my first week of kindergarten

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by Starivy, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. Starivy

    Starivy Companion

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    Aug 12, 2006

    Hi everyone! Wow I survived my first week of teaching kindergarten for my first year of teaching. What a shocker at the amount of work that is required! Nothing on this green earth prepares you for what teaching is actually all about!! Beforehand I had procedures written for everything but when I actually started teaching I found there were a milliion that I had to come up with on the spot! The kids are great but I have a few questions.....

    1. When the kids are on the rugs a few of them keep laying down, rolling around, touching each other, and actually crawling to another spot. It is driving me crazy!!! I don't want to stop everytime 1 does it because I would never finish what I am supposed to be teaching them. How do you get them to sit and listen quietyly on the rug? I have told them everyday this week what I want to see, then I actually tell them to show me, but then when I start a few of them start wandering!!!!!! Well another thhing is we don't have naptime and they get tired towards the halfway point of my day.

    2. I have a few who just don't work that hard or something is wrong, I'm not sure? If I give them a blank paper, they will draw 1 circle and then put their name on it. While others will color the entire paper with beautiful artwork. Or when we are almost done with a worksheet, I will see that a little girl has not even started. She said that she can't do it. Even after I modeled it for her. A few of the key phrases that the kids who do not really work that much is, " I can't do it, I don't want to do it, That's all I want to do." In every case I show them, encourage them BUT I can't be spending every sec. with those few couple of kids. Any thoughts?

    3. Also my calendar time is BORING, I dread doing it. How can I make it fun? Does anyone have a list of things that I should be doing? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    I never knew how much work a teacher had to do until now!! Wow, I am in awe that you all are doing it and doing it for so long and well! I am very immpressed! I hope I can survive my first year!



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  3. greeneyes

    greeneyes New Member

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    Aug 12, 2006

    first week in kindergarten

    Oh my gosh, I can relate! This was my first week, too, and the rolling around, and standing, etc. is extremely frustrating. And when attempting to teach procedures, there are always one or two that cannot comply - and then the rest of the class is standing around getting bored or fidgety - while I am still working with the one or two! How long does a teacher have to take to ensure all students "catch on," and will allowing those last one or two to get away with noncompliance send an improper message?
    I really love my kids, but it can get very frustrating. I know it takes about a month to get the kids in "shape," but what is the solution in the meantime??
     
  4. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Aug 12, 2006

    Have clear expectations in your head.

    Keep "sit time" SHORT. In the beginning, do 5 minutes, then have a movement activity. Fingerplays, songs, games, etc. I have my students move back and forth from tables to the rug VERY frequently during the first weeks. 5 or 10 minutes on the rug, then to tables for a 5-10 minute activity.

    Remind them EVERY time what the rules are. Role play and model. Praise, praise, praise. If a child who has been rolling around sits for 2 seconds the way you want him to, you have to notice those 2 seconds and make a big deal out of it. Students cannot be allowed to continually crawl around. I put a few chairs behind my rug and students who cannot sit on the rug sit on a chair. They are welcome to join us at any time.

    We don't have naps, either, and some students get very tired. It will take a while for them to get used to the new schedule. If some are so tired that they fall asleep, LET THEM. The rest of the class can continue with the planned activities. Plan your more focused instruction for the morning when they are not so tired. You can also let them all lie down in the afternoon and listen to a story on tape or something like that.

    After your class completes an assignment, have a few students share their work with the class. Praise what they have accomplished. This will get some of those reluctant workers trying harder. When a student tells me "I can't," I sometimes say "Well, this is why you are in K. To learn how to do these things." Praise any little attempt that is made. As you circulate, offer suggestions and encourage.

    As far as calendar, if you think it is boring, so will they!!! Do you use music? There are songs for the days of the week, months, etc. Check out Dr. Jean or Greg and Steve for some. There are others, too. Calendar is when I act goofiest with my class. I make intentional mistakes and really try to get them involved. For the first few weeks, we do it all together. After that, I have a calendar helper who comes up and moves the pieces, answers questions, etc.

