Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Link: Teaching Reading: K-2

John Sinnett's Kindergarten Class

The Teacher and the Class

 

Writer's Journal

Video Summary

The Teacher and the Class

Analyzing the Video

Making Connections

Selected Resources

Mr. Sinnett reading-aloud to his class.

John Sinnett expects a lot from his kindergarten students at the Collins Elementary School in Houston, Texas. "I feel that the higher you raise the bar, they're going to come up that high. If you have low expectations, that's where they're going to stay." Through consistent routines, daily discussions, and classroom agreements, Mr. Sinnett encourages students to approach their learning with maturity and seriousness, often reminding them that they go to their work stations to work, not to play.

Day at a Glance*

12:15 

Arrival

12:25 

Class Meeting

12:30 

Phonics

12:40 

Read-Aloud

12:45 

Morning Message/ Interactive Writing

1:05 

Journal Writing

1:30 

Students Share Writing

1:35 

Turkey Song

1:40 

Work Stations/Guided-Reading Groups

2:30 

Shared Reading with Word Study

3:00 

End of Day

* In the video you see excerpts from Mr. Sinnett's class on November 14 and 15. On a typical day, other content areas are also included in the schedule.

But Mr. Sinnett is hardly averse to having fun. With his playful sense of humor and hands-on approach, Mr. Sinnett often leads class activities from the floor, sitting among his students. "I want to be in there with them. So if they have questions, I can point things out to them. And I want to bond with them too. Create that sense of community."

Students enter his class performing at a wide range of levels, some speaking English fluently and some not at all. At first, Mr. Sinnett gives his English language learner students time to adjust, knowing that they understand more than they can communicate. As the year goes on, however, Mr. Sinnett expects to hear from them more and more. "When they feel comfortable, they'll start talking. I had one student who didn't speak at all for the first two months of school. And then, by the end of the year, she was talking all the time -- beautiful English. She had that knowledge; she was just afraid to use it."

Prompted by his school district's benchmarks, Mr. Sinnett emphasizes writing, and formally assesses his students' written work a few times a year. In the third grade, his students will take the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, or TAAS, a standardized test that includes a writing section. Mr. Sinnett works with his students on particular writing skills, including how to make a plan for their writing -- at this stage an illustration of what they plan to write. The New Jersey Writing Project, a teacher's institute he has taken twice, has influenced his approach to teaching writing.

Next > Analyzing the Video: Before Viewing

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