Back to School Basics: Classroom Zones

Guided Reading is one of the most important parts of the day. Students learn so much and there is no time to waste. Having excellent classroom management during this time is key. One of the best strategies to accomplish this goal to think of classroom zones for each of your student groups to physically encompass, think of what the theme of each center is going to be ( what skills each center will focus on consistently), think of what each group is allowed to do when they're done with their assignment.

Here are my four centers, their themes:

Guided Reading in Kindergarten
At the teacher's Table, I am there to guide the children through the rigorous activities. At the Listening Center the children listen to a story for 10-15 minutes before they complete their assignment at their seat or use a Literacy Puzzle. At the computer station, each of the six children has a computer game to do. 10 minutes of Reading Readiness game and 10 minutes of a Math game. However, one center is completely independent for the full 25 minute rotation.  The independent table is by far the neediest table for teacher-organization!

Here is my layout.
Kindergarten Guided Reading - Independent Seat Work

Kindergarten Seat Work: Phonics Sound Sorts
At this table I usually have cut and paste phonics activities for the kids to do because I like how it slooows them down and makes them think before they commit to gluing down a picture. Also, it is great fine motor practice. I only place four trash bins on each table because the children are expected to share with their neighbor. Each child has their own pencil box with supplies ( the boxes stay at the Independent Table). I like placing trash bins at the table because this keeps the kids from standing up and chatting with other kids. They have to stay in their zone. To keep them in their zone ... and keep them from getting up and distracting other kids I have an activity prepared for them to do when they are done with their phonics sort page. 

The table is right against the word wall so they are to write sentences on lined white boards. They love to choose different colored markers. 

Early Finishers Activities - White Board Sentences

Another option is magna doodles. They love those too. Both options are kept close by the table for kids to access with leaving their zone. 

Early Finishers Activity - Magna Doodles

Here are some typical phonics activities I have for the children at the independent table on a daily basis.    Letter of the Week, Vowel Review, Sight Word Work, Phonics Cut and Paste, and Word Families.

Vowel Letter Review - Cut and Paste

Short Vowels Worksheets 
Digraphs Worksheets for Kindergarten -
Picture Sorts

Sight Word Worksheets for Kindergarten

Sight Word Worksheets for Kindergarten
Sight Word : THE

Word Families Review for Kindergarten
CVC Words Literacy Center

Short E - Word Family Worksheet
Word Work for Kindergarten

Back to School Sale

I'm hosting a Back to School Sale on August 17 through the 20th. All my products will be 20% off.

The website I use to host my products will be giving buyers an additional 8% off on August 18th and 19th only for up to 28% savings on those two days.

Check it out if you get a chance. Make sure you enter the PROMO CODE at checkout. It is BTS13


Featured products are my Name Recognition Activities. Perfect for Kindergarten

Name Recognition Activity #1 - Completely Editable to
 fit any name between 3 letters and 11 letters long.  
Laminate with the child's picture and use it as a Literacy Center the first month of Kindergarten. Children will love to build their name and their friends' names as well. If  you don't have enough letter tiles save plastic bottle caps and use a Sharpie to write letters on them.

Name Recognition Activities #2
Students cut, match, and paste
the letters in their name. 
This file is also completely editable to accommodate names from 3 letters long to 11 letters long. Just take your class list to the computer and directly input the names. Great for Homework or Classwork.

Name Recognition Activities #3
Completely Editable for names from 3 letters
long to 11 letters long. Great for Back to School.
This activity is great for teaching students to recognize the letters in their name as well as the correct order of the letters. Ideal for Homework or Classwork the first month of Kindergarten or Preschool.

Every product above is featured at less than $4.00. With the sale discounts you'll be able to get them ALL.

Here is a freebie. I use it in my homework packet the first two weeks of Kindergarten.

Free Name Recognition Activity
Perfect for homework.

Click here to download it for free.

Here is another name recognition freebie:

Free Name Tracing #2
Free Name Tracing with Bubble Theme

Back to School Basics : Classroom Behavior System for Kindergarten

Daily Accountability is key for Kindergarten and First Grade Students. A weekly behavior system will not be as effective. My students go home from school EVERY DAY with a colored behavior card that communicates to parents what their child's behavior was like that day.

I organize my notes like this:

Blue Card - Daily Classroom Behavior

Green Card - Daily Classroom Behavior Note

Yellow and Red Card - Daily Behavior Card

Blue Cards Top Drawer
Green Cards Middle Drawer
Yellow and Red Cards on the Bottom Drawer

I run them off on colored paper to match the card color.

Back to School Basics: Classroom Behavior System

Before the kids ever come through the door I already have my behavior system thought through. Here is the form I give to parents explaining my system. Without good classroom management no one is going to learn no matter how creative and rigorous a lesson may be. In my class, I choose a color bases system. I find the colors are easy for the kids to remember. It's easy to see the difference in color between, say, red and yellow. It's not so easy to see the difference between a clip being raised an inch to another word or to see that a card has been flipped over. Those kinds of systems are not visual enough for a small child. Kindergarteners can barely tell the difference between a b, p, or d!
Kindergarten Behavior Chart
Download my Parent Handout for this Behavior System
 for Free. Great for Back to School Night. 

I make sure to provide a legend that explains what each color means in the simplest terms possible. 

Before the kids arrive on the first day I pre-write all of their names and place them in a slot. 

Above is last years behavior chart. For this coming year I have purchased traffic light borders and will use them to replace the wrinkled construction paper squares. 

Parent Support Form

Pretty cool! I like it so far. 

By the way, the blue cards are the best! I give those out when a child shows exemplary behavior, is a role model, helps another child, or just as a surprise for following directions the first time. 

I give parents THIS handout on Back to School Night and explain to them how they can help to reinforce this behavior system with their kids for maximum efficacy. Parent Support is key with children this young.