Post # 1
I have been a first grade teacher for 6 years. Today was my first day back in school, and I found out that they were short a kindergarten teacher. My admin basically told me they were changing my classroom to a K-2 class and I had until Monday when the K-2ers start to get my room/supplies/curriculum in order. Before people crap on my admin, she is actually really nice and the whole situation is a mess for everyone. It’s a district thiing that came down last minute and something she has no control over. She nominated me because well, I won (?) the lottery.
I have NO IDEA what to do with kindergarteners. Of course, I get it professionally, but K-2 is SO different from first grade!
Does anyone have any great team building activities I can incorporate before I roll out centers and curriculum? Does anyone have any helpful managerial tips when it comes to transitions?
Post # 2
When you write K-2, it makes me think you mean Kindergarten THROUGH second grade. Are you using K-2 as an abbreviation for Kindergarten?
If so, why not ask the other K teachers in your building? I think a lot of what you have been doing you can adjust and do for the younger kids. Will you have full or half day classes? What kind of demographics does your district have?
Post # 3
K-2 means general kindergarten. I teach in a city and we have K-0 through K-2 (basically K-0 means 3 year olds, K-1 means 4 year olds, and K-2 means 5 year olds).
The other three teachers are all BRAND NEW and have never taught before! I’m the old lady veteran of the crew! Of course they have some ideas, but they all looked so busy, I didn’t want to bother them when I left at the end of the day. I’ve been coming up with some activities from the internet. I just have gotten so use to reproducing the same beginnning of the school year activites that involve some writing, something not appropriate for the little ones. I teach in an inner city school with about 85% of my students being ELLs. Many of them have never been to preschool and several of them come in with knowing very little english.
Post # 4
peachacid: and full day, actually extended day. They go from 8:30-4:30. It’s a looooong day for these little ones!
Post # 5
coffeedrinker: oh good luck! I don’t envy you! I would probably start with circle time and names. Then a game of “who can” (who can hop on one foot? Who can do 19 jumping jacks?) To get the wiggles out, then rules. You can always do story time and songs.
It’ll be rough, but kindergarteners are great. For transitions,we always used a bell. The first bell was a 2 minute warning, second bell was the clean up bell. The third bell was a get to your seat bell. We got to switch bell ringers every day (am and pm), which the kids loved.
Post # 6
coffeedrinker: What state are you in? I’ve never seen that system before, but I went to school in NH and work in PA, so it’s not like I’m familiar with every single one.
I think you should reach out to the brand new teachers. Collaboration being best practice and all! I’m surprised your kids will be in school that long…are you at a charter school? Will they get nap time?? Does your school have a curriculum to follow for Kindergarten, or are you expected to create your own based on the state standards?
Post # 7
You never taught kindergarteners so I’m not sure why you are being thrown into the mix. the young ones have to learn sometime.
Do you have a contract? Does it say that your teaching assignments can be changed on a whim? Do you have union reps? They were short a teacher so they should have HIRED another one. Or rather, they did hire three others, so what’s the problem?
You’re taking it better than I would.
Post # 8
peachacid: MA, and yeah we have a team meeting tomorrow before workshops (I’m fascilitating). Nope, public school all the way, and yes they get nap times and two recesses and three snacks. It’s done in a very effective way, but the first month getting them used to it is always a challenge.
VictorianChick: I am the most experience with K because I lead literacy workshops for early ed. The other teachers have only worked in 1st and higher. I’m the default literacy specialist. And since I have the most experience working with the little ones (at least with reading), I was asked to jump in. Yes, we have a union, but it’s a perfect storm of madness. My admin isn’t pleased. Basically we were instructed to add a K classroom by the superintendent last spring for the fall. They lost a lot of teachers last year (one moved schools, one retired, one moved out of state). I guess they hired 4 K teachers and then a couple days ago, one of the K teachers rescinded her job offer or something. This happened after my school was put on a hiring freeze. So when admin wanted to repost the position, she was told she couldn’t and that she had to pull from already existing staff.
