Kindergarten Step by Step: Seasons Week!

Well howdy! Thanks so much for popping in for another weekly edition of Kindergarten Step by Step!  This post is based upon the SEASONS!  I will also be sharing today about the first stages of writing and some guided reading ideas!

We are now on week FOUR of KinderLiteracy!  Can you believe it?  By now your kiddos are most likely getting used to the routine… this is what we do Monday, Tuesday, etc.  Now it’s time to really show them what all we can learn and the why/how we use this new knowledge!  I always feel it’s about this time of the year (closer to October) that the light bulbs start shining!  Wow, this is really cool… look what I learned!  I know that this comes from them seeing YOUR passion!  
For this week I recommend you do a bubble chart for fall!  However, this is totally up to you and you could do a general one for all seasons as well!  After taking initial ideas and charting those you will want to really expand on this week’s text. This is now our second nonfiction text in a row so you can really talk up this…something like:

“Oh boy and girls, guess what?  This week we are reading another nonfiction text.  Can I get a whoot, whoot?!  Thank you!  Yes, and remember that nonfiction books do what?  Yes, they teach us things!  What are these things called?  Yes, facts!  We learn lots and LOTS of facts in nonfiction texts.  There is just one secret… would you like me to tell you?  Well, boys and girls, in order to learn lots and LOTS of facts you have to listen VERY closely!  Sometimes when people read to me I get distracted and forget to listen.  Make you are listening for these facts!  Keep them up here (point to your head) and you will be able to share them with us!”

Again, we are using a fairly “basic” nonfiction text!  This is on purpose!  We want to ease them into nonfiction!  Not too overwhelming, but still factual!  After your first read one day one, you will chart additional ideas on the bubble chart!

On day two we will be dipping back into the book to address those vocabulary words!  I *hope* you are starting to see your kiddos using those words in their everyday life!  This is a HUGE part of close reads and really the reason we spend a whole day on vocabulary!  How do you get the kiddos to add these words to their everyday life? YOU use them!

“Boys and girls, come on down to the carper so we can get cozy!”
“Oh, your jacket looks so cozy.  Is it?”
“Eek!  My writing paper is bare…what should I write?”
“I am feeling a little chilly in here?  Do you guys feel chilly?”
“When we go outside today, let’s look and see if there are any buds on the trees!”
“Johnny, will you collect the papers for me?”

I encourage you to try SO HARD to use those words…. trust me they are listening!  Sometimes I get… “OH YOU SAID ONE OF OUR WORDS!” “Oh, did I? What word was that?”

Kindergarten students undoubtedly tend to live in their bubbles… “T!  That’s my letter! It starts my name.”  They can be the same with read alouds if we don’t show them the skill outside the book as well.  Squirrels aren’t the only ones that collect…who/what else can?  We aren’t just cozy in our beds…where else can we be cozy?

So, this week I challenge you to use those words! And bonus points if you can use them all in one sentence! Ha!

I have been giving optional actions for each word so I’ll keep up with that!

cozy: use arms to hug yourself and and make ahhh sound
bare: arms out and make shiver
bud: make one fist (bud) then slowly open your fingers showing the bloom
chilly: shake arms and shiver
collect: hands hands to pretend grab several items

Don’t forget to display those essential questions!  This is just the life based question below!

On Wednesday you will be asking those text dependent questions!  Remember those two important things- you don’t have to ask EVERY question and you don’t have to do turn and talks for EVERY question!  I also draw close to the questions that use the words: infer, evidence, and compare 😉
So, then comes Thursday!  It’s time for the paired text and oh my goooooooodddddneesssss!  I LOVE this book! It’s SO fun and SO engaging!  

You can watch the video below!

There’s two “crafts” in this week so I like to do the sequencing trees on Thursday as well! 

On Friday it’s time for the assessment and cumulative craft! We LOVE these fine motor trees!  You can have the kiddos tear the paper squares or cut! Look at the focus in that!

If you still have some kiddos turned their cutting hand over you can place a sticky dot on their thumb!  Smile up! 🙂

I always love how these turn out because each one is SO different!

Just a reminder that all of the activities above and a week long detailed lesson plan are part of my KinderLiteracy units!

I’m going to skip around and talk about writing next!  Now if anything varies in kinder…it’s for sure our takes on writing instruction!  So, I always like to disclose: this is what has worked for me… I might be going again research.  Take it. Leave it. Scroll passed… etc! Ha!

Here are MY thoughts on the beginning stages of writing!
Step One: Teach our kiddo what “writing” is- – this is simply letting them know that writing is taking your thoughts and putting them onto paper!  They start by drawing pictures of things they “know” about like their family, school, pets, food, etc!
Step Two: Next, we want to iniate the first step to truly getting words onto paper! However, we are going to start with labels!  I like to do this with my modeled stories from the beginning!  I will choose 2-3 pictures to label.  For example, if it’s me standing in the grass under the sun.  I will say something like this, “Boys and girls, I wrote this nice story but I want to make sure everyone knows that this is me in the picture so I am going to write my name.  You all know that I am in the grass but I better label that so no one is confused.  Listen… /g/rass… /g/, /g/.  I heard a g so I will that!”.  I have found that modeling this for a couple weeks allows for an easy transition… first off a lot of the kids start doing it on their own!  Second, I can quickly know how I have been doing this?  Well, now you get to also! Labels would continue until you think the majority are ready for step three.  In my opinion, students do NOT need to know all of their letter sounds to move to step three!
Step Three: This is the step where I waiver slightly different than some.  A lot of teachers like to stay in labels until students naturally transfer themselves over to sentence writing.  However, I have seen how much our kids watch what we do… and so many times you are blown away by what they can do!  I feel the same is true with sentence writing!  The students see you model writing a sentence and they want to do it too!  So, how do you get them into sentence writing if they don’t know all their sight words and letter sounds? Well, again we have to start somewhere!  I like to start out very guided and then take away my guidance day my day!  How does this look?
Well, let’s look at the KinderLiteracy lesson plans for example…  the students are working on “I see” sentences.  You can decide if you want to do thematic writing or do student choice writing.  I feel you can still do an “I see” sentence thematic or open ended!

