How to survive Halloween in Kindergarten

October 22, 2016

I know, I know, everyone LOVES Halloween. But here is my deepest, darkest, secret-I don’t.  It wasn’t always this way, I mean I love candy, I love hanging out with friends and Halloween is basically kid nirvana.  But  I am a kindergarten teacher, and if you teach in an elementary school the treats of Halloween have now become the tricks. It’s the hardest 2 days of the year. Yes, TWO days. Halloween is what everyone expects, kids all hyped up but honestly it’s the next day that I dread almost as much. The Halloween hangover. The kids stayed up way too late, they are tired, cranky, and ate a snickers bar for breakfast. Halloween is on a Tuesday this year, that is basically losing the calendar lottery.  (Not as bad as Monday last year, but not good either.) You’ll be staring down the eyes of a long long week.Here are my tips to get you through;#1 Stick to your routine. I know, I know, you want to have a party or a parade for the little darlings. What child doesn’t love the idea of a parade. So do it if you must, but keep it short!!! Take a quick...

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Using robots to teach reading

October 16, 2016

I love robots! I love robots, I mean I REALLY love robots. I love what it does for kids. How it amazes them, how it empowers them, how it reaches them like nothing else. I don’t consider myself “techie” ( my own kids will agree), but somehow this “no tech” person has been coaching robotics for the last 8 years. Prepare for the shamless plug… all of those years my team made it to the state championship. I have had a front-row seat to what robotics does for kids.    You can see, the wheels turning in kids’ heads. I was able to see, literally you can see, the wheels turning in kids’ heads. Kids solve complex problems using robotics. So it makes perfect sense to use robotics to teach kids…..anything. Kindergarten is the perfect time to get started with robots. I never met a kindergarten child who was afraid to push a button. Their willingness to take risks with technology is far greater than people (ahem) of my generation.  So where do you start? I start with BEE-BOTs. If you haven’t tried BeeBots buy them here. If you have, you already know the power of this simple but...

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Where do I start with reading groups?

October 13, 2016

Kindergarten reading groups often don’t involve any “reading” in the way that parents typically think.  Your students may not be able to “read” I see the fat cat until the spring. But don’t be fooled, the ground work that is laid in the first half of kindergarten is crucial to being a successful reader.                          But where do I start? In the words of Glenda the good witch “My dear, you start at the beginning.” Letter naming. Kindergarten students need to identify the letters out of order, in both upper and lowercase and in different fonts. A child’s ability to quickly name letters is an indicator of whether they will be a successful reader or one that struggles. Don’t race through this critical step, or even worse skip it all together. We need to assess their letter knowledge and let that data drive our instruction. Use a data sheet to check for the number of letters a child can read in one minute. It literally takes 60 seconds. Just make it part of your routine. The first week of the month I monitor how quickly they can name letters. I...

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October 2, 2016

Counting and Cardinality is essential to any kindergarten math curriculum. Kids need to know how and why we use numbers.                                     There are 2 major  key concepts for kindergarten students at the beginning of the year.  One to one counting and counting sets.Counting isn’t just as easy as 1 2 3.  Sure you’re going to have kids who have already mastered this skill. But take time with those who haven���t. Mastering these skills now will lay the groundwork for a strong understanding in math.  Even those children who seem to have an understanding of counting may need extra support. What do my kids need to know?The number 1 concept your kids need to know is the name of numbers in order. Can they count 1-20? What if they start at 4, will they know what comes next?  The best way to assess this skill is to observe kindergarteners as they count. Do they count each object only once? Do they have a strategy for keeping of track of what they have already counted? Do they know that the last number they say is also...

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