|Heidi and Her Husband Greg in Maui, Hawaii|
|That speck at the bottom is Greg!|
And so... here we go! Our first day back for teachers is on Wednesday, August 17, and then school starts August 22. We are experimenting this year with having the meeting that we usually have with the parents on the first day of school on the SUNDAY night before school starts from 4:00 to 6:00! So I am really hoping that this will ease up the pressure of having all of those parents AND children there on the first day of school together at the same time. That way, the parents should be able to drop the children off and go- hopefully! We’ll see how it goes. In any case, if you would like to see what I do on my first day of school, please see my blog entry on Aug. 10, 2008. I do pretty much the same thing each year! I thought I would blog this time on what I do during the rest of the first week of school as well. I hope it is useful to you!
1. Kindergarten Portfolio Samples
Each year during the first two weeks of school, the teachers at my school and I have always faithfully collected portfolio samples to help document the children’s entry level abilities as far as written work is concerned. These portfolio samples are taken again at the end of each trimester and shown at parent conferences. I always find this extremely helpful in conferencing with parents later in the year, especially at the conference that takes place at the end of the first trimester. It is particularly important for the parents of the children that are truly struggling, because sometimes, the only notable progress that can be clearly seen is in that of fine motor skills! Because we always have a few children that have never had any preschool experiences and few literacy experiences at home, it is nice to have something to show parents of these children that can almost always show a dramatic improvement in just a few months time. Children from backgrounds such as these often have never even held a pencil or a pair of scissors before, and so if you can document their beginning struggles as they make their first attempts to copy even a single letter, and then show their parents how far they have come, you will surely look like the hard working teacher that you really are! And THEN- even if they have only learned half of the alphabet after all of your hard work-(God FORBID!)- you will still be able to genuinely praise the child for some real growth, and that feels good for both parent AND child! (I like this because the children are expected to attend the conferences with the parents at our school, and it’s hard when there isn't a lot of good news.)
|Alphabet Copy Entry Level Sample|
Our Kindergarten portfolio includes:
1. Alphabet Copy- (capitals and lower case)
2. Number Copy- (1-30)
3. Name Writing- (from memory, and they must do the first and last name on lines by the end of the year.)
4. Visual Perception Shape Copying Exercises- (Two pages- one simpler, one harder)
5. A Self Portrait
6. A Writing Sample
7. A Coloring, Cutting, and Tracing Sample (Use any that you have)
|Shape Copy Entry Level Sample|
|Name Writing Sample|
Also, when the children have to do the name writing paper, they CANNOT copy their name at all. They HAVE to do it from memory. You may have to take away their name tags, if you use any! And be careful when you pass out the name papers again at the end of the first trimester, because they may realize that they really “blew it” at the beginning of the school year and try to erase it and fix it after the fact. If they are unable to write their names at all at the beginning of the year, you'll have to note the child's name on the back of the paper, obviously, or the child will copy it. OR... they may just copy it exactly the way the did it at the beginning of the year- completely wrong AGAIN! So I usually give this test to them individually and simply cover up the name sample that they wrote at the beginning of the year with another piece of paper.
|Self Portrait Entry Level Sample|
|Making Birthday Crowns|
As I mentioned above, I outlined what I do on the first day of school quite thoroughly in a previous blog post. Here is what I do during the rest of the week. And those portfolio papers mentioned above come in QUITE handy! Keep in mind that my district allows the children to attend Kindergarten for only a half day for the first four weeks, so this is a half day schedule. I always plan on being very flexible with my lesson plans for the first couple of weeks, because you never know what types of issues will come up that will need to be dealt with right away. So anything that doesn't get finished will just have to wait until tomorrow, and that's just the way it is.
8:00-8:15 - Outside Recess
8:15-8:30 - Enter classroom; take attendance. Do the flag salute. Learn about the calendar and update it.
(This may take more than 15 minutes, since it is our first day doing it. I am shooting for 15-20 minutes, though.)
8:30-8:45 - Sing the songs for numbers zero through five (from Jumpin’ Numbers and Shakin’ Shapes) that we should have learned on the first day of school. Learn the songs for numbers six, seven, and the circle song from the same CD. Learn the songs for the colors red and yellow from Sing and Spell Vol. 2.
8:45-8:55 - Read Bono Goes to School to review the rules and illustrate them with my monkey puppet. Sorry, this book is out of print! I am working on a book of my own about learning the rules, and it will feature a dog, so get your dog puppets ready if you like this idea! Otherwise, if you are following along with me and looking for ideas, you may want to review your classroom rules at this time with a story and talk about them with a puppet. See my blog entry on the first day of school for more details on this.
9:30-9:40 - Do the Zoo-Phonics cards and the Jumpin’ Numbers and Shakin’ Shapes cards. Then sing
|A Completed Crown|
9:40-9:45 - Explain how to make a birthday crown. I fully demonstrate the whole project, from beginning to end, and verbalize what I am doing as I go along. I buy my crowns from Discount School Supply. We paint them with Liquid Water Colors and then glue on some rhinestones. After that, we put on some happy birthday stickers that I print out on address labels. I always make a couple of extra crowns, because there are always a few new kids during the school year, and I keep these crowns for the children to wear on their birthday. They only get to take it home at that time.
9:45-10:05 - Make the Birthday Crown, and then clean up.
10:05-10:25 - Recess/Snack
Before we begin story time, we address any recess issues that came up here first. Then I usually read a book such as “No, David!” or Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. There are so many wonderful back to school books- I just pick one off the shelf! Vanessa Levin's blog Pre-K Pages has a great post on favorite read alouds this week, so check it out! All of the readers are sharing their top ten all time story books. Great idea, Vanessa!
10:40-11:10 - Playtime
I explain ALL of the rules thoroughly before releasing them to play, including reviewing the freeze bell, and what cleaning up looks like as opposed to playing. This is important! I also talk about what toys and materials are okay to play with and which ones are off limits, such as my teaching supplies. Also, we cannot dump things out and then walk away to dump out another set of toys. I review this every day during the first week of school.
11:10-11:15 - Clean up time!
11:15-11:20 - Pass out things to go home, and talk about dismissal procedures. I always discuss again what is going to happen when I open the door and we see our parents. Will we run when we see them? NO! Do you get up if mom calls your name? NO! We wait until the teacher calls our name and only then can we go. We can NOT- EVER- leave without telling the teacher. Children are always trying to slip past me as I speak to a parent at the door. And they are so small that they can do it. And sometimes their parents are NOT out there calling them, either. NOTHING is worse than losing a child- NOTHING. So go over this thoroughly with the children, and make sure that parents understand your policy as well. Nobody leaves without telling the teacher, ever. It’s for the child’s safety.
Days Three, Four, and Five
|Self Portrait Art Project Bulletin Board|
|First Day Photo|