WHO IS MR. KINDERGARTEN?
Dwayne Douglas Kohn, known to many as "Mr. Kindergarten," is a highly sought-after speaker, educator, author and illustrator. He has given his unique brand of workshops across the country. He has been featured in many major publications such as NEA Today, Instructor magazine, Family Fun magazine and Reader's Digest. He has also appeared countless times in local and regional newspapers including The Los Angeles Times, The San Antonio Express-News, El Popular Los Angeles, The Bakersfield Californian, among many others. In addition, Mr. Kohn has made numerous television appearances.
"Mr. Kindergarten" is the author/illustrator of more than 100 books, including all Smart As A Fox titles featured on this website. He is the co-author of Integrated Thematic Teaching (NEA) and Building Parent Partnerships (NEA). He has created numerous educational publications for companies such as Judy/Instructo, Frank Schaffer Publications, Simon & Schuster, among others.
His wealth of experience teaching in various school districts allows him to present material that is applicable to any elementary school district. Mr. Kohn has taught in the inner-city of Los Angeles, the rural country setting of Bakersfield, and the middle class suburban neighborhoods of San Diego. He has taught in English, Spanish and in dual-immersion classes in which children are taught in both languages.
Mr. Kohn learned Spanish at the University of Madrid (Univerisidad Complutense de Madrid) while on a year abroad program. He also speaks French and Italian and has dabbled in other languages as well. He combines his love of travel, his knowledge of languages and his desire to teach to create international teacher workshops. In just the last three years he has visited over 30 different states.
Although he is known as "Mr. Kindergarten," Mr. Kohn has a wealth of experience in many grades. Most of his over twenty years in education have been spent with Early Learning: He has taught over ten years in kindergarten and ten years in first grade. However, his very first teaching assignment was in fifth grade. He has worked in second and third grade classrooms as well. In addition, Mr. Kohn has had the opportunity to work with K/1 and 1/2 combination classes.
Despite his very busy traveling schedule, Mr. Kohn refuses to leave the classroom! He flies across the country nearly every weekend and during vacation breaks to give educational presentations, returning just in time to teach another week before flying out yet again. His students follow his trips on a classroom map to learn about geography!
Mr. Kohn currently lives in San Diego County with his wife and three children. This year he is teaching a classroom filled with 32 eager kindergartners. He involves the parents in the educational process through weekly Paint Days, Monthly shows and many special events. He uses a combination of whole language and phonics to create an educational program that meets everyone's unique needs and learning styles.
Mr. Kohn keeps in touch with the families of his students with a daily e-mail Newsletter, a weekly photocopied Newsletter, a weekly Paint Day, monthly end-of-the-unit shows, and by giving parents his cell phone number. Below is a sample of his daily e-mail newsletter. Mr. Kohn created a simple template and saved it in his "draft" box (he uses "yahoo.com" for his e-mail). That way he simply changes the details. The titles, graphics and format stay essentially the same. It usually takes him about 15 minutes to write each day's news. By simply hitting the "send" button, he can instantly reach almost all of his families (the few families who don't have access to e-mail are kept in touch via the weekly Newsletter and via telephone if needed.). Whenever possible, Mr. Kohn also includes recent photos taken by the parents of classroom activities, field trips and special events as attachments. In the sample e-mail newsletter below, the names of the students have been changed or deleted for their security.
Dwayne "Mr. Kindergarten" Kohn has been a popular speaker at these, and many other, teacher conferences:
- California Reading Association (CRA)
- California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE)
- Kindergarten Teachers of Texas (K-TOT)
- National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)
- Southern California Kindergarten Conference (SCKC)
- Minnesota Kindergarten Association (MKA)
- Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE)
- California Mathematics Council
- West Coast Literacy Conference
- California Teachers of English as a Second Language (CATESOL)
Invite Mr. Kindergarten to your school!
Invite "Mr. Kindergarten" to speak at your next inservice, workshop or staff development. Dwayne Douglas Kohn has been a featured presenter at many national, state and regional educational conferences, teacher conventions, district inservices and school site gatherings. Mr. Kohn offers a wide selection of topics that can be adapted and customized to meet your professional development needs.
Mr. Kohn has been a featured speaker at these, and many other, teacher conferences: Southern California Kindergarten Conference (SCKC), Kindergarten Teachers of Texas (KTOT), California Kindergarten Association (CKA), California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE), National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), California Reading Association (CRA), International Reading Association (IRA), West Coast Literacy Conference, and many more!
You can bring Mr. Kindergarten's 20+ years of experience to your school site workshop, district inservice or teacher conference. Customized programs are available to address your staff's specific needs at a very affordable price. In addition to teacher training, Mr. Kohn also provides Parent Workshops, in English as well as Spanish, that will increase the home-school connection. Mr. Kohn offers ideas, activities and solutions that have been tested, refined and used in classrooms across the country.
Contact our office to set up your date and topic. Call (760) 758-2526 today!
