How To Set Up An Adopt a Reading Buddy Stuffed Animal Activity for Kindergarten Open House

Sunday, March 8, 2020
Adopting a reading buddy stuffed animal is a fun way to encourage students to read both in school and at home.  A reading buddy can help to make reading more engaging for students.  Kids can pull out their reading buddies during read to self time or keep them at home for homework time.  You may even have students who keep their reading buddies nearby for comfort and security at school.  Setting up a pretend pet adoption center for Open House or Kindergarten Orientation is a great opportunity to bond with students and their families.  Kids will have fun choosing their pets and filling out their adoption applications.  This activity sends families the message that teachers care about their kids and school is a fun place to be.

Learn how to set up a pretend adoption center for your students to adopt a reading buddy stuffed animal at kindergarten open house or orientation.  This is a fun way to motivate your kids to want to read!  Your students will love choosing a stuffed animal to read to and take care of.  Setting up this activity can be simple and the impact can be powerful.  Learn how to engage kids and family in reading today!

Where do you start?


First, choose what your students will adopt.  If you have a school mascot, that may be a good place to start.  Are you the bulldogs, dolphins or maybe hedgehogs?  Perhaps you can find your school's mascot as a stuffed animal.  We went with inexpensive puppy stuffed animals from Amazon (affiliate link). You could ask friends and families to donate their stuffed animals or ask companies to donate to your school.  Oriental Trading Company is another place to look if you need to purchase small pets.

Learn how to set up a pretend adoption center for your students to adopt a reading buddy stuffed animal at kindergarten open house or orientation.  This is a fun way to motivate your kids to want to read!  Your students will love choosing a stuffed animal to read to and take care of.  Setting up this activity can be simple and the impact can be powerful.  Learn how to engage kids and family in reading today! Learn how to set up a pretend adoption center for your students to adopt a reading buddy stuffed animal at kindergarten open house or orientation.  This is a fun way to motivate your kids to want to read!  Your students will love choosing a stuffed animal to read to and take care of.  Setting up this activity can be simple and the impact can be powerful.  Learn how to engage kids and family in reading today!

How will your students transport their new pets home?  We chose to create travel crates for our puppies.  We purchased small white, party favor boxes like these (affiliate link) for students to use as crates to take their pets home.  These are great because you can add our own logo to the box or have students decorate the boxes.

How will you set up your adoption center?

Learn how to set up a pretend adoption center for your students to adopt a reading buddy stuffed animal at kindergarten open house or orientation.  This is a fun way to motivate your kids to want to read!  Your students will love choosing a stuffed animal to read to and take care of.  Setting up this activity can be simple and the impact can be powerful.  Learn how to engage kids and family in reading today!


You can set up signs to make your classroom look like a pet adoption center.  Add your school name or create a fun adoption center name.  If you are setting this up for Kindergarten Orientation or Open House, you'll want written directions for parents, too.  This will save you time and sanity as you greet all your new families!

Will someone be in charge of passing out pets and crates or carriers?  Or will you set up a station in the room that students may choose their own?  We set up a station with a crate full of puppies for students to choose from and white "crates" for them to decorate.  That worked well because their parents were helping them.  At the next station, parents helped their children to fill out their adoption application.

What forms will students complete?

Learn how to set up a pretend adoption center for your students to adopt a reading buddy stuffed animal at kindergarten open house or orientation.  This is a fun way to motivate your kids to want to read!  Your students will love choosing a stuffed animal to read to and take care of.  Setting up this activity can be simple and the impact can be powerful.  Learn how to engage kids and family in reading today!Learn how to set up a pretend adoption center for your students to adopt a reading buddy stuffed animal at kindergarten open house or orientation.  This is a fun way to motivate your kids to want to read!  Your students will love choosing a stuffed animal to read to and take care of.  Setting up this activity can be simple and the impact can be powerful.  Learn how to engage kids and family in reading today!
You'll want to decide how your students will adopt their pets.  Will they fill out pretend pet adoption applications?  Will their applications be completed with parents or independently?  If students will complete their applications independently, you'll want to be sure to offer a form that students can complete without help.  For example, can your students write sentences or only draw pictures?  What would be appropriate for your grade level or ability level?

How will you handle adoption certificates?

Learn how to set up a pretend adoption center for your students to adopt a reading buddy stuffed animal at kindergarten open house or orientation.  This is a fun way to motivate your kids to want to read!  Your students will love choosing a stuffed animal to read to and take care of.  Setting up this activity can be simple and the impact can be powerful.  Learn how to engage kids and family in reading today!


Finally, you'll want to print adopt certificates to make it all official!  Kids will love the fancy paper that says their pet belongs to them.  We preprinted adoption certificates with each child's name on them so that they were ready to go.  But, you could also print them and fill them out on the day of your adoption.  It depends on how much time you have and how many extra adult hands you may have to help you.

