2Description: This is the morning message for January for this kindergarten class. Location: The morning message is on an easel at the front of the rug area of the classroom (which is the reading area), next to the teacher’s chair. It is placed here so that the teacher can point to it, and each child can see it.Purpose: There are several purposes to morning message. It can help develop emergent literacy skills such as directionality, “pretend” reading, concept of word, and some sight word and letter skills, depending on how the teacher uses it.Why this activity: Morning message is a good way to develop emergent literacy skills because it is very predictable. In this classroom, the structure of the message does not change from day to day, but pieces of the message do change. This allows children to use familiarity to predict (“read”) the message, and routines to fill in the changing information. Because it is large, the teacher can teach directionality by reading the message and tracking. The teacher can also have students “read” specific words, based on their knowledge of the message, or fill in the blank (comprehension), based on information about that particular day.
3Description: This is a reminder to students about using details in their writing. Location: This environmental scaffold is on the board in front of a large table where students usually do their journal writing. In this way it is easily accessible when the students are writing.Purpose: The purpose of this sign is to help children remember the kinds of details they should be putting into their journal writing--characters.Why this activity: Teachers do not have the time to direct students throughout the day. This kind of sign provides reminders and frees up the teacher to work with students. Because the sign is in both words and icons each student can “read” it. Additionally, the sign helps students remember an important part of story structure (characters) and an important part of writing (details).
4Description: This is a letter activity for students to do either independently or with a partner. Location: This pocket chart is on the board next to a large table where students usually do their journal writing, and next to an alphabet wall frieze.Purpose: There are several purposes to this activity. It can be used to help children match capital and lower-case letters (students can put like letters in each letter’s pocket), to develop letter/sound relationships (matching a picture to an appropriate beginning letter), and to remind students how to form letters when writing in their journals.Why this activity: The teacher could use a variety of activities to work on letter recognition, and letter/sound correspondence. This pocket chart activity is good because it is active, and also serves another purpose. So it has many uses.
5Description: This is sight word chart of high-frequency words the teacher has introduced to the students.Location: The chart is on the board in between a sign for using details in writing and an alphabet pocket chart. All of these are viewable from the writing table.Purpose: The sight word wall is to help students learn to read and write common high-frequency sight words.Why this activity: This sight word wall is made from Post-it notes. This way, if students need to write a word, they do not need to copy it from the board. They can take the word to their table, copy it, and return it to the word wall. This helps students learn to recognize the words, write the words, and use ABC order to put the words back on the wall. Students can also take the words down to play a variety of games.
6Description: This is a weather chart with various types of weather and Yes/No signs for each. Location: This chart is on the board in between the calendar and a number board. It is at the front of the literacy rug/morning meeting space.Purpose: The weather chart helps students learn to recognize words associated with weather.Why this activity: This activity is paired with the daily calendar activity, so students work with the weather chart every day. Instead of just telling whether the day is rainy, etc., students can “read” the words, and answer yes/no to each. Because the words have associated pictures, and the words Yes/No are in the same place for every picture (“yes” on the left, “no” on the right), students can use the pictures and predictability to learn the weather words and quick recognition of Yes/No.
7Description: This is the reading easel with big books and poems. Location: The easel is at the front of the rug area of the classroom (which is the reading area), next to the teacher’s chair. It is placed here so that the teacher can point to words on poems or in books as she reads, and each child can see the materials.Purpose: Big books and poems help the teacher teach emergent literacy skills such as concepts about print, pretend reading, and following along with a story, as well as story structure and oral language skills.Why this activity: Big books and poems on chart paper are great ways to engage students in choral reading. The teacher will read the story or poem first once or twice, then have the students read along with her. Because the materials are on display, the students can “read” them again during center or independent work time.
8Purpose: The books are for students to read in groups and independently. They are leveled so that the teacher can easily choose which books to use with which groups.Why this activity: Leveled books are a good way to scaffold students’ emergent and beginning reading development. Level A books simply label pictures (ball, baby, etc.). The books gradually increase in difficulty so that students have to use words and pictures to read them. Having the book bins labeled and accessible means that students can access which books they need and read during independent reading time.Description: These are book bins labeled according to reading level.Location: The bins are located on a shelf next to the reading/writing table. This makes them very easily accessible to the teacher when she works in reading groups.
9Description: This is a phonics game called “Puppy Phonics Description: This is a phonics game called “Puppy Phonics.” To play the game, students need to match letters and sounds.Location: This game is stored on a low shelf in a bin labeled “beginning consonant sound games.” The label seems more for the teacher than the students, but the game is accessible to students and near both the table area and the rug area so that students could play it in either place.Purpose: The purpose of the game is to practice letter/sound relationships, an important concept in beginning reading.Why this activity: This game provides students with a fun and engaging way to work on letters and sounds. Because it is easy to play, and the teacher has taught students how to play, the students can play independently, which frees up teacher time to work with groups or individuals.
10Purpose: The teacher uses this chart as a support when she teaches letter names and sounds. Why this activity: This frieze by itself is good for students to use as a reference for letter formation, and letter sounds. But the teacher uses it more interactively. Although each letter already has an associated picture, the teacher has students create a picture to represent a letter. She then attaches the students’ work to the frieze so that students have ownership of the work.Description: This is an alphabet frieze containing upper and lower-case letters and a picture representing each beginning letter sound.Location: The frieze is located on the board behind the reading/rug area and next to the reading/writing tables. It is higher than other materials, so is above the letter pocket chart, details sign, etc.
11Description: These are mobiles for the new year, 2009 Description: These are mobiles for the new year, Each mobile contains the student’s name and interesting things the student will do in 2009 or other personal information.Location: The mobiles are hanging from the ceiling in between the literacy/morning meeting area and the play and table areas.Purpose: These mobiles were made to help students celebrate the new year. They are working with the calendar daily. Now they will have an opportunity to count the number of days until 2009, and make the numbers (2009) more concrete.Why this activity: Although not strictly a “literacy” activity, these mobiles incorporate students’ names, a very important literacy writing experience for kindergartners. They also allow students to personalize their name and the new year. Some students “wrote” as part of their representation, while others drew, cut out pictures from magazines, or used other art materials. In this way, every student has an opportunity to be successful.