Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Skills Block in January,2008

Blends chart
What's new in Skills Block as we come back in the new year? For one thing, the alphabet chart that the children chant each morning has been replaced with a "blends" chart. Each morning the teachers chant as they point to each block: My turn. /bl/ blanket block. Your turn. Snap. /bl/ blanket block... as the children echo the blend and words starting with the blend one block at a time. Children are encouraged and reinforced for using this chart as they write in Writers' Workshop.

The morning message reviews many of the skills that the children have worked on previously such as where to find sight words, color and number words in the room; the digraphs th/ ch/ sh/ wh; words with initial blends; punctuation marks such as periods, exclamation marks, and question marks; capitals for beginning sentences, names, and I; and a review of the vocabulary words that the children have been learning all year. After the holiday most kindergarten teachers add quotation marks or "talking marks" to their morning message. As they work on this in Skills Block, they begin to see the children using the "talking marks" in their writing during Writers' Workshop. Children also point them out in their independent reading in Readers' Workshop.

Kindergarten teachers also continue with the last few books of vocabulary (see the word hesitating in the message to the right) in their Skills Block.

The final activity is usually sounding out 3-4-5 sound words that have short vowels, digraphs and blends - some of the same words that children will need to sound out (segment) as they go into Writers' Workshop and that they will need to blend as they go into Readers' Workshop. Skills Block pulls together all of the skills that we are asking our children to use.

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