1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way?
I do trust my students for the most part. There are always going to be those "few" who you constantly have to stay on top of to stay on task and focus. It never fails that someone is always off task (at least I feel that way). I try to build trust by letting the students do thing independently without my help. This was hard for me at first teaching 4 year olds. I constantly wanted to help them to avoid a mistake, a mess or an emotional breakdown of the "I can't-s". However, I quickly learned that no child will learn if I am always there helping them and not trusting they can accomplish tasks on their own. They learn more by doing things themselves than me constantly being there to help and correct. I try to build the trust as the year goes on. I start with minimal tasks at the beginning of the year and build up trust as the year goes on by giving them class jobs, etc. I don't know if I could say I can trust them or allow them to be independent throughout ALL the day, but I definately want to try that this year. These students will be with me for a 2nd year and I think its a good time to encourage more trust and responsibility into the classroom. It might be hard to stay out of the way at first but I am definitely going attempt not being in the way. I think if I go in teaching the components of the daily 5 to them from the start that it will foster a sense of community inside the classroom and all the children will feel responsible for each other.
2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room?
Honestly, I've never really given the students much choice over how the day will go. I plan the lessons and we have a schedule. I do try and let them choose the free center at times. The only time they really had choice was at morning table toys or puzzles. All else was planned by me. My goal is to incorporate more choice into the room but still monitor to make sure each student isn't choosing the same activity each day. As far as my schedule goes, I have it posted in the room. The kids and I usually go over it maybe 2-3 days a week. Ours stays consistent so I never really had to go over it. By the end of the year the kids were telling me what was next! :)
3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?
This is key in any successful classroom. A sense of community is the glue that binds each individual child into the classroom. It's very important to instill the wrongs and rights of behavior and manners the first few weeks of school. I am usually the hardest on my kids the first few weeks pulling pins so that they will learn what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior inside the classroom/school. I like to create a "home" feel to my classroom. I want the kids to be comfortable and feel like each classmate is their family.
4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child?
Everyone needs to understand why we do things. I often find myself explaining why we are doing the work we are, why we have the centers we do, why we have crafts/science experiments and why we are reading the stories and books we are. Some need the why all
the time, others understand and probably think. WHY does she tell us WHY all the time! :) This is a constant learning process in K.
5. Stamina! How are you going to build stamina with reading? independent work? Will you use a timer? Will you set goals?
Whew...Stamina. I know my 4 year olds had a
ton small, wee tiny bit of stamina at the beginning of last year. I thought 15 minute centers were going to be the death of me. They would space out and get off task. I realize now its because we just jumped into centers. I didn't build up to 15 minutes of independent work. I just did like your mom does when you learn to swim. Push you into the water no floaties, expecting you to come up for air and swim like a dolphin.....wrong move on my part. I look forward to implementing that this year in the classroom. Fortunately my kids are the kids I had in PRe-K last year so they have a good stamina built up. However, I would like to start at 10 and build up to 20 minutes by the 3rd week of school. I will definitely use a timer. I am a timer girl. I want this Starbucks timer...that's beside the point. But my kids know when the timer dings that its time to put away the materials and rotate centers. It's worked for me for 2 years, probably won't be something I change. Except buying a new timer. I will set goals. Its a good way to motivate students. They will feel accomplished after reaching their goals!
Can't wait for Chapter 3....I am behind..I know what I'll be reading at the ballpark tonight!