're doing! Just a question - for your circle maps and writing, do the kids tell you in English what they want to write and then you help them translate it? How does this work when the students have a very limited (if any!) vocabulary in French?
    Merci en advance! :)
    -Kyla

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kyla!
      So glad you enjoy reading my blog :)
      For writing, my kids don't really tell me anything that they want to write. I expect them just to write what they can, and they do! I don't sit beside them and help them at all - they work independently while I pull small groups or do individual conferencing. In the beginning it is usually just their name haha, but by showing them the process every day, when they are ready, they will find word wall words or sound out other words they know. If you check out my latest post about writing, you will see that their structure/vocabulary is definitely not perfect (and sometimes they do add English words to their stories if they don't know the French one), but for me what is most important is that they are writing (or "writing") the whole time, without stopping and waiting for help. Anything they put on paper and can talk about to others is considered a success! In K, I think that it is fair to make writing all about the process, so that when they are older,/more capable they can really focus on the content :)
      As for the circle maps, they can be a challenge and sometimes we don't have many words that go on for a certain letter. It's okay though, because the circle maps are just for sharing what we already know, and if we don't know much, then that means there is lots more to learn ;) I usually draw 4-6 pictures of well-known words (if possible) on the outside of the circle map before my students get to school, and they rely heavily on those as clues. They are also great at identifying people's names. Colours and numbers seem to work well, for clues too - usually someone can name those.
      Keep in mind too that most of my students have already had a year of French preK or spent some time in French daycare. Their French leaves a LOT to be desired in September haha, but at least many of them can name things like farm animals, shapes, etc. In the beginning, I definitely see a difference in the "writing" of my students who started with zero French compared to the others, but by this point in the year they have caught up well and some of my more "advanced" students who knew no French are writing longer and more detailed stories than the others. I think this is because all year long I let them work where they are at developmentally and they feel confident to take the risk when they are ready. It is just so important to treat your kiddos like writers from the very beginning - while we as teachers know that in order to write well you need to speak well, if you treat you students like they are already writers, they may just surprise you with what they can do ;)
      Feel free to email me if you have anymore questions or want to talk more about writing! It is one of my favourite subjects to teach and I love talking about it haha
      andreamfancy@gmail.com

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