New Kindergarten Teacher!

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by popcorn1889, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. popcorn1889

    popcorn1889 New Member

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    Jun 14, 2011

    So, I just graduated college in May and will be starting as a Kindergarten teacher in August. I did my student teaching in a Kindergarten class, so I have some experience teaching this grade, but I am completely in over my head when it comes to what materials, books, centers, etc. that I need to get as well as how to handle the first day, parents, planning and preparation, etc. I am excited and ready to do this, but any advice from all of you experienced teachers would be great!!! I am literally open to hearing anything that you have to say... thanks so much!!:)
     
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  3. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Jun 15, 2011

    ok 2 things come to mind when communicating with parents. NEVER tell them this is your first year. Tell them it's your first year at this school. Otherwise many parents will eat you alive if they know you are new because they will think you could never be good enough to teach their child. Just be confident and if they ask something your not sure of or haven't thought of say, "I am thinking about doing that in a different way this year". blah blah blah

    Also never give parents you home phone. Always respond back quickly to parent email and phone calls though.

    I know this isn't exactly what you were asking, but good advice anyhow.

    I will suggest you read anything by Debbie Diller. It gives a very clear picture about centers (literacy and math).

    Books I read for the beginning of the year: Kissing Hand, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, No David series, etc.

    THe first year I taught kinder I had kids come in a play with playdo at their tables - MISTAKE!!! Most were ok with it but some had it in their hair, on their clothes, etc. Remember so many of the little ones you'll get have had varying degrees of experiences. I cover the tables with butcher paper and let them color. It keeps them busy while I talk to parents. But within 15-30 minutes (they drag in) I make sure no parents are in the room and we beginning our year!
     
  4. janney

    janney Cohort

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    Jun 15, 2011

    Just remember that everything that the kindergartens could do during your student teaching their teacher taught them to do it at the beginning of the year. From using supplies to washing their hands go in with the expectation that they don't know how to do any of it.
     
  5. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Jun 15, 2011

    You will want to have a supply tree/wish list of supplies you hope parents will provide- let them each pick at least a leaf or two off a tree and bring in that item within the first week. Create a volunteer note to send home and an interest inventory type thing to learn more about their child and interests. I have some stuff- I will unearth- this was my first year in k- so I have all that stuff pretty accessible on my computer- you could feel free to read and tweak- pm me your email address and I can forward them to you. Mind you, I did tell parents it was my first year at the school and many continued to hound with well- is it your first year teaching and continued to hound- so I simply smiled and repeated it is my first year here at ________ School. I did however send home my introductory letter letting them know my eager anticipating and all that jazz as I entered my first year- and after having had a parent in my room yelling and screaming on our orientation day with most of my parents in the room- what are your qualifications? Is she qualified to teach!?!?!?!? This is her first year. Ranting and raving ensued. I smiled and continued to chat with the sane parents surrounding me.
    Honestly, I do not think it is too early to start thinking about center ideas and especially early literacy centers like alphabet ideas, fine motor building activities, etc. I would love to share what I have, but I still have to get through the end of the year insanity- if you give me till like Tuesday- school will be over and I can get it to you then.
     
  6. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Jun 17, 2011

    The first week of kindergarten (at least) I would keep the classroom setup as simple as possible. Blocks, puzzles, books, coloring sheets, things that you don't mind possibly getting stepped on, thrown or broken. When you add new materials model how to use the resources and set your expectations for them.

    Sing songs to learn routines. Make it a game to practice lining up. One teacher I know have her students line up in alphabetical order and thats how they line up the entire school year. In montessori we practice what silence means, and peace. Practice raising a silent hand when you want to share something. Looking back over the school year... I will be a lot firmer and consistent and spend more time practicing routines and establishing a classroom community. With discipline I would set an example early with students. If I give a direction on how to use a material and they use it inappropriately redirect once and next take it away.

    In the mornings I have morning meeting where we share something, introduce ourselves, sing a song, do calendar, check the weather etc.

    The most important tool you will have the first several weeks is observing them. Seeing how your students interact with each other. Do you have students who are in constant conflicts, speak little to no english as well as what they know academically. So once you begin really lesson planning you will know where your students are academically and socially so you can teach the whole child.

    Lastly, my experience with parents. With conferences over prepare! Have examples for reading, writing, math and social aspects of their child. Through observations and anectdotal notes you will have plenty of examples. Be prepared to discuss what your homework will be like, your discipline style. Know the academic standards and expectations of kindergarten so parents are aware of where they need to be by the end of the school year. I would recommend informally assessing them the first week of school... so on your first parent conference they can see the childs growth from day 1 to day 40. This will help a lot, because they will see that you mean business and you know their child academically.

    I used the line, "i'm new teaching here... but one of my parents already knew that I was a first year teacher so that line was blown out the water." I just showed my 2 concerned parents that one I cared for all of my students, i was going to ensure that they were prepared for first grade, i was going to challenge and push them everyday to their limit and most importantly I knew where their child was. The rest will fall into place with wining your students over.

    I know this was extremely long... today was my last day of school and I'm reflecting over my first year. We can talk more and I can share some things with you in more detail if you are interested.
     
