This is a guest post by blogger Elizabeth Hall. 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!
One way that I love bringing reading and characters alive in my classroom is through shared reading. My favorite books are those featuring Mrs. Wishy-Washy, The Meanies, and The Hungry Giant by Joy Cowley. I read the same text from Monday to Friday with the goal of students being able to read the words independently by Friday. We do activities to accompany the book throughout the week.
When I saw Meanies’ Night Out, I knew that we had to have it in our classroom! Every year without fail, the Meanies in the story are always a favorite. They think they are funny for sleeping in garbage cans and eating old bubble gum. Any time you can get kids laughing, it is a good thing! They find an emotional connection to the story and they get excited when they see the characters in a different story.
One of the activities that we did this time around was about what it meant to be “Nice-ies”. They all knew what Meanies did, but it was a great activity to piggy-back off of both Meanies stories. I never miss an opportunity to talk character education. First, we brainstormed what things Meanies do from both the original Meanies story and then also from Meanies’ Night Out.
We talked about having manners and treating others kindly. Then, I asked students what the opposite of a Meanie would be. I let them come up with a few ideas until I prompted them to think about what Nice-ies would look like. Then, they started to talk about the pretend characters and brainstorm some different actions that Nice-ies would do.
Students in kindergarten are just learning how to sound out words and phonetic spelling is vital in the development of young readers and writers. I asked students to sound out one action verb to finish the sentence “Nice-ies…” and they responded: help, hug, are nice, make friends, and be kind. This was one of our first independent writing activities and I was so pleased with how they turned out!
This is my sixth 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!
We've got plenty of big books for shared reading! Click here to see them on our website! If you want to know more about the Joy Cowley Collection, which features the Meanies stories, click the image below to download an information sheet with series highlights!