I have to say, we as teachers have the best job in the world. What a JOY it is to welcome a new batch of students into our classrooms and to watch them grow throughout the year.
This week was our first week of school and it went SO well. My students are SO sweet and excited to learn. We started school on Thursday and we already have learned so much. Throughout most of the days we worked on procedures and routines and got to explore some of the materials in our classroom.
You wouldn’t believe it, but we already began working on “read to self” and my kindergarteners BLEW ME OUT OF THE WATER. I gave a BRIEF (6 minute) mini lesson on how we are all already readers because we could read the pictures in ANY book! My students were SO excited to learn that they could already read! I introduced the book “Flotsam” which is a picture book that does not have any words in it. We went through the book page by page talking about what we saw and what was happening in the story. I made a few references to show my students that we were reading and understanding the book because we were looking at the pictures slowly and carefully.
Before the lesson I had placed work mats and my students’ book boxes around the room and once I finished the lesson, I dismissed my students to practice reading the pictures. My students eagerly went to their places and practiced reading their books. (I let them read for 3 minutes.)
After snack, I gave another mini-lesson on what read to self should look like in our classroom. We practiced modeling HOW to do read to self and how NOT to do read to self. Of course my students LOVED this lesson and were very eager to help show me the wrong way to do it. They were even more excited to practice reading their books the CORRECT way! (LOVE!)
As we talked about what read to self should look like, we made an anchor chart to help us remember three things:
1. We will stay in one spot.
2. We will read the whole time.
3. We will work quietly.
My students then got to try reading their books again and they ROCKED it. In fact, they lasted 4 minutes and came back to the carpet with HUGE smiles on their faces.
In the afternoon, I introduced some of the materials in my classroom and let my students have a free flowing center time. I set out the pattern blocks, stacking cube blocks, dominoes, dry erase boards, and an art table (white construction paper with crayons). I also opened the book corner.
The directions were simple. You may go to any center you like. We will use inside voices, walking feet in the classroom, and clean up our mess when we want to change centers. I really liked doing this because it gave me a great feel towards the preferences of the students in my classroom. I saw who worked really nicely together and got to see their personal preferences of materials. Many of my students wanted to practice reading again and many of my students wanted to use the dry erase boards. They worked quietly and nicely together. I was able to chat with all of my students with what they were doing and got to know them a little bit better.
Monday I will introduce literacy centers and we will dive into alphabet boot camp. At my school we use Handwriting Without Tears and therefore we are going to take 26 days to teach all of the letters in the sequence they are introduced in that curriculum. I hope that you are having a great start to your school year. I already am in LOVE with my class and can’t wait to see how far they come this year.