Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kindergarten Prep

Kindergarteners are let's say.... one of a kind? It takes a special type of teacher to go into the Kindergarten field and I give them tons of credit. I just assumed during my first two years it was a little crazy because I had less experience. It hit me on my third year that Kindergarteners really are different.

They, too, have less experience in a structured setting. For some it may even be their first time. Sharing items, sharing attention, learning all new information, it's actually quite exciting watching them grow all year.

My take this year though is: get ready! This year we will be expecting 20 Kindergarteners in one class, which is a lot for our school. We will also be having a new Kindergarten teacher which always spices things up. When they come into my room, I want them to be prepared.

Reflecting on last year (which was by far the most overwhelming- I had students pushing in, being pulled out, 5 teacher aids, 1/4 of the class coming in and leaving early, it was crazy), I realized you can never assume Kinders have had as much practice with cutting and gluing as you think. I thought they'd have some experience either at home or at pre-school, but we all know what assuming does....

My first day with the Kinders usually goes like this: Introductions, summer stories, rules, I read them a story and the remaining time is for them to decorate a folder which contains their artwork throughout the year. Pretty standard.

As for the next day, I plan on doing worksheets. Eep! How un-fun is that?. I really need to get these students at the cutting and gluing level I'd expect them to be when they enter my room, and these will definitely help me understand where they are and how I need to get them caught up. I'm not expecting masterpieces or anything, just basic, basic cutting and gluing.

I can't stress how many glue bottles I had last year that were left a mess. My Kinders, specifically, always wanted to make art till the last second and never cleaned up till their teacher arrived at the door. (I ordered these no-drip glue bottle caps for this coming year and am pretty excited to try them out. Anyone have any experience with those?) I know, I know... you're thinking... I should leave plenty of time for clean up and make sure everyone listens... but the Kinders last year were tough! They just refused to stop working- some honestly even stayed in the room even when their classmates left, leaving us to literally pick them up and bring them down the hall. 

After all this, of course, my un-fun prep work will be followed up with a Matisse cutting and gluing project.

Anywho, I've shared the worksheets if anyone was interested. You can see, they are very basic, and some of you have been much more brilliant than I and have already been doing this! Although it took my three years, I still give myself a little credit for even considering how to adjust the madness, ha.


The first few pages are cutting along lines, and then shapes and then practicing our "Lil' dab'll do ya's." I plan on using the last page to glue/tape to the back of their glued shapes.


  1. I found one thing that made my life with kinders 100000x's better. I got little plastic storage cups from $1 tree and put glue in those cups and then have the kids use cheep paint brushes to brush glue onto everything. WAY less mess than having bottles out. They can learn to use the bottles in 1st grader or after winter break. We would always go outside and "paint" with water on the concrete during our second class so that we could practice holding a brush.

  2. Ahhh, interesting! I never thought of that.. definitely will try anything to conserve the glue and not have to soak the bottle caps in water to unclog them! How did you cover the cups? Did they have covers that come with them, like a sippy cup?

  3. You both have just saved me! I will be teaching K for the first time in 20 years. Just got moved to the K-2 building and am scared!!!
    Any other tips?

  4. Ooh, good luck! The little ones keep you on your toes. The hardest grade for me is always 1st grade for some reason... I have a hard time thinking of something more challenging than Kindergarten, but not as difficult as 2nd grade.

    Specifically in Kindergarten I use A LOT of tracers. I have a HUGE folder filled with pre made tracers that I make. As art teachers, we typically try to avoid doing cookie cutter lessons in where everyone's looks alike, but for Kindergarten, I don't worry as much because they really are learning the fundamentals. Practice, practice, practice! Especially with simple things like fine motor skills like holding scissors, tracing, again, holding paintbrushes, CLEANING, etc. Also, of course, avoiding anything that requires and extensive attention span. It really helps them "get" everything else when you're not worrying about things they should definitely know by the middle of the year.

    That Little Art Teacher also explains how she uses centers with her Kinders. I think I will try implementing that with some projects this year.

    Check out her blog for some good ideas. Actually... thank god for the blogging world.. check out any blog! SO MANY great things- why reinvent the wheel?

    Good luck again!

  5. For my younger students, I use the 'Tap N Glue' caps - no messy puddles of glue on the work. Older students get to use a regular cap. Never could get much use out of the traditional Elmer's Glue caps so I order empty 6 oz. bottles w/cap and fill as needed. Thanks for the handouts - I get kinder classes about every other year & this year I have 5 groups...

  6. OOh, Yay! I got those Tap-N-Glue caps... I'm assuming they work good? I can't wait to try them... the worst is ordering something that does not live up to your expectations :/

  7. Thank you for uploading your PDF, I was just about to make my own line cutting practice handout, you saved me a few minutes!

    Also, for most classes unless I absolutely need them to use the glue bottle for the lesson- I am dedicated to using paper plates with elmers glue puddles and these long Q-tip "Craft Swabs" from Sax (or if you're lucky enough to have a doctor in the family they can probably hook you up)

  8. Thanks for the link to your great display for open house. Here's a link to my blog where I posted the photo of your display and a link back to your blog:


  9. I troll the cafeteria when they're serving yogurt and snatch the plastic lids off of the kids trays! I squirt Elmers glue on them and teach them to use "Mr. Spreader Finger"(index finger)and a little dab'll do ya!I tell the kids we are saving the earth one yogurt lid at a time and they're 5 years old so they believe me! I am so using your PDF on cutting and glueing skills and thanks for posting it for all of us to use.

  10. LOVE this idea! Kinders are always a challenge. I have a VERY low group this year. Some can't even hold a pencil correctly or have never used scissors! WHAT??? My 2 year old can cut a straight line, so why are some parents so afraid to allow kids to have scissors. So, I will be going this one with them soon!