Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guest post from one of my favorites!

Hi!  Do not adjust your computer settings.  Do not hit the screen.  Do not curse at the computer.  There is a dude in Payton's Precious Kindergarten!  I am Greg from Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten!  I am so happy that Mrs. Payton is allowing me rampage through her blog...

A little about me...then I will get onto the educational stuff!  I am a rockstar of sorts...a male kindergarten teacher!   I know we're rare...but we're out there!  I am a newlywed and a pretty sarcastic dude.  I also like to think I'm funny!  I teach at an inner city school with 16 kindergarteners who I affectionately call my little monsters!  I run a tight ship in my classroom but we also have a lot of fun! And we get MESSY!  My definition of a successful day in Kindergarten is when a parent is upset that we got paint all over us!  So that's me...and now some teachery stuff!

Kourtney asked me to talk about how I teach letters and sounds in my classroom....so here goes!

My goal for letters and sounds is that by the end of October all of my students will know all of their letters and sounds.  This year we're close to that goal but still have a few stragglers.  And that's fine because they will get there because of the near constant exposure to the letters and sounds.

Each week we "do not focus on a letter of the week" (see, there is my sarcasm!)  Long story!  If you want the details email me and I will share.  We celebrate a letter each week to introduce the sound and build a firm foundation for that sound.  During the week we do picture sorts (I am the KING OF PICTURE SORTS!), we do a silly hat on Monday, Tuesday we make a phonics watch courtesy of the Moffat Girls (we use their phonics hats and phonics watches!  SO CUTE!)
 and we do handwriting.  We even incorporate the letter writing into our Morning Meeting. As you can tell, we don't teach the letter and sound in isolation.  It is incorporated throughout the week.

Our district has adopted the Treasures reading series (I plead the fifth!) so we follow their letter order just because it was convenient to already have an order and it actually works very well.  We do not include their review week (which they have after every two week!) so we have time later in the year to do blends and R controlled sounds and long and short vowels!  Here is our letter order:

M  A  S  P  T  I  N  C  O  F  H  D/R  E  B/L  K  U  G/W  X/V  J/Q  Y/Z

I am most famous for my silly hat Mondays!  We make these great alphabet hats that I found at

We make these on Monday as our "hook" for the letter we do not celebrate!  I make one as a model and wear it!  Then I post it all over the internet!  It's become a staple of teacher blog land I think!


At the beginning of the year, I use a letter PowerPoint every morning as part of our morning routine.  This builds our letter naming fluency!   We do the letters in random order (upper and lowercase) every day until the end of October!  I also use this to play quick games of "Around The World!"  If you want this PowerPoint, just click on the picture to download!

I hope you find this information useful!

I would love for you to visit me on Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers and Twitter!  And come visit my crazy fun blog!

Teachers Pay Teachers

And now for a little give away!  The FIRST THREE (3) people to leave a comment on this post and share a letter/sound activity will receive my beginning sounds picture sorts (Leave your email!)!!  There is a picture sort for every letter!  These the picture sorts I use on Monday as my pre-assessment to see how well we know our sound!  

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  1. I do a matching/ memory game to reinforce those letter-sounds with my kiddos!


  2. I have a bucket of cubes with letters on each cube. I pick students to pick a cube and say the letter, letter sound, and then a word that starts with that letter! I adapt it to students who struggle, but the kiddos love to come up and pick one out of the bucket! :)

    Kimberly Ann
    Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten


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    Karmens Kinders

  4. oh, poof!!! though i missed it, i will share my activity. i sing, very badly, the sound of the letter. we then do the letter and the sound in different voices. vhair61215@gmail.com

  5. We use Treasures too and we also skip the review week! My kids LOVE wearing letter necklaces as they are trying to learn all their letters!!

    Debbie :-)
    K is for Kinderrific

  6. We are using Treasures for the first time and have to teach it with fidelity; oh, my. I will have to email for your opinion sometime soon. :)
    In the beginning weeks of school, we watch Leap Frog's Letter Factory; a portion each day. It helps many build a foundation to learning the letters as many of our students have little or no foundational skills yet. I love to use Dr. Jean's songs to learn letters and sounds...my favorite being Who Let the Letters Out.

    BTW- what levels are your kids reading at by the end of the year?

    1. We had to use the silly program with fidelity the first year... Now it's just a "resource!" Our kindergarten reading level is a 4 ( it's a district level...but equates to other kindergarten levels such as fountas and pinnell, etc). My kids are at or above grade level every year...I usually have 1 or 2 who end up on a 2 or 3 but the rest are 4 and higher, with most at 6-8. And 95% are benchmark in DIBELS.



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