If anything, learning should always be FUN! Is FUN functional in today's classroom though? I vote YES!!
As a kindergarten teacher I am always looking for ways to put my own spin on the objectives I am given to teach. Kindergarten today is not the same as kindergarten when I was a child (and we won’t discuss how long ago that was J). Just because learning has become more rigorous doesn’t mean that we need to pull all of the fun out of it. When writing curriculum for my district, I was asked, “Is this a love unit?” Well, honestly all units are love units. Who doesn’t love all of the themes and extra activities? Unfortunately you have to be a magician to find time in your day to fit in everything that is expected of teachers today. I honestly get frustrated with my students sometimes because we aren’t moving fast enough to meet the demands and expectations given to us…then I take a deep breath and remind myself these precious darlings are only five… Crystal, relax! This is one reason I started designing curriculum units. I wanted to create learning opportunities that follow all the rules of the objectives we are given by our district but still keep thematic learning part of our every day.
So, how can you add more fun to your classroom?
Science is an area that sometimes gets pushed to the wayside but kids LOVE it. My goal is to do one experiment a month. I have a science center in my classroom that my students visit weekly too.
Hands on Centers
It is easy to worksheet your students to death but the best learning comes from hands on activities. This takes more time though. Look on the bright side, once you make it..it is made! I keep telling myself that as I continue to laminate and cut and laminate and cut more games and activities for my kids each week. I am hoping that next year will be easy peasy and all of this time will pay off for years to come. J
Blocks & Home Living
It just saddens me that many schools are cutting out their home living and block centers. Play is an important part of learning and social development. Let the kids play. J Ask them to create menus and take “orders” in a play restaurant. Give them numbered flash cards and have them build something with the number of blocks on the card.
Art & Music
You can use art and music to teach every subject. What a fun way to reinforce a learning objective! Teach the letter “A” and paint with apples. Have students sing Annie Apple while painting.
Thematic units help children make great connections to their learning and the real world. Themes help motivate students and keep them engaged. I also think it is easier to integrate literacy into all subjects when you are teaching thematically.
Here’s an example of classroom fun! When learning the letter Q, I taught my students the rule “never write q without u!” Then, we had a QU wedding. Students made a Mr. Q and Mrs. U. We wrote invitations, had a “ceremony”, ate cake, colored pictures, and cut out magazine clippings of things we would give to Q & U as a wedding gift. This activity had a lasting impact on my students. I am sure they will never leave out the “u” when spelling quilt, quiet, and queen. J
What is one way you have kept the FUN in functional in your classroom or at home with your kids?