Monday, June 26, 2017

Work on Writing Ideas

Happy Monday!  I'm getting ready to present tomorrow about Daily Five to some sweet people in my district.  I wrote THIS POST last week about it and wanted to give you some ideas about Working on Writing.  This is the daily that makes most people cringe!

Here is a picture of some of my Work on Writing areas from different classroom set ups.

 This shelf is empty because these pics were taken before the year started.  You can see I have lots of space for trays/tubs to hold the writing materials.

This was another year and I snapped this pic about six weeks into school.  You can see the tubs are in place and filled with materials.  This is also from a year I taught pre-k, so the materials are a little different for work on writing.

I do want to preface that this is the only one of the dailies in which I have my students turn in a physical "something".  The other four dailies are more kinesthethic, but writing needs to be about writing.  Your littles will only get better at writing if they're writing.

I also wanted to share where I got my signs for each of my Daily Five materials areas.  Click below to grab this freebie from my friend Kristen.

Okay, so here is a little chart I made with some writing ideas.  Remember the goal of Daily Five is INDEPENDENCE!  Whatever you add to your Work on Writing choices should be an independent activity for children.
A lot of these are pretty self explanatory, but I did want to show you some of my littles' creations in Work on Writing this year!  

SIDE NOTE: Since kindergarteners are still learning how to print letters, it's OKAY to have letter printing activities in your Working on Writing choices.  This is a scaffolded skill.  The joy in Daily Five is that there are many choices, so your higher learners can have writing choices while your emergent writers can work on letter printing.  YOU KNOW YOUR KIDS BEST!

Here is an example of one my cutie's pop up book that she created independently during Daily Five when we were learning about zoo and African animals.


Now this cuties didn't just know how to make a pop up book.  I added pop up paper to our choices in the second semester after we had created a few pop up books as a class during the first semester.  

Here is my FREE pop up paper and a video I made to show you how to make pop up books with your kiddos.

Another simple and preferred writing choice is writing about exciting news.  We all kinders can talk for HOURS about themselves and gradma visiting and their dog digging a hole and what they had for dinner... You get the point!  I often stop the stories by saying "That sounds really fun! Can you tell me all about it by writing to me?"  So, I created this little gem for sharing news!  Click on it to get it for FREE!

That reminds me, if a cutie wrote a letter for me, I have them place it in my mailbox.  Do you see it on the shelf to the left?  I would encourage you to get a mailbox to collect ALL of the treasures your kiddos write you!

Another writing my choice my kiddos love is creating 3D stories.  Here are two examples.

Again, this has to be taught.  I showed my littles how to create characters that stood up and about details in a setting, as well as how to attach the written portion of their story.

One of our most favorite writing choices are our shard journals.  I don't have a picture of them from my classroom, but I bought them from my friend Lori.  They're just journals in which you add a topic label to the front like "My Teacher" or "Pets" and anyone from the classroom can write in the journal about that topic.  Here they are from Lori!

I hope this gives you some ideas about what to add to your Work on Writing choices!  Just a few tips...

1.  Remember it is a choice so it's alright if a student chooses the same Work on Writing choice each day at check-in.  After all, it will take a child days to create a pop-up book, so she may choose to work on it each when he/she picks Work on Writing.

2.  Make sure you have a system for supplies.  Where are your students' pencils, crayons, etc. that are needed for Work on Writing?  Do they each have a supply box you want them to use?  Are there shared supplies stored in the Work on Writing area?

3.  What is your system for turning in the finished product?  Do they place it in a turn in basket?  (Mine do!)

4.  What if a child isn't finished?  Since this is the only one of the dailies that I have students complete since all of the other dailies are open ended, I have mine place unfinished Work on Writing stories in their blue pocket on the back of my easel.  Each kiddo has one for unfinished stories to store for the next day.

Have a marvelous Monday!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Becoming a Daily Five Diva!

Happy Summer!  I cannot believe my time with these cuties is over! 

