One way our class is building an inclusive learning community is by sharing the role of setting up the physical environment. While a lot of that responsibility is only developmentally appropriate for me, there are many tasks the children can take charge of. When setting up the classroom this year I deliberately left certain areas of the classroom undone and set up a plan for how the children and I could create those parts of the classroom together. There was even a point in which I was taking items down off the walls to make room for the children to take charge.
On the first day of kindergarten, the children made their own name tags for their coat hooks using their table name tag I had made as reference and a little creativity. The children were so proud to find their own coat hook the next morning, many children making a point of telling their parents about making their own name tag. It was a powerful moment of independence and collaboration.
On the second day of kindergarten we completed a more decorative project for the bulletin board above our SMART Board. This board is too high to hang learning tools for the kids to refer to, making it the perfect spot for a little beauty just for beauty’s sake. We read the book Shades of People and discussed the beautiful rainbow of people that made up our class.
The kids got very creative turning their “m”s into monsters! We even had a coconut-eating monster! We have been working on finding that balance between following directions and being creative. For example the kids were able to decide where to glue their feathers and how many to use but were expected to use a small drop of glue to attach each feather.
Here are some monster creations.
Over the past few days the children have been introduced to a variety of math work that provides them opportunities to develop number sense, counting skills, spatial reasoning, and problem solving skills. Today the children began making math choices and working around the room on their choices.
Here is a quick summary of a day in the life of a summer school kindergartener.
Morning Work: Math manipulatives, books or coloring at tables and a great time to chat with friends.
Morning Meeting: A time to welcome friends to a new day of learning. We also learn about the calendar and the days of the week. We set a tone of positivity and productivity by reading and discussing the Raven Rules.
Letter of the Day: Whole group practice of letter name, sound and formation. Independent practice with coloring the corresponding page in our alphabet books.
Recess: Fresh air and friendship!
Literacy Work Time: Kindergarteners chose and complete a variety of work to foster early literacy skills and fine motor development.
Lunch and Recess
Number of the Day: Whole group practice with counting and conceptualizing numbers.
Math Work Time: Working with math manipulatives and playing math games.
Alphabet Craft: Crafty creations to promote a love of literacy, fine motor skills, as well as developing focus and concentration.
Name Work and/or Poem of the Day: Whole group activities to promote early literacy skills.
Rest Time: A quiet time for relaxing or snoozing.
Snack Time: Yum!
Play Time: A time to develop fine and gross motor skills, build background knowledge, and develop social skills.
Read aloud, Songs, Dance and Movement: These activities happen between each main academic activity.
I hope this helps families get a better sense of what your child is experiencing each day!
Each day in summer school we study a letter. We talk about the letters name and sound. We read a rhyme with the letter sound and practice writing the letter. We color that letter’s page in our alphabet book which helps us become more familiar with the letter’s shape.
Each day we also complete a craft activity about the letter. The purpose of the craft is to develop fine motor skills, concentration and task completion skills, as well as the skills do listening and following directions. The children love experiencing the satisfaction of focusing and following through to accomplish a goal.
Today our craft was an open ended craft in which the children cut out the letter “d”, glued it down, and turned it into something that starts with “d”. We had ducks, dinosaurs, doctors and donuts. It was fun to see the kids get creative and problem solve to make their creation. We learned first hand the importance of using tiny drops of glue so we could color with our ripping our papers. Constructivism in action!
Here are the kids working and a few of our finished projects.
This school year has given each of us many, many, opportunities for gratitude. In our class we make it a habit to direct our feet to the sunny side of the street (Thank you Willie Nelson for those words of wisdom). We stay positive and open to each learning opportunity and find little moments to admire and compliment each other. The kids have developed a smiley, relaxed vibe that is pleasant to be around and helps the class stay focused on learning.
We have had a wonderful year of learning and we took a few minutes to reflect on all the people who help us at our school. We made a list and came up with 29 people! The compared 29 helpers to the 20 kids in our class and found that we have more people helping us then we have kids in our class. We felt very lucky!
The kids then wrote a special letter thanking each helper decorated with drawings and stickers. I encouraged each child to take a little extra time and put in a little extra effort on their letter to show the recipient how much we care. Some children wrote extra letters as well. Here are a couple favorites.