Showing posts from July, 2010

Whole Group Games and Activities: Entry #6

Guided Drawing Guided drawing is a GREAT whole group activity, and can easily keep a group of four and five year olds happily engaged for a good 20 minutes at the beginning of the year and even up to 30 minutes by the end of Kindergarten! What you need: An easel, some simple drawings to copy, paper, black fine tip markers or crayons, and a place for everyone to work where they can easily see you while they draw.  I save a sample of each year’s lesson and refer back to it to help me remember what I drew and how I drew it.  I have the kids sit on the floor and use large pieces of cardboard to write on.  We do seasonal drawings and drawings of things that we were learning about. The trick to guided drawing is to relate what you are drawing to a shape they already know how to make. *  An arch is a "rainbow."  An upside down arch is a "smile." *  A pointed top can be like a "capital A without a line in it." *  A half circle can be

Whole Group Games and Activities: Entry #5

Whole Group Hangman What you need:  A whiteboard, a word wall, or words on a pocket chart. Draw:  A gallows, and a line for each letter in your word. Choose: A word from your word wall or pocket chart.  This is what makes this game different from regular Hangman and also what makes it age appropriate.  You only choose words from a specific word bank that they can see right in front of them, so they are using the process of elimination, logic, and reasoning skills to help them get the answer.  They are also using their reading skills as they consider each word.  Children that are still working on learning their letters can benefit from it as well, since it also serves as a review of the alphabet.  So this is a great game for differentiated instruction!  Once the answer becomes obvious to some of your brighter children, you can enjoy watching them squirm as they try to “hold it in;” it always appears as though some of them are going to just “pop!”  Hence, it also be

Whole Group Games - Entry #4

Here is another set of games and activities that are always a hit with my little ones.  It’s funny how many I can remember doing, when I really start thinking!  One memory leads to another, and then I realize that I remember having done some other thing that was also fun!  And so it goes…  It’s actually a good thing to sort of “catalog” them and list them out, I think.  Maybe I’ll remember to use each of them more often, now that I’ll have them all listed out on paper. Rhyming Riddles 201 Thematic Riddle Poems to Build Literacy- great book to build rhyming skills! This book, 201 Thematic Riddle Poems to Build Literacy, by Betsy Franco has lots and lots of cute little poems and riddles that use rhyme to help children guess the answer.   Published by Scholastic. Example: “Which shape am I? A pizza, a clock, A bicycle wheel, I have no sides, But I’m for real.  I’m a ________.” (Answer:  circle) I spy: I spy with my little eye a mammal with a spout. It’s

Whole Group Games: Entry #3

Here is entry number three in my whole group games series.  This entry contains a lot of story telling techniques that kids seem to love, and that are sure crowd pleasures for me!  But first, here is my favorite whole group activity.  I’m sure it comes as no surprise to people that are already familiar with my website and my techniques! Music and Movement to Review Academic Concepts What you need: Music with an academic focus that you can move to, or DVD’s of the same. Whenever your kids cannot sit any longer, stand them up and keep teaching through music and movement!  This will work at the end of the day, right before recess, right before lunch, after opening up Halloween candy, and immediately before dismissing the kids for Christmas vacation!  It is my best “trick” and something that I use every day! Last May, after introducing some of the new songs from Sing and Spell Vol. 5 that my kids particularly liked, a little girl raised her hand in the middle of our cal

Whole Group Games: Entry #2

Here is the second installment in my series of whole group games that I am reviewing in my blog.  My favorite here is “Blast Off!” and for this game, I needed a drawing of a rocket.  I looked on the internet to try to just “borrow” one from somewhere out there, but never found one.  So I decided to draw my own rocket, and it's included in this What Comes next? Game bundle !!  In it, you will find one page with just a black and white copy of the rocket, just in case you wish to print your game in black and white instead of color.  There is also a blank page at the end of the game in case you want to use different flashcards with a different topic for your game.  My game is designed to have the kids practice counting. Blast Off! This game plays similarly to Whole Group Bang, but you change the picture to a rocket and the word to “Blast Off!”  (If you missed the directions for Whole Group Bang, see the entry above.  Every time the card comes up, the whole class,including th

Great Whole Group Games - Entry #1

In this post, I will share with you two of my very favorite whole group games to play with Kindergartners and Pre-Kindergartners:  The Quiet Game and Whole Group Bang!  Both of these are "staples" in my classroom, and absolutely get used every single year!  In fact, I  used the Quiet Game nearly every single DAY to keep my class busy if I had to stop teaching to talk to another adult for some reason, or help a child individually with something.  So I hope you find these games as useful as I do! I started "collecting" and writing down all of these games for a presentation that I give called "Whole Group Games and Activities for Math and Language Arts." And I can tell you that it was a LOT of work!   After all of that work, it’s a shame to share them with only the few people that are fortunate enough to get a day off to go to a conference.  (And if you get a PAID day off to go to a conference that your district paid for- well, you are VERY lucky!)