Kindergarten Step by Step: Transportation Week!

Well you hit fall so that means you are well on your way to October!  What’s important about October?  Well, in the kindergarten world….October is when the skies open and it rains down these little readers, writers, and truly magnificent kiddos!  I mean not that they weren’t awesome in August and September… but October is when their awesome is so bright, you’ll need your shades!  I have a lot to share with you today so I’ll get started!

It’s week five of KinderLiteracy!  That means you are wrapping up unit 1!  You have accomplished SO much in these short five weeks!  You most likely have your KinderLiteracy routine down, students are starting to chit-chat with their partners, and you are most likely falling in love with your close read block! Well, that last one was an opinion, but I’m assuming so! : )  This week is all about Transportation!  This was a new close read last year and oh my…where was it all my life!?  Kids love things that MOVE!
This week’s bubble chart you can use the included picture cards or list them like you did for previous weeks!  This weeks the kiddos will be listening closely to answer their two essential questions!  How are ___ and ___ alike?  The second question– how do we get from place to place?  I would like to spend a little more time chatting about that first essential question!
Below you can see the essential questions written on the board!  You will notice I reworded the essential question slightly!  I have explained before but there are always two essential questions each… one skill-based and one life-based!  The skill-based question should be a question that is open ended and offer students an opportunity to express EVIDENCE and PROVE their thinking!  For this week’s essential question we want students to be able to compare two of the modes of transportation!  A generic, more basic answer would be, “Boats are in the water and cars drive on roads.”  Although that answer is true… it doesn’t require much evidence from the book because they most likely have known that statement for years.  So, we want to offer them an opportunity to take that more basic statement and back it up some evidence, “I know that boats transport us in the water because boats can float!  I see that the boats don’t have wheels so they wouldn’t be able to drive down the road.  Cars have wheels so they can roll down the road… cars can’t float!”  I know that all sounds a little dramatic but trust me… we have to start somewhere!  Teaching kids this early to use evidence from texts will make WORLDS of difference for them in the later grades!


The start of day two’s lesson plan includes a lot of what I call “housework.”  The students are asked to review their essential questions and then answer some DOK 1 level questions!  The questions that are within the lesson plans are great, but if you are wanting to kick that up a notch you can try these two:
What type of book is this? What evidence
can we use to support our answer?
Why would the author write this book?

After the “housework,” you’ll get into those vocabulary words!  I hope you ar getting more into your groove for this!  Just a couple reminders/tips!  Be sure you think ahead on which words you would like to turn and talk on and which words you want to do a simple raised-hand answering!  Also, if you haven’t tried tabbing your pages…you ca do that too!  I like to tab each page with a so that I won’t forget it (HA is this just me?) Below I will share the vocabulary words and their optional actions!

traffic- make lots of honking noises and look in distress

crawls- move your arms like you are moving slowly (careful here to not let kids actually crawl as this is a different version of the word)

wind- take one hand and motion it back and forth as if it’s going around corners

island- make a fist (island) and motion water all around the land

neighborhood- make a house with your arms

You see my vocabulary display a lot, but I wanted to share a couple alternate ways to display your words below!
We also brought transportation to our lives by charting how we get home!  This was an update to the unit last year so make sure you have that version! 🙂
This week’s craft is a full size stop light!!!  The kiddos love this one!  I purchased the black plates at the dollar tree and simply cut them right down the middle!
We are also so blessed to be able to go on quick field trips within the town!  The kiddos had a BLAST at the local airport!


Okay!  Let’s chat some KinderCalendar!  I hope you are starting to get into your own routine of calendar!  Please know that KinderCalendar is your meat and potatoes for calendar time!  However, feel free to do as you please with that substance!  If there are new ways you’ve found to implement the routines then go for it!  I’ve had some ask if they can use the # of the day as the days they are in school… of course!  You’ll see in the video below though that by choosing an alternate number of the day that differs from the days in school…. offers two number studies instead of just one!I am SO sad that I cut off the end of the place value/ten frames of the days in school 🙁  Also cut off was the math skill focus- boo!  However, I hope this video helps you to see the flow of the curriculum and give you more insight into how it could look in your classroom!  You’ll notice that she chose a large hundreds chart instead of the post-it note hundred’s chart!  Again, totally your personal preference!


