Teaching kindergarteners is certainly not the easiest thing in the world. Most kindergarten students are just out of preschool and still pretty new to the whole “school thing.” Getting them to stay focused, engaged, and interested in their school work can be a challenge, but it is very important that we, as teachers, start their education career on the right foot.
The strategies and ideas we have outlined below are geared towards kindergarten classes. However, they can be adapted to any grade level to provide the tools you need to support your students through the end of the school year.
Teaching Strategies for Kindergarten
Kindergarten is one of the most important years of your students lives. 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 (and even the non-visual learners) in your class. 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.
You can do this in small groups or discussions that feature the entire class, 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 give 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. Because of 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 working on tasks that helps them learn independently 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.
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 ton of fun interactive learning games for your students to play online.
This strategy brings interactive appeal to the classroom. However, it’s essential that you don’t 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 games are meant to complement existing lesson plans and promote class discussion.
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.
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 class book. 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.