Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Playing School in the Summer

My kids are so funny.  They love playing school.  They also love hearing about things I did with my students when I was a teacher.  This weekend I was telling Miss M about the summer I taught summer school kindergarten.  I described the ways I helped the kids learn to spell their names, including the time I gave the kids a bunch of Smarties to arrange into the letters in their names.  Of course when she heard those kids literally got to eat their names she wanted to do the same thing.  We got out our bowl full of miscellaneous candy, she chose a baggie full of favorites, and sat right down to spell her name in sugar.  She's been writing her name for years, but I am pretty sure she's never enjoyed it this much!

That gave me an idea for our fun time today.  They really do love playing school, and like all kids are motivated by fun and candy.  I think I'll get out some old teaching supplies today and be a teacher again.  It doesn't take a lot of creativity to turn learning into fun, especially if I have a big bowl full of candy to hand out.  It won't hurt a thing to brush up on their skills, either.

Here's a list of ideas I've come up with.  Of course I'll also ask the kids what they think our "class" should learn.

  • Flash card races - I can't expect my five year old to really compete with my eight year old in math, no matter how good Miss M already is at adding and subtracting.  I'll use a stop watch to have them race themselves.  I'll give them a piece of candy for each second they shave off their times.
  • Handwriting pages - We have a nice supply of grocery store workbooks (yeah, mine are the nerdy kids asking for them at the check out line) and there are also a billion web sites with printable practice pages.  I love this one because it has blank pages for plenty of practice room.  It only has cursive instruction pages, but that's okay for us because Miss M knows all her letters in manuscript, and the one thing Miss E is really excited about in third grade is learning cursive.  She's been practicing in her little workbooks, and I know she'll like some different pages.
  • Jumping Letters - We have an alphabet floor mat that we continue to find fun ways to use.  The kids build everything from forts to doll houses with the squares.  We've also created a fun game we call Jumping Letters.  We make the letters into a big mat, sometimes in ABC order, sometimes not.  I call out a letters and the kids jump to them.  Both girls loved learning the alphabet that way when they were very little and I think Mr. A will have a great time with it today, too.
  • Reading - Of course we'll have story time, too.  Since three of us can read, I think we'll each take turns reading to each other.  It will be interesting to see how many books Mr. A has the patience for.  He's usually a one book and go kinda guy, but if his sisters are reading he might sit still for more.  
  • Educational Games - The girls both bring Scholastic Book Club order forms from school which often have simple board games that are just right for their levels.  Naturally we've bought our share.  The games are actually pretty fun and can be played in just a few minutes.  We'll play these today, because what game of school would be complete without Sight Word Bingo anyway?
I will also ask the girls what they think their classes will be like at real school this year.  I think Miss M has some pretty funny ideas about kindergarten.  If she comes up with something really good I'll make sure and share it here.

Painting stars!
* Yesterday, I promised to share pictures of our finished crafts.  We still have to glue them together, but I will post pictures when we have them.

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