I just want to be a better teacher next year...

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by DrivingPigeon, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Apr 23, 2010

    This year has been tough for me...I feel like I need to improve on:

    Building classroom community-This year (and last) my students aren't very nice to each other. I have the kids who are just good-natured and nice to everyone, but then there are a handful who are just so mean all the time.

    Classroom management-It seems like my class just acts a certain way because they don't want to get caught-not because it's the right thing to do. Why is it that after 147 days of school they are still running down the hall unless I'm watching them, but another kindergarten teacher's class never runs?!! They are also very talkative! I have to do my attention-getters every few minutes and it's very frustrating.

    Writer's workshop-I'm excited to try a new idea that I received from a co-worker, so hopefully this will improve. I feel like my writing time is really boring and the kids don't get very excited.

    Being more peppy/excited-I'm crabby most days by 9:30, but I think it's because of the many factors listed above. I have such fun lessons planned, but I always get so irritated/annoyed by their behavior right away.

    Doing more movement breaks, songs, fingerplays, etc.-How do you get kindergartners excited about this stuff?!! My class last year always said they "weren't babies" and didn't want to sing. I come from a school where almost 100% of the children in my class have grown up in daycare and/or went to preschool so they have done many of these things before and consider them "baby-like." I'm thinking I would like to have a song of the week, which we can sing during calendar time, and then we'll have a whole book of songs on hand for breaks. I need good songs, though, and not "baby" ones!

    If anyone has any ideas, comments, suggestions, etc. for ways that I can improve on any of the above, I'm all ears!
     
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  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2010

    As far as running (when they are supposed to be walking in line?), have them line up again and try it until they do it right? When my kids don't do as I expect them, they do it again. Otherwise, it;s in one ear and out the other....

    About your "crabbiness": I am sure the factors listed have a lot to do with it. Also, how much sleep are you getting at night?

    Classroom community: Have you guys learned strategies to resolve conflict? We recently ended a unit on "neighbors" and how to work together, and the end of it was learning how to resolve our issues. Having them practice those skills might help so they can use it when issues come up.
     
  4. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Apr 23, 2010

    I have them go back and do it again over and over...Sometimes we are late for specials, miss part of recess, etc. because we are stopping, reviewing hallways expectations, and trying it again and again. Still, every time we walk in the hallway, they are running and talking. I think next week I'm going to start carrying a pad of paper with me in the hallways and writing down names of children who talk so I can take away play time. But, then they are only behaving because I'm there, watching. I wish they could just genuinely respect that others are trying to learn, but that might be too much to expect from a 5-year-old...?

    As for sleep, I get 8-9 hours per night. I'm in bed by 9 and up around 5:30.

    I've had them role-play situations and talk about what they should do. What happens if someone has a toy that you want, knocks over something that you make on accident, asks if they can play with you, etc. etc. etc. I've done this probably 8-10 times this year (where I had an entire lesson on treating others well). Still, they continue to yell at each other, get in physical fights at recess, and call each other names.

    I honestly feel like I'm more of a baby-sitter than a teacher most days!
     
  5. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2010

    When my kids have a conflict at a center I require them to work it out themselves most of the time. I have them "huddle up" and discuss ways to figure out how to resolve the problem. It has been very effective. I have a class of mostly boys this year and when I see them huddle together it is so adorable. Arms around each others shoulders, heads down and talking things out in the huddle. I don't allow any play to continue until they have huddled up and worked out a solution. You'd be amazed at how fast they work things out. lol
     
  6. greengables

    greengables Rookie

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    Apr 23, 2010

    They're pretty much ME-centered at this age. So, yes, it's tough for them to project their running in the hall to disrupting other kids' learning (especially if they can't see them in the classrooms). Just one of those things to keep plugging away at.

    I read about a tip (on one of these forums, I believe) I'm going to use next year for teaching kindness. Get one of those kid-sized paper bodies (for painting). When you talk about mean words and bad feelings have them come up with hurtful phrases. When they tell a word or phrase crumple a section of the body paper. After they all have a chance, talk about apologizing and making amends. Uncrumple sections with every apology. Then discuss how even tho, apologies are good, the body still has marks on it and is never really as good as it started. Hang the paper body in the classroom as a graphic reminder of how words and actions can hurt and use it as a reminder. I think this could be a great tool!
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2010

    Ok, so it sounds like you've tried all the tricks. Maybe this is just a tough group? I think most kids might push it a little when they think no one is watching. I think some of my kids would too, but that is why there is always someone watching, right? You always have someone on duty, in the class, etc. Left to their own devices...
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2010

    I love this idea!
     
  9. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Thanks for the ideas, everyone!

    I plan on doing much more community building through community circle, tribes activities, etc. in the beginning of the year. I feel like this year's group is a lost cause, though. :( I have so many REALLY good kiddos, but about 1/3 of my class is just really tough...
     
  10. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2010

    We all have years like that, Pigeon. Don't let it get you down.:hugs:
     
  11. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2010

    I have been experiencing lots of problems with a few girls. They are 5 going on 15. Yesterday one of the girls punched another one in the stomach because the girl was playing with someone else and she wanted her all to herself. Today I printed up information on "bullying" and what to do about it. The trouble makers parents got a copy with a note from me to have a talk and put an end to this behavior. The parents have to do their job at home before things can get better. Feel sorry for ya and hope that next year is better.
     
