What do you consider Necessities in Teaching Kinder?
Wow, it seems almost everything is a necessity with our age group! They come to us in varying degrees of readiness for kindergarten. Some have been read to, know what a book is, how to hold it, and that books have words, sentences and stories. Other students have never held a book, or a pencil! How do we address kids at both ends of the scenario? How do we meet their needs while teaching virtually? What are the things you consider necessary in helping develop young minds? So many questions!
Is Distance Learning Working?
With some districts beginning the return to school, we are seeing a mix of in-school and virtual learning. We are also getting a mix of opinions on whether virtual learning is doable. Some schools have gone back in person, then had to go virtual. These events are not painting a positive picture for the “in person” return to class. I am extremely concerned for the safety of my children who teach, and for my grandchildren who will return to in-school class on Monday, August 24. I would imagine you have some of the same feelings.
How Will You Get Those Necessities to Students?
As a kindergarten teacher for 25 years (after teaching 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grades), I have a well-seasoned knowledge of what my kiddos need. These basics will give them the tools to develop their thinking and motor skills. Without delivery of these basics, kindergarten students are at a disadvantage, whether in class, or online. Here are things you can do to get them off on the right track.
Let’s Break it Down: 5 Components Necessary for Kindergarten
The great thing about kindergarten is how many learning tools there are that work dually for online or in-class learning. IMO, these are the essentials!
1. Make time for physical activity.
Students must have access to indoor or outdoor surfaces with plenty of space. There is no rule stating they must use paper, or a device for practicing motor skills! Depending on the location, it will be different, but so many activities for kinders involve music, movement and large motor skill activities. Students can practice walking on a chalk line, a row of tiles, or a piece of yarn stretched across the floor, sidewalk, carpet or other area. This improves focus, balance and coordination of body movements. Kids who are focused with this activity can learn to focus during online or in-class lessons.
Other activities include:
*Throwing a ball/catching a ball
*Drawing on the sidewalk
*Painting on a sidewalk
Here you can see my grandsons practicing math skills using cornstarch and water sidewalk paint. Just 2 tbsp of cornstarch and fill with water. Add food coloring and have a ball!
*Make sure to cross the mid-line (right hand moves across the drawing zone to the left side, left hand moves across the drawing zone to the right)
*Painting on the sidewalk or water painting on surfaces, making circles, straight lines, long and short strokes of the brush, etc.
2. Supplies Needed for In School or At Home Learning
Minimal supplies are needed when kids are in a classroom since you provide many things for them. Virtual learning is a different matter! Students not only need the five basic tools listed below, but they also need access to a device. Be prepared to send home packets with worksheets, printable readers, writing tools, scissors and glue.
For students with devices, you will provide live lessons, and access to hands-on apps like Seesaw or Google. Your district may require you use a program like Canva to push out lessons and information to students.
3. What Kids Need to Learn
Whether virtual or in class, students need daily routines with special attention to practicing letters, sounds and writing letters. They need to work on every letter every day, so a chart for them to chant the letters, or ebooks and real books that repeat all of the letters daily are critical! The lesson focus may only feature one or two letters, but knowing those letters are part of the alphabet is so important. Students also need daily immersion in counting objects, identifying sets, thinking reflectively on their work, and time one-one with their teacher. Even online, teachers can learn a lot about student thinking and learning.
Here is the chart we use, and a weekly homework sheet for practice chanting the alphabet chart, or chanting with the video.
This FREE weekly practice can be uploaded to Seesaw, and be colored there for a record in the student journal too! Click the link below to download. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwugBzJawFTaNzMzYjQzNTgtNGZjYS00ZDQ4LTg5MDEtOTkxOGE0YmZmM2M3/view?usp=sharing
4. Rules are NEEDED
Rules are needed EVERYWHERE! If you have students to raise their hand to speak at school, they can do the same in a multi-view meeting. I also use ASL to teach the letter T for “I want a turn to talk or ask a question.” The letter B is taught so students can ask for a bathroom break. If students are to turn their microphone off and on, I use the signs for off/on, just like when we are in class. As long as you have clear expectations and present them to your students the very first day allowing time to practice, they will rock the rules!
5. Apps that cover the Basics!
During the months of June-August, I have been busy converting my resources to digital versions that can be used in class or online. There are also many new resources that cover the basic needs of a kindergarten student. I also recommend utilizing the Seesaw app for fine motor work. The Seesaw platform is easy to use, and kids can write on a device much like they would write on paper.
Dollar tree has cheap and workable stylus pens for little hands. Amazon also has some great choices! The finer the point, the more control kids will have forming the shapes they need to make.
I have been using Seesaw and Google’s Jamboard for early alphabet activites including writing and spelling names. Jamboard is like any google app. You need to add it to Chrome, then make a copy of the activity for yourself to avoid changing the original. Write on activities are very difficult in google apps if you do not use Jamboard. Read about Jamboard here:
You NEED to try Boom Cards too!
Boom Cards or Decks (as they are called) are interactive games students play online! They are assigned from your class, so you can see student scores to know how they are doing.
READ MORE ABOUT BOOM CARDS: Boom Cards are self-grading, DIGITAL resources. They live in the cloud. They can’t be printed. They play on most modern browsers, Android, iPads, iPhones, and Kindle Fires. You open a Boom Learning℠ account to play them (to protect the children). Create Fast Play pins to assign your Boom Cards to students.
Boom Learning also has premium accounts. Premium accounts offer advanced assignment tools, individual and whole class performance tracking, and more. If you are a new Boom Learning customer, when you redeem your Boom Cards purchase you get 90-day free trial of a premium account. When your trial ends, you can renew or move to a free account. You may upgrade, downgrade or cancel at any time. Free accounts use purchased Boom Cards with Fast Play pins.
More decks are in the works! Follow Maggie’s Kinder Store to keep up with the latest!
Here is my Boom CVC Bundle.
Here are some other resources you may find helpful:
Whew! My arm is tired! Check out the above and other Back to School resources at Maggie’s Kinder Store.
Prayers for you to have a safe, healthy, and happy new school year!