Kindergarten Weekly Classroom Lessons

Below you will find the lessons we are doing each week in the classroom.  Additionally, you will see that for many lessons I have attached corresponding videos.  During the 2020-2021 school year I was unable to go into the classroom for my lessons, but I was able to create videos for the lessons to send home to students starring my cats Fiona and Logan.  The videos were a big hit so I have included them for families to watch at home so you can hear the same vocabulary and ideas that I am teaching the students in the classroom.  I hope you find them useful and entertaining.

This school year teachers were given the option to do the Zones of Regulation lessons (lessons 11-13) before lesson 5.  So some classrooms have completed lessons 1-10 and some have completed 1-4, 11-13, and are currently on lesson 7 or 8.  The other classrooms are on lesson 9 or 10 and have not started the Zones of Regulation yet.  
If you would like to know which lesson your child is currently working on, please just e-mail me or your child's teacher.

Lesson 1:  Students listened to the story Whole Body Listening Larry at School.  This means that:

  • Eyes are looking at the person talking
  • Ears are listening to follow the directions the first time
  • Mouth is closed and our voice is off
  • Arms are still
  • Legs are still
  • Body is calm
  • We are using our brain to think about what the person is saying
  • We use our heart to pay attention to how the people around us are feeling

Whole body listening is language that is used all throughout first and second grade.  Hopefully your child can tell you or show you what it looks like and sounds like.

Corresponding video(s) from 2020- https://youtu.be/_HTPgIbG0ew

               Whole body listening quiz- https://youtu.be/GSMsDF3J3KE

 

Lesson 2: Expected behavior.  We reframe behavior as expected or unexpected instead of good or bad.  I read briefly from a book and then as a class we discuss what are expected behaviors in different situations around the school or that might happen with other students.  Teachers are encouraged to ask students “are you doing what is expected?”, or “what is expected right now?” as a way to help students reflect on their own behavior and learn what is expected in different situations. 

Lesson 3: Unexpected behavior:  We discuss behaviors that might be unexpected in different situations (such as interrupting the teacher or being silly instead of working at work time).  Students are taught that when we do what is expected people feel good about us and enjoy being around us, but when we do unexpected people may feel uncomfortable.

*The best part about using the terms expected and unexpected with young children is it reframes the way they think about behavior and themselves.  This allows staff to help correct behavior without anyone labeling the student or behavior as being bad. 

Lesson 4: Expected and unexpected quiz.  I give the students different situations that happen during the school day (usually with the classroom teacher’s input so I am addressing behavior specific to each classroom).  I call on students to tell me or role-play with me what is expected for each situation.

Lesson 5: Big problem vs. Small problem and Big Reactions vs. Small reactions.  Students learn that big problems are when we want students to get help from an adult and small problems are problems we want the students to try on their own before getting help from an adult.  We teach that there are 3 things that make something a big problem at school:

  • If someone is hurt
  • If something breaks or is broken
  • If something is scary or dangerous

All other problems that happen in school are small problems, but students are encouraged to ask their teacher if something is a big or small problem if they are unsure.

I also teach students that big reactions go with big problems.  Big reactions are yelling, screaming, crying, kicking/hitting, whining, and pouting.  If they don’t have a big problem they should have a small reaction.  I teach students that there are lots of small reactions, but that there are 4 I want them to try using at school; a shrug, a quiet sigh, snapping their fingers, or saying “oh well,” or “maybe next time” in a calm voice.  We all practice the 4 small reactions together.

               Big problem small problem 2020 introduction video- https://youtu.be/uueMb8z4WMA

               Big reaction small reaction 2020 video- https://youtu.be/kIdlc-M0P1g

Lesson 6: Solving small problems part 1.  Two strategies to deal with a small problem are introduced and students practice and role-play situations in school where they can use those strategies.

  • Ignore- Do not look at or talk to someone doing something unexpected.  Keep your eyes on your teacher or your work and keep your voice off.
  • Make a Deal- If you and another student want the same thing (whether that is to go first in a game or you both want the same item), instead of arguing try to make a deal where you each get something you want.  Examples given are typically “Can I please have the game/toy for 10 minutes and then you can have it for 10 minutes?”, or “You can have the game today if I can have it tomorrow?”  Another popular deal is “Can I please go in front of you in line right now and then you can go in front of me on the way back?”

Make a deal and Ignore 2020 video- https://youtu.be/p4jcEABuSv4

Lesson 7: Solving small problems part 2.  Three new strategies to deal with small problems are introduced and practiced.

