Anyone actually LIKE teaching 3's?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by puff5655, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I teach half day 4s/half day 3s.

    LOVE working with the 4-year-olds. The 3's just drive me absolutely nuts.

    They come in at lunch, they never eat anything and it's pulling teeth to get them to try something new.

    Some are still in there say-no-to-everything toddler phase, and some still have screaming kicking spitting temper tantrums regularly.

    They are very loud and just naturally want to run all the time, so the 1.5 hours of playtime just causes my stress level to go up and up, and I just find it mind numbing. The afternoons really drag.
     
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  3. Maxadoodle

    Maxadoodle Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I work with 3's and love it. But my half day is the morning, and many still take afternoon naps. Your class has be up since probably 6-7am and are tired. Sorry your day ends so stressful.
     
  4. LvToyFoxTerrier

    LvToyFoxTerrier Rookie

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I teach 3's on Tues. and Thurs. and 4's on Mon, Wed. Fri. mornings.
    I love teaching the 4's class but it takes until about January for me to enjoy the 3's class. The first half of the year they are so young, wild and unable to share toys or listen that it drives me crazy too. Now that it is February they have finally learned the routine, can share, listen, etc. and I can actually look forward to coming in on those days.
     
  5. happypreteach

    happypreteach Rookie

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I teach 2.9 - 3.6 and the 2.9's are tough. But I absolutely love my 3's. They are there from 9 - 1, I would think having them come in in the afternoon would be rough for them.
     
  6. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I love 3 yr olds. They say the funniest things! I agree afternoons are tough times for them since many of them are tired.
     
  7. smpeterson77

    smpeterson77 Rookie

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I teach 2.5 to 3.8ish. I love it but it is really tough. Most of mine come in between 7 and 9 am and don't leave until after 5 so it's a long day for them, and the afternoons are bananas! I can't say I would want to stay in this age group for too long. It's okay for now, and it's great experience but it takes alot out of me!
     
  8. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    I'm glad I'm not the only one that finds it tough! I agree that it's not as bad this time of the year as it was in August. But no wonder turnover is so high in child cares!

    I'm thinking about going back to teaching Kindergarten next year. After teaching these little ones, those 5 year olds are such a piece of cake to manage! And they just seem so calm and quiet!
     
  9. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Feb 8, 2011

    Are they bored? Setting up activities for 3's can be challenging.
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Feb 8, 2011

    Up against a mental of image of a 5 yr old, or even a 4yr old and 3 would seem totally out of their mind. I have a mixed age classroom with 2.1 through school age in one room (we are year round, the school age is walked to the public school for coustomary school time).

    When you can see where the 3's have grown from they are a riot. However, if you were to just walk in fresh to a pack of 3's I could see it being a war zone. I do love 3's! I think it is so fun to see the beginnings of what we have been discussing showing up in their play. I love to watch them discover how to actually play FOR each other and not WITH each other. The difference being a dictator sounds very much like children when they are learning to play collectively ("YOU go here, YOU get me that, YOU do this, YOU do that"). But a more developed three can say "where did you see the fire?" The peer can respond, "over there" and then they both run "over there" to put out the flames. No one any more in control than the other of the collective mental image. They are playing for each other (It is late...so I don't know if I can get this across) is the best I can explain tonight.
     
  11. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Feb 9, 2011

    WaProvider, I do understand what you mean. Although I have taught this age in the past, I just had come out of teaching Kindergarten and First grade last year, and had WAY too high of expectations for the 3's!

    My first day this year was so embarrassing. The parents were all there, and here I was attempting to get all the 3's to sit on the rug for a story. What a joke! I'd get 2, then the parents would coax a couple more over. By the time those kids had sat down, the first 2 had wandered off! Funny.. they HAVE come so far.

    Their play and language have also developed dramatically. At the beginning of the year they hardly said 2 words. Now today I heard this mature conversation:

    "What's your mom's name?"
    "Audrey."
    "I can't hear you."
    "Audrey."
    "Oh. Audrey? Oh."

    Then their personalities are also starting to come out. One of my quiet kids was surprised by something yesterday and exclaimed, "What the barnacles!?" lol

    I think my frustration may be not being experienced in planning for this age. I put most of my effort into planning for the morning 4's class, and then the 3's I sort of wing it on for the most part.
     
  12. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    Feb 9, 2011

    I wouldn't worry so much about the food thing. They'll eat when they are hungry, and small kids have to be exposed to new foods many, many, many time before they decide to try it.
     
  13. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Yep, see that is why I like 3's. You are right they don't eat.....but showing a 3 things that they won't eat and getting them used to the idea that it exists will make for a 4 that does eat. See? Groundwork!

    I am sure we would help you plan for 3's. I know I love it!
     
