Fostering the Five Domains of Human Development and a Freebie!

Teaching is a performance skill. Like a dancer who practices muscle movements daily until his body can perform intricate dance routines with ease, an actor who studies unconscious body movements until she can recreate them on the stage, or a writer who knows all of the elements of a well written tale so well that she can construct a page turning novel, teachers learn and practice the elements of lesson design, behavior management and modification, and lesson delivery, until these become second nature.

While studying Early Childhood Education as an undergraduate, I received tutelage from great instructors who were true early childhood theorists, Dr. Barbara Taylor and Dr. Sally Pena.

Both of these women taught me the importance of including the five domains of early childhood development into every lesson plan. I remember the time I spent writing exhaustingly detailed lesson plans made specifically to include all five domains. The time turned out to be invaluable practice for my performance art, however, as now it is ingrained in me to be mindful of these important aspects of the learning of young children. Although I don’t write these mega-detailed lesson plans anymore, those domains of development are always fore-most in my mind when planning my kindergarten day.  

So what are those important areas of development?

  1. Gross Motor Development: Are the young children in our care using their large muscles daily? We must give students the opportunities to crawl, walk, run, skip, climb, and climb.

  2. Fine Motor Development: Do we give children opportunity to develop hand-eye coordination? The opportunity to control precisely the small muscles in their hands? We must give students the opportunities to color, write, use tweezers, tear paper, glue beans, build with small objects.

  3. Language Development: Are our students hearing stories with rich vocabulary, participating in vocabulary rich dialogues, participating in enriching phonemic awareness activities, and strategically practicing phonics skills? We must give our students a rich auditory and oral environment and be keyed in to their needs in vocabulary.

  4. Cognitive Development: Do we challenge our students with cause and effect, reasoning and problem solving skills? We must make sure that our teaching affords opportunities for neurological development and that we are helping to wire and in some cases, rewire, their young minds.

  5. Social/Emotional Development: Are we giving our students opportunity to be social? Do we have adequate opportunity for play-rich experiences? Do we foster a classroom environment of caring? Do we explicitly teach important life-skills? We can never underestimate the importance of social development to a young child.

As I learned from Taylor and Pena, crafting lessons that include all of these domains takes practice, but after time, it becomes second nature.


And, sometimes, you just might find a kind blogger who gives one away for free!

Like this game, "Day Traders" that includes all five of the domains: Gross Motor (walking), Fine Motor (writing words), Language (Oral Language and Sight Words), Cognitive (Problem Solving) and Social/Emotional (Play Based). 

Teaching Kindergartners to Rhyme

Teaching Kindergartners to Rhyme

For those children that enjoy the 1000 plus hours of lap-time recommended to ensure kindergarten readiness by the National Institute for Children’s Health and Development, the skill of rhyming is usually learned unconsciously and effortlessly. However, for those students who enter kindergarten without that skill under their belt, learning how to rhyme can be a laborious task, indeed!

Building Readers: Laying a Strong Foundation

Imagine building a house and beginning with the roof! You don’t need construction experience or a degree in architecture to know that this will not lead to a successful end. Just as the building of a house needs to follow a certain order, skills for reading also follow a sequence. In fact, research has shown that most students learn to read following the same sequence of skill acquisition. What does this mean as we teach beginning readers? 

Parents, students, and even teachers are often so anxious to start the reading process that beginning readers are frequently presented with words before they are ready for them. According to reading research students should first work with letters. In fact, the youngest of students should concentrate on capital letters; once they know the uppercase letters, the lowercase letters are easier to learn. Sight words can be introduced along the way, but not at targeted levels until students have a grasp of letter knowledge. 

Although it’s often tempting to jump into phonics in order to please parents and administrators, research has shown that students with strong phonemic awareness skills tend to be better readers than those who do not participate in as many of these auditory activities. Before connecting letters and sounds, students should clap out syllables, play with rhymes, and isolate initial sounds in words. As students continue on the reading continuum, they can work with letter sounds and then decoding.

These are just a few examples related to the sequencing of reading skills; there are entire books devoted to this subject! Just keep in mind that as you make your weekly and daily plans, you must always consider the sequence of skills. A simple solution to ensuring that the correct reading sequence is followed is to use the materials in our many thematic units. Starting with the Alphabet Fair at the beginning of the school year and continuing with successive units, skills are addressed in the sequence recommended by research. The Kindergarten Kiosk units can supplement any reading program, providing timely activities for practice and intervention.  Our units also include math, science, writing, suggested literature, and more cross-curricular fun.

All of our products can also be found at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.

November Alphabet and Sight Word Game Cards

Use these handy cards as Flash Cards or for any activity that calls for alphabet or letter cards such as:Write the Room
Boom (Or a similar type game where all cards are lost if the extra card is drawn). * Each set contains an extra "Boom" type card
Go Fish
Old Maid
Memory Match
Draw and Write

*Sight words include all kindergarten level words in Wonders, Journeys, and Imagine It reading series.

