I am a student teacher in a kindergarten class and I have been struggling with focusing on laying the foundation for my students. But how much is too little? How much is too much for students at such an emergent level? —Y., Arizona
This is something teachers in all grades grapple with! The first person I would go to is your cooperating teacher and other kindergarten teachers. They have taught this curriculum and should have a good idea of the expectations and will likely fill your repertoire with all kinds of strategies they have used. Next, look at the curriculum support documents. There should be activities, lessons, and assessment strategies that have been identified or created by the department of education to help you out. Check out your state’s science teachers’ association for their resources. Develop a professional development plan in which you attend and participate in as many opportunities to learn, network, and share ideas about your curriculum.
Your students probably have diverse backgrounds and abilities. Don’t be too afraid to over-estimate your students. It is probably better to back track to simpler stuff than underestimate your students’ comprehension of the content.
Foremost, reflect on everything you do and make self-assessments by asking yourself: Are my students getting this? How do I know? And, regardless of whether the lesson worked well or not, How can I teach this differently? From your reflections, you can create informal and formal assessments that will help guide you and determine your students’ understanding.
Hope this helps!