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Kthru3 Kthru3 is offline
 
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Overwhelmed
Old 10-23-2012, 08:59 AM
 
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Good afternoon. My district adopted Benchmark Literacy for the reading series this school year. So far I hate it. It's very boring and I feel it isn't developmentally appropriate for kindergarten.

Also I'm overwhelmed with centers. I have 25 students so I'm at my wits end trying to find center activities so as not to have too many students in one center, with that being said, I feel like I need to have more centers to keep them all occupied and on task while I work with small guided reading groups. Help me!!!!


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centers
Old 10-23-2012, 06:33 PM
 
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I don't know anything about your reading series so no help there. As for centers, I would shoot for 5 centers of 5 kids each. One alphabet center, one puzzles/games (math games, abc puzzles, whatever), one for fine motor development or art, a listening or computer center, and you. Later on they can morph into writing, word work, art, book making, reading response, etc.
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iteachk2010 iteachk2010 is offline
 
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Benchmark Literacy
Old 10-23-2012, 09:06 PM
 
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Hi! I piloted Benchmark Literacy in K last year. We adopted it this year.

I use Daily 5, but I infuse some of the themed and seasonal centers I've made over the years into the 5 components of Daily 5. If you can get a copy of the book, The Daily 5, it is an excellent resource. It goes into much more detail on how to establish the routines and build stamina to help your students be independent than the Benchmark 30 Days. Daily 5 is a way to manage the centers/activities. The key is to take the time to model and practice, practice, practice.

I'm not sure if I can explain it quickly. Doing Daily 5 is easier than having to make new center activities all the time. You teach the core (for lack of a better word) activities for each component. The students learn how to do the activities so you are not having to explain directions, model, practice... like you have to when you introduce new center activities every week. You might change what they use (like foam letters, magnetic letters, letter cards...) to do the activities or differentiate by using different word lists, different levels of books...., but the students know what to do.

One component of Daily 5 is Read to Self. You teach students the three ways to read: Read the pictures. Read the words. Retell the story. Model. Practice. Discuss what the students do. (Pick a spot. Read quietly. Read the entire time.) Discuss what teacher does. (Teacher works with individuals or small groups at the table.) Remind students that teacher is not available when working at the table. Students have book boxes. Right now my students' book boxes have an ABC chart, a name chart, a poetry journal (with typed copies of the weekly poems that we do glued in it), a wordless picture book, several Level aa and A books, a picture book they choose from the classroom library, a word ring with the five words we've worked on, character cutouts from Brown Bear to use for retelling... Later on when we get to it, I will add the blackline copies of the decodable books (from Start Up Phonics Level 2-Benchmark Literacy) and the blackline copies of their leveled books (from Benchmark Literacy). The goal is reading. Studies found that students aren't getting enough time to practice reading.

The students also use book boxes for Read to Someone, another Daily 5 component.

Listen to Reading is the third component. I have books/CDs for students to listen to. I have song lyrics on chart paper/CD. If you have the technology in your classroom, you can have students listen to/follow along and read the interactive eBooks from Benchmark Literacy (Reader's Theater and their leveled books) on the Smartboard, laptops, computer...
Storyline Online and Literactive are two sites.

Another component is Word Work. For the beginning of the year, we are working on letter identification. Off the top of my head, the activities include Letter Matching (same to same, capital to lowercase), Letter Sorting (curved lines, straight lines, slant lines, capital or lowercase... Alphabet Arc, Missing Letter, ABC Order... I have foam letters, magnetic letters, letter cards, letter stones, letter stamps/stamp pad, letter stamps/play-doh, tactile letters, alphabet strips. I also have two letter identification games that we've played-Crazy Carrots and Cookie Monster. When we get to Start Up Phonics Level 2, there will be a set of decodable word cards, sight word cards, picture cards and spelling words each week that I will put in that center.

The last component is Work on Writing. They can work on letter formation. I have tracing sheets inside plastic sheet protectors. Students use dry erase markers to trace letters, their names, numbers, words. They use wikki stix on letter cards. They can make the letters with play-doh. I have a variety of paper, markers/crayons/colored pencils, and stencils. I have pictionaries, portable word walls and the word wall. Students can draw a picture and label. They can do a journal entry. They can make a list. I have index cards that they can use to make their own word cards. I have blank books. Students can make their own ABC books.

I do three rotations for Daily 5. They can choose the D5 component and the activity they do for each rotation if they aren't meeting with me.

We aren't perfect, but it is worth the time and effort spent at the beginning to establish the routines and build the stamina. I had to be firm about not being available if I am at the table working with individuals or small groups from Day 1. We role-played different scenarios and discussed what they could do to solve problems on their own. We identified several students as "Experts" that the other students can go to if they need shoes tied, forget how to do something, can't find something they need.

I hope that I was able to give you some useful ideas.
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punior punior is offline
 
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I have 8 centers in my room
Old 10-24-2012, 03:01 AM
 
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and that is even not enough for my afternoon class. I don't like to have more than 3 kids in a center. Someone told me years ago that the best way to keep the noise volume and behavior problems low during center time is to keep the groups small and it really does work. These are my centers

ABC
Math
Science/Sensory table
Block/Geometry
Listening
Library
Read the Room
Housekeeping
Writing
Pocket Chart

I don't do all of these each week. I usually only open blocks or housekeeping, but not both. In the past I have also had a Sight word center and a Retell center. I will probably weave those in again too. I try to keep my centers very easy prep and easy for the kinders. I don't have anyone else in the room with me and I need to do small group work. Kinders need repetition anyway. They are just to practice skills and so I just put in things as we learn them.

I think if you google "Kindergarten centers" you will find a lot of ideas. There are also many teachers out there that put all of their centers on their websites. There will be prep to start but you will find a lot of things already made.

Good luck
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teacher_35 teacher_35 is offline
 
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Agree!
Old 10-24-2012, 04:28 PM
 
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I am not a fan either- I have been doing bits and pieces but not liking it! Too much sitting time and on day one sayiong 60 minutes of independent reading activities time????? Thay can't even line up well or sit for more than a few minutes! UGH! Not for iK in my opinion!!


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Old 10-24-2012, 08:26 PM
 
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I'm with iteachk2010. Our county strongly suggested that we try to do the daily 5 this year. I just shook my head thinking the whole time okay, well here is another new thing that we have to add. Where's the time? Then I purchased the book. After the first two chapters I realized that it's a classroom management tool not something else to add. It took me a little bit to organize it but I only had to purchase something to organize the word work in. I already had all the other materials I would need.

With fear and trepidation I began introducing the students to it the two days before we got out for fall break. The kids love it! I love it. My room is quieter than it has been in years. The only sounds in the room are the students reading with partners and my small group or individual readers with me. It think that they don't fuss and are quiet because they can choose what they get to do. We have now been doing it for 3 weeks.

I do keep a chart of what they choose during each rotation so that they don't do the same thing 4 and 5 times a day. (They all love listening and word work) Some have even learned that if they wait and don't choose something during the first two rotations they are more likely to get exactly what they want in the last two.

I kind of over killed the word work. I put together 20 different activities. Listening- I have 11 spots. 4 watching and reading stories on a dvd. 2 headphones with nursery rhymes. 3 leap pads that were going in the trash from another teacher and I grabbed them. She just didn't want them any more. 2 computers - the students do starfall. The partner reading, read to self, and writing are all in a canvas tote with the child's name on it. They swap out books once a week.
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mushell829 mushell829 is offline
 
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:12 PM
 
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1 simple center is creating sight words with magents. This is good for at least 3 kids to work on.
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