What a great start to the year we have had! My kindergarten friends are doing great with their morning routines and are happy to get dropped off every morning. One of the things that they look forward to is our morning work drawers. After they put their things away each student comes in the room to find one of twelve drawers labeled with their name. They pull out that drawer, find a comfortable spot in the classroom and get started on their morning work. These drawers are filled with fun activities that really help to strengthen their fine motor skills. We like to say we are working on our finger muscles! Take a look at our pictures to see how my little friends are really having to use their fingers. They are excited because they think they are playing with their friends. I’m excited because I know how much more capable they are going to be in a few months when we start incorporating more writing work!
Almost everyone has fond memories of show and tell. We had our very first kindergarten show and tell this week and it was a hit. I’ve seen a lot of show and tells in my years of teaching and my favorites are always the ones that let me know a little more about my students. Family pictures, treasured collections, finds from nature, and family pets are just a few of the items we saw this month. The students are excited because they think they are getting a break from their work and they are getting to bring things to school that they normally wouldn’t be allowed to have. But I am excited because through a year’s worth of show and tells I see how much my students are growing in their ability to communicate to an audience. While some children are naturally gifted speakers most tend to get off topic easily or speak too quickly or quietly to hold the interest of their peers. During the first few months I ask them questions to get them to talk meaningfully about their items. Asking these same questions over and over again helps them to know the important information we need to hear. We practice speaking clearly and making eye contact with our audience. The rest of the class has a job too! They must learn to become a good listener. Good communication skills are needed in every aspect of life and Show and Tell is just one of the ways a kindergarten student can learn them!
I love teaching kindergarten Math! We teach so many lessons in hands on ways that the kids love it too. This week the class learned about symmetry. We drew an imaginary line down the middle of our bodies to show how we are symmetrical and looked at lots of pictures of butterflies to see that patterns in nature can be symmetrical too. Then we were able to use pattern blocks to make our own symmetrical designs. They had a great time using their imaginations to give names to their designs.
We recently celebrated Foodie Friday for kindergarten. We made a list of ingredients for Fruit Pizza, sequenced the steps for putting the pizza together, created our pizzas, and graphed our opinions of the result. Cooking in the classroom is so much more than just a fun Friday activity. The students learn important writing skills such as making a list, sequencing an order of events, using correct capitalization rules, and coming up with strong descriptive words. They work on fine motor skills when they mix, cut, and spread. They strengthen their executive functioning skills while they plan out what they want their final product to look like. They gain confidence from completing a “grown-up” task on their own and are often more open to trying new foods around their peers. I was very surprised to see that almost every child graphed that they did like the fruit pizzas! We certainly all had fun making them and trying them.
Kindergarten has been working hard on their writing skills! We’ve learned that writing is much more than just putting sounds down on paper to make words. It is an organized and thoughtful process. We start each week by gathering our ideas on a specific topic. The class has learned to make lists and use graphic organizers. There are usually a few students that have no idea what to write about but brainstorming lets them see that they have a lot to say. After they have a few ideas about their topic the students start to put their ideas on paper in sentence format. While I offer plenty of support in kindergarten the class is becoming quite confident at sounding out the words they want to write. Editing is the next step. I love watching the students pair up to offer constructive criticism of their partner’s work. For the most part the students are kind and give thoughtful feedback on how their partner can make his work clearer for his audience. Finally, we get to present our finished work at the end of the week! At this stage most of the papers look similar but the students are always proud of their achievements and quick to praise the work of their classmates.