Happy First Day of Kindergarten!

Did I or did I not mention that I was an awful blogger? I did. (See previous posts). This proves it. I was supposed to blog about the last 10 days of school- in June. I didn’t. Probably because as soon as school was over I was in summer vacation mode! Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t spend some time out of my days thinking about my kiddos, how they were doing, what they were doing, etc., but…I was barely near a computer, and the last thing I felt like doing was staring at a screen blogging. Plus, I kind of forgot….oops.

Well, here goes nothing! Today, August 3, 2015, was the first day of my second year of teaching kindergarten. It was absolutely nothing like I remembered- probably because I don’t remember my first day of teaching- almost at all. It’s a blur. A fun, exciting, incredible, horrifying, beautiful blur. Today was overwhelming, crazy, hectic, stressful, and amazing. I met all 21 shining faces. Yes- 21. And ALL of them showed up today. 🙂 As beautifully awful as today was, the 21 faces that looked at me with such happiness made me put aside the craziness of the day and enjoy the fact that these innocent little beings were excited to just BE there. They were excited to just simply be present in a place where they can learn, grow, bond, and have something to look forward to every day. They were excited to listen to me and to learn from me. Their faces were hopeful, and those faces are what are going to keep me going through these next couple of horrifically wonderful weeks. They want me, they need me, and I will be their guidance, friend, and most importantly, their teacher, for the next 10 months.

Now to get down to the real reason I started this blog. I NEED to write things down. I need to remember the things I did over the years- the things that worked, the things that didn’t work, the things I should tweak, etc. Let’s start with last night- open house. It went SO well. Minus one thing- it was beyond chaotic. I loved the fact that I had the 4 most important papers out with pens for them to fill out right then and there. I loved the child survey I gave to get feedback on their child and their academic, social, and family behavior. I loved the fact that I could mingle, answer questions, meet families, etc. What I didn’t love- the fact that the children were running crazy around the room! Taking things out of boxes and off of shelves to play with- drawing all over the tables (my fault for leaving crayons out….) and just all around being slightly destructive, disruptive, and, well.. naughty (when parents turn their heads….). I tried brainstorming ideas to tweak it for next year.. I thought about a read aloud, then quickly realized that that would tie me up and make me unavailable to the parents to answer any questions. My dad offered to hold story time next year…hmmm…

As for today- I think it went as well as it could have. I had the kiddos come in from outside, find their seats, and sit down with their back packs. I taught them “class/yes” RIGHT off- this worked WONDERFULLY. They understood that when I said “class class” they were to stop whatever they were doing, drop anything that was in their hands, find my eyes, and respond with “yes yes”. After they “mastered” that piece, I added the “hands and eyes” to which they respond “yes Miss Sementelli”. They knew that this meant I had something of importance to tell them, which was super helpful throughout the day when things got too hectic and I needed to calm (hah) it down. After this, I showed them where their jackets/bags were to go, where their cubbies were, and where their back packs were. I explained that I was going to call them up by table numbers, at which point they would go over to Mrs. Turner (thank God for Mrs. Turner!) and she would go through the contents of their back packs, label them, and send them off to put their things away while I took care of paperwork. The kiddos who were not with myself or Mrs. Turner were contently playing with play dough at their seats. This worked well! It took a little while (as you can imagine) and I had a few get restless and antsy, so I may come up with a second idea for next year, but up until that point I didn’t really have any complaints as to how things were going.

After we got their backpacks situated, I called them down to the mats to do a name game activity- which went horribly. I forgot how shy they can be- and all they had to do was say their name and their favorite color! I ended up introducing over half of my class and made the mistake of letting them guess each others favorite colors. I’m not really sure what I could do differently next time- this was probably one of the easiest name games I found and besides just not introducing them at all, I don’t know what I could’ve done to prevent embarrassment or nerves.

Then I taught them about snack time- we discussed what snack time should look like/sound like- I showed them how to get ready for snack by washing their hands, getting a paper towel and putting it at their seat, and then getting their snack. I told them about the school healthy snack. All in all that went pretty well- we’ll work on not getting up to throw things away until the end of snack- bonus though, they WANT to clean up! 😉

By the end of snack, 10 minutes on the playground was MUCH needed! We lined up in line number order- we talked about “HALLS” and how they should look and sound in the hallways, we walked by the front office, the cafeteria line, and where they would eat lunch. NOTE TO SELF- next time- assign them seats THEN for lunch. Demonstrate how to sit, act, etc. BEFORE lunch. Ha.ha.

Then we PLAYED!

Read aloud- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. I introduced Daily 5- YES on the FIRST day of school! Very quickly, though. I just talked about 3 different ways to read a book- reading the words, reading the pictures, retelling the story. Today, I read the words. Side note- I did not go over how to act during a read aloud. We went over how to sit criss cross, and we quickly went over the 5 rules from whole brain teaching, but other than that- nothing. And they did FABULOUS. However, I will note that that is probably a teaching point I should address before the read aloud next time around!

After the read aloud we briefly went over lunch and recess rules- we will go over those more in depth tomorrow where we will all sign a “contract” stating that we will be on our best behavior in the lunch room and on the playground.

I let them have free play for about 15 minutes before lunch. Leggos or coloring! (BATHROOM BREAKS!)

LUNCH/RECESS- (C-H-A-O-S 🙂 )

I like my quiet time. I never really seem to get it throughout the day. So I like to make it a little game after recess. I introduced quiet time- I told them it’s 10 minutes of no talking, only doing some sort of task independently and quietly. Today, that task was coloring. We went over what coloring looked like/didn’t look like (I demonstrated) then I sent them off.

10 minutes of pretty much SILENCE (needless to say I was impressed!)

In preparation for the next 26 days of school where we will be doing a LOT of crafts- I did a scissors lesson with them- it went pretty well! No complaints, other than to have something to do for those who finish quickly- today I just had them color again- which may or may not have been the best idea (I think they may have been sick of coloring by then…)

Of course the second time I was going to take them out it RAINED. So I did another read aloud- which actually worked out perfectly to bring the day to a nice closure. I read “The Night Before Kindergarten” and after we discussed how that book and the book I had read that morning were similar. We then did a drawing that depicted one thing they did to get ready for kindergarten. I gave the example for brushing my teeth and then we mentioned MANY other things we did to get ready- but how many “brushed my teeth” do you think I got? 😉 (over half- hehe)

The end of the day actually went pretty smoothy! I had them working on their picture/coloring until I called their table- when I called their table I had them get their backpacks and then come over to me. I was at the mailboxes and showed them that every day they will take their yellow folder home. When they were done with me, I had them place their backpack at their seat and then they could choose between leggos, blocks, or puzzles!

From there it was all a waiting game until the last bus was called! I’d say it was a successful day- no one went home crying and hating me (or any of their classmates) and I made it through without throwing up!

To say I’m excited for a 3 day weekend would be an understatement though. However- I will go through the day tomorrow with a smile on my face 🙂

Until next time! (Hopefully tomorrow, or Sunday…but let’s face it- probably Monday.)

~Miss Sementelli

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