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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Study Party Literacy Beginnings Chapter 2: Building a Community of Learners

Here are my thoughts on Chapter 2 of our Book Study Blog Party thrown by Vanessa Levin:
Pre-K Pages
Hop over and join the party!

Chapter 2 was hosted by the wonderful:
Teach Preschool
This is an amazing blog!

I really enjoyed this chapter! It was all about building a sense of community and planning your year for success by spending the time necessary to introduce, model, and practice rountines and procedures.

The chapter begins with this great statement:

"Communication is basic to success in school and throughout life."

The chapter then goes on to list some powerful "I Can's":
  • "With positive modeling and attention, all prekindergarteners can learn how to take turns, listen to each other quietly without interrupting, and manage disappointment."
  • "Children can learn to respect the tools, materials, and toys in the classroom, respect, and enjoy the work of their classmates, and speak kindly."
  • "The clearer and more organized you can be about presenting routines and social expectations, the more readily your students will respond."
Click on link for PDF Example

I love the support for spending time establishing routines and procedures in the beginning of the year that is given by Fountas and Pinnell! It is so important to spend a significant amount of time modeling and practicing the expectations you have for the classroom in the beginning of the year. It sets you up for success.
In my experience, years that I have not spent enough time modeling and practicing have been spent back-tracking and putting out fires. Work smarter, not harder! This time will not be wasted. In fact, the years that I have spent investing in this practice have been some of my kids' most successful years!
Higher level learning and skill advancement exceeded my grade level's expectations not because we started learning earlier/spent more time, but because the quality of time spent learning was so much richer! 
As Fountas and Pinnell stated: " Your classroom community takes time to develop. We recommend spending the first several weeks of prekindergartren demonstrating, prompting, and reinforcing positive social interactions and conventions."

Fountas and Pinnell suggest this book as a good jumping off point.
The book does mention creating the rules with your kids.  I happen to agree with Karen from Prekinders on this. I like discussing the rules and guiding/categorizing their suggestions under the corresponding rule that I have already set.
Lastly, Fountas and Pinnell encouraged the use of Circle games to build community. There is a place for Circle Time in the "new" prekindergarten! Karen from Prekinders has also shared some of her favorite Circle Time/Game activities on the Teachers.net Gazette. Hop on over to her blog for the link!

Hubby is giving me "the look" so I guess that's all I have for this chapter! :D
Happy Community Building!

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