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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 2!




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!

 

Monday, June 18, 2012

I've been nominated!

WOW. I woke up this morning and checked my email to see an email that said I have been nominated for the most fascinating blog of 2012! OH MY WOW! I was so excited!!

There is a prize attached! If I get the most votes, I will win a $100 restaurant gift card! But, in order to win you have to vote for my blog! Voting starts this Sunday June 25th!

I will post later this week about how to vote! Please help me win! It would be such an honor!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Daily 5 Link Up!




Well, I am NEW to the Kindergarten world. This year will be my first year teaching Kindergarten and I am looking forward to it. I had been wanting to revamp a few teaching strategies and literacy centers in my room this next year and didn't really know WHAT to do. Well, one afternoon I checked my email and saw this post on my TBA newsletter about a Kindergarten Linky Party with the book The Daily Five. I thought...hmmm. Wonder what that is? So I googled the book. No more than 30 minutes later I was calling the local library and going down there to get a new library card to check it out. But...by the time I got there all copies were checked out! I cried thought "SERIOUSLY?" Guess it wasn't meant to be. My husband was with me and could see how bummed I was. Kept checkin the library for 2 days straight and one afternoon my husband texts me and says "Go check your Kindle fire." Theres a surprise waiting for you to read." He had searched all over our hometown and NO ONE had the book, so he got on our Kindle and bought it for me there. Whoa buddy was I excited! I yelled thought WHOO now I can link up with other Kindergarten teachers and read this book at the same time! Yippee! Well, I loved chapter one. Here were my thoughts....



1. How do I teach new behaviors?
I am UTTERLY CoMPLETELY pooped the first few weeks of school. Last year I think I cried every afternoon out of tiredness and the thought that I couldn't take a nap because then I wouldn't be up at 5 to get moving the next day. I felt like I was literally herding elephants the first few weeks. There were 36 kids and 2 teachers, all up in my space (if you get me). Being in Pre-K, I have to model EVERYTHING. When I say everything....I mean literally everything. I have to show them how to open glue, hold/use scissors, hold a crayon/pencil the right way, on and on....  What does it really look like for me in my classroom? I get them together at carpet time and show them then have them show me! We practice and we discuss about what things should look like. We slo talk about what things should sound like. 

We practice...practice...practice and then PRACTICE MORE! This year I felt like the practice never ended. Kept going and going, like the Energizer Bunny.

2. How do I teach expectations?
I have high expectations for my kids. They were only 4. However, my motto is if you;re going to be in Big boy and Big Girl school you have to act like one. Again, like the energizer bunny I model and practice practice practice. I am constantly reminding them of what my expectations are! Even still on day 95...I remind them before we leave the room what I expect in the hallway. My kids were usually the best behaved at assembly and get togethers. I think it was due to the fact that my aide and i were CONSTANTLY on them about how they should act and the fact that they know they are setting an example.  If you don't instill good behaviors early on. They never will follow other teachers expectations. 


3. How do I monitor student behavior? whole group? small groups? individual?
I have had to release some student behaviors this past year, but honestly I can see myself having a really hard time with this. I like control of the classroom.... However, I really like the idea of students self monitoring. Our reading series and testing do not allow for tons of self monitor. Most All, is done by the teacher or reading coach. And that is ok to some extent. However.....I will definitely look at trying to have some self monitoring added into the classroom possibly during whole and small group time. 


4. What do I do when a student is not exhibiting desired behavior?
I am right there in the middle column on this one.  I use the clip chart in my room (which I still plan on using) and my kids do miss some of their recess. But I RARELY have them model to me the correct behavior. I always make them tell me what they did wrong. Instead of always making it about wrongs...why not ask them what they can do next time better?  Focus on the positive. 


5. Whose classroom is it?
Oh my gracious.......I am the person that says "it is so my classroom!" I am SUPER bad about keeping things out of reach from kids from fears that things will get unorganized, mixed up, misplaced,  or broken. I have an OCD with organization in the classroom...Can you tell? I really would like for me to view the classroom as "our" classroom! I will be focusing on that this year.


6. Locus of control?
I have a prize box, stickers, stamps and smarties that I give out.  Is it really that bad? I think a reward every now and then for good behavior, etc is a good thing. It's an incentive to keep them motivated to always do good. I guess I will have to read on to see if I am making a true NO NO with this one.


7. Where are supplies stored?
Extras are under the cabinets. However, each student had their own crayon pouch this year. Next year, this will change. Each table will have their own basket of supplies to choose from. Currently, I monitor supplies. Students tell me when something is running low. By the end of the year, some responsible students were allowed to get in the cabinet and get the glue out and scissors out when needed. Do I really need to continue to monitor supplies and keep them tucked away out of reach in the cabinets?  I don't think so. Maybe if I teach the kids at the beginning of the year how to take care of these things then I won't have to worry about things being misplaced, mis-used, stolen, or broken....RIGHT? :) This is one area that I need must let the control organized freak in me let go of. I think it could be good to have the kids take care of supplies. Teaches responsibility. 



I love this book. I am currently through half of chapter 2 and look forward to linking up for it! Thank you to Tammy at Live, Laugh and Love for hosting chapter 1! 



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Moving To Kindergarten

Yes, you read the title of this post right. I am officially moving to Kindergarten next year! WHOO HOO. I am so very excited to have been offered the opportunity to move into a grade level position. I will be teaching alongside a Kindergarten expert (as I call her). She's been teaching over 30 years! I am so blessed to be able to work with her this last year before she retires! I am nervous and excited about switching grades. Everyone is like OH it's not that big of a switch from Pre-K to K. But let me tell you it really is. There is so much MORE to Kindergarten than in Pre-K. I am looking forward to the challenge though!

We are totally revamping my room this year. No more owls. We are going with a Kindergarten Rocks theme! Oh I can't wait to show you the results of the switch! I am currently done sanding new cabinets and bookcases and will be priming them today. They are going from red, purple, green and yellow and 27 years of dust to hot pink, lime green, vibrant yellow, turquoise, purple and hot orange! Oh I can't wait to see how they turn out.

I may have to recreate another Kindergarten blog. I am going to try and revamp this current one but its been year since I fooled with the backgrounds and format. I may just need to start over.