I even had these kiddos make me a special skirt to wear for graduation.  I LOVE IT!

I can honestly say they were the best class I have ever taught since I started this teaching journey in 2004.  I miss them so very much...

Since I started summer break, I have been a busy bee preparing presentations for school districts and for I Teach K next month!  One of my presentations in about Daily Five, so I thought I would type up a not-so-little post about my methods for implementing it into my classroom.  Before I begin, I do want to comfort you in my knowledge from my Daily Five learning.  I attended a Daily Five session with THE SISTERS in 2010 when I taught second grade and again last summer (June 2016) as a kindergarten teacher.

I wanted you to know this so you know many of my suggestions and ideas stem from the authors and other pioneers of Daily Five.

SO.... grab your favorite drink and a cozy spot, because this is A LOT of information!

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Just in case you have never heard of Daily Five, it is what the other students are doing while you instruct your guided reading groups. The five "dailies" are Read to Self, Work on Words, Listening to Reading, Read with a Friend, and Work on Writing.  Daily Five has a strong emphasis on student choice and independence for students.

Daily Five begins with understanding the Three Ways to Read - Read the Pictures, Read the Words, Retell the Story.  These three ways to read will transition children into the first daily - Read to Self.  Here is a little breakdown and some ides for each of the three ways.

The very first thing students need to know to begin Daily Five is Read the Pictures.  I introduce this on the second day of school, yep, even with kindergarten kids.  I LOVE using this wordless book, A Ball for Daisy

This book is awesome because the students read it to me based on the pictures.  It also helps my emergent readers to see that books can be read, even without words.  After we read this book together, I provide each student with this Reading A to Z wordless book.  It is very similar to A Ball for Daisy.

My littles immediately feel confident in their ability to "read"!  I send these emergent readers home with this note explaining to families what Read the Pictures means.

This reading skill really connects when my littles begin reading groups the third week of school and I introduce our first reading strategy - Use Your Eagle Eye .
Eagle Eye is one of our strategies from my Beanie Baby Reading Strategies.  He reminds us to use our eagle eye for pictures clues.  I also send home a note for families to understand Eagle Eye when their child learns this strategy in his/her reading group.

I differentiate each group's strategies with these mats.  The strategy cards are attached with velcro.

I also teach Read the Pictures with our Eagle Eye with these directionality cards from Tara West's pack.

Just a little note, though, I do not begin reading groups until the third week of school, I was just adding extra tidbits for you.  💟


On the third day of school I introduce Read the Words using this emergent reader I created with the sight word "a".  It is nothing fancy, but personal for my cuties since it ends with a picture of me.

 Click here to see the whole book!

This also introduces us to our word wall.  We add the word "a" to it to begin understanding how helpful our word wall is for our learning.

I also send home this note to teach families about Read the Words.

Read the Words also ties into our reading strategy of Lips the Fish - Get your mouth ready to say the first sound you hear.  This strategy is often partnered with Eagle Eye, because we get our mouth ready, then use pictures for clues.


Retell the Story is the most interactive of the 3 ways to read.  One of the ways to help littles on the third day of school understand this way to read is with our favorite feline - PETE!

We listen to the story of Pete the Cat - I Love my White Shoes and retell with my felt Pete the Cats pieces.

Then we used these buckets to walk through and kinesthetically retell the story. Students walked in a circle and stepped in each bucket then out of the bucket and onto the colored shoe.  Before students completed this activity I acted it out and changed my shoes with each bucket.

If you want the printables for this, click here.

After my littles understood retelling the story, they worked as a table to make a poster of each of the items Pete stepped in.  I love seeing my cuties work hard together, especially on the third day of school!

We used the posters to create a flow map!

Here are some of my other retelling activities that I do throughout the year.  Perhaps some of them will inspire you!


My retell ribbon looks like this!

I attach it to my easel for retelling after story time {almost} daily.  The TREE stands for SETTING, the CAT stands for CHARACTERS, the 3 BUTTONS stand for the BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END, and the BOW stands for the AUTHOR'S PURPOSE.  After we use our class retell ribbon and become experts on it, my cuties make their own ribbon to keep in their book boxes.