  • Walk Away- If someone is bothering you and it is a time where it is okay to move around the room (or if you’re outside), instead of saying anything, just get up and go someplace away from the person bothering you.
  • Go To Another Game- Just like Walk Away only you use it during play time if you are getting frustrated with the people you are playing.  It is okay to say you are going somewhere else, but you have to use that calm voice.
  • Apologize- I talk to students about how we all make mistakes or do things sometimes that bother other people even though we didn’t mean to upset anyone.  When that happens the best thing to do is apologize right away.  We practice using the calm voice to say sorry for what happened.  I really emphasize to students to not just say sorry, but to say exactly what they are sorry about.  Calm voice is also heavily emphasized so the apology sounds real.

Walk Away, Go To Another Game, and Apologize 2020 video- https://youtu.be/0-8Zv3QYiuQ

Lesson 8: Please stop and Wait & Cool Off.  2 more strategies for dealing with small problems are introduced and practiced.

  • Please Stop- Students are taught to use a calm voice and asking someone to please stop doing something that may be bothering them.  We role-play different scenarios and I emphasize to the kids that they should say exactly what they want the other person to stop.  Example: “Can you please stop talking to me while I’m doing my work.”
  • Wait & Cool Off- This is a strategy of taking a break away from a person or situation that is making the child feel frustrated or upset.  We practice calming walking away and going to a quiet spot and then taking deep breaths (at least 3) or counting to ten.  If the child still feels upset, I encourage them to take more deep breaths, count again, or talk to an adult about what is making them upset.  Once they feel calm the student can go back and try to solve the problem or go to something else.  The teachers also show the students where they can go in the room to calm down if they feel upset.

Please Stop and Wait & Cool Off 2020 video- https://youtu.be/ddxax9XrTDk

Lesson 9: Share and Take Turns and Talk It Out.  The final 2 strategies are discussed and practiced.

  • Share and Take Turns- This is essentially the same as Make A Deal only I emphasize to the kids that if we’re sharing and taking turns we have to do it immediately, whereas making deals can be over the course of the day or include the next day.
  • Talk It Out- This is definitely the hardest strategy.  I teach the kids that there are two parts to Talk It Out.  Step 1. Tell the other person how you feel using an “I” message.  Ex. “I feel upset that you cut in front of me in line,” or “I feel sad that you took my toy from me.” Step 2. Tell the person what you would like to happen to solve the problem.  Ex. “Can you please go behind me in line,” or “Can I please have my toy back.”  Once again, using a calm voice is heavily emphasized.

Share and Take Turns and Talk It Out 2020 video- https://youtu.be/kGJ5u2X1zPI

Lesson 10: The duck problem.  I read a story with Kelso the frog and his friend Lily.  Lily is upset at some ducks in the story, but it turns out to be a small problem.  Lily comes up with some not so good ideas to solve her problem with the ducks before remembering the nine different ways to solve small problems. The story ends with Lily leaving to go solve her small problem and then I talk with the students about how they would use Kelso’s choices to solve the duck problem.

               The duck problem 2020 video- https://youtu.be/Zw7A3FSULjM

 

The following lessons utilize a virtual zones of regulation room that I created in 2020. Please click on this link to access the rooms.  My Zones of Regulation - Google Slides

 

Lesson 11: Zones of Regulation part 1.  I introduce the idea of the 4 zones of regulation: blue, green, yellow, and red.  I equate each zone to an energy level (instead of an emotion).  Blue zone is low energy, green zone is just right for being calm, focused, and learning, yellow zone is too much energy for focusing/learning, and red zone is out of control.  I explain the red zone to the students, but I also explain that I expect them to be able to stop themselves from getting into the red zone at school most of the time so we don’t focus much on that.  This lesson emphasizes that there is nothing wrong with being in the blue or yellow zones, but that when it is time to work or time to listen that we need to get ourselves back to the green zone so we can focus. *This lesson uses slides 1-5 from the virtual zones rooms. Click on the cartoon Mr. Kramer in slide one to hear the lesson and then click on the people and cat in slides 2-5 to see examples of people in the different zones.

Lesson 12: Zones of Regulation part 2.  This lesson introduces different strategies to move from the blue zone to the green zone and the yellow zone to the green zone.  As a group we watch some short videos that show different strategies to try and then we all practice them together.  I encourage students to try out a lot of different strategies to see what works best for them.  I also remind them a lot that they are responsible for noticing what zone they are in and doing something to get into the green zone when it is time to focus, not their teacher or another adult.  This lesson also introduces the virtual calm room I created so that teachers and students can visit that room whenever they want. *This lesson uses slide 7 in the virtual zones room and the virtual calm room. Click on the different pictures to see videos of strategies for moving into the green zone.

