What to do first?!

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by missthompson, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. missthompson

    missthompson Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2006

    Hello! I am brand new to this forum. I just signed my contract, received my keys, and dove into my classroom today. I have been going through things left by the old teacher. I want to be so organized, but I am finding it hard to figure out just exactly how to organize things with so many different closets and cabinets. Any organization tips for a first year teacher with a HOUSE for a classroom on her hands? I do have a smartboard in the "living room"/"main classroom" of the house. That's exciting to me!

    I have no curriculum (this is a prek for public school) I have been handed no expectations, and I guess things are just pretty much up to me to create. I will have an aide for half a day. Any tips you guys could offer me would sure be a great help. I never thought I would teach pre-k. I did my student teaching in second grade.

    Help :)

    -Miss Thompson
     
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  3. PB&J

    PB&J Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2006

    First, I would try to go through everything and see what is there. Seriously, go through the puzzle boxes, games, toys and make sure all the pieces are there. As you go, put them in piles of small motor, table games, learning centers, etc. Try to put theme things together so when you do a theme (if you do) you have the books, puzzles, decorations, etc all in one place.

    Throw away anything missing pieces. Really, it is aggrivating to not have complete sets of things. Unless you can recycle it somehow!;) Preschool teachers are famous for finding new uses for things!

    Then I would look at how you want your room set up. Where will you do circle time? How would you like to arrange the tables? Where would dramatic play get the most use? Arrange art and messy stuff close to a sink if at all possible.


    Do you actually mean you have a house? How does this work? Are you doing in home care?
     
  4. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    Jul 12, 2006

    set up boxes or piles for sorting things in groups of different months, if there are decorations, or by subject for teaching, throw away anything that is too damaged. I'd check on some of the pre-K teachers tha have their own websites and see how things are decorated to get some ideas of your own, or borrow someones really good idea. Also be lucky you have plenty of storage and closets. Many of the teachers here have said they have very little. (I myself don't).
     
  5. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jul 12, 2006

    Divide up and sort all of your materials. Have a craft cupboard, a math materials area, a science materials area, a paper storage area, an area to store puzzles that aren't currently out, an area to store dramatic play stuff that isn't out yet, an outdoor toy storage area etc. I also have my learning materials organized by month used, and they are in big rubbermaid tubs, and you could stack them in a closet. If you don't yet know when you;ll be teaching what, you could do the same by theme "fall stuff," and "winter stuff," etc.

    What do you mean, no curriculum?? Contact the early childhood dept. of your district and clarify that. I'd hate to see you make lots of plans, only to be given a curriculum at the end of August. I've been doing public school Pre-K for 15 years now and we have a very rigid curriculum, but, even in the early days when it was more loosey-goosey, we still had some guidelines!

    I would love to hear more about your "house." That sounds cool.
    Kim
     
  6. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 13, 2006

    wow! all the possibilities! It can definitely be overwhelming. I second the suggestions to go through everything already in the room and toss and sort as you go.

    THink about function and flow of the room.
    Regarding placement of furniture, make sure none blocks your view of the kiddos if you are on the other side of the room. Other than that, you can use it section off areas if you choose.
    What needs to be near what? Someone mentioned the sink near the painting area. ALso consider:
    --what needs to be plugged in
    --where will students need to go in the morning to put things away
    --where will you gather as a whole class for carpet time, etc. What will you need near that area? (i,e, wall space for charts, chalkboard, pocketcharts,
    --what CAN't students access and what materials (i.e. cleaning supplies, your materials) can you store there.
    --will you be doing any sort of science projects (like seeds) that need the window nearby?
    --where will students store materials (like blocks, crayons...) and where will they use them.


    good luck!
     
  7. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Jul 13, 2006

    Wow! A public school classroom in a HOUSE???? I would not know what to do with myself. My obstacle is too small of a classroom. First of all, are you the only classroom in the house?
    I began with no curriculum too. I just visited many websites and used many books and kind of put together themes that I wanted to cover. We were handed some Language arts and Math Virginia Learning Blocks.
    This year we have been handed Social Studies and Science learning blocks and after 3 years now I have to change my themes. Now that can be frustrating. Do ask and find out if your state has any learning blocks like VA?
     
  8. missthompson

    missthompson Rookie

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    Jul 13, 2006

    It's a big house........ lots of room!