Snatch it here!


Here are some of my story maps for retelling.

Click here to grab these words.

This is one of my favorite story maps for retelling but does require some planning.  

This map is used by me preparing 4 index cards that have the characters, setting, plot, and title to the story we will be reading that day.  I clip them to the back of the book so they're ready when we finish reading.

Then I read one of the cards and my littles decide if that's the plot, title, characters, or setting.  We place each card in the correct spot.

Click here to grab these words.

I also found this AMAZING walking story map from my friend at Fairy Dust Teaching.

Click on the picture to learn more about her class's retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.


I LOVE Wiener Wolf!  I have two dachshunds of my own - Daisy and Duke - so I love any children's story about these pups!  

We use this story to retell, with an emphasis on beginning, middle, and end.

We created a class story map of the beginning, middle, and end.

Then my littles created their own wiener wolves of the beginning, middle, and end.

Retelling is also one of our reading strategies in guided reading.  We use Jabber the Reteller to help us retell.  He is also used whole group at story time.

 I have my littles create a Jabber puppet to use for retelling similar to this one.

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PHEW!  That's a lot and we have only just started!  I always tell my kids to "show me your thinking face" before they can answer on the carpet or in small groups so STOP and THINK for a minute about how you, knowing how you teach and your grade level, would implement the Three Ways to Read.

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Okay, hopefully you have some ideas about how to implement the Three Ways to Read that you feel successful in teaching.

Other lessons to teach your students to create independence while working in Daily Five are caring for books, your classroom library, a check out system for book shopping, choosing good fit books, building stamina.  I will admit that I teach each of these in different orders each year.  It all depends on your kids.  Here are some ideas for these lessons.


There are a TON of great ideas to teach book care to children.  I personally love using Mr. Wiggle's Book to help my littles learn how to care for books.

This book has a lot of activities on TPT to go along with book care. 

I don't spend a lot of time teaching book care but I do use this lesson to teach about our Book Hospital, which is where books that have been injured go to be repaired.


I am a huge organization nerd.  It is kind of a disease.  A few years ago I found Danielle's library organization stickers and fell in LOVE with the ease her product created for littles' to check out and return books in our classroom library. 

Here are some pictures of my classroom library.  It takes time to set up, but I organized it this way at the start of the 2012-2013 school year.  It has never needed to be redone.

Here are the different topics of books in my library.  These are the books that students mainly read by reading the pictures, especially at the start of the year.

Each bin has a label on the front and every book in that bin has a matching sticker label on the back.

I have my  leveled readers in tubs like this.  Each book in the tubs has a matching color sticker.  These are the books students use to read the words.

Here is my whole library!

Before I found Danielle's labels my library looked like this:

It's the same concept, just not as kinder friendly, I thought.

Here are some questions for you to think about with your classroom library:

1. Are there enough books in my classroom library?

2.  Is my library organized for student use?

3.  Do I have a variety of books in my library?


When I was a second grade teacher I would use my little shopping cart with the words ODD and EVEN on the cart each day.

 The word on the cart would tell students that it was their day to shop if their student number was odd or even.  (This also helped us with odd and even numbers.)

In kindergarten, I allow students to book shop as a "Buzz Work" activity.  Buzz work are the activities we can do when our work is complete.  Choosing library books is one of these activities.  Other buzz work activities include the Osmo, Think Fun games, and coding games. My cuties can also choose books at the end of the day during Maker Spaces.

The Osmo

Laser Maze from Think Fun

Balance Beans from Think Fun

Code and Go Mouse

I found these other ideas from Pinterest (of course!).

  Just a tip... DO NOT let kids book shop during their work time for Daily Five.  It is a huge distraction for the other children working.

