I am a proud but nervous first year teacher ready to change the lives of all the children in my classroom. I have set high goals for the school year and my main goal is to meet the needs of my kindergarten students either in class or virtually. For the 2020-2021 school year, incoming Kindergarten students are truly at a disadvantage. Most, if not all, of my students did not have the opportunity to attend preschool. This is due to the fact that my school doesn’t offer a preschool program. The closest program to our community is a long drive so a lot of the kindergarten parents choose to not send their children. Due to the lack of a preschool program, this school year will be the students first experience with formal instruction. The school’s enrollment for every grade is down this year, but my kindergarten class is the smallest because I will only have 8 students total. I will only have two children in my classroom for in person learning and six students learning virtually. During kindergarten, it is vital that students be provided manipulatives to deepen their learning. According to the 2019 Brigance Early Childhood Kindergarten Screen, 72.7% of our students are enter Kindergarten below average academic & cognitive as well as 45.5% below average in language development. These students are coming into the classroom for the first time either behind a mask or behind a computer screen which is very scary for so many kids.
Being the first teacher that my students have ever had, I want to make them excited about learning. My goal is to ensure that students who are learning from home (virtual) have the same experience as to those who are learning and attending school in person. The research question I am focusing on for this project is, will the use of at-home manipulatives have a positive effect and benefit on students learning during the COVID-19 pandemic? To answer this question, I will create kindergarten kits of manipulatives for the students to use at home.
These will be the same manipulates that that the students would use during centers if they were in the classroom. These kits will help teach important concepts. Inside these kits, students will receive materials from the Lakeshore Learning website that address reading, writing, math, social studies and science. Below is a list of the items and a description.
1. Draw and Write Journals (reading & writing)
The journal is designed for beginner readers and writers. The pages have lots of room on top for drawing with lines below for the students to write simple words and sentences for their pictures. The students will I also be provided an alphabet chart to assist them with correct letter formation.
2. Ten Frames (math)
It is a versatile ten-frames (sustainability) which develops skills in counting, composing & decomposing numbers, addition (adding to 20) and subtracting (subtraction within 20).
3. Printing numbers practice book (math)
It is a write & wipe activity book (sustainability) that provides lots of hands-on printing practice. Each page focuses on a different number-with directional arrows that show how to form the number, dotted numbers for students to trace … plus blank writing lines to practice printing each number again and again. It helps students to master numbers 1-30. Since this is a write and wipe activity book, it can used multiple times by the student.
4. Story telling lapboard (reading & social studies)
This board allows classic stories come to life. This will be utilized to improve the students’ language development as well as vocabulary. The students will be learning about beginning, middle and ending of stories as well as order of events. These lapboards will be utilized with my future classes.
5. Real bugs discovery Kit (science)
The kit allows the students to get an up-close look at 12 amazing bugs (from a leaf beetle to a lantern fly). Each real specimen is permanently encased in indestructible acrylic, so students can safely explore them from every angle. It also comes with a fact book and handy magnifier. All of the bugs are in a storage tray with labeled compartments for each bug. These kits can be used with my future kindergarten classes.
6. Good for me rewards kit (reading, writing, math, social studies and science)
The kit motivates students to meet their goals. This write & wipe chart will be used to track students’ progress with reusable stickers (sustainability). When kids meet their goals, they will be treated by a reward certificate. For the students who will be attending virtually, they will receive their certificate in the mail.
In order to determine the success of the at home learning kits, the students will be administered an assessment. The assessment that will be given to students is attached below. The assessment will be given three times (Fall, mid-year, & year-end). Students’ growth will be measured by their success of completing the task.
The first assessment will be administered in mid-September. This will allow the students time to adjust to the expectations of school. The Kindergarten Kits will be given to the students after the initial assessment. As we all know, each child learns at his/her own pace. Therefore, I will be adjusting the kits throughout the year based on each student’s needs. I will compare the ‘FALL’ data to the ‘Mid-year’ to document the growth. The goal would be to see improvement on each question as well as the entire assessment. The data outcome will prove that my innovation has succeeded. By using the at home kits, content such as reading, writing, science, social studies and math will be encouraged and improved. In order for the Kindergarten kits to be successful, it will require strong core content to be taught. I will be recording content filled lessons for the students to watch daily. Within these lessons, the students will be required to use the manipulatives to solve problems or answer questions. The purpose of the manipulatives is to help reinforce the learning from the videos.
This is going to be a year of learning for all educators as well as students. We are required to find alternate ways to meet the needs of our students. Non-traditional instruction days could possibly be the new normal for an unknown length of time. As a teacher, my goal to provide the highest quality education to meet the needs of my students. Kindergarten is the
foundation to future learning.