Need help teaching 3's

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by TXMom&Teacher, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. TXMom&Teacher

    TXMom&Teacher Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2008

    Last year I had an awesome group of kids in my early 3's class, they were pretty obedient for the most part and smart. It was a great year. This is a new year, new group, not good. I was dreading this group last year when they were across the hall. They are extremely immature, disobedient (downright defiant!!!), not willing to participate in anything. I have a lot of crafts and worksheets we do throughout the year, at least last year. This group is way different and I need to figure out how to teach them. I guess I only thought I knew what I was doing. Is there a website, article, book or anything out there that can help me learn how to teach early 3's? I am hoping to start school soon towards my teaching degree, but that won't help the age I am currently teaching. My neighbor is a Kindergarten teacher and she was really helpful with saying to do more hands-on type activities, but I don't know how to take my lesson plans and turn them from worksheets to hands-on or interactive activities. I am so overwhelmed right now. I would love any suggestions. Thanks!!

    :unsure: Laura
     
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  3. Robin

    Robin Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2008

    I actually like to work with threes. Usually, for the most part they are sweeter natured and less defiant than 4's. But you can't do work sheets and super structured activities with them. More mush and goosh stuff, more hands on, shorter activities.
     
  4. LvToyFoxTerrier

    LvToyFoxTerrier Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2008

    Laura,
    I too have a really hard class of 3's to teach this year! They are very loud wild and don't want to listen to anything I have to say. I am exhausted by the end of the day! In the past years, I always managed my 3's class pretty good and enjoyed them. Sorry to say I can't say that this year. Even centers are crazy, they can't seem to stay at their center but want to do something else entirely.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2008
  5. Hannah's Place

    Hannah's Place Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2008

    Sorry to hear your troubles...don't let it get you down! Put away whatever they cannot handle and pull out ALOT of sensory things. Don't overload them at once, since that can be just as bad, but maybe one or two per day. Switch up your routine for the day if possible. Do they need to let off steam first? Once all are dropped off and your day begins do crafts or group project or sensory right away. Then try going outside and once they let off steam then come in and do a circle time/lesson plan or project. Have whatever you are trying to teach them intertwined with all that. (i.e. colors or shapes...see how many we can find outside or bury them in rice table ...things like that b/c it is still active for them but teaching at the same time) or if they still have energy at circle/lesson time then use it to teach. Call on one to get up and find the "purple squares", then another to find the letter "P". Have them go on a letter hunt (inside or out). But ONLY if they follow rules. Keep them basic (manners, listen to teacher,etc) and reward heavily the ones who do it (because Suzie used her manners she gets to be line leader).
    If all of this seems overwhelming because they are not listening that badly then clear out the classroom (I know how hard that is) but overstimulation is just as bad for young children. Once they calm down you can introduce new toys/projects/puzzles etc.
    If your biggest problem is following rules make that the big deal of the school year. "Oh, I see Johnny wants to help us bake today. If Johnny remembers his manners he can stir in the flour" or whatever to help quell the defiant behavior. My star charts work well but I know some people do not like them. I make a huge deal out of them and reward children in the beginning for earning 5 stars. As they get better at it I up the number of course. You may need to start with very basic things like using walking feet (even if it is only for 6 feet across the room) or washing hands or using manners.
    If all else fails use my favorite line "this behavior is unacceptable" while they have time to contemplate what they did.
     
  6. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Sep 17, 2008

    Yep, good ideas Hannah's place. I love that stuff w/3's. To help them get the idea that working together is a goal I also throw in things like parachute so that they can see how to be on a team. Then at 4 this teamwork turns into drama play.
     
  7. LvToyFoxTerrier

    LvToyFoxTerrier Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2008

    Hannah's Place,
    Could you give some examples of the sensory things that we could pull out?
     
  8. wann2119

    wann2119 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2008

    My class started out the same way and I learned that I needed to make some changes...and quick! I decided right off the bat that the problem was not the kids...the problem was me. They couldn't handle my expectations, so I had to change the expectations.

