Teacher's Guide / Thinking Skills
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... . ... Use this site to help your students:
Many cognitive skills have already been covered in other areas. Others are covered here including some requested by parents and by kindergarten teachers.
  1. Color identification - there are 3 steps to learning colors. They are:
    1. Color matching.
      • Using 2 sets of crayons, hold one color up and ask the child to find the other one that is blue (red, green, etc.)
      • Using a group of colored shapes or color bears, have the child sort them into piles by color
      • Show the child a red (yellow, etc.) shape and ask him/her to find other things in the room that are that color
      • Let the children find matching colors on their own and other children's clothes
      • ONLINE ACTIVITIES: Practice matching colors with A Rainbow of Frogs and So Many Different Colors.

    2. Color identifying (being able to find a color when you name it).
      • Use color names often during your daily routines
      • Sing songs using color names
      • Play games requiring different activities according to the color the child holds such as color bingo or color card games like "Go Fish"
      • Using one set of crayons, ask the child to show you the green color
      • Play "I Spy"

    3. Color naming (being able to see a color and name it with no clues).
      • Continue the above games, songs, and activities.
      • When the child is mastering the skill, reinforce it by letting the child be the facilitator of the games so they can practice the skill
  2. Knowing concepts.
    • Use the concept words often in daily activities
    • Play games naming opposites (hot - cold, up - down, empty - full)
    • Sing active songs using concepts (fast - slow, in - out)
    • Sort shapes, found objects, animal pictures, items in a learning center by size
    • Compare objects for length measure using a long string and a short string use long and short paper at the easel and in your writing center
    • Compare the same objects for different attributes (fast - slow, wet - dry, etc.)
    • Do science experiments such as melting ice to show liquid - solid
    • Have the children move (fast - slow, lightly - heavily, forwards - backwards)
    • Weigh objects for heavy - light
    • Classify objects by use
    • Classify objects by where they may be found (land, sea, sky; library, home, school, beach)
    • ONLINE ACTIVITY: Explore concepts such as "in", "out", "above" and "below" with our Spatial Concepts pages
  3. Building memory skills
    • Review the events of the day at the end of each session
    • Use simple nursery rhymes repeated daily
    • Ask what they did before they came to school today
    • Ask what they did yesterday
    • Show the child 4 objects on a tray; cover the tray and remove 1 object; ask the child what is missing
    • Play concentration
    • Ask questions about their favorite things to do
    • Read predictable books and have children tell them back to you
    • Use posted dictation and ask if they remember what they said
    • ONLINE ACTIVITY: Remember and match (images from our site) using our hats matching game.
    • Ask questions about their favorite things to do
    • Read predictable books and have your child tell the story back to you.
    • ONLINE ACTIVITY: Our story, But That Wasn't The Best Part will work well for this
  4. Following Directions
    • Begin with games using one-step directions like Simon Says
      Sing active songs and follow the directions like "Put Your Finger in the Air"
      Use bean bags to follow 1 simple direction
      Play games where you ask the children to follow 1 direction (stand up; hop)
    • Expand to 2 and then 3 step directions
      Give 2 directions (stand up and jump 2 times)
      Play simple games which require several actions like "Hokey Pokey"
      Set up an obstacle course and give 2 or 3 directions before the child begins
      Play "Monkey See, Monkey Do" which requires several visual movements
  5. Developing critical thinking skills.
    • Ask open-ended questions whenever possible
    • Set up activities which involve the child in making decisions and in discovering
    • Lead them to discover other ways of performing a task
    • Ask their opinions about things and then ask them why they think that way
    • Ask them what they know about a subject and then set up activities to enable them to learn more
    • Use situation picture cards and ask the child what happened before the event in the picture (ex. a slide with a laughing child at the bottom) and what will happen next
  6. Completes an assigned task
    • ask the child to perform a task (clean up a spill, etc.)
      Notice and comment when the child has performed the task
      If the task is not performed, try another day and have patience
      Catch a child doing tasks on his/her own and thank them
    • let children take turns being a leader to build leadership skills
    • be sure to thoroughly explain any task given to a child
  7. Knows their parent(s) name (kindergarten teachers request this because so many parents and children have different last names)
    • Let the parent know that you will be working on this skill and why
    • When you say "your mother" to a child also say mother's full name
    • After a few weeks, ask the child her mother's or father's name
    • Play the name game using mother's or father's name
    • Clap the syllables of the parent's names as you say them
  8. Knows their address and phone number
    • Play the name game saying the child's name and the street he/she lives on
    • During the day mention the child's address several times when you talk to them
    • Have house stencils in the art or writing center - after the child uses the stencil write their address on the paper
    • Make a book with the child's address on the front and have them dictate a story about their house - read it back occasionally
    • Using a nursery rhyme, sing a song about the child's address (ex. "Sing a song of George's house, 290 Cross Street" to the tune of "Sing a Song of Sixpence"
    • Clap the syllables of the address while saying it
    • After a few days, ask the child their address - if they don't know it keep working on remembering it
    • For the phone number, use the activities above
    • Have a phone stencil in the art or writing area - after the child uses it, write their phone number on the phone
    • Look for the numbers in their phone number in magazines and books
    • Let them cut and paste the numbers in their phone number
  9. Knows the days of the week
    • Sing days of the week songs like Greg and Steve's song, "The Days of the Week"
    • Read and/or sing "Today is Monday" together
    • Do a dictation activity using the days and having the children name their favorite Monday food or Tuesday animal or Wednesday color, etc.
    • Do a simple calendar with a paper chain and name and count the days
    • Talk about which days we go to school and which days we stay home
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1998, 2018, Susan Jindrich. All rights reserved.