Monday, August 17, 2009

Book of the Day Activities: Your Best Behavior!

So you're prepared for the first day of school and your Back to School Night is all planned…now it’s time to get down to the business of teaching. When I taught Kindergarten and Prekindergarten, I dedicated the whole month of September to “Getting to Know Us.” I didn’t worry about teaching letters, numbers, or shapes because my primary goal was to have my classroom be a happy and functional place. Imagine how tedious our job would be if we had to solve every problem and clean up the classroom on our own! We have to help our students become independent members of our classroom societies. In order to do this, we have to learn the rules and how to treat each other. Here are a few books and activities that are good reads in those first couple of weeks of school!

Hands Are Not For Hitting by Martine Agassi

  • AMA Alliance has a wonderful reading guide for this book.

  • Class Hand Collage: On a large sheet of bulletin board paper or tag board, have children create hand prints in a circle. To do this you have two options: You can trace the children’s hands, cut them out and paste them in circle formation on the paper/tag board. OR you can have the children make hand prints using stamp pads or finger paint. In the middle of the circle of hand prints, have the children draw (or cut from magazines) things you CAN use your hands for. Some examples are: playing ball, baking a cake, giving hugs, learning sign language, etc… Hang it in your classroom with the title, "Hands Are For..."

Words are Not for Hurting by Elizabeth Verdick

  • Kind Words Chart: Cut out a large heart and have children think of words that are nice/kind. Write them on the chart paper and hang it in the classroom.

  • Kindness in Action: When you catch children showing kindness, snap a photo, print it out, and post it on a bulletin board titled, “Kindness in Action.” Under the photograph, write a small description of what is happening such as “Carrie is sharing her blocks with Melanie.” Make sure to catch all of the children doing something nice! Remember that praise and positive reinforcement go a long way!

It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni

  • It’s My Turn: Sharing is a skill that preschoolers are just beginning to master, so it will take some time and a great deal of teacher intervention/assistance. One thing that I’ve found helpful is to use a sand timer or kitchen timer (3-5 minutes) so that when children have to take turns, they will have a visual reminder of when their turn is over (or when their turn will begin). After a few days of guidance and modeling by the teacher, students will eventually get the hang of using the timer on their own!

  • Make a Paper Plate Frog. These frogs can be used for a bulletin board display entitled "It's OURS!" (Attach frogs to the bulletin board so that they depict sharing and kindness. Example: arrange 2 of the frogs so that they are sharing a book). The frogs can also be used so that the children can act out scenarios that depict positive behaviors.

  • Visit the Scholastic Lesson Plan site for more ideas on how to use this book.

Manners by Aliki

  • Two Magic Words: I sang this song/chant for so many years that I don't know who wrote it but it goes like this - "There are two magic words that open doors with ease. One of them is thank you and the other one is please."

  • Visit The Manners Lady website.

  • Cover Your Sneeze: This is another one of those projects that kindergarten and prekindergarten teachers have been doing for years. Give each child a paper plate and let them draw their face on it with crayons. Be sure to provide crayons that reflect the children's skin tones like Crayola's Multicultural Crayons. You may want to provide the children with yarn and glue to create "hair" on their plate. Next, trace each child's hand on multicultural construction paper that, again, reflects their skin tone. Have the child (with teacher help if needed) cut out their hand. Attach a tissue to the child's nose (on the plate) and then attach the hand on top of the tissue.

  • Meal Time Manners (Teachable Moments): Meal times are a perfect time to practice manners and polite behavior. If possible, serve your meals (or at least part of your meal) "family style" so that children learn to say, "Please pass the fruit." In addition, a teacher should sit with the children and model polite behavior such as chewing with your mouth closed, saying please and thank-you, and cleaning up after yourself. In some schools, where children eat in a cafeteria or bring their own lunch this may not be possible. But, if you serve snack in your classroom you can apply the same principals to snack time.

How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? by Jane Yolen

  • Do a Puppet Show and have students act out some of the scenes in the story.

  • Create a Voice Thread called How Do Kindergartners (or Preschoolers) Play with Their Friends? Here is a Voice Thread done by a First Grade Class. This sample will give you an idea of how you can create a similar version for your class. Take pictures of the students with their friends and create a Voice Thread about it!

Know and Follow the Rules by Cheri J. Meiners

  • Play "direction-following" games like Simon Says and Mother May I?

  • Make a Classroom Rule Chart. Also, ask students to discuss some rules that they may have at home. Talk about why we have rules and how rules keep us safe.

  • Center Time: In the beginning of the school year, I did not open all of my learning centers. Each week of September I would introduce two new centers at a time. This way, we could focus on how to use the equipment/toys and how to clean up. We learned about each center in a slow and purposeful way. Throughout the year, if I added new equipment, I would introduce it at Circle Time before allowing the children to play with it.

Remember, the beginning of the year sets the tone for your classroom for the entire year. Do you really want to spend the next nine months with students who don't share, hit each other, don't know how to clean up, and sneeze all over the toys? Set the tone NOW so that you can have a productive year!


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  2. Studentsshould treat each other with respect and work in groups to promote a good learning atmosphere.Student should follow the rules and regulations of the classroom and teach other students too.A versatile website helps students with good books.



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