Help! No experience teaching groups of kindergarteners!

<b> Forum for teachers working with preschool children </b>

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Help! No experience teaching groups of kindergarteners!

Post by darrenjzy » Wed May 19, 2010 6:11 am


I just arrived in Korea and am teaching at a small hagwon:

5 days a week
19, 5 year olds for 30 min
15, 4 year olds for 30 min
7, 3 year olds for 20 min.
The ages are U.S. ages, not korean ages.

I have no experience teaching little kids and I've been told to create a curriculum from stratch. There is no Korean teacher in the room, but occasionally one will step in for a moment and help me control the kids.

The classrooms are big kindergarten rooms with lots of distractions and the kids are told to sit in a semi-circle around me on the floor.

I have been given some flashcards and a choice of small story books. The kids know very little english. Just "how are you?" "I'm fine" and some animals.

The kids eat me alive in the classroom. They go nuts after their korean teacher leaves the room. My director tells me I need to do more conversation and activities and not be boring.

So far I've managed this:

7-8 min teaching a disney song
10 min playing a game where I roll a ball to each student and he/she says their name and "here is the ball" class repeats "there is the ball.( Its hard to keep everyones attention)
6 min A story book
5 min is flashcards. C C, ca ca, cat.
A few times I've set the cards on the floor and picked students to say "here is the Box" or w/e.

My biggest problem is keeping control and keeping the kids interested. Any advice would be wonderful!

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Post by greenpaint » Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:50 am


I'm in a similar situation and so can't offer much advice, but if anyone does have any I'd love to hear it.
My classes are 4-5 year olds for 30 minutes.
2-3 year olds for 20
1-2 year olds for 10

What I do is play lots of games and sing lots and lots of songs. Lots of chanting too. So if I'm basing a lesson around fruit for example I'll first introduce the fruit, with flashcards of little plastic fruits, then make a chant, "apples apples, I like apples. They're yummy yummy yummy in my tummy tummy tummy." and change it around for lots of different fruits. The next lesson I'll develop it into a song. and introduce things like please give me/ I want the fruit. Then go into negation, "I don't like it, it's yucky!" "My favourite fruit is", so eventually you have a conversation. "what fruit do you like?" "why?""what's your favourite fruit?" "what fruit don't you like?" Also, we have games like hide the fruit. blindfold a kid and stick flashcards on the board, they then move their hand to directions from the class, up down left and right.

So you can use all these activities just centred around other topics, and as the weeks go on, develop the language.

It's all I can think to do, since I have no story books or curriculum or anything.

I'm not sure, but I don't think the schools are ever all that impressed, if they are they don't say it and if they're not, they don't say it either, so I really don't know, but would greatly appreciate advice. Even if it's a better layout for the class lessons.

For the 1-2 year olds, I mostly clap my hands and count, or do simple rhymes, play peek-a-boo, teach them how to say things like hello, nice to meet you, and do finger plays. They don't really respond much.... so yeah, any advice would be cool.

Please and thank you.

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free video of finger rhymes and chants, perfect for 2-6 yrs

Post by musica5 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:38 pm

I have just started uploading video onto my youtube channel.
I have taught for years and just thought of adding the finger rhymes and chants to my site. These would be perfect to use with kids 3-6
I will be adding more every week and if you have a request just let me know.

I also have a CD with loads of finger rhymes and chants available on itunes. It is called Five Little Finger Rhymes and Lots of Circle Games. ... 29574?uo=4
So you can just get the individual mp3s that you might want.

I hope some of this helps you and enjoy the kids, they are such a joy.

Take care

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Post by shelleyvernon » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:11 pm

Hi there,

You are on the right track alright - you want a combination of stories, songs, games and acting or miming games. With the twos and threes it's quite different as they do not accept to be organised, so it's not so much games with them, as playing along with them while saying things in English.

You'll find a complete curriculum you may follow of games, songs and stories. These are being used by many teachers with great success, teachers in your situation, and your classes are not THAT big compared to many! Plus you even have the ages separated, so you should be able to do good work with your pupils.

