Ten Creative ways to use flashcards!

Ten Creative ways to use flashcards!
It has always been my tendency to think of additional uses for worksheets, flashcards, posters, or any teaching tool. Although materials can certainly be used just once, I’ve found that the best way to get the most mileage from these “teaching extras” is to brainstorm alternative uses. Through brainstorming, I could always come up with something, and my class or my own child (at home) would try it out. The resulting variety was fun for the children, and the parents also had positive feedback. My fellow teachers also enjoyed these variations.
Flashcards are a great example of a teaching tool that can be adapted to many uses. Besides their normal drill and practice value, flashcards can be used in a variety ways.


Here are some ideas.
1. Print two copies of a set of flashcards and make a matching game.
2. Use the flashcards to make a bingo game. Use the flashcards as call cards.
3. Use flashcards for a thematic word wall.
4. Label the room. This works with picture/word cards and plain word cards: just tape the flashcard to the item.
5. Have students put flashcards (words or picture) in alphabetical order.
6. Pick four to six flashcards and have students write a story using those words. This works with picture cards and word cards.
7. Divide students into small groups and have each group create a game using a set of flashcards.
8. Play charades with word or picture flashcards.
9. As a class or in small groups, pick a word flashcard and write or say words that rhyme with that word.
10. Pass out all the flashcards to your students. Play,

I have/ Who has?” For example, a game with a set of fruit flashcards would work like this:
First child: I have an apple, who has an orange?
Second child: I have an orange [hands the orange card to the first child]. Who has a banana?
Another variation would be a spelling game:
I have an apple, who has an o-r-a-n-g-e?
Flashcards and other teaching tools are great for drills, but being creative with them will add variety to their usage.

10 Tips to Help For Kindergarten

Entering kindergarten can be an exciting and stressful time for both parents and children.

Here are ten tips to help you, your child and your teacher get to know each other better and make the journey into kindergarten a little bit smoother for everyone involved.

10 Tips to Help for Kindergarten

1. Before You Begin
About a month before school starts, adjust your daily routine to fit the school day schedule. Have your child get up earlier, eat lunch later and spend some time doing fun projects or activities together that will help get him in learning mode, ready for school.
Read some books about kindergarten with your child. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, Will I Have a Friend? and The Kissing Hand are just a few great books to help your child get ready.

2. Readiness Concerns
Children come into kindergarten with a wide variety (and various levels) of skills and knowledge. Don’t stress too much about where your child is. Be confident he’ll gain the skills he needs in the coming year.
If you want help your child with some of the basic skills he’ll need, spend some time helping him write his name and doing fun activities together to help him learn his letters, numbers, colors and shapes.

3. Transition Techniques
If you’re feeling anxious or sad about your child going to school, try to not to let on in front of him. He’ll be much more comfortable if he feels you are comfortable when you drop him off at school.
Don’t linger at the first day of class. Come in and see the classroom, help your child find something to do, give a quick hug and kiss and tell him to have a great day. Even if your child is crying, he will adjust better after you have left, and kindergarten teachers are used to dealing with first day tears at the beginning of the school year.

4. Teacher Communication 101
If you have a question or concern, don’t approach the teacher during the craziness of the drop off time in the morning. Send in a note or leave a phone message mentioning your reason for contacting her and let her know that you would like to meet with her to discuss it.
Read all the notes and newsletters that come home from your child’s teacher and the school as soon as you get them. Keep a folder with important information about upcoming events, dates and notices so that all of that info is easily accessible. That way, if you have a question, you can start there.

5. Clarifying Questions
Want to talk to your child about what he’s been doing in school? To help ask questions your child can answer, ask the teacher for a copy of the daily and weekly schedule, and keep up with the teacher’s newsletters about what’s being taught. That way, you can ask questions that are specific and straight-forward. For example, “What did you make in art class today?” or  “What did you learn about frogs today?”.

6. Ready, Set, Read!
One of the most exciting parts about kindergarten the new adventure of learning to read. The most important “homework” you can do to help prepare your child for this crucial, life-long skill is to read with him for 20-30 minutes every day. You can read books, do fun reading activities together, and even simply practice reading the words that surround you (on cereal boxes, at the grocery store, on street signs etc).

7. Social Situations
If your child is having difficulty with another child in the class, talk it over with the teacher before confronting another parent. She knows both children and understands their classroom dynamic and may have a solution.
If your child talks about playing with another child, invite him over for a play date. If possible, include the parent so you can get to know them as well.

8. Invest with Involvement
If possible, volunteer to help in the classroom. You can also ask the teacher if there’s anything you can do at home to help out. Attend field trips and other special school events whenever you can. When you’re involved at school, you’re showing your child and his teacher that his education is important to you!

9. Conferences and Evaluations
Come to conferences with questions you’ve written down ahead of time. If the teacher has specific concerns, ask for suggestions of things you can do at home to help your child with problem areas.
Don’t fret about grades in kindergarten. Use grades and evaluations as guides for feedback on which areas to work on at home. But don’t let them stress you out!

10. Learning is Fun!
What’s most important about this crucial transition into formal education is the understanding that school and learning are fun and exciting. Don’t sweat the small stuff and make things unnecessarily stressful. Tap into your child’s natural curiosity and excitement about learning new things and the year is sure to be a success.
Most children do very well during the adjustment to kindergarten. Approach the year with enthusiasm and excitement and your child is likely to follow your lead. It won’t be long before you realize the transition to kindergarten is as easy as ABC!