At the first of the month, I passed out a weather graph to the children to keep in their homework folders. At circle time each day, we would talk about the weather, whether sunny or cloudy, rainy or snowy, windy or calm, or foggy. When they went back to their seats, they would color a square in the graph for the weather that day. At the end of the month we would discuss the graph, which weather had the most squares colored and which had the least. This was a great example of more than, less than for the children. I had two sessions of Kindergarten a day, and oft times the morning and afternoon graphs were quite different. This also led to more discussion about weather changes.
Another way to involve the children in the theme unit is to have them make stick puppets to use with songs and poems. They especially work well with counting poems, such as 5 Little Buses. I wrote this little poem to go in our Back to School unit.
5 Little Buses
One little bus driving to school.
Along came another bus and then there were two.
Two buses rolling along merrily.
Along came another bus and then there were three.
Three little buses wishing there were more.
Along came another bus, then there were four.
Four little buses feeling so alive.
Met another bus, then there were five.
Five little buses rolling on their way.
Taking children to the school to spend a happy day!
Each child would color and cut out 5 buses and then glue them to a craft stick. They had so much fun adding buses to their hands as the poem was said. And, they learned a little about addition as well!
Tabbed books are a great way to reinforce information to be learned! They can be use in so many different ways and in so many different forms. The tabs can be across the top, along the right side, or across the bottom. I used the instructions for making a tabbed book on the website, wehavekids.com/education/tabbed-books.
When we did a unit on squirrels, we made a tabbed book with bits of information about our subject. The children created the book, then cut apart the strips of information to glue in the books. Then they drew illustrations to go with each fact.
I thought it was important for the children to have some activity to do when checking in at the beginning of the Kindergarten day. Some days I would have them write their name on a sheet of paper or have them answer some kind of question. Early on, I like to ask them a question that they could answer by placing a sticker on a graph. This graph was then talked about during circle time, discussing each child’s answer. I found it a good way to get to know one other and to teach a little math, such as most or least or counting how many columns and how many stickers in each column. On the graph titled, How Did You Get to School, we talked about who lived in town, who rode a bus, who could walk and with whom, and whose parents drove them and if they were in a carpool or not.
Because we lived in a rural area, most of our children rode the bus to school. Talking about why they didn’t walk or ride in a car led to more discussion. Leaving the graph out where the children could have access to it in their free time brought about more discussion and interest as well. However, I found printing it on card stock could help it last a bit longer.
This graph can be found in our 30 page Back to School theme book.
Class books are such a fun way to involve all the students. Each child is given a page to either draw on (early in the year) or write on (later as their skills improve). Sometimes I would have my aide write what the child wanted to say on the page. Then, during circle time, we would read the book again and again. I would usually make one of these class books each month or during any theme we would do. At the end of the year, I would staple each child’s pages together to send home. What a great way to teach the value and importance of drawing or writing one’s thoughts!