This blog has been all about my mom life but there is a whole other aspect of my life that is also really important to me.
I’m a teacher.
I teach kindergarten. And when I think about life as a teacher it really doesn’t feel like I’m reporting to a job everyday, it just feels like a part of my life. Like being a mom. I teach. And like parenting, teaching is full of challenges and fun and love and nurturing and frustrations and upsets and joy and reward. So much reward.
So I thought I would add my teaching side to this blog a little bit and starting posting What’s Up Wednesday in Kindergarten?!
For this first one I thought I would share with you what happens in a typical day in kindergarten. I think many people have misconceptions about what kindergarten is all about. Some people think that kindergarten is all fun and games and playing and coloring all day. While is is all of those things, it is so much more! Some people think that kindergarten is the new first grade and young kids are pushed too hard to meet standards that are too high for them. I hope that I can show you that neither one of these far ends of the spectrum is completely true and that I try my best to BALANCE it all out! So, here’s what a day in kinder looks like and next week maybe I will give you a classroom tour.
Every single morning we start our day just talking together on the carpet (we spend lots of time together on the carpet.) This is all about community building and connecting as a classroom family. This also helps me get to know each child a little bit better and always know what’s going on in their lives. Kinders are going to tell me what they NEED to tell me at some point in the day no matter what.
Mrs. Tumelson I’m allergic to dog spit and my dog licked my face and then I had the itches.
By starting each day letting the kids tell me what’s on their mind it gets it out of the way and we can move on with learning.
After we get out all of our talking I have a morning message for the kids. Sometimes the message tells the kids what’s happening in the day if we have an event that disrupts our schedule, but most days it’s just a little hello from me and a skill for us to practice. Today we practiced producing rhyme as a review.
After morning message we move on to Number Corner. This is part of our math curriculum and I LOVE it! It’s all of the calendar components that all teachers love but has so many math concepts to review and reinforce. We always start with the date and days of the week. Each month the calendar has a different concept to practice. This month we are learning how to make a ten and getting down those number combinations that make a ten.
Other components of Number Corner this month include recording weather. Is March coming in like a lion or a lamb? We are graphing the results. We count days in school and use the number line to practice so many skills. As you can see this month we are really practicing numbers past 10 to 30.
After Number Corner is writer’s workshop. I completely forgot to get a picture for this. I love this writing time because the kids can write about anything they want to and get as creative as they want. This choice encourages students to really invest in their writing and it keeps them engaged. We start the year just learning how to draw pictures and how our pictures tell a story using sequence. By this time in the year kids are writing sentences and they always blow me away with their progress!
After writing we transition back to the rug for reading. We use the reading curriculum Reach For Reading by National Geographic. This is our first year using this curriculum and I love. As you can see today was all about jobs, the letter Uu, sight word “are” and we practiced reading our sentences.
After reading the kids have 15 minutes outside for recess and I get a chance to use the restroom and refill my coffee if needed. When the kids come back inside we always head to our seats for math journals. Our school adopted Bridges for a math curriculum a few years ago. It is SO GOOD! All hands on and developmentally appropriate. But like all curriculum, it’s not perfect. It is all hands on and the kids need practice putting what they know on paper and seeing the math in print. So I supplement with math journals. They are interactive journals and the kids enjoy them.
After math journals we have our whole group lesson. Normally on the rug and always hands-on. Then after our math lesson the kids can chose a work place (math station.) The work places are games so the kids love them and are “playing” but they are learning so many skills. How to take turns. How to win. How to lose. Counting. Combinations of 5. Numerals. Tens frames. Number writing. Shapes. Patterns. Graphing….and on and on!
This is report card week so while the kids were engaged in work places I called students back to my teacher table for a couple of assessments. They showed me their counting skills with the cubes and number writing with the whiteboard.
After math it’s time for lunch! I take the kinders to the cafeteria and help them get all set up before heading to the teacher’s lounge to eat with some other teachers.
After lunch it’s rest time. Not to be mistaken for nap time. I turn the lights off and the kids lay on the floor with towels to let their body have a little rest in the quiet, dim light. Then I read aloud from a chapter book. We love this time together diving into a good story. Right now we are reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, a story about a woman who has cures for all of the naughty behaviors. It’s fun and the kids are enjoying the stories.
Then it’s time for art. I love art! It’s fun. The crafts are cute. But again, the kids are practicing multiple skills during this time. They are learning how to cut, paste, spatial sense, fine motor skills, and exploring different tools such as oil pastels, paints, markers, crayons, construction paper, etc. You wouldn’t believe how many kids have never seen water paints before they get to kindergarten. Stupid tablets. Anyway, today we used markers and crayons to make vibrant spring pictures. They kids really took pride in their work today and did amazing.
After art my class heads to music and PE and I have some prep time to get alllll the things done that a teacher needs to get done. Yup, I get all caught up in that 50 minute prep. Ha! Right. A teacher’s to-do list is never complete. Ever. Not even on the last day of school.We just do as much as we can. Today I worked on getting my grades put into the computer for report cards to be printed next week.
When the kids get back from their last recess of the day we have a snack together and social play. I am so fortunate to work in a district that allows social play. There is so much research out there about the benefits of social play. You can read some of that research here. I don’t even like the word “benefits” –it’s necessary for kids’ development! The skills they are learning and practicing include sharing, how to be a friend, cooperation, conflict resolution, imagination through child-initiated investigations. This part of our day is all about full autonomy and it’s their favorite part of the day. This class is super good with imaginary play and they would do it for hours if I let them. I love watching them play “house” and “school.” It’s my favorite.
And then we get packed up to go home.
That’s our day in a nutshell. We follow the same routine pretty much everyday unless we have something in the school going on. Kinders thrive off of routine and honestly, so do I. We love our days together and I’m excited to give you sneak peaks into my classroom each week so you can share in all the joy and challenges and yes, kinder quotes! The things they say! 🙂