As many of you who follow this blog might remember, last year I implemented and used with great success an ABC’s Personal Kanban in my preschool classroom. First time visiting my blog? You can read my Education and Personal Kanban it’s a Win Win Situation post here.
This year I am in a different classroom with younger preschoolers, 3-year-olds. I knew when I was moving to this class that it would be a big challenge for me to design a workable kidzban to use in our class. One reason being, it had to be 100% visual. My students (for the most part) have not learned to read yet. Seeing the success we had last year with the older students using our ABCs Personal Kanban I knew I wanted to definitely use Personal Kanban in my classroom this year in whatever capacity I could. So I spent some time this summer designing a few boards that I might be able to use in my classroom.
These are just a few samples of the designs I made, two of these made it through to my classroom walls. The stoplight safety kidzban and the kite kidzban. Below are the two final boards on my walls.
The first month of school I wanted to teach my students about being aware of the world around them and the rules of safety when outside playing. So we focused a bit on stoplight safety. They knew what a stoplight was but had no idea about its function and what it meant for them when crossing a street with a caregiver. We first learned about the three colors and what each color stood for. Then to re-enforce what those colors meant they were each given a colored circle and asked to place them in the correct place on the stoplight and then tell the other students what that color meant- green safe to go, yellow slow down, proceed with caution, and red, stop.
When we were sure they were confident and knew all three they then were asked to move their circles to the completed lane. They had fun watching each other move their circles and if a student was struggling the other students would collaborate with that particular student to help them put their circle in the correct spot. I heard from quite a few parents, that their child let them know when they went through a yellow light too fast or even through a red light! 🙂 This safety stoplight kidzban was a big success. It is now an approved part of our curriculum and I will be using it next year.
One thing that I have found after 10+ year of teaching preschoolers is that they absolutely love to help you out in the classroom. So I knew from when I was assigned this class one of the Personal Kanbans I would design would involve classroom tasks. I wanted to design something that represented fun, so I decided on ‘flying a kite.’
Here’s how this works: each student has a bow on the tail of the kite. Everyday we chose the next name on the tail and that person gets to ‘fly the kite’ and essentially the classroom leader for that particular day. The kite is divided into four sections, each section has a classroom task: flag holder, dressing the classroom weather bear, being the line leader, and ringing the clean-up bell. The student’s bow moves around to all four tasks as they need to be completed. The student who is the kite flyer for the day also wears a badge, that goes home with them at the end of the day.
After all four tasks have been completed the student’s bow is then moved to the completed lane: the space on the wall that has the words- I flew the kite today! There are few things I really love about how this kite flying Personal Kanban has been working out.
- Upon entering the room most students will walk over to check out the kite to see who is going to be the leader each day in our class. They are learning not only to recognize their name but the names of their classmates.
- They have learned their tasks, if I happen to get sidetracked in the classroom doing another task students will come up and ask me, “Is it time for Judy to dress the weather bear yet?” A lot of times the student who asks me that question isn’t even the one to be the student leader for that particular day.
- Group participation, when the student is dressing the weather bear, many other students come over to participate and offer help. This aids in learning to get along in group situations.
- I was absent one day from the classroom about two months ago, the substitute told me that the students let her know about the kite kidzban, how it worked, and what tasks the class leader needed to accomplish.
- This is not a traditional kanban board, however it works just like a traditional kanban, there is a ready lane-the tail with the bows, a work in progress lane-the kite sectioned into four tasks, and completed lane-the bows placed under the words I flew the kite today.
- This is giving my students the visual of their tasks, the ability to see themselves move around the classroom completing these tasks and the huge confidence of seeing their tasks completed.
- The badge that they get to wear when they are the kite flyer-class leader for the day makes them feel important. Upon wearing it home it breeds conversations about what tasks they had to complete.
- Every student knows they will get a turn, and they are excited when they see where their bow is placed on the tail and when their turn will be coming up.
- It helped to get the students into the ‘groove’ of our classroom and what would be happening during their day. This is many of my students’ first experience in a structured classroom, and it can be very scary and intimidating the first few weeks. This helped greatly ease their minds and make the experience a positive one.
One thing that I sometimes find difficult to teach to young preschoolers are holidays. Not all holidays, believe me they know more than I do about Christmas and Santa Claus! 🙂 I found that my students were having a difficult time grasping the Thanksgiving holiday, so I decided that we would design a Thanksgiving Personal Kanban together in class during our circle time.
We set up the pilgrims traveling to the United States first, talked about how they would arrive then we talked about what they would need to learn to survive with the Native Americans, how they would grow food, prepare the food, etc. Then we discussed how their working together made them successful and happy, which brought us to celebrating Thanksgiving. By doing this kidzban together they learned more from the visual then by me just talking or reading from a book. They got to place the pictures on the board and we all collaborated on why and how and what we thought they did next. The students loved working on this board together. Now they know that Thanksgiving is about more than just turkey. 🙂
I am extremely happy with how successful all of these Personal Kanbans have been this year. Next year I plan to use even more as I begin to feel more comfortable in my new class. I am constantly taking notes on what areas I could be using a Personal Kanban with my class and am looking forward to bringing that to light next fall.
For those of you who have been following along with the ABCs Personal Kanban we used last year and have been asking me, YES it is being used this year and with BIG success once again. I have had several meetings with the teachers who are using it this year . Once again they have had many kaizen moments using it in the classroom. I will be doing a follow up post on the ABC’s Personal Kanban in a few weeks. 😀
My biggest hope is that I begin to see more and more teachers and educators using Personal Kanban in the their classroom. I firmly believe from pre-k through college Personal Kanban can be a class game changer and great collaboration tool across the board in every subject.
You can view all my productivity photographs by visiting my flickr productivity collection.
Want to know more about Personal Kanban? Visit the website.
I highly recommend reading Personal Kanban Mapping Work / Navigating Life by Tonianne DeMaria Barry and Jim Benson.