Showing posts from September, 2010

Teaching Kindergarten: What's Working? Week #5

Welcome to week #5! Here's what's working for me.

1.  “Señor Same Sound: The Sound Eating Snake Puppet"

Last spring, I had this idea for a puppet that the children could actually feed objects to, and so I began to search for puppets online that could do just that.  Unfortunately, I only was able to locate one very expensive shark puppet that could actually swallow anything!  So I thought I would make my own snake puppet out of a sock, and just make a large button hole with my sewing machine for the mouth.

I went to a local T-Shirt Mart to find a cheap and colorful pair of socks.  But while I was there, I found a great variety of very colorful leg warmers, instead!  I pulled one leg warmer out of the pack in the store and inserted my hand into it.  Then I stuffed one of the end of the leg warmers inside my hand as you would do with any sock puppet to make him talk.  The only difference was that instead of a closed hole inside the mouth, I had an open hole inside the mouth…

Teaching Kindergarten: What's Working? Week #4

I thought that I would do a general entry this week on some games, activities, and books that are working well for me this week.  If you're following along with the Pacing Guide, I'm on Week 4, and will reference that outline throughout the coming year. I’m very excited to share these ideas with you!

A Book and a Song

SuperHero ABC by Bob McLeod and the Zero the Hero songI found out about this little gem of a book last year on the Kindergarten teachers chatboard!  I read it to my kids for the first time this school year this week, and they were enthralled!  They absolutely loved the illustrations, and the alliteration in it is absolutely amazing!

It also made them super excited to sing their newest favorite song, Zero the Hero from my Sing and Spell Vol. 5!  Some of my students are still spelling it, “ZZRR!” or “EZOO!” or some other joyful combination of letters, but that is not bothering me!  They are loving it and begging for the song.

So I hold it over their h…

Fitting It All In

Every year, someone asks me how I manage to fit everything in, especially at the beginning of the year!  And there is no doubt that it is quite challenging trying to establish those all important routines and procedures, while covering all of the songs, games, and activities that help get children started  learning or reviewing the letters and sounds.  And I guess that the short answer is that I can’t really do it all, any more than the rest of you can!  But I have learned a few tricks to make things go a little bit faster, and I have learned to pick and choose which songs are the most important ones for my students to sing.  Unfortunately, these may not always be my favorites (or theirs!).
I combine Zoo-Phonics and my Singable Songs for Letters and Sounds over the first four to six weeks or so of school.  As far as both teaching and reviewing the songs, it seems to go faster using the DVD than the CD.  The kids can sustain their attention to the activity about twice as long with the…

Zoo Animal Probability Graph

This graph was designed to be completed in a whole group situation as part of the “Calendar Book” activity we looked at last week, but really could be used in many different settings and sizes of groups.  The idea is that the children discover that the probability of choosing any of the animals remains the same each time a card is drawn.  This is because each time a card is drawn, it is thrown back into the basket for the next time. I've attached the files and art for this activity here.

To prepare, duplicate a copy of the graph for each child.  Duplicate and cut apart one copy of the animal cards for the teacher or leader of the group.  Mix the cards up and put them in a basket or bag.

2.  Have the children take turns picking one of the animal cards out of a basket or tub with his or her eyes closed.  Have the child that picked the animal name it.  Then, all of the children should color in one square under that animal on his or her graph.  The animal card that was picked should …