You know I don't post about my class very much. Privacy issues and my own reluctance prevent me from revealing anything that would be harmful or embarrassing for my students or their parents. With today's custody issues and other things going on, it's sometimes difficult to even discuss a child's progress with his own parents. But there are some basic things about kindergarten that are universal and from time to time I like to post about those.
This week we are finally beginning to work as a team and follow most of our classroom procedures. Teaching procedures takes up 75% of the first month. Honestly. Most people think that we teach the children a set of rules and then they follow them. Adults are so funny! What actually happens is that we tell children the rules of behavior and then we work on getting them to obey the rules, and maybe by the last day of school most of the children are obeying most of the rules most of the time. We have five rules in our classroom. 1. Listen to teacher. 2. Use your quiet voice. 3. Be kind to others. 4. Do your best work. 5. Walk in the building. Those little rules cover just about any behavior that comes up.
Procedures are really much more important, must be learned the first month, and must be followed. Procedures dictate how we do things, and when we do things. When you have twenty students you have to have a procedure for everything- taking attendance, passing out papers, getting a drink, lining up, turning in homework, completing a project, getting ready for dismissal, going to the bus. All of these procedures have to be planned in advance and then tested during the first few days. Once in a while a procedure that worked with the previous class just doesn't work with the present one and has to be fine-tuned or changed entirely. A schedule change can result in the need for a new procedure. Everything has to be decided quickly and pretty much "set in stone" by the second week so your children can do the same thing over and over and over. By the third or fourth week they will feel independent and confident because they can complete most procedures without assistance. I even find many of my mature students guiding the other students. They become my "little teachers" and inevitably there is one at each table. "You're supposed to write your name first!" someone will whisper. LOL
So...we are looking at the end of September already and most of my students are following procedures and working hard. They are learning when to talk and when to be quiet. They know how to complete their work and what to do when they finish. They are getting a feel for how long each lesson period lasts. I no longer have students who ask "when is it lunch time?" or "are we going to recess today?" because they know the answers. There is a rhythm to our day and they are beginning to feel it.
Our best days are ahead. I have some great students this year- in many ways one of the best groups I've ever had. I don't think I've ever had a group that got along as well as this one. Tempers flare from time to time, but twenty personalities are at work. I don't think twenty adults could work as well together as my students do!
I only wish all of you could have as much fun at work as I do!