               Virtual Calm Room-Calm Room - Google Slides

Lesson 13: Zones of Regulation part 3. This lesson finally connects emotions to the different zones.  We click on different emotions and see 3 adults and my cat Fiona demonstrating that emotion and then students are prompted to guess at what zone the emotion is in.  If there is disagreement on what zone the emotion is in, we discuss as a group and talk about how much energy different students feel like they have during the emotion.  This lesson encourages more self-reflection and a reminder that we are all different and it is okay if we feel like we are in a different zone for an emotion than other people, as long as that self-reflection is happening.  *This lesson uses slide 6 from the virtual zones room.  Click on the different faces to see examples of that emotion.

Lesson 14: Child Safety Matters Part 1.  Please go to the child safety matters page for more information. Child Safety Matters Lessons - Ginther Elementary School (bcs1.org)

Lesson 15: Child Safety Matters Part 2.  Please go to the child safety matters page for more information. Child Safety Matters Lessons - Ginther Elementary School (bcs1.org)

Lesson 16:
 Perseverance Lesson 1.  I talk to the students about how in the middle of the school year that sometimes I see students who stop trying their best to solve small problems on their own, do their work, and be good listeners.  I also talk about how it is normal to have times where it is hard to do our best, but that's where persevering through our challenges becomes so important.  That it is when things are hard or we're tired, that we really need to make sure we keep trying our best.  I then read the story The Little SnowPlow by Lora Koehler.  During the story we talk about how the characters treat each other, how trying our best means practicing to get better, and not giving up when things are hard.                        

                                                     The Little SnowPlow 2020: https://youtu.be/Y4r4qnQtXVk


 Lesson 17: Tattling.  I read the story Tattlin' Madeline by Carol Cummings.  During the lesson we review how students can solve small problems on their own without help from the adults and then relate that to tattling.  In the story Madeline tattles on her fellow classmates a lot and now they are calling her a tattle tale.  The teacher explains to her that tattling is when you tell an adult about a problem you can solve on your own or to get other kids in trouble, but reporting is when you tell an adult about someone who is hurt, in trouble, or when property is damaged.  She also learns about the "T" signal where the teacher will make a "T" with her hands if Madeline comes over to tell her something.  This means stop and think about if you really need to tell the teacher.  When the story is over we practice using the "T" signal in class.

Lesson 18: Being Bossy.  I read the story It's My Way or The Highway by Julia Cook.  This story is all about a little girl named Cora June who thinks she needs to tell people what to do because she has the best ideas.  It gives several examples of how she does this and it is clear not everyone likes it.  The adults keep telling her to be more flexible, which Cora June eventually learns means that she has to be able to change her plans and ask others what they want instead of always getting her way.  When the story is over I ask the students to give me examples of how they can ask instead of tell during different activities (like play time, work time, at home, etc.).

Lesson 19: Being a good friend.  I read the story Wanted Best Friend by A.M. Monson.  This is an old story about a cat and mouse who are friends, but cat is always telling mouse what to do and mouse leaves.  Cat decides he can easily get a new friend and after placing an ad in the paper other animals begin showing  up to his house to be his new best friend.  Cat quickly realizes that there is more to being a good friend than just liking to play the same games and after a series of bad friend matches he places an ad in the paper inviting mouse back because he now understands what a good friend mouse is.  It is not explicitly stated in the story, but I go through a lot of qualities that might be important in a friend (ex. kind, caring, responsible, respectful, funny, helpful, etc.).  I then have students draw a picture of themselves and a friend and one reason that person is a good friend.

Lesson 20: Accepting everyone.  I read the story The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss.  A lot of this story is just about making the kids laugh with the funny words and how silly the characters are being, but I also ask the students about whether being different makes us better or worse than other people.  We spend some time talking about how we are all different and that none of that makes or better or worse than anyone.  What matters is how we treat each other.  Eventually the sneetches realize this at the end of the story.

Lesson 21: Accepting No.  I read the story I just Don't Like The Sound of No by Julia Cook.  In this story a little boy named RJ hates it when people tell him no and he keeps asking over and over again even when he has been told no.  RJ's teacher tries to get him become a member of the say yes to no club, but to do this he has to follow four steps: 1. Look at the person.  2. Stay Calm (body and voice).  3. Say okay.  4. For following directions only-Follow the direction quickly.  We practice this repeatedly as a class.  I really emphasize taking a deep breath and staying calm.

Lesson 22:  Perseverance 2.  I read the story Don't give up Little Duck by Christine E. Stout.  This is a cute story about a duck who can't fly yet, but dreams of flying with all the other ducks.  The other animals on the farm mostly tell her that she'll never be able to fly, but she keeps trying anyway.  A few other animals encourage her to keep trying when she is close to giving up and eventually Little Duck learns to fly.  I emphasize both perseverance and how we treat the people around us and what an impact that can have on their behavior.

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