I can hardly believe July is just around the corner...where is this summer going?
Reflections on Chapter 3:
- A place for body and brain breaks: My rooms have always featured an open area large enough to seat kids. I just need to make sure I leave enough room for a chair for myself and a place for the anchor charts. I really try and situate this place in the room so the kids aren't playing with books or near any other distractions.
- Developing the concept of good fit books: because I knew this mini would arise, I've been keeping track of the books I've read over the summer-I've got some really easy reads (ads I receive in the mail), just right (books I've been reading), and then difficult (a computer website I ventured onto when I thought my computer had a virus). Being as I'm not a big shoe person (I'd rather spend the money on a cute purse), I plan on doing this lesson using clothes-finding my regular clothes for just right, doll clothes for too easy, and a man's shirt for too hard. I think you can still discuss the purpose (bring in dress up clothes, yard clothes, etc) and the kids will get the idea. I did this last year using shoes and realized I needed something more tailored to my personality.
- Anchor charts: I like the idea of creating those with kids-they will created be whole group. However, there are some super cute anchor charts you can print out. I think I will leave the large ones up and then after we have familiarity with the routines, introduce the smaller, cute ones so they can refer to them. I'm pretty big on having a room that has only the necessary info-I've been in classrooms that are beautiful, but I walk in them and I can't concentrate for all the "stuff" around me. I want the anchor charts to serve their purpose but not overwhelm the room or the kids.
- Stamina, Book Boxes, and Book Appetizers: To keep track of stamina, I will keep a class graph. As we add to it, we will color in the tick marks. I adore the ones Nicole made. I know teachers who use the book boxes-and use them well-but I get bogged down in the amount of room needed to store them. Hence, my students will have these pouches from Really Good Stuff. I ordered the extra large ones, so the large picture books can fit inside. I also prefer these to book boxes because a) they have a handle so they can be moved easily b) they have velcro on them so you turn them every which way c) size wise they can fit into a desk instead of taking up valuable desk and/or floor space and d) they're washable-I just put mine in the machine and put them on the delicate cycle. They come out looking as good as new. The first day I plan to put books that will be easy to read. I don't have a ton of pre-K and A level books, so I will have to print some. If you're like me and you need books to print, I found some good ones at Making Learning Fun, Free Kids Books, DLTK, Reading A-Z, Professor Garfield, Scholastic and Very Emergent Readers. I think I'll also ask parents to send in a favorite book to keep in their bags (hopefully this will help us increase our stamina).
- Signals & Check Ins: Here's where I need some help. I have a regular bell (like the "Order UP!" kind) but am cognizant it is not fit to use during this time. I have some chimes I will use specifically for D5 time. However, the Check Ins are where I need to adapt my strategy. It took forever last year! I think this year before I allow them to go to their spot, I will ask them to partner talk about what book they will read once they are seated. If they can tell me, "The one about school", I'll be fine. But I know there are some who will take forever...so I need some help with this one, girls! Any ideas would be gratefully received.
- Behavior: I would like to think I will keep anecdotal records on behavior. If a child is crying out for attention, they will be our next model...they can act out infront of everyone, then show them how to act correctly (and if they need to do it twice to get it out of their system, we can do that). As far as showing them attention at appropriate times, there are lots of things you can do-leave them a welcome note on their desk, pat them on the back and say, "I'm so glad you're here!" when they arrive, when they are acting appropriately at other times call attention to that, and allow them to model incorrect/correct procedures for other routines (going to the bathroom, walking down the hall, arriving in the room). I also have postcards and when they do something good (make a good choice, line up, whatever the child needs) I let them choose to whom it will be sent. I've sent them to cousins, grandparents, parents. Once a parent learns the purpose of the card, they will happily supply the address. And once that first card goes out, everyone wants one.
I can't wait to see what everyone else has in mind...y'all are some creative people with super ideas. Happy Wednesday!