Stick Puppets

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

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.

How Did You Get to School?

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.

ABC Chants

I love ABC chants!  It’s such a fun, creative way to teach and reinforce the learning of the alphabet!  I would print the chants on large, lined chart paper.  At the beginning of the year, as we had circle time each morning, the children would say the letters and I would say the verses .  As the year progressed, the children were much better at learning the verses also.  They had so much fun when we added a bit of rhythm by clapping or using lummy sticks, or by using stick or paper bag puppets to the recitation.  I loved having a chant for every month of the year, and for most themes we talked about.  Our theme books have at least one chant included, and we have this book available with nothing but 33 chants!

This is the Winter chant printed on chart paper.

This is how the chants look in the book.

These puppets would be fun to use with these chants!

Class Books

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! 

Student Reading Logs

From past posts, you realize that I am in favor of teaching student responsibility!  Here is another way I tried to teach this to my Kindergarten children.  I gave the students a reading log that was placed in their homework folder at the beginning of each month.  At the beginning of the year, stickers were placed on each day that the child was read to by a parent, sibling, babysitter or grandparent.  As the year progressed, the stickers stood for the books the child read themselves.  If stickers were not available, just a check mark or an X was okay.  The children loved to compare their logs with others in the class.  These logs were collected at the end of each month and then made into a booklet at the end of the year.  What a great reminder of their success through the year!

Each of our theme books have a reading log included.

Homework Folders

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.

Make and Take Apple Book

Our apple theme book has books about apples for the children to make and take home.  We have included books at three different levels of difficulty.  The children loved to make these and bring them to circle time where we read them all together.  The children were then allowed to take them home for more reading fun!  Sometimes I would require a parent signature on the book to let me know the book had been read at home.  The child would then bring the book back in his homework folder for me to check.  I liked the idea of teaching the child some responsibility, both to read the book and to bring it back to school the next day.  The children looked forward to making and taking books home!   This book is level 1.

Apple Graph

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.

Little Apple Book

I loved anything the children could create in school and take home for more fun.  With our apple unit, we made little apple books that could be colored in class, cut out in class, put together in class, read in class and then taken home to be read again and again!  Sometimes I had parents sign a sheet saying how many times the book was read by the student at home.  I liked helping the students feel responsible.  The pattern for this book can be found in our apple theme book or can be purchased separately in our store.