Here are some things to think about with book shopping:

1.  How many books can my students shop for?

2.  When will my students book shop?

3.  How will I set up book shopping?


The sisters recommend teaching good fit books by using shoes.  We all have different shoes for different purposes.  We would never wear house shoes to go running or wear dress up shoes to be cozy.  This is the idea behind this lesson.  Here are some of my ideas for teaching good fit books with shoes.

Since we have already read Pete the Cat I Love my White Shoes, this lesson flows well.

I stated to my class that I love my shoes just like Pete and that I brought some of my shoes to show them.

I then pulled out three pairs of shoes that have different purposes.
I held up each pair and asked my students, "What do you think Mrs. Roe uses these shoes for?"  Once they provided responses for each pair, then I asked questions like, "Would you go running in house slippers?" etc...

Then I explained that shoes have different purposes just like our books have different purposes.

Then I showed my students our chart that is now hung in our classroom library and we went over each of the steps to choose a book and related that to the shoes I showed them.

Do I like it? - This one is pretty explanatory.  Does the reader like what the book is about?  You can compare this to liking the shoes you wear.

Does it fit? - Can you read the pictures and understand what's going on in the story?  Is it too easy or too hard?  You can compare this to the fact that you cannot fit into your student's shoes and they can't fit into your shoes.

Does it help me? - Is this the right book for what I want to learn about?  Compare this to shoes help you do different jobs like running, dancing, or lounging. 

The next day we read this book:

 It's about a dog who enjoys many different shoes.  We then recalled our lesson for choosing Good Fit Books from the day before.
Another activity for good fit books is to use Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  We all know that little Goldie struggled with finding "just right" things in the bears' house.
I found this idea on TPT.  Click on the picture to visit the product.

I found this idea on Pinterest.

 Here is a little freebie from me!

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Show me your thinking face...
 and reflect on how you would teach book care, library procedures and good fit books?
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You may be wondering how and when I teach these lessons so here is a peek at my first week's plans from last year.
(No judging, ya'll!  They're nothing fancy.)

You can see that we begin STAMINA and BOOK BOXES on the third day of school!  We haven't fully learned all three ways to read at this point, but they have learned two ways, so we get started!
The sisters love using this book to teach stamina and so do I.  I have an affinity for all things dachshund!;14981822013534292202110080301008005&linkCode=df0&creative=395105&creativeASIN=0064438457

(This book is about a dachshund who wants to become a hero.  He needs to build his exercising stamina to become stronger.)

 Before I show my kiddos this book,
I let my kiddos know that there will be a special friend to help them at school today.  I show them a bag with a dachshund puppet inside.

I then give them clues about the friend.  After many guesses I show them the puppet inside and the puppet talks about the book how he works hard everyday to make his muscles stronger.  He also introduces the word "stamina"
(With kindergarteners, I summarize parts of the book - just a tip!)

After we finish the story, we take a brain break and practice building our muscles with exercises - because we are 5 and need a break!  Then we sit down and learn about reading stamina.
I show my cuties our stamina graph
 Here are three stamina graphs for you!
I let my cuties know that we will build reading stamina each day and see how long we can read without stopping.  I show each kiddos their book box that I filled with books the day before.  We quickly review our ways to read and I discuss how I would like them to read around the room in a cozy spot and let them know our "finished" signal.  My signal is this little bird that tweets when you squeeze his tummy.

Other suggestions are a maraca, chimes, or bells.  It should be a quieter object so that students have to listen for it.

One little visual aid I used to use to ease the headache of children choosing their cozy spot was this Book Nooks clip chart.

 I don't use this anymore, but it is a suggestion if you are uneasy about letting your kiddos choose a spot.  I would just move the clips down at the start of each week so each child had a new book nook for a week.

Now I just let my students choose a cozy spot as long as they're letting their friends work.

Once we get to out cozy spots with book boxes, I walk around with my bird signal.  As soon as the first child struggles with focusing, I tweet the bird for clean up.  It may be thirty seconds, but you don't want that child to think that not focusing is okay for Read to Self.