    I started by adding more physical movement to the class. Here are some of the things we do:

    1. Line up on one end of the room and move like any animal we might be talking about. We practice, and then we race.

    2. Hold the back of their chairs and have a jumping contest. The last person jumping wins!

    3. During circle time the kids stand up and march during our song about the months. I have them do it normal, in slow motion, and then super duper fast.

    4. I wrote letters on construction paper. I call one at a time and have them hop from letter to letter. Sometimes we hop from color to color.


    After doing that I realized that it wasn't just their energy level. Somewhere along the way, these kids learned that they really didn't have to follow the rules. I stopped giving warnings for time out. I knew if I gave one warning...it would turn into 10 warnings. When my kids do something that they know is wrong, they go straight to time out. I still give warnings if they do something that isn't an obvious rule. They figured out really quick that I was serious.


    I also tried to make following rules a lot more fun, until we got into a routine together that I was happy with. Here are some examples:

    1. I want them to be quiet during circle time, but they had trouble with that. Now I pretend that I hear something in the closet and I need them to be quiet so I can hear it. Any time they start losing interest...I bring the closet visitor up again. At the end of circle time I go and pull out a puppet or stuffed animal that goes along with our weekly letter.

    2. Lining up can be a pain. I started telling them that we were going to 'sneak' down the hall and we didn't want anyone to see us. There were a lot of days when we were crouched down and tiptoeing through school. Got a lot of stares, but I had a quiet line.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Hannah's Place

    Hannah's Place Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2008

    Yes, I too have done more physical movements, wann2119. That is a fantastic way to help teach while working with more active kids. I also have done role playing with them....I'll ask one to be the "mommy" and find her baby, one to be the mailman and get the mailbag, one to be the fireman and get the firetruck, etc. You get the picture. Then I start with showing them what to do..."mommy" has to dress and feed her baby, go to the "grocery store" and stop by the firehouse to donate food. Stuff like that.
    The sensory things I think would help in this case are water (whenever possible, even if you have individual small containers on the table as water is so soothing to kids and you can find a million ways to teach w/ water), fingerpaint, a sights and smells game (do you have one of those...if so then have them smell something and then go on a hunt for it or match it to an animal/food etc), a touch and feel box (you know where they can't see what is in the box). Baking or cooking, if allowed, is also a good sensory thing to do. Let them feel the flour, taste the sugar or butter, smell the spices. Especially this time of year w/ apple picking and all...you could do applesauce, apple crisp, apple bread...etc. and ask them all kinds of questions about it. Let them mix and watch it bake/rise/whatever.
    I also feel that at least for me when I did a science project (or any group project really) the kids were really excited about it and rarely acted up during it. And my group had 2's and 3's. Oh they acted up, but not during that time. What do you think they would get interested and excited about? Ask their teacher from last year (or is that part of the problem??).
    I even tried this and it works....if you want them to sit for say story time you can start by having them stand up and do HUGE, exaggerated movements ("swing your arms like a monkey"), and slowly work towards smaller, more calming movements (crawl slowly like a snail) until they have settled. It could take 5 - 10 minutes to do if you work slowly towards calmer movements. then they may sit for you for a short time anyway.
    Good Luck today! I'll be thinking of you!!
     
  10. wann2119

    wann2119 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2008

    Yes, things that get them excited is VERY important. It takes a lot more work, but it can be worth it. My kids get excited about science as well. Their eyes light up when we start doing projects and they are calm. We follow a weekly science schedule so it isn't any added work for me. The only time the schedule changes is if I have something special to do for our theme. Our schedule is:

    Monday- Shadow Puppets
    Tuesday- Ramps
    Wednesday- Float or Sink? (A favorite)
    Thursday- No Science (Movie Day)
    Friday- Smooth or Rough?

    Other things that get them excited: fingerplays and puppets.