  7. MISS.SAMANTHA

    MISS.SAMANTHA New Member

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    Jun 24, 2011

    SwOcean Gal,
    You said, "I have some stuff- I will unearth- this was my first year in k- so I have all that stuff pretty accessible on my computer- you could feel free to read and tweak- pm me your email address and I can forward them to you. "


    I will also be a first year kindergarten teacher, straight out of college. I have been trying my hardest to put together all the beginning of the school year items, but I am always looking for guidance. Any chance you wouldn't mind sharing some items with me? :)
     
  8. mshummel

    mshummel New Member

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    Jun 29, 2011


    I am going to be a 2nd year teacher, but first year in kindergarten! I'd love to hear some of your ideas too! They sound fantastic! My e-mail address is: catherinehummel@yahoo.com
     
  9. MWS585

    MWS585 Rookie

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    Jun 30, 2011

    I have taught kindergarten for two years, took a year teaching in a private preschool, and am returning to kindergarten next year. I LOVE kindergarten and never want to teach anything else!!! You will love it! Just remember to have fun with the children!

    I found all of Debbie Diller's books to be very helpful for small groups and classroom set up. My small groups are unique to other teachers I worked with and I got great praise for them from the district visitors and principal; and they were all based from the book by Debbie Diller, "Literacy Work Stations: Making Centers Work." For centers, the more hands on the better. I got a lot of games and ideas from FCRR, they have tons of things you can do small group and whole group and the children loved everything I did from there. I also spent a lot my first year at Lakeshore on educational games and manipulatives, but they turned out to be a great investment and I will be prepared for many years to come with many engaging activities.

    Keep organized and keep your room organized. Always have everything (morning message, activities and materials, books, etc) in place for the next day before you leave in the afternoon; you never know what will come up that you may not have time to get ready when you arrive in the morning. And always have extra activities planned, you never know how your schedule may change or how quickly a planned activity may go.

    For Open House, I usually have a sample of the children's BRAR Books (organizational notebooks that contain class info, homework and calendars, etc...which by the way I got several handwritten notes from parents praising the notebook and format...you can search BEAR book or BEE book on google and you will see samples similar to mine), parent volunteer forms with parent interests, ABC's of kindergarten, class mgmt plan, district and school forms to be filled out, a letter about me, a survey for them to fill out about their child at home and return on their child's staggered entry date, and a general data sheet about their child for us to keep in our parent communication notebook, and finally a little baggie with small items and a poem explaining their meaning to welcome each child.

    For homework, I use a format similar to the one found on, kellyskindergarten.com, that I adapted to my schools needs and also got a lot of praise from children and parents because it was fun, to the point and easy to follow.

    The first week is usually modeling and practicing routines, rules and expectations and just getting to know eachother. My children always love to play games such as "doggy, doggy, where's your bone" to learn names. Also we do formal testing to see where each child is, and I usually do either the kissing hand of gingerbread boy followed with activities related to the story and a school tour to find chester and his mom or the gingerbread boy, ending up with a special treat waiting for them when we return. Also do an all about me book that the children fill in about themselves.

    In kindergarten songs are crucial. Anytime you can incorporate a song and/or dance, the better. They love them and learn so much faster. Also putting concepts into game form and adding movement to whatever you can will help keep little ones focused and lengthen their attention span. Dr. Jean, and Greg and Steve are among my favorites.

    One mistake I made my first year was not keeping enough documentation. Keep organized portfolios for each child, fill them with work samples, photos and other documentation. Begin day 1 with them. It is amazing for the parents and children to see the dramatic progress that is made over the course of the year in kindergarten.

    I also now maintain a blog with photos, class info, objectives, and so on. It is great for parents, especially those who cannot make it into the classroom as much as they would like.

    As far as parents, if you have a school who is known for parents being overly involved, I have found it best to make sure you have plenty of opportunities for parents to sign up to be involved for things like cooking, mystery reader, tutoring during centers, cutting out and assembling things at home, etc. Keep an organized schedule and maintain control of their involvement by offering times and reminding parents that if they want to come in you have a wonderful opportunity for them to sign up to help. Because if you don't, they will show up whenever and disrupt class. Parents are wonderful to have in the classroom, it is just easier to work with them when their involvement is organized well.

    For me, this is a personal preference, colored stoplight behavior management systems become a game for children, embarrass them in front of their friends and have proven ineffective for me. I have not used one for the past two years and have had a much more peaceful classroom, even with challenging children. Some children may need the visual reminder, but for them an individual behavior chart works best. Use lots of verbal praise, focus on the positive. Have a motivational tool such as a marble jar or a paper chain that you add to every time the class does something exceptional and when complete they get a prize. There is a lot more that goes into classroom management, but the colored charts just aren't an effective tool.

    Hope this helps! This is all personal preference from my experience, and I am only entering my fourth year and these are simple things that I am sure you already know, but it is always nice to hear what different people do. Good luck and let me know if you want any templates or documents to modify for your needs; I can email them to you!
     
  10. kairo1821

    kairo1821 New Member

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    Aug 8, 2012

    I would love to hear your ideas as well. This will be my first year in Kindergarten after 2 years in third and fourth grade. Please PM me. Thanks!
     
  11. Superteacher81

    Superteacher81 Comrade

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    Aug 8, 2012

    This will be my 10th year teaching but 1st in Kinder as well. I'd love any ideas!
     
  12. russell506

    russell506 Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2012

    I just read through all of those posts and just wanted to say thank you to the teachers who shared their advice! This will be my first year teaching kindergarten as well and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed to say the least. Thanks again!
     

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