When the bird tweets, children place their book boxes in the designated spot and return to the carpet so we can continue learning with our transition activity.  For the first few weeks this transition activity is usually a song or dance.  I'll talk more about these later. 😊 When all of the kiddos are on the carpet, we graph our minutes of stamina and celebrate our reading success with brain sprinkles!

Read more about brain sprinkles here!

We spend the rest of the first week building stamina and doing Read to Self - our first of the dailies.

Here is a little video from my Twitter of last year's class in Read to Self.  This video was taken in the first week of school!

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The second week is my favorite!!  This is is when we learn a new daily.  I love to introduce Working on Words next because you need an activity that everyone can do at the same time.  It won't always be this way, but to start it works out best.  Now, in kindergarten we aren't really working on "words" as much as working on letters.  Just remember that kinder teachers - don't stress yourself out or the cuties!  They aren't ready for words yet.

To introduce Working on Words the second week, I use golf tees and play-do because I have enough for every student at the same time.

I show the kiddos they can work anywhere that there is a hard space.  We quickly discuss places that are hard - tables, floor tiles, clip boards, etc.  Then I show them how to write letters or words from the word wall with the golf tee into the play-do and erase it with my finger.  (We start adding a few names a day to the word wall and a few sight words are introduced by the second week.  I don't mind at all if they write these already.)

For the first day or two of Working on Writing we all do this one activity at the same time, then we all do Read to Self at the same time.  After two to three days of this "togetherness" we begin making our choices with CHECK IN.  Around Thursday of the second week of school, I explain that we will get to choose if we want to do Read to Self or Working on Words.  The only choice for Working on Words is our play-do and golf tees.  That's okay!  We just started.  I then pull out my clipboard with this check in sheet

that has each child's name written on the left side.  I also have my pick sticks to pull the name of the first child who gets to choose their daily.

I call the name of the child who's stick I picked and let them say "Read to Self" or "Working on Words" and then I quickly circle that choice on the check in sheet.  That child gets up and grabs his/her materials and chooses a cozy spot to immediately begin working.  I DON'T PICK ANYMORE STICKS FOR THIS ROUND OF DAILY FIVE!  The next child I call is the child who's name is directly underneath the first child and circle their choice.

Here is a video of my class checking in with me and beginning their Daily Five.  Please note this is later in the year and not in the first few weeks. 


I really hope this video helps you see how check in works!  Its should be super fast!  Also, you may have noticed I called my reading group kids before anyone else checked in.  This keeps me from accidentally letting a reading group friend go to Daily Five.

On the first day we check in, it's not the smoothest, but it does get better.  Children work quietly while I walk around and monitor as needed.  After a few minutes of work, I tweet the clean up bird signal and children immediately clean up and come to the carpet.  I begin a transition activity as soon as the first child is on the carpet.  Here is a video explaining one of the transitions my kiddos love!

Transitions should be fast and easy to clean up once your whole class is on the carpet together.  I try to choose transition activities that are loud and exciting so the students who are cleaning up want to join and can still hear and learn even though their not directly in front of me on the carpet.  Here are some of my other transition activities.  I keep a variety of these next to my rocking chair and change them out frequently.

This is a bowl of letter cards and bee cards.  If I pull a letter, students say the letter or sound and if I pull a bee card they flap their arms and say "buzz, buzz, buzz!"  

Go Bananas is similar to the little bee game above except students stand up and jump like monkeys when a monkey card is pulled.  This is a freebie from me!!

This transition is called Hickey Pickey Bumble Bee.  I have my kiddos stand on their carpet spot and I fly around with the bee and say "Hickey, Pickey, Bumble Bee, can you say your name for me?"  The bee taps a kiddo on the head and he/she says his/her name.  It helps learn names in the beginning of the year!  Then we clap the syllables, stomp the syllables, and stomp the syllables in that child's name.

I got these awesome listening comprehension cards from Zulily.  Grab them if you ever see them on that site.  They're great! 

