Sunday, January 27, 2013

Literacy Alive & The Common Core

Today's post is at the heart of my teaching.  I've been doing this in my classroom for over 12 years, and I would have to say it 's had the biggest impact for my students whether I was teaching kindergarten or 1st grade.  I called the whole process Literacy Alive because I highlight a student each day and do literacy activities around that student's name.  It is currently being used in many schools throughout the United States, and I present on it frequently.  I was working on a packet for Teachers Pay Teachers when another blogger Peace Love & Kindergarten wrote about how much it helped her students.  I guess that is called perfect timing.

Here are some pictures of my students and other classrooms that use this program.  If you want to get your students motivated to learn, this program integrates many of the Common Core State Standards for learning letters/sounds, phonological awareness, phonics, sight words, and concepts of space (spacing, punctuation, and capital letters). And it just takes 15 minutes a day.

Students sign the chart everyday using "Smelly Markers."
I model correct spacing of words, capital letters, stretching out sounds,  learning our letter sounds and sight words.
Depending on the age of the student, they get the chart ready to go.
We interview each other with our Questions of the Day.
We used a megaphone to ask our questions until we received a "real" class microphone.
We post our Questions of the Day on our Smart Board.  Before we had a Smart Board, we posted them on a chart in the room.
We do this activity in the morning as a twist to morning meeting.  Instead, we focus on individual students.  As the children are ready, they begin writing the "Happy Talk" for their friends.
We have 6 rounds of Questions.  A "round" is what it takes to highlight a student using the same questions.  When we finish, we start another round.  This chart is from a teacher who uses the program in her classroom.  She calls them Super Hero Leaders of the Day.  They wear superhero capes.  Some teachers call them Star Students.  Others call them Student of the Day.  
My students like to cheer for the Student of the Day at the end.  We make up motions that go with our cheer.  Enjoy this short clip of their cheering.

I just completed a teaching resource lesson guide to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  It is a year-long map for incorporating this program in your classroom along with some very cute whole class books to make with your students.

Click HERE to view this packet on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Also click HERE to get a FREE Cheer Book that complements this program.


  1. Kathy,
    I am so grateful that you did Friend of the Day when Alden was in your kindergarten class in 2001! Not only was it a positive way for him to build his literacy skills but most importantly for him his social & emotional skills. It was also great to be able to take it back and adapt it to my own classroom. I used this from the time I saw it modeled in your classroom 12 years ago until I left the classroom last year. My students learned so much about literacy, math, social studies, and so much more! Thank you for sharing and being such a great mentor!!

  2. Thanks Jill. Your son holds a near and dear place in my heart. He was one of the first classes for me to do this with and he LOVED it. He couldn't wait until it was his turn. I still smile when I think of those days. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I learned just as much from you and your child:-)

  3. Hi Kathy, do you ever offer a discount on your products when they first come out? Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Yvonnee! I am participating in the Super Sale today, Sunday, February 3, 2013. Everything in my store is 20% off. Enter the TpT code at the end of the sale for an additional 10% off the sale price for a total of 28% off the regular price.

  4. Sometimes I do. I usually start with a lower amount and then add on to the product. I am working on a quick video tutorial to go with it as an add on when you purchase it. I think that will help teachers "see" how I do the chart. But check back tomorrow - Thursday (1/31/13)
    and I will add some more comments:-)

  5. Hi Kathy! Two weeks ago, I had the awesome pleasure of attending almost all of your workshops in Toronto at the Kindergarten conference. You were awesome BTW! What amazing energy, tips, ideas and songs! Is this Literacy Alive the one you were talking about putting on your blog for free? If not, where could I find it? I can't wait to try it in my kindergarten classroom. Thanks in advance, Teri

    1. Hi Teri! Thanks for coming to my sessions in Toronto! I placed it for free on TpT for 5 days. Can you email me?