    Thank you all so much for the great ideas! I'm so lucky, my mom (i'm 23) is going to go out to the "house" with me today and help me sort through all of the things.
    I will be teaching in what I would consider a "poor" district. I asked about a classroom budget and the secretary looked at me with a blank stare. I asked about curriculum and she said they had none for the early childhood program. I went online and found that Missouri has a set of early childhood standards. She gave me the number for the teacher I will be replacing. Is that a good idea to call her?
    This house is entirely mine. It it right next door to the school. It's a 1970's brick ranch style home. It's very spacious, has very nice paneling and I am the only classroom in it. They knocked out the wall between two of the bedrooms- that's where we will nap. There are two nice big closets for their rest mats and pillows! I am so excited that I have a smartboard, I spent about an hour yesterday just playing with it and trying to get acquainted with it. The entire house is hardwood floors and the walls are very nice paneling.

    I am a first year teacher with my only experience being in subbing and student teaching. In college I only had to observe PRE-K once!!! I feel like I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I did teach summer school kindergarten- so that has to be a good warm up- right?

    Also, do you know if there are any "rules" to having a pre-k classroom. I tried to search for some on the internet for Missouri- but I couldn't find any. IE: special things/qualifications I will have to do so we can keep our EC program? Someone also mentioned to me that you can only have 10 students per teacher maybe 15 or 20 with a full time aide. I will have an aide only in the morning. Should I make sure the school is following the rules? I would hate to be the one in trouble if I didn't do something correctly.
     
  9. Luke12:34

    Luke12:34 New Member

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    Jul 13, 2006

    A suggestion

    Since they are pre-k and you have no perameters as to what you are to do with them and since there is also no budget, may I suggest a curriculum?

    It is commonly used by homeschoolers but EASILY used in a pre-k classroom setting as well. It is Five In A Row. It is an awesome unit study curriculum using great children's literature. You can either buy the story books to have on hand or get them from the public or school library for free! There are tons of fun/educational things you can do with the children using this curriculum and it won't cost a fortune.

    You of course will still be working on each of their 3 R skills, but Five In A Row is perfect for pre-k and would be a great addition to their learning. (No, I don't profit from this plug, but I know how good of a program it is and just wanted to pass along the info).

    I love pre-k...what a FUN age!

    The set up with the house sounds great, and would seem to have lots of potential!
     
  10. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Jul 13, 2006

    For a poor district you sure are lucky to have your own smart board. They are great! Only we have to share one with all of title one. Our Pre-K is funded through Title I money. If you have a supervisor through the school board office I would check to see if any money is provided for you. The school secretary may not know any of this. Our PTO also has fund raisers and they will provide our classroom budget with $50 a year for incentives and also other fund raisers through out the year that provide a little more. Art supplies and things come out of our title I money.
     
  11. Luke12:34

    Luke12:34 New Member

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    Jul 13, 2006

    Can I say "spellcheck"...LOL

    :rolleyes: that should be...parameters...good grief. :)

    Please excuse the typo. LOL!
     
  12. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Jul 13, 2006

    Hi, MissThompson: Pre-K is great! You are very lucky to have a whole house for your classroom, most of us have the opposite problem - not enough space for everything.

    As for not having a curriculum or any direction, I was in the same situation when I first began teaching pre-K. I was fresh out of college too, and was overwhelmed - I went home and cried. I survived and you will, too! The internet can help you a great deal.
    Google 'Pre-k classroom" / "Pre-K teacher websites' or similiar phrases and you will find many great websites by generous teachers who share their ideas, etc. with everyone.

    One that helped me tremendously when I was struggling to put together my own curriculum and figure out what to teach was:
    preschoolbystormie.com You must check out this site, you won't be sorry!

    She is terrific and has MANY wonderful ideas arranged in such a way that you can use it as a complete curriculum in itself if you choose.
    At the least, you can see an example of how to plan and implement activities for a Pre-k classroom for a whole school year.

    Good luck, and you can do it!
     
  13. froggyteacher

    froggyteacher New Member

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    Jul 16, 2006

    I want to add my praises to preschoolbystormie.com. You can print her curriculum index page as a guide for the whole year. I use thematic units and my whole room changes with each theme every week or two. Best of luck, and we'll help all we can! Relating to parents will be your biggest challenge as a young teacher. Just remember that these people are entrusting their most valuable possessions to you for several hours a day, and you must let them know that you take that seriously. They just want to know that you love their children.
     
  14. Weaver

    Weaver Rookie

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    Jul 16, 2006

    Vannapk,
    I checked out your website pages that you helped Miss Thompson with, and after teaching Pre-k myself for 10 years(a daycare environment), I am happy to say your site helped "refresh" me for ideas in my classroom arrangement, lesson plans and how to do things more professionally. Thank you for sharing your pictures as well, it helps out when there is a visual perception. I was starting to feel "stale" after all these years in the same classroom, but I am eager to get started again,can't wait until September, my classroom will have 25 new faces then. Thanks again!
     
