New Kindergarten Teacher

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by ampete, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. ampete

    ampete Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2011

    I recently accepted a Kindergarten position and realized I am very overwhelmed! Anyone have anything out there for me?

    I feel that I have no clue what to expect the first days/weeks? What to do the first day/week? When to actually start the lessons from the curriculum books? How to determine where the Kindergarteners are at in reading?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Welcome! Congrats on the new job!

    Do you have a team that you will work with? They will be a great help!
     
  4. ampete

    ampete Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2011

    I am at a small private school. They've never had Kindergarten so it's a brand new class/room and I am a first-year teacher. I am also the only section of Kindergarten since there is only one class in each grade.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2011

    I would highly suggest looking in the Daily 5 for kindergarten if you have freedom of the curriculum.

    Do you know what curriculum you are supposed to use?
     
  6. ampete

    ampete Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Yes, Saxon Math, Storytown, McGraw Social, Zaner Handwriting
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Most teachers spend the first few weeks teaching the procedures and routines. If this is the first year offer K, then it is probably many of these students first times to school.

    Do your students bus to school or get dropped off?
     
  8. ampete

    ampete Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2011

    I am not sure of that yet.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2011

    If many students get dropped off, you'll probably want to do something that parents can join in on each morning or something that students can do without you so you can talk to parents.
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2011

  11. ampete

    ampete Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2011

    Thanks.

    I also feel like I feel unaware how to determine what reading level students are at, or if I just start them off right at level 1 no matter what even if they are more advanced in reading?
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Well, you are probably going to start with read aloud and discussing with students.

    Most schools have a testing in place for the first few weeks, you'll want to ask what your school uses: DIBELS, state test, DRA.... After you administer these tests, you'll work with the students at different levels.
     
  13. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Jun 23, 2011

    Hi! You will love kindergarten and it's easy to feel overwhelmed at the beginning. Check out this website: http://www.pre-kpages.com/bootcamp/ I know it is for pre-k, but it has some great tips and things you can use for kindergarten too! Good luck!
     
  14. Applesofgold

    Applesofgold Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2011

    Do you have a copy or access to the book The First Days of School by Harry Wong? It will help you get your head wrapped around routines and procedures.

    The first few weeks up to a month of Kindergarten is a lot of time spent teaching... Where to put your stuff in the morning. How to get in line. How to sit on the carpet. How to hold a pencil. Very basic, lots of repetition.

    First day of school, first thing, have something out and ready for the kids to do. Meet and greet, show them to their seat, and have them doing puzzles, coloring, anything. This should relax you so you can keep on meeting and greeting and sending the parents on their way.

    Then you can officially start the day by having them sit on the carpet, introduce yourself, and do some kind of get to know you game.

    Just plan more than enough and the time will fly, and you'll be done with the first day!

    It will all come with time, so just prepare yourself as much as you can, and relax. You will do great!
     
  15. ampete

    ampete Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2011

    Thanks guys! It's very overwhelming starting off so I'm just trying to get as much feedback from other teachers as I can just to feel more organized and everything.

    When is it appropriate to start teaching the curriculum for reading, math, etc.?
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jun 27, 2011

    I start with a meet and greet party. It consists of very easy centers that incorporate all subject areas. It is done in a very controlled way. I actually close off different areas of the room so that these tables are where they need to go. Then I guide them to their cubbies as they come in, help them find their names, show them how to put up their supplies, circulate around the room, talk to them, etc. I actually invite parents the first two hours and give them instructions on how to help their child become acquainted with the room. This frees me up to circulate better. Not everyone will agree to this or be able to do this. I also have to be prepared that not all parents and maybe no parents will show up. So it is designed to be flexible. Then I take the kids on a tour of the school. As we look at each location, I write the word on a dry erase board and have them pose for pictures. My students are deaf so they sign the word in the picture too. You could label the school as you go around and actually tape it (with permission). (The tour is also a way for parents to leave easily as we drop them off in the lobby. This is in their papers). We use the pictures for a class book which I label and read to them. "This is the library." "This is the cafeteria." As I read to them, they are getting a pattern. I point to the words as I read to them. Then on the last few pages, I have them predict what the words say as I point to them. (This is later in the week as I make the book). Then we have snack and recess, etc. When we have another class period, I do a read aloud and reading response activity that involves art or something hands on. As the day progresses, I try to give them small activities in several different content areas, BUT the main focus of the first several weeks truly is about procedures. So as I make a schedule, I think about when I can teach what procedures and be willing to stop at any time and go over a procedure.

    By the second day, I'm already starting on beginning lessons in the curriculum. The first lessons are designed for beginners. I don't start guided reading right away. The reason is because I need them to build up their ability to independently do the other centers before I can start with guided reading. I don't wait until it is completely smooth but I do wait about 2-3 weeks. Then I do assessments during the guided reading block and other center times and start as soon as possible. I don't open all the centers at once. They have to learn how to manage a few centers and we build up.

