Sunday, July 14, 2013

Staggered Entry

Kindergarten has what we call "staggered entry week".  There are small groups of my class that come each day of the week and I assess them, get to know them a little, and get them all unpacked.  I think it's a great thing because if I had all 22 in the same classroom and tried to get assessments done, it would be pure chaos.  I am grateful for this staggered entry week.  I get a really good idea of where my students are at and what I need to start teaching with.

It really amazes me the range of kids there are.  I have some who can already read, others who can identify some letter/sounds, some who can count to one hundred, others who can only count to ten, while others hardly know their own name and cannot hold a pencil.  Some are four years old still.  They are babies!

I'm not understanding why free early education is not available more.  It really is needed.  There is so much to do this year.  I need to take my kiddos who cannot identify letters or write their own name and have them writing two to three sentences by the end of the school year.  It baffles me in this country how unimportant education has become.  Kindergarten has changed so much from when most of us went.  It's no longer milk and cookies, nap time {even though they ask for naps, poor babies}, and playing.  Playing is still important but now I am planning what they "play" so that they are really learning.

Another thing I noticed from this week was how different the preschools in this area really are.  The kids that did go to preschool are coming from home preschools, half day preschools, preschools that are run by a chain, and private preschools.  They all prepare them differently for Kindergarten too.  From what I have seen, I am SO glad I did not send my child to Kiddie Academy.  They are truly awful.  The behavior from the kids that went there are not that great and they are teaching them all the wrong letter sounds.  Teaching kids to put a shwa at the end of their sounds makes no sense to me.  A "h" sound is not a "huh".  DO you say HUHamburger?

A clean slate though... this year I am excited to see how much they will grow!  I remember Kindergarten to be the year that I saw tremendous growth.  I saw growth in first grade but not as much of a jump as some make in Kinder!  I can't wait!

Here are some more pics of my classroom.  I had to try out my new camera, I must say, I like them a lot more than the photos I had with my phone camera.  As you can see, I am going with a Safari theme this year.  I also used my son to model some behavior so I can so them in pictures how we do things.  I have a pocket chart at the front of the room, so when they come in tomorrow morning, they can look at the pictures, in order, of how to unpack each morning.  Eventually they will be able to do it on their own.

Behavior Chart
This speaks for itself but, each classroom must keep a way to figure out how their kiddos are getting home each day.

View from my classroom door in the hallway.
View from the cubby area.
View from the back door.
Tables are ready for tomorrow morning.  They have name tags to wear.

View from the front of my room.  I LOVE my word wall and tree.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Kindergarten Jitters

I'm not going to lie, I'm nervous.  I could teach first grade with my eyes closed, I KNOW first grade and the Common Core.  It used to be that way with Kindergarten so long ago {ok, five years is not that long ago but it's long enough} and I knew how to teach the pants off that too.  With the way Common Core is and the way incoming Kindergarten babies are, I am just not sure I am prepared. 

I have the classroom set up, but it's really still for first grade.  Kindergarten is not ALL play anymore but there is still some learning they do require through play.  Hands on learning is only right in my eyes.  I need more stuff for them to play with.  My kids at home are not too happy with me because I am highjacking their items at home to bring to school.  I snatched a train/road carpet from my son's room to put in the block area.  The dramatic play area is less than appealing, but it'll come along as I get more stuff. 

To me, if my room is not set up or put the way I have it in my head, I can't do anything else until that is complete.  The room is sort of bare but that will come with time as well. I'll just have to get over it because the kiddos are coming TOMORROW!! 

This week is staggered entry week for the Kinder babies.  Wish us luck!