    Oh and if I put on a puppet show for them, they are ALWAYS silent. They beg for me to do more and more shows. Other teachers are always amazed at how good they are for the puppet shows.

    Thanks for the movement ideas, Hannah. I'm going to use those!
     
  11. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    Sep 18, 2008

    I'm glad to see tht I am not the only one struggling with a class of very early threes (some aren't quite3 yet) and having to deal with rude disobedient and defient behavior. I actually told my supervisor yesterday tht i wouldn't be int oday because I am feeling so sick (true--I really am sick witha flu like bug) but I really needed a day to get away fromt he constant screaming and crying. Yesdterday I did take soem things out of the room-- soem of the floor choices that they just strew everywhere and then don't wnat to pick up and the shopping cart and baby stroller that they jsut race around the room. WE ave af ield trip tomorrow and I'm hoping that will go okay. I have one parent going who isnists that her child is getting picked on but he actually instigates much of it so I don'tknow how that will go. I'm supposed to rive the van nd I hoep Im feeling alot beter becasue right now my eyes are still watering from the head cold and the bright sunlihgt makes it worse. Oh well. have to do what I have to do. I am tryg to get lots of rest today, push the fluids and pump myself full of viatmin C---
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Sep 18, 2008

    I think every teacher is overwhelmed for the first 25 or so years.
     
  13. mrs27

    mrs27 Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2008

    LOL As I begin my 3rd year as lead teacher, I don't know if I should take comfort in that or be afraid of the next 22 years :huh:
     
  14. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Sep 18, 2008

    My point being is that it takes years to refine the teaching process and each year brings fresh challenges. After 25 years, you should have gathered all the props, developed all the routines, and have learned all the tricks. Then you retire.
     
  15. PennStateCutie

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    Sep 18, 2008

    LOL, blue...I definitely feel more confident in my 2nd year teaching preschool (having taught 3 years of kindergarten before that)...each year does get a little easier, though...even if it does present new challenges...at least you've got the experience to back you up a bit.
     
  16. sarzacsmom

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    Sep 19, 2008

    I am feeling a little bit better and I did go to work today. We did go on our field trip and the kids did okay on the trip. I was really disappointed wen i got to work and discovered what a horrible day the kids had yesterday-- I heard from many different dources that my class was a a complete madhouse. When I looked at their work from yesterday they had scribbled all over theri papers. Then I hear that they scribbled all over everything-- tables, floor, paper, bodies --- how do 8 children behave like that and the teahcer isn't aware of it until it's been done?! Not to mention I can tell that my sub pretty much did hand on hand with them tracing their names instead of having them do it themsleves. I am all for helping the children bu pretty muh doingit for them isn't teaching them anything. To top it off my husband swung by my classroom to pick up something I's forgotten (I was already home and he had to practically drive by the center on his way home) and he told me the room was in total chaos. And there were two staff memebers in my room! I'm finidng out the hard way that the teacher that covers my lunch and takes over for me in the afternoon is not following through with the stratedgies we discussed. I am so frustrated. I apologize if I hijacked the thread----
     
  17. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Sep 19, 2008

    There aren't many good things about being the director/lead teacher/cook/grounds crew and everything in a small program. However, if you never leave you don't ever return to that. That is probably the only thing that good about being the only person!! I have staff, but they can't get away with things like that-I am never that far out of the way.

    So sorry to hear that.:unsure:
     
  18. TXMom&Teacher

    TXMom&Teacher Rookie

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    Sep 21, 2008

    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful ideas! :)
     
  19. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Sep 21, 2008

    Have things been looking up yet?
     
