Friday, September 26, 2014

Interrupting Chickens in Kindergarten


Children have a lot to say, you just wish they wouldn't do it while you are talking.  The tugging at your shirt, the repetitive "Mom?  Mom?  Mom!" and the blurting out in the middle of your conversation with someone else are all commonplace when you're around young children.  Never fear, they will grow out of this!

Your child isn't trying to be rude when they interrupt.  They honestly don't know any better.  Developmentally they are just starting to learn that there is more going on in your life outside of them.  Short term memory is still developing in young children so even though you may have told them over and over to not interrupt, they honestly might not remember.  Additionally, young children have no concept of time.  What may have actually been 3 minutes feels like 3 hours to a child with something burning in their mind to share.  Everything is exciting to them as they are sponges soaking up everything the world has to offer.  It is hard for them to prioritize what is important to tell you now and what can wait until later.

To help reinforce the concept of interrupting, I read Interrupting Chicken written by David Ezra Stein to our kindergarten classes.  This hilarious story features a young chicken who makes storytime before bed an exciting event with her unique twists to each story.  Children quickly learn that the young chicken is having a hard time with controlling her interrupting behaviors and laugh at her "additions" to the traditional tales.

After the story we discuss the difference between interrupting and being respectful (our character trait of the month at Lee!).  We use our background knowledge on feelings to think about how others might feel when we interrupt them.  Then they helped sort different scenarios that could happen throughout the day as something an "interrupting chicken" would do or a "respectful student."  I found this great activity on Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade blog.


After sorting, I asked students to draw a picture of what behaviors they would see an "interrupting chicken" doing and a picture of what behaviors they would see a "respectful student" doing.  Here are some samples of their work:

Talking vs Raising My Hand
Talking while an adult is vs Sitting quietly and working at my desk
Talking at the same time vs Waiting for my turn to talk

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