    We sing a days of the week song while the helper points to the days. Then I ask the helper to tell me the day, month, date, and year. They have to tell what piece of the pattern goes next. (The numbers of the days are on pattern cut-outs.) Then they use a special silly pointer to point as the class says, "Today is Monday, August 14th, 2006." We count how many days we've been in school by putting a straw in a container. The helper adds a straw, then we count them. We put a rubber band around groups of 10, then move the group to the 10's container. The students get very excited about this. When we have 9 I have many frantic hands waving to tell me that tomorrow we get to make a group of 10. I write the number on a sentence strip. Students sit around the perimeter of the carpet (I call it the perimeter, too, so they learn that word) and we count around until we get to the number. I usually don't start that until we've been in school a month or so, so everyone gets a chance to say a number. Counting the days of school can be very exciting as we build up to the 100th day. Each day the helper colors in a square on our 100's chart so they can see how close we are getting.

    Something I used to do that they loved was I had a magic wand. The whole class would say "1,2,3 Poof!" and we'd turn the calendar helper into the weather person who would then walk to the window to check the weather as we all sang, "What's the weather like today, like today, like today? What's the weather like today on this (day of the week)?" (To the tune of "London Bridge.") Then they'd come back and fill in the weather graph.

    Another fun thing is to take 7 little stuffed animals (could be all one animal, like bears, or different animals). Beanie babies work great. Put the days of the week on them. I have 3 little newspaper hats labeled today, tomorrow, yesterday. The animals are lined up in order and the calendar helper puts the hats on the correct animals.

    You could also do "zero the hero" and have a special puppet (with a simple fabric cape with a zero on it) that comes out on days that end with a zero (when you are counting the days in school).

    A teacher I work with has them also count out money. On the 5th day of school, for instance, they'd count out 5 cents. They put that in a big money jar and at the end of the school year they count all of the money (it really adds up) and the whole class walks to Dairy Queen to buy ice cream. The excitement builds all year.

    Calendar can get boring, but it is also a time of day that everyone knows exactly what to expect. They become experts and are so proud that they can do it. I really think it is about your enthusiasm. Play it up, even if you hate it!

    Yes, YOU CAN survive your first year. I remember thinking that year that I wish I could skip the first year and just start out as a third year teacher. :) Now I'm starting my 7th year! However it is something everyone has to go through. I had one of my first year student's moms come back at the end of last year. He left our school in 3rd grade to be homeschooled. He is headed to middle school this year. She just wanted to tell me what a wonderful experience kindergarten was for him. I laughed and told her how miserable that year was for me. It was so heartwarming to hear that even when I felt so lost that students were getting something out of it and will always remember it.

    Hang in there! Post back. We'll help however we can!
     
  5. benemma

    benemma Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2006

    Just wanted to say congrats on your first week! Teaching (like parenting, I've found) is so much harder and so much more rewarding than you could ever imagine.:love:
     
  6. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    Aug 12, 2006

    My first week in Kindergarten is coming up in about three weeks. (I'm moving from 5th) and I just wanted to thank everyone here for the information. I'm now going back and thinking about more procedures and I have taken notes from sevenplus' post and saved them in my notebook-o-ideas!! THanks again everyone!!
     
  7. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2006


    Perfectly said!:D
     
  8. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Aug 12, 2006

    I am so glad you posted this. I don't start until the end of August and it is good to know what to look for. I am also moving down from 5th so I am not exactly sure what to expect? All the advice is well taken and appreciated!
     
  9. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Aug 12, 2006

    I've been away from school since early June and we'll be starting in August. I laughed just thinking about the rolling around on the carpet!! I forgot how much the kids mature during the year!
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Aug 12, 2006

    About the rolling on the carpet: I assign my kids seats in rows on the carpet and make it kind of a team effort for the whole row. I will say Jane's row is all sitting criss-cross, hands in their laps, etc. But I agree with sevenplus that you can't expect them to sit for very long. We had our teacher prep days this week and I always think about how the kids must feel when I'm sitting there listening to the speakers doing the training sessions.

