questions about centers, and writing names

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by Butterfly4, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. Butterfly4

    Butterfly4 Comrade

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    Two questions...
    1. Experienced teachers: do you "assign" you children to centers or let them choose? I was thinking about getting some kind of stretchy bracelets in different colors, giving one to each child. During center time, putting a lainated piece of construction paper (matching the bracelet colors) in each center. The children with that color bracelet goes to that center. Then switch the papers after a certain amount of time. That way I thought I could separate those that don't work well together and mix up the groups a lot. What do you think of that idea?

    2. I worked with a teacher who used clear contact paper to attach nameplates to the tables where each child would be assigned to sit during paperwork time. I don't want to attach anything to my tables, and (although I really don't like worksheets) I will be doing journals or worksheets in small groups instead of all together.

    I think for the children that really can't write their name yet, or need to see it I do want some type of name for them to look at while writing. I thought about using a nameplate, laminating it and cutting the lamination so it's aobut 9 x 12 with the nameplate across the top. Then they could lay their paper on top and see their name sticking out from the top. What do you think of that idea? If anyone has another suggestion...please share.
     
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  3. Lainie

    Lainie Companion

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    Jun 25, 2006

    1. Our centers are free choice, with limitors (pieces of velcro at entrance to each center, and they put their nametag on a spot...)

    2. When we do our journals, we have them get their nametag first. Then, they can look at that to write their name.
     
  4. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    #1: It depends on the centers I am using for that day. I play it by ear. I do make it mandatory they all visit each one, but sometimes I let them choose, sometimes I pick names from a hat, other times I need to separate a couple of the kids and pair them up together.

    #2: I have laminated name plates that I place on the tables before meals and when they find their spot they hold the nameplate in the air to be collected. You could use a similar or this idea for table work time.

    #3: You could use a highlighter and have them trace over it, or other tracing ideas to get them use to it before free handing it. IMHO, if they can't freehand it yet, they need more tracing practice first. Although, it depends on the child. Some learn easier by trying it free hand, others need tracing. What about using whiteboards and dry erase markers and having them practice each letter at a time in their names?
     
  5. Miss Steele

    Miss Steele Companion

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    My center time is entirely free choice. I have a board with library pockets in it, each with a piece of velcro attached. Everyday I decide how many students I want in each center and put a picture that I have chosen to represent that center (which is also at the center) on that many pockets. The students each have a card with their name on it and they take their card and put it in the pocket that has the center that they want to play/work in. If there are no available pockets, they must choose somewhere else to play. When a child decides that he or she is finished playing, the center must be cleaned (if there are still students in that center, the child must clean what he or she was playing with) and then the student can get their card out of the pocket and choose someplace else to play. I always have more places available to go than I do students so that there are always many choices and if I need to know which center which student is at, I can quickly glance at the board. (I think I got this idea - or one similar - from someone on this board last year!)

    I use laminated nameplates in my writing center for students to look at when writing their names. I don't usually do a sit down group time for practicing name writing. I have each child sign in (I make a sheet of all of their names using a font that matches correct handwriting) when they come in everyday. They each have a space to sign their names so after they're done, I see who needs a little extra help and I work with them on an individual or small group basis. For the really young kids, I have them practice making straight diagonal, horizontal, and vertical lines (but call it something different - like making rain for vertical lines). I have a book called Prehandwriting practice and it's full of pages that help a child make the shapes that you need to use to make letters. I don't really use worksheets so I copy some of these, color them myself, laminate them, and give children wipe off crayons or markers. They complete a picture and can wipe it off and try again.

    Hope I helped!
     
  6. Lainie

    Lainie Companion

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    Jul 2, 2006

    Something else I forgot to mention- For some of our centers (the more popular ones like sand table and computers) we have a sign in area. It's just a piece of laminated poster board that we've got on the wall (one per center). When a center is full and someone wants to play, they write their name, and we set the timer... and when it goes off, one friend comes out and another goes in.
     
