Wow-after just 3 days of school I am exhausted! I'm thrilled tomorrow is Friday-I will really need the weekend to recharge and get ready for a full week of kindergarten next week.
I can't decide if I have just blocked out my memories of how difficult the first week of kindergarten is, or if my class this year is just extra challenging! I just don't remember it being this hard last year!
The worst parts of my day by far are the transition times-I truly dread having to get them all organized for lunch and dismissal-and lining up and walking down the long hall to our special classes (art, music, P.E.) takes forever. I know it will get better as they get into a routine-but it is so hard to be patient and remind them 100 times about the right way to do things in school. I have been trying to use little songs and rhymes whenever possible to help things along.
I have been pretty ambitious this week and started both my literacy stations in the morning and math work stations in the afternoon. We have been reviewing and modeling what they can do (and can't do) at each station every day (boy does this take a long time!) and also doing lots of whole class reflection after each station about what went well and what they want to try to do better. For the most part the stations have been VERY simple (for example some of the math stations were pattern blocks, number puzzles, counting bears, and making numbers with wikki stix). I've also been keeping the rotations very short! I think I let them do each station for about 8 minutes- because that was about how long they could focus and I really don't want them getting into any mischief at their stations! So far my kiddos have mastered a few important rules like:
1. You can't leave your station and wander around and pick a new one!
2. You can't put anything at the stations in your mouth-seriously!
3. After stations we go out to recess (okay how can they not remember any of the rules and procedures we talk about yet half the class remembered that recess was right after our literacy stations! I guess they only remember the really important stuff!!)
I was feeling a bit down after the first two days of school since they were so very challenging- but day 3 today went a bit more smoothly. Maybe that's because we started off our day with an introduction to Pete the Cat, who the kids absolutely adore. We kept singing his song, and reading his books, and watching his YouTube videos every chance we got today and that helped keep everything upbeat!
Another big hit today was the "magic playdoh"-I have to thank Jill at Marvelous Multiagers for this idea. It was truly magical as no one ate the playdoh and no playdoh ended up stuck in the carpet or crumbled in chair pockets or smashed in children's hair! They really just played with it-and pretty quietly too! The magic part is that you put a little dot of food coloring in the middle of the white ball of homemade playdoh and as the kids roll the playdoh around in their hands it changes colors. The kids were amazed-and there were tears when I suggested the playdoh stay at school so we could play with it tomorrow instead of bringing it home!!
I hope all you bloggers out there have a good start to the school year and if you have any words of advice-please share!