This year has been challenging to say the least and it seems as if each new development has brought more difficulties into the fold. However, many of us have faced these challenges head-on and shown an exceptional ability to adapt to the changing times.
As you already know, there are a wide range of effective strategies for teaching kindergartners, offering everything from useful activities to ideas for keeping students engaged!
The strategies and ideas we have outlined below are geared towards kindergarten classes but can be adapted to any grade to provide the tools you need to support your students through the end of the school year.
Teaching Strategies for Kindergarten in Any Learning Environment
Kindergarten is such an important year of education. It introduces your students to many of the skills they will carry with them through the rest of their school career and out into the real world. Because of this, you must choose effective teaching strategies to appeal to your students.
Visualization can significantly improve the overall learning experience for the visual learners in your class as well as your non-visual students. Visualization brings potentially dull or confusing concepts to life, which will directly impact the success of the lesson.
Through visualization your students can see how the lesson relates to the ‘real world.’ This approach can help them care more about the subjects you cover and prove that education stretches further than the classroom.
Utilizing visual aids like mind maps, Venn diagrams, videos and images instead of just reading text to your kindergartners can all help create a deeper and more engaging learning experience.
One of the benefits of teaching in a classroom is the opportunity to embrace cooperative learning. Here, you can pair your students of different abilities with one another to maximize their potential. Although in-person group learning is ideal, you can use video call features to break out students into their own groups and rooms.
You can do this either in small groups or for whole-class discussions, emphasizing that everybody needs to contribute. Of course, there are some roadblocks you might encounter. Your shy students may have trouble participating or presenting their ideas to the group, but pairing them with a more confident student can often help draw them out of their shell.
You can also assign students specific jobs within their group. For example, one can provide the artwork for the project, another can do the writing and a third can do the presentation to the class.
Co-op learning works well as it can give your students the confidence they need to participate more in class. While it can take time for this confidence to manifest, it will come eventually and this gives students the critical thinking skills they need, thanks to the lively discussion that comes from working with a partner or in groups.
Differentiated Instruction to Ensure Everyone is on Track
If there are any drawbacks to having a large kindergarten classroom, it is that not all students can get your full attention all day long. As much as kindergarten teachers like yourself strive to give everyone equal attention this is not always possible. From this, there is a risk that some of your students could fall behind.
This is why differentiation is so useful in a kindergarten classroom and why it stands out as one of the most effective teaching strategies.
Here, you can assign different activities based on the needs of each student. You can achieve this with worksheets of varying difficulties or setting up work stations around the classroom, where students can choose tasks that appeal to them. If everything goes as planned, this approach will keep the more advanced students busy on work that helps them learn independently, preventing any disruptions and allow you to provide individualized instruction to your students that require additional support.
Take a Strategic Approach to Behavior Management
Behavior management is an issue all of us have to deal with, no matter which age group we are teaching. However, kindergarten teachers often have to carry out behavior management more often than teachers with older students. This is no reflection on ability, but rather because young students are not entirely used to the structure and social aspects of a classroom environment.
Managing behavior is crucial, so we need an effective strategy to keep everybody on task throughout the day, especially considering the multiple disruptions this year has brought forward.
For kindergarteners, you can use a fun and vibrant system to motivate them to be on their best behavior. If you can make it interactive, this will also help them respect the system rather than not care. This could be a star chart where each student who shows specific kinds of good behavior gets a star next to their name. Use verbal praise to also point out good behavior - verbal positive reinforcement is a great tool that is free and always at your disposal.
For your students who are a bit more difficult in the behavior management department, make sure you do not reprimand them in front of the class. If a student is being disruptive, take note of it, call their name and ask them to stop the behavior in a neutral, assertive tone. If the problem persists, you will want to privately talk to them about their behavior and create a plan of action to help them take control of their words and actions.
Recommended Read What is Classroom Management? Facilitating Positive Behavior
Use Technology the Right Way
All of us, whether we like it or loathe it, need to make the most of the classroom technology that we have.
Depending on what your school can offer, devices such as tablets, computers or laptops are perfect for changing things up in the classroom. There are a variety of fun interactive learning games for your students to play online.
With hybrid, in-person and virtual learning mandates varying week-to-week and school-to-school, using technology in the classroom is something that has to be utilized.
This strategy brings interactive appeal to the classroom. However, it’s essential not to use it as a crutch for every lesson (i.e. just watching videos that cover lesson plans or only having students play online learning games). Things like videos and learning games are meant to complement existing lesson plans and promote class discussion.
