the kindergarten way

how kindergarten imitates life

Barrier Games for Oral Language Practice

   
 

Sailing in a Dream

I’m always looking for ways to incorporate fun and authentic oral language practice which is key for all K’s especially for my English Language Learners (ELLs). But, while there are many ways to engage children in speaking, it is much more difficult to find activities that allow children to practice listening. What I love about barrier games, is that they incorporate both listening and speaking with the option of adding vocabulary lessons to scaffold and expand language.

Barrier games involve a barrier, like a folder standing on it’s edge or a book, placed between two people. Each person has a “board game” or storyboard (e.g., a Halloween scene like a fence, tree and moon) and the same “board game pieces” or characters (e.g., 2 pumpkin shapes, a witch shape and a ghost). One person “makes a story” by placing their pieces on their characters on their storyboard and describing the…

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Z is for Moose- Class Big Book

Sailing in a Dream

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky, is a hilarious and entertaining picture book that was recommended to me by my department head. It’s appropriate for K and Grade 1 as it reviews alphabet letters, beginning sounds and has an interesting social-emotional aspect.

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It starts off as a typical alphabet book- “A is for apple, B is for ball”, etc. but when the reader reaches the letter “D”, the moose barges onto the page wondering of it’s his turn as the text reads “D is for moose”. The “director” of the alphabet book, Zebra, orders moose off the page; however he continues in this manner, impatiently making his entrance on the wrong letters each time. Finally, upon reaching the letter “M”,  the moose ends up being replaced by “Mouse” as decided by Zebra. Chaos ensues, the moose looses it and the rest of the alphabet becomes a…

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Teaching Self-Regulation in K

Sailing in a Dream

The beginning of the kindergarten school year is insanity. I keep hearing from many Grade 1 teachers who have never taught K but who have ended up teaching a combined K/1 for the first time that they had NO idea how much we K teachers work on in terms of teaching the basic skills like lining up, sitting down, holding a pencil, manners, etc. After all, we just play all day, right?

But get this: we also have to teach these kids HOW to play. Many of these children are not used to having to share an adult/toys/friends with more than one or two people. Teachers need to provide the children with the tools to help them play cooperatively with their peers in a school/classroom environment. The end goal being that they will be able to solve their own issues with as little help from the teacher/adults as possible.

At…

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Songs for Teaching

Sailing in a Dream

A bit of shameless self-promotion here: I created a website last year for my Masters final project that I’d like to share with you. It’s mostly aimed at early educators who are interested in using more songs with their students but perhaps don’t know where to start. It includes some research on using songs with diverse learners, samples of songs (with me singing and playing the guitar), some links to music websites and other helpful ideas. Even if you don’t have a need for these resources, at least just visit to hear me sing!

Key of Kindergarten- Using Songs to Teach English Language Learners

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PE in The Early Years

Sailing in a Dream

I’ve been teaching Kindergarten for 8 years and by no means have I come close to mastering the art of teaching young children, but there are definitely some subject areas that I prefer teaching (or am better at teaching) than others. I love teaching anything to do with literacy, music and art but I cringe at the thought of teaching PE to K’s. And of course, it’s their favourite subject- they get to run, scream and throw their bodies/objects around in a virtually limitless amount of space (so, yes, it does resemble a bunch of cages zoo animals who have just been released into the wild).

But it’s a (sort of) organized chaos. And it’s amazing how these little knee-knockers progress in their gross-motor skills in the span of 10 months. It’s what I love most about K: there’s so much growth and the credit mostly goes to them and…

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The Pumpkin Patch

A teacher always takes a bit of risk when they decide to take on the Pumpkin Patch so early in the school year…especially with Kindergarten! But, for many of them, this is typically their first time riding on the school bus! And for some of the children, this was probably their very first time at a farm.
It is such a pleasure to watch how carefully the children choose their pumpkins, their excited faces as we ride the tractor trailer to the corn maze. We had a fabulous time this year and lucky for us, the rain held out and there were very few soggy friends at the end of the day. Thank you to the parents and school staff who came to help us on this busy and exciting day!

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Why the kindergarten way?

When I tell people what I do for a living (I’m a kindergarten teacher in case you couldn’t tell!), people typically react with an “Aw! They must be so cute!” or “Aw! You must love what you do!”. And, yes! we DO play all day, we DO have “nap time”, we DO have lots of fun, and it DOES take a lot of patience. But every second, of every day, the children are learning. They are learning from their teachers and each other, but I am also learning from them.

This blog is meant to showcase the learning that goes on in our classroom. Whether you are a teacher, parent or someone who has little interaction with children, I hope to demystify and share with others the inside world of the kindergarten classroom. I also hope to reveal the connections with how the types of learning that goes in kindergarten can transfer to all ages. Learning should be fun, learning can be playful, and learning might mean slowing down and finding intrigue in our everyday world.

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