One of Mr. Kohn's most popular presentations is:
PUTTING "ART" BACK INTO "LANGUAGE ARTS"
In this presentation, participants will discover how to use art to increase student interest and student test scores! The presenter, the author/illustrator of more than 100 educational books including Integrated Thematic Teaching (NEA), will demonstrate how to integrate art with reading, writing, math and other academic areas that will ensure success for all students. Mr. Kohn will feature classroom projects, display easy-to-make costume ideas for end-of-the-unit shows, and demonstrate how the activities increase student participation. A slideshow will highlight many of the visual and performing art activities that can take place in the classroom, including student plays, musical performances and a weekly "Paint Day" which involves the parents.
This is a typical E-Mail, from last year, that Mr. Kohn sends out on a daily basis:
DAILY KINDERGARTEN NEWS
PARENT CONFERENCE DATES
I have received 20 of the pink conference request forms, and 3 e-mailed requests, for a total of 23 out of the 32 students. I will be meeting with the other teachers tomorrow morning to make the conference schedule. We will be giving first priority to those who turned in a conference date request form. Afterwards we will fill in the rest of the slots with the names of those who didn't make a specific request.
I have received request forms from: John, Mary, Mike, Anthony, Jane, Sally, Maria, Jesus, Jose, Amy, Cody, Tony, Brandy, Arturo, Alex, Emily, Aaron, Adam, Mallorie, and Abby.
IMPORTANT: If your child's name is NOT listed above and you need a specific day and/or time, please e-mail me by 8:00 tonight or call me on my cell phone. I will be meeting with the other teachers before school tomorrow. If you are available anytime, you don't need to let me know. Thanks.
A thank you to John's family for the paper plates!
Thank you also to Mary's mom who raced home yesterday to get some plastic spoons at the last minute!
Thanks also to Steve's mom for donating yet another huge pumpkin and for carving a couple of them!
Sally's mom cooked the seeds from our pumpkins and sent them in today. It is amazing how the kids who at first said "Yuck" when I told them that we were going to eat pumpkin seeds were the same ones begging me later for more!
And thank you to everyone else who helped out and donated other items.
Today we reviewed this month's vocabulary words and the numbers 1-10. We made a calendar for November which your child can hang up in his/her room or on the refrigerator to count down to our next holiday, Thanksgiving. Ask your child how to draw a turkey using their hand! We also completed another page in our Farm counting book (We should finish it by Friday so that we can take it home to you). Our flip book for today is the ending sound "M."
WRITING: Write the first letter of the word. If it does NOT start with "Ss" cross out the picture. Draw 2 things that begin with "Ss." On the back, simply write the word "I" and then draw something they do.
MATH: Equal parts. If these shapes were cakes or pizzas, circle the one which would be fair (all of the pieces cut the same size). On the back, read the instructions for each line on the bottom of the page.
READING: "M" Flip book, Reading Log
Frank has joined the "100 Club" by counting to 100 today!
Sally and Mike earned their "I Know my Letters" certificate today!
John is on level 9 of our Reading Log program. Keep reading every day!
We are running very low on Kleenex and have run out of paper towels.
We could also use some plastic spoons and forks.
Next Wednesday we will be making FRUIT SALAD. This week if you are out grocery shopping, please pick us up a fruit or two. We would like to get as many DIFFERENT fruits as possible- so I will list the fruits as they come in on the daily e-mail so we don't end up with 32 apples! If the fruit can last a week in the classroom, you may send it in beginning tomorrow. Any fruit that only lasts a few days, please wait until Monday or Tuesday to send it in. We will also be making fresh-squeezed orange juice and will need a lot of oranges! Thanks in advance for your help.
(In case you are wondering, we will be making a VEGETABLE salad the following week).
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
NOVEMBER THEME: FRUITS & VEGETABLES
|Wednesday, Nov. 8:
||Fruit Salad and orange juice! Send in some fruit!
|Thursday, Nov. 9:
||PAINT DAY with a Thanksgiving Theme
|Friday, Nov. 10:
||No School - Veteran's Day
||Parent Conferences - Minimum Days
|Wednesday, Nov. 15:
||Vegetable Salad! They will eat their veggies!
|Thursday, Nov. 16:
||Thanksgiving Show & Feast! Showtime: 9:00
||No School - Thanksgiving Vacation
Article from Education World:
You’ve Got Mail! From “Mr. Kindergarten”
Starring: : Dwayne Kohn
"Parents love the daily email newsletter," reports Dwayne Kohn. "I have more than 40 names on the list, representing 27 of my 32 students. Divorced spouses both receive the information. In addition to parents, there are grandparents too. They love to see what their grandchildren are doing. The parents love the fact that they know exactly what is going on in the classroom each day, almost as it happens."
