Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Deal Breaker In Kindergarten: My Newest Packet

I was recently in a meeting with a district administrator and she asked me what I considered to be crucial skills  for students to have before moving on to first grade. For once, I paused and gave this some careful thought since I think all of us are faced with this issue as we approach the end of the year. First, I look at a child's social and emotional development and that truly guides my thinking. With that being said, I really am concerned if a child cannot blend sounds to make words. This is a real deal breaker in my head because students who struggle with this skill often become overwhelmed the following year. Our first grade program moves at a crazy speed and these kiddos are not ready for the pace or the demands being placed on them. Administrators fight us on this but kindergarten teachers get to know their students quite well and often have well thought out reasons for wanting a student to spend another year in their classroom. Retention has become a dirty word! Right? The child who only recognizes a few letters or only knows a few sounds will obviously have a difficult time but not being able to decode simple cvc words makes reading laborious and difficult. It makes building fluency almost impossible. What do you think?
At this time of year I use every trick in the book to teach my students how to blend sounds to make words and decode simple cvc words. This packet is filled with activities that I have had great success with. It is filled with books that students make, cut and paste work, cvc word searches, literacy stations that are taught in a small group setting, games and much more. I only work on these skills with 25 words, five from each vowel group (a, e, i, o, and u). This builds student confidence and has been highly effective in my classroom.
I am almost finished. My husband is my official editor but he is out playing softball so keep your eye on this and I will let you know when it is in my store. I hope this makes a difference for you. The theme is Growing Flowers. Let the games begin!


Camille said...

Preach it Fran! As a first grade teacher, I second your comments. When first graders arrive unable to blend words, the gap quickly grows and they are suddenly far behind. Your newest product sounds fabulous!!!

LeAnne Cooper said...

Fran, you are right on target! If kids don't know their letter/sound correspondence and can't decode and blend words, 1st grade should not be in their future for the following school year, a 2-year kdg plan it is! Our first grade program is fast and furious as well, and I try my hardest to explain this to the parents whose kids are being considered for retention as best I can. So many parents are surprised at the skills our kinders are now expected to master when they still had naps when they went to kdg (as did I!)! I can't wait until you publish this unit...I am VERY interested!!
Hangin' with Mrs. Cooper

Fran Kramer said...

Oh my gosh ladies you are both spot on. Camille was a k teacher and has now moved on to teach first grade so her perspective is so important. LeAnne I really think you understand this so well and the CCSS is even more rigorous! I say retain them while they are still babies and need to be buffered from all the demands.Thanks for your interest in this packet.

Cindy said...

Fran, your timing s always so perfect for what's happening in my room. We are really working hard on CVC, sounding out, and blending it all together for reading and writing. I can't wait to see this packet. Thanks for all your hard work. And thank Mr. Kramer too!! ;)

Kay said...

Hi Fran! I think that this packet sounds fabulous and I can't wait until you post it. A few weeks ago I purchased the packet that you poseted, Tools For Building Words: CVC Activities, and I was hoping you could tell me how your new packet differs from this one. I think that this packet is wonderful and I am very interested in your new one. Thank you for all of your hard work!!


P.S. Will you be coming out with any new high frequency word book packets? Thanks!

Fran Kramer said...

Hi Kay,
This packet has 25 new words for your students to work with.Some of the activities are the same (using new words) because they are class favorites and the kids know what to do and other activities are new. Check it out at my TpT store and I hope you like it.

Elena Gruwell said...

This is just great for this time. As you said. This packet will help a lot to my kids that need this kind of assignment.