Our Green Elephants, Yellow Giraffes, Blue Ladybugs, and Purple Butterflies LOVE small group time! Each small group consists of six children who rotate to four different stations in our classroom.
First, we have our Language and Literacy group. At this teacher-directed station, we implement our Happily Ever After Curriculum. At our elementary school, the transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten classes also integrate a version of this program, called Superkids.Therefore, this fun reading readiness program helps us bridge the gap between pre-k and kindergarten, for our PCS families. Happily Ever After is centered on classic children’s literature. These activities aim to meet a wide range of student objectives in the areas of vocabulary/conceptual development; print and book awareness; letter recognition; auditory discrimination; phonological awareness; comprehension, emergent writing; listening and speaking; and fine motor skills.
Our Math and Science group is also facilitated by one of the three teachers in our classroom. Primarily, we use games and manipulatives to build understanding of spacial relationships, classification, patterning, and cause and effect. A fun way we help children develop a sense of quantity is by learning to estimate. For example, our math and science table has become an Estimation Station! At The Estimation Station, each child estimated the quantity of various objects (pine cones, pastel cubes, and glass marbles). They wrote down their estimations and counted the objects together. We celebrated the closest estimations with a special clap we like to call a “Fire Style” (everyone wants their friends to give them a fire style!)
We develop knowledge of the natural world by going on nature hunts. We count, classify, and compare objects like sticks, pinecones, and leaves. It’s always fun to integrate nature and science into art. Check out our Leaf Man Project!
Our third small group is The Writing Center. The children use their Daily Writing Journals to creatively depict their thoughts, feelings, and the images of their imagination. The children are either given “free choice” or an exciting prompt pertaining to things they have experienced that day or stories they have heard. Our main objective is to help children develop emergent writing skills through dialogue and dictation.
Lastly, our Independent group is our child-directed activity. We put self-regulation to work as we look at books, build with blocks, assemble manipulatives, line up dominoes, or work with play dough. Here are just a couple of the independent group activities we’ve done.
Occasionally, we are blessed with a Cal State LA student intern, and on those days our independent group is facilitated by a teacher in training.