This is a guest post by blogger Elizabeth Hall that originally ran in December 2013. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, Kickin' It in Kindergarten, for more of her writing, or you can click here to see her other contributions to our blog!
Hi all, Elizabeth here from Kickin’ it in Kindergarten! Let me tell you, we have been kickin’ it for the past few weeks! I am sure you have, as well. We have been able to read some fantastic holiday books. We spent an entire week reading and comparing different versions of The Gingerbread Man. I like doing a week of gingerbread stories because it gives you the option of being “holiday-ish” without having to talk about Christmas. Even though you might love Christmas, not every child in your class celebrates it. One year, I had a student that didn’t celebrate any holidays. He didn’t even get to celebrate his own birthday! I had to be careful around every holiday. Gingerbread stories give you the feeling of Christmas, and students don’t feel like they are being left out of a celebration. It’s a win-win situation!
Thursday, we completed our very first “how-to” writing activity after having read Gingerbread stories since Monday. The students had plenty of time to compare the characters, discuss the settings, and debate over which was their favorite story. When we read Hameray's version of The Gingerbread Man from their Story World series, most of my students said it was their favorite version. A big part of the reason was the illustrations. The illustrations in this particular gingerbread story seemed to stand out. They liked the colors, and they thought the old lady in this story was hilarious.
When we finished the book, we talked about how we would catch a Gingerbread Man. I cut out the transitional “writing word” cards printed with first, next, then, and last. I put magnets on the back of the words and posted them on the easel.
We talked about step-by-step writing for the first time. I had every student hold up four fingers. Each time I would use a “writing word,” they would put a finger down. I had them practice with their partners. I kept the words up on the board after we brainstormed and did several together.
We discussed how writers have to use steps to organize their thoughts. We will have many more step-by-step “how-to” writing activities this year. This was our first attempt, and I was impressed by how well they did!
They didn’t need too much help from me. I continued to remind them about using their transitional words. I was very happy with how they turned out! I hope this blog post with printouts is a resource and idea that will be helpful to you in the classroom! Be sure to check out these great books!
This is my fifth year as a kindergarten teacher. The best part of kindergarten is watching a child fall in love with reading. It has become my passion to show children the possibilities and amazing adventures literature can offer. I love watching their eyes light up when they tell me they can read their favorite book, or they can’t wait to go back to the library! I have the best job in the world!
I am so lucky to have such a wonderful support system in and out of school. My family lives close and I get to spend a lot of time with them! While I am not at school, I enjoy running, teaching spin class, swimming, playing kickball, spending time with my husband, and traveling. I also have a sheltie named Maggie, which is spoiled rotten. I am married to the best guy in the world, work with wonderful people, and have fabulous students!
To download Elizabeth's "How to Catch a Gingerbread Man" worksheet and word cards, click the worksheet image. For more information on Story World and its accompanying informational texts Real World, click here to visit the webpage, or click the information sheet image below to download series highlights with key features. After today's post, we will be on a two-week blog hiatus, to return January 6th, so check back then for more great classroom ideas!