The Second Week of TK: What’s Working?

Here is what we did on the second week of TK, or Transitional Kindergarten!  We had fun with rhyme, alphabet and number activities, nursery rhymes, patterning, sorting, small group reading activities, and we even started learning a few sight words!  Ready to hear all about it?  Here we go!

First, let me explain that my volunteers started this week, and I am EXTRAORDINARILY BLESSED this year!  So far, I have usually THREE volunteers per day, and sometimes FOUR!  It’s unbelievable!  So if you are wondering how I am fitting all of this into our (very) short three hour half day schedule, that’s how!  And besides all of this, we are singing our little hearts out before, after, and in between everything we do at our table groups!  So I’m having a blast, and I think that the kids are, too!

How many ways can we play bingo?  Well, this week we played bingo THREE different ways!  First, we played Alphabet Bingo with just the lower case letters.  I really like playing bingo as an instructional tool, because I have the kids first look at the card that I show and identify it.  And only after they answer my question can they look at their bingo card to find it and cover that item up.  It turns out that this is a GREAT way to do a small group lesson!

In the middle of the week, we played my Rhyme Bingo.  Of course, I had to introduce the Rhyming Practice Cards first.

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The kids is that the children get familiar with the rhyming practice cards, and learn the rhyming pairs.  Then in the game, they look at the card, say the rhyming word, and then look for the picture of the word that rhymes on the card.  So if I show them a bug, then they need to look for the rug on their card and cover it.  As they get better and better, they will need to also give me other rhyming words in addition to “rug” before covering it up.

At the end of the week, we played Zoo Phonics Bingo!  This is a very old version that my teammate Jeff had on hand, but I have ordered a new one.    In this case, the kids look at the card that I show and give the letter sound before covering up the letter on their board.

Sight Words Review
We’ve been reviewing our sight word songs, of course!  The kids are learning the words like, the, to, I and my.  Now if you are also using Benchmark Ready to Advance for TK as I am, then you’ll know that that word “my” wasn’t supposed to be taught in Unit One.  Oh, I’m such a rule breaker!  LOL!

By the way, if you also use Benchmark, then I am happy to announce that we now have Sing and Spell DVDs in Benchmark Sight Word Order!!!!  So if you decide that your internet connection is too slow, or if you want to make sure you have songs for ALL of the sight words, then go with the DVD.  We also have this collection on Vimeo, so that’s an option if you like internet streaming, but just want to make sure you have all of the spelling songs, and all of them in Benchmark order.

Number Pattern Blocks
Since we built letters with the Alphabet Pattern Blocks last week, this week we decided to try out the Number Pattern Blocks!  The kids really enjoyed them, and once again were running to come get me when they completed a number so I could admire it.  

Nursery Rhymes Songs
We have done a LOT of singing, and my favorite thing about ALL of it is the enthusiasm!  It seems that no matter what I put on, they love it!  How wonderful is that?  But I am so thrilled that they are just LOVING the NURSERY RHYMES DVD!!! I tried this before when I was on a leave of absence with my friend’s kindergarten class, but never with my own class… and ahhhhh….. how WONDERFUL!!!!  We have learned the first three on the DVD, which are “Baa, Baa Black Sheep,”  “Diddle Diddle Dumpling,” and “Georgie Porgie.”  The kids are ENTHRALLED.  Just E N T H R A L L E D!  And I’m THRILLED!  We are going to try to make a black sheep soon!

Book Making:  A Pancake is a Circle
Have you heard of the book “Round is a Pancake”?  Well, we always used to make it years ago in Kindergarten.  I adapted for my blog a couple of years ago, and made it a free download.  You can get it here; it’s now called A Pancake is a Circle.  My class had been doing one page per day at our centers while a mom volunteer helps out. It’s been working out really well!  We read it every day together.  When they are done, they should have a book that they can take home and read to their parents.  We’ll even do a little “guided reading” (TK Style!) with it before they take it home!

Guided Reading?  In TK????
And speaking of Guided Reading, we once again read the little readers included in our Benchmark TK reading series.  We’ve also been learning a few sight words!  This little reader was great because each page only said two words, such as “my head,” or “my eyes.”  We first found the front and back cover, and the title page.  Then we tried to point at each word as we said it (track the words) correctly as we read it.  We counted the letters and the words on each page as well.  Then we matched the words on the cards to some word cards I wrote up myself.  And THEN we found the body parts on Mr. Potato Head!  How much fun is THAT????

How many things can we possibly sort?  We’ve sorted by color; that was easy!  But just to make it a slam dunk, my super genius teammate Jeff came up with these sorting mats for each child with the colors right on them!  The kids LOVED them!  They also really loved the buttons!

But wait- there’s MORE!  On the back of these color mats, Jeff made another type of mat.  He actually just placed the buttons right on the copy machine and made black and white pictures of them that way!  Soooo, the kids then had to sort by BUTTON, rather than by the color of the button.  Instant success; pure genius!

Then we decided to sort by LETTER, since I had a great big collection of foam letters.  Jeff decided to make a big mat for the letters, and wrote the letters down on the mat.  The first group was having trouble matching up the foam letters to the written letters, and he came over and mentioned to me how difficult it was for them- at least until the first letter was in its place.  We put our heads together and quickly came up with the idea of taping down one of each of the foam letters in the squares and – you guessed it – INSTANT SUCCESS!

And so then we did the same thing with the foam numbers.  Why not?  

By the way, these foam letters and numbers came from a large donation of foam alphabet puzzles and some very firm foam student clocks in which the numbers came out and formed a puzzle! (They looked a lot like this.)  My daughter (the TK teacher) was given a GIGANTIC bag of these and gave all of her students one of each and I did the same a few years back.  Because I am a packrat like to be prepared, I saved the letters and numbers from these items that I couldn’t give away. We used the leftover letters and numbers from those puzzles for this!  YES!  That’s why I saved them for over three years!  

Are your kiddos a bit confused with knowing the difference between letters and numbers?

This is a great activity to practice just that! Mix the letters and numbers together and have them sort!

I think that I’ve given you enough ideas for one week, right?  I hope you have an awesome weekend!

– Heidi

P.S. Don't forget all our videos are available to STREAM on UScreen, FREE for the first 30 days! It's an awesome way to bring some EASY, active learning to your students during this time, and they can always cancel right before they are ever charged, like on day 29! Check out the info page on our website for more info!

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