Try out this sample story out with matching song:
That's the link directly to the story, but if you want to get the flashcards and the song you have to enter name and email to receive the full series.

There's a teaching twos report included with the full resource which is v. handy too, compiled from the best ideas from 250 teachers all teaching two year olds.

It's a lot of fun! But you do have to make sure you are the boss in there or you'll spend more energy trying to control the children than teaching them. Your colleagues can help you out with that, ask them how they do it.

All the best
Shelley Vernon

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Location: From San Antonio, Texas but in South Korea

circle time books

Post by thevmister » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:20 am

My company has given me the go ahead to find books but I am lost. Those are all great ideas, but I was wondering if anyone has any books they particularly like that help them plan out lessons. We have a ciriculum, but nothing for circle time so it's whatever I come up with, but it would be great if I could have help in the form of books. Something that provides flashcards and songs etc all to go around a specific theme. Any help pointing me in the right direction would be so wonderful.

Sally Olsen
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Post by Sally Olsen » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:38 am

I like the "Let's Go" series. They have flash cards and colourful books. There is a teacher's manual. I used the phonics books as puppets and cut out the characters and put them on chopsticks. Then the children could use them in little plays. I also like the Jazz Chants and so did the kids.

I brought along an alphabet of puppets (A alligator, B Bear) and we eventually used these in stories as well. Shy kids will talk with a puppet on their hand.

You might look up TPR as well as there are a lot of books on that and it would be very appropriate for little kids.

There are BIG BOOKS which are as they say, and all the children can really see the pictures at once. You should read them until the kids know them by heart and review them often. You should know the book by heart and hold it in front of you so the kids see the pictures all the time you are talking.

There are so many games and finger plays. Just go onto a site for preschoolers and you might remember some from your childhood. Farmer in the Dell, Ring Around the Rosy, Sally Go Round the Sun, London Bridges
If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands, Ants Come Marching One by One, Hurrah.

The more actual things you give them, like fruit, or at least plastic fruit, the better. You can hide things in a bag once they know the names and have them feel inside until they find something they can name. They keep it until all the things are gone and then put it back, naming it again.

For the last few minutes you can give them some colouring to do - I didn't use worksheets but let them draw something from what we were learning, labeled it for them and made the drawings into small books for them to read. You keep the coloured pencils and they must ask for a colour.

We acted out songs and then put several together to make a play for others - parents, teachers, passing janitors.

We had a curriculum based on the Let's Go Picture Dictionary.

First we sang a song of welcome. " Hello Yuki, How are You?" (Yuki would answer, "Fine, thank you." You wouldn't have to do all the students each time but must include every student over time.

Then we did weather. Lots of songs and games about weather.

Then we did colours. Lots of songs and games about colour.

We did the same thing for many lessons and gradually added something each lesson like transportation, animals, fruit and so on.

I just visited the dollar store and got props - plastic fruit, plastic animals, plastic cars, plastic letters for the alphabet. I made a box for each letter and kept things in the box that started with that letter. A - alligator puppet, apple,

Those paper dolls books are great for teaching body parts and clothes. You have to cut them out probably and laminate them for strength.

Kids like predictability so don't change what you are doing too drastically but you can add one thing a lesson or every two lessons and you gradually change everything you are doing over time.

Have you looked at Enchanted for ideas?

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Post by shelleyvernon » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:20 pm

Hi there The V Mister,

These games, stories and songs, with flashcards are perfect for a circle time around specific themes. There are twenty themes, each one with flashcards, songs and a story. Lesson plans are included for each story using games. Also masks of all the characters and ideas on acting out the stories.

This is a complete kit to follow or dip into, very economical for your school too.

Matching Songs are here:

If you'd like to see what other teachers say about this resource and how it helps them in order to feel reassured, please see this page: ... onials.htm

Those comments are all specifically related to the preschool resource.

All the best

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Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:57 pm


Post by brevel_monkey » Thu May 12, 2011 4:20 am

I was once in this exact situation (except that I was in China!). I remember how scary and heart renching it was. Every time I was about to go into the classroom I would feel sick!

