The final months of the year are the slowest moving of all. The sun is out, the students are ready for summer break, and yet, there you are; still weeks away from cocktails poolside. But do not worry!
Below you will find ways to make the final weeks pass by as quickly as possible. From student experiences, resources, and freebies, I will include information to make your life easier while you daydream about tan lines and beach bonfires.
These are the last few weeks we will spend with our students and interventions are very important as we transition our students to kindergarten. Transitions can be difficult to plan because all students are at different levels and the planning can easily become overwhelming. No matter how difficult they are, interventions are a great opportunity for teachers to see growth week by week. It keeps us, and the students, very motivated. Thankfully in pre-k, interventions mean we’re playing lots of games!
To make the most impact I use games that focus on objectives from our curriculum. Currently my students and I are obsessed with our fish file folders. These games help students with seriation, sorting, number identification, and patterning objectives. How fun! Luckily we are offering it as a freebie in our TpT store and you can get your free copy of the fish file folder games.
Aside from games that are solely focused on academics, students can also enjoy playing games like Charades, Candy Land, and even Apples to Apples. Talk about learning galore!
- Fine motor practice, giving hints (first letter, letters in words, phonetic spelling)
- Answering WH- questions
- Turn taking
- Sharing with friends and following directions!
So many objectives in great childhood games that students don’t even know they’re learning. The kids have fun and we see progress, what’s not to love?
Since interventions are a way of differentiating for students who need additional support we can turn our attention to the students that are excelling. These students consistently score in the seven to nine levels of the Creative Curriculum continuum. What do we do with them in the final weeks of the school year? Challenge them of course! Spiral up your planning to include beginning of the year kindergarten CCSS. With students that are (developmentally and cognitively) ready I begin to work on kindergarten objectives for math, reading, and writing.
We begin by journaling daily. Daily Journaling is something that I did with my students in kindergarten and it made their writing so much better. When they became excited about their drawings their writing became better too! This is a sure fire way to get students used to writing on a daily basis.
Journaling on a daily basis is perfect practice for students to draw pictures that are detailed with characters and settings. Students get experience with labeling and stretching words. You’ll see their words go from just onset sounds to onset/medial/rime. This is the time to prepare them for all of the writing they will be doing in kindergarten.
End of year math activities can include addition and subtraction using a five frame. When including addition and subtraction in your lessons make sure that students get practice using manipulatives. Just like with everything else, students this young might need some additional help understanding addition/ subtraction conceptually and therefore will need a concrete example to understand addition and subtraction. Manipulatives are the best way to show them adding means “give me more” and subtraction means “take some away”.
My favorite game to introduce addition to students is called Pop and Add. This game is fun because students get to use a toggle mechanism to ‘pop’ numbers out. The game comes with apples but I like to change the manipulatives to things that students like (counting bears, dinosaurs, etc.) Changing out manipulatives makes the game more engaging for students and keeps the game feeling new. You can find this, and other ‘pop and add’ games,’ at the Lakeshore Learning Website. With so much spiraling over the last few weeks these students are sure to hit the ground running in September.
Hopefully, with these tips your end of year lesson planning will go easier and smoother. I hope you enjoyed all of the freebies and use them in your classroom. Don’t forget to take pictures and tag The Elementary Helper on Instagram using #IsItSummerYet #TheElementaryHelper #TEH and #TEHInMyRoom.
Did we forget anything? Do you have other fun ideas or activities that make differentiation fun? Keep the conversation going below!