For the Love of Kindergarten Part III


After visiting with one of my favorite newbie K teachers, I found myself wondering why I had agreed to teach a lesson on a certain core standard. The standard reads something like “use familiar words in a different way”. The example it gives is of the word duck (animal) and duck (get out of the way). After mulling this lesson over as I drove, before I slept, while I was eating lunch…you know the drill, I felt I needed a trip to our library. I racked my brain for books that might help, and finally ended up in the nonfiction stacks by the Language Arts section. I saw a book that inspired me. I went to work.

Walking into Mr. B’s class at exactly 12:00 pm, I was excited about the lesson. The cute little K students were awaiting my arrival at the carpet.

After introducing the lesson, I asked them what the word pink meant. One student said, “Bright and pretty!”

“Exactly! Now is pink an animal?”

“No!” they exclaimed in unison.

We visited a bit more until someone yelled out it was a color; a familiar word.

Then I introduced “tickled pink”. No one seemed to know what that was (a different way to use pink), so I read a short story about a mom who was tickled pink that her children brought her breakfast in bed on her birthday. So, I asked again, “What do you think tickled pink means?”

“All dressed in pink?” the “bright and pretty” student volunteered. I love the way they think! More hints…”Happy!” a little boy proudly interjected.

Now it was time for partner work, which had presented a problem for Mr. B’s class in the past. I had Mr. B join me in a chair and I explained that he and I would model what I was going to ask them to do next.

“Hmmm, how do we decide who goes first? Mr. B, would you like to go first, or would you like me to go first?”

“I think I’d like you to go first,” Mr. B said politely.

“I’d be happy to,” I replied.

I asked the students how that went. How long did it take? Wasn’t that an easy way to decide who went first?

Mr. B and I took turns saying, “I was tickled pink when…”. I wanted students to practice using tickled pink in their talking and to come up with possible topics for their journal writing at the same time. I was amazed when it was their turn to work with a partner that I heard them politely asking each other if they would like to go first!

At last,  after watching me write in my journal, the students were sent to their tables to write in their journals about being tickled pink. As always, I am in wonder at how much they have grown since the last time I worked with them. Their writing stamina befits a much older student. Their journal page was filled with words, pictures, labels, and speech bubbles. Their excitement was contagious.


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