Cutting free choice & Rest time?

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by DrivingPigeon, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Oct 20, 2008

    Last week we had a district K meeting about math. It turned out to be a huge mess, because everyone expressed their concern over not having enough time in their schedule to dedicate a full 45-60 per day on math. My principal heard about this and wants to meet with us tomorrow after shool. I typed up a breakdown of our schedule and here is what it looks like:


    Minutes in school day 390

    Academics
    Literacy 120
    Math 60
    Content 30
    *Total from Academics 210

    Other Daily Routines
    Attendance, lunch count, pledge, announcements 15
    Morning snack 10
    Lunch/recess 45
    Recess 15
    Afternoon snack 10
    Getting ready to go home (responsibility logs) 15
    Time to walk in hallways, bathroom breaks
    Getting dressed in winter, washing hands for lunch,
    Cleaning up, transitions, etc. 30
    *Total from Other Daily Routines 140 (350 Sub total)

    Kindergarten Essentials
    Calendar time 20
    Show & Share 15
    Free choice time 20
    Rest time 20
    *Total from Kindergarten Essentials 75 (425 Sub total)

    Daily minutes for Specials:
    Monday 60
    Tuesday 30
    Wednesday 30-60
    Thursday 60
    Friday 45
    *Total after specials: 455-485
    (65-95 minutes each day must be cut from the schedule)

    I don't know what to do. Obviously, there are unrealistic expectations. I can integrate until my head falls off, but the fact of the matter is that there is no way I can cut 65-95 minutes per day of anything. The only thing that makes sense to cut is everything from the "kindergarten essentials" section. I have to get the academics in, the specials are out of my control, and the other daily routines are things I can't control, either.

    I don't know what to do!!! :dizzy: Does anyone else NOT have free choice or rest time?
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I haven't heard of rest time for Kinder in quite some time.
     
  4. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I don't have either one. I also don't have show and tell unless it is a specific thing (during transportation unit everyone brings some kind of transportation thing and we do an activity with it or everyone brings something red). IO don't know that 2 snacks and lunch is necessary either. We don't have any snack because our lunch is early and we get out of school at 2:30. I can understand one snack, but you might be able to cut one out. Another idea may be to only have a second recess on days that you are only in specials for 30-45 minutes. On days that you have an hour of specials they would only have lunch recess.
     
  5. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    At my school the kids just bring beach towels and we lay them out for about 15 minutes after lunch recess. I usually play music or read from a chapter book. It's my first year teaching so I basically just followed what the other teachers did. I plan on cutting this from our schedule after this month.

    The thing I'm having a huge problem with is the free choice time. We really don't have time for it, but they really need it. I need it, too!
     
  6. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    If a 20 min rest is all they get, I would ditch it. By the time they get their mats and get situated, it is time to put things up.

    Could something be tied into snack? Reading a book while they eat?
     
  7. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I actually have my leader bring a show and share during morning snack. I mostly just put that on the schedule for the other teachers, because they have specific show and share times.

    I can't get rid of the afternoon recess-we have to follow the schedule. And my principal used to be a PE teacher so I think he would have big issues with that. It would be nice if I could, though-especially in winter!

    In the beginning of the year I considered eliminating one snack (I just did it that way because that's what the other teachers do), but now I see how much they need it. School starts at 8:45 and lunch is at 11:30. Many of the children ride the bus for 30-60 minutes in the morning before arriving to school at 8:30. That means that many of them ate breakfast at around 7. Plus, our mornings are really long (no specials), so snack is really our only mental break. We don't get out of school until 3:20, so in the afternoon they start to get really sluggish, since they have to go 4 hours without eating. Maybe I'll start to really watch them and see if a snack can be eliminated...

    Like I said the free choice time is the thing I really have issues with. They live for that. I guess I could try my best to make all other academic areas into game-type lessons. They love games.
     
  8. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    That's actually what I plan on doing starting in November. During the morning snack one person brings a show and share. During the afternoon snack I'm going to start turning out half of the lights in our room and reading from a chapter book.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Our Kinder this year has free choice INSTEAD of a 2nd recess.
     
  10. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I kind of like that. Then they are getting more of a variety with their play time. Plus, our afternoon recess is only 15 minutes long, so in the winter we're going to have to start dressing 5 minutes before recess starts, not to mention undressing, so a 15-minute recess turns into 25-30 minutes. Maybe I'll propose that for next year!

    I think I finally have my schedule figured out. I've been trying to tweak it for the past 2 1/2 hours. I'm going to have free choice right away when they come into the room in the morning, instead of an independent activity at their table spots. That is one less thing for me to prepare, and hopefully they will get a lot of their chattiness out right away in the morning. This will also get them in the door, since they seem to goof around in the hallway in the morning.

    I'm actually excited for my new schedule now!
     
