At the kindergarten level of Tools of the Mind, children use Learning Plans that serve the same self-regulatory function as Play Plans. Learning Plans allows children to plan the work they will accomplish in the independent activity centers (see photo). Each activity in the center contains a work product the children must produce and place in a folder. Children work in pairs so that their “study buddy” helps them remember what they are going to do, the rules for looking up the answers, and checks to make sure their partner has completed the activity.
Kindergarten Writing Samples
In the example shown here, a kindergarten class is studying “The Ocean,” and has read books about oysters. Children are then asked to write facts that they remember from the books. Children recall different facts and illustrate what they write. The children are in different stages of writing development (see section on Scaffolded Writing). Some have learned voice-to-line match, and many have begun to incorporate word patterns into their writing. Estimated spelling shows children’s understanding of phonemes in words and their understanding of the alphabetic principle. This estimated spelling is eventually replaced by conventional spelling. Research on estimated spelling demonstrates that its use in kindergarten is correlated with higher reading achievement scores in later grades. This estimated spelling is later replaced with more conventional spelling, as children begin to learn word patterns and receive formal spelling instruction in first and second grades.
It is important to note that the children were not given any words or phrases to copy; instead, they were encouraged to write down their own messages and write as many or as few letters, for each word, as they needed to represent the sounds of this word.