I had a Kindergarten revelation a few weeks ago. On one of my office shelves I inherited a shelf of those library stories you can teach with like Goldisocks and the Three Libearians, Going on a Book Hunt, etc. One of the books was “Comin’ Down to Storytime” by Rob Reid.
I hadn’t given them a fair shake.
Ummm…hadn’t even read them.
I’m not a Kindergarten teacher. I LOVE them! They are some of my favorite kids TO teach, but I feel like I let them down. I haven’t filled my tool bucket with enough action. I work on it all the time. I’m working on my comfort level at leading rhymy-singy things in front of the OTHER audience members in the library. The kinders don’t scare me. But I admit I shy away from doing those ‘cute’ things because of the other adults who might be floating through the room or the older students. I know. I need to get over myself. I’m working on it!
So, my point is…I’m not very comfortable with the things our kinders need in a lesson: short participatory learning.
I picked up the book Comin’ Down to Storytime in a moment of desperation. I read it. I liked it okay. (A ringing endorsement–really!)
With my students, I read the first half. The first five ‘verses’ (to the tune of She’ll be Comin’ Around the Mountain) were very appropriate: come to storytime, read a funny story, say a nursery rhyme, do a fingerplay and sing a song. Then I skipped the pages about coloring, doing an activity and getting a treat and went to the back for “check out books and leave.”
After we read these sections of the book, I led the class through each of the steps. We read a Froggy book, said “Jack and Jill” (I let the kids choose the nursery rhyme), did “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” sang “The Library Song,” and then checked out books!
I followed the same pattern for the second class in our rotation (I see Kinders 2 weeks on, 4 weeks off). It really helped me fit in those pieces of action and connections to cultural background knowledge in an organized way. It keeps ME on task with Kinder lessons!
Resources I’ve found:
Nursery Rhymes: Printable coloring pages with the text for each rhyme. I have never been one to provide coloring pages as the ‘activity’ with a library lesson, but I’m going to start putting these nursery rhyme copies in a center for students to have the choice. I also use these copies to display on the board for students to read. You could keep them up during centers and have students use a giant hand pointer to read it independently.
Fingerplays: There are so many out there. You can find something for any season or theme. For me, it’s a matter of remembering to add them to my lesson plans. Here’s one organized alphabetically by theme.
Library Song by Tom Chapin: I’ve created 11 signs for each character mentioned in the song. I laminated them back-to-back and have them on wide craft sticks to hold up when we sing. There are many songs you can sing with Kindergarteners, but a friend of mine got me hooked on this one. The Kinders think of it as ‘their’ song. I’ve used it to start class and also as a signal to line up.
I’m sure that most of you have better strategies to keep kindergarten lessons moving along with enough action in them to keep the kids engaged. Share please?