  7. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Jul 2, 2006

    PreK teacher

    I have been debating how I am going to do my centers this coming year. I have always assigned centers. Even though our report card states "Chooses a variety of centers" I grade this by seeing how the kids participate in each center. I guess the reason why I have always done this is because Kindergarten does it and since I am in a small school with only one pre-K and 2 Kindergartens it is my job to get them ready for what is ahead. Also, the children always tend to choose the play centers and never the learning ones if given a choice. I did teach Kindergarten for a short time and the children chose their centers but in the afternoon center time we did not open up the play centers just the learning centers. That way the children were forced to choose a learning center but they still have a free choice.
    As far as name tags are concerned. I too had thought about not attaching name tags to the tables. Our Kindergarten laminates them and lays them on the tables. That way if you need to move children you do not have to rip the tags off the desk. The only thing I worry about is them playing with them instead of doing their work. I guess if they do you just take it away. Anyone else have and opinion on this.
     
  8. JaZMum

    JaZMum Rookie

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    You could incorporate learning into the other centres. Pose problems for the children to solve while they are in the Dramatic Play centre. "How are we going to let people know that this is a Doctor's surgery?" You can encourage the children to write a sign. This is possible in all centres. Perhaps just make writing materials available in each centre.



    Just wondering, do your PreK children have a planned outside time?
     
  9. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Jul 2, 2006

    Pre-K Teacher

    We are the only Pre-K so we do our own schedule. The only thing we have to work around is lunch and afternoon PE times for grades K-5. The only problem is on rainy or cold Monday's and Tuesday's our gym is taken up with Music/Art. Our art and music room was moved 2 years ago to accomodate for another classroom. That's how small our school is. Every part of the school is taken by something. I try to have some type of recess each day possible.
     
  10. Butterfly4

    Butterfly4 Comrade

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    Jul 2, 2006

    On the recess subject....do you feel it is necessary to have recess for a pre-k class that is only 3 hours?

    I'm teaching a new class in the fall...after you take out 20 mins for recess, 20 mins for snack, 10 mins for water break & wash hands after recess and 5 mins to wash hands before snack...it leaves like 2 hours to actually teach. I'm finding it difficult to make a schedule...I want to do so much...so little time.
     
  11. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Pre-K teacher


    I don't think recess in a three hour program is necessary. A short center time would seem more reasonable. Maybe as a reward you could do a fun Friday and allow them to go out or maybe if you rewarded whole class behavior and say so many marbles earned will earn an outside recess. I think 2 circle times of about 30 minutes would be good. One bringing in your language arts and one with circle time doing calendar and math activities. You could also do story time as they are doing bathroom or packing or even while they are eating their snack.
     
  12. JaZMum

    JaZMum Rookie

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    When do you plan and implement Gross Motor activities, to develop the Fundamental Movement Patterns?
     
  13. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    The link below should help you.
    Head Start Child Outcomes Framework
    Domain 8: Physical Health & Development

    http://199.223.17.33/leaders_guideeng/domain8.htm

    A 3-hour program should have an outdoor time. A lot of children do not get to play outside and gross motor development activities are VERY important to development.

    I include specific goals and movement activities in my daily lesson plans.
     
  14. Lainie

    Lainie Companion

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    Wow... Our state's licensing says we have to have a minimum of thirty minutes outside time for our half-day classes, weather permitting. It's so interesting to hear about the way things are in other states... I guess for some reason I expect things to be the same everywhere.
     
  15. JaZMum

    JaZMum Rookie

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    I agree. I guess some Gross Motor skills can be observed/planned for during music and movement sessions, but outside play is still incredibly important. I guess if you don't have the facilities though, you have to make do with what you have.
    Pre-K teacher, do you have access to your own playground with sandpits, climbing frames and obstacle courses etc. Our Preschools/Kindergartens have strict guidelines as to how much outdoor space is required for each child. They also have their own fenced off outdoor areas.
     
  16. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Here in WI, if it's a state licensed daycare center/preschool you don't have to take them outside if the program runs for 3 hours or less. Most do though, for maybe 1/2 hour usually. I don't know what the requirement is for public schools.
     
  17. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Pre-K Teacher

    You could bring in Gross Motor during music.
     
