Go Team K!
Every year I get a new "Team K." A group of wonderful 5 year olds with wiggles and giggles, all eager and ready to learn. I love it when they laugh and find joy in learning something new. I also love to find ways to connect to what they are doing in the classroom to movement, rhythm and rhyme. The ideas found here explore ways for kindergarten and physical educators to combine forces to create multi-sensory learning experiences for these wonderful little people.
PE & K went walking one day.
PE said to K, "I've thought of a way."
"A way to add movement to that which you teach."
"And maybe just maybe increase your reach."
K was receptive and wanted to share.
They soon did find out that they made quite a pair.
If they both gave a little they would get so much more.
In this cooperative game nobody kept score.
Letters, numbers and words would show up in PE.
And more moving in the classroom, on that they'd agree.
Purposeful collaboration, connecting and thinking.
They were intent, on doing more linking.
And neurons those neurons became more connected.
Young brains and young bodies were truly affected.
There are so many ways to connect what we do.
To discover them all is up to me and to you.
~ Liz Giles-Brown
I shared Locomotor Letters with a Kindergarten teacher and showed her where I keep the letters and we brainstormed ways to take it further. On days when the gym is open she sometimes gets the letters out and after the kids run around and put all the letters where they go the kids create ways to move that begin with each one.
Sight Word Ladder
Kids are more likely to learn words when they are put into context. After reading Smart Moves - Why Learning Isn't All In Your Head by Carla Hannaford I developed a much deeper understanding of why this is true. I decided to try my hand at taking the Kindergarten sight word list and stringing them together into some sort of movement story with a few other words. The additional words were accompanied by pictures to capitalize on the strength of visual memory. Then of course I needed to add the movement so I printed them out and taped them to an agility ladder. The "ant" could be changed to any other type of moving character. When I'm not using the agility ladder it's home is the Kindergarten room where kids can move through in different ways and try to read their site words. Here are the first few rungs and a link to the rest of the story.
I love going in to pick the Kindergarten students up before physical education class. It's a chance to see some of the things going on the classroom. I was particularly excited to see the Moving Alphabet Jen Packard created to use with the students this year. It capitalizes on many brain compatible teaching strategies. It uses visual memory systems with the images, movement and procedural memory, and unity as the kids use actions and perform the movements together. Jen says that as the kids are working on their writing skills and searching in their brains for a letter to go with a sound they often pull from the movement alphabet to find it. What a great example of capitalizing on more than one pathway to memory.