In the fall I usually do a unit about “ME” and it gives me a chance to learn a lot about the children in my class. (I just realized that I don’t write in past tense yet – I used to …) I start out by sending home a note asking parents to tell me a little about their child – why they chose their name, something their child loves, something (s)he is good at, something (s)he does NOT like, etc. I read those aloud to the class as we celebrate each child. Of course this is a great time to be doing all those name activities that are so important at the beginning of the year. We also make this book.
Along with this page we graph how many letters are in each child’s name.
All of these are also opportunities to create concrete graphs and introduce the idea of graphing to the children.
When we talked about Birthdays each child decorated a paper crown with stickers, markers, etc. and I traced over their name with glitter. I saved these hats and gave them out as we celebrated their birthday through the year.
I prefolded this simple house shape and glued it onto the page. Inside the children drew everyone in their family – then I labeled them for those who were not able to write all their family names. It also gave me a chance to see which children knew their address – although that was really not part of our curriculum.
We read books about our hands, drew and wrote about what we do with our hands. We also read Leo Lionni’s Little Blue and Little Yellow. I gave each child a spoonful of blue and yellow fingerpaint on a cookie sheet. After they experimented and played mixing the colors I pressed their painty hand on the page. Then I took a piece of paper and pressed it on the cookie sheet – making a print of their finger painting. The kids love to take that home – but this time I use that paper to trace and cut out their footprint for the next page. I do paint their feet for several projects through the year – but not this time.
This goes great with the Dr. Seuss Foot Book.
As you can see, I am NO artist. But I always talked about using the right colors and trying hard, and of course my loyal kindergartners told me that they liked my drawings!
One thing I consider important is that every child must show me their work before they put it away. I would write what they dictated at this point in the year unless I realized they were ready to phonetically write on their own.
I measured each child with yarn and cut the piece that equaled their height. The yarn was rolled up and put into this little envelope. I also put a piece of adding machine tape on the wall and marked each child’s height and name. At the end of the year we re-measured and compared.
Here is a link to the pages if you would like to print it:
I prefolded houses for the page about the children’s families. I apologize for my drawing but I attempted a step by step diagram to show how I made those – and I also scanned a completed house. The children folded back the outer flaps and drew their family on the inside, and decorated the outside like their house (roughly!)
On the page about their height I glued a small envelope to hold the yarn that equaled how tall they were that day.