I'm Cathy, a former kindergarten teacher with a passion for early learners. Providing our earliest learners with tools, instead of excuses, can empower these students with success! I also LOVE teacher training and providing meaning professional development that can be used in classrooms immediately.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Turn and Talk...and Then Some
I’m a talker! Always have been, always will be. My mother used to start parent conferences
with, “I know Cathy talks too much, what else can you tell me?” My very favorite high school English teacher
used me in a vocabulary example, “Cathy is loquacious.” Yep, it means
talkative. But, in the classroom talking is good...or it should be. Make sure they are talking about what you want them to talk about.
Get them talking.
One of the
best ways to let children demonstrate their understanding in the content areas
is to let them talk. Of course,
controlling the talking is the secret they don’t have to know. Here are a few conversations your students
can have that will let you know just how much they know.
Years ago I
had a teacher assistant who would complain every day about the noise in the
room.I would constantly tell her, “They
are 5.It won’t be perfectly quiet for
long.”I’d also say, “They need to talk
to communicate their thoughts.”I kept
trying to tell her there was a difference between noise and good noise.
We all do
it, but do you know how valuable it truly is.
Make sure there is procedure for talking. Make rules.
1.Get a partner. Make sure they know WHO they should be
2.Make sure they know what to talk
about. Set a purpose.
3.Make it mandatory that both partner’s
talk. Give roles: the talker and the listener. Each student gets a role on a popsicle
stick. They rotate holding the signs to share the talk. You can also use the roles
to have the students share their discussion with the class.
4.Make them justify. Hold the partners accountable for the “because…”
part of the statement. They can’t just
give an opinion or a fact, they have to back it up.
love talking…so letting them choose what to talk about can help you focus their
attention to details. One year, I had a
monthly family project. In the middle of
the month, I sent home a template due at the end of the month to be displayed
for the following month. For example,
half way through September I sent home a pumpkin for the students to
decorate. It was due the end of the
month, to be displayed outside our door for the whole next month. We spent the day they were due letting the
students describe their project.
Let’s talk Social
Studies and Science
A great way
to get students talking is to link the discussion to a social studies or
Magnets – According to Virginia
Standards of Learning, our kindergarten students needed to understand the laws
of attract and repel. It can be a tricky
concept for 5-year-olds to express.
After magnet play with several types of magnets, including a brief
explanation of North and South Poles attracting and repelling, students are put
into pairs with “sandwich boards” made of red and blue construction paper with
“N” and “S.” They need to have a
conversation with each other to determine something that would help them be
“attracted” to each other. They also
need to determine something that would make them “repel” from each other. They share with the class the things that would
attract (donuts, candy, ice cream) and those that would repel (bees, snakes,
Reuse Something – Our kindergarten
students also need to learn about natural resources to reuse, reduce, and
recycle. We always have a “reuse”
project due at the end of the unit.
Students need to create something from something else that would
typically be thrown away. When they
return their projects to the class, they need to tell the students what they
“reused” and made into something new. This student
reused paper plates, a paper towel roll, an old CD (as the base) to create the
President – What would they do if
they were president. I’ve seen it as a
writing assignment for older students, but younger students can’t get their thoughts
down on paper easily. Let them talk
about it. You can have them dress up as
a President for the Day. They can tell
you what they would like to do, if they were president. Cupcakes for lunch every day? Video games were mandatory? You’ll love what they say.
Let them talk…use it
wisely and it will make them wiser.