  14. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Feb 9, 2011

    I taught 4s and 5s for over 14 years and was used to them. This year I got 3s for the first time and it was a hard transition for me at first. I had to put my old expectations and habits aside and learn to meet their needs where they were at this developmental stage. I have fallen in love with them! They are cute and cuddly and love their teacher and are silly and inquisitive and imaginative and try so hard to communicate and still believe in Santa and leprechauns and anything magical. Let go and enjoy!
     
  15. annetxa

    annetxa Rookie

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    Feb 9, 2011

    I teach 3's too and I agree they are challenging... My group isn't that bad. They do have problems listening and circle is a chore, but it is wonderful when things go good. :)
     
  16. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Feb 10, 2011

    Can we help you with management or activities?
     
  17. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Feb 10, 2011

    Please! Could you start me off with some literacy or math circle games that are appropriate for 3's?
     
  18. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Feb 10, 2011

    Blue will be back in a minute to give you the whole low down on circle for 3's. My rule of thumb, although much less impressive than Blues' is "figure on 30 sec of concentration time between big body moving songs". I can get an entire book read, like you were saying, but it has to be one I like and I could get the Academy award for the amount of acting I need to do!

    We use the flannel board, body songs, prop songs what ever I can find to fit the theme. That is how I get the content accross....we sing it. Not all of it, not really, but if I plan for a wiggly day then I can use great behavior days to stretch out the 30 second rule. I have to say one day were thinking so much that we were in circle, songs, books and all for 30 min! That was so impressive for us!

    Math games are fun. Get a big dice or wrap a square tissue box make a dice face on it. Roll and jump that many times, then ask what else. Can you run until your friend counts to six, more importantly can you do it in place. Who can flap their wings, 5 times?

    Place cut outs or shape math tools on the ground have the children stand. Say "red" or "triangle" and then they have to crouch and grab that item and stand with the item way over their heads. Cheer for those that succeed,

    Another math, but more seated when they are having a good day. Roll a die and then move that many items. So roll a 3 and move 3 things. For the transitional time you could even throw bean bags.

    Does any of this help?
     
  19. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Feb 11, 2011

    YES!

    Thank you! The math games are great! I'm going to make up some big shapes and start with that one today.
     
  20. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Feb 12, 2011

    I taught 3's for several years and loved it! They are too cute and fuuny! I agree with other posters. The afternoon time frame may not be the best time for the 3s. What is your schedule like? I would spend lots of time outdoors when the weather permitted doing much of what we would do indoors.
     
  21. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Feb 12, 2011

    Going outside hasn't been possible since August and won't be for the rest of the year. I'm on the Northern coast of Alaska, and kids here take the bus to school, so they don't come in snow gear. I wish, though!

    I could increase gross motor time in the gym from 30 minutes to 45 though. That might be good for them.
     
  22. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    I had a VERY active group of preschoolers one year that had to learn everything they were going to learn while running. Ok, they have settled down a tiny bit, but even though they are in the 5th grade the teachers still have all these children on the "active" list and many are in varied stages of medication. So....it wasn't just me. Anyway, we would sort picture vocab cards into hula hoops that were far away with a standing up plastic letter that was about 6 inches tall marking where we were going. It was fun. Had a deck of cards to them and have them run to line them up at some destination far away. Anything, other than sit and work.

    They did arrive at Kinder reading and writing and with all their goals met......except attention to a topic, listening to directions (while seated - was the issue - listening they could do), completing assigned tasks (again seated).

    They were by far the group I had to rearrange my life for and switch up my teaching style.......but we did make it.
     
  23. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Feb 12, 2011

    When I taught 3s I always started out with a 3-5 minute circle time and gradually increased the time we spent in circle. It was very interactive with lots of singing, dancing and overall lots of movement. I was often worn out at the end of the day but, in a good way!

    I made lots of props for our storybooks and read them multiple times over the week. These simple props often went in the library/cozy book area and the children would eventually move over to the area to use the materials.

    During the first 4 weeks, I concentrated on building a classroom community; building relationships, going over routines, and keeping them consistent. I'm like a broken record when it comes to setting the tone for the school year. I give out lots of loving touches but I am really a hawk about putting things away, safety practices, and consistency in how we move through the day. I just found out that being no nonsense about this from the beginning created a lot more by-in from the group in keeping our space safe for everyone.

    Throughout the year, I used transition times to reinforce "concepts, goals and objectives."

    Social skills are extremely important at this age and they need lots of practice in this area so, just incorporating this into your daily lessons as part of the overall plan is helpful. I often stressed with the parents the importance of a great foundation in social/emotional skill development.

    Look at every routine you have and make sure they do not include too many steps or unnecessary things. You should have specific routines for everything you do in your class from the moment they enter the door.

    Incorporate lots of gross motor activities througout the day. My group loved the tunnel and crawling over and under things. I think we made obstacle courses indoors or outdoors every week! We used lots of dance tunes (library is an excellent source).

    Follow the kids lead, if possible. What topic are they interested in? When I worked with my 3s, we did an entire month on boxes (Creative Curriculum project) The kids loved it and were so engaged. I got everything in concept wise just by building on their interests and allowing them the time to engage in the activities of the day.

