Our latest shared writing experience is with the King or Queen of the Day. Each day a different child is chosen to be King or Queen. They get to wear a crown and get their picture taken. Then the class interviews them – asking them a few questions about things they like. I did a lot of modeling at the start, talking about what a question is and what kind of questions could help us learn more about each other. For example, we talked about how the question “what is your favorite animal?” has an answer, while the question “what is your favorite zebra?” doesn’t really have an answer – and how “I like zebras.” isn’t a question. (huge concept for kinders!) The conversations about what is a question and what is a question that can be answered are great learning experiences and help me see who needs more support with this stage of their oral language development. And of course, we continue these conversations daily! After experiencing 18 interviews, I am hopeful that my kindergarteners will have a much deeper understanding of what a question is and how to ask someone a question to find out more about them.
I do the writing on a large chart as the children conduct the interview and negotiate the text together. We count the number of words first and rehearse what I should write on the chart. I have the kids help me write the words orally, especially the names. I show them how there needs to be a space between each word, and that each line is a sentence. I use language like:
-what letter comes first?
-what letter is next?
-what is the last letter?
-how do I write “like” – can you look on the word wall?
-what letter do you think “zebra” begins with?
-how many words are in this sentence?
-I need to make sure and start “Hulk” with a capital letter because it’s a name, just like Joshua
The interviews are daily opportunities to teach many of our phonics skills within a meaningful context. And the kids LOVE being the King or Queen of the Day!
After the interview, the King or Queen makes a name bottle. These are baby soda bottles from Steve Spangler Science. We put letter beads that spell the child’s first name in the bottle along with some glitter and sparkles. I fill it with water and close the lid tightly. As we make name bottles for everyone in the class, this becomes a game where kids can try to figure out the name in the bottle and match it to a name strip.
The last step in our King and Queen of the Day routine is to find pictures to match the words in the sentences and laminate the chart. We re-read the previous day’s charts before we do a new interview. This is a great shared reading experience, and the kids love to revisit the charts. After all the kids have had a chance to be interviewed, the charts are put together into a large class book. This is a favorite book to read throughout the year.