# 50 Days of Learning!

It’s hard to believe we already had 50 days of learning in kindergarten! When we returned from break yesterday, students entered a 50s-style diner and were ready to rock and roll.

Everyone came dressed in costume!

Ms. Herrera wore a poodle skirt that her mom made many years ago!

We started our five-center rotations right away. I changed the activities up this year, and I have to say, these 50th-day centers were the best yet!

Kindergarten Diner: At the diner, students used 50s-style cars to zoom the number of syllables in words. They then colored the correct number of cars as there were syllables and recorded the word.

Here are the cars we used:

Locker Room: In the Locker Room, students looked at letterman jackets with images. They had to identify the beginning sound in each picture and match it to the corresponding letterman jacket.

Sweet Shop: Students at the Sweet Shop had to scoop ice cream! Using a double ten frame, students chose a cup of ice cream (pom poms) and scooped each onto a ten frame. They then counted how many scoops there were and recorded the two-digit number.

We used these melon ballers as scoopers….this was a great fine motor strengthening activity!

Bubble Blowing: This is always a fun center! Students learn how to blow a bubble! Then, we created a class graph showing how many students could and could not blow a bubble. The first step is chewing the gum so it softens. We had BIG pieces, so it took a lot of hard work!

Next, we flattened the piece against the roof of our mouth and then moved it to our tongue. Finally, we blew a little air into it!

Here are our results:

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: At this engaging center, students rolled two dice. Then, the number rolled on each die was recorded and added together. A fun hack to keep the dice from flying everywhere is to put the dice into little containers from the Dollar Tree. Take a look:

Early finishers had so much fun playing this ice cream game. It is another fun way to strengthen fine motor skills!

In the afternoon, students learned how to dance the Hand Jive!

And we enjoyed root beer floats! Yum!

I am excited to see what the next 50 days bring us!

# Learning to Read: The Magic of Phonics and Decodable Text!

Kindergarten is an amazing year in a child’s education. It is the year when young children develop important social and academic skills. I continue to be grateful that I am given the freedom to teach the curriculum in the ways that best suit my students’ needs. These needs change each year, so naturally, my program changes to address my current students.

What doesn’t change each year is the excitement both parents and children have about learning to read or strengthening decoding skills. For over 20 years I have been collecting decodable books that span early reading levels to more challenging ones. Once students begin blending sounds, they immediately bring home a nightly reading activity that is at their reading level. I continuously look for books that are truly decodable, meaning these books have words that are phonetically regular. 98% of words in the English language are phonetically regular, and presenting students with books that are phonetically regular gives them the opportunity to practice the skills of blending sounds, building fluency, and strengthening reading comprehension. (Phonetically irregular words include was, the, said, they.)

I have divided my decodable books into four different levels: pink, red, yellow, and green.

Books in Level Pink have few words on a page. Most words are decodable CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. If there is a word that is not decodable, the word is typically repeated throughout the book and there are very few phonetically irregular words included in books of this level.

Level Red books begin to have more words on a page. They continue to be mainly decodable CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words with a few phonetically irregular words.

Level Yellow books introduce beginning and ending digraphs and blends as well as double consonants and words that are plural. Books may have two or more sentences on a page with a few more phonetically irregular words.

Level Green books have words with long vowels, including CVCe (like bake or tale) and CVVC (like main or feet).

I have found that once a student is comfortable reading Level Green books they are typically ready to transition to leveled readers.

So if you are looking for books to have in your home library that your child can really read, here are some links to some of my favorites!