  11. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    We don't have free choice time unless it is a rainy day then it is their recess. We only have one recess. We have one snack time and it is also used to play a letter video or read a story. Our math period starts with calendar so we start with days, months, counting, etc. Sharing is at the end of the day while students pack up and wait for their bus buddies. Good luck!
     
  12. forkids

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    Instead of the afternoon snack, when they get sluggish do a quick (1-2 min.) music with movement activity to get their blood pumping again.
     
  13. spunkyteacher

    spunkyteacher Rookie

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    We just cut nap out of our schedule after fall break. During snack I pop in an educational video, turn the lights down, and they can rest their head if they want to. So far it has worked well.
     
  14. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Oct 25, 2008

    I apologize for jumping in late in the game here but I wanted to add my :2cents: I am currently helping teachers in my district with this very same problem as a new Instructional Facilitator- this often makes me very unpopular :( It sounds like your district is at a crossroads, one where the past meets the present and some things have to change in order to make your program successful.

    We don't have nap, show & tell, or snack. Some teachers have ONE 30 minute recess daily but some don't, others alternate their free play and recess- Monday free play, Tuesday recess etc. The 30 minutes of recess has to include the travel time to get to and from the playground and dressing or water time. If you're in the south you need water afterwards and if you're in the north you need dressing time before:)

    As for snacks, research shows that kids at the age of 5 can go for 3-4 hours without food. Our day starts at 7:50, then they have lunch at 11:00, and go home at 3:00 so no snack is necessary. The kids are fine with it if they eat a good breakfast and lunch. We explain all this to parents prior to the first day of school and tell them to make sure their kids eat a good breakfast. I think if you absolutely have to, one snack would be more than sufficient.

    Our schedules look like this:

    Reading Workshop (Literacy): 80 minutes (includes read aloud, mini lesson, independent reading, share, and Letter work activities/guided reading later in the year)
    Writing Workshop: 60 minutes
    Calendar: 15
    Math: 60 (includes read aloud, mini lesson, and math workshop activities)
    Lunch: 30
    Specials: 45
    Free Play: (blocks, dramatic play etc OR recess) 30

    Science is integrated in to math and free play

    Any remaining minutes are for transitions and travel time to and from specials, bathroom, lunch etc.

    We had to help teachers let go of "fine motor time", "morning work time", "handwriting time", "theme time" and several other "times". Some have been integrated into other areas, such as fine motor and some have been eliminated altogether, such as morning work.

    Good luck!
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 26, 2008

    I think a morning snack is okay because you can't guarantee that a parent fed them good breakfast. The afternoon snack can be eliminated though.
     
  16. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Here is my schedule. Our math program says that calendar is part of math instruction in kindergarten!

    Arrival, breakfast, attendance, pledge: 8:30 to 8:50 20 mins
    Morning meeting 8:50 to 9:10 20 mins
    calendar 9:10 to 9:30 20 mins (counts as math)
    reading block 9:30 to 10:10 40 mins
    recess 10:10 to 10:30 20 mins
    handwriting 10:30 to 10:45 15 mins (counts as literacy)
    read aloud(science or SS) 10:45 to 11:05 20 mins (counts as literacy)
    lunch/recess/undress 11:05 to 12:10 65 mins
    read aloud/ rest time 12:15 to 12:25 10 mins
    special 12:25 to 1:05 40 mins
    math lesson and centers 1:05 to 1:35 20 mins
    science or ss retouch and center work 1:35 to 1:55 20 mins
    free play 1:55 to 2:25 30 mins
    snack time 2:25 to 2:40 15 mins
    read aloud while packing up to go home 2:40 to 2:50 10 mins

    total 365 minutes

    my morning meeting is
    • greeting
    • share (three to four students share a day, and they only share from their hearts)
    • activity
    • morning message (which includes reading so that could count as part of literacy program
     
  17. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    Oct 26, 2008

    Just like JamieMarie said...see what things can have a dual purpose. I count my calendar as all content areas because we work with numbers, days/months, holidays, weather, and morning message. That covers math, social studies, science, and literacy.

    As for rest time...we still have it in our school. I feel it is vital for kids to have that down time. However, you said that you do a read aloud with them during this time...that can count as literacy. You could also change it up a bit and have them choose some books to look at quietly.

    A lot of times I incorporate free time (tubs) with math. They don't know the difference!! They get to play with the toys...but there is a purpose behind it!

    I'm sure you are fitting it all in...you just don't realize it. All of the big wigs just want it to be OBVIOUS with a designated block for each content. Sorry...sometimes in K it's not that obvious! It's tough (and highly inappropraite) for K's to sit for an hour doing math...but they don't get that!
     