    Sevenplus also had a lot of great ideas for calendar. I keep my calendar time pretty short. I used to work with a teacher who spent 1/2 an hour plus just doing calendar - I was bored observing it. Mine is 10 minutes tops and the kids do love the fun little things like puppets.

    Congratulations on surviving your first week! Our kids come back on Monday - I'm so excited!
     
  11. daysy_may

    daysy_may Groupie

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    Aug 13, 2006

    :) I know one thing I've done before while doing a maternity leave is we all are standing up and we "get the wiggles out" we just wiggle our whole bodies, I do it with them and they seem to think this is hilarious!
     
  12. Jenni

    Jenni Rookie

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    I am currently working with preschool and I have suffered some of the same problems. Just getting the kids to sit long enough for a short story is sometimes very difficult. Especially since this summer the children have been denied time outside for various reasons. It was to hot, the roof was being done, new grass, it was rainy, it was muddy. Honestly I think even if it is 80 they should be allowed out for a few minutes. Muddy is fine as long as the mud is cleaned up, it would be nice if we had a mat outside for them to stomp on. And new grass was sod, and as long as teachers are watching kids shouldn't be able to "pull it up" as the director of the center said they might do.

    However, this is all beside the point. My point was I understand where you are coming from. Sometimes I stop and have the kids practice just sitting, not touching each other, and having their legs criss cross. Mine being a bit younger, some just can't handle it, but usually I get all but one or two of the youngest to sit nicely for me. If the story is short and exciting I can usually get them to stay. Since the other teachers weren't consistant in the beginning I had to stop every couple pages and remind them and praise those following directions.

    If I noticed I was losing them I would start patting my knees or head, or clapping and wait for them to catch on and do what I was. Then once I had their attention back I could continue with whatever I was trying to do with them. Sometimes I am sitting in a chair other times I sit on the floor at their level and model what I want. Often I have to stay in a chair while I read so everyone can see the book and so I don't get everyone fighting for my lap. I don't know if you've tried it but it's hard to read with even one kid in your lap.

    Other than that I was pulled out in for an LD class all through Elementary and one of my teachers banned the word "can't" from her room. You might be able to try that with yours. You could say something like "In our class we do not allow anyone to say I can't. Everyone can do it if they try so instead of saying I can't ask for help if you are having trouble. If we work together we can do it!" In general this sort of a statement is very true. Most people can do anything they put their mind to. Saying you can't do something is making it so you can't. It's self defeating and I think even 5 year olds with guidance can understand such a concept.

    Oh, one more thing the preschoolers I work with (3-5) love "head, shoulders, knees and toes" and I find it is a great way to help them get some energy out. They also love singing songs especially if you give them a chance to pick the song. I'll often ask the kids "Who has a song they'd like to sing? Raise your hand!" then I call on one or two and we sing the song they ask for. It has always been something I knew. If I didn't I'd just have them sing it for us if they weren't to shy or I'd suggest something. I find they love "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" personally I find it a rather boring song but they love it. I think maybe it is because the words are so easy. They also love "5 Little Monkey's Swinging In A Tree" which could be considered a little violent but I haven't heard of anyone complaining.

    I hope these comments are of some help.
     
  13. harbodin

    harbodin Companion

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    To keep them in one spot, we have carpeted floors. We all take masking tape and put it where we want it, label it with their names, and they have to keep their tape covered. It helps them with personal space as well as having somewhere to be. And I have to admit, I get somewhat harsh in the beginning, because I want them to know I do not tolerate rolling and laying down. We sit "crisscross applesauce hands in your lap". If it is bad enough, I make them sit at their tables (because they are distracting to the other students) or tell them they will practice sitting correctly at playtime. I also try to keep sitting time short in the beginning. Like for circle we'll spend about 5-7 min on days of the week, etc. Then get up and count while moving and do a song. Then we'll sit back down and do weather, then get back up for ABC's and another song. I gradually increase their sitting time, because their attention spans should lengthen. I also tell them those are their learning postions, and the learning postions for the tables are sitting up straight and tall, hands folded, ears open listening for directions. Hope this helps.
     
