Over the past weeks many of the Kinders have been playing rhyming games. This week I am teaching them a simple game that they can make and play with their family. Using blank file cards we select about four or five word families and create a game. I like to include lots of doubles to make it successful for both players.
As this is a new game, it will be taught at a teacher centre. Then it will be available during our longer play/work blocks.
Each player begins with five cards and every time a card is laid down the player chooses a new card. The game continues until all of the cards have been used.
Our final science unit is life cycles so naturally this means that we need plants and animals to observe. We began with plants and moved onto hatching chickens, butterflies, ladybugs and (hopefully soon) tadpoles. We visited the marsh and saw lots of ducks, frogs as well as dozens of beautiful dragonflies. Next week we will visit the pond.
To record our (sometimes) new knowledge we have been using flow charts to show the cycle, but this week my Kinders are ready to branch out and I am offering them the choice to make a flip book, flow chart or picture book. Each response is a little more difficult so I am expecting that most of the children will chose a response that most fits where they are on their learning journey.
I put the chart paper on a table and asked the students to sign up for one activity.
After they signed up I prepared the materials and then today they worked in small groups to record the life cycle of a butterfly. Each group had some books to help with language and pictures. They also have learned to help each other to figure out the sequence of steps.
I chose these responses because I knew that they would appeal to a range of students while providing different challenges.
This is an effective strategy to engage learners and allow everyone to speak in a safe environment. Once the Kinders have practiced many times and are completely familiar with the strategy then you can use a fun prompt like "Partners Engage!"| and they will automatically turn to the closest person to talk.
This strategy can be used to share ideas, information, review an upcoming task or make a decision. Sometimes if you need feedback or want the class to hear a variety of ideas, a speaker from each pair can report to the group, but often it provides a venue to allow students to either talk about their ideas or experiences, revisit the information or ensures that everyone is receiving the information.
I use this strategy probably every day. Yesterday we used it to review science facts and today we will use it to ensure that they know the steps in an upcoming task.
When I introduce the strategy in the fall I begin by modeling using an adult volunteer. After doing it several times, I sit the students in a circle, give them ab names, show them how to sit knee to knee, lean in and talk. We practice with simple questions and then once the strategy is familiar the prompt can be more elaborate.
Here are the steps for this strategy:
THINK use specific instruction (summarize, solve, predict, paraphrase)
TALK Turn to your partner, sit knee to knee, lean in and take turns talking with a quiet voice
SHARE Turn and face teach when finished and ready to move on (either continue with activity or share)
I teach Kindergarten at Cinnabar Valley Elementary in Nanaimo, British Columbia. I love my job and am passionate about providing a play based program for my kinders. I graduated in 2009 from the University of Victoria with a Masters in Early Childhood.