  20. sarzacsmom

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    Sep 22, 2008

    Well, I emailed my director over the weekend and told her how I was feeling. She responded back to me that she has every confidence in me and that she thinks I am doing fine. She says they are much more high strung and much younger than the kids I had last year (at least maturity wise). She came to my room today for a brief moment and told me not to worry too much about the academics for right now---and to just focus on getting them to listen and respond appropriatly, routine, fine motor strengthening, being able to sit at the table and do "work", etc. I talked to the person who does my lunch break and takes over when I leave for the day and I confess I kind of told her off a little bit. I think I really pissed her off at first , but I spoke to her again before I left and I think we are fine. I also spoke to my supervisor about the situation and she agreed with me and we both think it has more to do with the toneof voice then the volume and wording. After I spoke to the other teacher, when she took over for me to cover my lunch break she seemed to do a better job handling the kids. My director said she still wants to meet with me sometime this week and that's good because I still need to figure out what hse wnats to do about the child who is still having bathroom accidents every day because the potty trained probation period for my room is supposed to be up at the end of this week. And so the sage continues . . .
     
  21. sarzacsmom

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    Sep 24, 2008

    Well, my director is telling em to back off on academic things and concentrate of rules and routine,the teacher who covers my lunch and when i leave for the day is being much firmer ( and I told ehr I talked to the supervisor and the director and that they both said that they have never heard her be too harsh on the kids and they have no problem with her being firmer with the kids. ( she is very soft spoken and i guess one of the people form the upstairs office reprimanded her once for being too harsh with a kid--- a case of passing judgement without knowing the circumstances---- and she's been afraid of getting reprimanded ever since--especially since my room is closest to the stairway t the upstairs offices) anyway, since we had our talk the other day she is being much firmer with the and between that and the modifications I made to the classroom things are going much better. And my director came to me today and said we are going to have to do something about the child who is obviously not fully potty trained---I guss we are going to meet and then probably have a meetiing with the mom---she obviously lied to get him enrolled into my room --- there is no way he is fully potty trained--he has as many as 4 accidents a day and never asks or acknowledges his accidents, not like he's denying-- he doesn't seem to even be aware---
     
  22. Miller59

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    Sep 26, 2008

    teaching 3's

    I haven't read all the responses so I may be repeating here.

    I teach 3's in a small non-profit preschool. I have 12 kids and 1 aide. It gets hairy now and then, but for the most part things work well.

    When the kids come in we have Free or Discovery Play time. The children are free to choose from the toys and activities I have set out. I start out with play doh at the art table most days. Once everyone has arrived and gotten settled in, I pull out my planned art project. My projects are very open ended. I have an example of what I had in mind, but they are free to do they're own thing. THis either happens in the class room or my aide takes them into the next room in groups of 2 or 3. I aways have something in the sensory table and play doh. This is great for the kids who need to start with simple activities.

    My art projects tie into the book or theme we have going. I usually start off the year with farms because there's something there for everyone and so many great books to use. So we've painted pink pigs brown, made farm books, houses for the 3 pigs, etc. I would never try worksheets for this age. I have a huge range of fine motor skills with the kids. My goal is for each one to be successful.

    We have a pretty traditional circle -- songs, finger plays, morning message, book. I use puppets to introduce things. We have a very set routine. And the kids no what to expect.

    I think having a routine is important and keeping things simple. Kids like to know what's coming.

    I'm rambling here and have to go get ready for my day.

    Hope things are getting better for you.
     
  23. sarzacsmom

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    Sep 26, 2008

    well, my director has decided that sheis going to stick to our policy and the child with the potty issues has to be accident free and his potty use has to be self directed every day next week or he is out. After talking with the grandmother, mother and father and the director of the last center her was at it has been foundout that the mom outright lied to us about several things and that she does not follow through with anything. As far as the child goes, it is becoming pretty obvious that he is not developmentally ready for a preschool classroom and is overwhelmed being in a class with 7 other children. My director has recommended to mom that she try a smaller setting where he can receive more one on one and when he is a little older and has completed potty training and is a little more mature she can re-enroll him if we have space. the saddest part is that if the mom was honest at the beginnng he would have been put into our oldest toddler room where he could complete potty training and be in a smaller classroom with more one on one---we had one space left but it has since been filled so she cna't put him in there now===
     

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