Rhyme Away!

When students are familiar with a few nursery rhymes, you can help them develop a greater awareness of rhymes by having them complete a well known line. For instance, start the first line of Jack and Jill, then pause to have the students name the missing rhyming word: Jack and Jill went up the _________. By highlighting the rhyming words of familiar rhymes, students will tune in more to the word play of rhymes.

As students continue to develop a better sense of rhymes, they need opportunities to match rhymes. Games can provide the practice needed to help students move from matching to producing rhymes. As students master the production stage of rhyming, they can then focus on reading rhymes within word families.

Rhymes help develop the foundation for reading. Capitalize on the “fun” of rhymes through books, songs, and games to help your students progress through the stages of rhyming. For games, activities, and supporting materials, check out these products.


Kindergarten And Preschool Math and Language Arts Common Core Assessments

Are you looking for assessments that are authentic, strategic, and linked to Common Core Standards?  Are you looking for assessments that will lead you to be organized, effective, and powerful in your teaching.

These assessments gather information about the language arts and mathematic strengths and weaknesses of your students. You will be able to immediately use important information to guide your classroom instruction, strategically target intervention groups, and inform parents of individual student progress.

Additionally consider using ESGI, a secure assessment platform to digitally conduct your one-on-one tests, score, and report your assessments.  The digital and paper format are a great way for you to visualize your assessments and keep yourself organized!

You will love the ease that ESGI gives this assessment product. I have done the work for you; all of these tests are there: click, click, done. Simply click on the test explorer tab (within ESGI) and look for my name: Kathy Crane to find the correct tests. (Important: At the very end of the testing documents are screen shots of how to organize your tests on ESGI to correlate with the paper copy).

Even if you are not sure whether paperless testing and data retrieval is for you, you will want to take advantage of their free 60 day trial! Simply go to click on the orange button!

Please remember to enter promo code B7227 to receive $40.00 off the already low price.




Keep Kids Reading This Summer

Read, read, and read some more....that sounds like a wonderful summer! Our students may not agree, but they might be tempted to read a little every day with the right resources. 

First on the list should be the little paper books that you have used for guided reading. These books are often “old favorites” that students will return to again and again. With these books, students can review sight words and practice fluent reading. 

To keep students interested in reading, however, they need access to new or different stories. These can take the form of books checked out from a public library or purchased at a bookstore. Technology can also provide access to new titles.

Farfaria is an app that allows members to read one free book per day. (For unlimited access, parents can pay a monthly, yearly, or lifetime fee.) The books are divided by subject, theme or genre; each division includes books representing a wide variety of reading levels. Students can choose to read the book or listen to it while individual words are highlighted. Simply put, children love to read using this app. It has over 1,000 books that are aligned to Common Core reading levels. And, new titles are added weekly! Additionally all books are professionally narrated to aide students in listening comprehension.

Reading is critical to success in school. Encourage your students to keep reading this summer to maintain reading skills...and to have some fun doing so!   

Reading Words in Kindergarten

Throughout the second semester of kindergarten, students work on reading words. For teachers, this emphasis on words can be a challenge. We need a variety of methods to keep word reading engaging and interesting. 

Try this approach to involve all students. Use large letters - magnetic letters on a white board or a set of flashcards in a pocket chart. Put the vowels in a column down the middle of the board or chart; use all or some of the vowels, placing them in alphabetical or random order.  Next have two or more students each choose a consonant letter. Arrange them before and after one of the vowels, then have the class (or an individual student) sound the word out. Continue with more students choosing letters for another vowel. With your guidance, letters can be arranged so you can work on CVC or CVCe words. You can also focus on digraphs or blends. If you allow students to put the letters around any vowel, you will definitely have a lot of nonsense words to read!

Your students will enjoy the variety of this activity and their added involvement in creating words. Give it a try for a fun word-reading experience!

Mystery Box Magic

Do you have a mystery box that you use for hundreds of things in your classroom. There is hardly a day goes by when I don't use one of mine to hold cards, objects, letters, etc. to play a skill based game. To make this box new and exciting, at times I decorate it to match the game or activity.

To make the cover I take a 11X17 sheet of construction paper, measure and cut to the width of the box. Then I measure the length of the cover to equal the three sides.  Next I crease the construction paper to fit the corners of the box (to make it foldable) and laminate.

This Cover is for an Alphabet Mystery Game

To prepare for the game, I simply cover the box by attaching the laminated sheet with a small piece of masking tape on each end. Here is a very simple snow scene cover that I use when I play some of our snow themed literacy or math games.

When , so I will have this box cover each time I need it, I simply fold and file.