Friday, June 07, 2013

Graduation Evaluation: The Best Thing about Kindergarten by Jennifer Lloyd

It's not over until it's over, but for Mrs. Appleby's Kindergarten class, all a-bubble over their graduation program today, it seems like it is. They've practiced singing their song on the stage and finished their craft-paper mortarboards, and they can't wait to march in with their parents as the audience and stand up there proudly.

But there is still a little time until they get the call to line up for the procession, and Mrs. Appleby has one lesson left to teach.

Mrs. Appleby looked at her class proudly.

They had made fancy hats... and special decorations.

They knew how to sing their graduation song.

"We still have time for one last guessing game. See if you can guess what is the best thing about Kindergarten?

Hands shoot up. Tabitha says it must be Calendar Time, and some of the kids who agree start reciting the days of the week!

Corinne disagrees. It's the Playhouse Center for her. Benjamin favors the Block Box, and Clara goes for Arts and Crafts.

Suggestions fly--everything from Math Time to the all-time favorite--Recess!

But Mrs. Appleby smiles and shakes her head. Nobody has guessed her best thing yet. But just as the circle of kids are racking their brains, the call comes to line up and go to the auditorium for the big ceremony.

"This is our grade today.
With much pride we are on our way!"
they sing.

The diplomas are passed out to much applause from their teacher and the whole audience. But some of the kids still have a question for Mrs. Appleby, and this time she has the answer:
"Kids, what's the best thing about Kindergarten?" she says, with a dramatic pause.

"It's each one of you, of course. My students are the best thing about Kindergarten!"

Jennifer Lloyd's newest, The Best Thing about Kindergarten (Simply Read Books, 2013) is a great read-aloud for the end of the school year for kindergartners, a simple, child-centered story which celebrates how a group of very different preschoolers have made the transition into a class of real school kids. Qin Leng's illustrations are full of movement and colorful energy just like any group of five-year-olds, and  Lloyd's text recalling the academic adventures of the year has earned this one a gold-star review from Kirkus. A Kindergarten teacher herself, Lloyd is also an experienced author. (See my review of her earlier book, Ella's Umbrellas, here.)

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