Tag Archives: kindergarten

On Schedule: Teaching Kindergartners!

by Kelli Lewis, M. Ed.

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Are you moving down to kindergarten this year, or perhaps starting your very first year teaching and have just found out you have kindergarteners? Whatever the situation, all of us kindergarten teachers know that being on a schedule–and having students learn this schedule–is key.

Here’s a creative, hands-on way to make sure your students will have their schedule down in no time!

First, decide the different parts of your daily schedule. You may also want to include events that could occur weekly, monthly, or throughout the year: morning work, morning meeting, lunch, library, recess, literacy centers, math time, bathroom break, assembly, specials (music, art, P.E., computer lab), etc.

Next, create some type of visual pieces for each of these events. This can consist of small index cards (something around 4×4), or you could get creative and make puzzle-looking pieces. These pieces should include the name of the scheduled event and a picture.

For example, if you’re making a lunch piece, write or type “lunch” at the top and put a picture of a sack lunch or a lunch tray with food, so that students know what the piece indicates without having to know how to read the word. This is also a great way for students to learn letter sounds and words that are used daily in the classroom.

Finally, once all of your scheduled pieces are made, laminate them so that they hold up. Decide how you want students to be able to work with them. My suggestion is to have students put each of the pieces in the order of your schedule. Use a magnetic cookie sheet, dry erase board, corkboard, felt board, or some way for students to pick up, place, and move the pieces around as they figure it out. If you choose one of these options, you’ll need to place a magnet or Velcro piece on the back of each laminated piece. If you’re using a corkboard, of course, you’ll need large pushpins for attaching the pieces.

Do you have classroom jobs? If so, this scheduling activity can be one of the jobs for the students to alternate doing every morning, in order to give them all a chance to participate–as well as giving them a part in creating the visual schedule for everyone to view throughout the way. Of course, as the teacher, you should double check their order and perhaps even review the schedule as part of your daily morning routine or morning meeting.

Kelli Lewis, M. Ed. recently received her masters degree from The University of Georgia and is currently staying busy setting up her third-grade classroom!

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Filed under Centers, Classroom Community, Morning Work

Sensational Sensory Stations

by Rachel Stepp

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Touch and feel sensory box stations are always a hit when center time rolls around! Children love the idea of sticking their little hands in a box of unknown treasures to explore and learn. I have seen sensory boxes filled with a variety of contents, and sometimes those contents can get out of hand! But if you’re feeling like adding a sensory station to your classroom, here are a few simple ideas:

If you don’t already have a sensory table, create your own! This can be done by purchasing an under-bed storage container; this size works well because it is long and shallow. Simply clear off a tabletop and put your storage box on the top of the table. Add Velcro or tape to secure your storage box so that it won’t find its way to the floor.

Next, add your contents!

1. Dry Noodles

Add uncooked noodles such as bowties or elbows and allow students to dig through them to find hidden contents. For younger grades, make a list of your hidden contents and have students search for each item and check it off as they find it (ex: a bouncy ball, dice, a fake coin, etc.). Also, you could hide tokens that have a number or letter on them. Ask your students to find the numbers or letters in chronological or alphabetical order.

2. Dry Rice and Beans

Add shovels and cups to the sensory station to allow students to dig through dry rice and beans. Let students write/talk about how the rice feels as it flows through their hands. You can dye white rice using food coloring to add some color to your table.

3. Sand

Wouldn’t it be nice to bring a little beach to the classroom? Add sand into your sensory station to let students experience the feeling of sand between their fingers. You can put a funnel and other sand toys in the box to let students play with. Ask students to try to ‘build’ buildings and create tunnels. Let them build their motor skills as they dig through the sand.

4. Water

If you’re feeling brave enough, add water into your sensory box. Water will be an automatic hit in your classroom! Students will enjoy sticking their hands into water and exploring its properties. Add in items–like a small toy boat, a small hollow plastic ball, a magnet–that allow students to explore the idea of sink and float. Create a worksheet that allows them to record predictions about sink and float and then their findings.

When bringing a sensory station into your classroom, it is important to remind students about guidelines they should follow. Such guidelines include keeping the contents in the table, following directions at the table, and completing work at the table. You can always ask your students what they would like to see in the sensory box… children are full of great ideas!

Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia who is brimming over with creative ideas to share on A Learning Experience. And aren’t we glad!

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Filed under Centers, Cooperative Learning, Science

100 Days Celebration Ideas!

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You have completed 100 days of school! Your students are well on their way (if not already there) to being able to count to 100 with no help at all.  Now, how do you make a day out of it?

Here are a few (not quite 100 :-) ideas for pre-K and Kindergarten teachers to celebrate this grand accomplishment:

  1. Make hats with a giant 100 on them for everyone to wear all day.
  2. Invite a 100-year-old person to your celebration as the guest of honor.
  3. If you don’t know any centurions, have a staff member dress up as an elderly person during your fete and share some researched facts about our country 100 years ago.
  4. Send home a zip-top bag and instruct the parents to help their children count out and collect 100 small items from around the house to fill the bag. Examples: uncooked rice, beans or pasta; coins; Q-tips; spare buttons; paper clips, etc. Display the returned baggies in the hallway or on a bulletin board for all to see!
  5. Send home a note, asking the parents to help the child bring in a photograph and/or name and age of their oldest living relative. Cheer for the child with the relative closest to 100!
  6. To follow up all of the 100 Days hoopla, invite all of the children to dress as dalmatians tomorrow…to celebrate day 101!

Adapted from ideas submitted by Sandra Jacoby, a pre-kindergarten teacher in Texas.

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