  15. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Jul 16, 2006

    You may also want to look into getting "The Creative Curriculum". It is a curriculum that I used for Head Start. It is a good program and it focuses on : social/emotional development, Cognitive development, Language development, and Physical development. Try going to http://www.teachingstrategies.com/ and read the program through. All the head starts in my area uses it and it has proven to work!!!! Good luck.;)
     
  16. Mrs_Barrett

    Mrs_Barrett Cohort

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    Jul 17, 2006

    Don't worry you'll do fine. I was in the same boat you are in now. I got my job mid-year in November. Had no help from anyone and jumped in head first. My biggest advice is to get your unit themes ready now. I had nothing, so I was busy creating them as I was teaching them. I spent hours at school (and I live 45 minutes away from my school) working on them.

    I would definitely call the other teacher if you have any questions. I was lucky, my teacher still worked at the school. Although she went on maternity leave the second day I was there, so I was unable to talk to her till January.
     
  17. nckris81

    nckris81 Rookie

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    I was in the same position when I first started. I was hired by a church and they knew what they wanted but had nothing for it. So I thought up my own curriculum. I had a different bible storie each month. Back then it was hard finding things for kids that young. I subscribed to Teacher's Helper (Kindergarten) and adapted a lot of things. But that magazine is great! I would use it in a public school, as it's better suited for that. I also had a "tree" made out of brown butcher paper. The trunk is stuffed with newspaper and the limbs are strung from the ceiling. (Twisted butcher paper) With each month we had art projects that would hang from the limbs. (ie; September was fall colored leaves, October was spiders, November apples, etc) This was in the hallway before you entered the classroom, but if your livingroom is big enough you could put it there. The kids loved it.
     
  18. gospelcharlie@h

    gospelcharlie@h Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2006

    Everyone has great ideas for you. Take a deep breath and start with all broken items and etc. For the books: Put them them in subject order and label the shelves. Also I am a Head Start teacher like Youngteacher 226. The book :Creative curriculum is a major book for teachers; also the web site she mentioned is for ideas. Make sure your classroom is safety proof according to the standards. Another idea is when you meet your students parents see who can come an volunteer in the classroom. Have a meeting with your supervisor and other staff members. And of course communicate with your assistant at all times. Good luck.stay calm.cool and collected. Take one day at a time, one section for the classroom at a time. You will get it done.
     
  19. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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  20. Dru

    Dru New Member

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    Jul 20, 2006

    Dru

    Hi, Ms.Thompson, and all new Pre-K Teachers,
    You are the luckiest people in the world. I am a 57 year-old male that has been teaching for 35 years. Most of my experience has been at the upper elementary level (grades 4, 5, and 6,) but two year ago, I changed school districts and the only position available was a preschool position. I took it and then wondered what I had done. My biggest mistake was to put out too many things to play with - I put together 20 puzzles at the end of the first day. Take it one day at a time. My principal told me that if I could make it for two weeks, I had it made - and she was right! I have now gone back to teaching sixth grade, but I would not trade that one year as a pre-k teacher for anything. JUST HAVE FUN and don't try to do everything at once. I had twenty four-year-olds with a full time aide. SING, DANCE, PLAY, and READ, READ, READ to the children. By the way, I was in bed by eight everynight - completely exhausted, but I was ready to get up the next morning and start over. I had a curriculum, but didn't use it much - made up my own. Good luck - it will your best year ever!
     
  21. gospelcharlie@h

    gospelcharlie@h Rookie

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    Jul 20, 2006

    Vannapk,
    You get an "A" for sharing the Pre-K Pages. I have been teaching for many years. It is refreshing to get some new exciting ideas. I just love the idea about the journals . I have 2 parent conferences in the 10 months of school. This goes along with Creative curriculum that is used in Head Start. Thanks again for sharing.
    gospelcharlie
     
  22. missthompson

    missthompson Rookie

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    Nov 28, 2006

    Thank you everyone for your suggestions earlier this year. I just wanted to update and say that my year is going AWESOME. I found some curriculum -Houghton Mifflin for Pre-K. it's working out nicely. The house ended up so organized and cute!
     
  23. tm91784

    tm91784 Comrade

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    Nov 28, 2006

    Glad your year is going great. I'm also a first year prek teacher who teaches in a house. Its a Catholic school and the house is an old parsonage from 1890s. It has been remodeled though.
     
  24. missthompson

    missthompson Rookie

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    Nov 28, 2006

    I'm glad to hear that there is someone else in the same boat as me!
    I just found out through the grapevine that they are cutting my program for next year though! I will have to find another job or maybe they will put me in a different position next year.
     

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