For many of us, May signifies the end of the school year. Summer break is just around the corner, which means it is on our students’ minds (and ours, too!) However, just because summer is quickly approaching does not mean that we suddenly get to stop pushing towards those end-of-the-year kindergarten goals that we want our students to reach. Instead, we need to find ways to engage our students in these last few weeks of school. What better way to do that than by incorporating fun May Kindergarten Learning Themes into our lesson plans?
One of my favorite summer themes to use year after year is the beach and ocean animals. This means that when doing read alouds in May, I try to focus on things like crabs, sharks, and other ocean animals that capture the interest of students. Not only can you bring in great narratives like Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale, but this is also a great time to bring in nonfiction books on those topics. Students can learn different facts about each animal and can even transfer that knowledge to other content areas like writing and science.
Writing and Crafts
Like reading, I try to focus my crafts on summer themes like ocean animals during the month of May. For example, if we had read some turtle read alouds, I might have each student create their own sea turtle craft. Then, they can write facts they know about sea turtles to accompany the craft, such as parts that sea turtles have, things sea turtles can do, or even ways they know sea turtles are similar to other ocean animals or reptiles! By integrating the writing projects with the crafts, students engage in a fun summer craft, while also continuing to develop their kindergarten writing skills!
Since we are already focusing so much on ocean animals throughout other content areas, it just makes sense to bring it into science, too! Like other animals we talk about throughout the year, ocean animals also have specific life cycles. This would also be a great time to talk about animal’s needs and how animals that live in the ocean might have slightly different needs than land animals.
You can even talk about parts of these ocean creatures, like fins and gills—something you might not have talked about even if you have already worked on an animal unit. The end of the year is a great time to keep student interest high by learning all about ocean animals and addressing some of your science standards. I've found thematic units are a highly effective and fun way to engage kindergarten students in a different way that will leave an ever lasting impact.
Math and STEM
Math and STEM centers are another great way to infuse summer into your May Kindergarten learning themes. One of my favorite ways to do this is with hands-on centers. Students can use a variety of materials to build fun summer shapes like ice cream cones, a sailboat, or a crab. After using their problem solving skills to figure out how to assemble the shape that is shown on the picture, they can also use their counting skills. Depending on which material they used, they might be counting pom poms, counting how many of each colored cube was used, or counting how many of which pattern block shape was used. Either way, they use their kindergarten math and STEM skills all the way up until the end of the year!
By taking the time to learn how to best engage your little learners, you will likely be one of those early childhood educators they never forget. Make every day a special day in your kindergarten classroom by finding the most effective way to captivate their young minds. Create a list of May themes, each having its own weekly theme, to create a new way to capture their attention during this distracting time.
I hope you find this a great start to help launch your own favorite themes list. There are plenty of great ideas out there that captivate the minds of young children (farm theme, spring themes, etc). This is the perfect time to lay the foundation that learning doesn't always doesn't have to be hard work. It can be so much fun, too. Help shape them into lifelong, curious learners!
What do you think about these May Kindergarten Learning Themes? Which themes do you think your students will love?