Since kindergartners come to school with varying proficiency in academic skills, you need to have a variety of both intervention and enrichment activities in your arsenal to help encourage the learning of all your students. Enrichment activities that challenge kindergartners to work with an increasing degree of independence or use higher-level thinking skills help provide a stimulating learning environment for students who are ready to rise to the occasion.
Encourage kindergartners to continue building oral language skills by having them practice speaking in large and small groups, both informally and formally. With the whole class, ask all students to think about a topic they have been learning about. For example, in a unit on healthy lifestyles, you could ask students to think about three ways they can be healthy. Have students practice informal oral language by asking them to turn and talk with a partner to share their ideas.
As a class, review some guidelines of good public speaking, such as speaking in a clear voice and maintaining eye contact. Students who are candidates for enrichment in the area of oral language may be called upon to come up and present their three ideas to the whole class, building more formal oral language skills.
As kindergartners begin to learn writing skills, have students who have strong skills corresponding letters with the sounds they make to play roll-a-word-- a game that builds knowledge of spelling simple words phonetically. Turn three cubes into letter dice by putting a consonant on each face of two dice, and vowels on each face of the third die. Teach students to roll each die to reveal three letters in the consonant-vowel-consonant pattern. Students use their knowledge of letter sounds to determine whether the letters they roll form a real word or a nonsense word. This game may be completed independently by students as they record the words they formed on a worksheet.
Small groups of kindergarten students can read and respond to conversation-starter cards to practice speaking in complete sentences using tie-in vocabulary taken from class discussions or read-alouds. Create several conversation-starter cards related to a topic students have been learning about. Write a prompt on each card asking students to explain or describe something. For example, if students are learning about characters, you could ask students who their favorite character is in a book and why. The key is to get students talking, so steer clear of questions that have one-word answers. Students take turns reading and responding to cards until each student has had a turn to answer.
Cause and Effect Analysis
Continue to foster the development of strong comprehension skills in an activity where students determine the consequences for the way characters behave in a book. Have kindergartners practice analyzing causes and effects in a story by illustrating an action that a main character took in a story in one box, and then illustrating what happened to the main character as a result of this behavior in a second box. Draw an arrow from the first box to the second box to emphasize that the initial action directly led to the effect.
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