“Boys and girls, today I want to talk to you about something SO special!  Are you ready?  Well, I have noticed how hard you have you been working in writing!  You are drawing excellent pictures and you a lot of great details!  You also have been labeling your stories so everyone will know who is there and what you are doing!  Today I want to talk to you about the next step…sentence writing!  You see a sentence is a group of words!  Listen to this… I see mom.  What did you hear?  Yes, we word three words.. I … see … mom.  Let me write these words on the board for you to see.  We know the words I and see because they are our sight words.  This last word is the word mom. I am going to write another sentence.  I see a d (dog).  I wrote the words I see and this is the /d/ sound for dog!”

After this modeled sentence I will leave up the words “I see” on the board.  Don’t throw pencils at me!  Honestly, most kids only use it as a reference to if theirs is correct.  I also only do this for the first 2 days of that sentence pattern.  On Wednesday I erase my modeled sentence and encourage the use of the sight word wall if they need help!  WHY do I do modeled sentences like this?  Well, I  feel kids learn by experience!!!  If we just wait for them to get there…yes they will.  However, why not encourage them and model for them!  They are just as proud for their first stories as they are books!

Below is a sentence starter story using “I like…”

In my own classroom I have had the kiddos write “sentence starters” for two-three weeks (No longer than mid October). After this they are confident to write their own sentences!  I change the way I model sentences (I don’t start with I can, I see, I like, etc).  However, when I have attempted the full on “free spirit” model the kids struggle and honestly it’s at NO blame to them…they just don’t know!
Last year I created this freebie whiteboard file!  You can pull it up on your whiteboard to use for mentor sentences!

You can also snag a variety of FREEBIE writing paper HERE!

Okay…time to talk “guided reading block!”  How are you doing?  How are those centers going?  Hopefully you are starting to wind down on the daily five/center introduction!  If you are ready to start pulling back groups you might have this look :O Like oh my goodness yes…I need you back here but where do I even start?! Ha!  I will share a few ideas below that I like to start the year off with!

First off…names!  Yes, if you do not know how to id the letters in your name or write your name- – we are starting there!  I love to cut up names and mix/fix names!  For cut up names, I write each students name on a sentence strip twice.  I cut one one name and leave one name whole.  I place both into an envelope! At the table we pull out our large name plates and trace over the letters with our fingers.  I then have them pull out their pieces and start building their names.  This helps me get around the table and check in with each student.  I have them continue to mix and fix until I get around to everyone!  We then push up our pieces and write the names!

We like to do the same with magnetic letters.  However, I have preferred this initially because they need to see those letters BIG!  I can also send this home and they can work on it there as well! 🙂

Next is mixed up sentences!  Before I get these kiddos into books…we first need to master a mixed up sentence!  I shared a freebie HERE!  If you are wanting more… I have them HERE as well!

 Of course not all the kiddos you are meeting with will need help with their names!  I love pulling out my writing strips right away! I start with the missing first sound version!  The kiddos are able to use the picture to guide them.  They then write the complete word! I have LOTS of these but you can view these CVC strips HERE!  
You can try out a freebie strip of letter id/sound strips HERE!
Well that’s all I have for you now!  My plans are to get a big KinderMath post out to you this week along with a new set of true “lesson plans” for each week! Eek! As ALWAYS feel free to email me if you have any questions or hiccups this year 🙂


  1. I love reading your posts!! I teach 2 classes for language arts, back to back, so I have to create 2 bubble charts and no place to keep them. I thought about writing them on a dry erase chart and erase it so I can start over again for the next class when they come in, but then we couldn't add to it later. Do you have any suggestions for what I can do?

    1. I hang them up on the wall (one can go on top of the other when not in use) and then unstick them and hang them up on the white board/smart board when we are reviewing them. Also if you have a document camera you can make the bubble chart just on regular size paper but it can be board sized when you display it under the camera. Then it is easy to keep track of both pages.

  2. Another idea to get students using the vocabulary words – I call them sticker words, because when they use them in a sentence, they get a sticker in their sticker book. A full page of stickers gets them a trip to the treasure box.

  3. We started later than most I guess and have only had 1 full week of school. We were waiting for our new teacher to start because our classes were so huge! I am so happy to read all of your posts and look forward to trying everything out! That being said…I have a question. Do you think since I'm behind by a week or two should I still spend a whole week on stamina with each piece of Daily 5? Do you think it would still be successful if I sped up a little and did stamina for each section for 3 days instead of 5? This is my first year doing Daily 5 and I want to get it right. (I realize a lot of it has to do with how my class responds but still would love your opinion.) ha ha Thank you!!

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