Tuesday, June 14, 2011

All Packed Up!

The closets are organized, the books are packed up, the students have taken all of their things, the walls are bare, and all the furniture has been moved...it's official, my summer is here! It seems silly that we go through so much work to close up our classrooms when we will be putting them back together next month, but we do have to get them cleaned. :) I am ready for a fresh start with a new batch of students that I will get to mold and prepare for 1st grade. I am already thinking about things that I am going to improve upon or change for the next school year. I am a little sad at the news that I cannot teach a letter of the week anymore. We were told that it was "old school" & did not fit into our curriculum and teaching practices. I think of it as "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but they don't seem to buy into that philosophy. It will be an adjustment for me to teach students to read & write when I cannot teach them the letters & sounds the way I am comfortable (and successful) teaching them. Oh well, I guess that I will make the adjustment and move on.

On another note, I am very excited that we will now be assessing the kindergarten students using the assessments that we use quarterly to track learning & progress. In the past, we have done tests that were good, but didn't really help me all that much in driving my instruction. This new way of K testing will be much more effective & give us information that we can directly use to implement lesson plans that are appropriate and on the level of their learning. I am so happy that my principal has put her trust in us to know what we need to do for our new K students!

I am looking forward to my little summer break. I am going to rest & enjoy myself so that I can be refreshed & ready to start with a new, sweet group of K babies! :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The end is near...what will next year bring?!?!

I cannot believe that I am ending yet another school year. It has really flown by. I am going to miss this sweet group as they move on to first grade. I really hope that I get a great group next year. I have been doing a lot of thinking about how I am going to change things next year. I have been reading Debbie Diller's math & literacy work stations books. I am going to be revamping the way that centers run in my classroom. They are going to focus solely on reading & writing skills. I am only going to have things that are developmentally appropriate to ensure that the students will have no difficulty & will be encouraged by their own success. I want them to have multiple opportunities to read & write throughout the day to strengthen those skills.

 I am going to bring back weekly class books in interactive writing. I am also going back to making our letter of the week interactive writing charts. This year's class did not get into interactive writing like classes in the past. They were very hard to manage during carpet time & I got frustrated and ended class books & charts. I know, it sounds bad, but I was going crazy trying to manage them so I quit doing it. Instead of doing it whole group I did it in small groups during center time.

I am also going to have a classroom that is saturated in print. I am going to make anchor more charts- another one of my weaknesses this year. I am going to involve the kids in everything that is hung on the walls so that everything that I have up will be meaningful and useful to them. I want everything to be a usable resource for the kids to use during reading, writing & math.

I am considering doing a morning message. I have never done this before and I am studying the merits & benefits of doing a morning message with the class everyday. I am still looking into this, but I like what I am reading about it so far.

Discipline is another area that I am going to be looking at. I had a really good group this year and I really did not have anything that I could not handle at the classroom level. Hopefully, the same will hold true for next year, but I am still thinking about my discipline because it has been said that we will be having between 20 & 25 students...whew! Yep, I will need a strong discipline program in place!!

It seems that I have a lot on my plate for next year, but I want my students to be over-prepared for first grade. I am going to expect a lot from them and I am sure that they will work for me. I love to see them rise to the challenge.

Underwater Fun!

This is always one of the most fun themes to teach. To kick off the week, the students come into the room & we are transported to being underwater. I put blue cellophane over all the lights and the room has a cool blue glow to it. We learn about a different sea animal everyday & make a corresponding craft. I then hang the sea animal craft from the ceiling so that it looks like we are under the sea swimming with them. We make fish, jellyfish, sea horses, sharks & crabs. I took a picture of the room, but it didn't turn out. So you will just have to visualize this one on your own.

In centers I have fish measuring...

I have watercolor word painting...
We also make an octopus puppet in a center & read underwater books. The kids love to learn about the ocean. On Friday, we make a class mural where the kids make their own sea creatures to make an underwater scene. So much fun!