Updated: Jan 22
Dear Dr. Laura,
I just learned that I’m going to have PreK students this year - on my own, with no para! What am I going to do with PreK for that long?!!!
PreK or Bust Librarian
Hello, PreK or Bust Librarian!
You’ve got this! No worries! People throw around a lot of numbers out there to describe how long a child can pay attention. A good rule of thumb is to expect a child’s attention span to be 2-5 minutes per year of age. https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/7-ways-increase-students-attention-span
So, if your class if predominantly 4 years olds, you can expect their attention span to last from 8-20 minutes at a time. But, let’s be honest! These children are learning how to behave at school and how to interact with each other. So, you need to expect the lower end of the time span right now and plan your schedule accordingly.
Let’s picture your time with them in increments of 10 minute blocks of time. You didn’t mention how much time you have with them. So, I will go with 30 minutes, but I have heard of having little ones for a full hour. Oh my!
Make a list of things you could possibly do for a 10 minute block of time. I started a list below.
First 10 Minutes:
Create or find a Hello Song to greet them with and gather them all in a circle or on carpet squares. Follow that with a Story time that focuses on a library skill like book care or something they are learning about in their class.
Middle 10 Minutes Choose as many increments of 10 minutes as you need. And adjust the time frames if you discover that 10 minutes is too long at the beginning of the semester. LOTS OF MODELING early on in the year and anytime you introduce something new. Especially at the beginning, I would suggest everyone works on the same thing at the same time. They may not be ready for what you think of as library stations yet.
Playdough or shaving cream (if you’re brave!)
Music & Movement like Go Noodle - https://www.gonoodle.com/
Storyline Online - https://www.storylineonline.net/
Listening Games like Simon Says
Computer Stations you have set to a specific resource
Play a short video from your digital library resources
Preselected iPad apps you find for PreK. Model on your projector as a whole class one week. Then work on iPads in groups/partners at their library table. Eventually, one per student if you have enough.
Giant flip chart of nursery rhymes, etc. Help them learn to track left to right, common sight words, etc.
Alphabet Activities - magnetic letter, wikkisticks, letter trace, matching cards, dry erase boards
Last 10 Minutes:
Are you doing book checkout yet? Think of it as a gradual release model as you prepare them to be responsible with their library books.
First, picture your library with tubs of books on each table for the PreK children to browse through as you teach them about book care early on in the year. They can practice selecting a book and reading at their library table.
Later, introduce the idea of a book crate that belongs to the classroom teacher. Allow the students to select books from their tables’ book tubs that will be checked out under the teacher’s name. You can scan the books later and do a special delivery of the crate to the classroom.
Slowly graduate to allow children to select one book from their library table’s book tubs that they can choose to checkout and take home.
You might even set a visible timer to help the children see the time left for an activity. It can help them learn to stretch themselves a little to wait until the timer dings or buzzes.
You can definitely do this! You just need to think in small chunks of time. Be sure to tag us on ideas you try with your PreKs!
Librarian Influencer of the Week: Susan Grigsby