  18. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    That's exactly what is going on. So many of the teachers are upset because they feel that kindergarten isn't kindergarten anymore, and they refuse to eliminate rest time, free choice, etc. They think that it isn't developmentally appropriate. It's difficult for me because I understand what they're saying and I agree, but at the same time a cooperating teacher I had while doing my clinical didn't have any of these things and her students were doing great. They could read and write very well and they didn't seem to hate school or be worn out. So, I've seen what kindergarteners are capable of doing. Other first year teachers in the district are eliminating these things and they seem to be doing just fine, as well. But I don't want my kids to wonder why the other classes are having free choice or rest time and they aren't.

    That sounds like the things that teachers at my school are doing. They have morning work/fine motor time and handwriting time. I've been having a handwriting center as part of literacy centers, and I've also been integrating it into phonics. I've decided to eliminate morning activities and have free choice time right away in the morning until I have attendance, lunch count, etc. finished. I've been having a good 30-45 minutes of free choice every day, so this is going to free up a lot of time in the morning. The other K teachers, however, don't think that free choice for 15 minutes in the morning is enough.

    I guess I'm just going to be the one with a more strict schedule, and that will be that. I think it's good that I'm coming in to this transition time as a new teacher because I think I'm more willing to try a different schedule. I'm starting my new schedule in November (we have a 3-day week this week). Once again our required minutes are:

    Literacy: 120 minutes
    Math: 45-60 minutes

    Content (social studies and science): 30 minutes (half of this time each week is supposed to be integrated, so we really only need about 75 minutes of scheduled content time)

    Here is what I end up having:

    Monday
    Literacy: 120
    Math: 55
    Writing: 40

    Tuesday
    Literacy: 140
    Math: 60
    Content: 20
    Writing: 35

    Wednesday
    Literacy: 130
    Math: 55
    Content: 35
    Writing: 40

    Thursday
    Literacy: 140
    Math: 50
    Content: 25

    Friday
    Literacy: 140
    Math: 55
    Writing: 40

    I have MORE than enough minutes, and I was even able to schedule in writing time almost every day (I was only having it twice each week). And they are still getting a little bit of free choice in the morning. I'm so excited to start! I wish I would have been doing this all year so far.
     
  19. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 26, 2008

    vanna - as always, excellent advice!

    I have neither rest time or free choice-to me, they have choice in their workstations, it's a structured choice, but a choice, no less. We take recess for about 15 minutes a day. There is no designated afternoon snack, however, I often incorporate food into a math or do a cooking lesson.

    Yes, Kindergarten has gotten more academic, is it fair? Probably not, but that's the way the tide is turning, you have to go with it. I wish people who think we fingerpaint all day would see these schedules!
     
  20. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    That is interesting. After reading this I was thinking about cutting snack time out. But than I realized we finish eating lunch at 11:20 and some of the children don't get off the bus until 4:00 and they would be starving by that time.
     
  21. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I think it is sad that we are pushing the kindees like this. I have a rest time, free choice time and still manage to get them reading and writing by the end of the year.

    I'm glad I no longer have children of my own in kindergarten. I do not agree with the elimination of recess, snack, or rest time. I've been teaching K a long time, and yes, I have kept up-to-date on the current "trends" and push. It does not mean it is the right thing to do.
    I realize you may not have a choice, but when do we start to stand up for the children and not the bean counters down at central office.
     
  22. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    That is the nice thing about our principal she makes us have free play and recess every day at least for the first four months.
     
  23. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Kudos to your principal!! Sounds like the kind I would enjoy working for!! :love:
     
  24. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    For us it's not a matter of them mastering reading and writing by the end of the year, but by January because we take a standardized test then. Those scores are reported to our faculty and our district. I always said I wouldn't cave to pressure to change my academics for a test, but after sitting in a meeting where your co-teachers' scores are double your classes' scores and there's a meeting with administration implying your job is on the line and things change. Now ask me if I still do art projects with them on the DL (I do). I just try to get the fun stuff in anywhere I can - but there's no way I can do naptime.

    Oh and did I mention that our district standard for reading fluency in Kinder is reading 40 words per minute by May. 1st Graders only have to read 60, I think it's much harder to go from 0-40, but what do I know.
     
  25. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Well that is just sad. I cant help but think it all balances out by third grade anyhow. Would love to track those other teacher's kids and your kids and see just how much farther ahead they are in a few years! ;)
     
  26. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    And oh, I too give standardized tests to my kindees in March. It sucks!
     
  27. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Agreed. And that's where the teachers are in my district right now. They are all wanting to take a stand.

    I would just like to say that I would NEVER eliminate the 2 recesses and snacks my kids get every day! I'm going to start implementing my more strict schedule, but, as my principal said, I shouldn't be afraid to just not to math one day because they need free choice or rest time. Luckily, he is very flexible and doesn't care if we don't do exactly what we're supposed to do. He said we should have the pretty, perfect schedule, but he doesn't care if we follow it to a T.

    As I always say, I went to 1/2 day kindergarten and I turned out just fine.
     
