Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Full Day K!

I just got some great news today- I will be teaching a full day kindergarten class this school year. HOORAY!

I am pretty excited about this since for the last 3 years I've taught half day kindergarten. I can't believe I will get to have my students all day- no more rushing and cramming everything into 3 hours! It sure solves the problem of how to fit math work stations into my schedule! Even though I had 2 wonderful classes last year, I am not going to miss writing 2 sets of report cards, having 2 sets of parent conferences, going on field trips twice, or repeating my day at noon!

Now, I know full day kindergarten has its own challenges. So, please, give me your best advice if you teach full day. How do I deal with kiddos getting tired and cranky in the afternoon (I can't send them home at lunch time anymore!). I do know that my school allows for a rest time after lunch and the kids bring rest mats. I know my kids will also get an a.m. and p.m. recess. I have no experience with helping kinders do a lunch count in the morning, or even learning their lunch numbers for the cafeteria though. Mostly, I'm wondering how I make the full days move quickly those first few weeks when they seem so long...


  1. Hi Meredith, I switched from half day to full day three years ago. I was really concerned at first with students getting tired in the afternoon but I really have not had a problem with it. The first few weeks I sometimes have a child fall asleep but overall they adjust pretty quickly. At my school we don't do a lunch count in the morning but I do make lunch cards for my students. I just write their name and id number on an index card and laminate it and then if they are buying lunch they take it with them to the cafeteria. The first few days (weeks) I take walks to practice walking in line and find places in our school and we have a couple extra times on the playground to help us "practice the rules". This usually helps time go by:) Good luck...you will enjoy it:)

  2. Congratulations Meredith! I think all of Michelle's tips are spot on. I just wanted to add how I do my lunch count. The kids have two choices for hot lunch each day, so I put up pictures of each choice for them. Our lunch room assistants also like us to stick name labels on them (with their A/B choice written in) for the first few days. They love having lunch at school. Just keep them moving all day and you'll be fine! :)
    Angela Just Love Teaching!

  3. Congratulation! I do the same thing with lunch numbers. I usually get a cute die cut that goes along with my theme. I get the ones that usually come 30 to package. I write their name and number on the front and mine on the back, the have them laminated. My kiddos take their cards to breakfast too, so this helps the cashier know who's class they in and place the cards in my box for lunch. I do have students do a short rest after lunch for the first part of the year.
    The Wonderful World of Kindergarten

  4. Hi Meredith! I will be teaching full day kindergarten this year for the first time too. I have taught half day for 7 years. I am looking forward to not having to rush through things anymore, but I also have worried like you. I know the first few days/weeks will be a struggle for the kids as well as myself as I learn how to schedule my day and they adjust to being in school and away from family for the whole school day.

    Kari :)

  5. Yay full day! Just subbing in half day Kindergarten was exhausting, having to do everything twice and worrying about fitting it all in! I'm sure you are so happy. For lunch count, I'm not sure exactly how your school does it, but one class I subbed in had 3 choices for lunch every day, and they also had IDs that the teacher had put on lanyards. Each choice had a plastic hook that she had attached to a closet door, and when the kids got there in the morning, they'd find their ID and hang it on the hook that matched their lunch choice. I thought this was GREAT because sometimes the kids can't remember which lunch they chose!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  6. Hi Meredith! I teach all day 4 year old prek. I have also taught half day in the past and it is soooooo nice having all the extra time to really fit things in. My kids do have rest time after lunch. They have cots and I turn the lights out and turn on some soothing music. Usually at the beginning of the year most of them fall asleep and then later in the year some of them stay awake and lay quietly with a book to "rest their body". I was worried about all that extra time, but I really love being able to have small group time and math/letter stations. Good luck!

  7. Hey! I'm new to your blog, but am loving it!! I teach full day Kindergarten and put the children's name cards (just print out a little card with simply their name) on their tables in the mornings and pictures of the lunch choices in a pocket chart, so when they come in they take their name card and pick out their choice. Then, as we line up for lunch, I just call the students' names according to the pocket chart choices.

    As for lunch numbers... I also write them on an index card along with the student's name so they have them at lunch, and I send the numbers home so they can practice with their parents!

    Good luck this year! :)

  8. I teach a blended class, so basically it is full day but I have 3-5 a.m. students who go home just before we go to lunch. It presents some challenges, to say the least. As for making it all day, the first month or so is an adjustment period for many. They do get tired and we do not have any rest time. I usually try and squeeze in my main academics (reading, LA, math) in the morning. Then after lunch we do writing and Science/Social Studies. We do have 2 short recesses (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) to break up the day and they have specials in the afternoon. In the beginning I try to plan a fun craft/art project or do developmental stations in the afternoon. Also plan to do a lot of songs to break things up and keep the kids interested. I love full day so much better than half day! Oh, and lunch....I do mine similar to A Day in the Life. I have the lunch choices (pictures) on pocket charts. The kids all have pictures of themselves that they place in the pocket chart of their choice. When it is lunchtime, I line them up according to their choice and hand the first person in that choice the choice card (to remind the cafeteria staff that every student after them chose sandwich, or whatever it may be). I pass out lunch cards in the cafeteria when they are getting their milk.