Teaching Positional Words in Kindergarten
Do you have to teach positional words? Positional words can be very tough for ELL students and for those students who have not been exposed to a wide vocabulary. It's one of those skills that I struggled with when I first started teaching, because it seemed so easy to me that it was hard to understand how my students could NOT know what "on" or "under" meant and that I would have to explicitly teach these words! My own children knew these words way before they were school aged, simply because of all the conversations we had - "Your car rolled under the couch, reach under and get it!" or "Leave your cup on the table while we wipe your hands." or "Put your bear on the shelf next to your books." Obviously ELL students haven't had these experiences, but since I teach at a Title I school, I see many, many students who are not ELL who still don't have this vocabulary experience.
So now I explicitly teach positional words as part of my Morning Meeting or Calendar Time. I have a few favorite positional word videos:
I also use my Kohl's Cares animals that are usually in our Reading Center. I usually choose a few students a day to move our animals around the room. At first, I instruct the children as to where to put the animals - "Put the dog on the table." or "Can you fit the monkey under a chair?"
As the children get more comfortable with positional words, I start having them decide where to put the animal and then tell the class where it is using positional words - "The bear is in front of the door." or "The bear is between the caddies."
Showing a video and having students manipulate the animals literally takes only 5 minutes a day and my students LOVE it. The fun of getting to get up and put the animals in silly places means that this is a highly engaging activity - both for the student holding the animal and their friends who are watching and giggling up a storm! And because it works so well whole group, it's a skill that I don't have to focus on in small groups!
Simple right? Math often is - it doesn't always have to be a big lesson with worksheets and assessments! Now head on over to Kinder Kraziness to read some more Math Monday goodness!