Showing posts from September, 2008

Getting Control of a Very Difficult Class

Have you ever had a class that just tried your patience day after day? Have you ever felt like you could walk away from teaching forever tomorrow, and be fine with it? This year, I have one of the most challenging classes I have ever had. I am still working on training them to do what I want them to do, but I know that in the end, I will win! Meanwhile, we are spending a LOT of time on classroom management, modeling routines and procedures often. Here is a list of some classroom management tips and techniques that I have used successfully in Kindergarten, but I think that they would probably work in most any elementary grade classroom.  I hope that some of them will work for you, too! Have a (Naughty) Child Model the Correct Behavior One thing that seems to work well, is having a very difficult child in class model the correct behavior. I usually start with a reliably good kid to model the behavior, and then switch to a naughtier one. Then you know that he or she DOES unde

Why Your Child Should Read for 20 Minutes Every Day

This is a wonderful explanation of why it is important for your child to read every day. A great teacher at my school passed this information on to me, and I thought it was important to post here in the hope that more people can pass this around to those that matter most in children’s lives: their parents!     Why Your Child Should Read for 20 Minutes Every Day “Why can’t I skip my 20 minutes of reading tonight?” Let’s figure it out —MATHEMATICALLY! Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week; Student B reads only 4 minutes a night…or not at all! Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week. Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 mins./week Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month. Student A reads 400 minutes a month. Student B reads 80 minutes a month. Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year Student A reads 3600 min. in a school year. Student B rea

Tips for Doing Reader's Theater in Kindergarten

A couple of years ago, I was challenged by a conference planner at SDE to do a presentation on using Reader’s Theater in Kindergarten. The only problem was that I had NO idea how to approach this task in a meaningful and appropriate way. After a lot of experimentation, I came up with a method that worked for me. Below you will find the details of how I did it. 1. Choose a book the children love to read over and over again. The repetitive ones that the kids can “chime in” with and recite with you are best. My class loved to do this with the book Mrs. Wishy-Washy by Joy Cowly. 2. Write the words on sentence strips and practice reading them whole group. 3. Gather whatever props are needed, and tell the kids that you are going to act out the story while they read the words. 4. Choose children to play the parts, and let them hold the sentences in their hands as they say the words. The rest of the class gets to be the narrators, and they read along with the words on the

Teaching the Correct Letter Formation

What are the best way to teach correct letter formation and review the alphabet at the same time with a kindergarten class? Here are some things that worked well for me! I would love to hear from anyone that has another successful method to share! One thing that is extremely helpful for me with both tasks is using the song videos from the Letters and Sounds collection . When I just play the songs , I have the letters typed up very large and hold up a letter card in my hand while we sing. (Look for the download of those cards here.)   So they look at the letter while drawing it in the air and doing the motions for the songs. I have found it easiest to manage those cards by laminating them and binding them into a book. That way, they are always in order, and I never have trouble finding the correct letter quickly. The capital letter is on the front of the card and the lower case letter is on the back. I bound them with rings, punching some nice big holes for the rings so th

Homework Binders for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade

Have you ever considered encouraging your Kindergarten, Pre-K, or first grade students to keep their homework and papers organized into a homework binder?  I started using organizational binders with my students about two years ago in my kindergarten classroom. The purpose of these binders is to help the children keep their homework and other papers organized, and to help parents stay organized, too!  My students’ parents report that they LOVE the binder!  They always know just where to look for the most important papers that need to be signed and where the homework and Read Aloud Charts will be found.  It is so much easier for them to keep everything organized this way! Last year, I started off the year by giving each child a brand new binder.  But even so, I have noticed that many parents buy their child a different binder anyway, keeping my binder at home.  I assume that many of them may have thrown it away!  So I asked the parents to either provide their own binder or buy t