Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week: Taming the Wild

Oooh, classroom management...This is an area where I truly believe time is one of the best teachers! I have learned so much in eleven years working with kinders, and I continue to learn more and more!I'm joining in with everyone over at Blog-Hoppin' again today, for Thursday of Teacher Week '13!

Know the students! One of my first tasks as a teacher each year, once I get my class list, is to organize my students, alphabetically, by first name. I learn that list backward and forward. We do most of our lining up/dismissal for "stuff" in this order. Now, this does not mean that Adam always goes before Brittany. Nope, I move through the alphabet daily. So, last year, if I was starting in the middle of my list, I would have Kenadie, Kendall, Kevin, Lillian, Nina, Pierce, Riley, and Tanya...then I would move back to the beginning of the alphabet, with Aden, Aiden, Avianna, Brennan, Caylibe, Chase, etc. The students learn this order brilliantly. I have NO arguements, EVER, about who is supposed to be where and when with this system. Now, do I sometimes have to make changes and alterations due to personalities? Sure. But by the time I need to do this, we're usually far enough into the year that the students deal well with the little hiccup in their order. I use this system for high-demand centers during free play, and for so much more. The only time it gets me into trouble is when I have to go into our computerized system and the kids are ordered by last name. I get so mixed up about who is where! LOL, can't I just organize them in PowerSchool by first name? (Thank goodness, if I export anything to EXCEL, I can!). Also, if we ever have an emergency, and I have to leave the school WITHOUT my class list (or attendance book), I don't have any worries. I know that list backward and forward, and so does my class. If I count my kids, and I am missing one, you better bet I'll know exactly who it is inside of 20 seconds. I do not have consult my attendance book, and try to puzzle it out.

I also have a student sign-in/out area on the side of my file cabinet as the students enter the room. This is not wholly student directed, but we are working on it! Their names are written on sentence strips, laminated, and magneted to the cabinet, in the "In Class" spot. Anyone who is absent, I move to the "Absent" section. Then, anyone who leaves (for nurse, SRC, Speech, etc), has to move their card to "Out of the Room" before leaving, and move it back once they return. This was especially important last year, when I had a massive number of pull-out interventions happening. We are not doing pull-outs this year (yay!), so it won't be as difficult to keep track of who is where and when!

What else? Oh, just the biggie...I started using Whole Brain Teaching Strategies with my students last year, and they LOVED it. I found a modified version of the five rules, turning them into six, with FREE (we love that, don't we?) posters on TPT (you can find them here). More and more people seem to be tuning in to WBT, and I can tell you, there are definitely things about it I am loving. For one, I love the emphasis on talking about what our classroom rules are, on a regular basis in our classroom. SUCH a big deal. Just keeping it that clear and simple for kinders is amazing. I have incorporated a lot more interaction and movement into my classroom, in part, due to WBT. The students are much more engaged in all types of learning. Responsibilites and expectations are clear cut, and good golly, kids prefer that, don't they?

Anyway...there is a lot more to say, but this is already a really long post, WITHOUT any photos, I'll stop typing...besides, my dinner is here, and orange chicken really does taste better when warm!

See you tomorrow for Day Five!!! Remember, tomorrow is Teacher Tips and Tricks...oooh, fun! Can't wait to read lots of posts tomorrow!


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