Well, eventually I got the hang of it, but it did take me some time. Nowadays (6 years later) I'm actually a trained teacher with a lot more experience. But I still have a leap of the heart when I think back to those classes!

Well, here is some quick advice:

1) Take control by using TPR. Although its hard, just look really confident. When you go in to the class, spend the first 5 minutes doing 'TPR' routines'. This is, basically, where you do an action and the kids follow. You can run, jump, hop, be animals (cat, tiger, lion etc). You can even do little stories, like sleep, wake up, brush teeth, eat breakfast, got to school etc. Try doing silly things (wiggle your whole body, hug your friend etc). This is a great for the kids, because it doesn't require any language, which makes it fun and easy as a warm up.

Make a habit of doing this every lesson. Far from getting board of it - small children love the routine. And they will soon learn lots of the action names, too - so its great for thier english.

2) Use songs and rhymes. Use all those songs you learnt when you were young. Special favourites are - wheels on the bus, if your happy and you know it, and the classic 'heads shoulders knees and toes' (which is like cocaine for small children. When teaching a song, make sure every line has an action, and accept that the first times you sing it, the kids will only follow the action. They will start to sing natrually later on.

Build up the amount of songs they know until you can warm up with 2-3 songs and have one song to end the lesson. They love singing and will aquire natural intonation and pronunciation through songs easily.

3) Keep discipline with praise. It may sound hippy, but it works. Keep the classroom stable by making sure that participating kids feel rewarded. If you are doing actions and only 4 kids are following, smile at them, say well done and make it clear you're happy with them. See how fast the other kids fall in to line - at this age, they really want positive praise more than anything else. If a kid says the word you want them to, praise them too.

4) Think about simple ways to get the kids moving. For example, a fun flashcard game is simply to say a word whilst showing a card and have kids stand up if the word you say is right, or sit down when its wrong. Simple, but more fun than simply sitting down and saying a flashcard.

5) Leave out stories until the class behaves well. Kids love stories and will learn loads from them, but only after they've learnt to sit still, watch and follow whats going on. They also need to understand the story for it to be interesting.

6) Routines, routines routines. Kids at this age need routine, otherwise there will be chaos. Simple routines are 5 mins TPR before every lesson, an action song to start each class, a paticular song to change activities or start a new topic, a song to say goodbye, a routine for praise (all the kids clap together and say 'good, good, very good' to praise another child every time someone does something good, for example).

Sally Olsen
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Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

Post by Sally Olsen » Thu May 12, 2011 11:03 am

Great ideas. I also taped all the songs and vocabulary from Let's Go and gave each parent a copy to listen to at home. Some parents learned a lot themselves and of course, reinforced the lessons with the children. The parents also appreciated being able to take home games to practice vocabulary. We had a darts type game with sticky balls and velcro with places on the dart board to insert pictures and then vocabulary. They would say the name of the picture and try to throw to that area of the dart board.
We made Bingo games. We let the parents borrow the flash cards to play Memory and Slap on the weekends. For older kids we had alphabet games and Junior scrabble. Of course, there are tons of things on the web. I like Kindersite.

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Need help with young learners?

Post by silencedobetter » Fri May 23, 2014 6:55 am

I hope this helps: Setting up your expectations for Young Learners: ... -learners/

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Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 1:35 pm


Post by markNjapan » Fri May 23, 2014 5:38 pm

I'm not sure if you've tried this, but a good reward system could be helpful. You could easily cut out some shapes from construction paper and stick them to a portable chart and place it where the kids can see it. At the end of class give kids a stamp or sticker reward on their cut-out, oh and of course write their names out on their cut-outs. Do this ONLY if they were behaving; sitting nicely, not interrupting, or speaking with friends while you talk. If they misbehave then you can take their cut-out off of the chart and place it in your pocket. You can give them a few warnings before you take it, but also give them lots of praise when someone does some thing good and you'll probably have a different class once the kids get used to it.

If the school wants to invest they can buy those giant Oxford Reading Tree readers. I use that at my school and the kids are liking them a lot.

If they are going to class every day then having something to listen to or read at home would help a lot too.

-Rewards should work for 3 year old and up. [/img]

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