Kindergarten can be unpredictable. Like the weather, you can never be too sure how it’s going to go, despite the forecasts.
You might be dealing with the different needs of different toddlers simultaneously. Or maybe you’re getting peppered with inquiries from parents who are demanding your attention. Perhaps there’s a school-wide crisis – say, a power outage – that disrupts your class time.
All the while you’re struggling with establishing and managing the right curriculum and figuring out how to make lessons more engaging.
Like bringing an umbrella and raincoat when there are prospects of thunderstorms, the more prepared you are to face the random challenges that four-and-five-year-olds can bring to your classroom while still providing meaningful instruction, the better you will fare. You most likely have been advised about this before from instructors and administrators, but the lesson plan format is your friend.
But are you getting a little burned out by rehashing the same toddler lesson plans over and over and trying to figure out how to make lessons more engaging, leaving yourself and your little ones feeling uninspired? Has this led to a lack of preparation because the creative well has run dry? Don’t worry, you can get a leg up on your preparedness by refreshing your kindergarten lesson plans and learning how to create an effective lesson plan with crafting strategies for classroom success.
Let’s face it: creating kindergarten lesson plans can be tedious and time consuming. But creating the right strategies for success can give your kindergarten lesson plans the refresh you need for serving your classroom kids better while also maximizing your time spent on preparation – and still maintaining work-life balance. Let’s check out how to create an effective lesson plan that will leave your classroom feeling inspired.
Here are some engagement strategies for kindergarten and for making your kindergarten lesson plans more engaging, challenging and fun for your eager learners:
- Incorporate hands-on learning and activities.
- Give the class choices and options.
- Break lessons up into digestible portions, and don’t get bogged down in lengthy lectures.
- Incorporate movement.
- Make a game of it, when feasible and appropriate.
- Build in group time.
- Utilize technology.
- Plan lesson-related field trips.
- Take the lesson outside.
Keep reading as we discuss engagement strategies for kindergarten and five fun ideas to rejuvenate your toddler lesson plans, which in turn will spark you to think about different approaches to each lesson plan format with the ultimate goal of providing your students with rewarding classroom experiences.
FASTER, HIGHER, STRONGER – TOGETHER
With the 2024 Summer Olympics on the horizon, our first suggested lesson plan format will bring home the gold while you give a timely lesson on current events and seize the opportunity to teach your class about other cultures. Host your own Olympics in the classroom (and on the playground). Depending on your class size, you may be able to split the children up into teams representing various countries that they can learn about. Your school probably doesn’t have a long jump pit, but you can have your class compete in the sidewalk jump instead, marking their distance with chalk and awarding bronze, silver and gold medals. If it’s in your budget, an Olympics-themed activities kit is available for $14.99 here. To capture the pageantry of the Olympics, make sure you include opening and closing ceremonies in your kindergarten lesson plans.
This is one of our favorite strategies for how to make lessons more engaging. Learning to count is Kindergarten 101. But what if you flipped the script just a little bit with our next lesson plan format? Provide your class with an interactive lesson on counting backwards from 10 to zero which will also get them moving because part of the activity involves them hopping as they attempt their countdowns. One of the important educational components of this lesson is teaching the contrasts between big and small number values: have the class note how numbers get greater/bigger when counting forward and decrease/get smaller when counting backwards. As with many kindergarten lesson plans, this one should include an assessment and evaluation, so have your class complete worksheets on counting backwards. Check out Teacher.org for more details and specifics on constructing this lesson plan.
WANTS VS NEEDS
It’s never too early to learn about distinguishing between wants and needs. And the next of our suggested toddler lesson plans will help your young scholars figure out why people need food, water, clothing and shelter to survive. To kick the lesson off, ask your students to ask themselves, ”do I need it?” For instance, “do I need candy, or do I need a roof over my head?” Which is needed to survive? Have your class construct a wants vs. needs poster, using pictures and icons cut from magazines or printed from the web. Arrange in a simple two-column format: Wants; Needs, and instruct the students to place the cut-outs in the appropriate columns. Reinforcing what a want is – something that makes life more enjoyable, fun or easier but not necessary for survival – will make this lesson resonate. There are also various videos on YouTube that will help children understand and discern between wants and needs, such as this one.
ALL ABOUT ME
Building up a sense of belonging in your young students can be achieved as a byproduct of your kindergarten lesson plans, and our next classroom activity suggestion will boost their confidence and also teach them to construct a four-word sentence. This lesson plan format is an ice-breaker activity so it is probably best suited for the beginning of the year. Grab a playground ball and gather your class in a circle. Show them the ball, and then introduce yourself by name and tell them your favorite thing to do. Then pass the ball to a student and have them do the same thing until everyone has had a turn. Have them repeat the phrase, “My Name Is,” give them an index card, and send them back to their desks to start constructing their personalized sentence. Provide spelling support and encouragement as they complete the sentence, “My Name Is ____.” For students that struggle with this activity, provide them with prewritten, cut-out words that they can use on their index card. Gather again in a circle and ask the class to share the interesting things that they found out about their classmates.
SHAPES OF THINGS
The last of our suggested toddler lesson plans aims to connect the things they see in books with objects they experience in their ordinary, day-to-day lives. This is an easy but fun, important and effective lesson to help your students learn and identify the shapes found in your classroom. Believe it or not, we’re not born with an innate knowledge of shapes – we have to learn them and what they are called. Outline with the class some of the most common basic shapes – squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, etc. – and have them explore the classroom to see which ones they can find and identify. Finish off this activity by assigning the class to complete a fun shapes worksheet, such as this free-to-download or print example here.
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