  14. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    My K's love this, too. We do it "regular," then we do it in "super S--L--O--W motion" and then we do it "super fast." We're all laughing by the end and got lots of energy out.
     
  15. Jenni

    Jenni Rookie

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    Yes we do that too! They love to do it faster and faster. So fast even I can't keep up! They aren't really doing it correctly but they are having a blast and getting energy out. Also it is so much moving that usually I have no problems with them hitting or anything else while we're doing it.

    They also like singing the ABCs very fast.
     
  16. MissJ_GradeK

    MissJ_GradeK New Member

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    Aug 13, 2006

    Congratulations on surviving the first week. I too, just survived my first week ever of Kindergarten (or teaching at all for that matter). I am in a very fortunate situation for my first year though, in that I am co-teaching with an experienced teacher. Due to the classroom size amendment in Florida and the limited classrooms on our campus our principal decided to have first year teachers team-teach with experienced teachers. This has made the first week much less stressful and I've been able to gain valuable insight through my co-teacher and the other Kindergarten teachers at my school.

    For our floor time we have put all of our students names on velcro and placed them where they are to sit on the floor. We've already had to move some of the children around because they talked too much or were distracting to other students. The rules on the floor are that number one NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO MOVE THEIR NAMES or pull their names up off the floor. And the other rule is that STUDENTS ARE TO ALWAYS SIT "CRISS CROSS APPLESAUCE" (meaning indian style). If a student isn't sitting correctly or if students are talking we will stop our story or lecture and just say "criss cross" or "Ooops, everyone is not sitting criss cross applesauce." With Kindergarten it just takes time and repitition. The other thing we've done a couple of times this week is if all of the students don't walk right to their names and sit down properly we'll make them all go all the way back to their desks and try it again (and again if necessary) to remind them to come straight to the floor and sit properly.

    Another classroom management technique we've used it to create a red light. We just cut out three big circles on poster board. One Green at top Then Yellow, then red. The green has a smiley face the yellow has a face with a straight line for a mouth and the red has a sad face. The three circles are linked together to hang like a red light. We took clothespins and wrote each childs name on the clothespins and whenever a child is acting out we move them from green to yellow. If a child goes to yellow they can correct their behavior and be moved to green before the end of the day. If a child goes to red however they must stay on red for the whole day and a note goes home with the child.

    Another thing we do at our school is we have a take home folder for every student. Our folders are just the cheap portfolio style pocket folders (without the rings). We laminate them to make them last and then go back and cut slits where the pockets are. On the front we put each child's name and number (we've listed our students in alphabetical order by last name then numbered them 1-29 in our case) so A. Brown for example might be our first child in alphabetical order so her folder would have her name at the bottom and her number at the top right corner. Inside our folders we have a monthly calendar on one side and everyday we give the kids a grade for that day an S+ an S or an S- and the parents are supposed to check the folder initial it and send it back the next day. On the other side we have a zip lock bag stapled to the top inside of the folder with the word money written on it and parents put lunch money or special activity money there for the children. We also use this side to put all the childs papers and any notes we need to send home in. So every single day any communication can take place through these folders sometimes parents will send us notes about questions they have instead of calling. It seems to work very well. Every Kindergarten class in our school does this. And every morning when the kids come in they put the folder in a basket at the front of the classroom and we give it back every afternoon while we are getting ready to leave. Having the numbers on the folders allow us to put the folders in number order in the morning so we can quickly figure out who forgot to turn in their folder without having to go through a checklist. Several of our teachers use the number system and they've said its amazing how quickly the children learn their number as well as the other kids numbers.

    We also use the velcro on the floor to teach our kids how to stand in line. We put their names in a straight line on the floor starting at the door so that they know where to go when it is time to line up. Since we have to go through the lunchline in alphabetical order the names help as do the numbers.

    I know I went into a lot of detail there but I really hope some of the information I posted will be helpful to another first year teacher. I'm also looking for any classroom management techniques that might be helpful. Good luck and have a great year.
     

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