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!
I took every opportunity I could to teach my little Kindergarten children responsibility. Responsibility for their actions, for their belongings and for their classwork! One thing I did was set each child up with a homework folder. This was simply a theme folder with each child’s name, a pocket for things to go home, and a pocket for things to come back to school. We put a reading log in each folder so the parent could add a sticker for any reading done at home. Any notes going home for the parents, such as permission slips, were placed in this folder. Any work they didn’t finish in school was placed in it as well. Then, hopefully anything needing to come back to school was put in the folder also. This system seemed to work very well for us, our students, and our parents!
Our homework folder looked somewhat like this. Each month, the child could add a new sticker to the cover.
The inside page of the folder with the work to go home.
The second part of the folder with the things to bring back to school.
I loved circle time. It was such a good time for me and the children to visit and get to know one another. It’s a great teaching time as well. With our apple unit, we talked about the different ways apples could be prepared and what was their favorite. I gave each child a sticker to place on the graph.
When finished, it gave us the opportunity to talk about most favorite, least favorite, count the apples in each column, discuss more than-less than, talk about kinds of apples, colors of apples, where apples grow, do they like to climb trees and many more things. What a great way to get to know each other and learn a little math as well! You will find this apple graph in our theme book about apples.