Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Did You Know I Taught TK?

In Fact, I taught a TK/K Combo for 3 Years and I LOVED it!

What is TK?  It's Transitional Kindergarten: Students start school at four years old and attend kindergarten after a year in TK.

Having so much FUN teaching a combo class!

I had 24 students. The last three years I had 
12 TKs and 12 Ks 
16 TKs and 8 Ks 
20 TKs and 4 Ks

And I LOVED it! Really!

Did you just say, "Why?" right out loud? 

I LOVED it because I got to differentiate all day long, provide individual children with exactly what they needed, and loved watching all of my students learn and grow so much during the year.

So, how did I keep my sanity?
3 Easy Ways...  

1.) Differentiate independent work.

2.) Track progress and drive small group instruction & individualized RTI that targets specific skills.

3.) Create fun, skill-based centers that allow students to apply their knowledge, practice academic skills, and enjoy learning.

That sounds like an overwhelming amount of work, right? Well it wasn't. Here is how...

1.) Differentiate independent work: They were all working on the same letter, word, number, etc., but my Ks were doing more challenging work with those skills. 
For example:
My TKs located all of the uppercase Bs and lowercase letter bs on my Alphabet Chant page. They traced them with a marker and constructed a cat with the pattern pieces provided. 
My chants match the Zoo Phonics animals.
Click the chant to see the set. 
I'm working on making these alphabet masks
available on TpT. I used them on my word wall.

My Ks practiced tracing upper case Bs and lowercase Bs and then wrote their own Bs and bs  on laminated tracing cards. Then, they illustrated and labeled 3 items that began with the sound of /b/ on their Phonics Dictionary Page.
Students illustrate and label to create an alphabet book.Click the image to see the set.They come in color and in B&W.

This set includes 3 labeled images for each letter.I added more images by using graphics from old workbooks or old reading kits. Click the image to see the set of
Dictionary Pages and graphics.
2.) Small group instruction and individualized RTI targeting specific skills: It didn't matter if you were a TK or a K, if you were ready to read, you met with me in a small group setting along with any other students who were at that same level. 
I am meeting with TK and K students on the skills
this group is ready for. I got my data from ESGI.

I used ESGI to track my students' skill progress so I was able to create small groups and target the specific skills that group needed. And groups changed according to the needs of individual students. 
My K students' tests were organized by trimester
using bold primary colors. 
My TK students' tests were organized by trimester using pastel colors. 

And, the individualized data that ESGI created helped me to make quick RTI kits for each student that targeted the specific skills each child needed to practice. (I just used the flashcards generated by ESGI to make little RTI kits.) 
Just place each child's flash cards in a plastic bag.
Volunteers, cross age tutors, & paraprofessionals
can all practice skills with each student by using
their individualized RTI kit.
3.) Create fun, skill-based centers that allow students to apply their knowledge, practice academic skills, and enjoy learning. 
Centers like a candy store where students can use their mental math skills to add up candies they pretend to purchase. 
We "sold" sphere and cylinder shaped
candy for 1 cent or 2 cents each,
depending on the shape.
I placed 20 cents inside 2 wallets.
These templates are FREE!
Click the candy above for grab a set. 

Save those empty heart-shaped candy boxes!
Or a science exploration center where students discover the "magic" of magnets. 

Students can freely explore.
The writing was done in a small group setting.
The writing is part of a set of templates.
Click the image above to see the set. 
My students were allowed to visit any center once their independent work was done. I pulled small groups for instruction while they were independently working or while they were at a center. 
Exploring, discovering, communicating!

One more thing:
With ESGI, I was able to create 2 classes, TK and K. The tests I used for each students depended on their grade level, so all I had to do what click on one student's name and all of the items I needed to test were right there on my laptop screen. 

I wrote TK tests for ESGI and you can find them by clicking HERE.

And did I mention that ESGI is so much fun that my students actually begged me to test them! 
Click the code above. 

If you are interested in trying ESGI, you can sign up for a FREE 60 day trial (no credit card required) and, if you use my affiliate code: KFUN, you will automatically qualify for $40 off of your 1st year. Bonus: sign up for your free trial by Sept. 30 and you will be entered to win one of 11 Amazon Gift Cards! (1 is worth $500!!!)

For more info about ESGI

So, that is how and why I LOVED teaching a combo TK/K class!


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