June 8, 2015

Tips to a Kindergarten Teacher, From a Kindergarten Teacher

Hi there!
Happy Monday!
Today, I am linking up with Mary from Sharing Kindergarten to share some tips about teaching my favorite grade...
KINDERGARTEN!



This is such a great linky because there are so many amazing tips for new kindergarten teachers, and for experienced teacher's who just need some fresh ideas! 


Tip 1: 
Model EVERYTHING! 
If you want your students to do something, you have to show them. Just go ahead and assume none of them have been to school before.

I truly believe that modeling is the most effective instructional strategy in the early childhood classroom. Start the beginning of the year by showing your students how they can be successful in your classroom. Honestly, you really should assume that none of them have been to school before because if you assume this, you're probably going to be more explicit in modeling your expectations for your students. On the first day of school, some of the very first things I model for my students are how to come into the classroom , how to sit at their table seat, how to use the restroom, how to wash their hands, how to line up, how to sit on the carpet, and of course I also teach them a way that I can get their attention. AND THEN, we practice, practice, practice. Oh, and then we practice again!
It's also important to note the number of steps that go into these. 
For example, showing students how to come into the classroom isn't just walking in..... 
it really consists of lining up in the hall quietly, using walking feet as they come in,  hanging up their their back packs, checking in for lunch, picking up their morning work, etc.  
I cannot stress the importance of spending time modeling all of your classroom procedures and expectations enough. Your students want to be successful and when you show them how to do that, they thrive! 

***When my students aren't successful with routines and expectations, I know that I did not do a good enough job modeling these things. Take a deep breath, it's okay, because you can always go back and re-teach it! 


Tip 2:
Don't assume your kids can't do something. 
You will be amazed at what your kids are capable of.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when teachers say, "oh, my kids can't do that". 
Really? 
Are you sure? 
Have you provided the necessary tools to help them be successful?
Here are just a few of the many things that your kindergarteners CAN do:
1. Maintain a clean, and organized learning space
2. Walk quietly down the hall (yes, it can be done)
3. Log in to computers/tablets and apps that have usernames/passwords
4. Maintain their workstations
5. Present their ideas/projects to their peers 
We really need to give these kids a lot of credit because they can do just about anything! 


Tip 3:
Don't forget to bring on the MAGIC! 

Find ways to incorporate fun, magical activities in your classroom while still hitting all of those standards. I believe that you can have so much fun in your classroom if you are purposeful when you plan. For example, when our class pet Marley arrived in our classroom this year, I knew that moving him around at night would create some awesome on-demand writing opportunities for my students! And even our second grade buddies just weren't quite sure how he was moving around. 
"I mean seriously, he was like this when I came in! I was in a meeting before school!"


 



"Marley went to the computers. Marley went by the library".



"Marley snuck to the computers last night when the teachers weren't here or kids".



However you can create magic...
Make it Happen!
Your kids will love coming to school every day!


Tip 4:
Have a plan for how you are going to differentiate learning!

Not only should you have a plan for how you are going to differentiate learning but you also need to be prepared to share that plan with families. It's important to remember that our students have all kinds of experiences when they come into kindergarten. Some have been to school, some are reading,  some are adding and subtracting already and some have never held a pencil. It can be hard to explain to parents how you are going to meet the needs of each and every child. Here are some tips:
1. Listen
2. Be confident when talking to parents. You are the teacher and you know what is best for students. 
3.  Tell them how you are going to meet the needs of their child. Talk about areas of strengths and weaknesses. 
4. Show them how you are differentiating. For example, if you have set up leveled activities in your stations, show them how that works. 
5. Provide resources for further enrichment/intervention that they can utilize at home and be sure to follow up with parents. 

I hope that you've found some tips that will be useful in your classroom! 
Be sure to check out all the fabulous kindergarten teachers that linked up to hear about their tips too! 
Have a great day! 

4 comments:

  1. Great tip on not assuming our kiddos can't to something. I'm reading a book called Mindsets in the Classroom and it says that with effort and perseverance they CAN do things!
    Thanks for sharing!
    I Heart My Kinder Kids

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    1. Yes! If we spend the time and give them all the tools, they can do it! I think i'll have to check that book out Sylvia! Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I love love LOVE number 2 on your list! It is so important to remember just how capable they can be! Sometimes it can be tempting to maybe over help them, etc but they are so capable! Ties in nicely with your first tip of modeling. :)

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  3. You've got it Alex! I think we all need the reminder sometimes! :)

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