January 2009




I’m almost sad that Camp Kindergarten is over for another year!

We had a blast in Boston with teachers from Mongolia to Luxembourg - from California to Saudi Arabia!!! We discovered that kindergarten teachers all over the world are the same in so many ways. We love our children and we want to make learning fun!

Make letter vests or number vests by writing giant letters or numerals on paper. Insert in clear sheet protectors, punch holes at the top, and tie on string so children can wear these around their necks. Give each child a vest to wear and then divide the class into two teams. Teams face each other and take turns calling letters or numbers to come to their side. For example, “Red rover, red rover, send K right over.” The child wearing the “K” walks, skips, or jumps to join the other team.

*You could play a similar game with words.

Hint! Use highway letters from “makinglearningfun.com” for this activity.

BOOM CHICKA BOOM – ONE MORE TIME! (Brittani, Huntington, WV)
Brittani has created dozens of new verses for this chant. Here are a few:

Astronaut Style – I said a zoom to the moon. (2 times)
I said a zoom take a rocket, take a rocket to the moon!

Clean Up – I said a broom sweep a broom. (2x)
I said a broom sweep a mop a, sweep a mop a, sweep a broom.

Valley Girl Style – I said like boom chick a boom. (2x)
I said like boom chicka rocka chicka rocka chicka boom.

Super Hero Style – I said a savin’ the day. (2x)
I said a savin’ the day, I’m flying your way!

School Style – I said a go (name of your school or mascot). (2x)
I said a go, go, go, go, go (mascot), go!

CANDY LAND FOR BIG KIDS (Megan St. Pierre, Branford, CT)

One year for Christmas Megan asked parents to donate a board game to the classroom instead of giving a teacher gift. She asked for several copies of Candy Land and then adapted the game for skills she was working on. On two of the games she wrote letters on the back of the cards. Before the kids could move to the next color they had to name the letter on the cards. On the other two games she used sight words on the cards. She adapted the games to meet the children’s needs through the year. For example:

September & October – The kids named the letters before moving.
November & December – The kids made letter sounds before moving.
January & February – The kids gave a word that started with the letter before moving.
March – June – The kids read sight words before moving.

Hint! Label each game’s cards in a different color so they are easy to separate if they get mixed up.

BINGO AND LOTTO GAMES (Megan St. Pierre, Branford, CT)
Purchase baseball card sheet protectors. (You can find these at Walmart or craft stores.) Cut paper to fit in the sections. At the beginning make cards with letters or numerals 1-10. As the year moves along uses higher numbers or sight words. Children can use these like bingo cards or for matching games.


Hint! Use a different color per sheet so when the kids trade in their sheet for a new one they can remember what colors they’ve already tried. You can also use both sides of the sheet protector.

Nyasha hit the nail on the head with this observation! She explained that she had taught in a very low income school as well as a very exclusive school and she noted that mothers really are the same and want what’s best for their children. How true!

I added to Nyasha’s observation by saying, “BABY BEARS ARE BABY BEARS REGARDLESS OF IQ.” By that I mean, a five year old is a five year old even if they can read on a 5th grade level. We need to remember that in spite of intellectual age, socially and emotionally children need to act their age!

TWO LITTLE BLACKBIRDS (Barbara Winton, Boston)
Two little blackbirds sitting in a row. (Hold up index fingers.)
One named Fast and one named Slow.
Fly away Fast. (Move one finger quickly behind your back.)
Fly away Slow. (Move the other finger slowly behind your back.)
Come back Fast.
Come back Slow.

Two little blackbirds sitting on a cloud.
One named Quiet and one named Loud.
Fly away Quiet. (Say this verse quietly.)
Fly away Loud. (Say with a loud voice.)
Come back Quiet.
Come back Loud.

MUSICAL ALPHABET (Tracy Vasselin, Boston)
Use a pointer to point to letters as you sing alphabet songs. Randomly stop the music and see how many students top with you. If you stump them then you can say, “Oh, I got you!” If they are paying attention and stop when the music stops then you can say, “Oh, you got me!”

PROTEACHER.COM (Karen Iannucci)
If you have a problem or need some suggestions, just go to proteacher.com and you’ll get dozens of great ideas from other teachers. (You will need to create a name and password, but the site is free.)

RESERVE SIGNS (Stacey Russo, MA)
Print the word “Reserve” on foam door hangers or laminated construction paper. Children can use the reserve sign to temporarily leave an activity to use the bathroom, eat snack, etc. This lets other classmates know they will be returning to the activity shortly. It makes the transition easier for the child because they are assured that no one will disturb what they are doing.

MAILBOX VOCABULARY (Cheryl Grasso, Boston)
Place a small mailbox on your desk. If the flag is up, that means there is a new vocabulary word in the mailbox. Model using the “special delivery” word in sentences throughout the day.

HANGMAN ALTERNATIVE (Patty Artunes, Union, NJ)
Patty plays hangman with her first graders using vocabulary words. To change it up, she scrambles the words and the students have to call out letters in order. For example, children have to take “bilcm” and call out “climb.”

IDEAS FROM MONGOLIA!!! (Emily Czarnata, Mongolia)
Paper is limited for Emily in Mongolia so she recycles everything! For example, she lets the children make paper chains out of Scholastic catalogues. Their goal is to reach 100.

Visit kinderplans.com for units to use throughout the school year.

What do you do with the student who does something faster than the others? Most of Emily’s students are ESL, so for her one student who understands English and always wants to answer the question first, Emily ask him to write the answer.

Emily gives her students daily stickers that they collect in groups of 5 or 10. The class collects 100 stickers in sets of ten. Then they use the stickers to decorate Christmas ornaments for their tree.

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