The Kindergarten year is off to a GREAT start! The children are already familiar with our routines and are creating a cohesive community in the classroom. It is really wonderful to see.
We have had a VERY busy week and I think we are all pretty tired. Happily so, but tired. Much of the first week is getting to know each other, our classroom and the expectations. We use the Responsive Classroom model with the goal of creating an orderly, stimulating and cooperative learning environment. Through modeling and direct instruction, we try to create a general climate of warmth and safety. The schedule is taught and our expectations around the routines are explained. Of course, the children are familiarized with the materials and the physical environment of the classroom and the school and they are taught over the first six weeks of school how to use and care for the materials. While it may seem tedious or unnecessary, these processes are important for creating the optimum climate for learning. We will as a group generate rules for the classroom that will keep us all safe and happy. During our classroom morning meeting, we follow a routine that includes a greeting of one another and while it will vary thought the year, at the beginning it is a great tool for helping children learn or remember each other's names. We are pretty good already after just the first week.
At this meeting we also look at the calendar which familiarizes us with numbers, left to right progression, and patterning. We have also been practicing writing numbers both pencil to paper and on white boards. We created a birthday graph by month and learned that we had a tie - two August birthdays and two September birthdays. We also searched a table covered in letters to pick out those in our first names and tracked how many letters were in each of our names. I will use this list again for other uses (looking for a specific letter etc.) to keep the names "out there."
Sharon and I started our Fundations Language Arts work with the kids. Like everything else the first week, much of it is introducing materials and explaining processes. We did introduce the letter "t" and they were right on board with the process. You may hear a "t - top - /t/' repeated around the house this weekend. We also looked over some appropriate books - learning how to care for them, look at them, etc. We also talked about our favorite spot to read and wrote our very first piece. Very exciting.
We decorated our our Nature exploration bags after a rough draft on paper and they turned out great! We also prepared our science journals and today made our first entry. We hiked out to the farm yard and chose something we wanted to sketch. :) Some of us understood the concept, others "saw" things in their imaginations and HAD to draw them. ;) Also, apparently we are an unusually gifted puzzle group so if you have any fun FFS appropriate puzzles we could try, please let me know or send them in.
In Drama with Rita, the children acted out different animals first just making the motions the animal would make and then choosing another animal and added sounds. Their classmates had to guess which animal they were depicting. They were delighted by it. At the end of the day, when I ask what was the best part of the day, Wednesday most of the children said Drama. I think they are really going to love their time with Rita. She and I will partner in terms of areas of study. For example, I am teaching about the kids themselves, their senses etc. and she will be doing some pantomime relating to feelings and expression.
Spanish was also terrific this week. I was eavesdropping but I heard the children sing songs, learn vocabulary and play games. Very Fairville-ish.
The request was made to build a fort one afternoon so I stole the tablecloth from the faculty lunch table and we fashioned a fine little fort. One of the kids felt a little to closed in (or didn't want to crawl in - not sure:)) and made the request that the fort be higher. So I brought sheets the next day and Judy, who I suspect just wanted her tablecloth back, brought a bedspread and voila! The kids were delighted! Nothing makes me happier.
On Thursday a few of us were exploring in the garden and came across a sugar baby watermelon that looked to me to be about ready to be harvested. It was tiny but with the weather being so crazy this summer, its size didn't surprise me. So after telling Judy, she suggested that the K pick the melon, which we did today and she offered it to us for snack. I thought it would be fun to have snack in the new climber (which has become a pirate ship apparently) and with Sharon's OK, we enjoyed the nicest outdoor afternoon snack today. It was just the K on the playground and it couldn't have been a more beautiful afternoon.
Thanks so much for your support and kind words throughout this week. Your children are AMAZING and I honestly feel incredibly blessed to be their teacher.