    I changed something in every learning center every week. I would demonstrate how to use an item, if it was new, and show them where it belonged in the classroom.

    What are you doing for classroom management?

    Are you laughing and having fun with them? I hope that you are!

    Be goofy, silly and take a breath...share in their wonder and excitement! You are so blessed to be able to influence their current and future school progress at such a tender age.

    I can tell you are a terrific teacher, otherwise you wouldn't be here asking for advice. That warms MY heart!
     
  24. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Feb 12, 2011

    Wow, I could have totally written your post!!!! Great minds think alike Pre-K! I can totally relate to your "You should have specific routines for everthing you do in your class from the moment they enter the door." We are so automated in our transitions that if I for some reason creat a sentance that isn't the right "cue"....they children and assistants all just stare at me. "It is time to go outside. Please begin moving to Coats" is just not the same as "Ok, lets' put on our coats next".
     
  25. K3 teacher

    K3 teacher Companion

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    Feb 15, 2011

    I love my threes! I teach an AM and PM session both 5 days a week. Surprisingly, for me, I always enjoy my PM session more. I think they are usually calmer and more mature but I joke that they are probably just tired by the afternoon and therefore seem calm!

    I agree with previous posters - lots of songs and rhymes. My aide always says that she could sit and listen to me read a book forever because I am always so animated - it is the only way to keep their attention! I will do a circle activity (ex: talk about our question of the day) and then do a movement song. Then read the story and do another song. Lots of movement.

    September is exhausting for me - we spend most of the time just practicing the routines for everything in the classroom. But I look at them now and can't believe how stressful Sept was!
     
  26. teachermsannie

    teachermsannie New Member

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    Feb 19, 2011

    I feel the same- I still have 3s that are non verbal and drools...
     
  27. Beverly

    Beverly Comrade

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    I'm glad to see this thread. I nanny for two 3's and one 2-year-old, and even though I've been with them for months now, I still feel challenged by their short attention spans. I got some wonderful advice from lots of posters here about inexpensive materials to make and other activities.. but the parents tend to get rid of the handmade stuff within a week or two, so now I'm struggling to bring in fresh things that will keep them engaged for the 10-11 hours that I'm with them each day. The 3's know their upper and lowercase letters, recognize #s to 10, and know most of their letter sounds. So now I'm trying to keep extending their learning without frustrating them too much.. I definitely miss my 5-year-olds!

    BTW, I totally get what WaProvider was saying about playing with vs. playing for other children. There is a lot of "directing" going on with these kids. :)
     
  28. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    "The 3's know their upper and lowercase letters, recognize #s to 10, and know most of their letter sounds."

    Holy cow! That sounds pretty amazing. Is that average in the lower 48? If it is, excuse my surprise- all my teaching experience has been with ELL kids in poverty. I have a few 3's who can write the first letter of their name, but none can name a single letter. They just haven't had any literacy experiences at home.

    I think that's what frustrates me the most is, I'm the type of person that likes to see growth quickly and concretely. I get this with my fours- as they learn to blend/segment/rhyme etc.. over a period of a few weeks at a time. The only visible growth I've had with my 3's is their attention span gradually growing, 2 have learned how to skip, and 1 finally is able to peddle a tricycle. But that's it so far!
     
  29. nyprekteacher85

    nyprekteacher85 Rookie

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    Feb 20, 2011

    I teach 29 month old toddlers to about 40 months (by the time they are completely transistioned into a pre-school class. There are times when it is hard. Specifically transistion times. Those are the hardest for us. I never quite know how to get from circle to centers...or from centers to lunch time, so a little chaos ensues...it can be hard to redirect them. But I wouldn't trade this age group for any other. They are very self involved, and you have to give them a pass on that...they are 3...but we can work on making them understand how their actions effect others and hold up activities that we are working on....

    Thats about the best advice I can give. Just see each day as an opportunity to improve, the fact that you are asking advice here shows that you are a good teacher and I am sure your students love you.
     
  30. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Ok, but with the 3's do you have as many behaviors as you had in the beginning? How many reminders to sit in one minute. How often do you have accidents? these are important
     
  31. Beverly

    Beverly Comrade

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    Feb 21, 2011

    Thanks for the compliment! It's not average- I had plenty of daycare students in the past who hardly knew any letters at 4. With my current students, we focused a lot on the letters in their names, read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom many times, watched a video with a song to go along with the book, do action alphabet cards (I made them- J-jump, R-run, etc), sing Dr. Jean and other alphabet songs with visual aides, play with magnetic letters, and read at least one story every day. Good luck with your little ones :D
     
  32. umrayan

    umrayan New Member

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    Feb 22, 2011

    Love my kiddos

    This is my first year working with the 3's I have taught Kg the previous year. I find that my children are so humors and amazingly smart. I do kinda dread getting a new group next year because my kids are just in a great daily routine!!
     

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