  18. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Pre-K Teacher

    No, the school that I work at is very small. I have asked for a fund raiser someday to buy playground equipment suitable for Pre-K and Kindergarten. Right now I have to limit what equipment my children play on on the only school playground we have. I have also mentioned a covered porch out back behind my room. I look for us to be consolidated and then I will be sent back to the school I moved from 5 years ago. We just got our pre-K 3 years ago. This will be my 4th year. I have used my Title I money to buy certain equipment like bouncey balls, jump ropes, balls, etc. We also have the bean bags with cd and ball, hoop, and ribbon cd but I do not have ribbons yet. Don't know how much we will be allowed to spend this year but that is one of the things on my list to buy.
     
  19. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Pre-K teacher

    I teach a full day Pre-K program in a public school in Virginia. We are now state funded and are not grant funded after the second year. We are funded by Title I. Our county finally has at least one Pre-K in every school for at risk. Our governor however has now started the Pre-K initiative where some children will be funded through that. I am not sure yet how that is going to work.
    Eventually the state wants to allow all Pre-K to come to school (not just at risk).
     
  20. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    requirements for outdoor play & snack

    In answer to the snack question, I personally do not think it's necessary in a program that is only 3 hours. However, I would check with your state and local guidelines/regulations for the particular program you are working in just to be on the safe side.

    The answer to the gross motor/recess time question depends on many different factors as well:

    Do you have access to an appropriate/safe playground?

    What are the rules and regs if any for your particular program regarding outdoor play and gross motor development?

    In Head Start programs there is a mandatory outdoor time every day. I teach public Pre-K in TX and because we are a part of the public school system we do not fall under any of the state daycare regs. I personally was not able to offer daily outdoor time in my half-day public pre-k program due to the high academic expectations of the school district and limited amount of time. I addressed gross motor skills through music and movement in the classroom as much as I could in half-day. However, we are going to have full-day pre-k next year and we will be offering daily outdoor time.

    Every state and program has different requirements for preschool. Because the definition of "preschool" in and of itself is not clearly defined nationally we (pre-k teachers & programs) run into these sorts of issues all the time. There is a huge difference between every public/private/and Head Start program in the US. Each program is run differently and goverened by a different set of rules and regs, if any. Often we end up comparing apples to oranges when it comes to comparing programs and which "rules" we should be/are following. Here in the US we have some programs that are totally play-based, others are a mixture, and others are purely academic and then there are some that don't fall into any of the above categories.
    jmho
    Pre-K Pages
     
  21. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I teach in a half day preK setting in a public school. My kids aren't even with me for 3 full hours! I get about 2 hours, 20 minutes. And, yes, we have an outside time almost every day, weather permitting, and I'd say we average 20 minutes. Some days we have less, but some days we have considerably more We also have a minimum of 30 minutes of free choice center time. We also have to have a snack time, as mandated by my district. I try to make that as fast as possible. Circle time is about a half hour (including songs, jobs, calendar/weather and whole group writing), small group instruction is about 40 minutes, then you add centers and outside, plus snack, and we're busy and full!
    Kim
     
  22. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Yes, we have a GREAT playground!

    Yes, this is the BEST playground I have been allowed the priviledge to use. I like it because we have a mixture of ground cover and levels. It is surrounded by trees and lots of nature. I really like it!

    I'm about the only teacher that really takes advantage of all our playground has to offer.
     
  23. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    I am very glad to hear that some of you all take advantage of the playground. I think it is very important. Especially in an all day program. If I were a half day I probably would not unless it was a requirement. My son was in Kindergarten this year and the Kindergarten hardly ever played. My how things have changed. SOL requirements take over teachers whole mind sets. They have actually set more standards for my pre-K this year but I will never take away play time. Like I said before, we have to work around afternoon PE and music/art. I am hoping that our change of our lunch period will allow us some time in the gym on those days.
     
  24. JaZMum

    JaZMum Rookie

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    PreK teacher 1. I am so glad to hear that you have a playground and that you use it. I feel sorry for the rest of you that cannot offer outside play. My daughter attends a full day kindy program. She starts at 9:15 and finishes at 2:45. The afternoon time is for lunch and nap time, so there is only really 3 hours of play. They incorporate circle time, morning tea, indoor play, outdoor play, music session and a story time. They have a huge sandpit and fort, swings and obstacle courses which are changed daily to develop certain skills. Dramatic play is extended outside, and the children still have access to writing material, manipulative toys etc.
    I am not trying to offend anyone, I just cannot understand why the education system does not value outdoor play as an integral part of children's development.
     

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