I used the theme of All I Learned in Kindergarten for our end of the year program. I wanted a way to celebrate all the progress the children had made, and to remember some of the highlights of our year together. The parents of my children were very supportive all year, and most of them attended our end of the year “extravaganza!”
Here is our invitation:
And this sign was at the door of the Media Center
We used the Media Center (library) for the actual program that we presented. Throughout the year I had reinforced what we were learning with lots of songs about different subjects. We started the program singing lots of those songs that we learned through the year, then we acted out 4 very simple little plays, and we ended with silly, fun songs. Although we did have to review the songs, and practice acting out the little plays – it wasn’t too hard because we weren’t learning new songs now. We did practice how the group would move and where they would sit for different parts of the program.
We walked into the room where the parents were already seated in a single line, and the children formed 3 lines in the front. The back line would be standing for these songs, the middle line would sit on a riser, and the front line sat on the floor. But we began the program singing the song that we sang every morning – Hello Neighbor, before they sat down.
To introduce each song, 2 children recited a sentence about what we learned. For example, the first 2 said “We learned the alphabet forward and backward.” Then we sang the alphabet, along with signing it – forward and then backward. Then the next 2 children said “We learned about the calendar.” The whole class sang all the songs.
This seems like a lot of songs, but it went quickly, and since they already knew the songs it was easy to do. Most of these songs had simple motions that went along with them. I think I already shared most of these songs, but I will add them at the end of this post again.
After the songs, the front row walked forward, turned around and sat down. That way they were facing the area where we would act out the stories. Then the middle line walked forward and sat, and then the back line. They stayed in their lines, this just made it look organized and planned, and I put strips of masking tape on the floor to show where each line would sit, so they had an aisle in between. The parents were sitting behind us. Sometimes I even brought in sets of risers for the parents to sit on so they had a good view of it all.
I introduced each simple play by telling what we learned through that story. That was the cue for the children who would be acting that play out to get up and get their props, and go to their starting location.
These plays were all basically retelling stories that we had spent time studying during the year. Every child had a part in one of the plays. Each play only took about 5 minutes to act out.
Here are a couple of the simple scripts we used:
The Little Red Hen
The Three Little Pigs
Sorry, I didn’t save the scripts for PJ Funnybunny and the Little Engine That Could.
We used cardboard cars like these for the train cars in the Little Engine that Could.
Of course they lined up and moved together like a train. The other engines that came along approached from the other direction and stopped face to face to talk, then chugged off to the round house!
These houses for the 3 Pigs story were made of lightweight wood. A child can kneel down, hold the sides and peek through the window. When the wolf blew it down they gently laid it down – face down.
After the plays, the children walked back toward the riser, but this time they just sat in their 3 rows. One small group (5-6 children) stepped up on the riser at a time as we sang a few songs just for fun. There were a couple of years that I just had the whole group sing the ending songs because my class just couldn’t handle all the moving, but parents really enjoy seeing their child featured in a small group. I know it is a lot of moving and seems like quite a bit to do, but my classes usually handled it fine. You could easily just sing the songs, or keep the children in the same place throughout the program.
Here is a the program I gave parents:
I copied these 2 pages back to back and then folded the program in half.
After the program we all went back to our classroom. I called each child up to me, one at a time to pass out a certificate. I used to think up something special about each child – something they were good at or had learned, etc. But one year a parent got very upset at a colleague of mine because she gave her daughter a certificate that said her daughter had a great smile. The parent was upset that she hadn’t mentioned something more meaningful. So I decided that instead of thinking up something myself, I would ask the children what they were proud of learning this year. We would brainstorm a list of suggested things, and each child told me something about him/herself. I made a certificate that included their name and what they were proud of learning and glued it onto construction paper.
Here are a couple examples of the certificates I used:
I included a certificate like this in each student’s time capsule too.
Before the program I also interviewed each child, and when I called them up I read a paragraph about him/her too.
These interview papers were glued onto the reverse side of their certificate (both were glued on opposite sides of construction paper.) I told the children that we were doing this just for fun, and they enjoyed all the parents’ laughter.
Here are the questions I asked the children for these “interviews.”
You might have already read about these certificates and interviews in my blog post about time capsules.
I gave each child a little award ribbon with a sticker that I put on their shirt, and of course I gave them each a hug!
After each child had been recognized I passed out thank you cards for the parents who had regularly volunteered in our classroom. This can be a sensitive thing too, I always spoke about all the ways all parents contributed to our classroom, and thanked them all. I listed things like chaperoning field trips, attending parties, sending in supplies, making sure their child was rested and ready to learn, etc. Then I told them that there were so many fun things that we were able to do because we had hands on help in the classroom, and that I was sure all parents would like to thank those who were able to come in and help.
The thank you cards we made were a large piece of construction paper folded in half. On the front I typed a note thanking the individual parent, and included a picture I took of the entire class. On the inside – one side contained the poem – 100 years from now I will be remembered because I was important in the life of a child…, on the other side there was a short poem about volunteers, and every child signed their name. I had them sign their names on each one instead of photocopying these – we did it assembly line style. Then I called up the son or daughter of each volunteer to give the card to his/her parent. I usually also got a small gift for volunteers like stationery or a plant, but I gave those to them privately.
While I had the attention of the whole group I showed them all the things their child was bringing home for the end of the year. All of these things were in grocery bags labeled with their child’s name. I showed them the Time Capsule and reminded them not to open them until high school graduation, their portfolio (using this term loosely – it was a collection of work through the year). Also a collection of writing and drawing from over the year. I had a sample of a self portrait from the beginning and end of the year, and on the cover of that I glued their photo wearing a cap and gown that I put on each child and took a picture. They each chose a class book that we had made too. And then I gave them each one or two books to keep.
Then they enjoyed ice cream sundaes!! It was quite an extravaganza!!
Here are the song words:
Hello Neighbor (dr. jean)
Macarena Months (dr. jean)
Days of the Week (dr. jean)
Oceans (dr. jean)
Layers of Forest song
The Family of the Sun
She’ll be comin round the mountain