At Detroit Prep, literacy is embedded throughout the day. My Kindergarten crew works on literacy for almost 3 hours each day! We spend an hour each morning working on phonics (letters, sounds, sight words, et cetera) during Skills Block, an hour after lunch working on reading comprehension and writing during Module, and an hour each afternoon working on speaking and listening during Literacy Labs time. In this post, I’ll give you a glimpse into Literacy Labs time in Kindergarten and explain how this time of day helps support our development as readers, writers and thinkers.
We have five Literacy Labs that guide our active, play-based learning each afternoon: Create, Engineer, Research, Explore and Imagine. For each module teachers plan labs for at least 4 of the 5 categories. The activities at each lab currently all have something to do with weather since we are in the process of becoming meteorologists!
Create: At this labs, students practice their high-quality coloring by coloring different pictures of weather or they write and draw their own weather story.
Engineer: Students' work here is guided by a weather-related challenge. Inspired by our cold Detroit winter, we have worked on building sledding ramps, hibernation stations and snowball structures.
Research: We use the Epic! Reading App on our iPads to explore weather books and videos. We also sometimes revisit texts we have read together in Module time.
Imagine: A parent volunteer graciously helped me build a mock weather-station for students to pretend they are news meteorologists. Students imagine they are giving weather reports or talking with eye-witnesses affected by weather.
At each activity, students cooperate with one another - whether it be to share materials, work on a common structure or craft an imaginary story. As students work together, they practice using content vocabulary and cooperative problem solving centered on the Engineer or Imagine task. While Literacy Labs sound like (and are) a lot of fun, they also help students build valuable speaking and listening skills and prepare them to be impactful readers, writers and world-changers.