  28. Mommateach

    Mommateach Rookie

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    I'm not a certified teacher, but I do live in WI. When my son, Dalton, attended kindergarten a couple of years ago I noticed how different kindergarten is these days compared to when I went to school in the early 80's. In the full day of kindergarten that my son attended they had the following breaks: a 10 min. morning snack time, a 15-20 minute alternating morning/afternoon recess, a 20 minute lunch, a 20 minute after lunch recess and free choice for the last 20 minutes of the day. They eliminated the rest time after lunch/recess in early October of that year. The children had quiet looking at book time instead. The full day was from 8 to 3. My son seemed to be cracking under the pressure of kindergarten. He disliked going to school, was frustrated and cried a lot. We had a meeting with the teacher, principal and school psych. My husband said something about when he was little he went to a 1/2 day kindergarten and he turned out alright. The principal responded with, "kindergarten is the new first grade". She said that is how it is these days. I was shocked. I really didn't know that the kids were expected to do what used to be 1st grade work. I wouldn't have put my son in kindergarten that year if I would have known that. He was in no way ready for 1st grade!
    BTW-my son no longer attends that school. The entire environment wasn't the right fit for him. Also, the principal is/was very strict and is/was the my way or the highway type of person.

    Anyway, please stand up for the children!
     
  29. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    The "kindergarten is the new first grade" thing is so true. And sad. :( Sure, some kids are ready for it, but many aren't, and they're labled behind right away (when, really, they just AREN'T READY!).
     
  30. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    "kindergarten is the new first grade" is the exact reason I am looking to get out of K next year! Kindergarten should not be all about the academics...look at society...we need lots of work on social!! Kids used to get this in Kindergarten...but now we are too concerned with the academics. If I'm going to have to teach academics then I'd rather teach it in a grade where it's appropriate to push kids this far!
     
  31. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I completely agree! We have way too many social skill problems in this country. I think I would love first grade...
     
  32. Kinder Preppie

    Kinder Preppie Rookie

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    I have a 1/2 day kindergarten (8:15 to 1:00) with no free choice and no rest time. We do have 30 minute specials (resource classes) daily and 45 minute snack/recess time daily. I spend approximately 45 minutes on reading and phonics, approximately 30 minutes on handwriting, and approximately 30 minutes on math. We do not do Show and Share or Calendar. This is done in pre-k at our school. I don't do any of your kindergarten essentials. I hope this helps some.
     
  33. harbodin

    harbodin Companion

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    Nov 9, 2008

    I haven't read all posts, so I'm sorry if this is off topic by page three!

    In my class I push science and social studies into reading and math. There is NO seperate time in my schedule for either of those lessons. They are integrated into reading, math, circle time, etc. (We'd done this already, but the sup told us to do it this way at the beginning of the year)

    Also, my calendar time counts as my math time. I use that time to do calendar (obviously) which is a standard for measuring time, numbers, counting, etc. I also do seasons and weather. I am supposed to have 60 min of math-20 is circle time, 20-30 is a lesson, and the rest are usually math centers or small groups.

    Story time is done during bathrooming, which counts as 10 minutes towards the required 90 (in my district). I also usually count centers towards either math or reading, because they are in general math or reading geared.

    My kids have 60 min math, 90 min language arts, 45 specials, 30 minutes lunch 15 min snack, 30 minutes recess, 45 minute rest, circle, story, centers, (oh, and everyone HAS to get on computers at least 15 min a day for reading program).

    As long as YOU know you are getting the material taught, don't stress about what your schedule says. To be honest, there are days when my lesson plans and schedule don't match what's getting done, but everything gets finished before the week is over!!
     
  34. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 9, 2008

    I agree with harbodin. :hugs: If K is the new 1st then the new K is pre K. That is something I really had to grapple with, like many of you are in your K rooms. I was able to maintain the free exploration and social time that my accreditors need to see by rolling all of my work into science and social studies. We have what amounts to 2/3 of the year on science "themes" (but the theme-ness is gone these days) and 1/3 of the year on social studies and pre geography. By rolling all other concepts, projects, math tubs and so on into these topics (used to be themes when they were cuter and less fact based) I can get the areas to cover more ground. Free play turned into other things like readers theater, board games and so on for sections of time. Although K is discussing loosing free play, for ECE to work against free play is difficult as well-we are expected to use free play as our teaching medium in many cases. :dizzy:

    I have tried to roll math and science and social studies backwards into literacy and reading-but that didn't work. :(And making specific lesson plans for observation days that weren't in line with the science and social studies and math caused us to "loose a day". :eek:

    Science is a great web to hang all of my other subjects off of. :thumb:

    I don't know if that will help-but it helped me make sense of the Prek is the new K plan. We often end up doing 2 grade learning objectives with 4's and 5's-that isn't always appropriate either.
     

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