I teach preschool age children and find some of the most effective lessons come to me when the kids need to be redirected.
Last week I found a great way to teach and review animal signs. Two children were about to melt down over the use of our rocking chairs. We have two adult size and one child size. A teacher suggested they take turns and one boy on the verge of tears proclaimed," I need the tiniest chair!".
From across the room in a very low tone I said, " Oh my gosh their is something in my pocket!"
Of course all eyes are now on me because anything in my pocket always tuns out to be magic. I reach in and pull my hand out seemingly cupping a treasure. I peek into my cupped hands and announce, "Friends look! " carefully opening my hands, " The world's tiniest rocking chair!"
By now all of the children are standing around me staring at my empty hands with reverence. I ask the boy if he felt gentle enough to take care of the chair. He nods yes and I slowly put it in his hand and tell him to keep it safe in his pocket. Well now they all want something from my pocket so I begin to pull out animals. As I do this I sign with my voice off. Soon their pockets are full of the world's tiniest animals and we have had a lesson about animal signs.
The children carry this game through the day building homes for their animals and trading them with friends. When their parents arrive I tell them to be very careful to check their pockets before doing the laundry.