Sunday, September 11, 2016

First Week of Kindergarten

Well-- it's a wrap! The first week of Kindergarten is officially over. I'm not going to lie-- it was totally exhausting. I am not used to waking up that early just yet! Despite that, I think that it was an awesome first week!

I would be lying to you if I told you that we already made tons of cute crafts and did lots and lots of activities. To be completely honest-- I spent the first four days (we started on a Tuesday) teaching and practicing the routines that we will use for the rest of the year. I think this is WAY more important than getting lots of stuff hung up on bulletin boards. I am going to share the procedures we have established the first week, as well as some of the activities we did!

Starting Morning Work!
1.) Morning Routine: My Kinders come in between 8:15-8:30. Drop offs usually arrive first, then bus students and morning care kids. When they come in, they unpack their backpacks, put any notes in the basket, put their lunch box in the bin, backpack in their cubby, binder in their mailbox, get their morning folder, choose their seat (flexible seating), and start their morning work! This is A LOT for little ones to remember! I spent all four days at the front table asking questions like "OK, show me where your lunch box goes... what's next?" I also walked around during morning work to make sure that they were writing their names on their paper and corrected pencil grips! By Friday, most of my little ones were able to do everything on their own! Monday will take some reminding, but they are getting it down!
2.) Morning Meeting: I play a morning song to signal that it is time to cleanup and come to the rug. When "Spread a Little Sunshine" by Jack Hartmann comes on, they are expected to put their unfinished work on the owl side (or finished work on the star side) of their folders, put their folders in their group bins, and come stand on a sit spot in front of the ActivBoard. Our class sizes are bigger than normal, so I am waiting on more sit spots! Kids without one just sit on the button rug.

 During Morning Meeting we: 
  • Say the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Greet everyone (responsive classroom)-- right now we are just saying "good morning ___ "(child's name) but I will teach more greetings as the year goes on.
  • Read the morning message which includes the letter of the day and sight word we are learning about. 
  • Talk about the month and sing the "Month's of the year song"
  • Talk about the day of the week and sing the "days of the week" song.
  • Yesterday, today, tomorrow routine.
  • Count the days of the month so far.
  • Ten Frame # of days in school.
  • Active board days in school (place value and coins)
  • Weather reporters
  • Jack Harmann Alphabet letter sound song 
  • Sight word song (Heidi Songs DVD)
  • I have also been reviewing attention getters during morning meeting so that we can practice, practice, practice!
I have the kids run morning meeting throughout the year, but they are still learning the routine. I am modeling it for them with helpers so that they can eventually do it on their own!

Grab the math centers here!
3.) Math Centers: OK-- I use a math workshop model. That means that I teach a 10 minute mini lesson to the whole class, then pull out small groups during centers. This week (and probably for the beginning of next week) I just had the kids practice rotating and working quietly with their groups. We have 7 centers and the rotation does not change throughout the year-- so I wanted to establish the routine so that students could work independently. How did I start?
Click the picture to grab these!
  • I had kids sit with their math groups and do a "getting to know you" activity. My groups will change soon, but I wanted them to get to know who was IN their group for now so that they could help each other rotate.
  • I bought rubber wristbands from amazon so that I know WHO is in what group in case they lose their group. I have 22 kids-- so it is easy to do!
  • We practiced JUST ROTATING FIRST (every day). 
  • For the first two days, I put out ONLY manipulatives for the kids to get used to. I did have kids go on the computers to play a paint game on ABCYA to work on their mouse skills. I also had "counting fish" (ABCYA) on the ActivBoard for them to practice taking turns and using the pens.
  • Thursday-Friday I introduced the actual math centers they will be doing for the first unit.

4.) Launching the Daily Five! I LOVE THE DAILY FIVE! I think it is the best way to set up literacy instruction so that the kids work independently and I can take small groups. It is extra important to follow the launch plan that the sisters suggest so that you can get to the point where kids work quietly and independently without interrupting you. This week we launched Read to Self. We created our Independence Chart (sorry! I should have taken pictures!) We also graphed our stamina! I really hit hard on the "don't come up to me unless it is an emergency!" point. I have a little light from the Dollar Tree that I have on my table that serves as a "do not disturb!" It's hard-- but you have to really ignore the kids so that they get used to being on their own. By Friday, we had read for 5 minutes! 
5.) Yoga! I don't do a "normal" rest time in my class. I give the kids the option of participating in Cosmic Kids Story Time Yoga. It is AWESOME! My first year, I found that rest time tends to be where behavior problems arise and that most of the kids don't want to just lay there. If they do, they certainly have the option to just listen to the story (I put the yoga video volume on low and the kids do not talk!) To my surprise, almost everyone participated in Yoga and earned brag tags for trying it out! They loved it! 
5.) Following directions and learning names: We spent a lot of time learning names this week. We talked about what letters are in our names, how many letters are in our names, clapped out our names, and played name games. I read Chrysanthemum to the kids and we talked about how our names are all special. I prepped the name craft by having their names written in black sharpie on oak tag. I put paper out on the table and modeled how to tear the paper into little pieces and glue it to form each letter of their name. I was so proud of them-- they really followed the directions and I LOVE how it came out! Before I hung them up, they shared their project and something special about themselves.I leave these up for the whole year!
7.) Friday Awards: EVERY Friday of the year, I have a little awards ceremony at the very end of the day to celebrate special accomplishments. Before this, we discussed how not EVERYONE was going to get an award and that just because you don't, doesn't mean you didn't do a good job. I only give out 6-7 awards per Friday, but I make sure everyone gets a few throughout the year. I expected some tears from kids who didn't get an award, but I was so pleasantly surprised that everyone clapped and celebrated those who did. No tears!
Grab a copy by clicking on the picture!

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