Fluency Dice!  Grab this freebie from my store and practice reading sight words in different voices! I write a few words on my easel, then we roll the dice and I point to each word as we read them in the fluency voice.

These word wall spinners are a freebie in my store!  Use them to play word wall games.

I hope you have little idea of some good transition games to play while your kiddos clean up their Daily Five work.

Once your class is gathered back on the carpet, you will begin your mini-lesson.  Once your mini-lesson is complete, then you check in again and your kiddos will choose a daily they haven't done already.  In the first couple of week we don't have our routine established, but once we have routine, this is when I teach my phonics lesson for the day.  This should be a short lesson, about twenty minutes.  Here are previous posts about my letter activities from my store that I use. Click Letter Pp to get it for free!

After the first semester, this mini-lesson time slot is when I teach a vowel unit, silent e, chunks like -oo and qu, digraphs, and blends.

Once your mini-lesson is complete, you check in again and students choose the daily they didn't do before.

Here is my schedule.  Every time you see Daily Five, we have checked in and I am teaching a reading group.

7:15  - Doors open, students sit near the library
7:35 - Students may walk to their classroom
7:45 - Morning Meeting
8:00 - Daily Five
8:15 - Mini Lesson #1 (Phonics)
8:35 - Daily Five 
8:50 - Mini-Lesson #2 (Sight Words)
9:10 - Daily Five
9:35 - 10:25 - Specials
10:25 - Daily Five
10:45 - 11:15 - Writer's Workshop
11:15 - 11:30 - Story Time/Figure 19 Strategies
11:30 - 12:00 - Lunch
12:10 - 12:25 - Recess
12:25 - 1:35 - Calendar Math/Whole Group Math
1:35 - 1:50 - Recess
1:50 - 2:05 - Math Stations
2:05 - 2:35 - Science
2:35 - 2:55 Social Studies/Snack Time
3:00 - Dismissal

Now that your littles have started to check in, everything else falls into place quickly.  Over the next two weeks you should:

*Introduce a new Working on Words activity each day whole group (don't let everyone play it, just show them) and add this to your working on words cart.  There should be multiple activities for Working on Words for students to choose from if they pick Working on Words.  Here is where I store mine.

*Introduce Listening to Reading one choice at a time and allow cuties to check in with a choice from Read to Self, Working on Words, or Listening to Reading.  Here is the shelf that holds my listening to reading Leap Pads and Tag Pens.

*Introduce Read with a Friend and allow cuties to check in with a choice from Read to Self, Working on Words, Listening to Reading, or Read with a Friend.  I store my Read  with a Friend activities in these little bee bags.  Each bag has several titles of books that have two of each title.


*Introduce Work on Writing one choice at a time and allow cuties to check in with a choice from Read to Self, Working on Words, Listening to Reading, or Work on Writing.  Here is where my Work on Writing materials are stored.

Click HERE to read more about Work on Writing!

I'll be writing some posts about all of the activities in each of these areas over the next few weeks.  Also... I have a Facebook page called Sprinkles to Kindergarten.  I post a lot of videos and other fun tidbits there AND I have a Twitter account that is my main squeeze when it comes to sharing our classroom activities.  Check it out - @MrsERoe

Here are some tips to help you along your journey...

1.  Just because it's called Daily Five, doesn't mean you have to do all five every day.  We do four a day because I only have time for four reading groups a day.  (But don't we do all five of these each day just by being a kindergarten teacher?)

2.  Get on YouTube!  There are TONS of awesome videos about Daily Five out there!

3.  If this doesn't work for you, then don't do it!  Do what works for you.  No one knows your teaching style better than you and if you aren't comfortable in what you're doing your kids won't want to do it.

4.  I initially started doing Daily Five as a second grade teacher in 2010.  I have kept with it because I am not changing out my "stations" all of the time.  It is a system that really helps me not go crazy.  Once I filled my Working on Words cart last year, I rarely changed anything.  There are so many choices that you don't need to!

I have enjoyed writing this post for you!  Please let me know if you have any questions!


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