Personal Kanban on a Child’s level, enter Kidzban. I have seen many posts on successful kidzbans being used at home. That led me to think about bringing it into the classroom last year and using it on the Pre-k level. I decided to give it a try. I have been very excited and thrilled with what has transpired.
No small secret I am a champion of all things Personal Kanban. It has been a hugely effective, efficient, tool for me. It has changed my life in a big way. This past September I started back in the preschool classroom after a year off due to personal health issues in my family. I was excited to get back into the classroom. It has been a welcome transition in my life.
I have used Personal Kanban in almost every aspect of my life since learning about it on the Personal Kanban website. I truly believe there is not one instance in which you can’t apply Personal Kanban. NOT ONE. (For examples you can view my Personal Kanban set on flickr.) After using Personal Kanban in my home, with my at the time, 11-year-old daughter, with great success, I decided that I could use it on a larger scale with younger children (ages 4/5 yrs) in the classroom. Enter Kidzban. After trying an ABC’s Kidzban last year for 2 weeks in the classroom before I had to take leave, we learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t. Even in that 2 week span.
The first thing we learned right away and were not surprised at all, was that the children couldn’t wait to place the stickers on the board when they completed a task. When one child was at the board with a sticker almost always another child would come over and ask, “how did she/he get that sticker? What can I do?” The children wanted to be involved. They wanted to receive that sticker. They wanted to learn. It caught on like wildfire.
We also learned quickly what wasn’t working. The board was very labor intensive for the teachers. It was A LOT of work to keep up with. Although we did do all the tasks on a weekly basis, it was still a lot to keep up with on a board with almost 30 students. We also decided the lanes were not big enough. The board when completed was too cramped. It was hard to see exactly what was going on. With children who are that young less is more. I wanted them to be able to look at the board and tell exactly what was going on, I was not sure they could do that.
So while I had time off this summer before going back to school, my mind was already working on a new design, in fact my mind was working on several designs for the classroom. After a few phone calls with Jim and Tonianne about Personal Kanban and Kidzban for the classroom, and also inspired by Maritzavdh and her Kidzban posts on her agile blog, with their help, I came up with 3 Kidzban designs that we were hoping to use in the classroom this year.
This is a rough draft of the passport Personal Kanban. This Personal Kanban has not yet been brought into the classroom. However, we are going to start using it in January. The students will move around to all the stations in the classroom and get a sticker or stamp when they have been at a station, when their Personal Kanban passport is filled the student will earn the title of being a classroom explorer and then they get to take it home. We are going to use this because we wanted to make sure the students were getting full use out of all our stations in the classroom, from science, to books, to building, to tactile learning, to free play, and benefiting from everything that is offered.
The next classroom Personal Kanban that was designed was the classroom tasks Personal Kanban.
Each child has a clothes pin with their name, as we make our way through the day each child who has name by the task listed will then do that job in the classroom. While it doesn’t flow in the traditional way of a kanban, it has achieved many functions in helping the students learn, they now look for their own name (reading), most can now recognize other students names, and they are learning to read what the jobs are. It is one of the first places many children go upon entering the classroom, to see if their name is up and for which task. It has been successful.
For the ABC’s Personal Kanban. We could not be more thrilled with the progress and success of this classroom Personal Kanban. Each week on a Monday the students receive a letter task card to take home.
All that we ask is that they try to write the letter on that card a bring it back the next day. We are not looking for the student to write the letter 50 times, once is all we ask. We are not looking for perfect letters, we are just introducing pencil work to the students, we want them to become proficient at holding the pencil correctly and using the pencil. It’s also more about learning the letters, recognizing the letters, saying the letters. They will learn how to write the letters again in Kindergarten and will prefect the structuring there. Once the student brings the card in the following day, they bring it to our board and they receive a sticker and place the task card on the board. Later that morning we work on writing the letters in class and after they have completed that paper they bring it over to the board, and then receive another sticker on the next task card by the letter they have just completed.
That day their task card that they brought back to school then goes home for the parents to see they have earned their sticker and at the end of the 6 weeks when all the letters on the weekly letter task card have been completed and their stickers have been placed that card then goes home and new card with the next letters is then put up in its place.
What has followed since we taught the children the first letter of the alphabet we could have never predicted. Since the first week of introducing the ABC’s Personal Kanban board to the students they have been excited. They stand at the board looking at what the other children have done. They compare how many times each student has written the letter. I have students who grab their cards from their classroom mailbox and wait by the board to hang them up before even being called. I have had students who at the beginning of the year, were crying over the stress of having to try to write the letters now, filling task cards front and BACK and smiling from ear to ear when they enter the classroom with the card in their hand, excited to show me what they have done.
For the first time I can remember we have students at the chalk board, sometimes 3 and 4 at a time, writing their letters during free play time. And just two days ago in the classroom, I walked over to listen to three students at the Personal Kanban board discussing the letters, pointing at, and distinguishing the upper case and lower case letters. We have had such success so far this year. Not only are the children excited, we are excited. We can see such a big difference in the students and how they are learning their letters. We have never had such excitement on letter day as we do now. We have not only had the students excited we have the parents involved. We are finding that even if their child is absent on the day their task cards come home, the parents are making task cards at home and sending the child in with them on the day they return back to school. Many weeks now we have had 100% participation! I even had a student ask me this past week if while we are on Christmas vacation they can continue to practice writing their letters at home. We are looking forward to testing the students at the end of the year to see just how much this process has impacted their learning. Next year I will be in a new class with younger children, I am already brainstorming new Personal Kanban designs to use. I am looking forward to implementing them and seeing much more success.
*None of this would have been possible without the guidance of Jim and Tonianne who have helped me brainstorm and given me great guidance along the way. Thank you. For more information on Personal Kanban please visit the website. To dive in even deeper look for the Personal Kanban book- Personal Kanban Mapping Work Navigating Life to be hitting book stores very soon.