Today for our writing block I want to share with you a couple of my favorite writing mini lessons from the beginning of the year! Up first is the “We Are Writers” mini lesson!  You can watch the lesson in action below!  To grab the freebie poster…click HERE!


This next mini lesson is all about getting the kiddos to work on building words!  You’ve most likely spent these first couple weeks labeling and now it’s time for some words!  You can view the lesson in action below!


We did the lesson again the following day!  This time the kiddos came up to help create the words!


I will be sharing more writing ideas each week!

I’ve had a lot of requests and questions about literacy center time aka Daily Five!  Today I will be focusing closely in on your word work baskets!  Next week we will dig deeper into a different daily five choice!  In my classroom I have four word work basket!  I have implemented independent literacy centers.  That means these baskets are for one student per basket!  Inside the basket are 3-4 activities!  They activities are differentiated for above and on level students!  I have differentiated the activities by using two different colored baskets (pink and green baskets pictured above).  Below I will try to answer a few FAQ for my word work tubs!Q: How many activities are you placing into each basket?  Isn’t that a ton of work to create 20 different activities?

Yes,  so as I stated above, I place 3-4 activities into each basket!  Why do I do this?  I like to offer the students a variety of games in their basket!  This allows them an opportunity to “choose” which game they would like to play first and helps with “buy in” as they love being in charge of the literacy center basket!  Yes, that is 16 or so activities.  However, you will see in the pictures below that sometimes it is simply one practice sheet or a hands-on game that doesn’t take a lot of prep!

Q: My kids are not fully engaged in the LEARNING during literacy centers.  How do I get the students to use the activities correctly and not play around?

Again, I feel this is really part of the “buy in” during literacy centers!  It’s so important that we build it up… how they get to work on their during this time, they won’t need us (teacher) because they will be able to do it on their own!  Modeling is also KEY!  I try to take those few extra minutes and model the correct and wrong way the centers might be used!  Will someone stick all the magnets on the back of the cookie sheet instead of the front?  Possibly!  So, model it that way and wait for someone’s gasp…. then explain how that isn’t the correct way! Then, model the correct way to play for all students to see!

Below I will be sharing with you my first set of literacy center basket!



Milk and cookie cut-outs (from Dollar Tree): Students matching capital and lowercase lettersABC playdoh letters

ABC Magnetic Board





Basket #3


Basket #4



Muffin Tin ABC bean sort
ABC tablet tracers
ABC clip it cards


In other news…

October is also commonly known for Grandparents’ month!  If you celebrate Grandparents day this month and would like these freebie coloring sheet…you can download it for free HERE!


Have a SUPER week and talk soon!



    1. I'm guess you are asking for one of two reasons so I'll explain both. I model a sentence for every day of writing. At this stage of the year (within the first month) I do model write with the sounds students hear. They don't hear /a/ which is why it's /o/. The second part is do my students copy sentences of the board? No, I erase my model sentence after dismissing students to their tables or they'd all write my story 😉


  1. Thank you so much for your response! I was thinking you probably erase it for that exact reason 😉 I have a group this year that just seems to need more modeling during writer's workshop so I am trying to give them that. But also want them to feel confident and successful on their own. I am slowing my pacing down for this group and it has me second guessing a lot of things. Thanks again for taking the time to respond!

  2. haha! It is adorable! It reminds me of my childhood when me and my sister do duck tape boat racing. Those days were awesome. I will never forget my childhood memories. Thanks a lot for reminding me of my childhood. You are awesome!

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