We suggest that you always plan something “non-screen related” (if your students are 100% online learning you can have class discussions over a video call or send them worksheets to make sure they are taking regular breaks from the screen).
Tips for Teaching Kindergarteners Remotely
Remote teaching is a big change from what most teachers are used to, but it is something that many of us have needed to adapt to throughout the year. Whether this remains the norm or the future brings a combination of in-class and remote learning, we can make the most of this learning environment by knowing how to make any remote lesson a success.
Practice and Be Prepared!
Preparation is everything for a kindergarten teacher and this can be an even bigger issue when working in a virtual classroom. As much as technology can help us, it can also provide unexpected challenges.
To overcome this, you need to practice logging on and going through the lesson a couple of times before actually presenting it to your kindergarten students. As you won’t be directly in front of them in the classroom, the students will get distracted easier. If you are prepared and try to get ahead of potential technical difficulties, you can keep their attention throughout the lesson and move through the tasks and projects without delays.
Create a Familiar Environment
If you think that remote learning is unfamiliar and weird for you, your students are likely feeling the same way. Your kindergartners have seen movies and shows where kids are having fun in class together, but haven’t exactly had that experience for themselves yet. Create a familiar environment to ensure they feel comfortable during your lessons- Make your online classroom as close to a real-life classroom as possible, students will feel more like they are at school rather than sitting in front of their computer.
You can do this by setting up a small bulletin board behind you, having special classroom mascots that make an appearance, the same tools and visual aids you would use in the classroom and maintaining a routine.
Communicate Regularly with Parents
This one is obvious and can be somewhat difficult at times with the stress the -the pandemic has put on everyone, but you will need to make sure you send all the remote learning information needed to parents. This includes log on details, the time of the lesson and any essentials the student will need to have with them. Do not rely on your students to pass along information to their parents. Send follow up emails as needed to ensure parents understand what was sent.
If your school has an online platform that parents can access, you can post this information here as well in case they miss the email.
Stick to the Key Skills
The change from in-person to virtual learning is difficult for everybody. We have seen plenty of disruptions happen already, but you can stay ahead of the curve and keep students on track.
If you do fall behind or miss something in one of your lessons, it’s important not to worry. You can always go back to anything you missed later on. However, if you are still concerned about not fulfilling the material, make sure to stick to the key skills you need to teach. Try to avoid busywork, as this can disrupt things further, but it’s still important to have additional work ready for anyone who finishes early.
Fun Writing Activities and Lesson Plans for Kindergartners
The general idea is that everyone learns better when they have fun, no matter how old they are. In fact, if you approach your lessons with the attitude that they are going to be fun, students may not even realize they are learning. Working fun activities for kindergarten students into your existing lesson plans is the best way to go about this, both in the classroom and remote-learning environments.
There are a wide range of exciting and engaging activities you can use for your kindergarten students that guarantee they learn everything they need to know and have fun while doing so. These activities can cover all subjects and help develop key skills, such as problem solving and creativity, that they can use throughout their lives.
Any child who tells you they are not creative just hasn’t discovered the key to their creativity yet. All children have a spark of creativity ready to ignite at any moment. As a kindergarten teacher, you can help ignite that spark.
Choose writing activities that not only help your students learn the basics, but also show off their work. For example, instead of just giving them a short writing prompt about the alphabet that will go in a journal, compile their work into an awesome alphabet classbook. When finished, publish the book for the whole world to see! It’s these types of activities that are sure to excite kids and parents alike and gives everyone a memory of the work they have done and of your year together. Check out our creative tips for publishing kindergarten writing!
Below are some fun creative writing activities and lesson plans specifically geared toward kindergarten learning.
- Imaginative Kindergarten Writing Prompts That Build Vocabulary
- Magical Fairy Tale Lesson Plans for Kindergarten Classrooms
- “Things I Learned in Kindergarten” Writing Activities
- Exploring Feelings and Emotions: Writing Activities for Kindergarten Students
One of the most crucial elements of a successful kindergarten teacher is the ability to adapt. Whether you’ve been teaching for a few weeks or 30 years, you know that no two days are the same in the classroom. By demonstrating an ability to adapt your teaching strategies to suit any situation and class ability, you will find success in every lesson and allow your students to reach their full potential.
Studentreasures provides FREE Classbook Publishing Kits. Creating a classbook is not only a fun activity that teaches students about the writing process, it can also help build their confidence as young writers.
For fun writing activities and project ideas, be sure to take a peek at our online Teacher’s Lounge.