My lesson plan today includes engaging my students in a discussion about kindergarten. I will be asking my students to give me their opinion about what they like at kindergarten. We may be five years old, but we know what we like. I will be teaching my students how to write their opinion down on paper. It is important that my students learn to form an opinion about a text and then support their opinion. Many future assignments in upper grades will depend on their learning this skill in kindergarten.
I begin my lesson with my students seated on the carpet.
"The story I am going to read to you today is about a mouse named Henry. He was so excited to go to Kindergarten. As he walked to school he asked his mom what he would do when he got to class. His mom told him about all the things he would do. Do you think he will do the same things we do in our class? Hmm, I wonder what he will do? "
"Before we read the story about Henry I want to draw my favorite thing, a circle map. Let's think of things that we do here in our kindergarten class. I will write down all your answers. I would like you to bridge with your partner so I can see who has a partner and who doesn't. Remember that the orange row partners with the green row and the blue row partners with the purple row. Great! Everyone is here today! Put your hands on your head and think about what you like to do in our Kindergarten class. Turn to your partner and tell them using the sentence frame: I like to _____. So, you will turn to your partner and say; I like to paint. Your partner will give you a high five and then will tell you what he likes to do in kindergarten."
I walk around and quickly listen and prompt my shy students to participate. Using partner sharing allows the shy and quiet student the opportunity to respond in a nonthreatening way. I like to use sentence frames for my ELL students. Sentence frames take the guess work out of how to answer. Everyone's sentence is the same except the one word. Sentence frames teach correct pronunciation of words and sentence structure.
"Thumbs up when you and your partner have used the sentence frame; I like to ____. I will quickly go down the rows and ask what you like to do in our kindergarten class."
If I get too many of the same answer, I will question and prompt the students to give different answers that I write on the circle map. We review the answers quickly using echo speaking.
"The story I want to read to you is called Look out kindergarten Here I Come. It is funny to see all the things Henry has to do to get ready for school."
" Do you have to do the same thing Henry does every morning? Of course you do. Everyone has to get dressed and brush their teeth and eat breakfast. Henry walks to school with his mom and little sister. Henry asks his mom what he will do in kindergarten, do we do the same things in our class that Henry does? We will check our circle map and see if we do. Do we paint? Do we learn our ABC's, can we write our name, do we sing silly songs, do we play games in PE, do we count, do we read stories? YES! We do!"
As I read the story I will stop to ask questions and try to connect the story to feelings they might have had on their first day of school.
"Oh, No, Henry is scared. Raise your hand if you were scared to come to school. Was it scary to come in this room with all the children and tables and chairs? What do you think Henry will do? Will he cry and go home? Will he hide under the table? Let's read more and find out."
"Henry looked around the room and decided, what? Yes, that Kindergarten would be a lot of fun. YAY! I am glad that Henry liked his class and decided to stay. Did he have all the fun things in his room that we have? Let's check our circle map and see. We will add more things if we think of things that are not on the circle map."
"Now, I want you to think about what you like to do in Kindergarten. When you say you like something, you are giving your opinion about it. You either like something or you do not like something. I want you to tell me what you like about our class."
"Thumbs up if you know what your favorite thing to do in Kindergarten is. Great, you all know! Let me show you how we are going to write today. Using the document camera I model using the sentence frame; I like to _______ . at the bottom of the page and the picture at the top of the page. If I write; I like to paint. If I like to paint what should my picture have in it? Your right, it should have me painting. Should it have me riding a unicorn with rainbows? NOOOOOO! My picture has to match my sentence. That would be silly! Everyone think about what you like to do in Kindergarten. We will go to our tables and write our sentence."
I send the paper passers to pass out the papers and call the students a row and a time to get their pencil boxes and sit at their tables. I walk around and prompt the students to write the sentences themselves by sounding out the words. I teach writing using sentence frames because it helps my students understand what to write. My sentence frames use a lot of high frequency words. Eventually my students will be able to recall the sentence frames and write all by themselves.
As they finish, I gather the papers and have the students clean up their tables and sit on the carpet to read library books quietly.
When most of the students have finished their papers, I ask them to put away their library books and get ready to read their papers to the whole class.
I call students up one at a time to the front of the class to read their sentences and show their picture. We applaud each reading.
When all have read their papers we do the Cowboy cheer. YAY for Kindergarten.