Looking for me? I'm knee-deep in kindergarten fun! Check it out atReadWriteSing
Patchwork pumpkins, rolling down the hill......do you get to play with paper and glue at your job? The best part of this lesson was the lead-in literature, one of my fav books, The Runaway Pumpkin. The text is rhythmic and builds in speed, as the pumpkin's journey takes on epic proportions.
I love to teach with/from/around/through books. In my wildest dreams, I am a successful author and illustrator of children's books; I get to visit classrooms of five- and six-year-olds, taking them on a 45 minute journey of imagination. In reality, I have the privilege of guiding and nurturing a group of children through all aspects of learning, five days a week. I LOVE my job. Truly, the only thing better about my wildest dream is probably the pay. :-)
Thankfulness is on most of our minds this week. Today, I realized that I am smack in the middle of exactly where I want to be. If I were doing anything else, I'd be pondering how to get to where I now am, in the heart of kindergarten. It is the absolute center of gravity, the top of the mountain, for me.
Thanksgiving, 2010....I thank God for introducing me to the amazing children in Room K.
(Also, "Thanks!" to Michaele Sommerville for sharing the patchwork pumpkin idea!)
Since starting the private blog for my Kindergarten class, I have neglected this little corner of my world. That fact alone is a marker of what life is like at the moment! Awake at 5:30am, at work by 7:10, I breathe the crayon-scented air of a busy classroom for 9 hours/day.
80% of my students are the youngest members of their families. They like to talk and expect undivided attention! S L O W L Y, they are learning to raise their hands and wait to be recognized. But even I can admit that some of our funniest moments have sprung from unsolicited dialogue! J. spontaneously bursts into a Michael Jacks*n montage, V. wants to know if Abraham liked water from a well, C. shares that the Bible people didn't even have toilets, and A. asks M. why "she be cryin' all the time". (Good question!) One child is reading at a second-grade level and another is cutting like a two-year-old.
This week we will study apples and take a field trip. I can't wait to hear their observations of the farmer's market! Let's just hope the toilet is open for public use. ;-)
Finding art projects that are suitable for 21 kindergartners and first-graders can be challenging. This lesson produced beautiful results!
The children applied torn paper to the vase outline, then drew the flower centers with crayons. After the flowers were set, watercolors were applied. I am always amazed when no two designs look alike. I wanted to color-copy and frame one of these....can you tell which one caught my fancy?
Yesterday was our tenth day of Kindergarten and a special visitor dropped in:
Zero The Hero!
A $5. doll, red washcloth, golden castoff trousers from the Rapunzel phase, and threaded needle enabled me to create a handsome hero!
He arrived during our first Circle Time, bearing gifts of Gummy Lifesavers, to promote the numeral he represents. In ten days, he will return, to help us count to twenty. Maybe next time he will bring fruit loops.
On the 100th day of school, we will meet Zerona. The children asked if she is Zero's friend, girlfriend, wife, or sister. I told them that he hadn't shared this information with me yet. I have 52 Barbies (DollyGirl's collection) from which to choose a worthy Zerona!
He's too handsome to hide in a drawer or cabinet. I wonder if he could hang from my rear view mirror.....
A week before school started (!!yikes!!), my classroom received the royal treatment. Each morning, I feel as if I'm stepping into the pages of a storybook.This is our circle-time rug and reading corner. The painted trees will soon become 3-D, with leaves hanging from branches and bark popping out of the wall. Hmmm....wonder how I can keep little hands away from that? I'm not sure I'll be able to resist, either! Along the right side wall, I have two large bulletin boards, a reading/math shelf and a file cabinet. When the walls were painted, it was decided that nothing could be stapled or sticky-tac-ed to the walls; I am only allowed to display things on bulletin boards. It is an understatement to say that this has cramped my teaching style, but I am making the best of an, umhm, interesting situation. Thank God for the new Post-It Charts!
This is the other side of the room. The space is actually set up with a dividing wall, complete with two separate bathrooms---teeny, tiny, totally cute toilets---and sinks. Beyond the picture border, to the right, you would see the manipulative shelf and two more closets. I've spun my desk away from the wall since this was taken last week. Because it is metal, the letter tile magnets work perfectly along the front panel! I am hoping to score more shelving, so that our tools, etc., will not have to be left in the closet during the week. I've not been given clearance to place anything against the walls, but, HOW do you teach Kindergarten in a sterile environment? The room is sweet, but I miss being surrounded by letters, and pictures, and children's work. My brain is working overtime, trying to solve this dilemma!
(I have no idea why this last paragraph is underlined!)
"Learning to act in a new way requires... being drawn toward something you want..."
I will miss the amazing women who teach at the preschool. In the Kindergarten room, I will be flying solo. Another change is the fact that my new students will be the youngest children in the school, not the oldest. When gathering my PreK kiddos from carpool, admiring the two-year-olds was a job perk! Their lilting speech, chubby legs, and warm hands always made me smile. But I met most of the Kindergartners last week and, wow, they are incredible! One little guy wore a suit jacket and tie, to "impress the teacher". Awwww......:-) The next two weeks will be crazy busy, but I am excited to embark on a new adventure.
If you have a minute, could you share a memory from your Kindergarten days, or perhaps a memory of your child/ren on the first day of K? My K teacher is the reason that I hold a teaching degree today. See, that year in the 'garden of children' really can influence a life! Even The New York Times has something to say about the far-reaching effects of a great Kindergarten teacher!