“How can one not love kindergartners?” Kindergartners are resilient; they bounce back quickly from hurt feelings, tears, and disagreements with classmates to smiling and playing with friends shortly after the sad emotions. Zoom was no different. As teachers, Zoom was the unknown, but those resilient five- and six-year olds helped me and my colleagues adapt quickly, as they were eager to be with their teachers and friends even virtually.
Sitting for periods of time is not in the wheelhouse of most kindergartners or teachers. We incorporated lots of movement into the morning meetings and closing circles to keep the students engaged and to build community. We did fun games and activities from freeze dance to scavenger hunts. The kindergartners were all smiles as they came running back to their workstations when they heard the chime ring to share their items from home.
A beloved cross-curricular unit is the animal and habitat research project. We researched various habitats from the hot desert to the open grasslands to the freezing Arctic to the deep blue sea during reading workshop. The kindergartners were eager to share their findings about habitats, food, fun facts and things they liked about their animal. We incorporated animals into math during the pattern unit. Students created pattern snakes and shared their snakes during a closing circle where they learned facts about various snakes. The students were assigned both fiction and nonfiction books about animals to read during independent reading. Teachers used guided practice to teach students how to do the research during writing workshop. Students were taught how to look up their animal on the Khan Academy Kids app to learn more information.
Choice is a big part of our academic learning. Each child chose an animal from this app to learn more about. The children were able to choose a fun fact, something they thought was super cool about their animal. Students also were invited to share something new about what they like about their animal, something that makes them smile. The culminating event was a presentation of their animal and habitat. Children created habitat hats, animal masks and dioramas of their animal’s habitat. Each child became an animal expert during this process. The students bravely shared all their findings with their classmates and teachers. As a teacher, it made me smile, as all the students were learning from one another and cheering each other on.
So, I will ask again, “How can one not love kindergartners?” They are brave, adaptable, fun, and most of all resilient!