Learn how to set up a pretend adoption center for your students to adopt a reading buddy stuffed animal at kindergarten open house or orientation.  This is a fun way to motivate your kids to want to read!  Your students will love choosing a stuffed animal to read to and take care of.  Setting up this activity can be simple and the impact can be powerful.  Learn how to engage kids and family in reading today!


You can extend the activity with a writing component and have students journal about their adventures with their new pets.  There are endless possibilities!  Ready to get started?  This pack has editable templates for everything covered in this post.  Have you tried a reading buddy adoption in your classroom?  I'd love to hear about it!

If you're looking for more, easy ways to engage families and build positive relationships?  Read more tips here!




How To Create Kindergarten Homework That Parents And Kids Will Love

Sunday, March 1, 2020
Kindergarten homework is not developmentally appropriate.  There I said it.  Five-year-olds are not meant to sit down to do paper and pencil tasks about reading and writing.  Somewhere along the way, someone who was most definitely not a kindergarten teacher decided that five and six-year-olds MUST read by the end of kindergarten.  This created unrealistic expectations of teachers to somehow overcome brain science and teach students how to read.  Teachers began assigning sight word homework in addition to leveled readers and math worksheets.  Suddenly, kindergarten kids have as much homework as older elementary students.  Yet, there are no studies to support the notion that homework in kindergarten helps kids to achieve more.  Some teachers have stopped assigning homework altogether but others are required to assign kindergarten homework.  Read on to find developmentally appropriate ways to assign kindergarten homework that parents will love.

kindergarten-homework-that-parents-love

Teachers Under Pressure


The pressure put on teachers to have all kindergarten students meet the same high academic standards at the same time is completely unrealistic.  Then that pressure was transferred to teachers who decided that in order to achieve this goal, they needed to share the responsibility with parents.  Then parents decided that they need kindergarten homework to help them to achieve this goal.  This notion isn't all bad.  Sharing learning responsibilities with families is a productive way to help students achieve and giving parents activities and skills to practice at home is certainly helpful.   The problem is that we've lost sight of what we know is natural child development.   So what can teachers do to help their young students to practice skills at home but still allow them to be kids?  We can start by giving students a variety of homework options rather than requirements.  In distance learning or remote learning situations, teachers are under even more pressure!  Check out this page for some distance learning types for Kindergarten teachers. 

Keep Homework Fun!

kindergarten-homework


Kids work hard all day (or for half the day) at school.  They don't need to go home to sit with worksheets and pencils to continue to practice sight words (which the latest brain research doesn't support anyway, but that's a blog post for another day).  In school, we know that all kids have different learning styles so we need to remember this when assigning homework.  Sending the same worksheet with each student is not differentiating.  You can differentiate homework by giving students options and allowing families to choose the activities that are the best fit for their students.
Keep "assignments" fun and engaging with a variety of ways to practice important foundational skills.  Think about how you design engaging centers and apply that to homework.  Practice writing letters and numbers in sand, finger paint or shaving cream!  Create math problems with toys or breakfast cereal.  Play games with dice to develop number sense and social skills like taking turns.  There are so many fun possibilities!

Give Families Options!


kindergarten-homework


Think about your academic goals for the week or the month.  Then create a list of 15 - 20 choices full of skills you want your students to practice.  This can be a list, a chart, or even a calendar!  You can send this list home to give families options and give kids some choice in their assignments.  You can choose to include only academic tasks but I like to include some more developmentally appropriate skills that are often overlooked.  Skills like memorizing phone numbers and addresses are important things kids do not often do anymore.  You can add life skills like practice playing games (winning and losing with grace), tying shoes, helping to fold laundry and more.

I try to limit paper-pencil options but when I include them, I try to keep them open-ended.  For example, instead of practicing writing letters with a pencil, encourage students to write letters in sand or pudding.  If you want kids to practice writing, give them fun writing prompts or open-ended options.  For math practice, instead of doing a page of addition problems, have students tell and solve their own additions story problems using their favorite toys.  There are a lot of easy, no extra materials needed ways to practice these skills that won't stress kindergarten kids or parents.

How Do You Find the Time to Revamp Homework?


Time is one of the biggest challenges any teacher faces.  Finding time to rework your kindergarten homework assignments is difficult.  I can help!  Sign up for my e-mail list here and I will send you a completely free, editable homework menu to try in your classroom!  If you don't have time to create your own, I have monthly homework menus in my TPT store.  You can check them out here. 

kindergarten-homework-choice-board

I am hopeful that the pendulum is swinging back to more developmentally appropriate practices in kindergarten.  I'm happy to see that many districts across the country are returning to play-based learning in kindergarten.  This gives me hope!  In the meantime, let's try some new homework options for our youngest students.  What other suggestions do you have for homework in kindergarten?  I'd love to hear them!
Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top