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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lines, Dots and So Much More!

Handwriting has never been easy to teach to kindergartners, but it is in the Common Core Standards that they learn how to print letters correctly.  Each year I have tried through the traditional ways of working on fine motor skills the first half and then formal handwriting sheets the second half of the year.  It never worked so this year I tried something new... An inquiry about lines!

I asked the kids what kind of lines they knew of. At first they drew straight lines, but then started to expand the types of lines they made!


We read some books and watched some videos on YouTube that showed us different lines and also gave them names.


I put out provocations for them to explore lines in many different ways and see what they noticed and what connections they made.  I put out invitations for them to use lines to make letters, shapes, designs, pictures and numbers:





They explored!





They are doing activities to build strong finger muscles to help with handwriting and explore lines at the same time! Our clay is quite hard and they have to work it to soften it up.  Plus, manipulating the pipe cleaners helps work those fine motor skills!




Through this simple inquiry, the kids are much more aware of the different types of lines and how to make them.  They are recognizing them in letters, shapes, numbers and pictures.  So far, I am seeing an improvement compared to previous years in their names as they try to form the letters the correct way.  More are pulling down vertical lines rather than pulling up when making letters but for some this is a hard habit to break! We will keep working on it in developmentally appropriate ways and we will see as the year goes on if this knowledge of lines will help them with the common core standard of writing letters correctly!

Here are some other things the kids have been doing in our room during this inquiry!

Dots! We celebrated International Dot Day and celebrated creativity!  Ken Robinson said that creativity is as important as literacy and I cannot stress enough how true that is! Employers want creative and critical thinkers so these skills need to be emphasized! Here are some pictures of some invitations to be creative and our final display of creativity!








In Literacy, we have been focusing on letters and letter sounds.  They have been using their names and the names of their friends to help them to recognize letters and their sounds.  The invitations at the beginning of the year focused mostly on exploring letters and names.






Working lavender into this play-dough also made this a great sensory experience as they used it to explore letters and try to spell their name and friends names.


They have been working on the concepts of print as they learn letters and sounds through letter books. They have been practicing starting in the right place, pointing to the words and going in the right direction when they read. When they partner read, one is the reader, the other is the helper so they have to listen and watch closely, then they switch roles.



In math we have been exploring numbers counting objects and matching them to the number.



We also have been exploring measurement.




In math we are also exploring shapes and their properties.






In science, they have been working on looking closer, wondering and documenting what they notice.  I set out invitations for them to explore and practice these skills.


It has been a very full first month! It is amazing how far the kids have come! Stay tuned to find out what the kids are creating for our math area!

15 comments:

  1. Where did you get the wooden pieces for the letter making activity?

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    1. They came with our Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. You can get them on their web sight.

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  2. You inspire me so--thank you!!! Where did you get the plastic sticks/balls that look like they came with the cards to create 2D shapes? The card in the photo shows a square. Thank you.

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  3. I am new to you site and also to the inquiry/project based approach to teaching. I am transition from a more traditional school approach. I am struggling with making the mindset change but excited for this new opportunity. I have many questions but the first is, are you using some type of curriculum to guide your reading and math instruction? If not how do you ensure that you are teaching the fundamental reading and writing skills that K students need to learn. I look forward to hearing from you and following more of your blog!

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    1. Hi Aimee! As of now I do not have a formal reading or math instruction, but only because I have been teaching kindergarten for almost 25 years now! I know exactly what they need to learn and when they need to learn it! Lol! aIso have accumulated so many materials in my career that I can use to teach literacy and math! I look at the standards and use the materials that I have to teach them. The district is getting us a reading curriculum that I will have to use next year, but it won't take away from the inquiry. Do you have a curriculum? If you are a newer teacher, it would be nice to have those as a guide!

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  4. Just forwarded this to our student teachers who are working out a week programme based on The Dot. I'm sure it will inspire.

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  5. You are a very insiring teacher. I love your blog because it motivates my teaching abilities. All kindergarten rooms should be like this. I was wondering where you got the wooden numbers and alphabet rocks? Where do you get your inspiration?

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    1. Thank you so much! I got the wooden numbers from the Target Dollar Spot and I made the letter rocks. The first set I used paint pens. The second set is just a black sharpie with a silver sharpie to put dots on the letters!

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  6. Hello!! I love all that your doing to inspire your students! Have you always taught from a an inquiry/project based approach or did your teaching evolve into that? I am a first year Kindergarten teacher and felt I had a successful first year, but I can already see things I want to do differently and more effectively after reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your experience and creativity. It's outstanding!!

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    1. Thank you! I have not always been an Inquiry Based Teacher! I started out as a traditional thematic teacher who discovered Inquiry Based Teaching and Reggio Inspired Teaching and got so excited about it I started reading every blog or article I could find to learn more! Then I started finding other teachers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and developed a great on-line Professional Learning Community and support! What you see now is about 7 years of baby steps and making it work for my classroom in a public school system. I took many steps forward and backward on my journey and still do! Good luck as you start your own journey into inquiry based teaching! You will love it!

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  7. What is the set of plastic rods, curves and balls with holes called?

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    1. I got them from amazon! Go on Amazon and search "Curious Minds Busy Bag Geometry" and scroll down a bit and it should come up!

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