    My materials did not match the curriculum so I did not really use them, BUT they gave me a good insight into how the first few weeks of school are built up in K. The lessons truly can start very early (some on the very first day!). Just remember that the first month is mostly about assessments, routines and procedures BUT that does NOT mean you should wait to start any real teaching. The curriculum is actually very heavy in our district thus I cannot afford to wait nor would I want to. Also the focus of K in our district is about the content areas but it is also about social development. There are a lot of activities that focus on domains in this area. It's all built in. One of the first SS lessons has to do with creating classroom rules. I want to say I do that on the third day or so. This is an example of how these things tie together. That actually goes with our curriculum standards.

    Our pacing guides actually tell us what to expect that first month and what lessons to start out with and has some great starting points. Some activities I have to devise and some are provided for me.

    Most people try to start with the actual schedule on the first day. If I didn't start with a meet and greet, I would absolutely back this up. Students should know early what to expect. This means on my second day, I greet them at the door as they come in with their backpack and tell them to drop off their stuff and go to the one morning table. Kids can figure it out really because the morning table is the only thing set up. Then I use an attention getter to switch to bringing them to the carpet (practicing what we already did yesterday and reinforcing it) and sharing the agenda and starting the morning calendar. The only thing is just about every activity I do that I plan to have routine, I start right away BUT I modify it. I might not do the entire calendar routine at once or give more than one activity for the morning message, etc. They are still building up their stamina and because we are teaching routines, it takes them longer. As we build in more, they become more efficient.

    Remember that K kids cannot start out with activities that are long. There has to be lots of movement, changes in activities, etc., less talk, more involvement, etc. throughout the day. Sometimes I feel like I'm designing 20 lessons a day. That's kindergarten for you!

    Oh and be prepared for a crier, endless shoe tying, etc. I actually have a procedure of not asking for shoes to be tied while I'm talking (during a lesson) but they can ask any other time and I encourage it. I start out by offering so they know they feel safe to ask and that just because I say no doesn't mean they can't ask me later.
     
  17. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Jul 1, 2011

    Few recommendation for morning arrival easy to do activities.
    -Have coloring sheets to work on as they transition in.
    -Have books and puzzles available for them to work on.
    -Blocks and legos to work with.
    -Make sure you have their names up for cubbie spaces
    -Know where you want lunch boxes to go.
    -Make sure you have parents contact information before they leave.
    -Make sure you know how each child is getting home the first day of school. (car- mom, dad, grandma etc, bus, daycare van... know which and have several contact numbers.)
    -Get a list of fun songs to sing, have a camera possibly to take pictures.
    -If their attention is long enough, read Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten.
    -Be prepared to practice lining up, sitting on the carpet, bathroom routines, lunch routines, responding to a cue on signal (I ring a bell and students freeze, eyes on teachers and hands on shoulders.)

    -Most importantly remember to smile and breath! You were hired so the principal is confident in your abilities and it takes time!
     
  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jul 2, 2011

    It's perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed, never having had your own class before, and not knowing even where to start. Don't worry. Like Mopar has already said, you focus on expectations, routines, procedures, etc. at the beginning. Even if you don't have any other K teachers to speak with, find out how long it takes the other teachers to jump right into the curriculum. You may even ask your coordinator, or mentor teacher if you have one. Once you start getting some of your answers, you will be able to get prepared. Being prepared is the most important thing, and will determine your success, and I am sure you will be prepared and ready when the day comes. At my school, we teach Bible. So I start with a neighbor unit (which I begin at the first week), and this helps the students realize who their neighbors are, and how they should treat them. I love doing this at the very beginning of the school year as it sets the tone. For the rest of the year, we constantly work at being good neighbors. Good luck, and I am sure you'll do great!
     
  19. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    You can start with the curriculum on day one, just start slow. But you'll know when they are ready to start with the full-blown curriculum. You'll see it in their ability to follow procedures and the rules of the classroom.
     
  20. bethany1120

    bethany1120 Companion

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    Jul 2, 2011

    I just found this great website that a teacher created that gives ideas for classroom management and organization in Kindergarten. When I was looking at it, I thought, "Boy, I wish I would've had this my first year of teaching K!" :) Good luck!!
    Here's the site:
    www.mrsnelsonsclass.com
    Click on Teacher Resources in the upper right hand corner
    Click on Classroom Management
     
  21. teachntravl

    teachntravl Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2011

    One of the things I do on the first day is to read "Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten". It addresses some of kids' fears and it shows them some of the things you've been doing to get ready.

    I used to reread it on the last day of kindergarten, but now they have a last day version of the same book, too.
     

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