TK Students Finish Strong

Transitional kindergarten students will soon be done with the first year of a two-year kindergarten program! TK students are not expected to master kindergarten curriculum. However, they should have had opportunities for a wide variety of experiences and exploration that helps them develop their skills.

Many teachers view TK as an excellent opportunity for students to develop more mature social and emotional skills. Managing themselves in a classroom can feel demanding for a young student; taking turns, sharing, learning routines, listening, following directions and schedules – all challenging for young children. TK gives students an extra year to learn how to interact successfully with peers and adults.

The question at this time of year for TK teachers is how best to finish strong. Teachers most certainly can see the growth of their students. Let’s look at how to wrap up the school year successfully.

GAMES

All sorts of games are terrific for keeping students’ interest this time of year.

BINGO with letter names, letter sounds or beginning/medial/final sounds can be customized to fit the needs of your students. There are all types of bingo board templates available free on-line.

Concentration: Using something as simple as index cards, teachers can make sets of words, letters or rhyming/word families and have students practice reading the cards as they search for a match.

Hot Potato was one of my students’ favorite games! To play, sit a small group of students in a circle. I had a variety of materials that I would pass out to my students; alphabet flash cards, simple CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words, picture cards with rhymes, etc.
Each student would receives a stack, face down. You may want to use a rubber squishy ball like I did and pass it from student to student saying “hot potato.” Students pass quickly until you call “freeze.” The student with the ball turns over a card and reads it. Then begin again.

LETTER WRITING

Students love to make their own stationary using water colors, stamps, stickers, etc.
Provide them with sentence stems;
“You are my friend because______”
“I like to play __________ with you”
This summer, I would like to _______”

Encourage students to use their best “kindergarten skills” to finish writing the sentence. It’s also fun to have them write a letter to the preschool class students who will be coming to TK the next year.

OUTDOOR ABC SCAVENGER HUNT

Give students clipboards and a challenge: find as many things as you can on the playground/outside for each letter of the alphabet.

The goal is to keep students interested, engaged, and practicing the skills they have acquired in year one of TK. You can extend this right into summer. There are many online resources you can use to select summer activity calendars to share with families. Give students and families small tasks to do each day to keep their academic skills sharp. What a nice parting gift!

About Stephanie Alexander

I am just one of those people who find young children charming, entertaining and fascinating! With my husband David, I’ve raised four successful children with whom we have loving, wonderful relationships. I’ve also been in the world of education for over 25 years in the roles of preschool teacher and director, kindergarten and transitional kindergarten teacher, and, currently, I’m serving transitional kindergarten-second grade students and teachers as an Instructional Service Coordinator with the Shasta County Office of Education. In 2015, I helped start the first Transitional Kindergarten/Kindergarten Professional Learning Community with 18 teachers participating from Shasta County. I'm excited about my latest job assignment: coaching teachers participating in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant as part of the Reach Higher Shasta organization.
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