Friday, September 14, 2012

First week of school was a success!

The first week of school has come and gone.  For my new readers, let me explain a little about this blog.  During the school year, I try to update it at least weekly to let everyone know what we have been doing during the week.  I know that not every kiddo likes to talk about school or doesn't remember or only talks about playtime.  I send home their papers daily in their book bags so parents can see what we worked on, but it isn't all that we do.  There is so much that happens during the day, so I try to share the highlights here.

Monday started off with many returning kiddos from last year.  They acted like old pros at school and the new kiddos picked up quickly.  We didn't have any tears during the morning when the parents dropped off!

Tuesday morning was a little harder because most of the class has never been away from mom or dad.  We had a few tears, but they stopped quickly once we got focused on playing with a puzzle or reading a book.

During circle time every day we do the following things:
*talk about the weather and dress Mr. & Mrs. Bear
*Sing our "Days of the Week" Song, figure out what day is it, review the current month and then count to find out what the date is.
*Talk about a new concept/idea/etc.

This week on Monday and Tuesday, the kiddos shared their "All About Me" posters that they completed at home during circle time.  I bought these from Oriental Trading and they are always a huge hit.  The kiddos get to color them and have their parent help fill it out with their age, favorite foods, favorite color, favorite book and pets.  They put real pictures of their family on it and everyone gets to see their family and learn a little about them.

Monday and Wednesday, I had the kiddos do a listening activity for their large group work.  They had to find a certain color crayon and listen for my direction on what to do.  Tuesday and Thursday we focused on coloring and practicing to stay in the lines.  They all did a great job!

Playtime all week went pretty good also.  For the most part, everyone played really well together.  We had a few issues with sharing and taking toys, but that is to be expected.  We did read a story on Wednesday and Thursday about having "monster manners" which talked about how it is polite to say 'please' and 'thank you', take turns, share and not tell your parents (or teachers) no.  We worked on reminding them to ask for a toy instead of taking it, sharing with each other, playing together and not excluding others, using our manners of please and thank you.  The kiddos also learned how to clean up by looking for the picture of the toy on the basket and putting everything in the correct place.

We learned rules on how we walk down the steps to the bathroom (stay quiet, hold the railing and don't push our friends), how to stand in line to wait our turn to use the bathroom and what to do when we are done.  The bathrooms at the church have bathrooms on both sides of a little 'alcove'.  Due to State law, we are only allowed to use the girls bathroom (because we are all female staff members).  The kiddos have a hard time lining up on the wall because of the little alcove without crowding each other, so Wednesday I had a brilliant idea (if I must say so myself :) ).  I placed hearts on the wall of the alcove where they are supposed to stand.  If a heart is open in front of them, it means they need to move up.

This new system worked great this week.  The kiddos were able to follow it easily, no one complained that someone else was pushing them or crowding them, and they all stayed in line.

Thursday and Friday, we also learned about the color green and circles.  We talked about different things that were green (grass, frogs, turtles, etc) and could be green (paper, crayons, shirts).  We did a worksheet in each class about green.  The TTH kiddos colored all their pictures green and the MWF class had to decide which one of their pictures were green (one of them wasn't green).  For the circle worksheet, the TTH class had to color the circles and the MWF class traced, tried to draw their own and colored the circles.

Wednesday we started name recognition by having the kiddos sit at the table where their name was and also had them start writing their name.  Most of them wrote it with no problem, but not necessarily in the correct form.  Next week, we will begin having them learn how to write their name on lined paper, writing the letters in correct form.

Friday we had the kiddos do an exercise with clothespins and their names.  They had to identify the letters in their name, find the clothespin with the same letter on it and pin it on their tag.

Everyone did a really good job with this!

We also have two new student teachers, Ms. N and Ms. K and two field students doing observations, Ms. O and Ms. S.  They are learning the ropes and routine and fitting in nicely.  I am excited to see what Ms. N and Ms. K have planned for their activities.  Ms. K is up first next week with an activity in the MWF class :)

So the first week of school is over and I have to admit, I am tired.  The first couple of weeks is very tiring because the kiddos are new to school and new back to school.  They are little, they are learning, they need lots of reminders on the RULES...we have school rules but they are not always the same as home rules.

There is a lot of 'extra' teaching that goes on the first few weeks of school so that the rest of the year hopefully goes smoothly.  In a couple of weeks, I won't have to remind each child how to wash their hands properly, or how to stand in line at the bathrooms, or how to sit on their carpet squares.  It will just come naturally to them because they have learned it already and know the expectations.

I have two great groups of kiddos.  They are kind, adorable and smart.  I am super excited for the year and to watch all of their progress.  Have a great weekend!

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