  12. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    Apr 23, 2010

    Friedrich Frobel's original vision of kindergarten was that it was a place to teach young children social skills and cooperation. It's a fairly recent 'innovation' to make kindergarten about academics at all. Well-socialized children can learn much more effectively than those that are not, so it's really in the best interests of everyone in the school process if kindergarten focuses on accomplishing this well, regardless of what else happens. Don't let anyone tell you that that is 'baby-sitting'.
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Apr 24, 2010

    Have you looked into Power Teaching at all? (I think they may call it Whole Brain Teaching now). I really liked that during whole group they turned to a partner to discuss an answer or review a concept. It's an opportunity the kids to share ideas and build rapport with other students. It also gives a lot of good tricks for classroom management.

    I had a group like this a few years ago and the summer following I pulled out all my management books and had a great plan. The class that followed was an amazing, motivated, good-listening class. So hopefully that's what's in the cards for you as well. :)
     
  14. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Apr 24, 2010

    After reading your post just a few things you might try.

    Running in the hallways - I tell my students my expectations for walking in the hallway (in my school the rules are no talking, touching walls, and no running). I then MODEL this for them in the room. I walk in the front and have a few kids walk behind me while the class watches. I do this THROUGHOUT the year, not just at the beginning. Then I remind them each time we leave the room and praise, praise, PRAISE them when they get it. If they are having a really hard time, I've been known to turn them around and go back to the room to try again. If we're late to a special, lunch, recess, etc. I don't care - it's worth the few extra minutes to show them I mean what I say and say what I mean.

    As for singing - I had a few kids at the beginning of the year who just stood there, a few rolling eyes. I nipped that in the bud after a few days (and talking to my neighboring teacher who saves my behind more than I can say...). I told them, our songs (and we sing a LOT of songs) are part of our learning. Participation is not optional. If they refuse to sing and participate, they have to go to the take a break seat until they're ready to participate. I also participate FULL OUT, which I think shows them it's ok to let lose and have fun. I think many kids are afraid to do this and seeing the teacher do it gives them permission to.

    Good luck!
     
  15. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Apr 24, 2010

    That's probably the most difficult thing about kindergarten...Meeting the high expectations of administration while remember that you're working with 5-year-olds.

    I understand the need for young children to develop social and cooperation skills more than every after this year! If I could go back, I would have spent way more time on it this year...
     
  16. azteacher3

    azteacher3 Companion

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    Apr 25, 2010

    I feel the same way about the social problems. I don't know if I just haven't spent enough time on social skills this year, but my kids have been so mean to each other lately. Friday was a particularly bad day and so I'm taking free choice away from them next week and we are doing social activities instead. Hopefully this will help me make it until the end of the year!

    My class is one of the best and quietest classes in the hallway, though. Here's what I've done. At the beginning of the year, we would have contests between the boys or girls. Whichever team was the quietest in the hallway got a point. They tied many times, but usually one team was ahead of the other by a few points. The first team to get 20 points got a prize. When the girls won, I gave them each a can of playdough or a pack of stickers. When the boys won, they each got a matchbox car.

    Then a few months ago, I got tired of buying them prizes and decided to do a whole class contest. When the whole class is quiet, they get a point. When they get 30 points, they get a popcorn and movie afternoon.

    This class thrives on positive reinforcement and prizes:p.
     
  17. TiffanyL

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    Apr 25, 2010

    I just want to add that the fact that you are already reflecting on the year shows your true dedication to those children. We are never where we want to be tomorrow but we are continually improving upon where we were yesterday.
     
  18. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Thanks, that makes me feel good. :)

    I like the points in the hallway thing! Maybe I'll try something like that next year.
     
  19. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Apr 25, 2010

    ahhhh, I am so sorry. The year is almost over. The great thing about teaching is you always have a fresh start and can try new ideas.
     
  20. mom2sands

    mom2sands Comrade

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    Apr 25, 2010

    I've had a rough year also. I've had it with loud voices, two students in particular who just can't control their volume. I feel as if my hearing has been damaged. Another student I have has no self-control and has a caregiver who is totally in denial about his behavior, so no real support at home.

    As far as the hallway, mine are good about 80% of the time. There are always the same few that have issues. I choose a boy and girl secret walker before we leave the classroom. I announce who they were when we return and they're awarded ESD paws if they exhibited appropriate hallway behavior. If not, they're asked why they didn't get it and they can always tell me.

    So many days I feel defeated, especially with this one student. He has been my "cross to bear" this year and I'm not always Job-like...lol! I try to be, but I do have my limits.:rolleyes:

    I also like the boy/girl contest!
     
  21. Silmarienne

    Silmarienne Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2010

    Great conversation and I got some great ideas!

    About songs/fingerplays, I have a kind of "jaded" group this year as well and the one thing that always gets them going is a song with a lot of action in it. Most of the ones I do are Christian songs (King of the Jungle, Arky Arky) but there are fun action songs like Baby Shark and Grizzly Bear. Sometimes I make up actions to songs, for example Magic Penny, that get even the boys engaged. One of the songs we do (Cast Your Burdens) involves flexing and making muscles, which the boys really get into!
     
  22. Silmarienne

    Silmarienne Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2010

    And something that really helped us with walking to another class. I tell them that I expect them to walk quietly and not touch each other, and that if we arrive at the (gym, library, wherever) without my having to turn around and speak to them, they all get a Kindergarten coin (part of my award system for good behavior). If I hear noise starting I might start to turn around and look and immediately the other kids correct the ones causing trouble.
     

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