It’s the first Wednesday of the first full week of school! Though, I’m not sure if you can really call it a “full week” considering we only have the kiddos for half of the day on Friday, the other half is a professional development day though, so I’m going to consider it a full week 😉
Monday sure felt like a Monday- but it went brilliantly well! I can’t even believe how quickly these kiddos are picking up on little things and big things through routines. I had them do everything on their own this morning- no holding hands, not holding backpacks as they took out their yellow take home folder, no asking them if they had hot or cold lunch- if they had a lunch from home they were to put it against the wall- I DID however check to make sure their lunchbox actually had substance in it and not just crackers and a juice box (aka SNACK!). They were introduced to the lunch clip chart where they were to take their number clip and put it either on the yellow “home lunch” picture or the orange “school lunch” picture. They did pretty well with this actually! I am glad because it will make my life counting lunches SO much easier!!
Monday was “Ee” day- Explore with Math Manipulatives day! I thought this would be another day of herding cats around a classroom as I introduced math stations but by golly THEY DID WONDERFUL. I can’t even believe it. I didn’t pull a single strand of hair out, though I did lose my breath holding it just waiting for something or someone to go wrong. I modeled 4 different stations (pattern block pictures, tracing/writing numbers in smart pals, grouping cubes by 5s with a single color, and groups counting bears by a number they chose from a box (#s 1-20). I seriously still can’t believe there was no crying, screaming, throwing, anything- nothing. They used them CORRECTLY and for the WHOLE 8 MINUTES! I was completely, happily, and utterly surprised at how well this went. I patted myself on the back, brushed my fingernails across my shoulders and gave myself a little wink in the mirror for getting 21 kindergartners to sit, pay attention, stay engaged, and ENJOY what they were doing for 4 different stations, each lasting 8 minutes. OH and the other best part? The transitions were PURE GOLD. If anyone gave medals to 5 year olds for going from one place to another, my kids would’ve taken home that gold medal. Seriously. I explained where each table would move to next (ie. table 1 to table 2, table 2 to table 3, table 3 to table 4, and table 4 to table 1), asked them to point to the table they were going to, and then had them stand up, push in their chairs, and move to that next station. It was like a group of 30 year old mothers pushing their kids stroller through a park in unison. Amazing. All 4 times. Amazing.
Tuesday: “Ff” day- Favorite toy day! The kiddos could bring in their favorite toy- as long as it could fit in their bag. Then they got to share it- this was great 🙂 Even my more shy students got up and shared BY THEMSELVES (I’m referring to twins that I have that are inseparable- I gave them the choice of coming up to share together because they had the same toy and got it for the same reason, and they decided to share separately, and they did it loud and proud and I almost cried because it means I’ve created an environment where they feel safe, comfortable, and happy to communicate with their peers and not just themselves.
Tuesday I also introduced our Word Wall. I explained what it was, what we would do with it, and then we went through the alphabet- saying the letter, then giving the sound. For a first time- it went pretty well! 🙂
Wednesday- Finally! I’m catching up! Today, Wednesday, was “Gg” day- Game day!! I debated on doing educational games (math games or something similar like an alphabet matching game) or “fun” games like tag, relay races, and duck duck goose. The weather was beautiful and I wanted to get them outside so I decided on the fun games (after math stations though, of course!) We did a relay race, where we also talked about good sportsmanship and not being too mean of a winner or too sore of a loser. The kids did great- they honestly didn’t even know who won or lost (even though it was very clear- it’s like their minds don’t care- they don’t notice it- they’re only having fun. Why does that ever change? Think of how much greater adult life would be if our social brains worked like they did when we were 5, 6, 7….)
We did more work with the word wall- I went a little more “in depth” with it- introducing the vowels- “old macdonald had a farm…A, E, I, O UUUUUUU!” and introducing what a “heart word” is – “a heart word is a word you know how to spell by heart” (aka sight words! explained the different between a word like a name and a word such as “a” and “I” that are words we need to know how to spell without getting help from a teacher or a book or a word wall- we just need to KNOW how to spell it by HEART (hence “heart” word- hehe).
I also read the book “The Day the Crayons Quit” today- we talked about the colors and what they could represent in our pictures. Tomorrow I will be doing a lesson that I’m stealing from Mrs. Mattice (the other kindergarten teacher at school- and the mother of one of my kiddos! ;)). She thought up of a wonderful way to get students to really “focus” on their drawing/coloring and creating a purpose rather than just scribbling- we will see how it goes tomorrow!
I really hope to FINALLY get my student portraits done tomorrow. I’ve been wanting to do these for a week now- the students will draw themselves and then I will be putting them out on the hallway bulletin board. They will each come up with one thing they want to learn this year and that will go in a little speech bubble next to their self portrait. The portraits will then go in a folder, and I hope to have them draw a self portrait once a month from now until the end of the school year- then I will send it home for the parents 🙂 (Idea I stole from a teacher down in Old Orchard!)
I also hope to do my “wrinkled heart” lesson tomorrow, or at least on Friday. I think it’s super important to get that done ASAP- although, I haven’t really had any “hurt feelings” (yet) in my class. But- let’s prevent them! 🙂
*BIG SIGH* it feels so good to finally be caught up with the school year! My hope from now on is to blog twice a week- once on Wednesday to review days Monday-Wednesday and then again on either Friday/Saturday/Sunday to review Thursday/Friday and maybe give a little insight as to what is to come in the next week- that way when I blog again that Wednesday I can see if I accomplished what I had wanted to or if something changed (and why it changed). If you’re reading this, and you’re a friend, please remind me politely to update my blog. Which reminds me- we worked on our manners all week- they’re almost please and thank-you machines! Practice, practice, practice- no snack until I hear those magic words! 😉