My teacher is excellent with her lessons. She really proves that less is more. When working with kindergarten children, long, multi-step lessons can be a bit overwhelming. Because of this, my CT has chosen to use mini-lessons with her students. These lessons last about twenty minutes and often involve a mixture of instruction and a whole group game. Her lessons seem so relaxed and the children all seem so engaged. She has them sit in the circle time area while delivering them. One challenge that she faces is having to teach the English language while teaching academic content simultaneously. She plans carefully to fit in both language and content in a way that seems natural rather than forced upon the students.
During one of my days in the classroom, I observed two of her lessons. The first lesson was about rhyming words. This is a difficult concept for many English Language Learners because they are still gaining phonemic awareness in their second language. My CT made up a story about a monkey’s birthday party. She made flash cards with pictures on them. The pictures were of food and animals/ insects. First, she went over the vocabulary with the students, card by card. Then she began the story. She would say, “The next person to come to the birthday party was the bee. What did the bee bring?” and the children would have to sort through the food cards until they found a rhyming card, such as “tea”. The kids loved this game and really got practice with rhyming as they would say the animal name and then name other foods to try to find a rhyme. This taught the content of rhyming and the vocabulary of the animals and food simultaneously. Most importantly, the children had fun and were so engaged!
The next lesson I observed was a math lesson. The class was working on math vocabulary such as more than, less than, equal to, etc. The teacher went over some vocabulary words and then the students played a game. Two at a time, two students would come into the center of the circle. Both were given a straw and with the straw, they needed to suck up as many paper stethoscopes as possible and put them into a box without dropping them. (They used stethoscopes because it is one of their vocabulary words, as they are doing a career unit). They had thirty seconds to complete the task. After the thirty seconds was up, the class counted the stethoscopes in each box together, practicing the numbers in English. Then they would discuss who had more, who had less, or if the amounts were equal. Once again, the children were so engaged and had so much fun, all while learning important vocabulary and content. I really would like to start using mini-lessons with fun activities incorporated within them in my P3!