The whole thing is, like I said, a mess. It’s complicated and I don’t want to make things more difficult for my admin. She’s always been very good to me, a wonderful mentor and super supportive. It won’t kill me to make this a little easier for her, as long as she appreciates my dedication. I prefer to earn the favor for the future.
Post # 9
I am a speech therapist in an inner city school with a large ELL population and service prek-4th grade kids. Definitely spend a lot of time working on classroom and school routines. A lot of the kids probably are learning about classroom structure and routines for the first time so they need to be explicitly taught and repeated.
I know the K teachers in my school did a lot of coloring and basic concepts (intro to colors/letters). They have a “morning message written each day that is like a little letter and they spend time reading it and talking about it. Then calendar time where they talk about the season, month, day, year, weather, etc. they have visual schedules as well.
The first week they did a lot of get to know you and listening games. One of them was when the teacher would say “I like ice cream/baseball/winter” and if the students agrees they would chorally respond “me too!” And if they didn’t agree they would say anything. It worked on their listening and following directions.
A lot of stories were read the first week too! Sorry I don’t have more specific things.. But those are just some of the things I observed!
Post # 10
Centers are great for kindergarteners! We actually use them up to first grade.
Instead of writing in a journal, I’d suggest having kindergarten kids draw pictures as a form of journal, E.g. “What did you do during summer?” Then write for them what their picture is. Encourage them to write the letters of their picture that they know already.
Getting to know you activities are also great the first week or so and kindergarteners love lots of music throughout the day. It encourages creativity and gets the energy out when they move to music.
Post # 11
coffeedrinker: Do you have any Responsive Classroom books? Try the morning meeting activities and energizers (you can also find a bunch on their website if you don’t have the books). I spend the first few weeks modeling how to do every little thing. Do not assume they know how to do anything! Create simple projects to demonstrate and practice how to use a pencil, how to use scissors, gluesticks, etc. Model and practice how to look at a book, how to get in line, how to use a tissue….basically everything you can think of that they will encounter during the day.
Post # 12
Love SDinSD’s ideas!
Another idea I have is to choose beginning school books (Chrysanthemum, Mrs. Bindergarten goes to Kindergarten, No David!) and create projects based on those books. There’s a ton of ideas on Pinterest!
Side note: I’m really not sure how I came up with anything before Pinterest…
Post # 13
I’m not an early education teacher but I am a parent of a brand new K student.
Their days look a little like this:
They start every morning with the pledge and then there they have center time. There is a kitchen for creative play, an area for “green book” which is a handwriting book, a snack center, a math center that has a lot of basic addition and subtraction activities that are usually set in the format of story problems, a science center that they are currently focusing on nature and the science behind why the leaves change etc (it’s early fall where I am from), a center for “purple book” which is an intro to phonics and early reading skills. They spend about 20/30 min in their centers for the morning. Then they have lunch in the lunch room and a 20 min recess. When they come back they have a quiet rest time for 20 min and then a special class. Those include music, art, PE and library. When they return from their special class they have reading time on the carpet and then they call it sharing is caring. Basically they highlight one student per day. The teacher sent home a poster sized about me worksheet. It has an area for their favorite activity, who is in their family, their favorite book, their favorite color, what they want to be when they grow up. My DS has come home everyday and can tell me something about the star student of the day. I think that this has been huge for him because he’s learned who has a peanut allergy, why one of the little girls wears her hearing helpers as she calls them, why another boy has an aid that is with him all of the time and who has a family like his and who has a family that is different.
Good luck, you are a saint, I could never do your job!
Post # 14
akk380: Chrsanthemum is definitely one activity. I made a chart where we will count and record the number of letters in out name. Chester is another book, where we will talk about how we feel on the first day of school. I also have an activity planned for the kissing hand.
SDinSD: yeah, it’s all these managerial transition stuff that has me in knots. K is so much harder and needier! I’m planning on not even setting up my classroom completely like I normally do because I don’t want them getting into anything I haven’t rolled out yet. Right now it looks spartan. I have soooo many curriculum books on so many things and I literally was sorting this stuff out this morning. At least I got all brand new wooden furniture out of the deal.