We always want what is best for our students, and some students just need more practice than what we can provide during the school day. Enter the kindergarten home support bag. Kindergarten home support bags have definitely helped many of my students and their families. The kindergarten home support bags provide simple and repeated practice with clear directions for all families to be successful with.
Meet with caregivers to share data and make a plan
Whenever I have concerns about a child’s progress, or lack thereof, I schedule a meeting to talk with parents. I don’t wait until parent teacher conferences or report cards. When I have this meeting I am prepared with data to show them what I am seeing in their child and we discuss what typically I would hope to see at this time of year in kindergarten. Together, we discuss a plan of next steps. I make sure to tell parents what I plan on doing in the classroom. I also have prepared a kindergarten home support bag to share with families so they know what they can do to help.
Have resources ready to share and easy to use
I keep a few kindergarten home support bags prepped and ready to give to families as needed. I keep all the materials they will need in the bag so they can just grab and go. The activities I choose are very simple and yet engaging for students to do repeatedly. I want my families to be successful with the activities and I want the practice to help improve my student’s academic progress.
Key tools to share
There are a few key tools and materials I always provide in the kindergarten home support bag for families. I make sure to include dice, number cards, an alphabet chart, and alphabet cards. Dice is important to include because a lot of the practice involves dice and families might not have easy access to multiple dice. Number cards are important because there are a lot of ways families can practice with number cards. Alphabet chart and cards are important for students to learn their letters, but I make sure to include the same chard and cards the children are used to seeing every day in the classroom. This is not the time to introduce a new style of alphabet chart. I also send home low-leveled readers for my struggling readers because families don’t often have access to books the students can read independently. Low-leveled readers are hard to find in your average bookstore and families always appreciate this practice.
Repetition is key to practice
When students struggle, they need repeated practice. I can definitely tell the students that practice at home regularly and those who do not. I stress the importance to families. This is also why I make sure to make my activities as easy as possible for families to accomplish. I talk to them about when in the day would be good to complete the practice. For example, while you are cooking dinner, the child can be sitting nearby completing practice. We also talk about the possibility of earning rewards for repeated practice. Children could earn a star for every book they read and then they get a reward after a certain number of rewards. I do not suggest this with every family, just for the students who are really struggling academically and need that extra motivation.
Kindergarten Home support bag: Math practices
So, what math skills do I target in my kindergarten home support bag? Well, most often my students have needed extra practice with counting, teen number identification, and number sequencing (one more, one less). When students struggle, it is easy to just want them to practice it all. But we need to really target one or two areas that are the most foundational areas for them. For example, I wouldn’t give them practice for all those math skills at once. I would start with just counting and maybe teen number identification if I noticed they were having trouble with counting the teen numbers too. I wouldn’t give extra practice for one more one less until I saw that students were making more progress with the foundational skill of counting.
Kindergarten Home support bag: Literacy practices
Most often my students that need extra literacy practice need support with learning the letter sounds and letter names. I don’t want to start adding on other literacy skills until I see some progress with the letter sounds. Once they have a lot of the letter sounds mastered, I like to send home some elkonin boxes to practice applying the letter sounds in segmenting and writing CVC words. I find that this practice is most beneficial to my struggling readers and is easy for my students to complete. Sometimes I send home a book bag weekly with a few low-leveled readers to provide extra practice for my struggling readers. I don’t often to that until the second semester though, because I want to make sure my students have strong foundations in early literacy skills first.
Kindergarten home support bags are really beneficial to struggling students and their families. Families appreciate that all the tools, materials, and directions are right in the bag. They also appreciate that the activities are easy to use and engaging for the students. You can try all these activities in my kindergarten home support bag product!