A typical daily newsletter from Kohn's classroom at Breeze Hill Elementary School in Vista, California, contains a review of what students did in class that day, a preview of coming activities, a "classroom needs" list for upcoming projects, an explanation of the assigned homework, and other games parents can play with their children at home. Other items — such as upcoming school events, a listing of students who have earned a classroom "Wall of Fame" certificate for special achievements, thank-you notes to parent volunteers, and photos of the kids also might be included. Kohn publishes a weekly printed newsletter each Friday and special printed notices when needed so everyone receives the important news, not just those who are online.
"We have one father in the Navy who can see what his daughter is doing in kindergarten from his submarine on the other side of the world," Kohn told Education World. "Whenever parents send us pictures for our photo wall, I share them with everyone by sending out one or two along with the e-mail. That allows me to thank the parent for the pictures, share them, and get other parents to send in their pictures too."
Kohn uses his newsletter to appeal for classroom supplies. When a request appears in the message, he often receives the needed items the very next day. On a few occasions, when he’s asked for snacks for students to enjoy during recess, parents dropped the treats off that afternoon when they came to pick up their children. With two daily sessions of students, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, the e-mail message is also helpful when last-minute scheduling changes occur. Kohn even relies on e-mail to invite parents to last-minute assemblies or events.
"When we ask for party supplies, for example, parents can sign up online," he explained. "I send out the list of what we need -- paper plates, forks, napkins, punch, fruit, etc. -- and parents e-mail me to identify what they can bring. I update the list each day in the e-mail newsletter, noting which items already have been promised, and we end up with exactly what we need. That also works for art supplies, volunteers, and more. Parents love signing up online, and we don't have any lost notes from kids or miscommunications."
To save time, Kohn starts with a basic template for his newsletter. He uses the same title and graphics each day, with headers like "Tonight's Homework," "Today in Class," and "Upcoming Events." Then he updates the text.
"You can add attachments, class photos, and other items [to an e-mail newsletter], but don't make it too long or parents won't read it," Kohn advised. "Change the content each day. Other than a calendar of events, don't send out the same material more than once or parents will assume nothing is new and not read it when you do change it. If nothing is new that day, don't send out a newsletter, or just send out a brief note stating that nothing is new. In kindergarten, though, there is always something new each day!"
For privacy purposes, recipients' names and e-mail addresses can be undisclosed. Kohn has chosen not to hide this information because parents of his students use e-mail to chat, schedule play dates, and send invitations to birthday parties. Parents especially appreciate that they can contact Kohn via email at any time.
"The daily e-mail newsletter is a great way to get parents more involved in the classroom," he reported. "You can reward volunteers by mentioning them in the news, such as 'Thank you to Tom's mom for coming in today.' Not only will that parent respond to the positive praise, the attention often encourages others to become involved."
Regular e-mail communication also helps the class academically, Kohn believes. He notes that when students are congratulated for reaching a specific milestone, other parents often work with their children to help them achieve the same goal.
Kohn added, "The best part about the daily e-mail is that it takes only about 15 minutes, and it allows me to reflect on the day and prepare for the next day's activities."
Article by Cara Bafile
Copyright © 2007 Education World
These are just a few comments from participants at Mr. Kohn's recent appearances from across the country, including 6-hour district workshops, teacher conferences and school site inservices.
"Dwayne is creative. An exceptional presentation. Great ideas!"
"An incredible amount of useful information!"
"I wish I had the time to do all of the fun things you do. Very creative. I'd like to have my son in your classroom."
"Talented presenter of how to develop and manage thematic units. Lots of energy!"
"Good hands-on activities that incorporate Language Arts, Math, Reading and Art in the (thematic) units. Easy projects that the kids and teacher can do."
"I like the strategies for making every minute relevant in the classroom."
"Lots of hands-on ESL strategies. Great books! Lots of neat ideas!"
"Very informative and helpful."
"Thank you for soooo many ideas. You were smokin' through all the info. You're great."
"Great format. Lots of great ideas."
"Many, many useful ideas across the curriculum."
"Mr. Kohn's presentation was extremely helpful. I loved the new ways to enhance my thematic units and make them more exciting."
"Great ideas! I got the most out of this one (workshop)."
"Wow! Wonderful, super, fantastic ideas. I am looking forward to using as many of his ideas in my room as possible."
"I got so many ideas for my class. This was a great presentation."
"So much to show!"
"Wonderful! I'm a fan of your materials."
"Fast-paced. Lots of information."
"Mr. Kohn is a powerhouse of inspiring ideas. I will use many of his ideas."
"So very creative."
"This workshop was great. A lot of money-saving tips. D. Kohn is very enthusiastic about his work and ideas. This was a great help. Thanks."
"Very good ideas. Excellent themes for every month that would meet the standards. I found it very interesting."
"The is the BEST one yet. Jammed full of ideas, samples, pictures, etc. What an exciting teacher."
"This was my best session! Full of ideas. Really stimulating and packed full of writing and reading ideas."
"Great session! Lots of great ideas!"
"Inexpensive way to be creative."
"Great ideas! I can't wait to use them!"
"Excellent! Easy way to do art activities without having to put out too much money."
"Great ideas on costumes and plays."
"He's obviously a great teacher."
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