As teachers the only thing that is constant is change. Changing grade levels, adding new students, learning new curriculum, researching new methods, adopting new standards, and the list goes on and on. It's something that just comes with the job and that's why here at The Elementary Etourage we wanted to share some of the ways we have changed over the years with our "Teaching: Then and Now."
Many of you already know that I am a former kindergarten teacher turned stay at home mommy to these little cutie pies.
While I love being at home with them but I do miss the classroom a lot too so I began Tot School with Madelynn in January. Through this experience I have found SO many ways to incorporate learning through play. I really wish I would have had made play a priority in my kindergarten classroom. I guess because it wasn't really encouraged in my building I mostly reserved play for special times of the year like making gingerbread houses at Christmas time:
Enjoying the first snowfall at recess:
Or playing games on field day:
Of course we always had math and literacy centers that included some play, but the main goal was to practice a skill.
As I plan my Tot School activities however, I do the opposite. I usually think of the play first and then add in learning. I'm amazed at all of the things Madelynn has learned and she's not even 3 yet! I know that I could incorporate many of these ideas in a kindergarten classroom. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
Using snacks like mini marshmallows to build letters and animal crackers or goldfish to practice counting. Food = instant fun :)
Themed Letter and Number Hunts for more recognition practice that gets kids up and moving.
Relay races for sorting.
And sensory bins for all kinds of practice.
Letter matching/word building:
Learning new vocabulary:
And so much more! Click on any of the pictures above to find out more about that Tot School Activity or find all of our Tot School fun here!
I know that if/when I teach kindergarten again I am going to make play a priority and find ways to weave learning into those experiences.